February 11, 2010

Scrapin' Up the Bits... Antibiotic style

A few interesting things happening out there. To begin with...

CBS News actually does a good job reporting on the extreme overuse of antibiotics on factory farm animals. It was a two-part series, part 1, on the situation in the U.S., here and part 2, which covers the situation in Denmark, where this practice is now banned, here.

Although, it's hard not to gag a little when, Katie Couric, back in the U.S. with an American turkey farmer who doesn' t use antibiotics, is walking through a huge barn packed with turkeys and is asking about why it's so important to also give the birds "more space."

Jamie Oliver continues in his efforts to get Americans (and his mates in the U.K.) to eat better. He even won a $100,000 award to help further his efforts from this organization called TED that, I have to admit, I really don't understand.

UPDATE: Jamie Oliver's talk at TED. Great quote right off the bat.

"I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our homes that binds us to the best things in life."

My take on genetically modified food is pretty simple: I know that for a mighty long time farmers have been cross-breeding different varieties of the same crops to produce more prolific or more tasty or more pest- or drought-resistant crops. But that's different than inserting foreign, non-plant genes into crops, planting them all over the place, and selling them for consumption, without a ton of research to show that these products are safe for human consumption, among other things. I am all for the appropriate use of biotechnology. It's produced some very good (and expensive) drugs in the past decade or so. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily appropriate to use in our food supply -- again, at least without much, much more research.

I say all this because the USDA wants to know what you think about the subject. You can do so easily via SlowFood USA. For some very detailed background, there are also some work published last year that called into serious question the underlying science and value of GMOs.

Some experience-based cooking advice: If you want to jazz up a roasted cauliflower soup with some dried porcinis you find in your cupboard, you don't need very much of the porcini (reconstituted in water, that is). Otherwise your cauliflower soup might become a mighty potent porcini soup. In theory, that sounds good. In practice, it was a bit overwhelming.

In other local food news,
Michael Pollan will be speaking at Allegheny College on February 25. Details here (scroll down).

Finally, the South Side Soup Contest is on the horizon, February 20. I've never been to this, but have purchased tickets. Looking forward to some delicious soups from places like Cafe Du Jour, Yo Rita, Big Dog Coffee, and others.