Why I like Pinterest

There's been a lot of chatter about Pinterest lately, as the latest 'It' social media platform. I've had several discussions about it, from a client strategy perspective, as well as a curious user who is testing the space. This post strays somewhat from my typical-lightly-food-related-banter, be forewarned. I'll call out the food angles, wherever applicable.

The world doesn't need another Facebook. Online communities always crave a new way of communicating with one another. Below are what I consider to be some of the most major recent social platforms and why they were exciting when users discovered them.

When Twitter emerged, it was exciting because it was like being on Instant Messenger with everyone. The moment I fell in love with Twitter was when I realized it could make my whole world open up. Suddenly people I wouldn't normally be able to access were available to me, but, more importantly, I started to connect with new people through Twitter and build out a broader pool of contacts, for work, play and staying informed. Often, I would meet them in person later, but in some cases, people have remained online friends. But still friends. 

Twitter is like karma: you get out of it what you put in. What's your perfect job? Answer that and then find a bunch of people on Twitter that do that job or matter to that job and interact with them. Build relationships with them. Watch what they do. Get that job. In case it isn't evident, I love Twitter the most of all social platforms. Food angle: people who don't have the patience for Twitter say it's only people discussing their lunches. Not true, but there is a thriving community of food conoisseurs.

Foursquare was exciting because it was based on location. It seemed to pose so much promise, but the service now lacks thrills for most users and location-based developing doesn't need to rely on Foursquare. Food angle: restaurants locations are available on Foursquare if you want to find addresses or connect with other food-lovers.

Instagram quickly became a new favourite of mine, and still is. It's so stimulating to be able to capture little slices of life and add filters for effects. Most of all, I appreciate seeing what other users share. I like going through people's pictures and imagining how they must see the world- what they pull out, what they focus on, the filter effects that that they choose. I like reviewing my own pictures too, and seeing how even I see things. Obviously Flickr came long before Instagram, however, it has taken on more prestige as a 'serious photographer's domain' and might not be as widely accessible as the ever-democratizing Instagram. Food angle: food is great content for Intagram pictures snapped on your smartphone.

Pinterest is also a visual feast that allows the user to curate collections of images and articles or videos, much as one might in a scrap book or on a bulletin board. The interface is very simple and the layout is clean and stunning, making for an pleasant visual experience. Let your experience on Pinterest flow organically and it will take you in surprising directions. I've learned things about myself from using Pinterest, such as that I really, clearly only want to live in open-style spaces. All the home images had different kinds of decor, but lofty ceilings in common. Furthermore, I've created an album dedicated only to spiral staircases, and another to organization. I would never have made a scrapbook of either of those two things. Food angle: the aesthetically-lovely interface design makes for a great place to post recipes and create sub-categories. There are also lots of food lovers using the service.

What do you think? Do you enjoy using Pinterest?

Produce Exposé: Mangoes

What's the deal with mangoes?

I was eating some green mangoes today and I thought to myself that it's very rare to enjoy a fruit in many forms. With mangoes, one can enjoy them unripe (green), ripe, dried, juiced (nectar), sorbet-ed, lassi-ed, or even ice cream-ed.

Curve ball: the mango comes from the Anacardiaceae family of flowering trees and counts among her cousins, the delicious cashew, sumac (used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine), marula (an African fruit), and none other than the ever-evil, ever vicious poison ivy. 

My witchy side likely sensed a poisonous cousin. Perhaps that's why I find mangoes so irresistible.

Adding to the mango's overall sex appeal are her Indian origins, from which she became one of the most popular and widely-cultivated tropical fruits. She remains the national fruit of, both, India and Pakistan to this day.

It turns out that a mango peel contains urushiol, which is the same compound that's found in poison ivy and poison sumac. When I discovered this, I had a flashback to the many times I had scraped every last shed of mango flesh from the peel...with my teeth. No doubt, I would always got a fuzzy feeling on my tongue.

As with bananas, under-ripe mangoes can be ripened by placing them in brown paper bags. To cut a mango, I prefer the 'hedgehog' format used in the image above and described in the infographic at the right.

Mango's yellow flesh comes from her abundance of beta-carotene. She is overflowing with phytochemicals, prebiotic fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, polyphenols, provitamin A carotenoids (up to 25!), Vitamin B6, folate, other B vitamins and essential nutrients like potassium, copper and amino acids.

That witchy peel contains other crazy stuff like omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other chemicals in mangoes have been shown to be an effective inhibitor of prostate and skin cancers. Even mango branch bark, Vimang, has implications for blood transfusions in elderly people.


The moral is that, if you find yourself at the grocery store, wondering whether or not to purchase a good-looking mango, the answer is, "Yes, yes you should." It's the latest thing since rapini.

Oh, and you should try my favourite and most elegant mango berry salad recipe here.