Archive - May 2011

Food Truck Gets Into Star Wars

Star Wars Food Truck

The food is good, so I heard, in the Grillenium Falcon. Let us just hope that George Lucas does not sue them.

The merry days of food trucks in the country are in full blast. Well, it cannot be helped. After all, food trucks provide millions of hungry Americans a source of quick sustenance in these crazy times. Each has their own way of attracting followers, and there are those who do not mind going over the top when it comes to promotions.

Just like the Grillenium Falcon, located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This sleek, black food truck is outfitted to supply Arkansas natives with grilled cheese sandwiches, salads, and soups.

Imagine having a big bite out of a Ham Solo. The delicious smoky goodness of ham is simply out of this world. How about sinking your teeth in some Cheebacka? Three slices of cheese, a generous spread of garlic cilantro, pulled pork, and bacon is a recipe for foodie haven. They also have BBQ chicken X-wings and a Skywalker ranch dip for those looking for a different treat.

In my case, I’ll take any on display, as long as they come with Leia’s Buns (pun intended).

Consuming Omega-3 During Pregnancy May Prevent Obesity in Children

fruit1

From the way things look, soon-to-be mothers have more reason to eat fish.

Scientists from the Harvard Medical School have discovered that pregnant women who eat consume adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk that their children would suffer from childhood obesity by 32%.

The report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acid foods, mainly from fish and other seafood, can help in the reducing the chances of children developing obesity in their early years. This is just an addition to the number of benefits from such a diet, such as improved lipid metabolism, prevent coronary heart diseases, and reduce the body’s inflammatory responses. Animal tests have also indicated that Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce fats in animals with a high-fat diet.

This is an important factor to consider, since many expectant mothers often fall short of their daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. What is more, they often consume more Omega-6 fatty acids (the kind that are taken from meat and poultry), which is responsible for the higher chances of a person to develop obesity. In pregnancy terms, this can be bad news for the fetus. It is only when more Omega-3 fatty acids and less Omega-6 fatty acid are consumed that the rate can be reduced. By consuming more seafood, especially tuna, mackerel and salmon, they can provide themselves with more Omega-3 fatty acids.

According to the study, led by Dr. Emily Oken, only a small number of women eat a fish meal during their mid-pregnancy. They do not even reach the required daily intake. This is an important observation for this research. It is the first time that actual human subjects were studied.

“These findings need to be confirmed by others. It will also be important to demonstrate that making deliberate changes to a woman’s fat intake during pregnancy has desirable effects on weight and fatness in children,” the research team said.

Interview with Food Blogger Margaret Doughney

Spicy Kabocha & Quince Soup with Thai Flavors

Margaret Doughney is the brain and soul behind the blog Savory Sweet Living. If you love a good food blog, you should definitely check it out. Margaret shares candid stories (like the fire in her condo complex), delicious recipes (Coconut cauliflower soup with seared sea scallops and cilantro oil comes to mind) and her pictures are simply decadent. She took a few minutes to tell me a bit more about herself, her passion for food and her thoughts on the world:

FriendsEAT: Where did you grow up.

Margaret Doughney: I was born in Hong Kong and spent the first twelve years there then immigrated with my family to the U.S.

FE: What inspired you to start a food blog?

MD: I started my blog when I enrolled in culinary school a few years ago.  My intention was to document my school experience.  However I underestimated how difficult it was to work full time, attend school at night and keep up with a blog; therefore, I really didn’t start until after I graduated and completed my internship.  Now my blog is a place where I could be creative, test recipes and share them with everyone.

FE: What field of food does your blog focus on and why?

MD: I find inspiration in seasonal, fresh and organic ingredients.  I love all types of cuisines, but as I get older I find myself wanting to learn more about Asian food specifically Chinese cuisine.  I create recipes and make dishes that are Asian inspired but palatable for the western audience.

FE: What is a typical day in your life like?

MD: I do have a full time job so my typical day would be spent in my office.  I also try to read as many food-related articles as possible throughout the day to keep informed about what’s going on in the food industry.  I try to update my social media sites, build relationship with other bloggers, promote my brand and my website as much as possible. When I’m inspired with an ingredient and want to develop a recipe, I spend a lot of time doing research and in the kitchen testing the ingredients.  After the tasting and finalizing a dish comes the photography and the writing, which I must confess, are not my strong points.  And did I mention all the household chores I have to do on a daily or weekend basis. So it’s a process, a blog post may take me longer than some other food bloggers since I only have limited time to get it done.

FE: What was your childhood kitchen like?

MD: I  was not allowed in my kitchen much when I was young.  I think because of the Chinese culture, kids in general are not encouraged to be in the kitchen.  We were only told to study and do well in school so my childhood kitchen was a mystery to me.  I only know that it was a place where my grandmother would make amazing food for all of us to enjoy.

FE: What is your kitchen like now?

MD: My kitchen is where I spend most of my time when I’m home.  Since school, I became more organized so it definitely helps when I’m doing prep for dishes for my blog.  It is a working and social kitchen as I love to cook and entertain.  Though I could definitely use some updates.  I would love to have more counter space; an additional oven would be amazing.  If I were to stay at my current home I hope to have a newly renovated kitchen within the next year.

FE: What type of people read your blog?

MD: I belong to a food bloggers’ community so I think or at least I hope a lot of other food bloggers read my blog.  I think a lot of foodies I meet on twitter read my blog and of course family and friends keep up with it as well.

FE: What comes to mind when you hear the word bacon?

MD: Who doesn’t love bacon?  Though when I hear bacon I don’t necessarily think of the cured meat.  For me, Pork belly comes to mind because it is something I grew up eating, mostly red cooked.  It is a dish that my family loves to eat and prepare during every festive celebration.  I’m glad to finally see that many are getting to know the deliciousness of this cut of pork and just not in its cured form.

FE: What is your favorite restaurant and why?

MD: I have many favorite restaurants, so it’s hard to name just one.  I like family-owned restaurants, small intimate local places where you walk in, people know you by name.  I also love fine-dining places with celebrity chefs where the service is top-notched and the food is amazing.  If I have to choose one, I’d probably choose the place where I did my internship which is Annisa in NYC.  It was my first and only experience working on the line in a restaurant.  There was so much to learn.  I was impressed with the components and creativity that went into each dish.  Anita Lo, the chef and owner, is so talented and warm.  The energy in the kitchen and the synchronicity of the line cooks during service were amazing to witness.  It was probably one of the hardest things I did, and it left a huge impression.  I gained a lot of respect for the people in the restaurant business and the consistency of the delicious food that came out of that kitchen is probably why Annisa is my favorite restaurant.

FE: What is your favorite ingredient and why?

MD: Fresh herbs are one of my favorite ingredients because it could really add depth to a dish.  Currently I am a huge fan of ginger; I love the flavor and the subtle spiciness of it.  One of my favorite condiments is ginger and scallion sauce.  I also love pickled ginger; it’s delicious to add on top of fried rice and noodle dishes.

FE: What is your opinion of the current state of Foodtertainment?

MD: I am a fan of many of the food programs and competition shows.  They all have great information to give to the viewers and I look at it as more as fooducation than foodtertainment.  However it does give the illusion that the restaurant business is such a glamorous life.  I just want people to know that like every industry, it takes hard work, sometimes even back-breaking hard work to achieve success in the restaurant or food industry.

FE: What do you think is the future of food blogging in the next 5 years?

MD: I think food blogging will become increasingly popular especially with all the food bloggers conferences and communities being organized.  Food is an essential part of everyone’s lives so it’s natural for everyone to want to talk about food and take pictures of food.  I think there will be more interactive blog sites and instructional video blog sites in the coming years.

FE: Would you like to give a shout out to the best joint that no one has heard about?

MD: Yes, my food coming out of my kitchen.  The people who tasted my food could agree that I make delicious food and my place is the best joint that no one has heard about.

FE: What do you think is the most important issue facing foodies today?

MD: I think everyone should know where their food comes from as the saying goes, you are what you eat.  What you put in your mouth could have great affect on your health.  I think we also need to educate children to eat healthier.  I think teaching kids about food when they are young and cooking with them are keys to childhood obesity.

On Class War and Eating Man’s Best Friend

dog meat market in guangdong

A truck transporting over 500 dogs to restaurants in northeastern China was recently forced off the road by an angry animal lover who spotted the truck on the Beijing highway.

According to the Washington Post’s William Wan, after news of the confrontation hit the Chinese blogosphere, more than 200 animal activists rushed to the highway with water, dog food, and veterinarians, forcing traffic to a standstill in a 15 hour standoff as dozens of police officers were called in.

The activists were successful in recovering the dogs, but they discovered most of the dogs they unloaded were suffering from deadly viruses. That fact alone should be enough for the Chinese government to heavily regulate or outlaw a trade in dog meat.

Class War

Wan notes this event signifies “a battle that has been brewing for years between the rural and the urbanites, the poor and the rich — between China’s dog eaters and its growing number of dog lovers”.

“The standoff last month has sparked the widest-ranging discussions to date in China over animal rights. Pictures and videos from the incident have spawned endless arguments on e-mail groups and blogs, Web polls and news stories delving into each side’s points.”

Wan claims the battle between the rural and the urbanites has reignited the specter of class warfare — “a common meme in modern China amid the widening gap between rich and poor. In online debates, many have noted the symbolic nature of the confrontation: a working trucker forced off the road by a black Mercedes-Benz whose driver was on his way to a resort hotel with his girlfriend”.

During the Cultural Revolution, having a pet was seen as a capitalist activity, notes Jiang Jinsong, a philosophy professor at Tsinghua University. “Only the rich and arrogant had dogs and allowed them to bite poor people,” he said. “So there’s this implication that if you treated pets well, you will treat those who are weaker badly.”

According to Wan, a Chinese man enraged by animal activists posted threats online to kill a dog a day until these animal lovers donated the money they raised to peasants living in poverty instead of to dogs.

“I felt I had to do something to represent the grass-roots people,” said Zhu Guangbing, 35. “I grew up in a poor village. We raised one dog to watch the door and one to be killed in the Lunar New Year because we were too poor to buy pork. I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.”

Within days, Zhu found his name, cellphone number, office number, and even his parents’ number posted online. “My parents got calls condemning them for raising a son like me,” he said, having logged more than 200 threats so far. “One elementary school teacher even called me and had her students insult me over the phone one by one.”

“People are saying it’s a silly thing protecting animals,” says a Chinese dog activist. “But it is a question of civilization. By teaching people in this country to love little animals, maybe we can help them to love their fellow human beings better.”

I didn’t even intend to kill dogs, said Zhu, who was forced to quit his job after his company began receiving threatening phone calls. “I was just making a point,” he said. “The animal activists claim to have the moral high ground, but look at what they did to me. Can they really say they have love at the front of their heart?”

Origin of Domesticated Dog

Dogs were domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago in East Asia. A research paper (“Genetic evidence for an East Asian origin of domestic dogs”) that appeared in a leading journal of scientific research states: “…we examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation among 654 domestic dogs representing all major dog populations worldwide.

“Although our data indicate several maternal origins from wolf, 95% of all [DNA] sequences belonged to three phylogenetic groups universally represented at similar frequencies, suggesting a common origin from a single gene pool for all dog populations. A larger genetic variation in East Asia than in other regions and the pattern of phylogeographic variation suggest an East Asian origin for the domestic dog, ∼15,000 years ago.”

There is speculation that emigrants from Siberia crossed the Bering Strait with dogs 12,000 years ago. According to “Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition”, archaeological evidence of dog-like canids in North America dates from about 9,000 years ago.

Dogs were part of the North America Paleo-Indian culture as early as fourteen thousand years ago.

Who Eats Dog Meat?

According to Calvin W. Schwabe’s book “Unmentionable Cuisine”, dog meat was consumed by humans in ancient China, where ironically, as noted above, dogs were also domesticated 15,000 years ago. But dog meat was also eaten by humans in ancient Mexico and Rome, and all through Europe at one time or another.

The French ate dog meat during the Franco-Prussian War. And historical sources report that in 1870, when Paris was under siege, at butcher’s shops, people lined up to buy dog meat.

In Germany, during the 2nd World War, dogs, wolves, foxes, bears, badgers and wild hogs were legalized as meat. “Dog meat has been eaten in every major German crisis at least since the time Frederick the Great, and is commonly referred to as ‘blockade mutton’”.

And in the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common.

Today dog meat is still consumed in China, as well as Vietnam, the Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, and even Switzerland. In East Timor, Dog meat is considered a delicacy [scroll down].

In the Swiss Alps, there is a long tradition of eating dog in the form of jerky and sausages. In an interview a farmer told a journalist that “meat from dogs is the healthiest of all. It has shorter fibres than cow meat, has no hormones like veal, no antibiotics like pork”.

Japan imported 5 tons of dog meat from China in 2008, compared to 4,717 tons of beef, 14,340 tons of pork and 115,882 tons of poultry.

Guilt-Free Treating

Smelling Food

If you feel like eating your favorite treats has become too much of a problem, then you might want to try this simple strategy. While it does not keep you from eating, it does help you eat fewer of it. It is all in the mind, so to speak, and you can actually control it.

Sounds far-fetched? Not really.

According to researchers in Carnegie Mellon, the mind can condition you to crave less. In their study, they discovered that by repeatedly imagining a certain food (from seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting it in the mind), then you would have a significant reduction in your desire to eat it. The repetition of the act of eating in the mind may induce a person to develop a sense of satiety. It can be akin to eating too much of your favorite candies. It does taste good at the start, but it gets tiring the more you get.

The concept is fairly simple. All you have to do is to think of your favorite food several times. Be it a plate of custard, a cup of choco-fudge ice cream, or bars of Snickers, it would do. Just try visualizing it for several minutes. And I do not mean simply imagining it. You must think about the very act of eating it. You should try recalling the taste, the texture, the aroma, everything. Try that while you eat a low-calorie snack like a cup of oats (no sugar or milk). More likely than not, you would feel satisfied already (it is also the same effect even if you did not eat at all).

It is a very useful exercise for those trying to fight the flab. Of course, like all diet plans, consulting a doctor to formulate the necessary steps for this would be a good practice. There are many things you can gain with some professional help.

Zuckerberg Only Eats What He Kills

Mark at Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It sounds strange, coming from a man who calls himself a vegetarian of sorts. But believe it when he says it:

“The only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself.”

The young Facebook founder made this announcement on his page in Facebook (obviously), and since then, countless reactions from friends and fans had continuously filled his pages. The reactions are mixed, with some expressing support while others virtually shaking their heads on a subject that may be just part of his zany ideas.

Considering the strange diet plan, Zuckerberg is saying that this is his way of learning how to appreciate food better. He has even learned a few good ideas about sustainable farming and how to raise farm animals. Sure, he does not cut up the carcass but he does plunge the first knife.

As a result, he admits that he is eating healthier now. He also gets to try different dishes that use animal parts that you would not normally see. There is that broth that uses chicken feet, and a couple of other recipes that used the heart and liver.

This experience has left him with a better appreciation about the food he eats every day. While the idea has spread like wildfire (compare Facebook), many of his friends are interested in it. He also got the attention, not to mention revulsion, from vegetarians to meat-lovers alike.

So what is next on his to-do list? Zuckerberg says he is interested in hunting. If that happens, expect him to post some antlers on his page in the near future.

Scratch and Sniff Restaurants

Blizzard Cake

So much for being foodies, we like to take note of our dining experiences for future references and one thing that we look forward to when we are dining out is the worthiness of each penny we spend on food. It is such a great feeling to leave the restaurant fully satisfied with what you have ordered. We are now more adventurous when it comes to food tripping (if you haven’t done it, I seriously recommend it…don’t worry – it’s legal), something that most of us will really enjoy doing from time to time. While it is said that the best foods in town are pricey, there are some that gives us a wild gastronomic adventure while in budget.

I recently heard that the new edition of Esquire Spain will feature Ferran Adrià in a “scratch and sniff” special issue. This got me thinking about the restaurants that I would love to preview in this manner. Let’s kick off my list with the world’s best restaurants:

Restaurant Noma, Denmark. Headed by Chef Rene Redzepi, Restaurant Noma, a two-star Michelin awardee is named the World’s Best Restaurant two years in a row. This restaurant boasts of their recreation and own interpretation of the Nordic cuisine. They take pride in using seasonal and local ingredients that are not found or used outside the Nordic region. Their flawless and extraordinary execution and presentation of their in house dishes make the restaurant a favorite among gourmets and international foodies. Another remarkable thing that makes Restaurant Noma’s famous is the fact that they are making dishes from closely available ingredients, paying homage to sea and soil, reminding us of our food resources. Foodies around the globe will surely love the very earthly and wild gastronomic experience they will have when they dine in at Restaurant Noma. I think this issue would smell like wet dirt in the morning to signify the focus on local cuisine.

Alinea, Chicago, USA. Alinea is famous for creating dishes with unlikely combination in flavors that foodies would not dare to miss. They recreate, reconstruct, and revolutionize the way we perceive food with the execution and unique presentation of their dishes. Chef Grant Achatz, head chef of Alinea, is very imaginative and creative with his masterpieces, something that makes his restaurant uniquely attractive for local and international foodies. Your palate will never get bored with this restaurant as they are constantly changing their menus, letting the diners feel like they’re taking on a journey with the different sets of menus they present. It’s like taking a tour around the world in one comfortable sitting. Everything about Alinea spells “very special,” from their very comfortable interiors to their playful and uniquely presented dishes, your eyes will surely feast on mouth-watering treats, Chef Grant Achatz and the rest of the Alinea staff prepares for you. This issue would smell salty, like oysters in the ocean clean, fresh and modern.

Osteria Francescana Restaurant, Italy. Modena’s pride, Osteria Francescana, owned and run by Chef Massimo Bottura, was a two Michelin star awardee and ranked 6th on the World’s Best Restaurant. This Italian restaurant takes pride in re-creating traditional Emilia-Romagna dishes that will keep the palates guessing and exceed its gastronomic expectations. The unusual blend of flavors and ingredient combinations is to be expected when you are thinking of dining at Osteria Francescana. Their dishes are full of surprises. Great example is a dish where raw prawns and citari (a local product similar
to seabass) with a smokey feel are sealed inside an iced puddle of oyster juice where diners need to crack open. Tradition meets fantasy – this is the trademark of Osteria Francescana where your stomach will surely be in for a giddy appetite adventure treat ofa lifetime. This one would smell like mortadella, that classic Italian meat that makes me salivate with every whiff.

D.O.M., Brazil. Chef Alex Atala, head of this award-winning Brazilian restaurant makes sure that his restaurant is nothing like any other restaurants in the region. Brazil is known for having the wildest native ingredients and D.O.M. takes it seriously. The Chef also uses Amazonian herbs for his recipes, turning ordinary cuisines into extraordinarily special dishes. Even some of the world’s most famous chefs have been in D.O.M., asking where to get the ingredients they use for their dishes. But one thing that Chef Alex Atala believes in is the preservation of the natural wonders of Brazil. So the ingredients used in his recipes are not readily-available in the market, thus, making his dishes have that distinctive character, flavor, aroma, texture, and taste. The restaurant strikes a balance between the financial aspect and the remarkably delectable authentic Brazilian dishes that one will savor and remember for the rest of his/her life. The D.O.M. issue would be scented like coconuts and manioc to represent the culture of the country.

Per Se, New York. Undeniably one of New York’s “go-to” restaurants, Per Se, is the urban interpretation of The French Laundry, according to its owner Chef Thomas Keller, who also runs The French Laundry in California. Chef Keller does it to a point that the menus constantly differ from each other. Dishes are re-introduced but continuously refined to give new flavors and twists to some of the local in-house favorites. They also have two nine-course, prix-fix menus, one for the vegetarians and one according to the chef’s own choice dishes. Aside from having an incredible menu, they were also praised by critics and guests for their outstanding service and great presentation of the dishes. Expect nothing but excellence from this top New York restaurant. At Per Se, you must prepare yourselves for a very penny-worth experience, where great dining experience is never too pricey for your own good. Per Se would smell of radishes, leeks and English peas after my favorite dish from my last visit there.

There are also restaurants that I would never (EVER) want to experience via “Scratch n’ Sniff.” I’ve had enough experience with their “aroma” just walking past.

White Castle. White Castle has been knocking on our doors and invading our nostrils for 90 years now. They are not the world’s first fast food chain, but they certainly were the first to serve small, square-shaped hamburgers which they call “sliders.” All these years, they consistently armed themselves with different marketing ideas, offering a 30-burger box and burger-scented candles to attract customers. None of them would entice me to try out one of their Murder Burgers. There is a reason for their nickname after all.

Burger King. One of the world’s biggest fast food chains is certainly no newbie in serving our fast food staples. Burger King has evolved from serving simple burgers with fries and soda to making varieties of burger choices for their patrons. One of
their famous products is the Whopper. The Whopper is their signature hamburger: a whopping quarter pound grilled patty, mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, tomato, ketchup and onion and sandwiched between sesame seed buns.  I definitely do not want to “sniff” this out…otherwise I would have bought the Burger King cologne: Flame.

McDonald’s. There is no person in the world who is not familiar with this Fast Food behemoth. With over 31,000 restaurants and over 58 million customers daily, worldwide, McDonald’s is certainly a favorite among fast food patrons and the foe of foodies, animal activist, environmentalist (the list goes on).  This year, with the revamp on their American-based restaurants, they are trying to make Ronald McDonald (the mascot) more visible to their patrons, especially kids. But they should think about mellowing down his image. Just like most clowns, he can freak people out. The day a magazine pops up at my doorstep that smells like week old grease and GMO chicken comes into my home is the day I hide from the world.

One chain I would love to smell?

Baskin-Robbins. Who does not love ice cream and milk shakes and ice cream cake? I know I do. This ice cream parlor has been a favorite of not only kids but for adults too. One of my favorite memories of childhood is the iconic Ice Cream Cake – vanilla and chocolate with crunchies in the middle. If they offered a scratch n’ sniff, I think I’d indulge in a little whiff.

Study: One Third of All The World’s Food is Wasted

food waste image via greenbiz

According to a United Nations funded study conducted by the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, one third of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste, amounting to more than one billion tons of waste around the world every year.

The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) is an industrial research institute owned by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. The purpose of the Institute is to strengthen competitiveness in the food industry.

The SIK study was tailored for the food packaging industry, and will be reviewed by the industry at an international trade fair to be held in Germany later this month.

The SIK report, “Global Food Losses and Food Waste”, highlights the losses occurring along the entire food chain, and makes assessments of their magnitude.

The report claims “food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final household consumption. In medium-and high-income countries food is to a significant extent wasted at the consumption stage, meaning that it is discarded even if it is still suitable for human consumption.

“Significant losses also occur early in the food supply chains in the industrialized regions. In low-income countries food is lost mostly during the early and middle stages of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at the consumer level”.

The study differentiates between food loss and food waste. Food loss take place at production, postharvest and processing stages in the food supply chain. Food waste occurs at the end of the food chain (retail and final consumption) which relates to retailers’ and consumers’ behavior.

The report notes that “food losses in industrialized countries are as high as in developing countries, but in developing countries more than 40% of the food losses occur at post harvest and processing levels, while in industrialized countries, more than 40% of the food losses occur at retail and consumer levels.

“Food waste at consumer level in industrialized countries (222 million ton) is almost as high as the total net food production in sub-Saharan Africa (230 million ton)”.

The SIK report is of particular interest considering that global food prices are at their highest point in 20 years. According to the United Nations, the global price of food reached a new all-time high in February. And the World Bank reports the global price of food has risen 36% over the past 12 months.

Sangria for Memorial Day

Sangria (Image via userealbutter.com)

Not sure what the weather is like by you, but in NYC it is gloomy. That means no grilling, no burgers…But you can still celebrate indoors.

This is where sangria comes in.

Sangria is a Spanish punch drink that calls for red wine, seasonal fruits, a little bubbly water or soda, and lots of ice. It is very easy to make, and it is perfect for summer gatherings, or even Memorial Day. There are different kinds of sangria, depending on preferences and the country it is in, but the basic ingredients are there. Just mix and match and one would still get an amazing drink.

Speaking of which, there are lots of variations to Sangria.

You could try making a pitcher of tropical sangria for that summer taste in gatherings. It calls for tropical fruits (lots of it) and a chiller to “marinate” the flavors. There is also a summer sangria recipe that calls for white wine. It is a different take on sangria, with white wine providing a nice touch on the drink itself. This recipe for sangria is perfect for large gathering.

There is also a recipe for low sugar sangria for people who are a bit health-conscious, or who just simply want a less-sugary treat. And for those who want instant sangria for those sudden gatherings, then there is a recipe that would be just perfect for that. Just pop it into a wine glass, pour wine on it, and there you go.

Summer Ice Cream

Gelato Ice Cream

Summer days are coming up, and what better way to enjoy that than to indulge on ice cream. Yes, that is true. Hot days are best enjoyed with a cone of cold, creamy goodness that can only come from ice cream.

Ice cream is the ubiquitous dish that is appreciated by people of all ages. Children are the biggest buyers, although it is not odd to see me treating myself to a cone or two.

Frozen treats have been around for hundreds of years. The ancient Romans knew how to prepare a dessert made with ice and fruits. Ancient Arabs were the first to put milk as creamer, and sugar as a sweetener, for the dessert. The Chinese, on the other hand, were believed to be the first to develop the rudiments of an ice cream maker.

It was during the 18th century when ice cream was first introduced in America. Since then, it has captured the taste of many Americans. With their do-it-yourself attitude, developing modern ice techniques became possible. For example, the first manual ice cream maker was developed by Nancy Johnson, and many of the ice cream recipes we know today were the creations of Augustus Jackson way back in the 1800s.

Ice cream is a wonderful treat, especially if made at home. You can create your own styles and use different flavors. You might be interested in making a strawberry and cream cheese ice cream, a vanilla and fruit blend ice cream, and green tea ice cream. All these are unique flavors that you would certainly love.

As for the ice cream maker, there is no need to worry on that. The Internet can be a good place to buy one, particularly in Amazon. You could purchase the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, which would make home-made ice cream an easy thing to do.

Go ahead and give yourself a treat.

EU Points Fingers as Killer E. Coli Sweeps Across Europe

e.coli bacteria

A state of pandemonium and denial is sweeping across Europe as health officials attempt to isolate a killer strain of drug resistant E. Coli that broke out in North Germany in May.

Now Germany is blaming Spain, and Spain is blaming the Dutch, as cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and aubergines are all under suspicion.

Initial media reports claimed 400 were sickened with E. Coli, but current media reports have downplayed the breakout, claiming between 200-300 are sick which means there are probably thousands that have been stricken.

Der Spiegel reported that in the 2nd week in May three people had died and 400 were seriously ill from a deadly strain of E. coli known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). Laboratory tests confirmed the bacterial strain was partially resistant to antibiotics, and at the time the source of the outbreak was not known.

The ECDC now claims (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) cases linked to the German-epidemic have appeared in Sweden, Denmark, Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Luxembourg. Additionally, authorities in the Czech Republic have removed Spanish-grown cucumbers off store shelves over fears they are contaminated.

According to Reuters, experts called the outbreak one of the biggest of its kind worldwide and the largest ever in Germany. The Sweden-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said this outbreak was “one of the largest described of HUS worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany”.

“While HUS (hemolytic-uremic syndrome) cases are usually observed in children under five years of age, in this outbreak 87 percent are adults, with a clear predominance of women (68 percent),” a recent scientific report states.

Germany blames Spanish cucumbers as the source for the deadly E-coli outbreak, which has now reportedly taken the lives of 10 people. But there are also reports that Danish cucumbers are suspected of spreading the E. coli infections.

Press TV claims the reports released by the Hamburg Institute for Hygiene and the Environment (HU) show that the majority of the organic cucumbers from Spain, which accounts for about 40 percent of the cucumbers consumed in Germany, were positive for the infection.

“The HU has clearly identified a cucumber from Spain as a carrier of E-coli,” the German Health Ministry said. However, Spain’s Agriculture Minister has denied this report saying there have been no signs of infection in Spain.

Spain’s health ministry said an EU alert about the outbreak cast suspicion on an unnamed company in the Netherlands, but the Dutch claimed the outbreak had no connection to Dutch growers.

School authorities in the Danish city of Odense said up to 1,500 children may have been exposed to the bacteria after eating cucumbers of Danish origin at a school festival on Friday, the local Fyns Times reported.

Xinhua reported on Sunday that the cucumbers came from a Danish wholesaler which also delivers farm products to a German supplier where vegetables contaminated by the E. coli bacteria have been found earlier this week.

“The Danish cucumbers were mixed in Germany with cucumbers originating in the Netherlands, making it difficult to determine if Danish cucumbers are in fact contaminated”.

Denmark’s National Serum Institute reports nine confirmed cases, with at least another eight people suspected of having the intestinal infection known as VTEC, in Denmark. “Four of the confirmed cases show symptoms of kidney failure which marks an advanced stage of the sickness, the institute said Saturday”.

A recent poll indicates 58% of German citizens are no longer eating any kind of fresh vegetables. Germany is the biggest importer of fresh Italian vegetables threatening the Spanish economy which is already on the brink of collapse.