The Mack Truck That Hit Paula Deen

Have to say I’ve certainly enjoyed cooking up a Paula Deen recipe or two. Most of her food is guaranteed to send you heart doctor into apoplexy over your sky high cholesterol…

But it was so damn good!

 

Paula is authentic deep South. Unfortunately for some folks that carries a lot of racial baggage. Some of that baggage is in the form of using distasteful racial epithets in common conversation between folks sharing the same background. Usually anymore when there is nobody else around to overhear.

Now, Paula – like myself is old enough to have lived through some of those bad old days of segregation. Led by racist and segregationist Democrats and Dixiecrats making a last stand at the schoolhouse door, folks from her world tried to stop folks from my world from having equal rights.. Attacking and abusing Civil Rights workers at the Lunch Counters. At the worst, even murdering them as they drove down back country roads. There are those who followed those very same Dixiecrats to the Republican Party, where that type of racism was made safe by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan for their kind as amply demonstrated even today.

And then there are a lot more Southern  folks who left those ignorant attitudes with the times- even though they seldom to be quite enough in the majority to get elected…

Decent people seldom do anymore.

So…Paula has said some racist things. And judging from how quickly the companies who were partners in her business empire are scrambling  for the door – there is a lot more “bad acting” that hasn’t hit the presses that they are afraid will be uncovered.

But in the scale of things…Whose racism has done more damage t America, Paula and her well used butter dish and southern fried sympathies…

Or the 4 racist thugs in robes and their Uncle Tom sitting the highest court?

Now…Don’t gt me wrong. I don’t feel sorry for Paula. But the reason has a lot less to do with her racism and a lot more to do with a lack of professionalism. Professionalism?

Yeh. When you run a multi-million dollar business – You don’t get to make an ass of yourself like Dan Cathy of Chick Fil A – without some hurt coming down from some pissed customers…And partners who know what it takes to run a business and don’t want to be hit by the shrapnel of an idiot imploding.

Obviously Chick Fil A agrees with Mr Cathy’s lack of professionalism because he is still there.

Since in Paula’s case she is the company, Paula is going to have to suffer the consequences.

 

 

Crime Doesn’t Pay – The Wasabi Zombie…And Other Stories

Things are getting weird out there!

This epicurean proto-Zombie decided to spice – up his girlfriend, perhaps in anticipation of the “main course”!

Using her jeans.

I mean… Dang! Most of us guys are pretty happy just getting our love interests, wives,  or girlfriends out of their jeans!

Man Arrested for Attacking Girlfriend With Wasabi

John McGuinness, 22, was arraigned Friday in Barnstable District Court on charges of domestic assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend.

In the very early hours of Friday morning, Barnstable police responded to the intersection of Route 149 and Willimantic Drive for a report that a young woman had been assaulted, according to police reports.

At the scene, the victim told officers that she and McGuinness had been at the Fox Hole Bar in Osterville to watch the Boston Celtics game. On the way home, the victim received a text message from a male friend. This angered McGuinness and the couple argued until the victim dropped him off at his home, according to the report.

While she was driving home, the victim received a text message from McGuinness who said he was throwing a $200 pair of her jeans outside. The victim drove back to find McGuinness outside with her pants, which he had covered in wasabi sauce, according to the police report.

McGuinness then forced down the window of the victim’s car and took her cellphone, which spurred her to get out of the vehicle, according to the police report.

Once she was out, McGuinness hit the victim in the face with the jeans, getting wasabi sauce in her eyes.

Then, while the victim tried to clean her eyes and fled, he poured more sauce in her car, the report said.

Police arrested McGuinness at his home on Roseland Terrace.

In the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” category – there is the result of a recent study that Bank Robbery, in particular is a poor paying occupation, The average US Bank Robber only nets $4,330 – which, when you account fo an average 10 year jail stay if they are caught…

Is a measly $433/yr. I mean you can make that much or more – (a week!) Flipping Burgers for minimum wage. And not have to worry nights about the 6’4″ 350lb Bubba sharing a cell with you.

Robbing banks a bad idea for crooks from economic standpoint

Bonnie and Clyde

Infamous Bank Robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow didn’t make much money robbing banks

Crime doesn’t pay, at least not very well, when it comes to robbing banks, a new study finds. With unprecedented access to financial data from British banks, economists have shown that bank robbers don’t make a lot of money, certainly not enough to justify the risks involved in such an armed robbery. “The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish,” the researchers wrote in the statistics journal Significance. “It is not unimaginable wealth.” It is so low, in fact, that it is not financially worthwhile for banks to install screens that could further reduce robberies.

Economist Neil Rickman of the University of Surrey and his colleagues were given unusual access to financial data from the British Bankers’ Assn. Such data about robberies are not normally disclosed to the public because it is commercially sensitive and could potentially encourage copycat robbers. Treating bank robbery as a business like any other, they used normal statistical measures to calculate profitability.

In 2007, there were 106 bank robberies or attempted robberies at the 10,500 bank branches, compared with 7,500 robberies of other businesses. (In the U.S. in 2006, there were about 12,000 bank robberies.) Although bank robberies in Southern California tend to occur in higher numbers at branches near freeway entrances, the British team found no link to branch size, branch location, or how busy a particular branch is. Of all those robbed, only 13 were targeted twice and only one three times. About a third of attempted robberies were unsuccessful, and about 20% of the successful robbers were ultimately caught and convicted.

The average take in a British bank robbery is a modest 12,706.60 euros (about $15,887) per person, compared with an average of $4,330 in U.S. bank robberies. Given that the average U.K.wage for fully employed people in Britain is about 26,000 euros, a bank robbery “will give him a modest lifestyle for no more than 6 months.” If he robs two, he will still have only a modest lifestyle. Four robberies, and the odds are excellent that he will land in jail. “As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired,” the authors wrote. (A similar analysis of drug dealing in the book “Freakonomics” explains why most low-level dealers live with their mothers: The activity is so unprofitable that they cannot afford a place of their own.) That may be why bank robberies are declining in the U.K. and the U.S…

Restaurant Designers Get a Clue – Cutting Noise Levels

There is a very good restaurant near where I used to have an office.  Excellent food, great service, and an attentive staff. Only been there twice, despite the convenience.

Why? The noise level is through the roof. You can’t have a conversation in normal tones sitting across the table with your group. The two times I’ve been there were both at someone else’s invitation. I’ve nixxed going there over a dozen times either for business or social meetings. Doesn’t much matter about the food or decor…

If you can’t have a normal conversation.

Designers have gotten into a modern style which, while attractive – does nothing to enhance the customer’s experience. If you are 20 something, and single – shouting over 300 other people shouting may be attractive. After all, a high level of noise can provide its own anonymity.

But if you are not in the “meat market” – sometimes the noise level can be quite painful, especially to baby-boomers who are now paying the price in hearing loss from loud music in their youth. And like it or not – its the baby boomers and businessmen who are dropping $200-300+ on a table for lunch or dinner.

A lot of times when travelling and just looking for a dinner outside of the Hotel kitchen, I will do a walk by. Typically there are a cluster of eateries near a major hotel. That walk by has grown to not only checking the menus and daily specials – but a quick look inside to assess the noise experience, since until only recently have a few of the restaurant ratings services begun to address the issue – despite the fact that it is the second leading complaint by diners after poor service. My feeling is that a place that doesn’t give a damn about diner comfort – is eventually (sooner rather than later) going to fail on the food quality issue.

High metal ceiling, hard floor surface – no sound absorption make meals a diner nightmare due to high ambient noise levels.

Noisy restaurants: Taking the din out of dinner

You can count on the hippest restaurants to have dazzling menus, stylish servers and an attractive clientele.

And increasingly, there’s a featured side dish: noise.

As restaurateurs strive to attract a younger crowd, they’ve ditched the pile carpets, soft tablecloths and plush velvet booths for crowded communal tables, clattering open kitchens and pounding Rihanna music. And it’s all amplified by cavernous ceilings, spartan walls and bare floors.

The hustle and bustle is credited with bringing in more business, but it’s also creating a backlash.

Kristina Pivnyuk, 21, said she was hoping for an evening of fine food and good conversation when she ate recently with friends at Bottega Louie in downtown Los Angeles. She got only the meal.

“It kind of ruined the experience for me,” the Cal State Northridge student said, recalling the loud music and diners shouting to be heard over the din.

Restaurant raters have taken note.

Yelp has begun listing noise levels atop its ratings. OpenTable, a reservations service, allows reviewers to rate restaurants as “quiet,” “moderate” or “energetic.” Several national restaurant reviewers now factor sonic quality into their reports. The Rundown LA, which sends email blasts on local activities, provides noise ratings when it reviews eateries. Continue reading

Revenge of the French Fry – American Food Trucks in Paris, France

It is difficult to travel through many urban areas without seeing the seemingly ubiquitous food truck. From their humble origins supplying Hot Dogs and Burritos to construction workers and tourists – some entrepreneurs have branched out into quality foodstuffs, covering a variety of tastes. Ergo – the Food Truck has gone upscale!

So upscale in fact, that the humble trucks have gone international – now invading the streets of the urban epicurean center of the world – Paris.

So are the French buying cheap eats? Throw a little Camembert on that burger, and a slice of truffle in that soup, and voila!…

You Betcha!

They even have the Chile pepper averse French (Hot sauce ain’t on the menu in France) eating Tacos… Which is amazing.

Food Trucks in Paris? U.S. Cuisine Finds Open Minds, and Mouths

An artisanal taco truck has come to Paris. The Cantine California started parking here in April, the latest in a recent American culinary invasion that includes chefs at top restaurants; trendy menu items like cheesecake, bagels and bloody Marys; and notions like chalking the names of farmers on the walls of restaurants.

In France, there is still a widespread belief that the daily diet in the United States consists of grossly large servings of fast food. But in Paris, American food is suddenly being seen as more than just restauration rapide. Among young Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than “très Brooklyn,” a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.

All three of those traits come together in the American food trucks that have just opened here, including Cantine California, which sells tacos stuffed with organic meat (still a rarity in France), and a hugely popular burger truck called Le Camion Qui Fume (The Smoking Truck), owned by Kristin Frederick, a California native who graduated from culinary school here.

“I got every kind of push-back,” said Ms. Frederick, 31. “People said: ‘The French will never eat on the street. The French will never eat with their hands. They will never pay good money for food from a truck.’ ” (Her burger with fries costs 10 euros, about $13.)

“And, ‘You will never get permission from the authorities.’ ” Continue reading

Salty Oysters – Black Salts

Growing up the Mid-Atlantic region – one of my favorite seafood treats is oysters. Fresh shucked on the half shell, please -

  • Eastern Shore Style – With a dash of Malt Vinegar
  • Baltimore Style – With a sprig of lemon and seafood sauce. or
  • N’awleans Style – With some spic hot pepper sauce.

Now there are folks who say the very best oysters come from Maine. I’ve tried them…

And was left decidedly unimpressed.

Chincoteague Fishing Boats

In this region knowlegable folks check where the Oysters were grown, and know that there is a distincitive taste difference between locations.

“Salty” oysters are Sea Side Oysters – grown along the Atlantic Coast back bays which have a high salinity you can taste in the Oyster.

Bay Side (Chesapeake Bay) Oysters are a lot less salty, and have a buttery taste. Indeed, there are distinct taste differences as the growing grounds are further upriver on the various tributaries where the water is less salty.

And for reasons which I don’t know – certain parts of the Chincoteague Bay a few miles north of my place produce really salty oysters. I have grown them, and they taste like Seasides… Maybe because the Ocean is only a mile away on the creek which dumps directly into the ocean – but those grown just a few miles south of Chicoteague are less salty. I have friends who also cultivate them on Oyster Banks, which are artificial reefs.

But the idea of growing a custom Oyster – is a new one on me!

Nomini Creek is a small river off the Potomac, not far from there it empties into the Chesapeake. It is a drop dead gorgeous creek, whose beauty is perhaps only surpassed by the Coan River, a few miles down and entered from he Bay, often used by experienced boaters as a Hurricane hidey hole, not wanting to take a chance entering the Potomac from the Bay at Point Lookout, which can be rough even in good weather at times. I lost two friends whose 36′ boat apparently broke up due to the vicious waves there winter before last.

The other things Oyster do is to clean the water – so more oysters, the cleaner the waters.

Jeff Black to sell his own signature oysters this fall

Bruce Wood already had lured one noted Washington restaurateur to the waters of Nomini Creek, where he began to cultivate signature oysters for Jamie Leeds , chef and owner of the small Hank’s Oyster Bar chain. So why not land another big fish to feast on his Dragon Creeks?

Like Leeds, Jeff Black was intrigued by the prospect of having his own signature oyster, but only “if I could dictate the flavor profile,” says the Houston native who grew up with the bivalves of the Gulf Coast. Black’s preferred flavor profile, I think it’s safe to say, smacks of someone who has made a living in the restaurant business: “I like a lot of salt,” he says.

Salinity, however, is one quality that Wood has in relatively short supply at Nomini Creek. His leased waters boast a relatively low salinity level, at about 12-13 parts per thousand or ppt. For the sake of comparison, seawater usually hovers around 34-35 ppt. Black would prefer to slurp down something closer in flavor to Gulf water, not pasta water.

Wood had a solution: He is also a partner with Dan Grosse at Toby Island Bay Oysters, located on Chincoteague Bay on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the waters are a virtual saltmine at 29-30 ppt. They would begin to farm Black’s signature oyster there.

Thus was born the Black Pearl, due to hit the oyster bars this fall atBlackSaltPearl Dive Oyster PalaceBlack Jack and Black’s Bar & Kitchen.

Then, a funny thing happened: Cousins Ryan and Travis Croxtonfrom Rappahannock River Oysters contacted Black and said they’d like to grow an oyster for the “Don’t Call Me an Empire Builder” restaurateur as well. Continue reading

Urban Farming – The Next Frontier?

Seems to be a lot of space in formerly Urban areas which is now empty. This ground was more than likely formerly farmland, which was used to feed the nearby urban area before the suburbs took over. There is no reason – except knowledge, skill, determination, and a little hard work – for not converting some of this into usable land in terms of food production. I’ve always found growing my own food in a garden just tastes better – and considering you don’t need all those pesticides and chemicals used by the factory farms…It’s a lot healthier.

So even though I live on a heavily treed lot – I have found space to put out some Tomato Plants, Cucumber,and Basil in containers.

Urban reuse is going to be the next major change in living in this country.  Time to go back, and maybe…This time get it right.

Using Community Gardens to Grow Low-Income Communities Out of Food Deserts

March 20th marked the third anniversary of the planting of the White House vegetable garden, the first functioning garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden. The garden is an essential part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative that aims to help raise a generation of healthy, active kids. But while it provides an excellent jumping off point for discussing the importance of nutrition, it does not get to the root cause of the lack of nutrition across the country. Not everyone can have an organic garden in his backyard or, on an even more basic level, a supermarket that sells quality fruits and vegetables. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 23 million Americans live in “food deserts”: areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly ones composed of predominantly lower income neighborhoods and communities. Before we begin to talk about the problem of nutrition in our country, we must first improve access to food for millions of Americans. And Michelle Obama is on the right path — community gardens can be a powerful tool for improving access to produce for people across the country. Continue reading

Strawberry Bugacchinno

This article mentions bugs as “meat” relative to vegetarian diets…

Bugs are “meat”?

Now these little crunchy cactus eating critters have been used for hundreds of years as a source of red dyes, and originated in Aztec and Mayan Mexico…

It is commonly used in a number of food items as coloring, including Ketchup.

So much for Ketchup being a “vegetable”.

Cochineal Bugs

Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos dyed with crushed up cochineal bugs, report says

Are you a fan of Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos? How do you feel about eating bugs?

The website thisdishisvegetarian.com reports Starbucks’ Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino is not vegan, even if it contains soy, after a barista alerted the site that the company’s new strawberry flavoring contains “cochineal extract” – which is essentially crushed up dried bugs used as dye.

“My guess would be that the recipe changed about three or four weeks ago, when our strawberry sauce got new packaging,” the barista told the website. “I was hoping you guys could help get the word out there so that no vegans end up drinking this formerly vegan frappucino by mistake!”

Cochineal extract comes from the dried bodies of cochineal bugs and has been used for thousands of years to color fabrics. The extract is also known as “carmine” or “crimson lake.”

A Starbucks spokesperson replied to the vegetarian website on March 16, according to the site.

“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products,” the spokesperson said. “While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes.”

HealthPop could not reach Starbucks for comment at press time.

The report has prompted a petition on Change.org that calls on Starbucks to use other natural alternatives for food coloring, including red beets, purple sweet potatoes and paprika.

The news has also prompted some to point out that a whole lot of our food already contains cochineal extract – and has for quite some time. The FDA says the dye is safe and food and cosmetic labels must state if cochineal extract is present. That means it may be found in wines, yogurts, candies, fruit drinks, ice creams, ketchup, lipsticks, eyeshadow, nail polish – you name it.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 1998 to get the product labeled on packaging after a study found the dye caused an allergic reaction in one patient. The CSPI has received many complaints since, it said in a 2009 article.

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