Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who does Jamie Oliver think he is, trying to put America on a diet?

International social scientists who are members of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) listserv are actively discussing Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" television series, set in the unhealthiest city in the U.S., Huntington, West Virginia.  Here is one of the most revealing articles they shared, published in The New York Times. 

Food4Media has expanded operations into China

The online resource Food4Media distributes food news to media professionals serving the food, restaurant and wine industries in United Kingdom, USA, Middle East, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. 

Do IACP members use this food news service?  Why not persuade Food4Media to join IACP?  They are a multinational company and clearly part of the New Culinary Order. 

Does HFCS or unlimited access make people fat?

Washington Post blogger Jennifer LaRue Huget reported on a recent Princeton University study that compared the effects on lab rats of access to sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) twelve hours or twenty-four hours a day.  Results showed that the rats who drank HFCS were heavier than matched controls who drank sucrose.  Food Politics blogger Marion Nestle criticized the research, saying the results are inconsistent and questionably significant. 

Nevertheless, the biggest gainers were the rats with 24/7 access to unlimited chow and HFCS.  Surprised?

Perhaps the effects observed were due to overconsumption of highly palatable foods, which led to a worsening deficit in neural reward circuits of the brain.  This reward hyposensitivity, described in a Nature Neuroscience study published online yesterday, describes the creation of compulsive eating behavior as similar to the development of drug addiction.   

Saturday, March 27, 2010

U.S. midwest campylobacterosis outbreak related to raw milk

"Proponents of drinking raw milk often claim that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk and that raw milk is inherently antimicrobial, thus making pasteurization unnecessary. There is no meaningful nutritional difference between pasteurized and raw milk, and raw milk does not contain compounds that will kill harmful bacteria."

Historic American Menus

Henry Voigt is now blogging about his vast collection of American menus, dating from the mid-nineteenth century.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Reality Pap?

Last fall Chef Jamie Oliver spent a few months in one of the U.S.'s unhealthiest cities, Huntington, West Virginia.  Tonight premiered the first of a seven-part series on how he tried to win Huntington over to healthy food choices.  The Washington Post TV preview suggested that it may be hopeless to get Huntington or the country to eat well.  Let's wait and see.  Despite the formulatic reality show approach, Oliver was clearly a man with a mission.  Whether or not he can get his positive message across without spoiling it with finger-pointing shame remains to be seen. 

Happy New Year to Iranians!

Nowruz, a spring celebration with roots in the ancient Zoroastrian religion, entails some interesting symbolic uses of foods.

Gardeners grow dinner with aquaponics

Picture this: Aquaponics is a closed system where many fruits, vegetables and flowers can grow in a soil-less medium, requiring just ten percent of the usual amount of water, fertilized by fish manure from the fish pond that can be either ornamental or can provide future dinners. How perfect is that?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SuperChefs cookery at the Zajac Ranch, British Columbia

IACP members Dr. Greg Chang and Carol Murphy Clyne have teamed up on a kids' healthy eating program called SuperChefs of the Universe, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Best wishes, Greg and Carol!

Food bloggers endanger media restaurant reviewers

Newspaper and magazine restaurant critics are becoming an endangered species, due to Web bloggers and restaurant review sites.

U.N. rejects export ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna

Worldwide bluefin tuna populations declined by roughly 80 percent since 1970. Japan, which consumes nearly 80 percent of the bluefin catch, argued at a recent United Nations meeting on endangered species conservation that “the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or Iccat, should be responsible for regulating the fishery, not the United Nations.” Japan and other fishing nations were uneasy about possible regulation by the international endangered species convention in a major commercial fishery.  Bluefin tuna, called "hon-maguro" in Japan, is considered a luxury.

Do you like an open kitchen?

Some restaurant chefs like them, and some do not. Could popular open restaurant kitchens affect home kitchen designs and renovations?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rick Bayless recently opened his third restaurant, Xoco

"Xoco brings Bayless’ notions of quality, sustainability and stewardship to their most accessible and affordable levels yet."  Best wishes, Rick!

French council complains about fast food chain's halal hamburger

The mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, said Quick restaurant's halal menu constituted "discrimination" against non-Muslims.

Ruth Reichl after Gourmet

Reichl talked about the last Gourmet cookbook, a new PBS series and her writing plans.

Chains offer popular free food prizes

Giveaways are an inexpensive way for companies to stretch their marketing dollars during the recession.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jamie Oliver's TV Campaign Against Obesity in the U.S.

Set your TIVO or DVR to Friday, March 26, 8:00 EDT/7:00 CDT on ABC to catch the first of seven episodes of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution."

Jamie has hit on the crucial element missing in Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign ( against childhood obesity: cooking healthy foods at home.

London restaurant takes service charge off bill

Owners of most of the former Conran restaurants in London say they will leave the amount of tips for good service up to the customers in parties of seven or fewer diners. While in the U.S. customers expect to tip, the usual practice in Britain to add a 12.5 percent service tax to the check.

Chefs Answer Consumers' Calls for Healthy Breakfasts

Chicago-based market researcher Technomic, reports that nearly half of the consumers polled in a recent survey responded that healthy foods are important or extremely important to eat at breakfast. Chefs are discovering that when they offer healthy and attractive choices beyond egg-white omelets and bran muffins, their customers respond positively.

$5 Million in Funding for Farmers Market Promotion Program

The Farmers Market Promotion Program grants aim to help improve and expand domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Approximately $5 million is allocated for FMPP for Fiscal Year 2010 and $10 million for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012.  Each grant has a maximum of $100,000.

Apps for Healthy Kids Competition

Are you known for thinking outside the box?  It's time to apply your culinary creativity to a U.S. Government-sponsored $40,000 competition making use of the recently-released MyPyramid 1,000 food database to create web or mobile-based apps.

Prizes will be awarded for digital games that challenge kids to eat healthfully and be physically active. Other prizes will be awarded for parent-oriented tools accessing easy-to-understand nutritional information they can trust.
Winners will be honored at a White House event.

Fat Tuesday in Milwaukee without paczkis would be like Easter without colored eggs!

What's the difference between a paczek and a jelly doughnut?  In Milwaukee's Polish community, tradition says that if you don't have a paczek on Fat Tuesday, the rest of the year will be lean.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pine Nut Mouth

Why do pine nuts leave some eaters with a metallic or bitter taste lasting seven to ten days?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Boston Market tests $2.99 meal deals

Restaurant traffic was down three percent last year, according to the NPD Group.  To test the market for smaller portions and lower price point, Boston Market is offering for a limited time, "to match quantity of food at a great price, to give people an extra reason to come in," said CEO Lane Cardwell.

Rose Gray, chef at River Cafe in London, is dead at 71

Chef Rose Gray opened River Café in Hammersmith with Ruth Rogers in 1987.  She developed her love of Italian cuisine while bringing up her family in Tuscany.  Her Michelin-starred restaurant became the stomping grounds of two employees who went on to become famous:  Chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Canned pumpkin shortage mystery solved

Have you wondered why you cannot find Libby's canned pumpkin in most U.S. grocery shelves this winter?  Fresh butternut squash is readily available and is an easy substitute.

Two Austin, Texas, foodies launch Crave Communications

Cathy Cochran-Lewis, the IACP's recent past president, and Paula Biehler recently established Crave Communications, a public relations and marketing agency for the restaurant and hospitality industry.  Best wishes, Cathy!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and it is a web site devoted to ideas worth spreading.
If you search for the topic "food," you can view15-minute videos by experts who discuss interesting culinary subjects.  For example, Peter Reinhart talks on artisan bread, Carolyn Steel on how food shapes cities, Jennifer Lee on General Tso’s Chicken, and Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce.

Portland restaurant serves wine from steel kegs

The Melting Pot restaurant in downtown Portland is the first to offer wine that comes from steel barrels.  Naturally occurring, non-toxic argon gas keeps the wine from oxidizing, a constant concern for restaurants that offer wine by the glass.

First Lady visits new grocery in former food desert

Michelle Obama visited a new north Philadelphia Fresh Grocer store to talk about the Let's Move campaign goal to increase access to healthy foods in impoverished neighborhoods.  
The Healthy Food Financing Initiative will invest $400 million a year to provide innovative financing to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options.   This initiative is part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Code brings clarity for pork country of origin

British pork producers hope that by clearly labelling their products with both the country of production and the country of origin of the pig, British consumers will choose to buy single country-based pork products.

Cookbook author first to decipher the Crock-Pot

The Crock-Pot came out in 1971, an innovation over an earlier slow cooker designed to cook beans.  With increasing numbers of women working outside the home, many were eager to try a device that would have dinner ready when they came home in the evening. Mabel Hoffman, a food stylist and home economist, published "Crockery Cookery" in 1975, and it was an instant success.