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.

Dying for a Hot Dog?

At the rates these scientists are discussing, eating red meat is more harmful than smoking… And a lot of folks out there just thought it was swine!

Time to kill the grill?

All red meat is bad for you, new study says

Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.

“Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published onlineMonday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.

Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.

Previous studies had associated red meat consumption with diabetesheart disease and cancer, all of which can be fatal. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking.

The Harvard researchers hypothesized that eating red meat would also be linked to an overall risk of death from any cause, Pan said. And the results suggest they were right: Among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.

In separate analyses of processed and unprocessed meats, the group found that both types appear to hasten death. Pan said that at the outset, he and his colleagues had thought it likely that only processed meat posed a health danger.

Booty Call on the Prez?

And why is this lady happy?

Obama Booty Grab

Yeah – You  know you did it!

 

 

Cornbread and Cuban

It would seem that growing up, Cornbread didn’t spend much time outside of the back of the bus…

Herman Cain asks how to speak ‘Cuban’

hermancain-screen

 

Guess somebody ought to tell him what happens when you mix Cornbread with Cuban Soul food!

 

 

Can’t Wait to Order My New Pizza Plants Through the Burpees Catalogue!

Wow! Now that Pizza has officially been been classified by Congress as a Vegetable, it is only a matter of time before it is in all the seed catalogs!

I mean – if it is a veggie – you ought to be able to order your double pepperoni and cheese with anchovy and mushrooms and plant the seeds right out back. 45 days for a medium – 60 for a large!

One question though… Should I make space for it next to the zucchini or the basil plants?

How Pizza Became A Vegetable Through The Magic Of Influence-Peddling

On Tuesday, Congress decided that pizza is a vegetable. I have to imagine that this news instilled confusion in many Americans, as many Americans are (a) familiar with pizza, (b) familiar with vegetables and (c) sane.

But, to provide specifics that will in no way dispel your lingering thoughts that we are governed by morons but at least allow you some anthropological insight into how a group of morons who have been given permission to sit in a fancy room in Washington, D.C., and grunt at each other actually think, here is their thinking: Pizza is a vegetable for the purposes of determining what goes into public school lunches by virtue of the fact that pizza traditionally includes a schmear of tomato paste. (Botanically speaking, tomatoes are actually fruit, but we’re going to have to just let that slide.)

At any rate, you may still be wondering how it came to pass that Congress arrived at the conclusion that pizza could count as a serving of vegetables. Wonder no more! Congress was guided along this path by lobbyists. And lobbyists can do all sorts of things, by magic! (Except provide nutritious lunches for children.)

 

One of those Rites – Thanksgiving Outside the Family

Got a good chuckle out of this article. Most families in America have their own set of traditions for the major holidays. Whether it’s Beer and Brats at Uncle Joe’s for the 4th, or Aunt Rosie’s homemade rolls and Sweet Potatoes for Thanksgiving. Been in a few family crisis over the years in the leftover line, as to over who gets the last spoonful of Aunt Weezie’s greens, or the last slice of Uncle Ron’s Cajun Fried Turkey! This is the salt of some folks not speaking to each other for months! Been a running battle in my family between several folks over who made off with Aunt Claudia’s roll recipe when she passed some years back – seems she passed without leaving clear title to the recipe…

Or didn’t want to be the subject of “Aunt Claudia always loved you more than me” discussions for the next century among her nieces.

Family politics…Indeed.

As family’s grow and spread and new members join through marriage – traditions often change, or are modified to take in the good things from our spouses and significant other’s families in one of those mutual exchanges.

My first Thanksgiving with white people

I was told the substance in the glass casserole dish in front of me was potato salad – but I wasn’t buying it.

Why was it white?

Why was it smooth?

And where was the red stuff that goes on top?

It was 1998, and I was having my first Thanksgiving dinner with white people.

Now on the one hand going to his parents house for the holiday was a very good thing. I was in an interracial relationship and we had progressed to the point in which he felt comfortable doing so. But on other hand, I was a bit troubled when I walked through the door and didn’t smell greens cooking. Were we too early? Were they in the fridge?

As I was being introduced, I took a nice deep breath and…nope. Not a whiff of collards, or turnips or even the Tito Jackson of greens—mustard. For a moment I thought I had wandered into an episode of the Twilight Zone or maybe my mother had hired a witch doctor to put a hex on me because she was mad I wasn’t coming home.

I mean, it was Thanksgiving.

Who doesn’t cook greens on Thanksgiving?

It was a real eye-opening experience for me in that up to this point, I thought we had pretty much navigated across the sea of cultural differences between us. I taught him how to play spades, he taught me gin rummy, it was all good. But now there was this string bean casserole with dried up onions on my plate and a dish of naked potato salad in my face and I was beginning to think we wouldn’t make it.

It’s Thanksgiving. Why isn’t there any paprika on the potato salad? How come there isn’t any hot sauce out on the table? How come there’s nothing to put hot sauce on?

I was willing to do anything for love. But I wasn’t ready to do that.

Give up greens, and dressing and sweet potato pie.

I wasn’t ready to give up Thanksgiving.

I grew up in a household that if a particular aunt or uncle didn’t make their signature dish for the Thanksgiving festivities, the rest of us spent the rest of the day trying to figure out who they were mad at. We didn’t cook food just to eat. We cooked food to show love. It takes a lot of effort to make a dish of potato salad large enough to feed all of the mouths that would come together. It takes a lot of patience to pick all of those greens from the stem. And whoever volunteered to clean and cook a pot of “chitlins” had the biggest heart of all.

Had the kindest soul.

That’s what soul food is about. My family didn’t have a whole lot to give, but what we had plenty of was love and we poured that love, our soul into the food.

But the problem with the phrase “soul food” is that it insinuates no other kind of food has that soul, that care.

I knew it was good, but I wasn’t sure if it was made with the kind of love I had seen my family put into their food. How could I? My sphere was not very large, my worldview limited.

But as I’ve grown and had the chance to travel and become a citizen of the world, I realize that there’s a whole lot of people who are not black putting their whole heart and soul into their cooking. And it is good and it is delicious and it is full with a lot of love.

Looking back, that Thanksgiving Day was one of the most pivotal moments in my life. I had worked so hard to get into college and earn a scholarship, and yet I really didn’t know anything about people outside of my own experiences. Sure, I took classes and learned about people who weren’t black. I had been roommates with and worked with people who weren’t black. I was even dating someone who wasn’t black. But it wasn’t until I left my comfort zone and broke bread in someone else’s that I realized I was book smart, street wise but a little worldly dumb. And when I began to meet black people who didn’t cook soul food and whites that did… well, let’s just say some of the best lessons in life are not taught in school.

The potato salad – while still naked in my eyes – was pretty good. So was the pumpkin pie.

I’m not going to pretend as if I didn’t miss a lot of the smells and tastes of the Thanksgivings I was accustomed to. But I will say that if it wasn’t for that day, I might not be the adventurous eater that I am now. More importantly, it would have taken me a lot longer to understand the difference between accepting our differences and celebrating them.

And for that, I am forever thankful.

Medika Mamba – Saving Haiti’s Children From Starvation and Malnourishment

A Haitian child is given Nutributter, a supplementary food rich in nutrients.Working in Haiti is one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done… And rewarding. 19 Months and 19 trips to the country after the earthquake which devastated the country, a hell of a lot hasn’t changed – or is worse. A hell of a lot has changed for the better as well  – much due to the perspicacity of the Haitian people, the hard work of independent charities and churches from other countries, the blood sweat and tears of the relief agencies…

Which I guess defines the “bipolar frustration” felt by many Haitians and AID workers.

The failures in the country include 19 months later, little to no progress has been made in fixing any of the very basic infrastructure systems in the country.  It hits you in the face as soon as you land in the country – the airport is in shambles. The main terminal which suffered severe damage during the earthquake is exactly in the same condition as it was 15 months ago, the Air Traffic Control Tower which collapsed during the earthquake has been replaced by a “temporary tower” – a Winnebago parked in the middle of the airfield…

That is the only way in and out of the country for emergency relief supplies such as medicines and food.

There was supposed to be a major project to correct the basic problems with the airport – it hasn’t happened.

Cholera made it’s reappearance last year killing over 6,500 people. It’s back again this year, spreading into Port au Prince. The country does not have a sewer treatment system, so raw sewage is pumped into the ocean, or in some recently documented cases just dumped right on the ground. Don’t even think about the sanitary conditions in the tent cities where roughly 600,000 Haitians still live, or the rivers where raw sewage is dumped to flow out to the ocean, but which get clogged with millions of plastic bottles causing overflow into entire neighborhoods, despite the frantic efforts of local authorities to clear the debris.

There was supposed to be a new sewer treatment plant – it hasn’t happened.

And that is just the “short list”.

One of the victims of the situation appears to be trash collection. Someone donated dumpsters to collect local trash – but the company which emptied them stopped emptying them (I assume because they ran out of money). So residents now burn the trash in the dumpsters sitting along the streets adding to the already serious air pollution issues (One of the principal killers in Haiti is Tuberculosis, and the average lifespan is only 59).

These issues have to do with the billions of dollars in aid promised by various governmental and international financial agencies – which never got spent to fix the very basic problems in the country. Now – if anyone ever got around to writing a book about why that happened, and continues to happen, parts of it would come out like those international thrillers by a Coyle or Ludnum. The rest like a slow motion disaster movie. The fact of the matter is, both the domestic government under Preval, and the international agencies share the blame. Most people believe corruption is only on the part of the historically corrupt Haitian Government. That’s not entirely true – although the Preval administration was undeniably corrupt to the core – there has been plenty of corruption, bureaucratic incompetence and foot dragging at the international agencies, including by our own US governmental agencies as well. The result has been little progress.

If our conservative friends really gave a damn about government incompetence, malfeasance, corruption, waste, and inability to work together toward a common goal… This would be Herman Cain’s new “bookend” speech. But they don’t – so I expect little to change for the better, regardless of who takes office in 2013. Besides – it’s a black country, and we know damn well where those rank on the hierarchy of conservative concerns.

So I guess, it is uplifting when you hear about something that is working. Here is one, very important case of a treatment that I believe, was initially developed in Africa (Although George Washington Carver could have told them about this 100 years ago), having success in Haiti, and creating an industry.

Thanks for making my day, Meds and Food for Kids!

‘Peanut butter medicine’ giving hope to Haiti’s hungry

 With his ribs showing and his skin practically hanging off him, Pierre Wisny is painfully thin.

The 11-month-old Haitian weighs just 11 pounds, and it’s no surprise that he is severely malnourished.

The same applies for 3-year-old Alcincord Guerviscon, although it’s clear — even without measurements — to see that his growth has been stunted by the same condition. He weighs only 15 pounds.

In most of these cases, the children got this way because of poverty and a lack of access to good food. If they’re not given emergency treatment, they could die or suffer more effects of malnutrition, including reduced brain development.

For staff members at one clinic in northern Haiti, intervention comes in bright green packets: Medika Mamba, which means “peanut butter medicine” in Creole. It’s a ready-to-eat paste packed with nutritious ingredients that — over a period of weeks — gives a jolt to the system and puts children back on track. Made by a U.S.-based nonprofit called Meds and Food for Kids, it’s one of several brands of ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

“You can’t rehabilitate a child who has severe malnutrition with a plate of beans and rice. There’s just no way,” said Thomas Stehl, the nonprofit’s director of operations. “Their stomachs are too small and their nutritional requirements are too great to ever be satisfied in that way. So the quality and the density of food is really important. And that is why ready-to-use therapeutic food and Medika Mamba is such a great answer.” Continue reading

South Korea…Fried Chicken War!

On top of the whack job regime in North Korea shelling innocent civilians, and threatening to blow up things in an endless sabre rattling…

Move Over Colonel! This Bucket for $4!

South Koreans have a new crisis. A Fried Chicken War!

Latest Korean Crisis: Cheap Fried Chicken

One of South Korea’s biggest supermarkets began selling a bucket of fried chicken for about four bucks this week, which wouldn’t ordinarily seem like a big deal. But “few food products have left so much turbulence in their greasy wake, or revealed so clearly the insecurities that haunt Asia’s fourth-largest economy,” writes Leo Lewis at the Australian. The problem is that the price is about 60% cheaper than any competitor, leading to allegations of “fried chicken dumping,” government intervention, and debates on big-business-vs-small-business ethics.

Lewis places the controversy in context of the aggressive strategies that have brought the country prosperity in the tech world. “The same white-hot competitiveness that made Samsung smartphones readily affordable has also made dinner cheaper,” he writes. “But South Korea has also shown that, at least where food is concerned, it does not want the giants to run amok.” The store, Lotte Mart, caved to pressure from the government’s “co-prosperity committee” and said it would stop selling the wildly popular chicken this week.

 

Personally gave up on the stuff myself, to the benefit of my heart and weight when K-Fried and Popeyes became more expensive than a sit down meal at many lunch restaurants. When “fast food” starts costing more than food that is good for you… It’s time to move on.

Sean Penn Lays it on the Line About Haiti Aid

There is a huge stinking dead elephant in the room right now concerning Haiti. BTx3 has been working on this since shortly after the quake in January – so I’m fairly well versed on the problems (an there are a mess of them).

The issue here is that after committing nearly $10 billion to a 10 year recovery plan for Haiti, things hit a roadblock. The inborn corruption which has dominated Haiti’s serial failure for the past 80 years showed no sign of abatement in the face of the country’s most terrible catastrophe. Indeed – by some estimates over $150 million worth of the delivered $850 million in AID so far has been “disappeared” either by street “pirates” or by a group of corrupt Government officials (who by no means represent anything but a portion of the Government officials in the country)…

Resulting in the promised AID being suspended. There was a meeting at the United Nations back on April 30th where the 22 Nations which are footing the $10 billion laid down the law. There would be no more money as long as the corrupt officials held power. The donor nations KNOW WHO THEY ARE. The crooks got to keep what they stole, as long as they just left…

The problem is – the corrupt officials are sitting on lots of ill gotten gains. They are not the ones living under blankets strung out over the mud in the massive refugee “cities” which have sprung up full of people displaced by the quake damage. They also know that under current conditions an additional 200,000 or more could die due to typhoid or some other epidemic embarrassing the first world countries into acquiescence.

Business as usual in Haiti.

In the meantime, some basic shit isn’t happening. The 1.3 million folks living under blankets in “tent” cities aren’t seeing much hope of getting out of those cities, they aren’t getting enough food, and the medical support is strained to the limit. Violent criminal gangs are again roaming the streets, while the police – who lost 2,000 of their 8,000 man force and nearly half their equipment are struggling just to provide basic law enforcement, against at leat one, and possibly two “super gangs” who now outnumber the police force.

more about “Sean Penn Lays It OnThe Line About Ha…“, posted with vodpod

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