January 8, 2013
Here are two very different pieces that I’ve read in the past week or so:
The first is a post from all the way back in June 2012 (hence putting quotes around news in the title of this post) in the Village Voice by James King, which was written in response to Drew Magary’s support of Petty Despot Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large sodas (Magary’s unintelligent 5th-grade-like post is titled “Quit Complaining About Mayor Bloomberg’s Soda Ban, Fatsos”). King’s piece is worthwhile while Magary’s is not so much unless you like being told you’re too stupid to run your own life and make your own decisions.
The second is local in nature and contains considerably less vitriol: Andrea Weigl has penned this piece titled “Local Chefs Open Shops that Elevate Humble Items”. There’s some nice coverage of Ricky Moore who recently opened up Saltbox in Durham. I have yet to eat there but hope to once the weather warms up. We were introduced to Moore’s cooking when he was at Glasshalfull in Carrboro and while he was the chef there, Glasshalfull was easily our favorite restaurant in the Triangle. It’s nice to see him back in charge of something and Saltbox has received some pretty good reviews at a local site or two. It would be nice not to have the obligatory Ashley Christensen mention, but at least some other chefs garner some recognition.
Happy New Year!
December 27, 2012
Presumably as a gag gift one of my sisters-in-law gave me Paula Deen’s Southern Classics 2012. On a whim I decided to make a spreadsheet and have a quick look at Miss Deen’s recipes. Here’s what I found after about 20 minutes of collecting data:
- Let’s start with the most startling, eye-popping figure: if you made every dish in this collection you would use 148.5 ounces of butter. Another way to see that number is to say that you would use 297 tablespoons, or 18.5 cups of butter; put another way you would engorge yourself on 29, 700 caloriesof butter!
- Recipes calling for straight additions of fat (olive oil or vegetable oil) are few and far between, but they yield another 5500 calories (27.5 ounces).
- When I started it seemed as if every other recipe was calling for mayonnaise, so I decided to track it. Disappointingly the use of mayonnaise declined steeply after the first several pages, but still accounted for 5200 calories, or 26 ounces.
- Total calories just from these ingredients (butter, vegetable oil/olive oil, and mayonnaise): 40,400, or 11.5 pounds of weight added to your body.
- Shockingly there were only 8 recipes that called for deep-frying as a cooking method.
- Equally as shocking is that the Southern Classics collection consists of only 2 salad recipes, and 1 of those is for a potato salad, which I think I’m being generous as counting as a salad.
What I didn’t track because I have better things to do with my time, but which I assume would yield some equally horrifying calorie counts: sugar, sour cream, cream, whole milk, and bacon (and subsequent uses of bacon fat, of which there seemed a generous smattering throughout).
Take what you will from these numbers. I must confess that a number of recipes did in fact look delicious, but after calculating the above figures I had a great urge to eat a bowl full of lettuce.
I’m not advocating or suggesting that Paula Deen has any obligation to provide healthier recipes, because I don’t believe she does. However I find myself a little mystified that someone who has type II diabetes would publish recipes like this. Clearly these are not the recipes Miss Deen is eating, or else she’d be long dead.
June 16, 2012
An amendment before the Durham city council may require restaurant owners to apply for a permit in order for their patrons to drink on tables set up on city sidewalks.
At first glance this might seem innocuous (except for requiring yet another permit that undoubtedly will cost too much money and take too long to acquire), but the amendment to the current law only allows for restaurants, not private clubs, and only those restaurants that operate on city streets (that’s right, 9th street restaurants would not be allowed to serve alcohol on the sidewalk since it’s a state operated street).
For a council that has been fairly friendly to restaurants and food trucks, this is a surprising move. With any amount of common sense the measure will be defeated. But common sense eludes statements like these:
City Attorney Patrick Baker, who led last week’s presentation of the proposed outdoor patio ordinance, said that the decision to exclude private clubs is due to the Durham Police Department concerns about potential problems with the combination of private clubs, alcohol and outdoor seating.
Naturally there’s no evidence cited that there is a current problem, just the mention that police are worried about potential problems, which is a pretty lame argument if it’s even considered an argument in favor.
June 16, 2012
Here’s a 4 minute piece of Jeffrey Dermer, lawyer and founder of the Southern California Mobile Vendor’s Association, discussing the legal challenges that food trucks have faced:
He’s exactly right when answering the claim many current restaurant owners make about the trucks representing unfair competition when he says “Is it unfair competetion? I don’t think there’s anything unfair about it. The problem is that your food isn’t good enough.”
It would be nice to see a similar assocation created here in the piedmont of North Carolina to help challenge some of the city councils who have gone far out of their way to effectively ban food trucks. Apparently Peoria, Illinois could use an association too!
May 18, 2012
Restaurants in North Carolina can now legally serve rare burgers thanks to recent changes in the state’s health code. Apparently restaurants will just have to inform their customers on the menu that eating raw or rare meat may be harmful.
Safe to say I don’t think anyone will be missing the old regulation which stated that ground beef had to be cooked to a temperature of 155 Fahrenheit. Counterintuitive to this safety measure was the fact that beef tartar was perfectly fine to serve. Go figure.
March 21, 2012
Michael Bloomberg, petty dictator of New York city, has decreed that donations to homeless shelters are in fact illegal because the government cannot inspect the products for sodium, fat and fiber content. Because, as we know, diet is the main problem for most homeless people. The real problems of being homeless, like alcohol and substance abuse along with related mental health disorders must account for little in Bloomberg’s ridiculously narrow view of the world.
The fact that he was elected once was folly enough, but to re-elect him for a second term and then let him tinker with the term limit laws so he could run for a third term just shows how the city of New York has more in common with Venezuela than the rest of this country. The decree of “You need me more than I need you” is usually spoken by those who are more interested in controlling their “subjects” than any desire to represent the interests of their constituency. But I digress.
My assumption is that this is Bloomberg’s underhanded attempt to run homeless people out of his domain once and for all, because surely no decent human being would watch a starving person and say “I’m not gonna give you these fries, you really need to be watching your blood pressure and cholesterol”.
March 5, 2012
Here’s an article about the USDA’s plan to buy 7 million pounds of “Lean Beef Trimmings” for the national school lunch program. I’m glad my son isn’t in school yet, and when he gets there, I’ll be brown bagging it.
February 24, 2012
Though not of the raw variety.
Here’s some more news about milk, this time about our options as consumers when it comes to buying milk without hormones and what to look for on the labels. There’s also a mention of efforts attempting prevent dairies that don’t use artificial hormones from labeling their product accordingly. So far these efforts have fallen short thanks to free speech protections.
February 23, 2012
The CDC claims that raw milk is 150 times more dangerous than pasteurized milk in a recently concluded study conducted over the previous 13 years. I find it pretty convenient that this “study” comes out at the same time the FDA has essentially shut down an Amish farm producing raw milk.
I’m not one of those people who advocate not vaccinating your children like many of the raw milk proponents are (read this outfit’s take on the study results and you’ll see what I mean). But I’d like to see some real scientific evidence on the pros and cons of raw milk. Neither side has produced anything remotely convincing, and I suspect it’s because both sides are making unsubstantiated claims about the health woes or benefits of consuming raw milk.
In the meantime, maybe the FDA should investigate why milk production facilities are so filthy that they need their product to be pasteurized. That would probably be a far better use of taxpayer dollars than going after some pretty peaceful people who just want to consume something that occurs naturally in nature.
February 5, 2012
Chapel Hill finally got around to allowing food trucks to operate as of March 1, but with pretty steep permitting fees, which basically means no food trucks will be operating in Chapel Hill. I don’t really understand why any government body would waste time and money in passing a law that on the surface allows food trucks but in reality makes it too cost prohibitive to operate. It seems to me that if you don’t want food trucks outright prohibition is better and less costly all the way around.
Nevertheless, the lengths people will go to when they oppose something never ceases to entertain me, especially when it doesn’t impact my life in any appreciable way. I’m just glad I live in Durham.