Even at University I knew that studying zoology was going to be a niche market. I knew there wouldn't be loads of application to real life. Sure, sometimes while watching the girls squabble over the last biscuit, I think I could be watching a nature documentary. But really, there’s not a huge crossover in knowledge between my studies and my real life as a stay at home mum and farmer.
In fact, I can condense all of the crossover into a few simple points:
Science talk (First Year Chemistry): the bond between fluoride and carbonate is stronger than the bond between calcium and carbonate.
Real life translation: This is the reason toothpaste contains fluoride - teeth are strengthened when the naturally occurring calcium is replaced with fluoride.
Science talk (Second Year Physiology): Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells responsible for nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and helper T-cells. For the body to recognise and respond to infection, it needs to produce a enormous volume of new cells and quickly. Zinc is a major ingredient of most of these cells.
Real life translation: It’s essential to ensure my family’s diet contains enough zinc, but especially so during times of illness.
This recipe for soy poached salmon is packed with zinc - perfect for the occupants of Casa de Cooker who have been living under a cloud of sickness for weeks. I'm always happy when I find a recipe everyone in our family enjoys.
soy poached salmon with soba noodles and vegetables
6 cups chicken stock
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
4 x 150g salmon fillet
240g soba noodles
1 bunch baby bok choy, sliced
2 bunches asparagus, sliced
200g snow peas, halved
2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted in pan
Place stock, soy sauce and vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and add salmon.
Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Using tongs, transfer salmon to a plate. Cover with foil and set aside before flaking.
Bring poaching liquid to the boil. Add noodles and cook for 2 minutes or until tender. Add bok choy, asparagus and snow peas and cook for 1 minute or until tender.
Serve noodles and broth, topped with salmon and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Origin Energy have put together twelve warming dinner recipes - one for each week of Winter. They've bundled them up into a beautiful ecookbook. You can download from here.
Finally, there's one other university crossover which comes to mind. In my third year, we discussed a paper which found that babies tend to look more like their fathers than their mothers.
Science talk: The evolutionary explanation was that fathers do not share a mother's certainty that a baby is theirs, and are more likely to hang around and invest their resources in their own offspring. Human evolution, then, could have favored children that resemble their fathers, at least early on, as a way of confirming paternity.
Real life translation: This is the only possible explanation for the first words my Mum utter to Bearhands after seeing the hours old Big Sister. I cannot think of any other reason why upon laying eyes on her very first grandchild, the first words out of her mouth were "Well, there was no stray bull in that paddock!"
do your kids sometimes act like they're the subjects of a nature documentary?
did they look like their dad?