"Thank you to members who responded so helpfully earlier this year to Marilyn Mason's appeal for humanist views on food. Predictably there was no consensus, but the varied perspectives contributed to an interesting article, which is now published at http://www.shapworkingparty.org.uk/journals/index_0910.html. You may be interested to read how your food ethics and preferences compare with those of other humanists, as well as with those of other beliefs."
"The concept of terroir has its origins in French winemaking, as a means to describe the effect of geographic origin on taste. As a shorthand marker for both provenance and flavor, and as a sign of its burgeoning conceptual popularity, it has spread to encompass Kobe beef, San Marzano tomatoes, and even single-plantation chocolate. But can water have terroir? What about the influence of the earth on water?"
The hydrogeologist I sit next to in work got quiet excited by this link and started telling me about all of the different bottles there and where they're from. Apparently in taste tests most people prefer the most heavily filtered waters with the least mineral content. Which begs the question of how the "worlds most expensive bottled water", Bling h2o, is actually filtered.
I have some theories but I don't think they are hygienic. On that note...
On the Bath Ales brewery tour last week I was looking at their striped colour coding system they use so they know that barrels belong to them and what is in them. It reminded me of resistor colour coding and inspired me to look up whether there is a formal system in place for identifying breweries and content. Apparently not, as this thread on the Pro Brewer forum discussing different marking options indicates.
BBC5 TV "We are NOT the BBC. In an era when the majority of media corporations are subservient to ruling elites, new forms of underground media have to emerge. BBC5.tv would not exist if journalists were always allowed to publish the truth. The fact is that many are silenced."
I love Lebanese food. Have done since I discovered the brilliant Maroush restaurants I London. Got some good books too, but the one she's refers to being written in here sounds like just the sort of thing I'd like.
"Grow your own oyster mushrooms to eat for a truly unique eco gift.
Place the specially selected spores in an old paperback book, moisten and watch them grow in just five weeks.
This quirky gift is a fun and easy way to discover gourmet mushroom growing. No garden is required! Just add a paperback book to personalise this gift for the recipient or the mushrooms can be grown on the jute bag provided.
Contains a pack of starter spawn, a filter grow-bag and full instructions. The kit can be stored for up to 3 months by placing the starter spawn in a fridge. Each kit is supplied with a use-by-date."
Isle of plenty "In the past 10 years, one Danish island has cut its carbon footprint by a staggering 140%. Now, with a simple grid of windfarms, solar panels and sheep, it's selling power to the mainland and taking calls from Shell. ... 'Shell heard about what we were doing and asked to be involved - but only on condition they ended up owning the turbines. We told them to go away. We are a nation of farmers. We believe in self-sufficiency.'"
"Well, it seems that they don't have enough material for disputes, arguments and accusations in the Middle East. Now we have the fight for the falafel--and the tabbouleh and the hummus too. Fadi Aboud, president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association is preparing to file an international lawsuit against Israel for manufacturing foods that he claims originated in Lebanon. "If we can prove that this is a Lebanese product, using Lebanese recipes," he explains, "the name of the food will belong to Lebanon. They won't be able to use that name."
"This case actually does have a precedent: a 2002 EU ruling in favor of Greece upholding that nation's claim to be the "originator" of feta cheese. However, shouldn't recipes that are centuries--if not millennia old--fall under public domain? Does this mean China will sue Italy for the rights to spaghetti? Then Italy can pursue action against America for posession of fried chicken, but America will be busy trying to wrest control of French fries from France... after all, these international incicents do have a way of spreading."
When I started the Drinks with Chunks blog I never imagined it would be crossing into the world of modern art. And likewise, the staff at the Arnolfini never saw me coming. Today, a clashing of cultures was staged; the Far West Cross-Artform Project meets Drinks with Chunks. What better way to introduce our respective audiences to each other?
Food Fight is an abridged history of American-centric war, from World War II to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict. Watch as traditional comestibles slug it out for world domination in this chronologically re-enacted smorgasbord of aggression.
Thinking about the plethora of USB gadgets available these days (usually lazily named by adding an ‘i’ or an ‘e’ in front of its everyday name) a clever pun suddenly struck me. Has anybody ever made an eWok? A quick google found this wok based wifi antenna. Close, but not close enough.
I mentioned some time ago about my love of natural, identifiable, food based scents (coconut in particular) in perfumes and my dislike of strong chemical-mix unnatural smells. Well, it looks like men may have the same irresistible food based effect on women soon (if this ad is to be believed).
'Lynx Dark Temptation New deoderant...smells of chocolate It's "made from" chocolate, frozen ginger, coriander, sage, black basil, pear sorbet and whipped cream...yum!' Their quotes on 'made from', not mine.
When discussing cheese-dreams earlier today someone mentioned this article, Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Cheese, from the British Cheese Board. It's over two years old but still the first Google hit for "cheese dreams."
I've never held with the popular myth that cheese gives you nightmares but do feel that it can give me freaky dreams. In fact, I quite enjoy some late night cheese nibbling for that very reason. It seems that the pun happy British Cheese Board – whose aim is to "increase consumption of cheese in the UK" – has come to the same conclusion, based on some fairly unscientific and marketing department friendly testing. For a start, no control group was used, which invalidates everything.
That point aside, the article is worth reading for the snippets of dreams people have described quoted in the text. For example, "Cheddar eating participants tended to dream of celebrities ... and one lucky girl helped to form a human pyramid under the supervision of Johnny Depp."
'Human pyramid' eh? Under Johnny Depp you say? Hmm. I'm sure marketing can clean that up a little.
I've just finished reading The Road to Wigan Pier. It contains a selection of derogatory references to stereotypical Socialists and Liberals - who drive others away from their cause with their eccentricity - as 'creeping Jesus, sandal wearing, vegetarians.' These comments culminate in Chapter XI with this brilliant quote:
"Any Socialist, he probably felt, could be counted on to have something eccentric about him. And some such notion seems to exist even among Socialists themselves. For instance, I have here a prospectus form another summer school which states its terms per week and then asks me to say ‘whether my diet is ordinary or vegetarian’. They take it for granted, you see, that it is necessary to ask this question. This kind of thing is by itself sufficient to alienate plenty of decent people. And their instinct is perfectly sound, for the food crank is by definition a person willing to cut himself off from human society in hopes of adding five years onto the life of his carcase; that is, a person out of touch with common humanity."
Things have changed a bit since the '30s haven't they.
Takashi Murakami is probably best known for his Manga related work. "[His] style, called Superflat, is characterized by flat planes of color and graphic images involving a character style derived from anime and manga. Superflat is an artistic style that comments on otaku lifestyle and subculture, as well as consumerism and sexual fetishism. Social commentary is nothing new, nor is appropriation of mass media or popular culture." [source wikipedia]
Murakami - Army of Mushrooms
Which reminds me. I bought the recent Pop magazine because I was intrigued by the article about creating mushrooms out of designer clothes with similar sounding names. eg Shitake Versace:
Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.
The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.
The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.
The Cube Microplex is possibly the only cinema in the UK to manufacture its own cola from scratch. Internationally famed and media-courted, cube-Cola tonight celebrates 4 years on the path to food science enlightenment.
A non-brand promotion bar party, expect guantanamo libres, home brewed snacks, bands and dancing.
On Saturday Sept 8th (rescheduled from Aug 25th) Cube home-brewers will be celebrating 4 years of adventures in producing our inhouse cola drink. We would like to invite anyone who also makes produce* to join us and sell their fruits from the bar.
*cakes, wine, moonshine, pies and modified commercial produce.
My parents came over last weekend to help me with some plumbing. I offered to cook a Sunday roast in payment. I'd been planning a Moroccan lamb tagine, as I like to spice up plain meals. Usually when I plan something like this I get a phone call from my dad a few days beforehand warning me to tone it down because, "You know your mother has a sensitive stomach," but for once that didn't happen. This time, my mum phoned and said, "You know, your father would never say this to you, but he doesn't really like the spicy food you cook, can you do something normal, like bangers and mash?" They're both blaming each other! I don't know whether it's my mums stomach or my dads fag charred taste buds to blame or both.
I took the bangers and mash suggestion and ran with it. I scoped The Sausage Shop in St Nicks Market early in the week and decided on the Cotswold, with it Somerset pork with herby sage, basil and coriander flavouring. Potatoes were bought (I never normally keep them in, I find them boring), kidney beans were picked from the garden, and home grown spring onions livened up the mash.
Friday lunchtime I nipped to the market and bought the sausages (£4.80 for eight, bargin!) and put them in the fridge in the office for the afternoon. Concerned about forgetting them – my memory in notorious – I wrote "SAUSAGES!" on a post-it note and stuck it to my bus ticket.
At the end of the day I was proud of myself for not even needing to find the reminder, I remembered to get them from the fridge all on my own. In the bag they went, and off to the bus stop with me. When the bus arrived I pulled the ticket out of my pocket and without looking at it handed the driver a note saying "SAUSAGES!" He looked confused and looked at me oddly. Surely this is the most unusual proposition he has received, wanted or otherwise. I calmly removed the sticky note and handed the ticket back to him as straight faced as I could.
It was worth it. The meal was great and went down well with the olds. Apart from a minor grumble about one of the beans being a bit stringy. They are getting a bit big, I need to eat them faster.
So if I ever hand you a note offering "SAUSAGES!" at some point in the future, please remember that it wasn't really intended for you and is not an offer of meat stuffed intestines for you.
When I am offering that I'll put a question mark on the end.
Slashfood reports on the possibilities of Solar Cooking; with a pot, a sheet of glass, and a solar reflector you can have a slow cooker without any power requirements other than the light of the sun. There is a How To guide to building one here and downloadable plans at solarcooking.org. Coconino has some flickr photos of his solar cooking experiments in the UK.
It made me wonder how many cola recipes are around, but a Cookin' with Gusset search only found recipes with cola in them, every single one of which sounds disgusting. Cola salad, cola soups, cola chicken; do these people have no taste buds?
Urban legend* has it that those wanting to recreate something closer to the original Coca-Cola recipe need merely mix up coffee, red wine and cocaine. I don't know what sources or quantities of any of those three you would need but I'm sure it would be one hell of a party if you wanted to find out.
* Wikipedia confirms that it still contains coca leaf extract and snopes confirms that it did once contain trace amounts of cocaine.
Freegan.info "Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed."
Sounds great in principle but I wouldn't recommend going as far as eating out of supermarket bins. When I worked in a supermarket you couldn’t open the lid of the bin without retching. Given the choice I wouldn't go near one of those again never mind scamper around inside it like the image on the website gaily depicts.
Interviews from Radio 4: "Tom Feilden reports on the political creed known as Freeganism which is based on the conviction that pretty much ever area of economic activity is based on some form of exploitation." [About 20 mins in here] "We continue our discussion on Freegonism and are joined by Kevin Hawkins the director general of the British Retail Consortium." [About 10 mins in here] And as an aside, "Research being conducted at the University of Hertfordshire suggests that robots can help children with autism form relationships. We speak to Dr Ben Robins who is leading the team." [About 10 mins in here] [Real Audio links]
Dear Today programme, Why have you stopped putting individual story links on your website? The half hour chunks are nowhere near as useful when sharing stories with others. Thanks.
Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver cooked up a beautiful looking Curried Goat recipe (although they substituted mutton for the goat meat) on Neneh & Andi: Dish It Up last week. It even had chocolate in it. Hmm. Think I'm going to have to try that.
They say that when you become a parent your diet goes a bit strange*. I witnessed this earlier this week, and Mrs P's brother and his four year old son are staying with us for the week. I spotted the brother-in-law eating a two day open packet of Quavers for breakfast. Now today I've fallen into the same trap as I've just eaten some reheated filled pasta, formerly clearly labelled "do not reheat", and pesto for lunch, and I'm starting to feel a bit sick.
* Can't find a reference link, searches only seem to find articles about parents effect of children's diet.
Help! Someone has just given me one of these Meenk Bizon Dutch Triple Salt Liquorice gums to try. Only for the hardened sweet junkies. I normally like liquorice but I'm not too much of a salt monster. This is far too much for me. It reminds me of the mouthfuls of salt water you invariably swallow when swimming in the sea. It's even burning the inside of my nose now. Agghhhhh!
Just calming it down with a sour lemon pip now. Aah, I'm actually salivating again. That's better.
I don't know what the actual salt content of that thing was. I might have to contact the shop and ask them what date I'll be able to eat anything with salt in again. I imagine it won't be for a couple of months. I think my heart rate it still a little faster than it should be.
Sign on one of the cheese stalls at the farmers market on Corn St today advertising "White Nancy (Goats)" If only there weren't any brackets there! Hopefully it'll be there again next week, when I think I'll also be procuring some for my own devious ends.
One of Amanda’s work colleagues recently returned from a holiday in Thailand with a box of sweets for everyone in the department. They were Durian fruit flavoured but she had no idea what that was. She was shocked to find everyone who took one spitting them out and complaining that it tasted of manure / vomit / rotting corpses / horses ass etc.
Personally I thought it was quite an interesting flavour; a methane gas like smell that catches the roof of the mouth with undertones of pineapple and coconut on the back of the tongue. I'd eat it again, and I'm intrigued to try the full durian fruit experience, but I won't be doing it in Amanda's presence as she refused to come near me for hours afterwards. As far as making a post out of it, Fraser over at blogjam has already beaten me to it obviously, as well as pointing out that you can buy them in London's Chinatown. Presumably any other city's Chinatown would also do. Some candy blogs suggest you can pick the sweets up there too but stupidly advise you not to do so. Ignore them, try it.