Recently in Food Category

Apple slices and fresh-ground peanut butter for a light dinner. Got a lot done today.
Stopped in at Costco and the beef Tri Tip roasts are still at $10.99/# - see if this holds when I am up there next week.
Also saw something interesting in the tomato isle. They have been carrying the San Marzano 'maters for a while.
Now, it seems they are carrying some more and those are not quite exactly as advertised:


The real deal - there is a D.O.P. serial number stamped on the back of the label.
Absolutely delicious and totally worth the price ($4 for a 28oz. can).


Not even attempting to fake it - CENTO is a decent brand. There is no mention of San Marzano.
Also, San Marzano tomatoes are only canned as whole fruit or as filets.  Never diced or crushed.



Here, CENTO is faking it.  The name San Marzano is being used as a brand and not a Designated Place of Origin.
There is no D.O.P. certification.  It says Certified on the can but certified what? Certified fake?
I was tempted to buy a pack and see how they are - maybe next time I am shopping there.

Shame on CENTO and shame on Costco - this is a new product and I hope it is only a test batch as this is not good.

Dang - why didn't I think of that.

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Round dogs. Go and read here: Round Hot Dogs Exist and I Ate Several

A good question - food preperation

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From Seattle station KING 5:

Wildfire 'smoke taint' compromises Woodinville winery's 2020 vintage
Wine that tastes like an ashtray -- that's what happened to a Woodinville winery's latest vintage, due to last year's wildfires in Washington, Oregon and California.

Betz Family Winery announced Tuesday it will not release wine from its 2020 vintage due to "smoke taint," which impacted their grapes used for wine.

Betz Family has a tasting room and winery in Woodinville but their vineyards are located in drier eastern Washington, along the Columbia River valley, Walla Walla and Yakima Valley.

Wildfires from September and October last year impacted their grapes in varying degrees. "You can just smell the smoke literally on the bunches," said Bridgit Griessel of Betz Family Winery.

Changes to the flavor profile of the wine became apparent during the fermentation process and lab tests confirmed the smoke taint, Griessel said.

Yikes - they knew about it going in but fermentation completely rewrites the flavor profile so maybe they were hoping to get lucky. A bit more from the story:

Hundreds of barrels of red wine from the 2020 vintage will not be bottled and potentially be kept for an indefinite amount of time to further study the impacts of smoke taint, according to Betz Family Winery.

That is going to suck big-time too - the barrels are $400 each or thereabouts (wide range in price/quality) and once the taint gets into the wood, it will color anything else put into it.

Who knows, the wine might clear up after a few years.  They could always sell it to a blender (hello? Mogen-David?) or a rectifier and have them distil it down to pure ethanol but that would be a huge loss of revenue.

Their website is here: Betz Family Wine and we can see that their "entry-level red wine" sells for $35/bottle. Other offerings are in the $50-on-up range.  This is a big loss of revenue for them.

Good point there:

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Serious health hazards over a many-year span:  hereherehereherehere and here...
Throw in some child labor law violations in 2020 (from Time Magazine - judgement was a $1.3 million fine)

Now this - from Eat This, Not That!

This Fast-Food Chain Is the Likely Source of a New Norovirus Outbreak
About a dozen people in Aurora, Colo. have come down with gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those caused by the norovirus after eating at a local Chipotle restaurant, health officials have confirmed.

According to Food Safety News, shortly after eating at the location of the fast-casual chain on 6710 S Cornerstar Way, as many as five high school students and six other people from the area came down with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, low-grade fever, and body aches.

And of course:

Ryan contacted the chain's location as well as the corporate headquarters located in California, but the chain didn't provide anyone who could talk to the family and simply directed her to their website. She said she wants someone from Chipotle to take responsibility for her family's food poisoning.

Have not eaten there in many years because of their reputation.  The food was tasty but I do not want to take the chance. Carelessness like this is a manifestation of corporate culture and until that is profoundly changed, this chain will be a ticking time bomb. They are spending too much time on their shareholders bottom line and not enough on basic training, procurement and sanitation.

From Seattle station KOMO:

Borracchini's Bakery closes after 100 years, family cites pandemic as reason for closing
Remo Borracchini’s Bakery, a South Seattle landmark on Rainier Avenue South, announced on Facebook Saturday that it is shutting down after 100 years of business.

In the post, the Borracchini family cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for closing its doors.

The bakery is known for its cakes and Italian delicacies. The Borracchini family says their bakery is in the party business and the cancellation of weddings, birthdays, parties, and celebrations has been devastating to their bakery.

The family thanked all of their customers and employees writing “You have all given us a lifetime of memories that will never be forgotten. It has been a privilege to be a part of all your birthdays, anniversaries and important lifetime celebrations.”

An amazing old-school food destination.  I always stopped by when I was downtown grocery shopping.
Hit PFI, Uwajimaya and Remo's in one trip. Foodie heaven.

Hmmm - going to have to try this salsa

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Found this at Atomic Fungus:

The lovely thing about this salsa is that it is not the kind of thing you pop into your mouth and go, "AIGHH HOT HOT WATER ICECREAM SOMETHING" oh no. The first bite is sweet. The second bite is sweet-ish. Third and fourth, okay, this is starting to grow on me...and after a bit you can feel the heat begin to build. I try to make it on the mild side, by removing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the jalapeno seeds before dicing the peppers. In truth I could probably stand the full-strength stuff, but my mother-in-law cannot, and so I'm in this habit now.

If it wasn't such a process to make it, I'd probably try making a full-on batch. You need 12 ounces of cranberries, a quarter cup of green onions, and a quarter cup of cilantro; half a cup of sugar, a decent pinch of salt, two jalapenos, and a couple tablespoons of lime juice. I use lemon juice since that's what I have on hand, but it's still four ingredients I do not habitually stock.

Anyway, you take all that stuff and whiz it in a food processor until it's salsa texture. You have to let it sit for at least an hour so the flavors can marry. Then--serve atop a bed of cream cheese with some good hearty crackers that won't break when you try to scoop up a mouthful of delicious salsa atop mellow cream cheese. Wheat Thins are the recommended variety to use.

Already made the cranberry sauce for dinner but will file this away for future ideas.

Whoopsie - a fine whine

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Fun story from The New York Post:

Couple at NYC eatery served $2,000 Bordeaux in error after ordering cheap wine
A young couple who ordered an $18 bottle of wine at a popular Soho brasserie instead got served a $2,000 bottle meant for a table of businessmen — who didn’t even notice that they ended up drinking the cheap stuff, the restaurant’s owner said.

Managers at Balthazar had poured the pricy 1989 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux and the budget pinot noir — the restaurant’s cheapest wine — into identical decanters, the eatery’s owner, Keith McNally, recounted on Instagram this week.

A bit more:

The two wines got switched, and the managers accidentally delivered them to the wrong tables.

Still, the Wall Streeter who had ordered the Bordeaux for himself and three friends tasted the cheap pinot and — fancying himself a connoisseur — promptly praised its “purity,” McNally wrote in his post, reported by Decanter, a wine review and news site.

Likewise, the lovebirds didn’t notice they had been served the highbrow wine, the most expensive bottle at the restaurant.

“They jokingly pretended to be drinking an expensive wine” while poking fun of themselves for ordering the cheap stuff, McNally recalled.

The restaurant owner ate the difference and both parties had a fun time when it was explained to them.

Heh - coffee

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From My Penseive:


What is it about...

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...the Allium family that makes them smell so wonderful when cooking. Taste is pretty scrumptious too.

Must be all of the Spem

Problems with China

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China once again proving that China is asshoe. From Yahoo/Associated Press:

260 Chinese boats fish near Galapagos; Ecuador on alert
Some call it a floating city, a flotilla of 260 mostly Chinese fishing vessels near the Galapagos archipelago that is stirring diplomatic tension and raising worries about the threat to sharks, manta rays and other vulnerable species in waters around the UNESCO world heritage site.

Yet the vast fleet is in international waters, outside a maritime border around the Galapagos and also outside coastal waters off Ecuador, which controls the archipelago. That means the fleet, one of the biggest seen in years off South America's Pacific coast, is likely to fish with minimal monitoring until its holds are full.

The Chinese fleet is “very close" to the edge of the exclusive economic zone around the Galapagos, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the archipelago, said its governor, Norman Wray. He said that, because of overfishing in recent years, “what we're seeing is that each time fewer species return to the Galapagos."

The floods and heavy monsoon has cut into their food supplies so they are looking elsewhere. This is nothing new - from The Guardian:

The Ecuadorian navy has been monitoring the fishing fleet since it was spotted last week, according to the country’s defence minister, Oswaldo Jarrín. “We are on alert, [conducting] surveillance, patrolling to avoid an incident such as what happened in 2017,” he said.

The 2017 incident he referred to was the capture by the Ecuadorean navy within the Galápagos marine reserve of a Chinese vessel. The Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999, part of an even larger fleet than the current one, was found to be carrying 300 tonnes of marine wildlife, mostly sharks.

“We were appalled to discover that a massive Chinese industrial fishing fleet is currently off the Galápagos Islands,” said John Hourston, a spokesman for the Blue Planet Society, a NGO which campaigns against overfishing.

This article at Forbes highlights their domestic food problems:

China Food Crisis? Rising Domestic Prices And Large Import Purchases Send A Signal
China has a food problem. To a nation whose leaders are old enough to have been directly impacted by The Great Famine, the seriousness of food shortages cannot be overestimated. China’s burgeoning population, growing industrial economy, and expanding culture of consumerism are all contributing to a steady rise in demand for agricultural products.

But agricultural production, lest anyone forget, is subject to the biblical forces of floods, fire, pestilence, and a host of other variables, some of which are right now upsetting China’s delicate food stability. The world’s most populous nation will certainly not run out of food, but prices are rising and hints of tightening supplies are beginning to appear. Things may get worse before they get better.

And, lest we forget, The Great Famine was a direct result of Mao's meddling in things he did not understand. Nobody could tell him anything different because if they did, they would be considered disloyal to the communist leadership and they would be murdered before they could spread their capitalist heresy to anyone else. It lasted from 1959 through 1961 and 70 million people died. Socialism and communism never work. Never have. Never will.


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Started in Hawaii but they are looking to spread to the mainland. Check out their Hawaiian page.

As Hawaii’s plant-based distributor, we find the most innovative plant-based specialty food brands, and distribute to foodservice, retailers, and individuals. We hope to inspire others to “Go Vedge!” by making specialty plant-based foods accessible and affordable, and by supporting our local community.

I am not 100% vegetarian but I would sure shop there if there was one nearby. Even worth the occasional drive to Seattle. Quite the selection.

Cute commercial - coffee

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Veteran owned Black Rifle coffee:

Not surprised at all - diet

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From The London Daily Mail:

Eating meat may IMPROVE mental health and one in three vegetarians are depressed, study suggests
A vegetarian or vegan diet may be increasing the likelihood of depression, a US-based study suggests.

People with a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescription drugs for mental illness and nearly three times as likely to contemplate suicide.

The report, which looked at more than 160,000 people, also found that a shocking one in three vegetarians suffer from depression or anxiety.

160,000 is a good sample size - they are not going to have to argue their findings.

There are some health benefits to a veggie diet - I am about 80% veggie and 20% carnivore. Still, studies like this really point out the strong links between diet and mental health.

Time for a simple pasta sauce for dinner. Was at the "business" Costco today and saw these on the shelf for the very first time:


There are your basic canned tomatoes (Hunts, Del Monte, Contadina, etc...), there are your really good canned tomatoes (Muir Glen, Cento, Kirkland, etc...). The crème de la crème are San Marzano.

Costco just started carrying authentic (it has the right markings on the can - there are a lot of fakes out there) San Marzano canned tomatoes. I used to get them from PFI back when I lived in Seattle and would occasionally order them from Amazon but they are expensive - almost $10/can. The Costco cans are under $10 for three - $3.30+ each.

I will be making a simple pomodoro with basil sauce - maybe sauté a bit of pancetta and garlic too. See how these are.
Looking forward to a bite of heaven and/or springtime...

Cute tee-shirt

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I would wear this if I had one:


Eat your veggies

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A wonderful video on the joys of hunting:

Fun times at Chipotle Restaurant

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Come for the health issues: here, here, here, here, here and here...

Stay for the Child Labor Violations - Time Magazine:

Chipotle Fined $1.3 Million for More Than 13,000 Child Labor Violations
Chipotle was hit with a $1.3 million fine over more than 13,000 child labor violations at its Massachusetts restaurants, the state’s attorney general announced Monday.

Attorney General Maura Healey ordered the largest child labor penalty ever issued by the state against the Mexican restaurant chain after finding an estimated 13,253 child labor violations in its more than 50 locations.

Not a well-run business. I cannot find a stock symbol so it looks like a privately-held company. Wonder if this is just a large money-laundering operation. North Korea? Russia? M.E. opium money?

So many people think the finer grind the better for extracting a good crema. Not so. From interesting engineering:

Fewer Coffee Beans Ground Coarsely Brews the Best Espresso, New Research Shows
Forget coffee sommeliers, scientists think they found the answer to brewing the best shot of espresso.

A team of mathematicians, physicists and materials experts at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, found the secret to the best cup of espresso lies in the number of coffee beans and how they are ground.

According to the researchers which included Dr. Jamie Foster, a mathematician at the University of Portsmouth, fewer coffee beans and grinding them more coarsely is the secret.

The researchers started with the question many espresso drinkers have: why do two shots of espresso made the same way taste very different. They applied mathematical theory to the question and when they began to look at a single grain, many of which create the coffee bed found in the basket of an espresso machine, they found the answer. It's more reliable from one cup to the next if fewer beans ground coarsely.

"When beans were ground finely, the particles were so small that in some regions of the bed they clogged up the space where the water should be flowing," Dr. Foster said in a press release announcing the research.

Brews faster, easier to clean the portafilter, uses less coffee and tastes really good. What's not to love. When I managed the bakery, I had everyone standardize on this - a lot of surprised people but we served a lot of really good coffee.

Brilliant business idea

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From the: "Why didn't I think of that" department - from Boston, MA's station WHDH:

Airline opening restaurant that only serves plane food
Out of the many repulsive things about air travel, airline food probably ranks high. But not for AirAsia.

Asia’s largest low-cost carrier is betting people love its food so much that it opened its first restaurant on Monday, offering the same menu it sells on flights. It’s not a gimmick, either: AirAsia, based in Malaysia, said it plans to open more than 100 restaurants globally within the next five years.

The quick-service restaurant’s first location is in a mall in Kuala Lumpur. It’s called Santan, meaning coconut milk in Malay, which is the same branding AirAsia uses on its in-flight menus.

Entrees cost around $3 USD and include local delicacies such as chicken rice and the airline’s signature Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak dish, a rice dish with chilli sauce. Locally sourced coffee, teas and desserts are also on the menu.

Makes a lot of sense. They already have the delivery infrastructure, the commissaries and their menus have been tried and tested. Because it is fixed portion and a simple menu, they can keep the prices cheap.

Fake News Olive Oil

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L mentioned that Extra Virgin Olive Oil coming from Italy might be corrupt and/or contaminated. Found the video she was talking about and it is #1) - sobering and #2) - recent:

60 Minutes Agro Mafia - Full 14 minute story from Corto-Olive Co. on Vimeo.

I think I am going to stick with California or Spain for my EVOO from now on. I do like that some of the farmers and producers are standing up to the Mafia on this - nice to see the pushback against the bullies.

Now this is interesting - MREs

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Someone from our local preparedness group turned me on to these. We all know about the millitary MREs - Meals Ready to Eat. This is shelf-stable food packaged in a foil pouch and is ready to eat. Some of them even have heating strips so you pull a tab and five minutes later, a hot meal. Not for the epicurians out there but tasty and nutritious.

Well - DOH! - it turns out that other military services have their own MREs and Amazon sells them. Check out:

There is more if you click on the vendor and search their products. A good bit more expensive than 50 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of beans but looks really good and just the thing to stash in your car's emergency pack. Keep you well fed for a couple of days.

From Barf Blog:

Man had hundreds of tapeworms in brain, chest after eating undercooked pork
Alexandria Hein of Fox News reports a 43-year-old man in China who was suffering from seizures and loss of consciousness went to the doctor after his symptoms persisted for several weeks, only to discover that he had hundreds of tapeworms in his brain and chest, reports say.

The patient, identified as Zhu Zhongfa, allegedly had eaten undercooked pork, which was contaminated with Taenia solium, a parasitic tapeworm.

“Different patients respond [differently] to the infection depending on where the parasites occupy,” Dr. Huang Jianrong, Zhongfa’s doctor at Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, told AsiaWire. “In this case, he had seizures and lost consciousness, but others with cysts in their lungs might cough a lot.”

Jianrong explained that the larvae entered Zhongfa’s body through the digestive system and traveled upward through his bloodstream. He was officially diagnosed with cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis, and given an antiparasitic drug and other medications to protect his organs from further damage, according to AsiaWire.

Jianrong said his patient is doing well after one week, but the long-term effects from the massive infestation are unclear.

Chinese agricultural practices are also to blame:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cooking meat at a safe temperature and using a food thermometer in an effort to avoid taeniasis. Humans are the only hosts for Taenia tapeworms, and pass tapeworm segments and eggs in feces which contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor. The eggs survive in a moist environment for days to months, and cows and pigs become infected after feeding in the contaminated areas.

Chinese farmers spread human manure on the fields - the critters get into it and become carriers for the tapeworm. Proper food handling is not rocket science. Just a few temperatures and practices to learn.

Heh - what to bring for a potluck

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Not just Thanksgiving - any potluck:


Mmmmmm... Deconstructed Potato Gravy - yummy!


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I have never met a vegan that seemed healthy. I was a vegetarian for about ten years and that is a sustainable diet but to eliminate all animal products from your diet is - to put it mildly - stupid. From Kim DuToit:

Quote Of The Day
From the normally mild-mannered Prof. Reynolds:

“Vegans should just be grateful for not being pantsed on sight.  Veganism is stupid and immoral, and mostly a marker for mental illness or deficiency.”

True dat.  He left out a lot of other endearing vegan traits, but the Treacher Man has his back:

“You just can’t please vegans, because if they were capable of happiness, they wouldn’t be vegans.  You can’t cater to them — in this case literally — because their entire philosophy is anti-human.  They’re ashamed of their own existence on this planet, and that shame has turned them into totalitarian wackjobs.”

Absolutely - Treacher nails it.

Keep your freezer full - a heads up

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Not hyperbole, just a confluence of unfortunate events. From Musings from the Chiefio:

Why You Need To Store Meat Now
The basic problems are:

1) More than 1/4 of all the swine on the planet have already died in the African swine fever outbreak. A haemorrhagic fever of hogs.
2) It has a lot further to go (Australia, Americas, Europe).
3) The virus can live for months in products like pigs ears for dogs.
4) It WILL get much worse.
5) Corn and soy will be in short supply for animal feed given present harvest.
6) China corn is in worse shape and they are buying a lot, so their shortage is coming here.
7) Remember that hay shortage? It isn’t any better.
8) Cattle herd culling is happening NOW holding beef prices down.
9) Beef prices will go up when the cull ends and herds are balanced to lower feed supply.

That pretty much says you have a few months to put away a freezer full, can some up, buy or make jerky, or buy some canned corned beef (or corn your own :-)

In 2020 meat prices will be higher, supply lower, and selection reduced.

More at the site. I have been tracking this and in the last four months, the price for Pork Butt (actually a shoulder cut) has gone from $1.89 to $2.79 at Costco (148% price jump since July). Very tough and cheap meat but it responds to smoking and slow braising gloriously. Makes amazing pulled pork. I buy a whole butt, portion it out into one pound chunks, smoke them and cryocvac them with seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary).

When I need a pulled pork fix, I will thaw it out, sous-vide for eight or more hours and then finish with a sear and adjust the seasonings to suit. Amazing stuff. Now have about 40 pounds in the freezer and thinking of getting another two butts and processing them.

Yes, I have a backup generator.

Sobering news from USA Today:

Quarter of all pigs worldwide could die from swine fever, animal health organization says
At least a quarter of the world's pig population could die as a mass outbreak of African swine fever spreads, a global animal health organization says.

The die-off would spark global pig shortages, spiking prices of pork and products that rely on the animals to be produced, said Mark Schipp, president of the World Organization for Animal Health.

"I don’t think the species will be lost, but it's the biggest threat to the commercial raising of pigs we've ever seen," Schipp told reporters Thursday in Sydney. "And it's the biggest threat to any commercial livestock of our generation."

I have about 20 pounds of each in my freezer and thinking of doubling this. Prices are going to spike.

From Mental Floss:

An Anthony Bourdain Documentary Is on the Way
Anthony Bourdain, who passed away last year, dedicated much of his life to sharing the stories of often-unsung culinary geniuses around the world. Now, CNN Films, HBO Max, and Focus Features are teaming up to share his.

According to a CNN press release, Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville will produce and direct the documentary. Though you might not know Neville by name, you’ve likely heard of his work. He won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 2013’s 20 Feet From Stardom, and he most recently made headlines for the overwhelming success of his 2018 documentary about Fred RogersWon’t You Be My Neighbor?, which is the highest-grossing biodoc of all time.

“It requires a filmmaker as expert and prolific as Morgan Neville to capture the essence of a raconteur and world explorer like Anthony Bourdain,” Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max’s head of original content, said in a press release.

One of a kind - this will be a must-see.

News you can use - knife sharpening

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Great video on knife sharpening using whetstones:

There are some links to the whetstones and to the cheap knife used in the demonstration. There is also a link to a great illustration of how to use a sharpie marker to determine the correct angle and rotation. A bit long (30 minutes) but really thorough and well done.

An interesting cabbage

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I like cabbage and eat it regularly both fermented and cooked. Ran into a new type at the farmer's market this year.

Meet the Filderkraut Cabbage - from local Uprising Seeds:

(Brassica oleracea) *Ark of Taste Heirloom* Hands down our favorite cabbage. We searched for seed after first seeing it at the Slow Food “Salone del Gusto” food fair held in Torino, Italy in 2006 where its unusual conical shape and sweet flavor made a lasting impression. And I’m not talking about “egghead” conical; Filder is a cartoonish gnome hat extreme reaching sizes of a foot wide and two feet tall. Named for the region it hails from, near Stuttgart in southern Germany, it is traditionally a sauerkraut cabbage and in our opinion the very best there is. Written records of the variety date back to the 1700’s but with the mechanization of the kraut industry in the mid 20th century, it fell out of favor due to its awkward shape for mechanical processing. Having maintained a regional following, it was boarded on Germany’s Slow Food Ark of Taste, and has since then found a wider audience. A long season, fall cropper it can reach huge sizes (10+ lbs), with a single cabbage filling a 3 gallon crock for us last year. And please, it shouldn’t just be thought of as a processing cabbage. It is hands down the best tasting, sweetest cultivar we’ve tried with none of the sulfur-y pungency that mars many of the modern varieties available, and is a good medium term storage head to boot. For us, one of our most exciting new vegetable introductions of the year, strongly recommended, especially for fermenting enthusiasts.

Really delicious - I have both fermented it and used it in regular cooking and will be growing it here next year. There is even a festival you can go to in Stuttgart, Germany:

Filderkraut Cabbage Festival
A vegetable is the star of the traditional Filderkraut Festival in Leinfelden-Echterdingen: the famous pointed cabbage from the Fildern district. It has been grown here for centuries, because it only flourishes on the fertile loess-loam of the Filder plateau. This flavoursome subvariety of white cabbage is listed as an important and endangered regional species in the Slow Food Foundation's "Ark of Taste".At the Filderkraut Festival on 18th and 19th October, this delicious vegetable can be enjoyed in the form of sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage leaves or Echterdingen cabbage tart, to name but a few.

Fun stuff...Interesting in that the odd shape does not lend itself to mechanical harvesting so it has been abandoned by industrial agriculture. Wonder how many other cultivars like this are out there.

Licking the spoon - not such a good idea

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From Barfblog:

E. coli O26 and (O121) loves flour
I used to be a lick-the-batter-off-the-spoon kind of guy. I stopped doing that a few years ago. I don’t eat raw cookie dough, or let my kids eat it. I’m probably not the most fun dad, but outbreaks recalls like what is going on right now is why.

General Mills announced today a voluntary national recall of five-pound bags of its Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour with a better if used by date of September 6, 2020. The recall is being issued for the potential presence of E. coli O26 which was discovered during sampling of the five-pound bag product. This recall is being issued out of an abundance of care as General Mills has not received any direct consumer reports of confirmed illnesses related to this product.

This recall only affects this one date code of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour five-pound bags. All other types of Gold Medal Flour are not affected by this recall.

Guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to warn that consumers should refrain from consuming any raw products made with flour. E. coli O26 is killed by heat through baking, frying, sautéing or boiling products made with flour. All surfaces, hands and utensils should be properly cleaned after contact with flour or dough.

E. coli can be found in the most unusual places. Sanitation in food preperation is paramount. One of the first things I learned when doing food service back 40 years ago.

Argentinians love their steak

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Video from a rodeo - vegetarian protestors interrupt the event:

From the YouTube link:

Vegans stage protest during a rodeo...
Argentinian cowboys put their whips to good use..

"Vegan and Animal Rights Activists Stage Protest at Exposición Rural.

This Saturday at La Exposición de Gandadería, – commonly known as Expo Rural – more than 40 vegan activists staged a peaceful protest interrupting a dressage contest.

The activists walked onto the central track, bearing posters with slogans against the exploitation of animals.

Less than a minute later, a tense and violent altercation ensued: using their horses, gauchos ran them off and out of the area.

Most audience members repudiated the protest, erupting in applause when the activists were kicked off"

Heh - silly vegans...

An interesting look at soy

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A lot of people are relying on soy protein for their diet. Here is an look at why this might not be such a good idea
From Natural Foods:

Fermented Soy is Only Soy Food Fit for Human Consumption
Writings about the soybean date back to 3000 B.C., when the Emperor of China listed the virtues of soybean plants for regenerating the soil for future crops. His praises centered on the root of the plant, not the bean. These ancient writing suggested that the Chinese recognized the unfitness of soybeans for human consumption in their natural form. Now 5000 years later, we are once again catching on to the anti-nutritive qualities of the soybean, and realizing that the only soybean worth eating is one that has been fermented.

About 1000 B.C. some smart person in China discovered that a mold, when allowed to grow on soybeans, destroyed the toxins present and made the nutrients in the beans available to the body. This process became known as fermentation and led to the creation of the still popular foods tempeh, miso, and natto.

A few centuries later, a simpler process was developed to prepare soybeans for consumption. After lengthy soaking and cooking, the beans were treated with nigari, a substance found in seawater. The end product was tofu. During the Ming dynasty, fermented soy appeared in the Chinese Materia Medica as a nutritionally important food and an effective remedy for diseases.

A bit more - some symptoms:

Unfermented soy has been linked to digestive distress, immune system breakdown, PMS, endometriosis, reproductive problems for men and women, allergies, ADD and ADHD, higher risk of heart disease and cancer, malnutrition, and loss of libido.

Groups most at risk of experiencing negative effects from the anti-nutrient properties of soy are infants taking soy baby formula, vegetarians eating a high soy diet, and mid-life women going heavy on the soy foods thinking they will help with symptoms of menopause.

I wonder if this is in part the cause of the ills of modern civilization. Everyone is so triggered all the time, people needing anti-depressants, panic attacks, etc... Our soy intake has certainly spiked over the last 20 years. I use it myself but use it as tofu and do a minimal use as TVP.

As for a simple vegetarian diet, there are these two headlines:

I could go on but you get the idea...

A Vegan diet

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Totally bad for you. Now, with even more bad news. From the London Daily Mail:

Trendy vegan diets could LOWER IQ due to lack of a nutrient that is critical to brain health, leading nutritionist warns
Trendy vegan diets could be putting the IQ of the next generation at risk, a leading nutritionist has warned.

Dr Emma Derbyshire said the growing fad for 'plant-based' diets risks creating mass deficiency in choline – a dietary nutrient that is critical to brain development.

Choline, found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, is particularly important in pregnancy, when it contributes to the healthy growth of a baby's brain.

Dr Derbyshire, writing in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal, warned of the 'unintended consequences' of moving away from diets based on meat and dairy.

A bit more:

She added: 'We are at risk of dumbing down the brain power of the next generation. Plant-based diets are great and brilliant for the environment.

'But in terms of reducing intake of choline - which is vital for foetal brain development - no-one had given it much thought.

'The train is moving so fast, and more people are ditching meat and eggs. But it could leave many women of childbearing age deficient in this key nutrient.'

But if you have been eating vegan for a few years, you are already dumbed down to where the importance of this does not register to you.

I once managed a bakery for a couple years (long story) and we had a vegan customer. I always paid attention to my customer's dietary needs (have a few myself) and one day, XXX came to me and said that the pastry they had the other day was so wonderful. It gave him energy and made him feel so good. I checked with the wait staff and it turns out that what he ate the other day had a lot of butter in it - about a half-ounce. Did not have the heart to tell him that. He still lives in the area and still looks like crap - sallow skin, greasy stringy hair and shambles when he walks. I think he is in his 30's but he acts like he is 50.

Simple soup for dinner tonight

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Doing a lentil and carrot soup for dinner tonight with a salad fresh from the farmer's market. Quick, filling and nutritional.

Also picked up some fava beans and planning to do a salad like this for tomorrow: Easy Fava Bean and Carrot Salad With Ricotta Recipe - I will be leaving off the ricotta as I have a problem digesting cheese but everything else looks yummy.

Heading out for two pints later - some live music playing.


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Heading out for dinner and a couple pints. Putting some beans on to soak for minnestrone soup for tomorrow. Been a while since I made any and with the cool drizzly weather, it will be perfect. Maybe make a Panzanella Salad to start the meal with. I have some crusty bread that is a bit old.

In three words? Higher Food Prices. From Michael Snyder writing at The Economic Collapse:

Crop Catastrophe In The Midwest – Latest USDA Crop Progress Report Indicates That A Nightmare Scenario Is Upon Us
The last 12 months have been the wettest in all of U.S. history, and this has created absolutely horrific conditions for U.S. farmers.  Thanks to endless rain and historic flooding that has stretched on for months, many farmers have not been able to plant crops at all, and a lot of the crops that have actually been planted are deeply struggling.  What this means is that U.S. agricultural production is going to be way, way down this year.  The numbers that I am about to share with you are deeply alarming, and they should serve as a wake up call for all of us.  The food that each one of us eats every day is produced by our farmers, and right now our farmers are truly facing a nightmare scenario.

You can view the latest USDA crop progress report right here.  According to that report, corn and soybean production is way behind expectations.

Last year, 78 percent of all corn acreage had been planted by now.  This year, that number is sitting at just 49 percent.

And the percentage of corn that has emerged from the ground is at a paltry 19 percent compared to 47 percent at this time last year.

We see similar numbers when we look at soybeans.

And it is not just crops in the USA:

Over in Asia, the biggest problem right now is African Swine Flu. Earlier today, I came across a CNBC article which stated that “up to 200 million Chinese pigs” may have already been lost to this nightmarish disease…

A trade fight with the U.S. isn’t the only war China is fighting. African swine flu has decimated the pig population in China and sent pork prices soaring. As many as up to 200 million Chinese pigs have reportedly been lost due to the disease.

Now, Wall Street analysts are scrambling to assess the fallout from the fast spreading illness and how to invest around it.

The entire U.S. pork industry does not even produce 200 million pigs in an entire year.

Despite the hyperbolic name of his blog, Dr. Snyder is not your typical TEOTWAWKI Survivalist - his writing is well thought out and based on concrete data, not hand waving and rhetoric.

News I can get behind - brisket

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I love a good brisket. From Texas Hill Country:

Texas Research Scientist Says Brisket Might be Good for You
If it was perfected in Texas, you can bet someone from this state is proving it’s good for you. Such is the case for brisket and ground beef! Researchers out of Texas A&M have found that not only does it make for some of the tastiest food you’ll ever try, but (believe it or not) it comes with some health benefits too.

Their findings confirmed that high levels of oleic acid can be had in beef brisket. You want this because it lowers LDLs (the “bad” kind of cholesterol,) and produces high levels of HDLs (the good kind, which are said to promote better heart health). Dr. Stephen Smith, a research scientist from Texas A&M AgriLife Research, explained the findings. “Brisket has higher oleic acid than the flank or plate, which are the trims typically used to produce ground beef,” he said. “The fat in brisket also has a low melting point, that’s why the brisket is so juicy.” Researchers in this study have also found that the same applies to ground beef, but to a lesser degree.

Ran into this recipie last night - will be queing it up soon. Looks really good.
From Food Wishes: Easy Baked Beef Brisket – Slow and Low is Not the Tempo

Great article about the history of this iconic American food - from The New York Times:

The Sweet Success of the Spiral-Cut Ham
In the 1930s, Harry J. Hoenselaar was just another ham salesman in Detroit trying to find an edge.

He spent his days handing out samples of honey-glazed ham and teaching drugstore clerks how to slice it for sandwiches. Although he was a master at knifing ham from the bone, he knew there had to be a better way.

His family, which still runs the Honey Baked Ham Company he founded in 1957, says the answer came to him in a dream. With a tire jack, a pie tin, a washing machine motor and a knife, he fashioned the world’s first spiral ham slicer — a contraption that would become one of the world’s great ham innovations.

If an aged country ham is like jazz, funky and improvised, a spiral-cut is the pop music of the ham world — sweet, approachable and easy to eat. Even though ham snobs may look down on it, it’s a rare critic who won’t grab a slice of the tender, pale pink meat given the chance.

Fun story and I did not know the history. I get the Costco spiral hams, cut them up and cryovac them. They take just ten minutes in warm water to thaw and are perfect for a meal. That actually sounds pretty good - haven't had ham for dinner for a while...

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