Sunday, January 30, 2011

PETA and The Lobster Zone

PETA is upset over the "Lobster Zone."
They call it a cruel "game" that allows customers to choose a lobster out of a machine using a joystick-controlled crane.
After the lobster is caught, it's cooked and eaten.

PETA says, "But like all animals, lobsters can feel pain, and they suffer when they are injured, cut, or boiled alive."

PETA is horrified that lobsters are languishing in the Lobster Zone tank, "trying to flee as they were repeatedly chased by the metal claw."

PETA also wants to remind us that "living beings must not be treated as if they were cheap boardwalk-game trinkets" and to implore these establishments to remove this cruel contraption from the premises.

We've never used a Lobster Zone machine but we've cooked and eaten plenty of lobster and for those of you who want to see a more traditional way, here you go:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Michelle Obama says she doesn't tell people what to eat

First lady Michelle Obama is saying that her "Let's Move" campaign to end childhood fatness isn't about telling people what they must or must not eat."This has never been about the government telling people what to do," Mrs. Obama said. "If that worked, it would have worked a long time ago."

She was at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., where she was explaining how to improve the way new recruits eat.
Responding to critics, including Sarah Palin, where on her reality show, Palin prepared s'mores that she said were "in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert."
"The Army understands you can't take all choices away from people," Mrs. Obama says. "You have educate them so that they have the information to make good choices for themselves."
Let's Move, she says, is "about parents getting the information they need to do what they think is best for their kids."
As for dessert, she's all for it. "You can't live in a world without delicious naughty foods. It's no fun."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's the Beef with Taco Bell?

For the last several days Taco Bell has done their best to answer all the questions and speculation about the beef they use.
A California woman has filed a class-action lawsuit. claiming that Taco Bell uses so much other ingredients in its meat that it can  no longer be called beef.

Taco Bell, shot back that the suit is "absolutely wrong" and that it planned legal action of its own.

So, the question becomes,  how much stuff can be mixed in with the beef and still be recognized as beef?

The US Department of Agriculture says in its raw or frozen form, ground beef "shall not contain more than 30 percent fat, and shall not contain added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders," The seasonings are of no consequence one way or the other.

Taco Bell says, that's exactly the way they do it.
"We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef," the company says in its statement. "Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture."

It's that texture part where the legal debate begins.

The lawsuit states,"In reality, a substantial majority of the filling is comprised of substances other than beef." 

And what about the seasonings in question?
"Those ingredients are not added for flavor, but rather to increase the volume of the product," the suit claims. "These ingredients are binders and extenders such as 'isolated oat product.' "

Things get a bit suspect when supposedly a Taco Bell label on a meat container reads: "Taco Meat Filling," not beef.

Taco meat filling, according to the USDA's Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book, must contain at least 40 percent fresh meat, says Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, the Montgomery, Ala., law firm that filed the suit. The one plaintiff named in the class-action suit, Amanda Obney of California, is not asking for monetary damages, but wants Taco Bell to stop advertising its meat filling as beef.

Taco Bell, refuses to back down down from the allegations.

"We are proud of the quality of our beef and identify all the seasoning and spice ingredients on our website," the company said in its statement "Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later – and got their "facts" absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food."

Here's the updated statement by Greg Creed, President and CCO,Taco Bell Corp. (photo left)

"The lawsuit is bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts. Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you would buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It then is slow-cooked and simmered with proprietary seasonings and spices to provide Taco Bell's signature taste and texture. Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDA-inspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture. The lawyers got their facts wrong. We take this attack on our quality very seriously and plan to take legal action against them for making false statements about our products. There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this."

What is in Taco Bell's recipe for seasoned beef?

"We're cooking with a proprietary recipe to give our seasoned beef flavor and texture, just like you would with any recipe you cook at home.

For example, when you make chili, meatloaf or meatballs, you add your own recipe of seasoning and spices to give the beef flavor and texture, otherwise, it would taste just like unseasoned ground beef. We do the same thing with our recipe for seasoned beef.

Our recipe for seasoned beef includes ingredients you'd find in your home or in the supermarket aisle today:

• 88% USDA-inspected quality beef
• 3-5% water for moisture
• 3-5% spices (including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, cocoa powder and a proprietary blend of Mexican spices and natural flavors).
• 3-5% oats, starch, sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the quality of our product.

Our seasoned beef contains no "extenders" to add volume, as some might use. For more information about our ingredients go to"

Greg Creed
President and Chief Concept Officer
Taco Bell Corp.

We'll keep you posted as this continues...

Protesters demonstrate outside the US embassy chewing coca leaves

Bolivians demonstrated against a 1961 UN ban on the practice of chewing coca leaves.

Protesters demonstrated outside the US embassy in La Paz chewing the leaf, celebrating the coca plant and demanding that the UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs be amended.

The United States is against the Bolivian proposal, saying that the 50 year old convention was "an important tool in the global struggle against narcotics trafficking."
The agreement says the coca leaf is a narcotic, and calls on countries to stop coca leaf chewing.
Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca has been in Europe, visiting the capitals, seeking support for the amendment. The United Nations has until January 31 to decide on this.
"The countries support us so that we can de-penalize (coca chewing); the only one opposing us is the United States," said Leonilda Zurita, a coca grower and a leader of the ruling Movement Toward Socialism party.

So, as the marches in La Paz, Santa Cruz and other cities attracted coca growers, peasants, Indians, miners,  and (surprise surprise) makers of coca-based products, and a bunch of activists protesters just kept on chewed coca leaves.

The coca leaf is a big deal and is part of everyday life in the Andean region.
Around seven million people in a region chew coca leaves, and so did their ancestors.

The argument for the chewing is, it stimulates blood and oxygenation properties, and the coca leaves have lots of vitamins and 14 alkaloids.
Chewed coca releases a mild narcotic and that fights altitude sickness, hunger and fatigue.

The US embassy, said even though it was in opposition to the proposed amendment to the UN convention,they were willing to work with the Bolivian government "out of respect for these millennial practices."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The IHOP Brawl

Here we go again... another brawl, this time at the International House of pancakes. 

All the excitement took place in South Carolina early Saturday at an International House of Pancakes.

It's really the same old story, a bunch of losers punching and wrestling each other as tables are turned over, trashing the place.
There's a scene where this woman takes a coffee pot and hits another woman in the head while she is being pinned to the table.
Then we see a man swinging a cane at the woman who was struck with the coffee pot. The woman in return throws a chair at the guy with the swinging cane.
The sheriffs report says management doesn't want to press charges...if that's true they need new management. 
It's all you could ask for and more...

Attack on Wendy's employee

A group of teenage girls got into a fight at a Wendy's in Queens Village, leaving one of the employees seriously injured.
The fight was captured on a phone, and in the video, you can see the cashier get pounded to the ground by teenage girls.
A Wendy's employee said that it started with one girl attacking the employee and a large group of them jumped in and started punching her.
The employee said it all began when the group started fighting and throwing food. She was behind the counter when her co-worker walked over to try and stop them.
The employee who was attacked suffered a concussion and now is unable unable to work.

Two of the teen girls have been identified by school officials as students at Martin van Buren High School, which is just down the block. 

The Wendy's franchise director, Louis Meyer, released a statement that read in part: "This vicious attack on our female employee was shocking and uncalled for. We are cooperating with the police in their investigation and our security camera data and anything else they request will be provided to them."

At least these stupid girls recorded the evidence against them, on a cell phone.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Soda Pop, oops, we mean SODA POT

Clay Butler, (above photo) doesn't do drugs, doesn't smoke and appears to be as pure as the driven snow plans on marketing Canna Cola, a soft drink that contains THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana
His plan is to sell them at medical marijuana dispensaries.

Clay is a commercial artist who says, "I don't do drugs, never have. I never drank, never smoked. I'm a clean-living guy. I've had two beers in my whole life, and I remember them both too. No marijuana, I've never smoked a cigarette. I take an aspirin when I get a headache. That's it."

"Even though, personally, I'm not interested and I don't think it's right for me," says Butler, "I'm a firm believer that adults have an inalienable right to think, eat, smoke, drink, ingest, decorate, dress any way they choose to do so. It's your life; it's your body."

His products will include the cola drink Canna Cola, the Dr Pepper-like Doc Weed, the lemon-lime Sour Diesel, the grape-flavored Grape Ape and the orange-flavored Orange Kush. 

"You look at all the marijuana products out there, and they are so mom-and-pop, hippie-dippy and rinky-dink," he said. "If someone can put every color on the rainbow on it, they do. If they can pick the most inappropriate and unreadable fonts, they will. And there's marijuana leaves on everything. It's a horrible cliché in the industry."

Butler's plan is to market the THC sodas "how Snapple or Coca-Cola or Minute Maid would make a marijuana beverage, if they ever chose to do it."

Thus, he used the marijuana leaf -- it's an unavoidable part of the "brand DNA" of marijuana products, he said -- but he designed a leaf made of bubbles, to suggest soda pop.

The soda's dosage of THC will be "somewhere between 35 to 65 milligrams," with only a
a mild marijuana taste.
The levels of THC in his line of soft drinks will be much lower than many drinks now on the market.

These sodas will sell between $10 and $15 per 12-ounce bottle.
The company plans to launch its product in Colorado in February. 
there are also plans to have it in California dispensaries in the spring.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Carrot Juice is Murder

There has been a lot of anger about the lions and bears being killed and eaten, but again, we wonder about the silent screams of  vegetables when they are killed.

Here's a fun little video that will offend some and make others laugh, enjoy!

Bar roasts a bear celebrating Packers victory

This comes right on the heels of the lion tacos story.
A sports bar in St. Paul Minnesota loves the Green Bay Packers football team.

Since the big game was against the Chicago Bears what better way to show their loyality than  roasting a bear.

Blake Montpetit, the co-owner of Tiffany Sports Lounge in St. Paul, roasted a 180-pound black bear in a pig-roaster over hickory and charcoal on Sunday.
He says his cousin shot it in northern Wisconsin during bear hunting season, which runs in September and October, and then froze it.
He wanted to serve the bear meat to customers, but the health department wouldn't allow it because the meat was unprocessed.
So the next best thing was customers could take photos with the roasting bear.

Who won? It was Green bay 21 and the Chicago Bears 14.

World leaders plan to ban junk food ads

The U.N. health agency is illustrating what many of you have been saying, "food is political."
The agency says world leaders will discuss efforts to control and limit (pass laws) on junk food eaten by children when they meet in New York this September.

The heads of state will use the U.N. General Assembly meeting to plan limiting the number and type of ads that children are exposed to.

WHO, the Geneva-based U.N. health agency says 43 million preschool children around the world are fat and obese.
They even have a name for it, they call it the "fat tsunami."

Bjorn-Inge Larsen of the Norwegian Directorate of Health says that he expects voluntary measures limiting junk food to eventually evolve into laws banning the practice in the same way that has occurred with tobacco.

So, once again the greed of politics and food are at work, and we need to keep an eye on this.

When we see that fraud plagues Global Health Fund and $21.7 billion development fund backed by celebrities and  as much as two-thirds of grants are eaten up by corruption, we get suspicious with all these organizations.

A lot of the money is accounted for with cooked books and forged documents suggesting it was pocketed.

Even  donated prescription drugs for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, wound up being sold on the black market.

We are being told that the levels of corruption that have been audited so far are astonishing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lion Tacos Anyone?

Boca Tacos y Tequila, a Tucson Tex-Mex restaurant has sold all kinds of exotic meats, including: alligator, python and turtle tacos and now lion meat.
The owner, Bryan Mazon, says he has received hundreds of phone calls, "I'm getting more calls to tell me to go to hell and drop dead, but there's an interest out there,"saying he's received nine orders so far for the tacos, which he plans to sell for $8.75 a piece.

We checked out their Facebook page and as expected  their was a lot of hysteria from people who oppose the lion tacos, but it sounds interesting to us.
We just might go in person and have a few tacos ourselves.

Mazon says he is purchasing the lion meat from a California farm that raises the animals for meat.
"From what I understand these are all farm raised in the USA for consumption. We serve exotic meats. We didn't go looking to serve lion, but it became available to us through a vendor."

The World Wildlife Fund says African lions, unlike tigers, are not an endangered species and are legally allowed to be raised on farms and sold for meat.

"Lions are not endangered. When bred in captivity, their meat is allowed to be traded. There are particular operations in the U.S. that are breeding lions, butchering them and selling them for meat," said Crawford Allan, regional director for TRAFFIC - the regional office of the largest international wildlife trade monitoring program.

So, if these companies comply with international treaties, federal regulations and USDA standards, they can legally raise and butcher lions, Allan said.

The restaurant has real interest in selling lion tacos but their hasn't been a lot of interest so far.
"It really depends on how the orders turn out. If there's enough interest, we'll go ahead with it. This is what we do. If people want it, we'll serve it," he said.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wal-Mart says it will offer products that are healthier

 Walmart President and CEO Bill Simon and Michelle Obama

Wal-Mart has announced it will reformulate thousands of products to make them healthier and they want their suppliers to do the same.
Michelle Obama accompanied Wal-Mart executives Thursday as they announced the new direction in Washington.

Wal-Mart also plans to reduce sodium and added sugars in some items, build stores in poor areas that don't already have grocery stores, reduce prices on produce and develop a logo for healthier items.
"No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford," said president and CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. division.

Mrs. Obama said the announcement has "the potential to transform the marketplace and help Americans put healthier foods on their tables every single day."
"We are really gaining some momentum on this issue, we're beginning to see things move," she said.

Wal-Mart plans to reduce sodium by a quarter and cut added sugars in some of its private label products by 2015, that's 4 years from now.

They also have plans to remove remaining industrially produced trans fats.
Wal-Mart will focus on products like lunch meats, fruit juices and salad dressings, items that contain high levels of sugar or sodium that consumers don't know they're ingesting.

During the press conference Wednesday, Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of sustainability acknowledged those industry efforts but said,"Our goal is not to supplant these efforts, but to encourage their widespread adoption. We see our role as a convener and a catalyst. "

Honestly, we just want Wal-Mart to sell food and forget about being a convener or a catalyst.

Food makers say they want to reduce sodium a little at a time, so it will be more acceptable  to its customers. 
Most say they are waiting to see if the Food and Drug Administration decides to make reduction the law of the land. (so, yes, we agree with many of our readers, it's political)

Looking at the photo above, we just noticed something,  Walmart President and CEO Bill Simon looks like he just ate something that didn't agree with him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ashes to Ashes

Matrix Andaluz, Jose David Diaz Marrero, Waldo Soroa

This isn't a food story, but it's one we want to tell anyway.

Our main characters are: Waldo Soroa, 19; Matrix Andaluz, 18; Jose Marrero, 19.

They broke into a house in Florida.
Then there it was, white powder in two urns.
They knew they had hit the jackpot, it was the mother-loads of coke or perhaps heroin and started snorting it.

As luck would have it, they were actually snorting, a man and two dogs.

Yes, that's right, the drugs turned out to be the cremated remains of homeowner Holli Tencza's dad and her two Great Danes.

They snorted them and tasted them, then someone said, "I don't really think that's what these are.'"
Then these idiots thought it was cement mix, but eventually realizing their mistake, they took the urns with them because they were worried that their fingerprints would be found on the urns, so they dumped the evidence in a nearby lake.
The teens in Florida  told police that they initially had "some kind of internal conflict" and considered returning the remains. But they decided it was too risky and threw the dogs' ashes in a nearby lake. One of the defendants later directed investigators to the location where the remains had been thrown in.

The dive team was in the water for about an hour and found both of the boxes.

What a nice story!

The White House State Dinner

Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses prepared the state for Chinese president Hu Jintao that was described as "quintessentially American" requested by his delegation.

The menu featured poached Maine lobster, dry-aged ribeye steak with onions, stuffed potatoes, apple pie with vanilla ice cream, and a American wine selection. 

Here's the full state dinner menu:
D'Anjou Pear with Farmstead Goat Cheese Fennel, Black Walnuts, and White Balsamic Second
Poached Maine Lobster
Orange Glaze Carrots and Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Wine: DuMol Chardonnay "Russian River" 2008 (California)
Lemon Sorbet
Dry Aged Rib Eye with Buttermilk Crisp Onions
Double Stuffed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach
Story continues below
Wine: Quilceda Creek Cabernet "Columbia Valley" 2005 (Washington State)
Old Fashioned Apple Pie
with Vanilla Ice Cream
Wine: Poet's Leap Riesling "Botrytis" 2008 (Washington State)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The King Cake

The King Cake tradition came to New Orleans with the early French settlers and it's still with us today.
In 1870, the Twelfth Night Revelers held their ball, with a large king cake as the big event.
It didn't take long before the king cake became popular in the society circles, and soon King Cake parties started up everywhere.

Now days, schools, offices and in homes you'll find the king cake parties.
Mardi Gras is a special time of year and the King Cake is a special tradition.
We wanted to show this video again this year for those of you who missed it:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Man shot arguing over french fries or was it cake?

We turn attention to Philadelphia where a man was shot after arguing over french fries, or maybe it was cake, well, it was food of some kind.
Two men were in a parked car around 2:40 a.m.having a bite to eat when an argument broke out over french fries, according to police.
The two men got out of the silver Mercedes, started fighting each other, and that’s when one of them pulled out a gun and shot the other.
Even though one report says it was because of french fries, another report by police investigators say when the passenger in the vehicle began eating cake the driver had in his car things got crazy.
The driver became furious and the two began arguing, a Central Detectives investigator said.
The driver shot his friend once in the chest - all over some cake, according to the investigator.
"They weren't supposed to be sharing" he said. "One was eating the other's food, they got into an argument and 'Bang! Bang!'"
The investigator denied a conflicting report that french fries were at the center of the argument. But food was the reason regardless.
Police said the 31-year-old victim was rushed to the Hospital, where he remains in critical condition.
The driver fled in his silver Mercedes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Contaminated Water and the Lawsuit

Former Camp Lejeune residents are suing base after drinking contaminated water for years.

The lawsuit states that the United States Government, through agents within the Department of Defense, knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees to highly contaminated drinking water on the base at Camp Lejeune, while at the same time actively disseminating disinformation to those exposed in an effort to minimize the significance of the exposure.
Many scientists have called the drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune the worst in the nation's history. The contaminated drinking water was consumed by an estimated one million people.

The lawsuit claims that exposure to the toxins caused numerous health problems including cancers, reproductive disorders and birth defects, among other maladies.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hearth Cooking

We told you how wonderful we think hearth cooking is, and we wanted to follow up with one more video:

Now it's 200 dead cows

It's been raining dead birds, washed up dead fish, and now it's 200 dead cows in a pasture in Stockton, Wisconsin.
The owner of the cattle said he suspects the cows died from a virus, like IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis) or BVD (bovine virus diarrhea), which can cause respiratory and reproductive problems.

Samples of the dead animals are going to be tested, but without really knowing what caused the deaths, officials said other animals and people in the area will likely not be affected by whatever killed the cows.

The death of the cows is just the latest of more dead animals dying in the United States and throughout the world.
People started paying attention to the mass animal deaths New Year's Eve, when thousands of black birds fell from the sky in Arkansas
Many of our readers and elsewhere point the cause of death from everything, including mass poisoning, all the way to apocalypse.

Officials who seem to be all knowing say the bird deaths were probably a result of a change weather conditions.
"Not to worry," Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, "These are not portents that the world is about to come to an end."

So, everything is under control according to E.O. Wilson.

19th Century Creole Hearth Cooking Class

We have always been fascinated with hearth cooking and culinary historian Elizabeth Pearce offers a hands-on 19th-century Creole Cooking Class in the French Quarter.

It's held, Mondays, 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. (or by appointment with four people.) Includes breakfast, lunch with wine, and a special tour of the home focusing on dining and entertaining

This all takes place at he restored outdoor open-hearth kitchen at Hermann-Grima Historic House, 820 St. Louis St. New Orleans

Cost: $85 ($75 for members). Locals whose guests participate may join the lunch for $45

Call: 504.274.0741

Study says, eating carrots makes you more attractive

Eating strongly colored vegetables and fruit like carrots and plums makes people more attractive, well, that's according to a new British study.
Researchers at St Andrews and Bristol universities examined the relationship between skin color and attractiveness, and decided that people with a yellow skin hue were perceived as particularly healthy and attractive. To us, that would mean a jaundice look, but what do we know?

It was also determined that yellow pigments, or carotenoids, from certain fruit and vegetables played a key role in producing yellowness in skin.

The results came from a study where 40 volunteers rated 51 Scottish Caucasian faces for healthiness and attractiveness.
The results will be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour in March. 

Ian Stephen, one of the scientists involved in the project, said the link between yellowness and carotenoids opened up new strategies for encouraging young people to eat more fruit and vegetables, especially as it took just two months of increased consumption to produce visible results.

We hope the study doesn't include yellow teeth as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" Let the Good Times Roll

Yes, it's that time of year.
It's Mardi Gras time and once again, we plan on letting the good times roll.
For those who may not be familure with Mardi Gras, here's a little overview.
(visit for complete Mardi Gras coverage)

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," which is always the day before Ash Wednesday, and that is the beginning of Lent.
Fat Tuesday's dates change each year because the dates for Easter change from year to year, Fat Tuesday is 46 days before Easter.
The three official colors of Mardi Gras are important as well, and they don't change from year to year.
They are, Purple, Green and Gold.
Some connect the three colors of Mardi Gras with frankincense, myrrh and gold and the story of
the three Magi.

These three colors were established in 1872 by Rex, the King of Mardi Gras.
At some point after 1872, each of these colors were given meaning:
Purple represents Justice
Green represents Faith
Gold represents Power

As you may already realize, Mardi Gras isn't all about going crazy on Boubon Street, there is also a connection to religion.
Carnival comes from the Latin words "carne vale" meaning "farewell to the flesh."
Religious holidays often have its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons.
The festival represented those few days added to the lunar calendar to make it coincide with the solar calendar; and because these days were outside the realm of the calendar, rules and customs were not obeyed. Also, it's the late-winter celebration which welcomes the coming spring, with feasting, costumes and merrymaking.

As far as the BEADS are concerned,  the question is, why throw Mardi Gras beads?

And where did the love for Mardi Gras beads come from in the first place?

You can date Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans, back to the 1840's.
It is believed that the "throwing of the beads" was from the festival customs from the English Renaissance era.
Back then, the beads were thrown out as souvenirs to the adoring crowds.
Today, the beads are thrown out as souvenirs to the adoring crowds.
But in 1840, people in these parades dressed up as aristocrats and tossed beads and sugar coated almonds.
Some believe the beads represent of the jewelry that was worn by aristocrats, and honestly, people today treat the beads like they are the jewelry from royalty.

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" Let the Good Times Roll

Egg shell carving in China

Amazing patterns of artwork on eggshell, the origins of egg shell carving dates back to the 14th century and the Ming Dynasty in China.
In ancient China it was common to give red eggs as a gift at important and festive celebrations.

The mastery of egg shell art begins with the removal of egg whites and yoke, then the disinfection processes needs to be completed before the carving.
A small hole is made at one end of the egg, then using carving tools: a burin, shovel knife, pencil, eraser, knife, whetstone and nicking tool, the carving begins.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pubs in England to stay open later because of the Royal wedding

Pubs in England and Wales will be allowed to stay open later because of the Royal wedding.
That means that pubs can extend their opening hours to 1am on April 29 and 30.

Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton was "an occasion for national celebration" and "licensing hours should be relaxed in all licensed premises in England and Wales".

And if that wasn't enough, live and recorded music in pubs  will also be permitted, along with plays, films and dancing.

Mr. Brokenshire also said, "These are the days when people are most likely to want to celebrate.
"However, we are mindful that late-night drinking can lead to crime and disorder and public nuisance.
"On this basis, we are proposing a modest relaxation of licensing hours until 1am and intend to restrict the order to the sale of alcohol in pubs, clubs and anywhere else where alcohol is consumed on the premises and to regulated entertainment such as live and recorded music, dancing, plays and films."
"We are also limiting the order to Friday 29th - the day of the wedding - and Saturday 30th as these are the days when people are most likely to want to celebrate."

The British Beer and Pub Association seemed happy about this decision, probably wish they could operate 24 hours a day, oh well.
Brigid Simmons, its chief executive, said: "This is great news, and it is really good to see the Government recognising that this is a brilliant opportunity for us all to get together in the pub, to celebrate a great national event."
"With state-of-the art TV, great food and hospitality, pubs will be right at the heart of the Royal wedding celebrations, and are the perfect place to enjoy the day.

So, as the Royal couple gets closer to April 29,  when they tie the knot at Westminster Abbey,  a designated official public holiday, the country is gearing up for a lot of celebrating.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Archeologists discover 6,000 year old wine press

Archeologists have discovered the oldest wine-making facility ever found, using biochemical methods to identify a dry red vintage made about 6,000 years ago in what is now southern Armenia.
This makes it 1,000 years older than any other wine-making facility ever discovered.
"This is the world's oldest known installation to make wine," Gregory Areshian of the University of California Los Angeles, who helped lead the study.

The wine press would have held a few gallons of juice and crushed grapes, likely working with the time-honored technique of barefoot stomping, Areshian said.

Chemical traces point to grape juice and, given the lack of refrigeration, the juice would certainly have been fermented into wine, Areshian said.

Archaeologist Levon Petrosyan looking at the 6,100-year-old wine press

The press itself is a shallow clay basin about three feet (one meter) in diameter, surrounded by grape seeds and dried-out grape vines.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chef and his Multimillion-Dollar Drug Ring from Restaurant Kitchen

Grant Michael Richardson,( above photo) head chef at an Sydney's Balcony Bar at Erskine St, (photo below) is accused of selling bags of speed and ecstasy from his kitchen as part of a multimillion-dollar drug syndicate.

What busy kitchen, serving up $34 plates of pork belly braised in orange, soy and cinnamon and and at the same time, chef Grant Michael Richardson was preparing bags of ecstasy and speed to his drug runner.

The 31-year-old chef catered for several celebrity-studded social events during his year at Balcony Bar, which was opened under Clover Moore's small bar program with an $18,300 grant.

But police say Richardson was supplementing his $1000-a-week income by selling drugs in a "top of the tree" drug syndicate.

Ah, but they were being watched.
The accused drug runner Paul "Robbo" Robinson, 42, picked up the drugs from the kitchen and of all things, surprise, surprise, delivers them to an undercover officer on four different occasions. 

Police also tapped Richardson and Robinson's phone calls when they heard them talking in code about being concerned about the quality of the drugs they were supplying to the undercover officer.
"I've had three people say that they weren't that happy with the food," Robinson was recorded saying.
"I just had another one then ring and tell me that ... he didn't taste anything all night," he said.
A police fact sheet said that Robinson also told Richardson "he was worried that he didn't want to lose the 'booking' of the 'corporate group' ", referring to the officer.

Click photo to enlarge

Court documents reveal that police infiltrated Richardson's part of the syndicate after an undercover officer befriended an alleged drug runner.
In three months, the group allegedly sold $20,000 worth of speed and ecstasy pills to the officer who was wearing a microphone.
Richardsonhas been being charged with 12 drug-related offences.
In total, 30 people were arrested by Strike Force Domino, which saw 500 officers raid 37 premises in Sydney, Mudgee and the Central Coast in December.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the arrests had cracked the kingpins of the State's drug trade.

Monday, January 10, 2011

German Minister Promises Action on Dioxins

Police raid animal feeds producer Harles and Jentsch at its plant in Uetersen, Germany.

Germany is promising to take tough actions after the dioxin scare that has led to bans on German products in several countries. 
Even though 3,000 farms out of 4,700 have been re-opened the German government promises  to take tough legal action against those responsible for the dioxin poisoning.

Ilse Aigner, (photo below) Germany's agriculture minister, said that the case needs to be thoroughly investigated. (that's a good idea, where have you been?)

"This is a big blow for our farmers. They have totally innocently been dragged into this situation by the sick machinations of a few people," she said.

"From the information we have so far, it is tough to shake off the suspicion that criminal energy has been combined with alarming unscrupulousness," she added. "The judiciary has to clamp down hard."

Meanwhile, Danish investigators are saying that there is a possibility that contaminated animal feed from Germany may have been fed to hens in Denmark.
The feed, contaminated with dioxin, was purchased by a Danish firm late last year, and brought into the country, said Kim Vandrup Sigsgaard with the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
"There is an ongoing investigation to see if the contaminated feed was consumed by breeder hens, which are not meant for consumption," he said.
Such hens are bred for their eggs, and not sold for their meat, he said.

Last week, Germany filed criminal charges against the company at the heart of the country's tainted egg scandal.

The company, Harles and Jentzsch, apparently knew for months that fatty acid it was delivering to animal-feed makers was contaminated with dioxin, said Christian Seifert, a spokesman for the agricultural ministry in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein said.
Criminal charges have been filed against the company, Seifert said, "because they did not immediately inform" the agricultural ministry that dioxin levels surpassed the allowed amount.

We want to know who's keeping an eye on this industry?

Authorities allege that the company sold about 3,000 tons of contaminated fatty acids to dozens of companies making animal feed across Germany. In response, the government quarantined more than 4,700 pig and poultry farms.
Harles and Jentzsch laboratory tests from March 2010 showed they exceeded the ceiling level for dioxin, he said.
"At that point they had to stop delivering this product and immediately inform the authorities. They did not do either," Seifert said.

Government officials learned of the higher concentrations of dioxin in December, he said.
Several attempts to reach Harles and Jentzsch (above photo) last week for comment were unsuccessful.
Dioxin levels in the final feed product were diluted and likely did not exceed allowed amounts, Seifert said.
"Of course that is no excuse. The conduct is still wrong," he said.
The farms shut down include not only chicken and other poultry, but also pig farms, said Pierre Vetter, a spokesman for Germany's Ministry for Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
State authorities quarantined all farms that received animal feed from companies affected, regardless of whether there is proof that the feed was contaminated, the ministry's website said.

Paul McCartney wants a National ‘Vegetarian Day’ in India

We hear that Sir Paul McCartney wrote a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to declare a national Vegetarian Day in India.
Sir Paul declared “the move could save animals while helping to protect both the environment and people’s health,The letter also promised “it would be a celebration of life.”

He prefers the date of January 12 because that's the anniversary date is the of the founding of the Indian branch of PETA.

McCartney writes that such a declaration would “save countless animals, reduce the environmental devastation caused by the meat industry and help participants clear their arteries and their consciences.”

Sorry Paul, we eat lots of meat and our conscience is just fine.
We were wondering if India needs a national “Vegetarian Day.
It seems 42% of the country’s 1.2 billion people are already vegetarians, and Hinduism promotes Ahimsa, a principle that says that killing things is not nice.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

3,000 German farms have been given permission to re-open

About 3,000 German farms have been given permission to re-open, but there's still 1,470 farms barred from deliveries because of the carcinogenic dioxin scare.

Officials now have enough information for a "solid analysis" to "identify farms to making sure that products carry no risk for consumers", said the statement.
Most of the farms are in the northern state of Lower Saxony where nine out of 20 farms had carcinogenic dioxin levels higher, or much higher, than permitted, with one batch 78 times the legal limit. 

The health scare all began with eggs from German farms where hens ate the tainted feed, and the news got worse when the state government in northern Schleswig-Holstein said some animal feed had been contaminated since March -nine months longer than previously thought.

As a result, 4,700 farms were shut down and thousands of hens were culled, attempting to prevent food supplies being contaminated by tainted animal feed sent to poultry and hog farms.
German authorities said earlier this week that 3,000 tonnes of feed had been contaminated, but at that stage they believed dioxin-tainted feed had been produced for only a few weeks.   

This is all becauseof an additive, a fat put it animal feed to give an energy boost, was sold to 25 German feed manufacturers by Harles and Jentzsch, a farm operating north of Hamburg. The fat comprised between 2 and 10 percent of the feed mixture for poultry and pigs, meaning a maximum of 150,000 tons of feed could have been contaminated.

 Dioxins are highly toxic compounds formed by burning waste and other industrial processes.

Authorities traced the origin of the feed contamination to a Schleswig-Holstein distributor of oils for animal feed production, which distributed fatty acids meant for industrial use to animal feed processors.

Eggs from some of these farms using the feed were exported to Britain and the Netherlands for
food processing, but officials have promise the eggs pose little health risk to consumers. (and we believe them, right?)

European Commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent said on Thursday that some eggs from affected
farms in Germany had been found to contain up to five times the legal EU limit for dioxin, but added that this did not pose a risk to human health.(they always say stuff like this)
"Two thirds of eggs tested have minimal amounts of dioxin and one third are at or slightly above the legal limit," a German agriculture ministry spokesman said yesterday.

Gerd Sonnleitner, head of the German Farmers' Association, told a regional newspaper that total farming losses amounted to between 40 million and 60 million euros ($51 million to $78 million) a week. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Professor Arrested for Having a "Suspicious" Bagel on US Airways

When we hear of news like Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Gifford being critically injured and a federal judge as well as a 9-year-old girl killed, along with at least five others we understand the fear that people are showing.

So when passengers said the man had suspicious package in the overhead compartment, we understand the paranoia.

It all happened before the plane ever departed.
Passengers approached flight attendants because they feared for their own safety, who in turn called the authorities.

People are on high alert these days, and often passenger complaints have authorities taking action against innocent passengers who look suspicious because they go to the bathroom too often on a flight.

Milatovic, a mathematics and statistics professor at the University of North Florida, wasn't really doing anything wrong, but that didn't matter.
Passengers were worried about him and that "suspicious package" of his.
Passengers said they heard strange noises coming from a plastic bag.

However, later it was discovered that the bag contained a set of keys, a bagel with cream cheese, some other small food items, a hat and a wallet.

After hearing the concerns of the passengers, the crew confronted Milatovic about that "suspicious package," Milatovic took out his cell phone and began dialing.
The crew asked him to hang it up and sit down. When he refused, he was cuffed.
Milatovic was also charged with interfering with the operation of an aircraft.

One passenger reported Milatovic looked nervous, and made a quick cell call saying only, "I have boarded." Another passenger told police there was a strange noise coming from Milatovic's bag.
According to police, Milatovic refused to clear the aisle, take his seat or put his belongings in an overhead bin.

Ognjen was arraigned Monday and released on his own recognizance.

Milatovic is due back in court in March.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Starbucks has a new look and angry customers

Starbucks just may be the most famous coffee name, but something has happened and it's upsetting their loyal customer followers.
Starbucks has presented a new logo that doesn't include its name or the word "coffee", and customers are furious.

The new green logo is pretty much Starbucks' interpretation  of a female siren -- a half-human mythical temptress who led sailors to their deaths.
"Even though we have been, and always will be, a coffee company and retailer, it's possible we'll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it," Chief Executive Howard Schultz said.
The last time Starbucks changed its logo was in1992.

Starbucks fans are not happy, and they left hundreds of comments on the Starbucks' website, demanding the company's name to be put back into the logo.

"Who's the bonehead in your marketing department that removed the world-famous name of Starbucks Coffee from your new logo? This gold card user isn't impressed!" wrote one customer who identified herself as MimiKatz.

Another wrote: "I have been a big supporter of (Starbucks) since the early days, taken expensive rides in taxis to get my morning coffee, even waded through two feet of snow in my business suit ... but I do not see the logic of your Business Development folks for the removal of the Starbucks name."
"I think it's nuts," said James Gregory, chief executive of brand consulting firm CoreBrand. "What's it going to be -- the coffee formerly known as Starbucks?"

The new logo probably will not hurt cafe sales in the near term because most Starbucks customers are enthusiasts, Gregory said. But, he said, a nameless logo was a bad fit for Starbucks products sold by grocery stores and other retailers.

So, Starbucks has removed its name and the word "coffee" from the logo they print on their cups. and this infuriates customers.
The question that we are really interested in, why do customers care?
Why are they so angry?
Okay, so Starbucks loses the name and the cup doesn't say coffee, big deal.
Yet, customers are really unhappy about this, why?

Could it be that these customers have always enjoyed flashing around the cup with the Starbucks name on it?
Could it be they want people to notice that they are drinking Starbucks, not because they believe it's the best coffee, but because they just want to be noticed?

The coffee will still be the same coffee, it's just that cup that's different.
What is it about that cup?
What does the cup with name and logo mean to these people?
Do they parade around with that Starbucks cup because they want people to think special things about them?
These customers want people to know they drink Starbucks, because somehow it makes them feel special.

Are they no longer going to feel special, drinking the same coffee in a different cup?
What are they going to do?