Things that really matter
The first being, the food safety bill, which, somehow -- despite the fact that it does not involve giving very rich people more ways to pay less taxes and over the objection of some members of the sustainable/small farming community who, IMO, saw evil where there was none... well, at least not that much -- has passed both chambers of Congress and is headed to President Obama's desk.
Next, when people say money is the single-most corrupting influence in politics, this is what they're talking about:
the incoming Agriculture Commissioner [former congressman Rep. Adam Putnam] has been the benefactor of a significant amount of money from both the sugar and dairy lobby during the campaign – both of whom have a strong financial interest in keeping sugary drinks in schools. Despite Florida’s $500 contribution limit for both individuals and PACs, Putnam received at least $61,000 in campaign funds from sugar and dairy interests, including maxed-out contributions from Coca Cola’s lobbyist in Tallahassee Brian Ballard and a slew of maxed out contributions from the Sugar Barons of South Florida, the Fanjul family.
And what does the incoming Ag Commish think about efforts to ban soda in schools?
This is a topic your Board has discussed recently for possible policy recommendations. However, instead of looking at the entire nutrition intake of students, you have chosen to focus only on the nutrition content in beverages served in Florida schools. It is my belief that any nutrition improvement plan needs to be certain that students are receiving the best possible nutrition package, in concert with total wellness initiatives, to allow them to reach their optimum achievement potential. [...]
Of course, there is nothing to say that passing a soda ban now will stop Florida schools from developing a more comprehensive nutrition plan. But I doubt Rep. Putnam's benefactors would support that approach.
Also, if you take fish oil capsules and you care at all about the sustainability of the fish in the ocean, you might want to think twice...
And, finally from the 'stuff that matters' file, Michael Pollan -- without whose writing a food safety bill would likely not have happened, IMO -- gets a bit of smackdown for tweeting about an essay somebody else wrote on the role of genetics (or lack thereof) in health and disease. It's a long story, and a somewhat complex one, so this is something to which you have to devote some time.
Matters of Little Consequence
From the essential news of food safety and genetics to the trivial -- at least in these difficult times -- those of taste.
Had lunch at Brgr in East Liberty yesterday (a break on a day off to take care of last-minute holiday preparation tasks). I got the kobe beef burger, wife got the "fire in the hole" burger.
Mine had arugula, pickled onions, blue cheese. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, tender, fatty without being too greasy, full of flavor. A great burger. Wife's had jalapenos, guac, pepperjack cheese, chipotle mayo. Pretty much a ditto of mine, but with more kick, perhaps a little less beefy flavor because of the toppings and that it was not kobe beef. Still a really good burger.
Didn't get one of the spiked shakes. Next time. Only nitpick: the fries. They were good. Nothing to write home about. IMO, one element that can always elevate an excellent burger experience are fries that go above and beyond what can be had elsewhere. Of course, I still ate a ton of them. They're fries, after all.
And, finally, the centerpiece of the food we'll be serving on Christmas eve will be (drum roll............) mini meatball banh mi and pistachio and mozzarella stuffed arancini. Never made the latter before (and only made full-size of the former), so wish me luck.