Chum: It Makes A Tasty Dinner Treat!

userpic=fastfoodNot that many themes have emerged from this week’s news, but there are a few. One has to do with food (unlike my previous post on FUD). So, without further delay, let’s sit down and start chewing. Don’t forget to say “Grace” first.

  • Manufactured Food. When we think about manufactured food, our mind quickly thinks genetic modification by scientists in laboratories. That’s because our society today has led us to always think the worst is happening. Here’s an interesting article about manufactured food — the old fashioned way. The article is about a fruit breeder who is developing all sorts of specialized fruit, like super-sweet grapes, or grapes with odd shapes. He does this the Mendelian way — slow and careful cross-pollination and plant breeding, with plenty of trial and error. You may see some of these in your market … if you can afford them.
  • Why Does Food Taste Good… or Bad. Two articles related to how we perceive how food tastes. The first looks at airplane food — or more properly, food you buy and bring on an airplane. It never tastes as good in the air — and it turns out there are scientific reasons for that based on the environment in the aircraft cabin. The second looks at beer and blue cheese. Some people love the taste; others can do without (I’m in the without category — can’t stand the taste of either). This time, it turns out that genetics are behind the different perceptions — there are particular genes that govern how we like these foods. I guess it is like the cilantro gene: some love it, to others it tastes like soap.
  • Gluten Free. The other day I cited an article about people to go gluten free because of a fad. On the heels of that article comes a decision from the FDA to regular the term “gluten free” (and similar expressions). There is now a specific legal definition for “Gluten Free”. Of course, it will take a year or so for that definition to go into effect.



Something to Chew On

userpic=pineappleIn addition to looking at the election results over lunch, I’ve been thinking about food. Specifically, I’m thinking about the collection of food related articles I’ve got on my “News Chum” bookmark just waiting for some discussion:

On that note, I think I better go finish my lunch before I lose it.

Music: The Best of Chet Atkins (Chet Atkins): “Limelight”


Food for Thought

A few food related items from today’s lunchtime news reading:


News Chum O’the Day

Some selected chunks of chum, for you to chew on over dinner:

  • From the “Just Put It On The Tray” Department: The Los Angeles Times has an interesting piece on Clifton’s Cafeteria. Clifton’s was one of the earliest cafeterias in Los Angeles (I have vague memories of going to it as a child). There was a small chain of them, each one with its own theme. They have their recipes… and their regulars who know if a single spice is varied. They have their traditions. All in all, it sounds fascinating, and I’ll have to go visit there.
  • From the “Twenty-Five Is A Good Number” Department: I know you’ve seen it. That 25 Random Things meme that has been going around everywhere. Well, it’s now made the New York Times! An article in their Fashion section today discusses the meme, and notes that a Google search for “25 Random Things About Me” yields 35,700 pages of results, almost all of which seem to have been created in the last two weeks. I do have to say I’m seeing it everywhere, and it reminds me of the old days when memes would propagate like that on LiveJournal.
  • From the “Old Friends” Department: The Daily News has a nice piece on an old friend of mine, Jolie Mason, who runs the Los Angeles Radio Reading Service. They were knocked off the air during the recent Sesnon fire (which burned the KCSN transmitter), and are now attempting to raise $7,000 to get back on the airwaves. They do such a great service for folks, that I just wanted to mention the article. I worked with Jolie back when she was a programmer at SDC — yet another BLACKER person!
  • From the “Be Careful What You Eat… Or Maybe Not” Department: The New York Times today has an article today about how many food allergies might be false alarms. The article is interesting, but seems to forget one significant fact: Allergy .NE. (that’s != for you perl folks) Sensitivity. An allergy is something that raises a histamine reaction. But there are other forms of non-allergy sensitivies (such as Celiac Disease), which can be equally or more problematic. Further, those sensitivities can serve to create more sensitivities (i.e., if you are Celiac and keep eating wheat, other foods tend to create problems — often getting off the wheat clears the other sensitivites). So, eat what makes you feel healthy. If you don’t feel good eating it, don’t. But do eat your brussel sprouts.
  • From the “A Quite Amazing Paradox” Department: The New York Times is also reporting on an interesting transit paradox: although the economy is driving ridership on transit systems up, the economy is forcing such systems to make significant cutbacks. The problem is that fare-box revenue accounts for only a fifth to a half of the operating revenue of most transit systems — and the sputtering economy has eroded the state and local tax collections that the systems depend on to keep running. Further, the billions of dollars that Congress plans to spend on mass transit as part of the stimulus bill will also do little to help these systems with their current problems because the stimulus is for capital projects, not operations.
  • From the “Now You Take That Back!” Department: You may have heard that the Pope recently unexcommunicated (would that be communicated?) some cardinals who had very conservative views. The problem was the one of them was a holocaust denier. Well, the Pope (after some pressure from Merkel) has now directed that cardinal to recant those views. Evidently, the Pope knew nothing about them. Right. I thought he was infallible. In any case, he’s done the right thing.
  • From the “Where is the most unusual place that you and your husband have ever made whoopee?” Department: Yes, that story is true. But that’s not what this chum is about. You see, GSN is reviving the “Newlywed Game”, and has announced the new host. Carnie Wilson. Why, oh why? It’s not like Bob Eubanks is dead. In fact, he’s looking for work. Right now, he only seems to work one day a year. If the original is still around, why not use him. And if you can’t use him, rub it in his face and hire Stephanie Edwards!

You Are What You Eat

Some lunchtime observations from perusing the news… Today’s papers bring a wide variety of interesting articles related to food. They seem to fall into two categories: new and unusual food, and food safety.

In the new and unusual food category, we have the following:

  • Today’s Washington Post has a review of the increasing variety of Gluten-Free Beers available. Specifically, it discussed four brews: New Grist, from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, is made from a syrup of sorghum and rice; Redbridge, a sorghum- and corn-based amber lager; Toleration Ale, from Hambleton Ales in Melmerby, England, fermented from “specially prepared non-malt dark sugars”; and Dragon’s Gold, a pale lager from Bard’s Tale Beer Co., brewed from two kinds of malted sorghum. It is unclear how safe these are; the government has not set a definition for “gluten free.” New Grist tests around 15ppm; Dragon’s Gold is below 3ppm; the others are unknown. Still, it might be an option. I know my wife has picked up some GF beer, but I don’t think she’s tried it yet. I will note there was a recent Gluten-Free Beer Festival.
  • The Los Angeles Times is reporting about the appearance of Goat’s Milk Ice Cream in grocery stores. The frozen confectionary, produced by Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream Co. comes in flavors including Vanilla Snowflake and Chocolate Cabernet and supposedly takes like the real thing. Might be good for those who have trouble with cow’s milk.
  • The Los Angeles Times is also reporting about some new fast foods in Los Angeles. Food discussed includes fast-food sushi from Famima!, and from Pinkberry, frozen yogurt in original (plain) and green tea, come with your choice of fresh fruit toppings: diced strawberries, mangoes, kiwis, bananas, blueberries, boysenberries. Green tea frozen yogurt–sounds yum!
  • The daily_news_blog is reporting that Ben and Jerry’s has introduced a new flavor, Amercone Dreams, in honor of Stephen Colbert. Described by Ben & Jerry’s as “the sweet taste of liberty in your mouth,” Americone Dream consists of vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and caramel. This was done to combat the well-known liberal agenda of frozen desserts. The blog wonders what would be an appropriate flavor and name for a Bill O’Reilly ice-cream. I don’t know, but it would leave a bad taste in my mouth. I’m sure the O’Reilly Flavor would end up in the flavor graveyard.

In the food safety arena, there are a couple more interesting articles:

  • The Washington Post is noting that those that eat peanut butter should be on the watchout for Salmonella. Specifically, certain jars of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter that have a product code on the lid that begins with the number “2111.” These are related to a salmonella outbreak that has slowly grown to nearly 300 cases in 39 states since August. They were all produced by a single ConAgra plant–again, pointing out the risks of central food production.
  • So you think you’re safer eating food in your office? The Daily News is reporting that an office desk harbors far more bacteria than your workplace restroom, and for woman, chances are the desk has more germs than a male co-workers’ desk. I won’t go into the gory details (read the article), but sanitizing your desk, keyboards, phones, palm pilots, knicknacks, etc. regularly might not be a bad idea.