Friday, April 27, 2012

KFC: $8m payout to girl paralysed by poison chicken

(Monika Samaan and her father Amanwial leave the Supreme Court in Sydney in the photo above)

KFC has been ordered to pay $8 million to the parents of a girl who charge she was paralysed and brain damaged after eating a chicken Twister.

(Monika before and after the incident)

Monika Samaan, was age 7 when she became seriously ill with salmonella poisoning after eating at the Villawood KFC in 2005. 

Last week her family won an order against KFC, ordering KFC to pay $8 million plus legal costs.

KFC denied it was responsible for the poisoning and says it will appeal the decision.

In a statement the restaurant said the case was clearly tragic but they were "deeply disappointed and surprised" by the Judge's decision.

"We believe the evidence showed KFC did not cause this tragedy and, after reviewing the judgment and seeking further advice from our lawyers, we have decided to appeal Justice Rothman's decision."

Samaan was in a coma for six months and was left with spastic quadriplegia with severe brain damage after becoming ill.

During the trial her father told the court that he and his wife and son also required hospitalization after sharing her Twister.

The court had v heard that on the evening she ate the Twister, Monika said she couldn't finish, so she shared it with her elder brother and parents. 

Her grandmother who was also in the house chose not to have any. The next morning the four who had eaten the Twister felt ill with vomiting and diarrhea.

The next day Monika collapsed and all four were rushed to Westmead and Fairfield hospitals.

Experts at Westmead Hospital found Monika, her parents and older brother had a common strain of salmonella in their stools, although Monika's case was very rare.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sam Wo just may reopen

Sam Wo, San Francisco Chinese restaurant once known for ‘world's rudest waiter,’ may stay open after all.

The owners of the Chinatown institution went before the Department of Public Health and Director Richard Lee to try to save the 100-year-old restaurant. The city reached out to Sam Wo on Friday clear a way to make it compliant and safe.

Sam Wo now has a list of things that need to be fixed in order to reopen, and with both sides ready and willing, the restaurant plans to do just that.

During the hearing, representatives from the fire department, building department and health department explained their issues with Sam Wo, and what needed to be done to correct them, both in the long and short term. There was also an extensive line of supporters during the public comment section; with priests, hippies, architects and politicians all testifying one after the other.

Among those immediate corrections: obtain a commercial refrigeration unit, install a designated handwashing sink, fix the fire escape, correct the electrical extension cord violations, and eliminate the ongoing rodent problems, among others. There is no timeline yet for reopening.

David Ho, a descendent of one of the restaurant's original owners, had decided to shut down after officials demanded extensive health and safety upgrades.

For those who did may not know, Sam Wo' became a cultural fixture in the 1970s through reports by the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen and the "Tales of the City" novels of Armistead Maupin.

The restaurant became famous by writing about the antics of Edsel Ford Fung, the waiter who was known for verbally abusing patrons and slamming dishes on tables.

Fung died in 1984 at age 57, but for a long time a sign listing the restaurant's house rules maintained his gruff demeanor. Among its warnings: "No Booze ... No Jive, No Coffee, Milk, Soft Drinks, Fortune Cookies."

Fung would refuse to serve people he didn't like the looks of and chastise customers who dared to complain when they were brought the wrong dishes. No one was ever certain if Fung was genuine or an act.

It's been said of Fung, "The Soup Nazi is the Dalai Lama compared to Edsel Ford Fung,"  "He is the Don Rickles of restaurants."
One devoted customer said it seemed odd for city inspectors to crack down on Sam Wo's managers now for failing to institute modern food safety techniques, when the restaurant's old-fashioned methods, such as chopping and preparing meat dishes on a wood table near the front door, was part of its charm.

The health inspection report noted a series of violations ranging from employees not washing their hands and contaminating food to rodent feces in the kitchen and improper food storage.

But the fact of the matter is, the restaurant is "too old. Everything's too old," said David Ho, 56. And bringing the rickety, three-story building into this century will be costly.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

McDonald's introduces the McBaguette - In France

The French branch of McDonald’s is introducing the “McBaguette” sandwich.

The sandwich will offer local ingredients like goat’s cheese and pepper sauce, along with their traditional burgers and fries.

“It’s a crispy baguette, served hot, with beef, a slightly strong whole grain mustard sauce and ripe Emmental cheese,” a McDonald's spokesperson said, adding that the product was of “symbolic importance” and part of the company’s efforts at local “integration”.

French consumers have increasingly turned to chain restaurants in recent years, with the fast food market growing from about 20 billion euros ($26 billion) in 2004 to nearly 33 billion euros last year.

McDonald’s has done really well, growing to 63,000 employees since opening its first French branch in 1979.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hillary Gone Wild


Forget the fact that Hillary Clinton took on Mr McCain at sucking down vodka shots when the two senators were on a congressional tour of Estonia in 2004.

This time around Hillary was in Columbia, not on spring break, even though it seemed that way.

As you can see she's just knocking back a beer and taking to the dance floor to Cuban music at a local club.

Arriving at the club just after midnight, the former first lady and her entourage took over its last remaining table. Clinton sucked down her Aguila cerveza straight from the bottle, while the group ordered a dozen beers, two glasses of whiskey and bottles of water.
As Clinton danced the rumba, 11 Secret Service agents were summoned back to Washington from Colombia after being caught in an embarrassing hooker scandal.

As you can see from past photos, the Secretary of State is no stranger to alcohol.

Headaches and what to do with them

Traditional headache experts are starting to recommend different remedies for headache sufferers.

Even some of the best medication available doesn’t work for one-third of severe headache sufferers.
And pain medications can cause a boomerang effect with additional headaches if taken too often. 
So many sufferers are using natural remedies for help in preventing headache attacks or reducing pain once a headache begins.
As always, discuss your treatment with a doctorfirst.

Feverfew and ginger:  Feverfew, an herb, has been used for bad headaches for a long time.
It has been combined with ginger, a known anti-nausea therapy, in a tablet called LipiGesic. A recent study found that 63 percent of migraine sufferers using LipiGesic found some relief compared to 39 percent of those taking a placebo. Of those taking LipGesic, 32 oercent were pain free at two hours after the onset of a migraine, compared to 16 percent of those on placebo. 

Butterbur:  Butterbur, another anti-inflammatory herb, has also been fairly well studied, but for preventing migraine attacks. It’s not effective for treating an acute migraine once it starts, said Dr. Frederick Taylor, adjunct professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota. You need to take 75 milligrams twice a day.

Magnesium: When taken daily, magnesium may help reduce the frequency of migraines. The mineral helps to calm nerves, which tend to get overexcited during a migraine.
Some studies have found that migraine sufferers tend to be deficient in magnesium. You’ll likely need more than the average multi-vitamin contains or about 400 to 600 milligrams a day. Look for amino acid-chelated magnesium (many brands contain magnesium oxide, which is not absorbed as well). You can also increase your magnesium by eating dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): “We recommend that all our migraine patients take a B complex vitamin,” Cady said. Studies have shown that having adequate vitamin B2 can reduce the frequency of migraines. One theory of migraines is that too many demands are being made on nerve cells, and there’s not enough energy being produced to support the demands. Vitamin B12 (as well as magnesium) play important roles in boosting energy production inside nerve cells, Cady explained. You need about 400 milligrams of riboflavin a day for prevention, which is more than the average multivitamin contains.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common, as people spend more time indoors or avoiding the sun. Whether that is contributing to migraines is unknown, but studies have shown that vitamin D may play a role in the way you perceive pain. Most people can safely take about 2,000 milligrams a day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Titanic's Last Meal

It was the evening of April 14, 1912 and passengers on the Titanic dined on wonderfully prepared meals.

Several hours later the Titanic sank, taking 1581 well fed passengers to their deaths.

The first-class dining saloon offered first-class passengers (some had paid the equivalent of $124,000 in today's dollars) for the ocean voyage - a ten-course meal.

The second second-class passengers ate a less elaborate but beautifully served dinner. 

And on F deck in what would be called "steerage" the third-class passengers ate simply prepared, hearty meals served in their own dining saloon.

There were only two menus recovered from the Titanic for the night of the 14th. 
The details in which the courses were prepared are not actually known, but a book  "Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes" by Archibald & McCaule gives an excellent account of the probable preparation based on similar practice on other White Star Line vessels, White Star's German competition and recipes of renowned chefs of the day. 

The First-Class Menu
As served in the first-class dining saloon of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 14, 1912

First Course
Hors D'Oeuvres 

Second Course
Consommé Olga
Cream of Barley

Third Course
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce, Cucumbers

Fourth Course
Filet Mignons Lili
Saute of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farci

Fifth Course
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes
Green Pea
Creamed Carrots
Boiled Rice
Parmentier & Boiled New Potatoes

Sixth Course
Punch Romaine

Seventh Course
Roast Squab & Cress

Eighth Course
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette

Ninth Course
Pate de Foie Gras

Tenth Course
Waldorf Pudding
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream

A different wine for each course.
Following the tenth course fresh fruits and cheeses were available followed by coffee and cigars accompanied by port and distilled spirits. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bill Gates funds toilet on tap

Bill Gates is funding a new contraption that filters toilet waste back into 'drinkable' water.

Yes, that's right, the new invention, funded by Bill Gates, plans to turn used toilet water into drinking water.

Manchester University’s Sarah Haigh (above photo) is an expert in nanotechnology - the science of manipulating atoms in matter - and she claims, it could make waste water from toilets safe to drink. 
A mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the nasty water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water.

The project which has been funded by billionaire Bill Gates has the possibility to transform a range of materials that could extract energy from human waste.

Sarah Haigh says, "I get a lot of comments about the research I do. I don’t mind people making jokes as long as they’re clean ones."
"There has been a lot of research into biofuels. There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene - which is basically rocket fuel."

She believes that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water.

Dr Haigh, who working with scientists at Imperial College London and Durham University, was given an initial $100,000 (£63,000) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

And the group stand to receive $1million from the Gates next year if they show how the chemical reactions they propose can actually work.

The researchers plan to have a prototype ready to demonstrate by 2013.

They plan on turning this essential everyday outing into an investment by developing materials that convert natural waste into a useable resource.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


From all of us here in the Voodoo Kitchen

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Snakehead fish problem

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Inland Fisheries  is offering $200 gift cards to residents who capture and kill snakehead fish , an invasive species from Africa that is uprooting  the local ecosystem.
"We do not want snakeheads in our waters," DNR Director Don Cosden says. "This initiative is a way to remind anglers that it is important to catch and remove this invasive species of fish."

The northern snakehead is an aggressive freshwater fish that can grow to be about 4 feet long. It has been found in a variety of freshwater lakes, swamps, ponds, and streams of various temperatures, but cannot tolerate saltwater. The northern snakehead fish is native to parts of Asia and Africa.

The fish has no natural predators in the region can survive for up to four days on land. 

"We don't expect that anglers will eradicate the snakehead population," DNR Tidal Bass program manager Joe Love told Fox. "We do believe this promotion and inspiration of anglers can help control the snakehead population. The information we gain from the Angler's Log reports are also helpful in assessing the abundance, spread and impact of these feisty fish."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Alicia Silverstone's mouth to mouth feedings

Actress and animal rights activist Alicia Silverstone has an month-old son.
Well, she posted a video herself feeding her son breakfast on her popular health food website
“I fed Bear the mochi and a tiny bit of veggies from the soup…from my mouth to his. It’s his favorite...and mine,” Silverstone wrote. “He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating. This video was taken about a month or 2 ago when he was a bit wobbly. Now he is grabbing my mouth to get the food!”

The video (we didn't want to show it) shows the actress with a spoonful of food, chewing it, and then passing it open-mouth to her son.

Some medical and nutrition experts think this may not be such a great idea.
“There are those who think that a mom chewing a baby’s food provides helpful enzymes from her mouth but it doesn’t seem like a hygienic practice. Various viruses and bacteria, but especially herpes virus, may be passed from mother to baby,” Dr. Jennifer Landa, M.D Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD said.
“These microbes present a challenge that the infant’s immune system may not be ready for. So the practice is questionable for safety, and then, there’s a certain ick factor here that needs to be considered.” 
Dallas-based family therapist Melody Brooke said the bigger question was whether it is appropriate, on a psychological level,  for a toddler to be diving at their mom’s mouth for food. Mira Jacob, deputy editor of parenting site, said that while the concept itself isn’t all that unique, it does come across as – odd.
“A lot of moms chew a portion of their baby’s food; it’s often a very natural transition. But this just looks really funny, like Alicia is making out with her son,” Jacob mused. “There is nothing terribly wrong with it, it just looks really weird.”

Even JJ Virgin, Certified Nutrition Specialist and star of TLC’s “Freaky Eaters,” said:
“Sounds like she is taking eating like a bird to the extreme. While this could help predigest some of it as we start carbohydrate digestion in the mouth it could also pass along any bad oral bacteria she has too,” Virgin said. “I think a food processor and a spoon are a better bet!”

Not surprisingly, Silverstone’s blog followers were enthusiastic:
“I had never thought of this before but it's the cutest way of feeding your baby! I have a 7 month old and I think I will try this method...she is always trying to lick my mouth anyways might as well give her a reward."
Jackie Keller, executive chef of Los Angeles healthy food company NutriFit still thinks such behavior belongs out in the wild:
“I've never seen anything like this – except in the animal world where birds and some other species pre-chew their offspring's food,” she added. “I wonder what benefit there could possibly be to the child and the mom? Certainly there is no scientific literature that I'm aware of that promotes this type of behavior among humans.”

A rep for Silverstone did not respond to a request for comment.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Food Stamp Friday

The Rose Supper Club in Montgomery will start "Food Stamp Friday" theme nights involving food support for needy families.

Club goers who present their “food stamp card” will pay just a $5 cover charge.

Manager Harman Wilson says the night is meant to complement the club's other theme nights, such as Fat Tuesday, Karaoke Wednesday or Thirsty Thursday.

Wilson says patrons will not be able to use their food stamps to buy alcoholic beverages. He says he hopes the novel approach will draw people to the club.

Even some of the Rose Supper Club's employees are opposed to the gimmick saying, “Name this party something else.”

But the promotion could stem from the fact that The Rose Supper Club is on the brink of closure.

After five years of litigation, a local attorney says he may be forced to lock the doors of the popular night club.

That's because club owners will not pay damages to his client who claims he was wrongfully beaten by security guards for stealing a woman's purse.

The Tongue Map Myth

We have been told that our taste buds are divided into sections on the tongue that sense four different flavors, right?
Well, not so fast.

Even though there are subtle regional differences in sensitivity to different stimulants over the surface of the tongue, the tongue map zones for sweet, bitter, salty and sour has largely been discredited.

Back in 1942, researcher Edwin G. Boring sketched the tongue map and many feel the map is too simplistic and outdated.
Edwin even left out the “fifth taste,” called umami, from the Japanese for rich, meaty protein flavors.

The 1942 map also did not reflect findings that taste buds, clusters of sensitive cells, have different degrees of sensitivity to more than one basic taste and that these clusters are distributed across the entire surface of the tongue.

But still, this outdated tongue map continues to appear in textbooks even though it was based on misinformation done in the 19th century.

The tongue map shows strictly defined regional differences across the human tongue. 
The mapindicate that sweetness is detected by taste buds on the tip of the tongue, sourness on the sides, bitterness at the back and saltiness along the edges.

But researchers have known for a long time that the tongue map isn't correct. 
But somehow the this misinformation has been almost impossible to purge from the literature.

In the real tongue world, all attributes of taste can be found from all regions of the tongue that contain taste buds.

We are supposed to believe that sweet taste is at the tip of our tongue, and bitter is at the back, and other tastes should have their own place as well.

The truth is we perceive all taste qualities all over our tongue, although there may be increased sensitivity to certain qualities in certain areas.