We’re in that awkward stage where half of our friends are having babies and the other half are too drunk to find their phones.
@JoshElder: I eat gummy bears two at a time because it feels cruel to make them face the void alone. #PeopleForTheEthicalTreatmentofGummyAnimals
In case you missed it, producers of Bravo’s reality chef competition Top Chef announced yesterday that Boston will be the location of the show’s twelfth season. The show will film in the Hub during the spring and early summer, with contestants battling it out in the “Birthplace of the American Revolution.” The show will premiere in the fall.
That Boston was the location for the show had been previously rumored, with locations like Fenway Park and Plimouth Plantation as possible locations for challenges.
Boston’s culinary scene is no stranger to the show. The winner from Season 10, Kristen Kish, formerly worked at Menton. Tiffany Faison, runner-up of Season 1, is currently the chef and owner of Sweet Cheeks and the previous owner of Rocca (now Cinquecento). And the owner of Tico, Michael Schlow, appeared on the “Top Chef: Masters edition of the show.
Well, the folks at the Washington Post are at it again. In advance of Valentine’s Day, Will Feltus and Mike Shannon published a piece regarding the correlation between candy consumption and politics. You may recall that the Post recently described the correlation between alcohol brand and politics.
The authors admit that there doesn’t seem to be too much correlation or an obvious connection between candy types and partisanship. Maybe because candy brands aren’t seen as an expression of values, unlike a car (think hybrids vs gas guzzler) or a fast food chain (Cracker Barrel or Chick-Fil-a). There were some differences though. Democrats tend to prefer their candy be filled with extras like almonds, raisins and rice, while Republicans are more likely to favor peanuts, creamy fillings and darker chocolate.
One think that was crystal clear? There was one brand that seemed to have something for everyone in the political spectrum: M&Ms.
Check out the graph below and see where your candy preferences put you. I have to say that I don’t necessarily agree with this one as much. But at least we can all agree on M&Ms of some variety.
On Monday, the Huffington Post published a piece cautioning diners on putting lemon wedges in their water glasses. Titled “This Will Make You Never, Ever Want To Put A Lemon Wedge In Your Water Again”, the article quotes a research study from the Journal of Environmental Health, where researchers swabbed the outside of fresh lemons and found 70% of them produced microbial growth. The samples were collected as soon as a beverage was served, before drinking or touching, thus reducing possible contamination from other sources. The article then goes into excruciating detail about the types of contamination and some of the bacteria and fungi isolated from the rind of lemon wedges.
The article is clearly written to produce the “wow” scare factor that will capture headlines and the attention of viewers. The problem? Somewhere near the end of the article, the authors speak with an expert from NYU Medical Center who notes that the risk of actually getting sick is “decidedly small.” According to the expert, “you can’t live in a bubble. Your immune system is usually pretty good.”
This article is everything I hate about how ridiculously germ phobic we’ve become as a nation. As the article states, the likelihood of getting sick from a slice of lemon is essentially negligible. Of course, they bury that lead in order to feed into the culture of germophobic fear mongering that is pervasive in this country. Our parents’ generation was constantly dirty as children, rolling around in dirt, mud, dust, etc. They weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, and most of them did just fine.
The real problem with the article is that they hardly highlight the fact that the reason the lemons are likely contaminated is because of unsanitary food handling practices – poor practices that also likely occurred during the preparation of meals. Meals that will ultimately contain a much higher bacterial load and therefore much more likely to make you sick. The greater public health disaster then is not the tiny amount of bacteria on your lemon wedge, but the mountain of bacterial that likely contaminated the side salad that came with your entree. So you can probably continue to enjoy the lemon slice (as the article points out, just squeeze the juice into your drink and don’t drop the rind in if you’re really that worried), because you may actually want to think twice about your actual meal.
I posted this Forbes article to Twitter yesterday, but this infographic about SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – aka food stamps) is really great and dispels a lot of the myths about food stamps. Given the recent decision by lawmakers to cut money from SNAP while enrollment has increased, perhaps these same lawmakers should be looking at some of this data as well…
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced this week that for the first time there is clear evidence that the childhood obesity epidemic may be turning a corner, particularly in children from low-income families.
The rate of obesity in pre-school children from impoverished backgrounds fell in 19 states between 2008 and 2011, and remained stable in many other states. Only three states showed increased rates. It was the first time federal researchers have shown a consistent decline in obesity rates among low-income children. The government had noted a similar decline in December, but lacked a geographic pattern to see if this was a one time occurrence or a trend.
The new data is incredibly important in the fight against childhood obesity, because children from poor families have had some of the nation’s highest rates of obesity. One in eight preschoolers in the United States is obese, with rates among low-income children around one in seven. There is also a large racial disparity, as the rate among black children is one in five, while for Hispanics it is one in six.
No one is really sure why the decline occurred, but researchers theorize that increased rates of breast-feeding, a decline in consumption of sugary drinks, and changes to food options covered by programs like WIC and SNAP may be contributing.
The cause of the decline remains a mystery, but researchers offered theories, like an increase rate of breast-feeding, a drop in calories from sugary drinks, and changes in the food offered in federal nutrition programs for women and children. In interviews, parents suggested that they have become more educated in recent years, and so are more aware of their families’ eating habits and of the health problems that can come with being overweight.
I’m personally skeptical that kids truly are consuming less sugary beverages, and though researchers noted that kids are consuming 4-7% less overall calories over the last decade, that amount doesn’t explain this trend. Whatever the reason, the decline in obesity rates particularly among children from low-income families is an encouraging sign that the scales are tipping in favor of our childrens’ future.
Anyone out there who drinks coffee likely drinks it for one of two reasons: 1) they like the taste and/or 2) they need the caffeine.
Well it turns out that not all coffees are equal. It should come as no surprise that different kinds of coffee have, on average, varying amounts of caffeine in them. So if you’re drinking your coffee for reasons #2 above, the pic below tells you how to get the most bang for your buck.
Think about that the next time you’re ordering your grande extra-hot no foam mocha. And don’t even get me started on decaf…
And that something is being obese.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Mexico has surpassed the United States as the developed country with the highest percentage of citizens who are considered to be obese. 32.8% of Mexicans are considered obese, while the US clocks in at 31.8%.
But don’t worry America… just because Mexico is beating us doesn’t mean that we’ve gotten leaner as a country.
Normally I would post a sarcastic someecard about turning a year old given that today is my birthday, however today’s post is a bit on the sad side since my 92 year old grandmother Gina passed away this past Thursday. Tomorrow’s regularly scheduled someecard will be post-poned until Tuesday, I promise it will be worth the wait.
Born in 1921, my nonna’s life is one for the history books. She first hand witnessed the tragedies of World War 2 and the Nazi retreat from Italy which claimed the lives of many in the Italian countryside. My mom and uncle were born during the aftermath of a depressed post-war Italy, which unfortunately claimed the life of their oldest brother and my nonna’s eldest son from a land mine that the Germans planted around Italy to stop the progress of Allied forces during the war. Emigrating to the United States and leaving behind the world she knew at nearly 40 years old was tough on my grandmother. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and heartache she must have lived with for the rest of her life, a feeling I’ve only glimpsed through the eyes of my mother on the occasions when we’ve returned to Italy. It’s a sorrow and a longing for a life that could have been but never was, in my opinion, a distinctly Italian feeling of loss for what never existed in the first place. If there’s a positive side, it’s that the experience served to harden her a bit and offered her the promise of a new life in America, one that has been filled with weddings, grandchildren and great grandchildren, good times and grand memories.
Like most Italian families, my grandfather was clearly the king of the castle and the one who wore the pants in the family, yet my nonna clearly picked out the pants – but I’m pretty sure she also ironed them and decided which shirt and shoes my nonno would wear with them. My nonna’s soft exterior and gentleness with her grandchildren often masked a core hardened by life and a tongue that was both quick and sharp. My grandmother was not a woman to be messed with; get her riled up or on her wrong side – and you best watch out. The rules in my grandparents’ house were clear, and spoiled brats wouldn’t be tolerated.
As is probably true of most Italian families, my fondest memories of my grandmother all center around family and food. Nonna Gina’s house was the glue that bonded us with my cousins on my mom’s side. The house was her castle, and her kitchen entirely her domain. When I was very young, my parents both worked, and my nonna and nonno served as daycare. My parents also felt it was important to retain our Italian heritage, and spending time with nonno and nonna was critically important. My sisters and I picked up the occasional Italian phrase from them during those days at their house, and spent a lot of time with them during the summers when school was out. From an early age, my sisters, my cousins and I were brought up on “pane e burro” and “peacock” (raw egg yolks whipped with sugar to which toasted bread is dunked in. I know it sounds gross – but it’s actually delicious, so dont knock it until you try it). In my very biased opinion, her pasta sauce and meatballs rival that of any Italian restaurant. My grandmother’s kitchen was small and her food simple but satisfying. Lasagna, pasta e fagioli, and pasta “stufata” were the staples of my childhood.
When my grandparents emigrated to the United States from Italy, they tried to assimilate my mom and my uncle as much as possible into American traditions. In the spirit of Americanization, my nonna always made a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes – the whole nine yards. Thanksgiving was almost always celebrated with my grandparents, and the tradition continued even after my nonno passed away from lung cancer. The controlled chaos of those Thanksgiving Thursdays is one of my fondest memories, and the smells emanating from nonna’s kitchen will linger in my memory for the rest of my life. Dessert included many of the American staples like apple, pecan and pumpkin pie, but my nonna always made “cheesecake” on holidays, and Thanksgiving was no exception. Her cheesecake was actually a more light and fluffy lemon-ricotta pie, a recipe my nonna closely guarded. My grandmother did not keep recipe cards, and measurements were always “a pinch of this” or “a little of that”. If you asked her to tell you how much flour or sugar to add, she would say “about a cup” – but my nonna never owned measuring cups or spoons. No matter how hard we try, nonna’s recipes are nearly impossible to recreate.
I will be forever indebted to my grandmother for the care and compassion that she showed for my father, especially while he was sick. The love she showed for a son that wasn’t her own flesh and blood amazes me to this day. During my dad’s last hospitalization, she stood watch in his hospital room with the rest of us, and the pain, sorrow, and anguish on her face when he died and during his funeral highlighted the depth of her love for him.
Throughout her life, my grandmother faced hardship and suffering and continually rose to the occasion, experiences that shaped her into the soft on the outside but tough on the inside woman that she was. She is fondly remembered by her son and daughter, her six grandchildren and her five great grandchildren.
To Nonna Gina, may she rest in peace.
The Hostess company is emerging from bankruptcy after selling off some of its well known products (Wonder Bread to Flower Foods; Devil Dogs and Yodels to McKee Foods) and a take over by private investment firms Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management.
The takeover by Metropoulos and Apollo meant that the Hostess company would retain its signature products, including Twinkies. The company has announced that Twinkies will be returning to store shelves on July 15th. And they are betting that Twinkies will make a huge comeback considering the run on store shelves when the company filed for bankruptcy.
So America can look forward to Twinkies back on store shelves – and even more of them. The company will be delivering products to warehouses that supply retailers, rather than delivering directly to stores, allowing it to reach dollar stores and nearly all convenience stores in the U.S.
Enjoy your expanded waist lines America.