Thursday, August 28, 2008
The High Fructose Scam
I know organic produce can be more expensive than regular. (Heck, I happen to know from practical experience that organic chicken feed is twice as much as regular.) But ketchup is not primarily sweetener. Why can't Heinz and other companies raise the product price a little and drop the HFCS? It's not like companies haven't been raising food prices anyway. Just how much more expense would it be to make ketchup with sugar as the sweetener?
Monday, August 25, 2008
Strange News from the Food Front (8/25/2008)
- Blitzkreig on a Bun Los Angeles has classified bacon as a "harzardous food," and now has taken to the streets, sending police to confiscate and destroy the stands of street vendors that dared sell hot dogs with bacon. (Reason.com)
- Dregs'Den Some mischief maker conned Wine Spectator into giving out an award to a non-existent restaurant. Except for the very top category, the awards are based on reviewing a wine list and getting a check for the "examination" fee. Hopefully they actually taste the wines they rate. (NYT)
- Phoney Phish A couple of teenagers got samples of fish from restaurants and shops in New York City, had the DNA tested - and found that up to a quarter of the fish was mislabled, and always as a more expensive type than it actually was. (Reuters)
- Arrested for What?? A blind Frenchman was arrested and fined ... for diving drunk and without a license. How about for driving without being able to see? (AFP)
- Making Science Work for Religion Turkish Muslims can get patches to ease their hunger during the month of Ramadan, when they are suppoed to fast. (AFP)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Review: Reed's, Virgil's Sodas
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Why Lobster is Cheap (or Not)
- Largely local consumption means no global market, even with international shipping. Well, at least until tourists pile so heavily onto Cape Cod that it tips into the sea.
- Lobster is a luxury, discretionary food. Historically that is pretty amusing, as at one time it was so plentiful that indentured servants coming to the colonies would have in their contracts that they could not be forced to eat the shellfish every day, because it was so cheap. But more to the point today, if it's a luxury food, by definition it is something that most people cannot afford every day, so the claim of lobster being so cheap is a bit confusing. However, if you take a one pound lobster at the prices the article quotes (I suspect they're for chicken lobsters), you're going to get maybe six ounces of meat and possibly less after the shell is gone. In other words, suddenly it's more expensive than steak. In fact, lobster meat prices, sans shell, are still pushing $30 a pound. It just takes a few lobsters, and shelling labor, to get there
- Lobster takes special equipment to cook at home. Uh, the special equipment are the same pots we use to boil pasta. Maybe he was thinking of some special lobster pot you'd get at a Williams-Sonoma.
- Distributors are pushing to keep prices down. That only works when there is a big enough haul. When lobsters are scarce, prices go to.
- Lobster remains cheap because it's so simple to produce, with few processing or distribution costs. I'm not sure that keeping a bunch of salt water recirculating because lobster must be kept alive is all that simple compared to, say, stacking wrapped steaks in a fridge.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Strange News from the Food Front (8/18/2008)
- Brain Food Some researchers think that the development of cooking may have been the springboard for a rapid increase in brain mass 2 million years ago. (LiveScience)
- No Litreing The owner of a Polish restaurant in England is in legal trouble because he serves Polish beer in .3 and .5 litre sizes instead of in pints. (Daily Mail)
- Domain Dispute Wine producers in St. Emilion are fighting with each other over whose products get to be called Bordeaux. (NYT)
- What Did You Call It? Chinese foods are often difficult to translate, as there may be no English equivalents, and a single region like Sichuan may have thousands of unique dishes. (Financial Times)
- No, He's Our Boxer Both Pepsi and Coke have erected promotional tents outside the home of an Olympic boxer from Thailand, where the athlete's father says both can stay as long as they don't start fighting. (Reuters)
- Vodka on the Rocky Sylvester Stallone is signed up to promote a Russian vodka. (Reuters)
- Barter Bar An English pub is bartering drink for ingredients that can be used on its menu. (AFP)
- Pricey Grapes The Japanese, again showing their proclivity for spending a bit too much on fruit, put Ruby Roman grapes on auction that fetched as much as $30 a single globe. (AFP)
- Way the Cookie Crumbles The company that owns Mrs. Fields, purveyor of cookies, as well as TCBY frozen yogurt has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Or, as a news report put it, the company says that it needs more dough. Sounds like someone without enough culture sporting a chip on his or her shoulder. (UPI)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Details on Whole Foods Ground Beef Recall
Coleman, a trusted supplier for Whole Foods and many other retailers, had sold its beef business and the right to sell under the Coleman Natural Meat brand on June 1 to Meyer Angus Natural. Coleman said Meyer hired Nebraska Beef to process its meat. Meyer did not return phone calls.But so far as I can see, that's not the end of the story for consumers. Have you ever ground your own high-end hamburger, or maybe made some sausage? This story is certainly giving me second thoughts.
The E. coli strain that sickened the Whole Foods customers matches a strain found in primal cuts that Nebraska Beef produced on July 8, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a result, Nebraska Beef on Friday recalled 1.2 million pounds of beef, its second recall this summer.
After the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak that killed four children, the USDA declared it illegal to sell ground beef and any beef products intended for use in ground beef that are contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. But consumer advocates and meat inspectors have long criticized the USDA for not enforcing that policy equally when it comes to primal cuts even though they are sometimes used to make ground beef.It's the less likely wording that bothers me. How much of a chance should I and my family have of getting sick to preserve the profits of a corporation? Up until now, I had assumed that all meat would be treated the same. But it isn't, and the processors cannot have any idea of what consumers ultimately might be doing with their purchases. That should be clear on labeling, because clearly there aren't any stores that can be certain of what they have. If labeling is a burden, too bad. Being dangerously sick is even more of one.
The beef industry has argued that steaks and roasts should be treated differently because they are less likely to make people sick.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Strange News from the Food Front (8/11/2008)
- PC Over Easy Someone has built a gizmo to plug into a computer's USB port and cook an egg in seven minutes. And people say I have too much time on my hands. (Engadget)
- Overtones of Electrons Spanish scientists create an electronic tongue to test wines. (Engadget)
- Nosh-a-Matic A company has created a line of vending machines specifically for kosher food. (NYT)
- Olympic Meals A number of the 40,000 restaurants in Beijing are creating sport-related dishes for the Olympics, including "abalone shaped like a rowing boat with asparagus oars." (Reuters)
- Barbecue Is Dangerous Two people were arrested for using barbecue equipment as a weapon. (AP)
- Killer Dish A U.K. celebrity chef apologized for recommending the use of the toxic and hallucinagenic henbane as a good ingredient for summer eating. Apparently he confused the names of two plants. (Reuters)
- Telltale Sign Teens accused of robbing a vending machine led police to themselves with a trail of Cheetos. (AP)
- The Crunchless Flick An increasing number of movie theaters in Britain are banning popcorn. (AFP)
- Where's the Bathroom? A 25-year-old man had twice the blood alcohol level considered lethal after 20 liters of beer. (AFP)
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Review: Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale by Black Sheep Bottled Beers
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Review: 2005 Vale do Bomfim Reserva Douro DOC by Dow
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Review: Barefoot Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Monday, August 04, 2008
Strange News from the Food Front (8/4/2008)
- Chinese Kugel For religious Jews visiting China during the Olympics, there is exactly one kosher restaurant. An hour after eating, you feel like doing a mitzvah. (Crispy on the Outside)
- Chef Gorten A new restaurant trend: use frozen fish to lower global warming. (Washington Post)
- Menu Groupthink A new raw foods restaurant looking to open in Washington, D.C. is using the "wisdom of crowds" to create the concept, look, and name. (Washington Post)
- Am I Crispy Yet? A new alarm clock cooks a strip of bacon to wake you to the smell of breakfast. BYOE (bring your own eggs). (Geek.com)
- Please Sir, May I Have Some More? Between 1970 and 2006, the average American was eating 1.8 more pounds of food per week. (NYT)
- Why Are You Wearing Two Dresses? A Cleveland clothing store has opened a bar in the middle of its sales floor. (AP)
- Take It Inside Beijing authorities are banning streaking, drinking, and sleeping outdoors during the Olympics. Could it be that the three activities are related? (Reuters)
- McVroomManila police will power their squad cars with a mix of diesel and old McDonald's fry oil. Presumably officers will have the option to supersize their ride into an SUV. (AFP)
- Well Aged Someone found the world's oldest surviving bottle of Veuve Cliquot in a sideboard inside a Scottish castle. (AFP)