Archive - February 2011

On Food and Television

Cooking for Real

We’re back!

After being out of circulation for some time, your favorite foodie TV show guide is back. There are some minor changes about the set-up but I assure you, this is all meant to give you the ultimate guide about the best foodie shows to watch. It’s the same old faces that you’ll get to see, but still, they’re the guys you’d want to see. So go ahead and see for yourself what shows to look forward to this week.

Grill It! With Bobby Flay: Grilled Pizza-Palooza (Feb. 28, 10:30 a.m. at the Food Network)

Grilled pizza, anyone? Bobby and guest firefighter Jen Cook heats things up with two pizza recipes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water. You’d want to see this show.

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Haiti) (February 28, 9 p.m. at the Travel Channel)

It’s a bit different from his usual shows, but Tony will be visiting Sean Penn in Haiti to know more about the cholera epidemic (plus a hurricane) that is affecting the place. Maybe we can learn a thing or two there, so we’d better watch the show.

Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern: Los Angeles (March 1, 7 a.m. at the Travel Channel)

Andrew is out traveling Los Angeles to explore the various dishes found there. It would be quite an exploration, given the diverse culture that is simply part of the city. Enjoy!

Kitchen Boss: Mauro’s Favorites (March 2, 12:30 p.m. at the TLC)

It’s time to share some nostalgia with Buddy and his brother-in-law Mauro. But it won’t be complete without Buddy cooking up some of Mauro’s favorite dishes. Food and talk, that’s a perfect mix, right?

Cooking for Real: Easy Peasy Party (March 3, 4 p.m. at the Food Network)

Thinking of a fast and filling party meal, then watch Sunny as she does her magic. From split pea soup to big chopped salad, it’s an explosion of flavors that you’d want to see.

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (Las Vegas) (March 4, 6 a.m. at the Travel Channel)

Tony is sure in a tight spot. He’s heading off to Las Vegas to cover the best dishes there in only four days. It’s as assignment he’s got mixed feelings with, and in a city he’s got no experience with. That’ll be a headache.

Trader Joe’s: Keeping it Small While Making it Big


Trader Joe’s might as well be a well-known, well-kept secret.

Unlike other mega chain stores like Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s has maintained a low-key status but with a high stream of loyal customers.  Trader Joe’s might as well be your regular grocery store around the corner but over the years the retailer has had this major advantage over other supermarkets: it’s quirky and with full of surprises.

Trader Joe’s quirk comes with its own witty approach at kitsch: clerks go around in Hawaiian shirts, handing out stickers to children.  They greet you with hi-fives.  They make you feel like you are entering a holiday land where the atmosphere is relaxed yet brimming with adventurous product choices.

What makes Trader Joe’s different from the usual supermarket chain?  Instead of the usual products, you’ll find reasonably-priced items that you will not find in any regular store.  The company sources most of its products from local farms, food artisans, and a selection of importers who will bring you exotic goods Thai lime-and-chili cashew and Belgian sweets.  You may not find baby food and a complete line of toiletries in Trader Joe’s but it  stocks its shelves and bins with tremendous amounts of organic products and guarantees the most natural ingredients and the finest quality.  It is a haven for foodies, college co-eds, professionals or anyone who prefers great-tasting and quite unconventional food product choices.  And what’s great about Trader Joe’s — the prices are very competitive.

So how does Trader Joe’s do it?  The company actually began fifty years ago, founded by Joe Coulombe.  Joe wanted to build a sophisticated convenience store that can cater to the budget customer.  He began by stocking Trader Joe’s with good booze such as a wide selection of fine wines — and interestingly, for something that is around “fine”, Trader Joe’s carried bottles of Charles Shaw for $1.99 in the 1970s.

Despite its successes, Trader Joe’s has been one of the silent success stories in the United States.  The company was not aggressive when it comes to expansion; in fact, Trader Joe’s opened less than ten locations in 2010 although in 2009 the company earned $8 billion in sales.  Trader Joe’s cannot be called a mega-store because of its relative low store-keeping units or SKUs; an average supermarket has 50,000 SKUs while Trader Joe’s keeps it down at 4,000 SKUs.  You can make the computations yourself — with smaller SKUs and fewer operations at higher profits, Trader Joe’s has a business model that can make any corporation green with envy.

Another important note is that about 80% of Trader Joe’s products are under its own brand.  As Trader Joe’s directly gets its products from its suppliers, the retailer guarantees high standards.  The company is active and responsible in labeling its products which is why when a customer returns unhappily with a purchase, Trader Joe’s refunds the money without any questions.

These success factors are just a result of skimming the Trader Joe’s surface.  Even though the Trader Joe’s was sold to the Albrecth family in Germany 1979, the Albrechts do not interfere in the business.  However, Trader Joe’s has somehow adapted its German owners’ approach to business: quiet, cool towards the media and the outside world, and quite secretive.

Even with all its secret strategies, it is enough for each Trader Joe’s store say it all: the secret is to bring the world to the locals while maintaining a mom-and-pop’s appeal.  Each store caters to the needs of the local which is why not all Trader Joe’s stores have the same stocks.  This is probably why Trader Joe’s is so discreetly big in the industry: they’ve gone quite big in the hearts of its growing loyal customers.


Our Superhero’s Favorites

scrambled eggs and bacon

This is a question that many of us, from children to adults, have always wanted to ask: what do our favorite superheroes eat?

While there is differing opinions on what our caped, masked, and super-powered crusaders of justice satiate their hungers with, the fact remains that all of them have to eat. Yes, even our out of this world heroes have their preferences. You might be surprised to know what they eat. While some of the food may indeed be downright weird (given the storyline or something like that), we do also have some characters that eat food that we might be interested in trying, too.

So let’s sink our teeth over these culinary tidbits and learn more about some of our favorite superheroes:

1. Peter Parker, also known as Spider-man, likes to eat the typical American fare of hamburgers and New York-style pizza, but he does have a taste for his Aunt May’s cherry pie.

2. Tony Stark, our favorite hero donning the Iron Man armor, is true-blue American with preference for American cheeseburgers and pizza (let’s just write-off his taste for alcoholic drinks). Imagine these two together, I wonder if these made him Iron Man (thinking)?

3. Captain America, the hero Americans look up to, simply loves the home-style goodness of a serving of apple pie. No wonder he is called Captain America, since Apple pie is a part of almost all American Traditions.

4. Wolverine, the adamantium-clawed superhero of the X-Men, loves to take things easy by munching on some chips and drinking a bottle of ice-cold beer.

5. This reminds me of the Martian Manhunter. Our favorite green alien seems to have a penchant for Oreos, don’t you think? Maybe he just loves the taste after dunking it in milk. Well, I think most kids do and there is a facebook fanpage for people who love oreos and milk together.

6. Who could forget our classic hero, Popeye? In my opinion, he’s the epitome of healthy eating. You see, when the going gets tough, he could always pull out a can of spinach, eat it, and then blast the enemies away. So children, better eat your greens, okay.

7. The Flash moves so fast that he burns calories too fast. To stock up on power, he would wolf down lots of burgers, fries, and power shakes. And he doesn’t get fat at all.

8. Lara Croft, although she’s no superhero, sure makes up for being a terrific adventurer. Although she does know how to cook, and sampling exotic dishes across the world, she’d still prefer beans on a slice of toast when she’s at home.

9. The infamous John Constantine of Hellblazer stories has a liking for soda foods. He’d eat eggs with soda bread, doused with a generous helping of ketchup.

10. For those who are interested in becoming a suave super spy, perhaps you might be interested to know that James Bond’s favorite meal is scrambled eggs and bacon. Interesting, right?

How to Properly Use a Knife: Take Note of the Knifeless Hand

Kitchen Knife_

This may come as a surprise to many, but a number of people do not know how to hold a knife properly — even you.  So how do you define “proper” if you’ve been using knives for, say, years, and has only cut yourself a few times?

Here’s the thing: you might find your “comfort zone” once you have the knife in your hand, but the truth is there is that other hand you should take note of.  Yes, it is usually the hand without the knife that gets victimized.

There are many factors to consider when holding a knife, and one of them is the size and the design.  If you’ve seen Julie and Julia — and I bet you’ve seen this in some cooking-related shows as well — holding a knife means having the instrument become one with your hand.  That means finding the right grip that will give you that single motion that actually does the job.  This is to say that hacking motion with your arms is not right; if you’re slicing carrots and your entire shoulder is moving you’re already overdoing it.  Hold the knife by the handle, grip it firmly, and let it do its work.  Sometimes a small hand-and-wrist movement is enough for small pieces.  Use elbow grease when needed.

In order to prevent any cutting accidents, try this trick: take a celery stalk.  Cut off the leaves and then divide it horizontally, in half.  With your knifeless hand, place your middle finger on the end of the stalk near the knife and then your thumb at the other end.  The mechanics is that the middle finger will act as your hand’s shield as your thumb pushes the stalk forward with the rest of your fingers merely guiding the stalk.

The positioning may seem awkward at first but after a couple of tries it makes sense.  Instead of your knife and your fingers moving along the stalk, you move the stalk in order keep the knife from coming at your finger.  Now your fingers do not have to run for its life as the knife comes; you are pushing the food that is meant to be chopped!



How Lycopene Can be a Great Natural Food Coloring

Tomato salad

You have probably heard of lycopene from any tomato-related study or advertisements, and they’re right — lycopene is good for you.  Lycopene is actually a phytochemical, a carotene and carotenoid in bright red coloring.  It can be found in red fruits and vegetables like carrots, watermelons, papayas, and yes, tomatoes (though not strawberries and cherries).

Because of these properties, many studies have found the possibility of lycopene is a possible agent that can fight diseases such as cancer, aging and cardiovascular problems.  Another point, of course, is that lycopene is actually a coloring — it contributes to the red pigment of tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.  This is why it is only natural that lycopene has been studied as a potential source of natural coloring.

The initial problem with this proposition was free lycopene was difficult to stabilize; once isolated as a substance, lycopene loses its coloring properties.  This is important as coloring is an extrusion process.  Free lycopene cannot hold its color when used in this process thus its potential as a great natural coloring has been a challenge.

Of course, scientists have found a way: microencapsulation.  Sheetal Choudhari, the first author of the research group from the University of Mumbai Matunga in India, explains, “Microencapsulation aims to totally entrap the pigment particles in a protective network, which isolates and stabilizes the pigment”.

Based on a study published in the Journal of Food Process Engineering, lycopene in its microencapsulated form can actually do the trick.  The study used rice flour for testing and it was a success.  The microencapsulated lycopene have better color retention and showed effective results when it comes to storage stability.

Now this is great news for food manufacturers and consumers, especially for vegetarians and vegans.  Remember how we have to consume chemicals with animal-product base just so these food manufacturers can give us brightly-colored food? Well, microencapsulated lycopene adds to the natural coloring solution.  It’s healthy and it can battle disease — imagine buying your favorite juice and candies labeled with “with natural lycopene coloring”.  Now that’s a great advantage.


5 Places to Stay in Cancun

Playa Mujeres Mexico

Cancun makes a visit to a tropical paradise worth remembering. Whether you’re planning to hit the beach with perfect weather or enjoy a nightlife mecca, Cancun, is the perfect destination for you. Start your day with bite at Limoncello, head to the pyramids at Chichen Itza, and end your night with a delicious meal and a great view at Lorenzillos. But there is one element missing. Where should you rest after such an event filled day? You can have a great getaway in Cancun without going broke. Check out these hotels which offer deals that are worth your money.

Grand Oasis Cancun All Inclusive

 Avenida Kukulcan, Km. 16.5
Cancun 77500
Average Price: $367

The hotel is located on Cancun Island’s eastern shore and has two tennis court, a huge activity pool (and a shallow pool for kids) with swim bars, a 9-hole golf area, a dance club, 24-hour room service (to replenish the calories you used up playing in the sun), a fitness center with a sauna, hydro massage, aromatherapy, facials, and wraps. What we like best is that the hotel  has a variety of restaurants, so you don’t get bored eating the same thing every day.

Park Royal Cancun All Inclusive

Blvd Kukulcan Km 12 5
Cancun 77500
Price: $216

The hotel is located along the shores of Cancun, Mexico, in a great location next to Mayan ruins. It also has five restaurants and bars, including the glass-walled La Veranda (Mexican) ; El Mirador (Italian); La Langosta bar (poolside service); and La Duna where you can dine while looking at the Mayan ruins. This is a place for those who don’t want the hastle of planning. The hotel will help with set up kayak, sailboat, and windsurf excursions.

Barcelo Costa Cancun All Inclusive

Blvd Kukulcan Km 4 5 Zona
Cancun 77500
Price: $159

This beachfront hotel is located at the Cancun Hotel Zone, near the Museo de Arte Popular Mexicano (for those who want to squeeze in a little culture) and Playa Linda (for those who just want to worship the sun). This is more of a hotel for adults with lots of restaurants and bars. We really liked the spa.

Le Meridien Cancun Resort and Spa

Retorno del Rey, Km 14
Cancun 77500
Price: $146

The hotel is located six kilometers from Cancun’s center, and one kilometer from Kukulcan Plaza. Since you’re a bit further from the strip, the restaurant concentrated on giving guests a good variety of dining options including Aioli, which serves Mediterranean. There’s also complimentary breakfast and afternoon cocktails and a killer spa known for a great couples massage as well as body wraps and scrubs, hydrotherapy, Vichy showers and reflexology.

Paradisus Riviera Cancun All Inclusive

Paradisus Riviera Cancun All Inclusive
SM 11, MZ 9, Lote 10 Puerto Morelos
Price: 423.02


The Paradisus Riviera Cancun All Inclusive is tucked amid a white sand beach and a mangrove jungle in Puerto Morelos, 32 kilometers from Cancun, Mexico. Cozumel is located 21 kilometers from this property. Due to its location, there are plenty of places to dine. We liked the Caribbean Market Place and the Tequila Grill. L’Hermitage offers elegant ambience and French cuisine. Sumire specializes in traditional Japanese fare.

Review: Kyocera Ceramic Knife Set

Fish Cut into Cubes

How much do you have to spend for a good knife?  Quite a lot, but $65.50 is not too much for a couple of ceramic knives that will last for a very, very long time — the sharpest knife you’ll ever use with minimal sharpening and no rusting.

Of course you can opt for those knife sets that you can get for less than $30; but seriously, are you going to use all 14 of them?  If you are stocking your kitchen with the right gadgets, you might as well invest in something that will last quite long.  And after having a try at these ceramic knives from Kyocera, I had to re-prioritize my birthday wish list.

Here’s something you should know about knives: high stainless and carbon steel (aka the regular knives you find in most kitchens) can do their work, but if you’re into serious cutting and slicing, consider getting ceramic knives.  Kyocera has been producing gorgeous and highly efficient ceramic knives since the late 1950s.  I got to try the knives from its Revolution Paring and Santoku set and hands-down, these Kyocera knives can make any cutting work possible.  It is that sharp.

And sharp is indeed the right word as the first time I held the knife it felt I could cut anything, samurai-style.  It was pretty lightweight but the handle was surprisingly snug in my hand.

I initially used the paring knife to peel some carrots and potatoes.  I almost let out a woot as I managed to finish one in less than a minute with perfect peel curls on the board.  What I loved about the paring knife is the handle; it has the right amount of space to let your fingers sit comfortably but the length of the blade is enough to make the right peel.  I found that this knife understands the food it is going to work on.  I was happily peeling away for several minutes and I never asked for a peeler.  I never saw the need as this Kyocera ceramic paring knife was so sharp and it contributed to my precision.  Off with those buckets of potatoes!

I then used the Santoku knife to cut vegetables, and everything glided through.  I was amazed that I can easily do that rocking action that chefs usually do.  The blade is designed with the right curvature that gives the knife — and my hand — the right movement without exerting too much effort.  It was so easy to use that I went ahead and started cutting meat.  I have to say that I never thought about cutting meat before, but this Koycera ceramic knife made me think twice.  It was an unrealized dream.  Now I can see myself buying a block of meat from the store and cutting it myself — I have to say, this knife can make a butcher out of you without the blood-stained apron!

After washing and drying the knife (hand-washed and towel-dried), I went ahead and tried it on a block of parmigiano reggiano.  And I cut some fish and halved a (small) pumpkin.  I was impressed.

Meats, vegetables, seafood — you will not have any problems having these under these Kyocera knives.  The ceramic blades were sharpened using diamond wheels thus ensuring that razor-sharp precision; thick or thin, you can make that slice.  These ceramic knives from Kyocera will never rust because they are impervious to acids, juices, oils, salts or other elements.  You can just imagine these knives sitting in your drawer fifty years from now, in good condition.

Of course, for something as precious as these knives, you need to take good care of your great investment.  It does not ask much: hand wash only.  Do not drop.  Use properly.  It can be only sharpened by a company provided by Kyocera in Southern California and all you have to do is pay for the handling and shipping because the service is free.  All you have to do is follow the above and what you’ll have is a great long-lasting ceramic knife set that will make you wonder why you ever used anything else, especially that $30 block knife set.


The Top Twenty Edible Mushrooms


For centuries, mushrooms have been known as a delicious addition to any food. Whether it’s roasted, boiled, or stir-fried, their taste is simply out of this world. If we want to add some flavor to any dish we’re cooking, then mushrooms would be the thing. Its meaty taste is also the reason why vegetarians also favor it in their cooking.

Mushrooms come in a lot of varieties. We can find the usual ones in the supermarket shelves, while those camping out can sample the treats that grow in the woods. You might not believe the kinds of mushrooms that can actually be eaten. Of course, we all know that not all mushrooms are edible. Some can cause hallucinations, others can downright kill us. It pays to know which is which when it comes to eating mushrooms, so here’s a list of twenty mushrooms that are perfectly safe for you to eat.

1. Boletus edulis (Fungo Porcino or Pig Mushroom) – The flavor of this mushroom has been described as nutty and slightly meaty, with a smooth, creamy texture, and a distinctive aroma reminiscent of sourdough. This mushroom is highly used as an ingredient  in most cuisine and mostly found in pasta, soups or risotto.
2. Clitocybe nuda (Blewit or Blewitt) - Blewits can be eaten as a cream sauce or sautéed in butter, but it is important not to eat them raw, which could lead to indigestion. They can also be cooked like tripe or as omelette filling, and wood blewits also make good stewing mushrooms.
3. Grifola frondosa (Maitake/ Hen of the woods/ Sheep’s head) – Maitake is rich in minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium), various vitamins (B2, D2 and niacin), fibers and amino acids. It adds a wonderful flavor to many kinds of dishes.
4. Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) – dried shiitake mushrooms are favoured by many culinary chefs because it improves its ability to release more umami (meat-like) flavour in the dishes it’s cooked with. Whether they are fresh or dried, shiitake mushrooms can be uysed in various cuisines, especially sautéed.
5. Various Tuber species (the truffles) – known for their earthy flavors and aroma, truffles are highly prized flavorings for any dishes. Because of their prohibitive prices, truffles are commonly used sparingly. Paper-thin saving can be put on foiegras, pates, stuffings, eggs, and almost any kind of dish that you can think of.
6. Auricularia auricula-judae (Wood ear/Tree ear) – it has a soft, jelly-like texture when fresh, and it hardens when dried. Of course, rehydrating it returns it to its original characteristics. It is the favorite ingredient in many Asian cuisines, with its mild flavor and purported healing properties.
7. Hericium coralloides (Bear’s Head Tooth) – this particular mushroom has a nice, chewy texture and a flavor that is similar to seafood. Its color doesn’t change even if you slice it. It has a nice flavor that enhances soups and other dishes.
8. Ganoderma lucidum (Ling Chih, Reishi) – although it has a bitter taste, Reishi mushrooms are favoured for its medicinal properties. One way to do it is by boiling it with water and making it into tea. In addition, you can use it as an ingredient in various dishes like chicken soup
9. Lepiota procera (Parasol) – because of its frequency and availability, procera mushrooms are a must in many European dishes. It has a mild taste and good texture that makes it an ideal ingredient in cooking.
10. Craterellus fallax (Black Trumpet, Horn of Plenty, Trumpet of Death)–what makes this mushroom popular with cooks and their dishes is not its taste nor texture but rather its aroma. It has a sweet scent that is reminiscent of apricots.
11. Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster mushroom) – this is mushroom has a mild taste and an odor similar to anise. It is a favorite in stir-fry, soups, and stuffing.
12. Lactarius subdulcis (Mild milkcap)–although it has mild ivy-like taste, what makes the milkcap attractive is the milky secretion it makes that is sweet-tasting. You might miss this specie because there are plenty of other edible mushrooms that grow with it. It tastes quite nice when pickled.
13. Sparassis crispa (Cauliflower mushroom) – creamy white or beige-colored varieties are the most ideal to harvest. They have a unique aroma and texture that slowly fades after a day or two of harvesting. That’s why it would be best if they are cooked on the same day they’re harvested. They go well with pork chops.
14. Calvatia gigantea (Giant puffball)–although these are plain-tasting, the fact that they can also grow in large sizes makes them a favourite. In addition, they take on the flavour of what they’re cooked with quite well, like in stuffing, sautéing, soups, and grills.
15. Coprinus comatus (Shaggy mane) – these mushroom species are delicate and should be eaten on the same day they’re harvested. They go well with eggs and have a delicious flavour that complements sautéed dishes and soups.
16. Morchella spp. (Morels) – morels have an incredibly heady aroma and flavor that intensifies the taste of eggs, pasta, creams, and light-coloredmeat like veal, sweetbreads, and even poultry. It’s also good with prawns.
17. Hericium erinaceus (Bearded tooth) – these mushrooms are an excellent addition to cheese sauce (which includes macaroni and cheese), and other dishes. Just make sure that they are harvested young (white-colored), since the older, yellowish ones turn sour.
18. Cantharellaceae (Chanterelles) – they have a unique floral aroma with a hint of apricot. They go well with cream sauces and can even be sautéed and partnered with grilled beef. They also have a peppery taste that disappears when cooked.
19. Laetiporus sulphureus (Sulfur shelf) – sautéed and cooked with a little seasoning, these mushrooms would make for a good vegetarian meat dish. They have a taste that is quite close to that of young chicken.
20. Clavariaceae (Coral fungi) – the tips and upper branches of this species are tender. They would go well with sautéed dishes and can add an excellent flavor to vegetables. Slice them lengthwise and add them while cooking.

Monsanto Linked to Doomsday Global Seed Vault – Part 2


Part 1
Part 2:
Plant breeders and researchers are among those who primarily utilize gene banks, and the world’s most ubiquitous plant breeders and plant-patenting GMO giants today are Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow Chemical.

Monsanto has effectively monopolized the seed market with a series of abrupt and unregulated acquisitions. Monsanto’s 2005 purchase of Seminis, along with Monsanto’s purchase of the Dutch breeding and seed company, De Ruiter Seeds, makes them the largest seed company on Earth, controlling 85 percent of the total market.

Monsanto acquired Delta & Pine Land (DPL), the world’s largest cotton seed company, which jointly holds three US patents on Terminator technology with the US Department of Agriculture.

Terminator Seeds

As F. William Engdahl notes, “Monsanto holds world patent rights together with the United States Government for ‘Terminator’ seeds or Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT). Terminator is an ominous technology by which a patented commercial seed commits ‘suicide’ after one harvest. Control by private seed companies is total. Such control and power over the food chain has never before in the history of mankind existed.”

Since Terminator seeds have only one growth cycle, farmers are required to purchase seeds from Monsanto for every planting. There is also a concern that the ‘Terminator’ effect will be spread to indigenous crops through pollination, rendering many plants unable to reproduce fruit.

Rafael Alegría of Via Campesina, an organization representing over 10 million peasant farmers worldwide says “Terminator is a direct assault on farmers and indigenous cultures and on food sovereignty. It threatens the well-being of all rural people, primarily the very poorest.”

10,000 Haitians March Against Terminator Seeds

Last year, 10,000 peasants marched in Haiti to protest Monsanto’s donation of 475 tons of Terminator-type hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds, done in partnership with The United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The declining yield characteristic of hybrids forces farmers to buy seed every year in order to obtain high yields.

As Food Freedom notes, none of these crops will produce viable seeds for future plantings and all require massive chemical inputs.

“The foundation for Haiti’s food sovereignty is the ability of peasants to save seeds from one growing season to the next. The hybrid crops that Monsanto is introducing do not produce seeds that can be saved for the next season, therefore peasants who use them would be forced to somehow buy more seeds each season,” explains Bazelais Jean-Baptiste, an agronomist from the MPP who is currently directing the “Seeds for Haiti” project in New York City.

“Furthermore, these seeds require expensive inputs of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that Haiti’s farmers simply cannot afford. This creates a devastating level of dependency and is a complete departure from the reality of Haiti’s peasants. Haitian peasants already have locally adapted seeds that have been developed over generations. What we need is support for peasants to access the traditional seeds that are already available.”

US Agency for International Development

Monsanto’s goal, with the help of USAID as a benevolent front man, is to render local farmers in poor and developing countries dependent on US agribusiness and petro-chemical companies.

The USAID provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. It operates in Sub-Saharan Africa; Asia and the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Eurasia.

Rajiv “Raj” Shah is is currently the administrator of the USAID and led efforts to create the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) — a strawman used by Monsanto to spread GMO seeds across Africa under the pretext of “bio-technology”.

Shah was the agricultural programs director for the pro-biotech Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Gates Foundation have been criticized for working closely with Monsanto and the Danforth Plant Center.

According to Tom Philpott, the Danforth Plant Science Center is nestled in Monsanto’s St. Louis home town, and is essentially that company’s NGO research and PR arm…the center ‘was founded in 1998 through gifts from the St. Louis-based Danforth Foundation, the Monsanto Fund (a philanthropic foundation), and a tax credit from the State of Missouri’.

Philpott notes that Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant sits on the center’s board of trustees, along with execs from defense giant McDonnell Douglas and pharma titan Merck. Another notable board member is Alfonso Romo, a Mexican magnate who cashed in big during his country’s notoriously corrupt privatization /liberalization bonanza in the early ’90s, says Philpott.

According to Alexis Baden-Mayer with the Organic Consumers Association, links and collaborations between Monsanto and the Danforth Plant Center include project partnerships, hiring one another’s employees and making donations to one another’s projects.

At the Gates Foundation, explains Alexis, Shah supervised Lawrence Kent, who had been the director of international programs at the Danforth Center, and Monsanto vice president Robert Horsch, a scientist who led genetic engineering of plants at the seed giant.

Alexis adds: “The Gates Foundation partners with Monsanto and the Danforth Center on projects that seek to find technological solutions to the problems of hunger in poor countries. These projects have generated a lot of publicity for the idea that genetic engineering could be the solution to world hunger, but they have not produced even a single genetically engineered plant that is proven to offer stress-resistance, increased yields or improved nutrition.”

And so Engdahl asks (as should all of us): “What leads the Gates and Rockefeller foundations to at one and the same time back the proliferation of patented and soon-to-be Terminator patented seeds across Africa, a process which, as it has in every other place on earth, destroyed the plant seed varieties as monoculture industrialized agribusiness is introduced; and at the same time invest tens of millions of dollars to preserve every seed variety known in a bomb-proof doomsday vault near the remote Arctic Circle ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future’ to restate their official release?”

Daily Deal : 58% of Wine at Lot18

58% off at Lot18

You’re traveling over the Andes Mountains on a tour of Chile and Argentine wines. On the screen in your lush tour bus plays the movie Sideways. The moon scape to your right plays out before you and all you can think about is how the Malbec you are drinking is perfect.

How can you live like this every day of your life?

Well, to continue your foray into the world of wine without spending $5000 thanks to an invitation-only, private sale site featured by our good friends from Snooth….Lot18.

No worries, we got you an invite along with today‘s deal:
$25 for $60
worth of wine on

The founder of Snooth (one of the best apps ever!) is behind Lot18 where sophisticated members are matched to high quality producers in flash sale style to offer fine wines at unbeatable prices. Lot18 personally sources each bottle, ensuring you’re getting a great selection, and adds new products several times a week.

Here is their invite only offer for 58% off for FriendsEAT Members. Enjoy!

Low in Calories, High in Nutrition

Photo by Jolie311 / Flickr

A low calorie and high nutrition diet is probably the best way to go.  Low calories means lower health risks with the high nutrition content countering the energy needs calories typically provide.  High nutrition foods can make you feel less hungry as opposed to sugary and sweet foods that can bring up sugar spikes and give you more calories per spoonful.

To get throughout the day without feeling famished and deprived, it is important to consume foods that are hearty enough to make you feel filled.  Many dietitians suggest going through the day with five to six smaller meals while snacking on nutritious foods.  The important thing is to make sure to consume foods that are high with nutrients such as potassium, fiber, calcium and vitamins A, C and E.  Fiber-rich food such as fruits, vegetables, legumes/beans and whole wheat can make you feel filled while giving you a satisfying meal.

Enjoy foods such as gazpacho with its hearty bowl of healthy raw vegetables and immersed in a tomato soup.  Gazpacho is rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C, and the multitude of benefits from its vegetables such as antioxidants.  Other soups are beneficial as well like chicken with wild rice and vegetable soup.  Make sure to make them with a thin soup base instead of cream. Guacamole is a filling, low-calorie, high-nutritious dish as well with the nutritional benefits of avocado, tomatoes, onions, garlic and lemon juice.   For dinner, enjoy a side of fresh vegetable salad topped with sunflower seeds and slivered almonds with fish such as perch, cod, haddock, Pollock.

Remember, a low-calorie, high-nutrition diet is an exceptional footprint of a regular diet.  Do not deprive yourself from favorites such as meat and sweets, but keep in mind that living by these nutritional guidelines and eating habits will lead to a healthier and leaner you.