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Posts Tagged ‘billy baker’

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a 20-something in a bad job market. Kids have no choice but to keep inventing things. With three entrepreneurs in the family, far be it from me to say that this inventing business has gone too far. But spray-can cupcakes?

Billy Baker has the story at the Boston Globe.

“It all started a little over a year ago, when John McCallum, one of the Harvard students, was sitting in the lab at his Science & Cooking class, trying to come up with ideas for his group’s final project. As he puts it, they were spitballing a bunch of possibilities that all followed the same theme: ‘ways to eat more cake.’

“[Joanne] Chang had appeared before the class earlier that semester and talked about the chemistry behind what makes cakes rise. As McCallum stared off into the distance, thinking about cake, he happened to notice someone spraying whipped cream from a can.

“That’s when the 20-year-old from Louisiana had his eureka moment: cake from a can.

“McCallum wondered if he could borrow the technology from the whipped cream can and create a similar delivery mechanism for cake batter, in which an accelerant releases air bubbles inside the batter, allowing the cake to rise without the need for baking soda and baking powder.

“To his surprise, it worked.” More here.

Maybe baking one cupcake at a time isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Photo: Essdras M. Suarez/Globe staff
Chef Joanne Chang of Flour bakeries fame tested the creation of Harvard students John McCallum and Brooke Nowakowski, and the verdict was a thumbs up.

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In the spirit of the Season, I thought I would share this community-building story from Boston. It shows what can happen when you give the gift of time. It started it out as a one-shot practical thing, shoveling out a neighbor who can’t do shoveling.

And then it grew.

Billy Baker writes at the Globe, “Michael Iceland showed up in front of a stranger’s house in West Roxbury, put his shovel into the snow, and made someone’s day.

“Inside the house was an older woman, and she was stuck, unable to get out of her door, worried she could not get to her mailbox to pay her bills.

“Iceland, 36, a Jamaica Plain resident, cleared that path for her, made a new friend, and felt great about himself in the process.

“It is a common story in the Snow Crew. The brainchild of Joseph Porcelli, the Snow Crew is an online tool to connect the elderly, the ill, and the disabled to people with willing backs. …

“The Snow Crew, Porcelli quickly realized, was about more than snow.

“ ‘Originally, I thought I was addressing a problem, that people needed to be shoveled out,’ he said. ‘It turns out that was a symptom of a larger problem of people not knowing each other and not being connected to their neighbors.’

“That small gesture, helping a stranger, made them no longer strangers. From it, many have reported developing ‘extremely profound relationships on both sides of the equation,’ said Dale Mitchell, executive director of Ethos, a nonprofit in West Roxbury that became a partner in the Snow Crew.”

I wonder what comparable community-building activity happens in places without snow. In spite of all the problems snow causes, I do love it, not least because a neighbor you hardly know may see you are stuck and come over with the snow blower.

More here.

Photo: Joanne Rathe/ Globe staff

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The Boston Globe has been covering the arrival and treatment of injured Libyan fighters.

In the first installment, the Spaulding Hospital president expressed concern about making the wounded men comfortable in a new culture — especially as they were going to have to pass through Salem at Halloween. Salem, you know, is full of witches in October, and witches aren’t the half of it.

As Billy Baker wrote of the injured on October 30, “They took off from a desert and landed in a numbing rain with snow in the forecast. And then, if that weren’t strange enough, they were taken to Salem. On Halloween weekend.

“For the 22 Libyan fighters airlifted to Logan International Airport yesterday, the first of the injured to arrive in the United States for medical treatment after the overthrow of Moammar Khadafy’s government less than two weeks ago, it was a day of great joy and great culture shock.

“The injured men, who ranged in age from 17 to 46, were whisked away in ambulances shortly after landing …

“The men are here for treatment at the Spaulding Hospital North Shore facility in Salem, which has been preparing for their arrival by training staff in the customs and religious practices of the patients. A prayer room was being designed with the help of an imam; doctors and nurses will wear name tags in Arabic; and a team of translators trained in medical terms has been brought in to explain the medications and therapies.” Read more.

In a November 10 follow-up, the fighters praised their warm reception. “Lying in bed, the 37-year-old Naser said he is grateful for the opportunity to receive medical attention in the United States, and was surprised by the warm reception he has received.

“ ‘It has been a kind and very sincere welcome,’ said Naser. “It has changed completely my vision of America.’ ”

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