Here's an update on Patrick Deuel.....the former half ton man. The article contains much more about his background and eating history.
"Sideways," the buddy flick for oenophiles, seems to have singlehandedly boosted the sales of Pinot Noir in the U.S. Sales jumped 16 percent from Oct 2004 to January 15, 2005, and 135 percent in California's Central Coast supermarkets in a one year period ending Jan. 15.
The movie's lead character, an English teacher with a passion for Pinot Noir, detests Merlot and is adamant he will not even sit down to dinner if his companions order the stuff.
( Be sure to see this film, if only for the lovely explanation Miles ( Paul Giamatti ) gives as to why he pursues Pinot Noir.)
So has Merlot sunk? Not according to Progressive Grocer. Merlot still leads Cabernet Sauvignon as the country's "largest" red varietal.
Okay, so Foodie was all a-twitter in anticipation when she heard the USDA was issuing 12 food pyramids to the great obese American public, ( she exaggerates,) to replace the one that eagerly pushed meat and dairy( don't get Foodie wrong, she's not anti meat, well not much, or dairy) --By that she thought she would be able to download the Mediterranean diet, the Inuit diet, the vegan diet, the Midwest meatloaf diet, the veggie, the Kosher, the Berkeley professorial, whatever! But no----Foodie wandered the USDA website in vain, looking for those 12 pyramids. ( The Egyptian diet!?)
So she clicked on MY Pyramid, entered that Foodie was a 33 year-old male who exercised a lot
( she lies) and then fell asleep waiting for her/his ideal dietary path to download.
Anyone out there? What do they mean by 12? Where are they? Are there 12 different options that appear randomly when we type in our age, gender and weight?
(Canada uses a food rainbow instead...)
Foodie did appreciate the stick figure clambering up that pyramid, signifying the need to move, America. Those slaves who lived on flatbread topped with green onions and olive oil while they built the Pyramids, they were fit, those folks.
Enough of these virtual pyramids, we need some actuals.
Here's an alternative view of the USDA initiative from Corporate Accountability International.
Long-time friend from Belgium and frequent blog commenter, Roswitha, is in Nigeria for a month, helping her daughter and young family settle in there, just moved from their home in London. ( Abuja is a "new" capital city.) Foodie thought her observations and experiences in the food arena would prove enlightening to many blog visitors. Here are some excerpts:
All vegetables have to be disinfected. In a bucket with a Milton chlorine solution. They are soaked for 30 minutes. Then dried and put in the fridge. They were "miltoned." ( Note: this process of disinfecting seems to have sprung up in the UK under the name Milton during the Great War, but thus far Foodie has not discovered who Milton was.)
Making coffee, preparing food, all needs bottled water. We have an office-type water cooler and are using just under a container-a huge bottle- a day. In addition to bottles. Reading info on the water quality in Nigeria and in books about Africa sounds like a nightmare. There are meter-long worms able to install themselves in your body, brought there by unclean water. They can be removed by curling them over a piece of wood after they break through the skin. It takes only several days to accomplish this task. Nice.
At one shop we saw crushed packages of organic oats and stocked up on them. Went through the meat department and decided on the spot to become a serious vegetarian. Some of the meat tried to follow me to convince me otherwise. The vegetables were not fit for the bin. Shopping is definitely not a one stop affair but a quest.
Making breakfast for the children with a dwindling supply of familiar foods. Washing dishes in scalding water, always remembering not to use tap water for anything else. Thinking during breakfast what to make for lunch, again with a small selection of ingredients. Starting lunch preparation after breakfast. Deja vu- all over again??? (joke ) My German mother started Sunday lunch right after breakfast and I have thought of it often in the past and thought it almost impossible. Here I am doing it, too. A look through the staples to find out what to prepare. Today it was tabouleh. Bulgur was easy to get- lots of Arabic foods available. Tomatoes-cucumber, parsley came from the local market and were already miltoned by Victoria..( Victoria is the family's already treasured woman- of- all- trades helper.) Get drinking water to boil. Scald tomatoes and peel. More drinking water ( it flows very slowly ) to boil for bulgur. Use too many containers to keep everything clean- more dishes to wash......
Photo of dried fish, Abuja Market, from http://www.geocities.com/charoa2/Abuja.html
EverQuest II, a video game from Sony, has decided to offer players food option "add-ons", as well as mind-twisting imagery, according to a writeup in Time, April 11, by Jeremy Caplan. And soon, players will be using credit cards on record with Sony to pay for their orders.
The first food available without removing one's eyeballs from the computer screen is pizza from Pizza Hut. Obese Nation, embrace that!
Foodie supposes players still will have to remove their butts from their chairs in order to open the door and receive the pizza. But the way personal robots are improving every day, who knows?
(We will happily credit you, unknown cartoonist, just let us know who you are. Thanks.)
So Foodie is driving back from the gym, and she hears a snippet on the radio that says Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, is the nation's ( USA) largest consumer of rice. Who knew?? And--- that A-B is refusing to buy any rice grown in Missouri if Ventria Bioscience goes ahead and plants "pharamaceutical" rice there, as the company evidently plans to do, with a green light from state government. It appears that A-B is not opposed to GMO rice that is herbicide-tolerant, for example. But the "pharma" rice under discussion, two varieties, contains human genes! And the products derived from such rice are known as "plant-made pharmaceuticals," or PMP's.
For info from the UK-based ISIS, Institute of Science in Society, positioned largely against PMP's, visit their site.
This nomenclature is mildly amusing, in truth, as most all meds/pharmaceuticals were once plant-derived or made, weren't they? Pharm sounds like "farm".............hmmm........Root word there is "drug," of course, but still.
Alert bloggers out there--any views on this testy topic?
Let's slip out to McD's for some fries, Holiness.
You probably know a Pope died recently. Foodie noted one report on JPII, when he was still described as "recuperating," that said he had eaten "Caffé e latte con 10 piccoli biscotti e uno yogourt" ...Coffee and milk with 10 little cookies and a yogurt.
Or were they really biscotti, the hard as wood, must-be-dunked-in-tea-or-coffee-to-be-chewed, items offered next to the register at every coffee bar in North America?
Foodie will never know, but she did stumble on a book she is hot to explore--it's called "Buon Appetito, Your Holiness: The Secrets of the Papal Table," by Mariangela Vicini and Mariangela
What secrets? In the 13th century Pope Martin IV evidently loved eels waayyyy to much, and Pope Joan, RC's only female pontiff ( 9th c.) adored "paprika oysters". Foodie finds this dubious as paprika was derived from chile peppers, and these were growing way across the ocean delighting native Americans at that point, and unknown to Europeans. ( Except possibly those rascally Basques!) The Catholic Encyclopedia denies the Popess ever existed, but then... the legend relates that Joan was said to have given birth quite inappropriately while on a papal procession and the crowd lost no time in stoning her to death. No word as to the fate of her child.
Anyway, turning back to JP II. Did he demand kielbasa for breakfast? Have a Papal penchant for sushi? Foodie will let you know.
Heifer International is based in Little Rock, AR. It's the non profit that may be best known to you through its catalog--you can buy a water buffalo, a chicken, a llama, a goat, for donation to a family or group, and expect that that animal will have a financial impact on the recipients. The idea is that a family with two sheep can pass along the offspring of those critters to others. ( It's the gift that keeps on giving, no joke!) Mind you, not to be picky, but the text within the catalog states: "Each purchase is symbolic and represents a contribution to the entire mission of Heifer International. Donations will be used where needed most to help struggling people." So maybe your donation will not literally buy a cute little duck. Heifer is highly rated among charities, according to Forbes, as one where your gift has the greatest impact, though another source states that its overhead costs are on the high side. If that's a concern you can look through Heifer's annual report on its website.
Heifer publishes a bi-monthly journal called "World Ark" that is packed with global food-related articles of interest. It is certainly heartening to wander through piece after piece about food projects, including one in the March-April issue about Heifer's Peace Project in the Caucasus, involving goats, sheep and potatoes. As the old Irish saying goes, "Pray for peace, and pass the potatoes."
Foodie was struck by the exquisite snap of her favorite cracker today, a cracker in the saltine tradition, yet more wheaty, its surface speckled with grains, its top just lightly salted. What a perfect food! On its own, or slathered with peanut butter. Dipped into soup, or crunched down with a hot mug of cocoa. Skimmed with quality butter. Simple, satisfying.
Foodie started to wonder if thick, roughly layered Uneeda Biscuits still existed. She mused on oyster crackers. Biscuits, once a staple food of merchant ships and armies alike, were so-called because they were "bis cuit" or cooked twice, in order to last long. You can try baking your own, using this 1862 U.S. Army recipe.
Does anyone out there have a favorite simple food?
Much in the news recently for sad reasons, the Red Lake Nation of the Chippewa( Ojibwe), Minnesota, is reknowned for its wild rice harvests, and abundant fishing. The rice, Zizania aquatica, not related to Asian rice, is an aquatic grass traditionally important to the diets of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota natives. ( Wild rice is Minnesota's "state grain.") While commercial wild rice growers today dominate the market with their crops, many native harvesters using canoes continue to follow the old ways.
The heavy heads are gently tipped towards the canoe with one stout stick called a knocker, then hit with another knocker to relase the seeds into the boat. ( The tall grasses are then released to stand tall again.) Grains that fall back into the water continue the reseeding process and also give food to resident waterfowl.
One of the oldest native co-ops on record, the Red Lake Fisheries Association has sold fish caught by individuals, families, and small businesses since 1929. But in the late 1990's the walleye population on which much of this commerce was based dramatically declined due to overfishing. After years of patient restorative work, the association has rebuilt its walleye base and expects to begin selling again in earnest in 2006. ( Minnesota state fish? Yep.) Yellow perch, another fish that almost disappeared from Red Lake, is being successfully raised in experimental aquaculture projects.
1905 postcard, Minnesota Historical Society