"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Soup of the Week & Body Worlds 2 Exhibit

Last weekend, I was off to Chicago again. After I returned, I heard from a lot of my readers that they missed my Soup of the Week. Have no fear, I'm back in the soup making groove again.

This is the first time I have made this, and I think it may just be a winner in any chili cook-off. No one will know it only takes five ingredients and only a few minutes to whip-up.

Barbecued Beef (or Turkey) Chili

1 can (16oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 1/2 oz) hot chili beans
1 can (15 oz) beef or turkey chili with beans
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup barbecue sauce

Combine all of the ingredients. Heat and serve. Couldn't be any simpler!

While in Chicago, Tony and I went to see the Body World 2 Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. It was probably one of the most fascinating exhibits I have seen. If you are like me, I had no idea what this was about when I first heard about it. So let me fill you in:

Body Worlds 2 is a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared using a technique called plastination to reveal inner anatomical structures. The exhibition's developer and promoter is a German anatomist named Gunther von Hagens, who invented the plastination technique in the late 1970s.

The exhibit states that its purpose and mission is the education of laymen about the human body, leading to better health awareness. All of the human plastinates are willing donors. The Body Worlds 2 exhibit consisted of about 20 full body plastinates with expanded or selective organs shown in positions that enhanced the role of certain systems. Cased in glass amid the upright bodies are more than 200 specimens showing an array of real human bodies, organs, and organ systems, some having various medical conditions. For example, there are bodies with prosthetics such as artificial hip joints or heart valves; a liver with cirrhosis; and the lungs of a smoker and non-smoker placed side by side.

What is Plastination:

Plastination is a vacuum process whereby the body’s water and fat are replaced with reactive plastics that are initially pliable and then harden when cured with light, heat or gas. All tissue structures are retained. Unlike plastic models, plastinated specimens are intricate, REAL displays of human anatomy. It takes an average of 1,500 hours to transform a cadaver into a full-body plastinate. Plastinated specimens are dry and odorless and retain their natural structure – in fact, they are identical to their pre-preservation state down to the microscopic level. "Slice plastination" is a special variation of this preservation technique. Frozen body specimens are cut into slices which are then plastinated. Plastinated organs and body slices are a useful teaching aid for cross-sectional anatomy which is gaining importance in medical communities.

No one had to remind me how important living a healthy lifestyle is. I definitely am a believer. But after seeing this exhibit, I know understand more about how the body works and how it can break down.

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