Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bye, bye, Hickey Faé!

Every year, for the last three or four years at least, we have a Brazilian medical student join us in the laboratory.   This is part of a program that offers scholarships and travel for said students to participate in a research program and get them started on possible careers in academic medicine.  They come from the hospital Santa Casa de Misericordia which translates to Holy House of Mercy. Because Misericordia looks more like misery we jokingly call it the Holy House of Misery for no other reason than the resemblance of the two words. It makes the Brazilians laugh at least. For more on this program check out previous posts.
Treats for today!

Can always expect something good from these guys!

Our Brazilian Bro is heading back home!
Thumbs up for his final cake hour - at least for now!
Today we had to say farewell to this year's lab participant. The title refers to a nickname that we gave him based upon the Brazilian penchant for having long names.  We shortened it! Unlike the students in some other labs in the program, we make the person do a presentation of his work in front of the whole group with Powerpoint and the works. It's good experience for them to  get up and present in English what they were attempting to accomplish over a period of eight weeks when they weren't trying to cram in as much sightseeing as possible. This year's students got to experience a real New England blizzard. Needless to say up to two and a half feet of snow is something they are not likely to see in Sao Paolo anytime soon.  Our guy did a great job explaining the work in alcoholic myopathy that he was part of and presented some great videos showing what tobacco carcinogens and alcohol together can do in an animal model.  It's not anything you want to try at home so lay off the smoking and to a certain extent the booze.
It may not look like it but there were a lot more people at the talk!

Hard at work in the lab!

Our Brasiliano was a fan of cake hour so we had a celebratory send off with a banana/blueberry/craisin/walnut bread baked by one of our grad students and a nice mocha creme cake from Pastiche brought by one of our postdocs.  The cake is something we have had before and like just about anything from Pastiche is high quality, not sickeningly sweet, and tastes great. To our departing friend it was very reminiscent of tira misu.  This was true but given our previous experience with tira misu we certainly know the differences.  The only down side for anything from Pastiche is the cake is difficult to cut. We attribute this entirely to our probably not waiting long enough for the butter creme to soften enough. Without doing so they frosting tends to break into pieces and the knife goes through and destroys the cake layers as they are cut. Pastiche recommends placing the cake at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.  We had it out for over half an hour and still had the problem . One of these days we will figure it out but in the meantime everyone gets butchered up slices.  This does not detract from the fact that the cake is very good.
Mocha Creme Cake from Pastiche...looking good!

View from the top - it was supposed to say Bye, Bye, Ricky Faé!

If we could only get it to cut a little better!
The banana/blueberry/walnut/craisin cake was also quite tasty.  It was moist and dense and as good as such a bread should be.  Thanks to our grad student for the contribution - the second one in about a week. So we all feasted on cake and banana bread while we wished our friend a safe return to summer in Brazil.
Baked for him with love!

With a sombrero as decor!  (Its actually an umbrella.)

Loaded with nuts and other good stuff!
We were just about to break it all up when out of the blue another cake appeared!  This was described as a partially eaten cake, that was chocolate and gluten free.  The presentation was not quite up to the level of Pastiche for sure but it looked more like a cake that had been broken up to fit into a plastic container. As a gluten free alternative the base is largely almond four with some egg whites and chocolate. As an indication of his diplomatic skills our departing friend responded "fluffy" when asked how he thinks it would taste.  It was pointed out that he hadn't tried it yet but he offered a complimentary description prior to any taste test. He was happy to find it was as he described - fluffy and light not dry and hard to swallow. It was perhaps a bit crumbly.  It was very well received and out of the blue quite a number of people showed up to give it a try.
Partially eaten gluten free cake?
It may not look that way but the gesture is much appreciated!
Lots of takers for the gluten free delicacy!
All in all our buddy got and appropriate sendoff!  We were glad to have him and wish him well back at home in Brazil and look forward to his next visit.  If people hold him to his word, however, he may have a few visitors in 2014 when the World Cup takes place in Brazil.  How nice of him to offer them some tickets!  Hopefully he won't regret that promise! 
Saying farewell to some lab colleagues!
One of our signature 10 second automatic shots!
And another including the doofae who waited for and then left right before the last one!
Adeus, Elizabeth! You are much more than an acquired taste!
More lovelies to whom to say "Tchau!"

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