It’s all about the stories

This is wonderful:

70% of people think the best recipe in the world is the one Mom used to make. Whether it’s a dish she made every weekend, or one that was a family tradition for the holidays, the world agrees that the best recipe always came from Mom.

According to research, our favorite flavors are rooted in much more than taste: Specific flavors are closely tied to our memories and emotions –- so much so that just one bite can transport us back to some of the most meaningful moments in our lives.

Unsurprisingly, these meaningful moments are often childhood memories that we associate with the loving comfort of home. That’s why 82% of people claim that some flavors remind them of home and, of course, their mothers who cooked for them.

Knorr celebrates this power of flavor in the new short film, “Flavor of Home.” The film tells the story of Carmen — a husky guide in the Arctic Circle – and her mother who journeys to bring her the taste of home.

“We believe life should be full of flavor, and what better flavor to celebrate than the taste of home,” said Jon Affleck, Knorr’s Global Brand Director. “We were keen to capture a true and authentic story that brings to life how flavor is so much more than just taste; it’s about emotion.”

The emotional connection Affleck mentions is experienced on a global scale. Knorr recently conducted research in 11 different countries to determine how food registers on an emotional level: In every instance, a large majority responded that food is always associated with life’s meaningful moments and, like Carmen, they often miss their mother’s cooking.

So next time you cook –- or enjoy your mother’s cooking -– be sure to celebrate the lasting memories you’re creating.

So far so much ordinary marketing, right?

Wrong. Because they produced a video that tells a real story, this particular campaign will stick.

Remember: It’s always about the stories.



Submit to nap time

This is a fantastic piece by Matt Gurney, about the perils of rushing kids along on the road to grown-up success.

As adorable as the little toddlers were when they stood up and greeted me in unison, seeing a bunch of three-year-olds in matching uniforms, delivering their (obviously rehearsed) greeting as one left me unsettled. Even weeks later I haven’t quite shaken off the unease. It was like a little Borg Collective hive mind with finger paint and snack time. Lower your shields and submit to nap time. Resistance is futile.

Sorry, but kids aren’t supposed to be that perfect. Well behaved is great, but only to a point. Getting a bit messy and rambunctious isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Let them be kids.

Funny we never think about the child version of success, right? I mean, what’s a successful childhood? One that best prepares you for your life as an adult by making you behave like an adult at the age of two, or one that you’ll remember fondly decades later as carefree, fun, wonderful, loving, warm time, with bits of (necessary) education thrown in? What is it about the stress of regimented adult life that’s so incredibly awesome we need to impose it on toddlers?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. I was just commenting to my husband this morning that it’s impossible for someone to be the best they can be if they don’t know who they are. And how are kids supposed to find out who they are if they never have time to just be themselves? (And by the way, this Simplicity Parenting is a great approach, even if the website has annoying music. Ignore that and go read the book.)

Love is better thank spanks

My friend Véronique threw a pretty good rant. It’s a bit long and it’s also quite direct, so take a deep breath before reading it. 

I was spanked a lot. With hands and sticks. Up until I got big enough to hit back. Which I did. Once. Then it stopped. 

I did not turn out alright. I mean, I’m better now, but I went through some pretty rotten times. What Véronique says is true. I don’t think the hitting was the main problem, but unmet attachment needs certainly lead to all kinds of problems. And it’s also true that you don’t have to pass on the same treatment you got as a kid. 

I’m not 100% against spanking in all cases. I believe there is room for it when needed, but it has to be done out of love, not anger. Which is not easy. Still, I agree with Véronique that we are not all right and that focusing on meeting our children’s attachment needs should be priority number one. 

Giving one cow a second chance

It’s always sad to hear that so many people’s easy solution is to just end a life, when it is possible to let it grow instead. Even for a cow.

An unfortunate birthing accident left a happy cow named Fawn with a fractured and swollen knee. Expected to die, the farm manager gave Fawn away to a woman named Jennifer, who happened to be looking for a pet cow at the time.

Sadly, the veterinarian looking after Fawn did not diagnose her injury properly, and Fawn’s knee became infected. Eventually, she was unable to put weight on her front knee.

The vet recommended that Jennifer put down the calf, but Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary stepped in and with the help of Cornell University Hospital for Animals, they were able to operate on the cow’s legs.

Making the world prettier, one sign at a time

This is lovely.

Today in touching altruistic acts only slightly tarred by their being an advert for a major brand, residents of Istanbul surprise a deaf man by all learning how to sign.

Muaharrem’s sister, Ozlem, teamed up with Samsung for the stunt, which saw months of preparation as the language was learned and cameras were stationed around the neighbourhood.

In the video she is seen taking him on a fairly routine walk around their neighbourhood, only something about it feels Truman Show-esque.


Relax by indulging your inner artist – and child

Colouring books designed specifically to help people relax. I actually noticed them at a Walmart in Gatineau this past weekend. They were not even that expensive – well under $10.

Hundreds of thousands of stressed-out people across France have recently taken to an unlikely means of relaxation: coloring books for adults. The books first came into vogue in 2012, when the publisher Hachette released Art-Thérapie: 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress, a collection of mandala-like designs that promised adults “relaxation support.” It was such a success that Hachette launched a series, which has since sold nearly 2 million copies.

Offerings from other publishers include Jardin Secret, a collection of intricate floral patterns, and Inspiration Bollywood, a book of paisleys. Yves Saint Laurent has released a coloring book, as has Hermès, which for $160 offers 12 pages of designs, including a fox dressed as a courtier and a fez-adorned fish sporting traditional Turkish garb.

Many coloring converts have hailed the books as a way to take their minds off workaday concerns. One run-down student blogged last September that she’d turned to coloring for relief from tension headaches and eczema. Another woman told a reporter that coloring allowed her to mentally escape “the hubbub of my open-plan office”—it had even replaced her smoking breaks, she added.

Finding ways to help both the young and the old

This is brilliant:

NINETY-TWO-YEAR-OLD Johanna beams at the 20-year-old stepping into her room — not a visiting grandson, but rather a housemate at her retirement home.

Town planning student Jurrien is one of six who have chosen to live in the yellow-brick home in Deventer in the eastern Netherlands as part of a unique project that benefits everyone.

The university students pay no rent and in exchange spend at least 30 hours a month with some of the 160 elderly who live here, doing the things professional staff cannot always do — such as just hanging out.

“They go see the pensioners for a chat, they play games, go with them to the shopping centre, (and) do shopping for those who can’t,” says activity coordinator Arjen Meihuizen.