Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rotten Shark and a Vodka Chaser

Two bite-size of hakarl or decomposed shark flesh and potato vodka chaser, called
Brennevin. (the above photo)
Yes, in Reykjavik Iceland, chef Eythor Halldorsson's has been serving rotten shark, and it's meant to be served that way.
As the months pass the decomposed shark is prepared into a traditional delicacy.
The dish, called hakarl, kept in a sealed jar to stop the aroma, (something between ammonia and blue cheese) from escaping.
The potato vodka shooter called Brennevin that comes at the end is suppose to be a palette cleanser, but we think it's more like an anesthetic.

Hakarl, loved by the Vikings is still eaten today, especially during the darkness-filled winter festival called Thorrablot.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Un-Happy Meal

The board of supervisors in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, voted Tuesday to ban the toys that are offered in Happy Meals like cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets because those meals don’t meet prescribed nutritional expectations.
This law applies to all fast-food restaurants giving away Happy Meal type toys intended for children.
Ken Yeager, the board president, said the new law would level “the playing field by taking away the incentive to choose fatty, sugary foods over healthier options.”
“What we’re trying to do is de-link the connection between unhealthy food and toys,” said Mr. Yeager, who added that he believed children chose their meals based on the giveaway that came with it. “Why would a kid say ‘I want a burger with fries’? It’s the toys that they want.”
The law, will allow restaurants to give away toys as long as the meals don’t contain excessive calories, sodium, sugar or fat. “This ordinance does not attack toys,” Mr. Yeager said just before the board passed the law by a 3-2 vote. “Toys, in and of themselves, do not make children obese.”
Mr. Yeager, who doesn't  have children, said the law would take effect this summer after a final vote in May.
McDonald’s, said it was disappointed by the board’s action, adding that “our Happy Meals provide many of the important nutrients that children need,” including zinc, iron and calcium.

Woman gets 9-months for extortion plan - using a rat

The woman in the picture is from Appleton, and she has been convicted and sentenced to nine months in jail for by putting a rat in her food, then trying to extort money from a restaurant
Debbie R. Miller pleaded no contest to a felony charge of rat extortion.
Prosecutors say Miller planted the dead rat in her food back in 2008, and then told The Season's, an upscale Grand Chute restaurant, that she would tell the media if it didn't pay her $500,000to stay quiet.
It was determined the rodent was a domestic white rat that had been cooked in a microwave and
the restaurant says they don't use microwaves.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anthony Bourdain wins "Person of the Year Award" at the 2010 TASTY Awards

Anthony Bourdain won the "Person of the Year Award" at the 2010 TASTY Awards Show in San Francisco. The Tasty Awards celebrate the best food and fashion programs on TV, in Film, and on the Web.

Anthony's acceptance speech was classic, there wasn't one, he didn't make it.

The following is an interesting interview with him and the Chicago Tribune, he talks No Reservations, food TV and more.

Here's the interview:

We can go on with a lengthy exposition about who Anthony Bourdain is, but what he has to say is far more interesting. The host of "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel, Bourdain will appear at the Chicago Theatre Saturday to muse on food, television, and surely, Rachael Ray. Here he is.

You're a chef by training. How do you keep 4,000 people in a theater entertained?

I'm gonna walk out on stage and just start talking. I don't have props or an entourage or DJs. I'll just talk for an hour about what's exciting or pissing me off at the moment.

You do know Guy Fieri has a T- shirt cannon at his stage shows.

Right! He's got a giant blender. A "flair" bartender, whatever that means. I don't have T-shirts, I don't have merchandise. I don't even have wardrobe. He has the cool yellow chef's coats with "Culinary Gangsta" spelled out on them. It's like Wayne Newton.

What's with all you food folks touring? Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, now you? Maybe you should organize a Monsters of TV Chefs Mega Tour.

At the end of the day, all of these guys have to cook. I don't even cook on stage. I don't really understand it, but it's fun for me to do. It's lucrative …I talk for about an hour and then I take questions.To the extent that they've been drinking, that makes a big difference. Hopefully, the questions are provocative and hopefully confrontational.

You enjoy the confrontation?

I'd rather be challenged by somebody, rather than have somebody say, "Dude, where are you going to have drinks after the show?" I love a spirited debate as much as anybody. I even like being wrong, if something can make a good case … on something. In a lot of ways, that's what I do professionally, traveling. I'm confronted by my own ignorance or misunderstandings all the time.

"kitchen Confidentia;" liberated you from the kitchen. In your new book, what perspective do you have on the food world when you haven't spent the last 10 years in a restaurant?

It's distorted, to some extent. I'm incredibly lucky, I've got the best job in the world. One of the chapters in my book talks about how perhaps this weird, jaded, overindulged lifestyle of all these great meals all over the world has left me with a distorted view of some great restaurant. I focus on Alinea as an example, the fact that I didn't enjoy the meal there, it talks more about how I've changed than anything wrong with Alinea.

What was wrong with Alinea?

I just didn't enjoy my meal there. It's a major bone of contention around the house. I know Grant (Achatz, the chef/owner). I have enormous respect for him. He probably served me the greatest restaurant meal of my life at the French Laundry. I think I'm smart enough and been around long enough to recognize a talented, truly great chef. That experience didn't connect with me. My wife, on the other hand, thought it was one of the great meals of her life. I've burnt out in some respects, I've had too many 20-course menus. I've become one of the annoying old foodies. You reach a point of diminishing returns where if you can't enjoy at Alinea, it's not a good sign.

What exactly didn't connect?

I did not experience the sense of wonder and delight that a lot of people do feel. I've eaten at El Bulli (in Spain), at WD-50 (in New York City). (Alinea) didn't thrill or excite me. I was annoyed by the presentation of the food. I was particularly annoyed by the service ware, the clothesline and the wire construction. For me, I found it intrusive.

Many aspiring chefs look up to the 20-course meals as the zenith of gastronomy. And when they achieve that level of cooking, they end up getting bored by it, and then what excites them are the simple foods.

No question about it. It's true of wine also. I respond to blunt objects more than a subtle wine. Rough neighborhood wines in Italy or Sardinia or Cotes du Rhone make me happier. Cruder, messier things where I don't need to engage my brain, I could pretty much submissively lose myself in the moment.

There was one course at Alinea that I do remembered that was just so superb. It was one of the more conservative courses. I think it was the lobster dish. The flavor and the precision of the cooking was so extraordinary. I kept thinking if every course was like this, this would've been one of the great meals of my life. But who am I to say? I really respect that Grant has chosen the difficult path. Obviously it's not interesting for him to please everybody.

The big takeaway from the first book are the rules, like don't order seafood on Mondays. Any new rules in the years since?

"Kitchen Confidential" was about a career that took place mostly in the 70's through 90's. When I wrote "don't eat fish on Mondays," the guy writing it didn't think anyone outside New York City would even read the book. Things have changed so much in the industry. The behavior in any good kitchen has changed a lot. Certainly the business still attracts the same kind of personality types, but a lot of the behavior I was talking about — snorting cocaine or having sex on the cutting board — would probably be frowned upon, particularly in open kitchens, which is a relatively new development. There's so much genuine hope for a real future in kitchens that didn't exist back in the early part of my career. An Irish pub on Monday, I'm not sure I'd go for a seafood salad. But I wouldn't have a problem at the sushi bar at Le Bernardin.

What's your opinion on the Michael Pollan-ization of food? He's got this new book called "Food Rules," where it's "don't eat this" and "don't eat that." Do you ever want to say, "I just want a burger and a soda, buzz off?"

I really liked "The Omnivore's Dilemma." I really like the bits with him in it in "Food, Inc." which I thought was a terrific movie. But I worry about orthodoxy. There's a real danger of appearing elitist. It's probably a good thing when he terrifies people about high fructose corn syrup and the evils of fast food. I think it's useful. But bludgeoning us, insisting that we move to 100 percent organic, becomes kind of ridiculous. That's the difference between Pollan and Alice Waters.

In one interview, you've compared Alice Water's approach to food to the Khmer Rouge.

How can you disagree with what she says? But she seems to blunder in saying the most outrageously insensitive stuff. She doesn't help by saying these things that are designed to piss off and exclude working families who are struggling to make a budget, who might otherwise be inclined to join the cause in whatever degree they can. But again and again, she displays a spectacular disconnect from the reality of most ordinary people. In some way, that's her strength. I think Alice is good and wonderful and useful because she's an elitist, because she loves the rolling hills in Provence and French wines and stinky cheeses. But she's the wrong person playing the populist.

What would you do if you were given control of the Food Network?

Wow. No one should ever let me do that. It's a tough question. Morally, would I remove programming I find morally questionable or embarrassing, or would I want to bring a profit to my shareholders? Whatever Food Network has done, no matter how egregious, dumb, stupid, it's been spectacularly successful. Every new horrible show, every publishing venture has come out roses and gold. How could I disagree with that? I can say I hate it.

Let's say profits were no issue, and you had editorial and creative control of the network.

I'd bring back "Molto Mario" right away. I'd have Mario Batali do a standard instructional show that would be the cornerstone. I would make it more chef-centric, of course. I would make sure Sandra Lee was never allowed near any cooking utensil or food item. Immediately. I'd have a long talk with Rachael Ray. I'd say, "Look, Rachael, you're bigger than food now. You're in Oprah territory. You don't have to cook anymore. Move on."

I'd give Ina Garten more time, because I think her food's good. I might try to do some Asian, Latino and be more inclusive, with cultural culinary programming. They also used to have a great show called "My Country, My Kitchen." And of course they canceled it because it was so excellent. That's a show I'd bring back.

What can you say about the Chicago food scene that would piss off Chicago foodies?

I don't like deep dish pizza, except for Burt's Place (in Morton Grove) which was quite wonderful. Most deep dish is awful and not pizza, I don't know what it is. It's ugly stuff. But that's about it. I love Chicago. Chicago's one of the few American cities that's big enough to support a large number of high end restaurants. A lot of cities cannot support restaurants like Charlie Trotter or Alinea or Blackbird. There just aren't enough wealthy people. It's a big town, it's got great food on the high end and low end. And I'm on record admitting the Chicago hot dog is far superior than the New York hot dog.

Any places in Chicago you're eager to visit?

Publican I'd like to try.

You featured Mancow on the Chicago episode of "No Reservations." My question to you: Why Mancow?

(Laughing) I don't have to agree with him to like him. He's actually a quiet, thoughtful guy. He's a monster douche on radio and our politics are as different as anyone could be. But I also get along with Ted Nugent really well. I know Mancow through a mutual friend. He's been extremely loyal to me from very early on, giving me huge amounts of time on his radio show to promote my books. He's a loyal friend to me. And I don't have to love the act.

My aunts live in Hong Kong and she tells me you and Bizarre Food's Andrew Zimmern are like Bono and Jagger in Asia. Why do you think that is?

I'm going to guess because they're very food-centric and very proud in that part of the world. And they get a real kick out of Westerners eating foods that even they recognize as difficult. I think they like to see authentic dishes represented on TV, especially if we're getting it right rather than going to the best restaurant in town. We're doing the foods people like to eat when they're drunk at two in the morning. I have a lot of Asian fans within the states and abroad, and it doesn't surprise me at all that Andrew does as well.

Conversely, they get really pissed off if you miss the good stuff, or you didn't get a real good version of the stuff. You put the wrong dumpling place on TV, they get really cranky about that. I got booed by 500 people once in Singapore. Someone asked me what's my favorite chicken rice place -- that's the signature dish of Singapore -- and I haven't had it at the time. And 500 people booed at me, followed by arguments over which places I should be recommended. When "A Cook's Tour" was on Food Network, they were so unenthusiastic about sending me out to Asia, and yet, out in Asia they loved the show so much. I was looking for an American company to underwrite me making television for a largely Asian audience. So it doesn't surprise me and pleases me to no end that people in the very place I like making television most like me back. That thrills me.

I read that you're planning to move your family to Vietnam.

Down the line, I hope to write a book there. Move there with the family and live in Vietnam and write about that.

What's so appealing about Vietnam?

You dream about a place. I've always dreamed of Southeast Asia. In my head it was this Francis Ford Coppola image of the exotic east, and then I went and it was so much better than even that. It's a place filled with incredibly proud cooks and passionate eaters. Beautiful country, lovely people, all that history. I've described it as a pheremonic reaction. Right away I thought this was the place, it smells good. You look around and everything is beautiful. I always have an idiotic grin walking down the street.

"No Reservations" has aired 100 episodes. What's the end goal?

I just want to keep doing this for as much as I can get away with it, and as long as I have something to say. The camera people, the producers and I have traveled around the world so many times now that we'll sit around and think about places that will be fun and interesting to explore, but more so, how we're going to make a show, technically: how the show will look, the tone, the sound; how will we make it different than anything we've done?

How do you avoid cliche when you've already done so many shows?

We try to undermine whatever it was that worked last week. We deliberately set up difficult things to do. Using new lenses, constantly experimenting with new equipment to give it a more cinematic look — letterboxes, widescreen, gyros, cheap do-it-yourself kind of innovation. The editing styles. We think about movies that we loved that have been shot in this area that we might try to rip off. In the case in Rome, we're going to do the whole thing in black and white, and in letterbox. Can we do really gorgeous food porn in black and white? It's never been done.

How much of the cinematic influence comes directly from you?

I'm a super cinema nerd and have been since I was a little kid. I have an annoyingly enormous number of films running around in my head. If we're thinking about Indonesia, I know I'll be going back to "The Year of Living Dangerously." If we're going to Venice, I think of "Don't Look Now," "The Comfort of Strangers," "Death in Venice."

What do you think of Jamie Oliver trying to make a bunch of fat kids stop eating nachos?

I admire him for it, I really do. He is to be complimented. Like Grant (Achatz), he's doing the difficult thing. Jamie can just do Naked Chef forever and open cynical, exploitative Jamie Oliver-branded restaurants and make gazillions of dollars and die a billionaire. But instead, he's chosen to annoy the sh-- out of us by telling us what we don't want to hear in the interest of goodness. I really respect and admire it. It's never proven to be a good business model to be the bearer of bad news, tell people again and again what they don't want to hear. I admire him for it.

Has smoking affected your palate?

I'm sure it has. One of the things that always annoys me was that people would comment, "Never trust a chef who smokes." Well, most chefs smoke or at least were smokers. The restaurant industry statistically has the highest incidence of smoking, so chances are the chefs that you love and admire and see on TV, they smoke. They smoke cigarettes, cigars, weeds, or used to. Does it affect my palate? Sure, but I think smoking is one of those things that fall very much into the personality type of driven, orally fixated, pleasure-seeking, highly-sexed chefs. I just smoke on TV, most of the others guys don't.

What excites you in food these days?

I think what David Chang is doing is really interesting. I'm always interested to see what he does next because he's created a real game-changing business model. Pop-up restaurants where, say, chefs from France who come in and do guest appearances for a night, that's exciting. There's this whole new democratization of fine dining that's going on. New ways of getting reservations that were unthinkable before, using online lottery system, first-come-first-serve, social networking. I think that's pretty exciting. Food trucks, anytime I see good street food, that's exciting. An izakaya turns me on (Japanese snack bars). If I'm looking for comfort food late at night, low impact, a casual Japanese beer-related izakaya is really exciting to me. I'm excited by the "New Casual," with high end chefs who walk away from fine dining and strips it down.

Is the idea of fine dining losing its pretense? How everything doesn't have to be foams and gelee, but that burgers and hot dogs could be high-end food too?

Well, fine dining is fine dining. David Chang isn't serving you burgers. You might even see a little foam at Momofuku Ko, which has two Michelin stars. But the guy serving it to you is wearing a snap-on dishwasher shirt at the counter, and they're playing the Sex Pistols in the sound system. Which is pretty awesome. People are willing to pay for the ingredients. They're just removing the bulls---.

Has the foodie culture become too precious? When people spend 3,000 words expounding on the virtues of a hot dog, is this a good thing?

Yeah. It could be silly, it could be annoying and I like to make fun of bloggers. But when we're researching a show some place, chances are, it's bloggers we're reaching out to first. It's not the restaurant review in the newspaper that's going to determine [a place's] future. The Internet is a big bathroom wall with people writing on it all the time. At the end of the day, some consensus will be reached. You know, 3,000 words on a hot dog, why not? What better thing to write 3,000 things on? How many tens of thousands of words has been written about Kate Gosselin for f---'s sakes. Or the Kardashians. So I don't see anything out there...what better than a hot dog or a chef?

Has there been a place that refuses to serve you?

Romania, just by virtue of being Americans. You walk in the door, and they say go away, no seats. You mean at a restaurant?


No. I've always been treated with incredible generosity and kindness and solidarity by chefs. Everyone I've met at a restaurant since Kitchen Confidential came out, worldwide, it's been high fives and free hor d'ouerves and drinks. The only people who've met been prickly to me have been a few food writers. But I can't complain about my treatment by anyone.

You and Ferran Adria are buddies. What's the real reason he's closing El Bulli, with plans of opening a culinary school in 2014?

I'm quite certain that they never made money and I don't doubt that at all. It's incredibly hard what they were doing, year after year, to completely reinvent, not just their menu but expected to be spear point of innovative cooking worldwide. All eyes are on what he's going to do this year. I think he just might be tired of Ferran Adria. I imagine I would be. It's incredible pressure. How long can you go on and making that turn of contribution to single-handedly determine the future of food? He was so far out in front. I think enough is enough. Time to make some money.

Is teaching something you'd like to do in the future?

If I had the time, I'd like to teach high school English or creative writing, honestly, to rotten kids.

Who are your literary heroes?

Graham Greene would be one. I'm a huge fan. There's so many ... Malcolm Lowry, Hunter S. Thompson, Nick Tosches, I read a lot. Just the perfect crime novel is a thing of beauty. There's much to be learned from Elmore Leonard or George V. Higgins ... fantastic writers.

By the way, did you hear Rachael Ray has a line of dog food called "Nutrish?" Your response, please.

I guess it's an easy joke. I've kind of stopped picking on Rachael. Because A) it's low-hanging fruit, and B) she sent me a fruit basket.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Evo Morales: 'Chicken causes baldness and homosexuality'

Bolivian President Evo Morales has some interesting medical advice - If you don't want to end up bald or gay, don't eat chicken.
Speaking at an environmental conference this week in Cochabamba, Bolivia, (called the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth) Morales said, in a speech, that chicken ranchers inject female hormones into the fowl, "and because of that, men who consume them have problems being men."
There were thousands in attendance when Morales made the statements.

Even though most Western countries ban hormone injections in chicken already,  Morales continued to diagnose chicken eating as the cause of male baldness. "Baldness, which seems normal, is a sickness in Europe," he said. "Almost everyone is bald. And that's because of what they eat."
The Bolivian president pointed to his own shock of thick black hair as proof.
No sign of baldness on his head, Morales said. (and no sign of anything in it apparently)

What is Haggis anyway? part two

Back in February we asked, "What is Haggis anyway?" and now the question has been asked again, in London.
One one out of five people in Britain thinks that haggis, the traditional Scottish dish meat dish made with the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal is a creature that lives in the hills, according to a survey.
Commissioned by the online takeaway food service, the survey found that 18 percent of Britons believe that haggis is a hilltop-dwelling animal.
Another 15 percent said it is a Scottish musical instrument while 4 percent admitted to thinking it was a character from Harry Potter.
The survey questioned 1,623 people across Britain to see how well they were acquainted with traditional Scottish food.
Even 14 percent of the 781 Scottish people polled said they did not know what haggis was.

That's a Haggis, in the above photo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

UPDATE: Chef Boyardee rat in a can was mold

A spokesperson for ConAgra Foods issued staement about the rat in a can:
"I want to share that after inspection, we can assure with certainty that the substance in the can is not any type of animal, but mold, likely from damage to the can in shipping. Regardless, it's not acceptable for a consumer to receive a product in that condition. We are working with her, and we are investigating the cause of the mold."
"It's not an animal of any kind, that it is most likely mold. We will confirm this with a series of tests we'll be doing over the next two days."
"Sometimes a very small piece of damage to a can that would be very difficult for a customer to see, but we have the ability to test and determine, could lead to something like this. We do believe this is an isolated incident. It is not acceptable for a consumer to receive a product in this condition."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chef Boyardee and the rat in a can

An Ohio women says she opened up a can of Chef Boyardee spaghetti with meatballs and didn't find even one meatball.
"I opened it up and my face was very close to it and immediately you could tell there was a dead rodent on top, in fact you couldn't even see the spaghetti and meatballs at all," said Jennifer Aker.

Jennifer made contact with ConAgra, (the Chef Boyardee people) who asked for a photo of the can and it's contents.
But she better than that, Aker's nephew shot a video of the can and its contents and put it on YouTube.
You can watch the video below.
ConAgra, is sending someone to pick up the contents so they can conduct tests.
They also released the following statement in response to the rat in a can.
"We take all consumer inquires seriously, and when a consumer has a bad experience, we work with them to determine the source of the problem and correct it. We also work with them to make up for their experience as best as we are able."
Jennifer Aker said, "I'm not looking for money, I'm just looking to let people be aware of this.
It's just really gross."

Here's the video of the can its contents, shot by Jennifer's nephew Daniel:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Burger King Sued Over Spit

What is it with spit and fast food employees these days?
It took the crime lab and a DNA analysis of a burger – to prove that a burger King worker spit and possibly wiped his ass on a deputy's burger.

It was on this unfortunate night that 22-year-old Gary Herb was the cooking burgers, a man with a criminal past.

The Deputy watched another fast-food worker hand him the bag in a way that made him suspitious. So he cracked open the burger beforetaking a bite.
That's when he found human spit and saliva, not ruling out feces, on the deputy's burger.

Frustrated by Burger King's hampering of the investigation, Deputy Bylsma now is suing the restaurant chain. He's also suing Kaizen Foods, which reportedly owns the restaurants in the Northwest. We're told the deputy hopes the suit will change Burger King's hiring and supervision policies, and seeks unspecified damages.

Said the deputy's attorney, Anne Bremner: "When the deputy asked for changes, for an apology, for any kind of assurance that this wouldn't happen again, that just hasn't been forthcoming."

A statement from Burger King said that "food safety is non-negotiable at Burger King restaurants. There are strict policies and procedures regarding food handling ... The employees involved in this incident violated these strict procedures and have been terminated by the franchise owner. The company regrets this incident.‪"

However, the deputy's attorney said the restaurant still isn't doing criminal background checks on the people it hires.

One of the fired workers, who handed the officer the burger, is rumored to have hepatitis and he too, has a criminal record
However, Burger King nor the employee have responded to requests for hepatitis testing. That's one more reason the deputy is filing suit for hampering.

Gary Herb, had been working at Burger King for a a year, just imagine how much spit has gone through the to go window.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Do Fast Food Logos make us impatient?

According to researchers, people who are exposed to fast food logos become increasingly impatient and lose the impulse to save money.
Volunteers who were shown the McDonald’s logo at a blink of an eye became agitated when they could not identify it, the study found.
Scientists, monitored the behavior of 57 volunteers, shown six logos from fast-food chains such as MacDonald s and KFC.
The speed at which they read a 320-word passage was measured before and after they were shown the logos, and was found to be significantly faster afterward.
In another experiment, the volunteers were asked whether they wanted to a take a smaller sum of money immediately or a larger amount in a week’s time. They were found to be more likely to opt for instant gratification after seeing the logos.

We are becoming agitated just trying to make sense of the research and these silly tests.

Chen-Bo Zhong, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Toronto University,was in charge of this study.

He said: “Fast food represents a culture of time efficiency and instant gratification. The problem is that the goal of saving time gets activated upon exposure to fast food regardless of whether time is a relevant factor in the context.
“When I sit in a fast-food restaurant, I find myself gobbling my Big Mac down at this incredible speed, even though there is no rush at all.”

Maybe it's just you Mr.Zhong

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Risks With Eating Uneviscerated Fish

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a message, it's about about the dangers of eating (uneviscerated fish) dried fish which still has the internal organs inside.
The warning comes after the product was discovered at some ethnic Twin Cities stores.
This kind of fish sold is often salted and sometimes smoked.
The MDA says eating it can cause botulism poisoning and people who have the product in their home should throw it away.
Uneviscerated fish has an embargo place upon it because of Clostridium bacteria contamination.
It's the bacterium can produce the potentially deadly botulinum toxin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ingesting the toxin can cause double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness.
Without treatment symptoms can progress to paralysis, potentially of the respiratory muscles.

Symptoms usually appear between 18 and 36 hours after eating the contaminated food, but it could be as soon at six hours or as late as 10 days.

Investigators would love to know how the uneviscerated fish made it to stores in Minnesota.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dark Chocolate good medicine for the liver

Dark chocolate may be prescribed sometime in the not to distant future for people with cirrhosis of the liver due to the latest research showing once again, the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Spanish researchers said Thursday that eating dark chocolate reduced the usual after-meal rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels in cirrhotic patients and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture.
We've heard it before, but again it's the antioxidants called flavanols found in cocoa that are believed to be the reason why chocolate is good for blood pressure because the chemicals help the smooth muscle cells of the  blood vessels to relax and widen.

"This study shows a clear association between eating dark chocolate and (lower) portal hypertension and demonstrates the potential importance of improvements in the management of cirrhotic patients," said Mark Thursz, a professor of hepatology at London's Imperial College.
The results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna and follow a number of earlier scientific studies suggesting that dark chocolate also promotes heart health.
Cirrhosis, as you may know, is the scarring of the liver as a result of long-term damage.
It is caused by various reasons, including hepatitis infection and alcohol abuse.

Beef Prices To Rise After Harsh Winter

It's been a cold, tough winter for cattle herds and as a result you can expect your burger or steak to cost more soon.
Since December prices have skyrocketed as worldwide production is headed for its third year of dwindling numbers.
Cattle didn't get fat this winter, so leaner herds went to the slaughterhouse, and ranchers have sold off their because of the struggling economy.
"It may be the biggest rally in fed cattle prices from December till April in the last 30 years," said James Herring, president of Friona Industries, a Texas feedlot operator.
This isn't just about beef either, pork and poultry production are also having problems and that means higher prices.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anthony Bourdain's Alternate Universe Nominated

Anthony Bourdain's Alternate Universe has been nominated for a Webby Award and a Webby People's Voice Award in the Animation category.
Who deserves to win?
We voted for Bourdain's Alternate Universe, but now it's time for you to decide.
Vote now »

Celery - The Most Hated Vegetables in the UK

Celery has become Britain's most hated vegetable, according to a new poll.
The poll also reports that cabbage too isn't well liked either.
Parsnips and mushrooms were also on the hit list of Britain's most-hated veggies, with cauliflower and cucumber following closely behind.

1. Celery
2. Cabbage
3. Parsnip
4. Mushrooms
5. Cauliflower
6. Cucumber
7. Tomatoes
8. Onions
9. Peas
10. Carrots

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The KFC 'Double Down', goes on sale

The KFC 'Double Down', is now on sale.
Essentially it's a sandwich with two chicken filets instead of bread slices.
In between the chicken are two pieces of bacon, melted slices of Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack cheese and a  sauce.

Nutritionists are horrified by the sandwich, which means we are probably going to love it.
How much does it cost? Somewhere around $5.00.

School prom dress made out of gum wrappers

We give this Iowa teen a little golf clap because of the one-of-a-kind high school prom dress she made out of gum wrappers.
Not only did Elizabeth Rasmuson made her dress, she also made a matching vest for her boyfriend, all this from the Wrigley's blue and white gum wrappers.
Elizabeth says she got the idea after hearing about someone making a dress out of duct tape.
She and her boyfriend began collecting gum wrappers last August and the rest is prom history.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wal-Mart is cutting prices

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer is cutting prices on thousands of products trying to reinforce its reputation as the discount giant.
This comes after months of slowing sales.

Many Americans, buy groceries at Wal-Mart super-centers but sales have been slower as of late, suggesting  that Wal-Mart is having trouble keeping the middle-class shoppers.
Wal-Mart says, it just isn't so, but regardless, they are going to cut prices this week on10,000 items, mostly food and other staples.
"We felt we needed to increase the intensity and excitement with our customer, especially the feeling that Wal-Mart has great deals," Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Quinn said.
Retail analysts predict the new Wal-Mart cuts will hurt supermarket chains.
But this is how Wal-Mart became who they are in the first place, and these cuts is business as usual, it's their way of responding to the competition.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Zagat Buzz - Chefs who swear on TV are just venting their own problems, says Jamie Oliver

Thanks to Zagat Buzz we found this story, it's how celebrity chefs can really stir the pot.

Read the story.

British eating fewer vegetables despite the campaign

In spite of all the noise about eating vegetables and the millions spent on a 5-a-day campaign Britons are eating fewer vegetables.
Figures from the fresh produce organization Freshfel show UK consumers ate 1 per cent more fruit in 2008 compared with the previous five-year average, but vegetable consumption plummeted by 11 per cent.
These numbers come after several years of government promoted healthy eating campaigns including 5-a-day and the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.
This comes right on the heels of doubt on the cancer-preventing benefits of eating vegetables.
Jamie Oliver must be pulling his hair out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

German meat supplier takes steaks off diners' plates

A German meat supplier had enough and he knew just what to do about unpaid bills, he took the steaks right off diners' plates.
A dispute over money ended with the man going into the restaurant and removing the steaks off the plates of some 20 surprised guests.
A furious argument exploded in the kitchen after the supplier made his daily delivery but was told the restaurant didn't immediately have the euro400 ($535) in cash to pay his bill.
It was at this point the vendor then took back the meat he had just delivered, including the steaks already being cooked.
That still didn't cover the bill, so he continued collecting meat in the dining room.
Police arrived at the scene after he left but said they believed no offense was committed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eating Fruits and Vegetables has little effect on cancer prevention

Eating lots of fruit and vegetables has only a small effect fighting cancer, a new study suggests.

Doctors led by Paolo Boffetta at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, studied eight years of data  between cancer risk and food, involving 470,000 volunteers
Between 1992 and 2000, more than 30,000 of the participants were diagnosed with cancer.
Boffetta's team found that high consumption of fruit and vegetables had little effect against cancer.
While researchers found some benefit against cancer, it was much smaller  than previously thought.
The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a recommendation in 1990 suggesting that five servings of fruit and vegetables per day helped prevent cancer and other diseases.
"Worldwide, low intake of fruits and vegetables is estimated to cause about 19 per cent of gastrointestinal cancer, about 31 per cent of ischaemic heart disease and 11 per cent stroke," the WHO says on its website.

The new study appears online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published by Britain's Oxford University Press.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Figure Eight Shaped Egg

China has been in our food news quite a bit lately, and here we are again.
Let's turn our attention to a soft-shelled egg laid by a hen in China in the shape of a figure eight.
It happened on a chicken farm in Sijiazhuang, northern China’s Hebei Province.
The story begins when one night, Mrs. Dong heard some strange noises coming from her hen house.
“I had never heard anything like it before. When I approached, she stopped making the noise but as soon as I left, she started again.
The next morning, I was so surprised to find the weird-shaped egg in the hen’s cage,” she said.

Mrs. Dong (please keep the jokes to a minimum) is saving the egg in a special box and has refused to eat or sell it.
It may well end up as precious as a family heirloom, passed from one generation of chicken farmers to another.
“It’s very rare to see such an egg… This is the result of a lack of calcium in the hen’s diet which has prevented it from creating a hard shell,” states Professor Wu Yuefeng of Hebei University’s Life Science department.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Georges Brossard: "I dream about them, I eat them - I love bugs"

Georges Brossard has spent 35 years sleeping among insects.
George, the bug collector travels six months out of the year collecting specimens for "insect museums" known as insectariums, which he has helped set up around the world.
The Montreal Insectarium, which opened 20 years ago, was Georges Brossard's brainchild,  he donated 250,000 insects from his collection to get it started.
It's not only the collections of both live and dead insects that attract visitors, it's also the annual insect tastings, where chefs cook up bugs for thousands of visitors to taste.
Cheese flavored crickets and even big scorpions seasoned with Asian spice, are on the menu.
Visitors can also taste bugs at the Insectarium's boutique, where they sell boxes of barbecue, salt-and-vinegar, or cheese and bacon-flavoured mealworms and crickets.
They also sell lollipops that contain worms that are part of a breeding program this very purpose.
"These here are especially grown at the Insectarium for us to sell," says Enza Cacciatore from the insectarium's boutique.
"So we try to explain to the little ones that they are not to start to pick up the bugs from off the floor and eat them because they are not the same kind of bugs." (that's good to know)
She continued: "People use the cooked insects on top of salads, instead of using bacon bits. Sure, they won't be using it every night, because it's C$4.50 (£2.90) a box. But if they have parties it's a talking starter for a good party."

You can WATCH the video from BBC news.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Van Gogh painting reproduced out of breakfast cereal

In Smithfield Utah high school students have completed a masterpiece.
It's a 6,400-square-foot replica of Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" created out of breakfast cereal.

The original is in the photo below.
150 students Sky View High School worked on the project, using two tons of colorful Malt-O-Meal spread across the gym floor.
It took a week to complete with crews spreading a plastic sheet on the floor, then created a grid to outline the painting's famous design. Each space was assigned a color to correspond with the painting and filled with the cereal.
The whole thing ended Saturday and the cereal was given to a farmer to feed pigs.

The Great Doughnut Search

We love doughnuts, we consider them a health food because of all their goodness.

 So, enjoy the happiness...

New Voodoo Kitchen Address

We have a new Voodoo Kitchen address:

See you there!

Kitchen Nightmares - Season 3

We have been a little critical of Gordon Ramsay lately, mainly because we felt he deserved it.
In fact, we questioned his ability to do another season of Kitchen Nightmares because of his own restaurant problems.
But we've been watching season 3 and we have to admit it's fun to see Gordon Ramsay in action again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The 600 Pound Man

His name is George Jolicoeur.
Weighing in at 600 pounds, this Florida man answered to criminal charges of stealing food from restaurants and convenience stores.
Here's what happened: George Jolicoeur, 38-years-old, was arrested in August 2007 after attempting to get a refund on $50 worth of beef-jerky he had eaten. He claimed there was mold on the last few scraps. The 7-11 store was suspicious of his claim starting a chain of events that ended in his arrest and eventual sentencing on fraud and petite theft convictions three years later.

Here's a photo of George when he weighed only 500 pounds at age 33.

It turns out that Jolicoeur had been doing the same song and dance all over town.
Restaurants and convenience stores in the Orlando, Florida area were becoming aware of the obese man with labored breathing who would go into stores or restaurants and consume huge quantities of food.
He would then claim there was something wrong with the food and refuse to pay after he had eaten it.
His scam had been going on for a few years.
There was the time he drank five milk shakes before finding a hair in the last few drops of the last shake  refusing to pay for the milk shakes.
Then there was also the time he bought 10-gallons of Breyers ice cream,.claiming that the ice cream cartons were damaged and demanded a refund.
But it was the beef-jerky that got him.
By the time he pulled the beef-jerky scam, the stores were on to him.
He was arrested and charged with fraud and petty theft. But now, in the two years since his arrest he has gained more weight, became ill and is bedridden. He is now in a nursing home and on a respirator.
Jolioeur didn't have to appear in court for sentencing because of his physical condition. His attorneys made a plea bargain and entered a plea of ‘no contest’ to five counts of misdemeanor petty theft.
He will have to pay $1,365 in court costs plus restitution.
He won't be going to jail or even placed on probation.
The Seminole County court decided it was too expensive for the state to imprison him. Besides, as the Assistant State Attorney said, he’s already in his own prison cell.

In related news:
Fire officials said a six-hundred pound man (not George) was in being cremated when his body fluids were too much for the oven. The body fluids seeped out onto the floor and ignited causing a fire at the Garner Funeral Home in Salt Lake City.
"Those fluids can be very flammable," said Scott Freitag of the Salt Lake City fire department. "Sort of like a grease fire." An employee used an extinguisher to put out the fire
We are told, a six-hundred-pound body can create problems during a cremation.
"It really does condense or breaks down that fat into a greasy product, just like a grease fire,"
"Only a little bit can cause a flame to go up."

Listeria Warning Issued For Mozzarella Cheese

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning the public not to eat a Silani brand mozzarella cheese  because of Listeria contamination.

What is Listeria?
The bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes, often found in soil, vegetation, animal feed and feces, can cause the disease listeriosis in humans who eat food contaminated with it.

Where is it found?
In vegetables contaminated by soil or manure used as fertilizer; infected animals can contaminate meat; unpasteurized milk may contain listeria, and certain processed foods like soft cheeses, deli meats and hot dogs can become contaminated after processing.

What happens if you eat it?
persistent fever

If it spreads to the nervous system, signs and symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions. In newborn babies who have been infected, signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, skin rash, breathing difficulty.

When do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually appear within two to 30 days, and up to 90 days after consuming contaminated food, according to Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Average incubation period is three weeks, says Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The federal agency said the affected cheese is sold in 340-gram packages bearing UPC 0 650525 7 and a best-before date of March 1, 2011.

It was manufactured by Silani Sweet Cheese Ltd. of Schomberg, Ont., and distributed in Ontario and Quebec. The company is voluntarily recalling the product.

Foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled, so please, don't cut the cheese.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Journalism at it's finest

Every now and then we stray off the food path and bring a little journalism happiness to you, enjoy.

Hong Kong KFC Serves Food From Garbage

This could happen anywhere, but it just so happens we are back in China.
It's all about the KFC staff in Hong Kong serving fried chicken right out of the garbage.
A deliveryman created the controversy claiming that the restaurant’s staff, in order to get off work on time, often turn off the ovens before the restaurant closed and threw away the unsold chicken.
During this time, if a customer came in to order chicken, the KFC staff picked the chicken out from the garbage and sold it to the customers. to eat.

Here's the crazy thing,  to save money, the restaurant’s manager is okay with this.
This deliveryman used his mobile phone to take pictures of the staff looking for food in the garbage to complete the order. 

Problems in China with cooking oil slop and more

Regulators are investigating restaurants throughout China and the widespread practice of cooking with recycled oil, some tainted with food waste.
Regulators are now searching for illegal oil recycling mills, and some health bureaus have begun releasing the names of restaurants and food establishments that were found to be using questionable oil.
Regulators in southern China raided several workshops for turning discarded waste, like sewage, into cooking oil.
Much of cooking oil used in China could be made from recycled kitchen or restaurant waste oil, which contains a highly toxic, carcinogenic substance called “aflatoxin.”
This can't come as a a big surprise, after all, China has repeatedly been hit by food safety scandals with contaminated milk, eggs and animal feed and the selling of diseased pigs.
In 2007, the head of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for failing to properly govern the country’s food and drug industry.
Since then China has announced a major food safety crackdown.

But even with the crackdown, this week, state newspapers have reported that regulators found “unsafe artificial green peas” in Hunan Province and some 20,000 pounds of “toxic vegetables” in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Those vegetables had excessive pesticide residues, according to the government inspectors.
With regards to the green peas, two illegal food workshops were caught processing dried snow peas and soybeans with chemicals and bleach to make them appear like the more expensive green peas.
In the city of Chengdu, in southwestern China, food safety officials released the names of 13 restaurants that were found to be using illegal cooking oil.
But local residents were angry at Chengdu regulators for having delayed the release of some of the names of the restaurants
Huang Fenghong, deputy director of the Oil Crops Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the use of illegal cooking oil was a serious problem in China.
“Some low-end restaurants establish stable buy-and-sell relationships with underground oil recyclers,” he said.
“Some oil recyclers just dig out the oil from drains, because high-end restaurants seldom sell that drainage oil.”