June 14, 2010

Now That's a Summer Camp!

My son started summer camp today. Great place: pool, fishing pond, basketball court, football field, obstacle course in the woods. By Wednesday or Thursday of a given week he's exhausted.

This is a much different -- although a lot more intense, you might say -- type of summer camp:

After Mr. Shaw’s demonstration, Chris Wayne, 25, who works for Greenmarket developing new farmers, was the first to take chicken in hand. Wearing a rubber gown, he placed a chicken in an inverted metal cone on the wall, pausing a moment when its head did not drop through the bottom. Prodded by Mr. Shaw, Mr. Wayne reached inside to pull the head through, and then lifted the knife. His cut was deep, his hands steady.

Personally, for somebody who spouts his mouth (and fingers) off about the importance of local food, sustainability, etc., I've done little to get more hands-on experience with it. Most of my support has come with words and dollars. Would really like to improve on that at some point, especially if I could be involved in something like this.

Last weekend, 16 campers, most of them employees of New York City’s Greenmarket program, arrived at Flying Pigs Farm in Shushan, N.Y., during a rainstorm, and soon were gathering eggs and scouring a chicken coop and surrounding field for broken shells. As the campers worked, Ms. Small spotted a hen whose beak dripped with yolk. She explained that once a chicken tastes a yolk it will start cracking every egg it finds.

“You can never cure a chicken of being an egg eater,” she said, separating the chicken from the group. “Sorry, my dear.” 

Good to see these folks, at least, putting their hands where they put their time and money.

June 9, 2010

Fast Food Abomination of the Week

It's been far too long since there's been a Fast Food Abomination of the Week. And that's a shame, because surely the KFC "Double Down" fell into this category. Heck, it may be an all-time champ!

But, perhaps, just as deserving are the new "fire-grilled ribs" from Burger King. The very idea of ribs at a fast-food restaurant is enough to make even those from the most hearty of stock cringe.

But apparently there are people who actually want to eat these things -- a whole s#$%-load of them in fact, because more than 10 million ribs have been sold since they were introduced in mid-May!

And here, of course, is where the stomach-churning can really turn into high gear: when you pull back the curtain and see how the fast-food industry works with Big Meat to come up with this garbage.

[The ribs are] a result more than a year of development between Burger King and the National Pork Board, noted [National Pork Board President] Steve Weaver.

"We've worked with experts in food innovation, product marketing, and research and development to provide Burger King with industry data and information, market trends, and menu concepting, along with product review and evaluations, " according to Paul Perfilio, NPB national foodservice marketing manager.

The National Pork Board, if you haven't guessed it, is basically a front group for the big, dirty pork producers like Smithfield -- yes, thee of the pink manure pools fame (and Paula Dean's BCF, or Best Corporate Friend -- so not surprising that they would work with Burger King to come up with these pork McNugget-looking things, 6 pieces of which run about 33 grams of fat. Woohoo!!

Yes, oh yes, in the land of the mostly free and home of the ever-increasing waist line, it's a sure bet that you can count on the U.S. fast food industry to regularly spoon up more heart-stopping, artery-clogging filth, and you can be sure that there will people who will spend their money on it. That's a gair-on-tee!

June 7, 2010

One of the Most Important Blog Posts...

... that I have read in a while comes from Serious Eats.

Well, well, well. It must certainly be very important, you might say.

The Topic, you might, then, inquire? I will tell you -- right now, in fact!

It is: Cleaning Mushrooms!

This is a task -- the proper method for carrying it out that is -- that has bedeviled my thoughts for some time now. It has caused me great angst, forced me to reconsider it each and every time I use a mushroom in whatever dish it is I am preparing.

This singular post, I will confess, has given me great comfort. It has, in many respects, put my mind at tremendous ease. I am forever grateful for it.

I will say no more, and direct you to said blog post: right here to be exact.

To wit, be a good user of the Internet and bookmark this post, in case you should ever forget the immensely valuable lessons it endeavors to impart.

Eat mushrooms, properly cleaned, and prosper, my friends.