Friday, December 31, 2010

The Floods of Australia

It's not such a great New Years with all the floodwater rising in Australia's northeast flooding 22 towns, forcing 200,000 people out of their homes, and closing a major sugar export port.

This is the worst flooding in 50 years has been caused by that crazy "La Nina" weather pattern.

In Queensland, there are major health risks from floodwater, along with the danger of crocodiles and snakes in flooded homes.
"This disaster is a long way from over," Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh said.
"We now have 22 towns or cities that are either substantially flooded or isolated. That represents some 200,000 people spanning an area that's bigger than the size of France and Germany combined."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard visted  the sugar city of Bundaberg, which closed its port on Friday after flood garbage was ushered downstream into shipping channels and damaged navigation beacons.

"This is a natural disaster across Queensland," Gillard said, announcing a A$1 million  government helping hand to flood aid which now totals A$6 million.

The closing of Bundaberg has hurt shipments of sugar from Australia, a leading world sugar exporter., and that is going to be felt globally.
"If the port is closed for only a few days it won't be a big issue but any extended delay would cause some concern," said Brian Mahoney, an executive with Marybrough Sugar Factory Ltd.

Reminding us of New Orleans and Katrina, (we were there) the inland sea that reaches across Queensland show the rooftops of flooded homes.

With a few islands of dry ground you see stranded livestock and small boats transporting people and emergency supplies.

Emergency authorities in Queensland said the flooding was not expected to reach a peak in some areas until Sunday and would not recede for at least a week.

Australia has experienced the wettest spring on record,causing six river systems in Queensland to flood.
If the sugar problems weren't enough, rivers in New South Wales state have also caused flood damage to the wheat crop.
Possibly as much as half the Australian wheat crop, or about 10 million tonnes, has been downgraded to less than milling quality because of rain damage.
This has sent prices up about 45 percent this year, the biggest increase since 2007.

We wish Australia a speedy recovery, and may the new year be a dryer one!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let The The Party Begin

New Year's Eve is here and restaurants, bars and hotels are celebrating.

It's been a while since there was any splurging on big parties, elegant dinners or high-end champagne.
But, "People are willing to spend again on treating themselves," says Louise Kramer, spokeswoman for the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.
Sales of  foie gras, truffles and lobster have been good and restaurants, bars and hotels are preparing for a busy New Year's. 

For people in the industry, New Year's Eve is in the top five busiest days. 
"Hotel room demand is up for the U.S. compared to 2009, and I have no reason to think that is going to change for New Year's Eve," says Jan Freitag, global development vice president at hotel research company STR. "People have a pent-up demand for travel," he says. "This is also the time for year-end bonuses, so if they did better than they thought, people could say, 'I have another $1,000, so I'll go away.' " Unlike last year, the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia is fully booked this year, says food and beverage director Martin Mariano.
The hotel will offer a fixed-price New Year's Eve dinner for guests.

More than 40% of all sparkling wine is consumed between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to the 2010 Wine Market report from beverage publication Impact.
Those sales have been dismal the last few years but have made a comeback this year
For the 52 weeks ended Nov. 28, sparkling wine sales were up 7% to $459 million, according to market research firm SymphonyIRI Group. 

Mariano says high-end drinks are also in increased demand at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, so for this year he's buying more premium champagnes, such as Dom Perignon.
"People were a little more frugal last year," he says.

As for restaurants and bars,"This New Year's Eve for restaurant sales will definitely be the best environment in several years," says National Restaurant Association research chief Hudson Riehle. 
The three signature restaurants at the MGM Grand in Detroit are already booked through 11:15 p.m. on Friday, says food and beverage sales manager Zachary Gallo. Based on consumer demand, they were able to charge slightly more for the fixed-price dinners at Bourbon Steak and Wolfgang Puck Grille.
The third restaurant, Saltwater, will also offer a decadent dinner this year: a $150 5-pound Maine lobster meal. "We knew that social spending had increased over last year, and we wanted to have options for the guests that are looking for the wow factor," Gallo says.

Gallo also expects big crowds at MGM bars this year. "We are selling tickets like hotcakes" to both the V Nightclub and Ignite Sushi Bar & Lounge, he says. Last year, only about 15 tickets were presold for V and 30 for Ignite. This year, V is up to 100 and Ignite is at 150. Sales are so healthy that MGM just raised the presale price to $75 from $50.

"Business is back with a vengeance," says Cal Hancock, president of Hancock Gourmet Lobster in Cundy's Harbor, Maine. "Our products are not inexpensive, because they are made with lobster, but people are indulging."
Christmas and New Year's-related revenue will be up 25% to 30% over last year, she says. This week, a customer hosting a New Year's Eve gathering for 14 at his Texas home ordered about $750 worth of food such as lobster risotto and lobster pot pies, as well as wild berry and peach crisps.

Ariane Daguin, head of fancy-food provider D'Artagnan, says sales to restaurants across the country "are going full blast."
It's nothing like last year, this time around, restaurants are including foods like truffles, venison and foie gras to their New Year's Eve menus — and it isn't going to be cheap either.

"Things can still be expensive, but they should be expensive for a reason," she says. "It's quality rather than quantity."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Bucket of Bugs Anyone?

According to a Dutch scientist the world's food crisis could be reversed if Westerners would eat insects in their diet and not all that meat.

Professor Van Huis (photo below) says bugs are nutritious and full of goodness and if westerners would only overcome their culturally indoctrinated sense of disgust, the environment would benefit.

As Professor Van Huis grabs up a couple of freeze-dried crickets and crunches them in his mouth,
he says not only do they taste good and are packed with vitamins.

The professor says if we farmed incests on an industrial scale they would be an environmentally friendly alternative to meat.
Insects are cold blooded so they do not need to convert food energy into heat; consequently we would save the planet, or something like that.

Also, Insects also emit 10 times less methane than their traditional farmyard alternatives.

There are those who tell us that when insects are ground down and mixed with spices the taste is delicious and just full of nutritional benefits. At least that's what they are telling us.

Professor Van Huis believes his work could take the strain off the planet.
Now he wants to convince the nonbelievers that bugs are just right for you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Donna Simpson 30,000 Calorie Christmas Dinner

You must remember Donna Simpson, she's the one who wants to become the fattest woman in the world.
She is now 30,000 calories closer to that1,000 pound goal of hers.

As Donna was sitting in a reinforced metal chair, she swallowed down on the world's biggest Christmas dinner in two straight hours of non stop eating. 

She was able to finish off two 25 pound turkeys, two maple-glazed hams, 15lbs of potatoes (10lbs roast, 5lbs mashed), five loaves of bread, five pounds of herb stuffing, four pints of gravy, four pints of cranberry dressing and 20lbs of vegetables...and a partridge and a pair tree.

Of course, there's always room for dessert.
Donna ate a 'salad' made of marshmallow, cream cheese, whipped cream and cookies.

Donna's two children, Devin, 14, and Jacqueline, 3 watched in horror (just kidding) they actually ate a more modest feast.

After all was said and done, Donna said, "I eat as much as I want, whenever I want, but at this time of year I really go all out"

Monday, December 27, 2010

Naga Viper is the hottest chili pepper in the world

People are calling this the paint-peeling pepper.
It's the Naga Viper, and it's a cross between three of the hottest exiting varieties, and now, it is the hottest chili in the world.
Yes, we hear that it's so hot that it can strip paint, we also learned that weapons experts are thinking about using the chili in a "spice bomb" to damage the enemy.

This new species was created by Gerald Fowler, who runs the Chili Pepper Company in Cumbria England.
Gerald says,"It numbs your tongue, then burns all the way down."  "It can last an hour, and you just don't want to talk to anyone or do anything."

The  Naga Viper has set a world-record on the Scoville scale.
The Naga Viper measures a scorching 1,359,000, hotter than the Indian Bhut Jolokia, which measures at 1,001,304.
Fowler makes customers sign an agreement they're "of sound body and mind" before sampling a Naga Viper-based curry.
"It's a marvelous endorphin rush," he said. "It makes you feel great."

The two pepper-heads in the video below say they wished they had never done this, suffering all day after eating these Naga Viper chilli’s.
But they later said the flavor of the pepper itself is amazing, it has both a fruity and savory taste. Similar to the Naga but not quite the same, the heat is something else entirely, Watch the video!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

KFC Christmas Chicken Dinner - A Big Hit In Tokyo

In Tokyo,  the hot ticket for Christmas was the Japanese love for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
It's so popular that people line up for blocks to order KFC's Christmas Party Barrels or reserve the party barrel two months in advance.

The Christmas Party Barrel included eight pieces of chicken (either all fried or half seasoned with garlic and soy), a Caesar salad and a chocolate-mousse cake on a decorative plate, all this for $46. (only 8 pieces of chicken?)

But McDonald's refused to be left behind, offering its own version of the "traditional" Japanese Christmas chicken dinner at half the price.
It's not a festive package, but it's filled with three different types of McDonald's fried chicken. There are Chicken McNuggets, Juicy Chicken Selects, and Shaka Shaka Chicken, which  is available only in Japan and involves some sort of packaged seasoning in which you "shaka shaka" (a.k.a. "shake") your order of deep-fried white meat.

So when next year, when Christmas comes around, start thinking about the drive through, a bucket of chicken and a yule tide order of fries.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From all of us here in the Voodoo Kitchen,
we wish you a happy Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In the hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap;

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below—
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name—
"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer! Now, Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away! All!"

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each tiny hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings—then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Security tags on turkeys to stop shoplifters

Supermarkets are putting electronic tags on their turkeys, trying to stop thefts this Christmas.
The stores had no choice due to a rise in shoplifting of food

In years past, stores would place these tags on high ticket items in electronics, but the electronic tags are being put on turkeys this year.

You know how this works, the tags will set off an alarm if a shoplifter tries to make it out the door with a turkey under their arm without it being removed or scanned through check-out.

A survey by the security company G4S reports the stores should worry.
They found that over half a million Britons would steal a turkey given the opportunity.
One in seven adults admitted being tempted to break the law at Christmas time because they didn't have enough money.

G4S said better CCTV and other security methods helps stop the shoplifters. But its marketing director, Douglas Greenwell, said: ‘The harsh economic realities facing many families may lead normally law abiding people to consider shoplifting as a way to save money this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candy Cane Trouble at Local High School

In Haymarket, Va. the "Christmas Sweater Club" is in trouble.
If you are wondering, they call themselves that because they wear these crazy and sing Christmas songs at school and try their best to spread Christmas cheer.

But now, all 10 of them are in trouble because of this terrible thing they did at school.

They say they were  tossing those small two-inch candy canes to other students as they entered school.
These are the candy canes that are in plastic wrap, and sometimes (actually, most times)  they break apart.

School administrators said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them. (another terrorist trick)

Next thing they knew, they were all being punished with detention and at least two hours of cleaning.
Their disciplinary notices didn't mention the dangerous candy canes, instead they were written up for littering and creating a disturbance.

Principal Amy Etheridge-Conti says she can't comment on the students' discipline but did say there was a lot more to it than handing out candy and that the discipline was warranted.

In an effort to explain themselves, the administrator said, "not everyone wants Christmas cheer."
That "suicide rates are up over Christmas, and that they should keep their cheer to themselves, perhaps."

Merry Christmas

A wonderful Christmas tradition, Canadian meat pie: Tourtiere

The tourtiere meat pie originated in Quebec and is traditionally served on Christmas eve after holy mass, and it's popular during the winter months.


* 1/2 lb ground beef
* 1/2 lb ground pork
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 1/8 tsp cloves
* 1/8 tsp cinnamon
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 pre-made pie crusts

This is a pretty good video if you ignore the host.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Terror Threat Targets U.S. Food

Armen Keteyian, CBS News chief investigative correspondent reports about the terror attacks upon America using simultaneous attacks of poisons - targeting hotels and restaurants at many locations over a single weekend.

A key Intelligence source has confirmed the threat as "credible." Department of Homeland Security officials, along with members of the Department of Agriculture and the FDA, have briefed a small group of corporate security officers from the hotel and restaurant industries about it.

The plot discovered earlier this year is said to involve the use of two poisons - ricin and cyanide to be slipped into foods at salad bars and buffets.

The terrorists are believed to be of the same terror group that attempted to blow up cargo planes over the east coast in October.

The propaganda from the terrorists says in part, "...attacking the enemy with smaller but more frequent operations" to "add a heavy economic burden to an already faltering economy."

Manuals and videos on jihadist websites explain how to easy it is to make both poisons.

"Initially it would look very much like food poisoning," said St. John's University professor of pharmaceutical sciences Dr. Susan Ford.

She showed how little of each poison could be fatal by putting a small amount of poison in cups.

Armen Keteyian: Are these dosages enough to really harm someone or kill someone?

Susan Ford: Yes, these are 250 milligrams and that is the fatal dose.

Keteyian: So just that much sodium cyanide is enough to kill me?

Ford: Yes, it is.

Here's the video report:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water of 31 U.S. cities

An environmental group analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States,discovering that most contained hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen that was made famous by the movie "Erin Brockovich."

The results of the study, by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide analysis of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public.
This is being released as the Environmental Protection Agency is deciding whether to set a limit for hexavalent chromium in tap water.

Back in the early 1990s Hexavalent chromium was a commonly used industrial chemical and is still used in some industries, such as in chrome plating and the manufacturing of plastics and dyes.
The concern is, the chemical can leach into groundwater from natural ores.
The new study found hexavalent chromium in the tap water of 31 out of 35 cities sampled.

"This chemical has been so widely used by so many industries across the U.S. that this doesn't surprise me," said Erin Brockovich, (above photo) who fought on behalf of the residents of Hinkley, Calif., against Pacific Gas & Electric.  In that case, PG&E was accused of leaking hexavalent chromium into the town's groundwater for more than 30 years. The company paid $333 million in damages to more than 600 people and pledged to clean up the contamination.
"Our municipal water supplies are in danger all over the U.S.," Brockovich said. "This is a chemical that should be regulated."
Max Costa, with the department of environmental medicine at New York University's School of Medicine and is an expert in hexavalent chromium, called the new findings "disturbing."
"At this point, we should strive to not have any hexavalent chromium in drinking water" or at least limit the amounts to the level proposed by California, Costa wrote in an e-mail.

Hexavalent chromium has long been known to cause lung cancer when inhaled, but scientists only recently found evidence that it causes cancer in laboratory animals when ingested. It has been linked in animals to liver and kidney damage as well as leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers.

Brendan Gilfillan, an EPA spokesman, said that the agency was aware of the new study by the Environmental Working Group and that the findings will be considered as the agency reviews total chromium in drinking water, work that is expected to be completed next year.
Ken Cook president of the Environmental Working Group, said that water utilities across the country are resistant to the regulation.
"It's not their fault. They didn't cause the contamination. But if a limit is set, it's going to be extraordinarily expensive for them to clean this up," Cook said. "The problem in all of this is that we lose sight of the water drinkers, of the people at the end of the tap. There is tremendous push-back from polluters and from water utilities. The real focus has to be on public health."
The report will be available Monday at

Here are the cities:

1. Norman, Oklahoma
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
3. Riverside, California
4. Madison, Wisconsin
5. San Jose, California
6. Tallahasse
­e, Florida
7. Omaha, Nebraska
8. Albuquerqu­e, New Mexico
9. Pittsburgh­, Pennsylvan­ia
10. Bend, Oregon
11. Salt Lake City, Utah
12. Ann Arbor, Michigan
13. Atlanta, Georgia
14. Los Angeles, California
15. Bethesda, Maryland
16. Phoenix, Arizona
17. Washington­, D.C.
18. Chicago, Illinois
19. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
20. Villanova, Pennsylvan­ia
21. Sacramento­, California
22. Louisville­, Kentucky
23. Syracuse, New York
24. New Haven, Connecticu­t
25. Buffalo, New York
26. Las Vegas, Nevada
27. New York, New York
28. Scottsdale­, Arizona
29. Miami, Florida
30. Boston, Massachuse­tts
31. Cincinnati­, Ohio

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Designer Fashionable Edibles


Korean artist Sung Yeonju has designed fashionable edibles, dresses, made out of items like
tomatoes, shrimp, mushrooms, (seen in the photos here) and a whole variety of foods.


Sung, who graduated from the Hong Kong University earlier this year, is already popular with her Wearable Clothes. These dresses are made 100% from food, and absolutely nothing else.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

How To Sharpen A Knife

One question we get when we are out and about is, "how do you sharpen a knife?"
Let's take a look at this fundamental kitchen necessity.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hell's Kitchen - and the winner is?

After it was all said and done, Russell and Nona head upstairs,Chef Ramsay tells them he has made a decision.
The decision was  based on both comments from the diners of each kitchen and what he observed during the kitchen during service.
They placed their hands on the handles and on the count of three and we were delighted to see Nona’s door open.
We thought the talent this season was weak but regardless, we really didn't want Russell to win. 
His obnoxious, self centered attitude was more than we could stomach.
His doom became very evident during the service when he lost control over his kitchen and over himself.

Not the good loser, he blamed everyone except himself:
“I'm pissed,” Russell said after Nona was named the winner. “I'm not happy at all.
I chose the team that I wanted and I thought they would help me win.
In fact, they helped me lose. So thanks a lot, guys.”
“You will never get a job in any city I work,” he threatened. “I’m going to definitely blackball you, because you guys f---ed me so royally tonight.”

Wow, Russel must be a very influential sous chef in Chicago.

Congratulations to Nona

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chef Wanted To Kill Wife Because he Loved Her

Hopefully, this is the last we'll hear of the celebrity chef, known as "Calorie Commando."
By now, most of you know the story he had cooked up, where  he would attend a party for his latest cookbook, "The Love Diet," while two homeless hitmen murdered his wife of 17 years.

The strange plan was ruined when the would-be killers went to the police.
What made the plot even stranger was what Juan-Carlos Cruz told police, he said he did it for love.
"Even though I was planning on whacking her, I'm very devoted. I know that's weird," Cruz told police when he was arrested.
Cruz said he wanted to spare his sweetheart the pain and despair of not being able to conceive a child after a decade of fertility treatments.
"His wife was brokenhearted and lamenting over the treatments. The defendant then said that this was a 'merciful' way to end her suffering."
Cruz was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison after pleading no contest, attempting to hire two homeless men to slash the throat of his wife.

Cruz said he and Campbell had spent more than $200,000 on failed fertility treatments and were deep in debt as a result.

Cruz, 48,  told police he had considered killing himself and his wife on Mother's Day because it was the most difficult holiday for her, but instead decided to live and hire someone else to kill her.
Police said Cruz gave the men 10, $100 bills that had been cut in half and said he would provide the other halves after the killing.
Police later found the remaining half-bills in Cruz's wallet.
For days, the homeless men communicated with Cruz on cell phones and in person to get instructions. The report said one of the men was given the key code to the couple's Westwood condominium and shown the location of surveillance cameras.
At this point, police detectives had Cruz under surveillance and videotaped him driving the man to the condo.
Cruz was concerned that his dogs not be harmed (only his wife) and gave the man treats to keep the animals quiet.
Cruz first discussed having his wife's throat slashed with a box cutter, the report said, but also suggested strangling her with her pantyhose to avoid a bloody mess.
But then he said, "If it ends up bloody, that's fine ... But I prefer not to have a mess."
Cruz told detectives he got the idea for his wife's death from a mystery novel but came up with the idea to cut the bills himself.
In a plea bargain with Cruz, prosecutors dropped a more serious count of attempted murder.
His lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holly, said Cruz will probably serve half his sentence because no violent crime was committed and he has no significant prior criminal record.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


First lady Michelle Obama is warning that the nation is seeing “a groundswell of support” for curbing childhood obesity.
“Military leaders … tell us that when more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service because of their weight,” and the first lady goes on to say, “childhood obesity isn’t just a public health threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well."

Michelle Obama on Child Nutrition: ‘We Can’t Just Leave It Up To The Parents.’

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TV Chef Juan-Carlos Cruz sentenced to nine years in prison

Remember TV chef Juan-Carlos Cruz and the whole murder for hire plot to kill wife?
Well. he was sentenced to nine years in prison on a charge of soliciting homeless men to kill his wife.
Prosecutors had dropped a charge of attempted murder after he pleaded no contest in October.

The former Food Network host (who we hardly remember) was arrested by Santa Monica, Calif., police after two homeless men told them that Cruz wanted to hire them to kill his wife, Jennifer Campbell.

Cruz, will most likely serve half of the nine-year term, smiled and winked at his wife — who was seated in the front row of the courtroom during the sentencing appearance.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Praise The Lard - How To Make It

Praise the lard!
You've heard us say this before because lard really isn't the evil you may have been led to believe.

As you'll see in the video, Lard rendered at home is 2/3 unsaturated and contains oleic acid, the same ingredient that in olive oil helps break down cholesterol.

Lard was a very popular fat until the 1950s, when scientists discovered that animal fats could lead to heart disease.
But they didn't see the complete picture.
The stuff that replaced lard, like margarine and vegetable shortenings turned out to contain artery-clogging trans fats and hydrogenated fats.

So, if you wait long enough and everything that's suppose to be bad for you is good again., like
Chocolate and Caffeine.
But lard has always been a tough sell, but attitudes are charging and the good news, lard is making it's way back into the kitchen.
Lard is also so easy to make:  simply buy unsalted pork fat from your butcher and put in the freezer for a few minutes to harden. Place in a heavy duty frying pan and cook or on top of the stove.

Watch Zarela Martinez show you how to make lard:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wavy Gravy: Ice Cream Man

This hippie ice cream guy has enjoyed his few moments of fame and now it's over.
But watching this hippie icon discuss the rise and fall of his Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor proves he's definitely a causality of the 60's.

View more news videos at:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Energy Drink Ban Proposed for Anyone Under 19

If you are under 19 or younger, you would be banned from buying non-alcoholic energy drinks under a proposed law being considered before the Suffolk County Legislature.
The proposed ban would be the first of its kind in the nation according to bill sponsor, county legislator Lynne Nowick.
"These drinks can potentially be dangerous for teens," said Nowick. "Why put foreign things in your body when you don't know what's going into them? The drinks are not regulated."
Nowick's ban would target energy drinks with more than 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving, according to the legislation formally filed Tuesday.
The argument being made, is that nergy drinks can cause sleeplessness and high blood pressure in teens.

Zahrine Bajwa works to educate local school districts about the alleged health risks of energy drinks, she says, "Would you give your child a cigarette? No, because it's not good for them," said Bajwa.
"It's the same with these energy drinks because they are not good for your kids."

On the other hand, the American Beverage Association said, "Any proposed ban on energy drinks is without merit."
"Energy drinks contain about half the caffeine of a similar size cup of coffeehouse coffee,"
"To be consistent, coffeehouses would have to start carding customers before serving them coffee."

A Riverhead deli owner who sells about twenty energy drinks a day agreed.
"Government should leave us alone," said Duffy Griffiths.
"I am sure there are people who drink too many of them; but people also drink too much coffee."

The Suffolk legislature could vote on the proposed ban early next year.

View more news videos at:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Voodoo Kitchen Dancer

Walmart Wants Wine Vending Machines

It's not only the Japanese that enjoy vending machines, Walmart is interested in having wine vending machines at several of its stores.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says that Walmart has preliminary approval to put the kiosks in stores in North Fayette, North Versailles, Butler, Washington, Belle Vernon, Monaca and New Castle.
These machines require customers to swipe their driver’s license and even give a breathalyzer test before they are allowed to browse over 50 varieties of wine.

Sounds simple enough, but some think, maybe too simple.
Some ask, wouldn't it be easier for the underage to buy wine?

Jeff Merritt from Mount Washington had another concern: “At Walmart – guns and wine – maybe not the best things to have at Walmart.”

Japan’s Vending Machine Recommends Beverages to Customers

Vending machines are a big part of the Japanese culture and everything from bananas, diapers to live crabs can be found in them.

Now there is a beverage vending machine that recommends drinks to customers, using facial recognition technology based on the customer’s age and gender.
Developed by JR East Water Business Co, a subsidiary of the railway firm, JR East Co, these machines use large touch-panel screens with sensors that permit the determination of the characteristics of an approaching customer.
The machine will then suggest a “recommended” choicer on specific beverage and this changes as by the time  of day and the outdoor temperature.
If the customer is a man, the machine is will most likely recommend a canned coffee drink, since men tend to like these best.
A woman in her 20s may be recommended a tea drink or slightly sweeter product, since market research has shown that they prefer these. 
We thought it would make it a lot more fun for the customers to have this kind of interaction with our machines…,” said a company spokeswoman.

If you doubt this type of machine has influence over potential customers, think again.
Sales have tripled over those from regular vending machines.

Results are based on only one machine that has been installed at one Tokyo train station, but it is expected that by early 2011, five more will be added at central Tokyo Station and nearby suburban areas. By March of 2012, some 500 machines are slated for installation all around Tokyo and its environs.

Is it just us, or does it look like a pair of white shoes, under the talking vending machine?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Workplace Journalism

Every now and then we come across bad journalism or just funny stuff in general.
In the past most of this was just journalism at its worst, but this time, we stumbled upon workplace notes that made us laugh.
We all need a good laugh, so we want to share workplace journalism with you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Worker sucked into machine and decapitated at chicken factory

A poultry processing worker, Sarel Singh, 34, was killed instantly when he was sucked into a machine and decapitated in an accident at a factory in Melbourne, Australia.

This factory has been  under investigation over claims of unlawful and unethical treatment of its majority migrant workforce.
Mr Singh's brother, said that Sarel had migrated from India four years ago "in the hope of finding a better life in Australia."
Sarel Singh

But Sarel had told his brother, who lives in India, that his job at the Melbourne factory was 'hell' and he was planning to return home.
Sarel had just finished a four-hour shift when he was asked to go back and re-clean a packing area.
He was standing on a ladder hosing down a machine when he was swept into it and instantly decapitated.

Mr Tim Kennedy of the NUW said he and the factory workers were shocked by the decapitation.
"It is absolutely horrific in a civilized society that we have now the fact that these things still occur,  it is just not acceptable."
The poultry factory increased the risk to workers by speeding up the machinery so that 20 to 40 birds a minute could be processed.
But instead of packing up to 40 birds a minute, the machine was working at a speed that was processing 183 birds a minute.

The WorkSafe Victoria report confirmed the line was operating at the top speed of 183 birds a minute and that "by not adequately controlling the risks associated with this plant, [Baiada poultry] is in contravention of the requirements of section 21(1) and 21(2)(A) of the occupational health and safety act."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Perfect Christmas Pudding

We really don't like using microwaves, but when Marguerite Patten speaks, we listen.
Marguerite Patten was a celebrity chef long before the current group of celebrity chefs.
Born 1915,  95 now, and just as busy as ever, writing, broadcasting and, now, podcasting.
Probably the world's most prolific cookery writer, Marguerite has a staggering 170 books to her name and worldwide sales over 17 million.

Here she makes the perfect Christmas pudding, and yes, it's in the microwave.
We ran this video last year and got a strong response, so here she is, Marguerite Patten.

Friday, December 3, 2010

American Airlines and the Lizard Saga

Have you heard about the American Airlines passenger who "wanted to die" after she supposedly ate a lizard served as an in-flight chicken dinner, 8 years ago?

Monserrate Luna, Puerto Rico, said began eating the reptile while watching a movie on her flight  from JFK to San Juan in 2003. 8 years ago.
After chewing for a while, she was unable to swallow and spit it into a napkin.

Her five-year-old son,  yes, her 5 year old son confirmed it was "an animal."

Luna says she suffered a rash, bloating and diarrhoea after eating the meal.
Airline lawyer Kenneth Gormley claimed the masticated mess was chicken skin, and that "there may have been some feathers, or what looked like feathers ... but there was no lizard."
We think the lizard sounds pretty good after hearing that.

She filed a $15 million lawsuit against American Airlines in January this year.

8 years later, let the trials begin...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

200 Year Old Bottles of Champagne Opened and Tasted

Bottles of champagne, after almost 200 years under water have been opened in Finland, .
Wine enthusiasts and experts attending the uncorking in Mariehamn were able to try a glass of this 200 year old champagne, which was recovered from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.

The vintage were bottles of both Veuve Clicquot and the Juglar brands of champagne.

Swedish wine connoisseaur Richard Juhlin took the first sip, which he described as "wonderful."
He said that after nearly 200 years beneath the ocean the champagne had lost its fizz, but not its flavour.
"I think what strikes you the most is that it's such an intense aroma. It's so different from anything you've tasted before."

The deep-sea discovery was made by divers near the Aland Islands in July, who salvaged a total of 168 bottles of champagne as well as crates of vintage beer.

Aland's culture minister Britt Lundeberg said: "All bottles are not intact but the majority are in good condition."

Five bottles will be kept by the governemnt as archaeological artefacts and the rest will be sold at an auction.

They are expected to earn £44,000 ($77,000) each.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rice bread baking machine a big hit

Give us this rice our daily bread.
Imagine, a home breadmaking machine that grinds rice and bakes a loaf of fresh bread.
This bread machine has become such a hit in Japan that its maker is overwhelmed by demand.
The company has had to stop taking orders just three weeks after putting the machine on sale.

This bread machine isn't cheap either, around 50,000 yen ($600).
Sanyo Electric Co said that orders for its Gopan breadmaker were going to hit 58,000 by the end of the month, its original sales target for the end of March next year.
All users have to do is wash the rice and add a few other ingredients into the Gopan,  the name is a combination of the Japanese for "rice" and "bread," and press the start button.
The machine does everything else, from milling the rice to the kneading, rising and baking that other home breadmaking machines also do.
"There's a lot of people who are getting more nervous about what's in their food, especially things like bread that could contain additives. This allows them to see exactly what goes in."
Sanyo is likely to resume taking orders for the Gopan next April after increasing production.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hong Kong McDonald’s to Offer Cheap McWeddings

After the new year begins in 2011, couples in love will be able to marry at any McDonald’s branch in Hong Kong.

The McWeddings will be offered in packages starting at HK$1000 ($129), which is a major savings from the typical HK$10,000 or $1,300 price of a Hong Kong wedding.

Here's what you get: a personalized menu, decorations, McDonald’s-themed gifts, a special apple-pie wedding cake, and a lone fry in place of the traditional cherry a couple shares prior to kissing.

This happy meal never seemed so happy and really cheap.

It was described as an American couple getting married in a Las Vegas casino. 

If you want this kind of a wedding, there are a few things you need to know:
  • The McWeddings aren’t guaranteed any privacy whatsoever.
  • Other customers who walk in to grab a bite are welcome to watch the ceremony. 
  •  McDonald’s doesn’t carry any liquor or beer, so there’ll be no drinking.

While it may not be the most romantic wedding day,  it certainly is inexpensive .
But even more important than that is all the free Happy Meal toys you get with it.  

As soon as we can get our hands on the video, we'll post it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Japanese Fruit Company Plays Mozart to Bananas

We really love the Japanese culture, we really do.
Now we learn of a Japanese fruit company that Mozart to its ripening bananas, saying it produces a sweeter banana.
We have wondered all along about  the feelings of fruits and vegetables, and the cruelty of vegetarians who are murdering them.
But it appears there is a a wide variety of food and beverages in Japan that are listening to classical music, including soy sauce, udon noodles, miso and even sake.
Over at Ohara Shuzo brewery, senior managing director, Fumiko Ohara said the classical musical experiment began over 20 years ago when the president, Kosuke Ohara, came across a book about brewing with music.
They tried jazz, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, but "We found Mozart works best for sake," Mr Ohara said, "and that's why we use only his music."

So, the Mozart-loving bananas are shipped as ordinary unripe fruit from the Philippines,but that's when their journey really begins.
Mozart's String Quartet 17 and Piano Concerto 5 in D major, among other works, play continuously for one week over speakers in their ripening chamber.
The fruit company, Isamu Okuda, said it makes the fruit sweeter.
Who's to argue, because consumers agree - the "Mozart bananas", are sold for $3.60 a bunch and sales are up over last year's non-musical bananas.

Dorothy Retallack, in her 1973 book, "The Sound of Music and Plants says, "After playing various kinds of music to plants for three hours daily, she found they "preferred" soothing classical, which made them flourish. Rock and country, on the other hand, had either a debilitating effect or none at all.
While there are nonbelievers, Hiroko Harada, the manager of Harada konows better.
The yield of her Mozart-infused tomatoes, called Star Drops, says it all.
15 years ago Harada heard about cows whose milk production went up after listening to Mozart. (A farmer in Spain claims his Mozart-listening bovines produce 1 to 6 liters more milk per day than other cows, and a farm in Aichi called Dairy Paradise uses the same method to boost production.)
At the Hiroko Harada farm, speakers are located in nine greenhouses playing Mozart for about 10 hours a day.
Harada says that Star Drops are tastier and sweeter, and according to the Tokushima Kogyou Shikenjyo, a public research institute, they have three times more iron and vitamin C than regular tomatoes, and Harada feels Mozart plays a role.

The Japanese public seem accept the idea that Mozart can improve food and beverages, and the concept of the Mozart Effect, as it impacts on fruits and vegetables seems more popular than ever.

We ran a post July 13, 2009 on the "The Silent Scream of Plants and Vegetables", and it's a related story to the emotions of fruits listening to Mozart.