Monday, July 20, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/20/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, July 13, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/13/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Friday, July 10, 2009

 

Fish Fillets at Twenty Paces

In my writing day job, I often cover intellectual property issues, and something funny came up on one of my regular reading lists: a set of patent lawsuits over fish sticks. That's right, those frozen, breaded refugees from a grade school cafeteria. (Oh, am I probably going to get email from some overly earnest junior PR people working on one of the food accounts for that reference.)

Apparently, Alfred and Paul Fraser are co-owners of patent number 4,781,930, called Method of preparing a fish product. Here's what it covers:
A method of preparing a fish product comprising filleting a fish to appropriate thickness, immediately immersing the filleted fish in a vegetable oil for a period of 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature to effect absorption of the oil to a depth such as to inhibit excretion of the natural fluids from the fillet and prevent incursion of air and moisture, draining the excess oil from the surface, covering the surface with crumbs and then freezing the fillet.
The now 21-year-old patent (which means it's expired) was for dunking fish in oil, draining the excess, and then covering it in crumbs and freezing it for later. Back in 2006, the Frazer boys decided to start suing pretty much everyone they could find in the fish stick business, including Gortons and Mrs. Paul's. The defendants ended up winning the fish fillet follies, getting a Massachusetts court to provide a summary judgment:Oops. Maybe the Frazers will go off and drown their sorrows -- hopefully not in oil and likely for longer than five to ten minutes.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/6/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, June 29, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/29/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, June 22, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/22/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, June 15, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/15/2009)

Now, after a long break, it's back to food reviews and strange news.

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, January 12, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (1/12/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, January 05, 2009

 

Strange News from the Food Front (1/5/2009)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities (and an apology for a delay in posts caused by repeated Blogger.com outages):

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Monday, December 22, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/22/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, December 15, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/8/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/8/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, December 01, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/1/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, November 24, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (11/24/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, November 17, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (11/17/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, November 10, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (11/10/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, October 27, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (10/27/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, October 20, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (10/20/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

 

Goodbye Archway

The food industry is seeing some of the fallout of the credit meltdown: the Archway & Mother’s Cookie Co. declared bankruptcy and is ceasing operations. Owned by private equity firm Catterton Partners, it sounds as though some financing the company depended on suddenly fell through. With the companies go such brands as Archway Oatmeal Cookies, Circus Animal Cookies, Salerno Butter Cookies, and, my personal favorite, the Archway Dutch chocolate cookies. The bankruptcy filing lists assets of $50 million and liabilities of $500 million. Unfortunately, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (10/13/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, October 06, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (10/6/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, September 29, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (9/29/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (9/22/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, September 08, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (9/8/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, September 01, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (9/1/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, August 25, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (8/25/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, August 18, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (8/18/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, August 11, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (8/11/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, August 04, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (8/4/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, July 28, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/28/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, July 21, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/21/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, July 14, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/14/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, July 07, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (7/7/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, June 30, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/30/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, June 23, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/23/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

 

Cocoa Surges While Mexico Controls Food Prices

Get ready for your chocolate fix to be a little more dear. Cocoa prices have hit a 28-year high. According to a story in the Financial Times, the reason is concern "over the size and quality of this year’s crop from Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer." This basic component of chocolate has climbed 52.3 percent this year alone:
The International Cocoa Organisation is forecasting a small supply surplus of 71,000 tonnes in 2008/09, but a poor crop in Ivory Coast could push the market into a supply deficit for a third year in a row.
Similarly, Brazil has reported that its sugal crop will be delayed and smaller because of rain, so sugar prices rose by 3.2 percent. Now here's the real interesting part, I think: prices for October sugar are 12.83 cents a pound. How much do you pay for a pound of sugar? Who gets the rest of that money, and what value do they add to justify their cuts?

In the meantime, in another Financial Times story, food prices are hitting hard enough in Mexico that the "center-right goverment" - which I take to mean on the conservative side - has put price controls into place on 150 basic items, including beans, cooking oil, canned tuna, and fruit juice. Prices will remain frozen from now until the end of the year. But given the hefty jumps we've been seeing in the underlying goods, what happens to the merchants and wholesellers? I understand that people with no money are hurting, but this seems to be a short-sighted approach of addressing a problem. The government shifts the burden onto businesses, which might end up losing money in the long run and possible start cutting jobs, because it wants to appear as though it's active toward the problem. But the dynamics don't change, and the effect is to sweep the pain under a carpet and out of site. The eventual price for this approach may be higher and longer-lasting, but, hey, maybe that will be for someone else to deal with.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/16/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, June 09, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/9/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

 

Yes, We Have No Bananas

A story in The Scientists discusses a devastating banana disease that virtually wiped out the Gros Michel - "by all accounts, bigger, tastier, and hardier than the variety we know and love, which is called the Cavendish" - that seems to be coming back. The only difference is that this time, the Cavendish doesn't seem immune from the new strain of what is called Panama disease:
Panama disease is so virulent that a single clump of dirt tracked in on a tire tread or a shoe can spark a country-wide outbreak. It isn't hard to imagine that a stray banana box from the Philippines, loaded into a Dole shipping container could be left unloaded at Long Beach, California, and continue on to Guatemala, where it could infect that nation's crop and tear through Latin America.
The big fruit companies seem to be living in denial and aren't publicly addressing the problem. Scientists are looking at genetic engineering as a solution. Great, from blight to GMO.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (6/2/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, May 26, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (5/27/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Friday, May 23, 2008

 

World Food Prices To Stay High For Next 10 Years - At Least

A report coming out from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will say that biofuel demand and developing countries like China have pushed food prices onto a "higher plateau," according to a Financial Times report:
“Food prices would be considerably higher in nominal terms than in the past but below the current records,” said an official familiar with the report. Compared with average prices for 2005-07, the report forecasts that in 2017 the price of wheat, adjusted for inflation, will be 2 per cent higher, rice 1 per cent higher and corn 15 per cent higher. Oilseed prices are expected to be up 33 per cent.
In a separate report, the FAO said that people will have to get used to higher food prices, even though in the short term, prices will ease a bit from their record amounts. While the report acknowledges the current drop, it says that the overall cost increase won't go away any time soon. These reports do assume that the drive for biofuel won't be heading for a rest stop.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (5/19/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (5/12/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, May 05, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (5/5/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Friday, May 02, 2008

 

Tyson Must Suspend Misleading Ads

Tyson Foods, which, I think, is the world's largest chicken producer, was advertising that some of its products were raised without antibiotics. Au contraire, said two huge competitors that went to court to challenge the statements. As it turns out, "raised without antibiotics" might have been right had they been talking about the drugs as neighbors. But according to the Washington Post story about Tyson's loss on appeal, there was a type of antibiotic in the chicken feed and before hatching, eggs got an injection of antibiotics:
Dave Hogberg, Tyson's senior vice president for consumer products, said it is a common industry practice.

Hogberg said injecting eggs with antibiotics did not undermine the "raised without antibiotic" label because the term "raised" is understood to cover the period that begins with hatching.
Guess "raised" doesn't count food, either. Unfortunately, some large companies are willing to capitalize on consumer concerns about food without going to the length of actually doing anything about their practices. Guess they've been listening to the concept of marketing being about perception for a bit too long.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

 

Chocolate and Gum Become One

Mars, the major US chocolate force that isn't named Hershey, is buying over a century of chewing gum independence called Wrigley, which is apparently the world's largest purveyor of jaw exercise. (Financial Times story is here.) Actually, it's a combination of Mars, which will own 81 percent, and Berkshire Hathaway, otherwise known as Warren Buffet. At $23 billion, that has to be a record for an expensive pack of gum.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (4/28/2008)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, April 21, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (4/21/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, April 14, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (4/14/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, April 07, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (4/7/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, March 31, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (3/31/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, March 24, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (3/24/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

 

Should Scientists Avoid Beer?

The New York Times has a funny article - well, at least I was amused - about a negative correlation between the amount of beer scientists drink and the amount of successful papers they publish:
According to the study, published in February in Oikos, a highly respected scientific journal, the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher, a measure of a paper’s quality and importance.

The results were not, however, a matter of a few scientists having had too many brews to be able to stumble back to the lab. Publication did not simply drop off among the heaviest drinkers. Instead, scientific performance steadily declined with increasing beer consumption across the board, from scientists who primly sip at two or three beers over a year to the sort who average knocking back more than two a day.
But, as one source pointed out, there's a difference between correlation and causality. Two things happening at the same time are not necessarily linked by one causing the other. And it would be possible to get this completely backwards. Maybe, instead of beer drinking causing lack of publishing productivity, it is low spirits over being at the back of the pack that pushes some scientists to seek consolation with barley and hops.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (3/17/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (3/10/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, March 03, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (3/3/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, February 25, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (2/25/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, February 18, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (2/18/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, February 11, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (2/11/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, February 04, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (2/4/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (1/28/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (1/21/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, January 14, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (1/14/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, January 07, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (1/7/08)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

 

Death of a Pizza Legend

Ed LaDou, who created the first barbeque chicken pizza, who was the first pizza chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago, and who helped create the first menu for the California Pizza Kitchen chain, died on Dec. 27th at age 52, according to this in the LA Times.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/31/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, December 24, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/24/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, December 10, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/10/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, December 03, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (12/3/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, November 26, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (11/26/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, November 19, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (11/19/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, November 12, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (11/12/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, October 15, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (10/15/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, October 01, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (10/1/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Monday, September 24, 2007

 

Strange News from the Food Front (9/24/07)

A weekly round-up of food and drink oddities:

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

 

Strange News From the Food Front

I've found an interesting collection of odd food stories from the last week:

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