Yesterday was the first day of EPCOT's Flower and Garden Festival for 2016, and we were there to celebrate its opening. As always, the flower displays were wonderful, and the portable butterfly garden was fun.
The only "ride" we bothered with this time was Impressions de France, the wonderful tour of the country accompanied by even more wonderful music by French composers. This film is one of the few parts of EPCOT that remains unchanged, and since we both agree that few of the changes have been for the better, the French pavillion has become an EPCOT "must do" for us, as Dr. Doom's Fearfall is at Universal.
You never know, with YouTube videos, when some official is going to decide one violates something-or-other and take it down, but for now, at least, you can see an excellent production by Martin Smith of his visit there in 2011. I trust Disney World recognizes it for what it is: a longer commercial for EPCOT than they could ever get away with.
Our Disney disappointment came with lunch, which we had intended to enjoy at Norway in World Showcase. Norway used to be one of our favorite stops because of the Maelstrom ride, which sadly is now closed in preparation for being replaced by something based on the movie, Frozen. Oh, how I miss the days when the company abided by Walt Disney's admonition that EPCOT should remain completely separate from the movie characters!
As it turns out, there is now no reason at all to visit the Norway site. The Akershus restaurant, where we had intended to eat, has been turned into a "Princess Storybook Dining" event, exclusively. We were greatly disappointed, as the delicious and authentic Scandinavian fare was something we were looking forward to when we sprang for annual park passes for the first time in many years. But we declined the experience, on the grounds that if we were going to spend over $50 per person for a meal, (1) we did not want a "Disney Princess experience," and (2) we wanted better food than we could expect from a restaurant whose primary audience is now children. Apparently the only other hope for Scandinavian food in Central Florida is IKEA, so you know what a blow this was.
It was hard to stay sad for long, however, since as part of the Flower and Garden Festival they have set up many additional food kiosks, in the manner of the Food and Wine Festival, and we enjoyed some good Moroccan snacks followed by a lemon scone with crème fraîche and blueberries.
My grandparents lived in Daytona Beach all their adult lives. Both arrived in 1915; my grandfather was originally from Western Pennsylvania, and my grandmother from West Virginia. My great-grandparents, John Stansbury Barbe and Minerva (Kemp) Barbe (Minnie) were very active in Daytona Beach: She was a hotel owner and busy with all sorts of community affairs, from business to politics to schools, and he was at one point mayor of the Town of Daytona Beach (before it became a city).
My grandmother ran the hotel for a while, but by the time I knew her had retired from the business and was living in my favorite place in all of Daytona Beach: 431 North Grandview Avenue. Sadly, both the house—now a business—and the neighborhood have changed, but at least the building's still there.
What more could a child want? It was a big house with lots of places to explore, a cellar that was sometimes visited by poisonous snakes, a picnic table and my grandmother's amazing flowers in the back yard, and an outdoor shower that we sometimes shared with lizards. (Living in Florida myself now, lizards are commonplace. But they were an exotic treat for a child who lived in upstate New York and only visited every other year.)
Why the outdoor shower? Not because there were no indoor facilities, but because the house was a mere two blocks from the ocean and the incredible beach; the shower was an easy way to wash off the sand and salt from our frequent swims before entering the house. It was also an easy walk from my grandparents' home to the Bandshell and Broadwalk (not "boardwalk"). As a child I was completely oblivious to the seamier side of life in Daytona Beach, though I understand now why we were never allowed to go to the Broadwalk without an adult.
Then there were the people. My Florida relatives were different from most of the folks I knew back home, which thanks to the presence of General Electric, had a higher-than-normal population of engineers and other intellectuals. My grandfather had worked for the Post Office and retained an intense interest in collecting stamps—if only I had managed to figure out how to enjoy his enthusiasm without feeling obliged to share it! My uncle was a fisherman, and I loved it when he'd let us fish with him off the Pier. My cousins were much older than I, and therefore very cool, especially the one that could be counted on to do dangerous things like set off firecrackers in the backyard (not sure how my grandparents felt about that...), and the one who was at first a lifeguard (very high coolness factor to a young girl) and eventually worked for NASA in exotic places like Grand Turk Island and could tell us stories about the astronauts (even higher coolness factor to a young nerd).
Because of their former hotel business, my grandparents had made friends from all over who still came to visit them. They even had a maid who came occasionally to help with the housework—no one else of my acquaintance had a maid—and what's more, the maid was black, which made her even more exotic than the lizards to one who was growing up in a town where "cultural differences" meant that some of your friends' parents might have come from Italy or Poland. I wish I had been more curious as a child to hear the stories of all these different people.
My grandmother was a wonderful cook, especially when she was cooking fish that had been caught just hours earlier, and most especially if they were fish that I had caught. We hardly ever ate at restaurants—in those days few ordinary people ate out, even if their grandmothers weren't good cooks. But when we did, for special occasions, more often than not it was at a place called Kay's, at 734 Main Street. It was a "family restaurant" with what you might call ordinary American fare, though my taste buds recall their fish as anything but ordinary. And definitely on the extraordinary side was a drink they called a Tiny Tim. When I knew it, the restaurant had Dickens-era decor, and one of their specialty mixed drinks they called a "Dickens." The Tiny Tim was a non-alcoholic version of the Dickens.
We all liked the Tiny Tim so much that we had it whenever we could, and eventually I begged the bartender to give me the recipe:
- 2 packages Bartender's Lemon Mix
- 4 packages Bartender's Lime Mix
- 1 package Bartender's Coconut Mix
- 3 gallons water
- 3 quarts pineapple juice
- 1 quart orange juice
- 1/3 quart lime juice
- 2 small cans grapefruit juice
- 1/2 quart cherry juice
- grenadine for color
Unfortunately, that didn't help much, though I'm sure it was only because I didn't try hard enough to find the ingredients that were not readily available at the grocery store. It occurs to me that all my efforts were BI (Before the Internet). Maybe I should try again. Anyway, I'm putting the recipe online for anyone who wants to check it out. I'm not hurting Kay's by giving away trade secrets: sadly, the restaurant went out of business, thanks in part to the neighborhood's change from family-oriented to one that catered to bikers and other tourists.
All these memories were triggered by a lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. There, Porter ordered their Frozen Iced Mango drink: "Mango, Tropical Juices and a Hint of Coconut Blended with Ice and Swirled with Raspberry Puree." It came with a strawberry, a slice of lime, and a slice of lemon as well, which may explain why despite the different ingredient list, it tasted more like a Tiny Tim than anything I've had in years. Whatever it was, next time we visit the Cheesecake Factory (which seems to be about once a year), that's what I'm ordering to go with my Avocado Egg Rolls, which is the reason for going to TCF in the first place.
At Thanksgiving, my sister (thank you!) alerted me to the massive fraud going on in the olive oil business. I did a bit of investigating, and discovered a few things I knew, and a few I didn't. Since I've only recently come to appreciate extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), I don't know much, though from research into other products (such as honey) I know that "made in..." or "imported from..." on the label doesn't necessarily tell you the source of the important ingredients.
I didn't know that when buying EVOO you should look for a harvest date on the bottle. Not a "best buy" date, but a harvest date. I'm so used to super-processed oils that I didn't think about olives as fruit, and the importance of freshness to minimally-processed oil. Then I noticed that the bottle of EVOO in my pantry had no harvest date at all.
I'm still using oil from that bottle, hoping its likely adulteration won't poison me. But I did find a brand in the grocery store that not only has the date, but is more local as well, being from California. We'll see how it tastes—not that my palate is good enough at this point to tell the fake from the real thing. But it is one of the brands that passed the test (California Olive Ranch).
Last night a 60 Minutes report confirmed the problem and provided a credible explanation: the Italian Mafia has found a lucrative, legitimate business they can leverage by nefarious means into huge profits. Nor is olive oil the only food they have their dirty fingers in. The show is definitely worth watching (under 15 minutes), if only to see the olive oil experts testing the wares. But if you're in a hurry, you can read the transcript. And here's an extra that was not part of the show: How To Buy Olive Oil.
Ohh, looking at that bread drizzled with fresh olive oil ... now I'm hungry.
It's no secret I love Chick-fil-A. I've never worked there myself, but friends who did in high school found it a good, supportive place to work.
I love that they are successful while maintaining their Sundays-off policy, even though I'm frequently frustrated on road trips because Chick-fil-A is my favorite fast food restaurant and we're often travelling on a Sunday. If Chick-fil-A can do it, more companies could if they tried: I grew up with most businesses closed on Sundays, and that's still the case in Switzerland, where store hours are much shorter than here. You learn to adjust.
These things wouldn't matter much if the food weren't good, but their Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Chicken Biscuit are the best I've had anywhere—and that's not for want of trying elsewhere.
If I've ever tried their cole slaw, I don't remember it, which may be part of the reason they're taking it off the menu. But some people like it as much as I like their spicy sandwiches, so I'm pleased to report that the company has done something else right: When they announced the end of cole slaw as an option at their restaurants, they published their recipe, so we can make it at home. (Click to enlarge.)
I wish other companies would do the same when discontinuing products.
This year we splurged and purchased annual passes to Disney World—for the first time since we moved to Central Florida over 30 years ago. Back then, with two very young children (four and not-yet-two), the reason was to free ourselves from the pressure to drive our kids hard in order not to "waste" any of the very expensive day at the park. What was our excuse this time? Beats me, but we're enjoying it. Porter's retirement frees us to visit the parks on our own schedule, and his annual pass provides free parking. (Mine is a lesser, cheaper version, but what need have we for two parking passes?) When parking is $20, it's a deterrent to casual visits.
All that to say: for a year, we can go to Morocco for dinner. Or China. Or Norway. For our first trip, we chose EPCOT's Marrakesh Restaurant, always one of our favorites. Then we stopped by Japan; we didn't buy anything, but admired a lot. We didn't buy any funnel cakes, either. Pictures bring memories of good times but no additional calories. :) You can click on the images to enlarge the photos, but please don't drool on your keyboards.
Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change by John M. Mandyck and Eric B. Schultz (Carrier Corporation, 2015)
Have you ever heard of a cold chain? Me, neither. Yet we have depended on cold chains all our lives. If you don't drink your milk as it comes from the cow, then your life depends its being kept cold, whether it goes straight from the cow to your refrigerator, or travels thousands of miles in a refrigerated truck before being placed in the refrigerated dairy section of your grocery store. That vaccine your child just received? Useless, if it hasn't been kept sufficiently cool on its way from the manufacturer. Unless they're kept cool, fruits and vegetables start rotting the moment they're picked, losing flavor and nutrition, eventually becoming unusable.
The cold chain explains why the Carrier Corporation published Food Foolish. Keeping things cool is their business, and they've made it their business to develop sustainable technologies to do so. Along the way, they discovered a shocking truth: At least a third of all the food we produce in a year is never eaten.
The impact of food waste on hunger, climate change, natural resources and food security is enormous. It's changing the way we think about our product and technology development. It's strengthening our commitment to sustainable innovation. It's also prompting us to convene research and food chain experts to find solutions. We believe that food waste is an issue that must be elevated and examined globally. That's why we published Food Foolish. It's not an attempt to be the final word on the topic of food waste. Rather, it's meant to connect the issues of hunger, resource conservation and climate mitigation. We hope it will be a catalyst for more meaningful global dialogue which, many think, is essential to the sustainability of the planet.
That's why Carrier published the book. What do the authors say about why they wrote it?
Hunger, food security, climate emissions and water shortages are anything but foolish topics. The way we systematically waste food in the face of these challenges, however, is one of humankind's unintended but most foolish practices. We wrote this book to call attention to the extraordinary social and environmental opportunities created by wasting less food. We are optimistic that real solutions to feeding the world and preserving its resources can be unlocked in the context of mitigating climate change.
Food Foolish is a small book (182 pages) but very powerful. We're reasonably conservationist-minded around here, having been brought up that way. I feel pretty good that we put very little trash out on solid-waste pickup day, and the reason there's not usually much in our recycling bins is that we consume far less soda and beer than average. We take short showers and are in other ways mindful of our water use. Except for animal products, almost all of our food waste goes to feed our composting worms.
Ah. Our food waste. That broccoli that got shoved to the back of the refrigerator and forgotten? It fed the worms, so it's all good. Or maybe not....
When we consider ways to protect our fragile water resources, we need to look first and foremost at the global food supply chain. California provides one good example. The state produces nearly half of all U.S. fruits, vegetables and nuts from the very areas hardest hit by drought. Monterey County alone produces about half of the country's lettuce and broccoli.
Now imagine a consumer rummaging around in the back of his refrigerator's vegetable drawer only to find a forgotten head of broccoli, now yellow and unappetizing. He drops it in the trash. No big deal, right?
But wait: Fresh broccoli is about 91 percent water, and that's just the start. It actually takes a farmer about 5.4 gallons of water to grow that single head of broccoli. Just as each food product has an embedded carbon footprint, it also has a quantity of embedded freshwater from its journey along the food supply chain. In fact, a single person blessed with a healthy, nutritious diet will drink up to a gallon of water per day but "eat" up to 1,300 gallons of embedded freshwater in his food.
This little book stuck a sharp pin in my pride. Sure, it's better that the worms ate our spoiled broccoli than if it had gone into the landfill. But it was still a terrible waste. There's a lot more cost to producing food than what we see at the cash register. Water, fertilizer, pesticides, depletion of the soil, labor, storage, transportation—the human and environmental costs of that head of broccoli make it far too costly to become mere worm food.
Food waste also has a devastating impact on the environment. The water used to grow just the food we discard is greater than the water used by any single nation in the world.
[I]f food waste were a country by itself, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and the United states. Yet the connection between food waste and climate change is missing from policy discussions and public discourse.
Throughout history, human ingenuity has consistently foiled those who prophecy imminent doom in the form of mass starvation. Thomas Malthus (in 1798) and Paul Ehrlich (in 1968) both assured us that population growth inevitably leads to massive famine. Ehrlich specifically predicted that no matter what we tried to do about it, hundreds of millions of people were going to starve to death in the 1970's.
Fortunately, both Malthus and Ehrlich were wrong. Since The Population Bomb was published in 1968, the world's population has doubled to over 7 billion people. Despite this increase, humankind has managed to grow its food supply faster than its population. Eighty percent of the victims of famine in the last century died before 1965. Since the mid-20th century, famine has been more a function of civil disruption than of limited food supply.
The Green Revolution spiked Ehrlich's misanthropic guns, but the concern is back, and with reason. Dependent as it is on oil-based fertilizer, irrigation, and monoculture crop farming, the Green Revolution in its original form is not sustainable. A different kind of agricultural revolution is needed.
The political will exists to improve upon the gains of the Green Revolution, bu the landscape has changed. While the focus remains on alleviating chronic hunger, there has emerged a fundamental understanding that simply expanding farmland and improving crop yields are insufficient to feed a growing planet. Any new solution must be sustainable. ... Observers agree that if humankind wants to engineer a new "miracle" to help feed our growing planet, it must be fundamentally different in shape and substance from the Green Revolution of the 20th century.
Enter food waste awareness. By the numbers, if we could eliminate food loss altogether, we could increase our food supply by 50 percent! In the real world, complications must enter the equation; even so, reduction of food loss and waste is an area of tremendous potential for feeding the world while healing the environment.
Food Foolish covers a lot of ground, and if you like concrete information densely but attractively presented, you'll be happy. (If you're fond of Oxford commas, you will be less pleased, but their lack is not as obvious when reading as it was to me when typing up the quotations below—and having to backspace again and again to remove the comma that my fingers automatically insert when typing lists.) Yet the authors cannot cover everything, which I remind myself when I consider issues of corruption, abuse of power, and even bloated bureaucracy that keep food from reaching the hungry. As the International Justice Mission has noted, we can provide people with food, skills, books, schools, medical supplies, tools, seeds, and even land, but without honest and functional political and legal systems, they won't be able to hang onto them. Clearly the problems of hunger, resources, and the environment must be tackled on many fronts.
Fixing the global food supply chain requires investment. ... Sometimes the humanitarian return of "doing good" is enough; certainly governments spend simply for the good of their citizens. Other times a true financial return is required to persuade people to act, especially in the private sector. The moment those two returns intersect is a moment of critical mass, when doing good and doing well align, rapidly accelerating innovation and new investment.
There is precedent for this kind of global alignment. In 1993 the U.S. Green Building Council was formed to promote sustainability in building design, construction and operation. At the time, green investment seemed expensive and was misunderstood. "Prior to the U.S. Green Building Council," remembers Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chairman, "Environmental organizations and business lined up against one another. What we did at USGBC was to create a place where business could actually engage one-on-one with environmental and government organizations. By having a voice and a pace at the table, some of the best ideas imaginable have come forward."
The global green building movement began as a way to protect the planet and "do the right thing." Today it has become a business imperative that drives real financial return, including significant improvements in tenant occupancy and retention with higher rents and overall building value.
One of the strengths of Food Foolish is its emphasis on positive actions more than blame, and its revelations of the global nature of both the problem and the solutions: everyone has a part to play. Half of all global food loss occurs in Asia, and there's much that can be gained from solving the problem there. But ...
What does food loss look like per person? On a per capita basis, Europe, North America, Oceania and Industrialized Asia waste between 300 and 340 kg of food per year. South and Southeast Asia, despite high absolute waste, have among the smallest per capita at 160 kg. In addition, in medium- and high-income regions, most waste occurs at the end of the supply chain when food is discarded by consumers and retailers. This means that energy inputs such as harvesting, transportation and packaging are embodied in the food. For example, if we must waste a tomato, it's relatively better to have it decompose in the field rather than pick, clean, pack, cook, ship and display it at retail, only to have it thrown out by a consumer.
There are two very different kinds of problems associated with food loss and waste. One is structural in nature: bad weather, poor roads, improper packaging and an inadequately refrigerated distribution system. Many of these issues can be addressed through careful planning, poliitcal will and sufficient investment. And then there are problems taht are economic and cultural in nature, powerful forces almost built into the system. Food too expensive to be purchased will rot in the warehouse. Food too unprofitable to harvest will be lost in the field. Meal servings that are twice what a person can eat will be partially discarded. A perfectly edible apple with harmless spots or a misshapen carrot might be tossed in a landfill if there are cheap and perfect alternatives. The elements of supply and demand, pricing, tradition and culture all play an important role in food loss and waste. Most of all, ... [it is] clear that there are challenges and opportunities enough for the entire global community.
Developing nations can have the greatest impact on food loss, hunger, land use, climate change, and ... freshwater by focusing on upstream improvements—harvest and distribution—in the food supply chain. Developed countries need to emphasize reductions in downstream food waste.
And now for the random quote section you all look forward to. I warn you that it's just a taste of the book and I've left a lot of important stuff out. (More)
For a month my diet consisted largely of as much as I wanted of the following: bread, cheese, butter, jam, pasta, potatoes, pastries, and chocolate. If you've ever eaten Swiss bread, you know why that tops the list. And maybe it wasn't quite as much as I wanted in the pastry department, but that was largely a matter of timing, i.e. getting to the store before the best choices ran out. Sure, we ate a few other things, but bread and cheese really is a Swiss staple, and when I'm in town I never waste the opportunity.
While I was there, my exercise regimen was reduced from three times per week to three times per month.
I came home five pounds lighter than when I left.
I am so over the anti-carbohydrate hype.
My airplane dinner was very good, as airplane dinners go, so I don't mean to complain. But I couldn't help noticing that the first ingredient on a wedge of cheese labeled "Swiss cheese" was cheddar. Swiss cheese was there, too, several items later—after water. What's particularly odd is that of all the amazing cheeses readily available here in Switzerland, chedder is not one of them.
And then there was this bottle of Alpine Spring water, "bottled at the source"...
... in Tennessee.
As I sit here, typing away at the edge of the Alps themselves, I can assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are nowhere near Tennessee.
If our laws concerning product labelling allow this, why should I trust any label at all?
Another goal, albeit one of the easier ones, accomplished: I reaearched and bought a food processor.
Actually, I have one already, and hardly use it. So why buy a new one?
The one I have was a gift from my father, many, many years ago. I have a hard time getting rid of something associated with someone I love. Or some place I love. Or any situation with positive memories. Even if it's broken or no longer useful. Okay, I'll admit it: I have a hard time getting rid of things. I'm working on that.
This appliance was a combination blender and food processor, and the blender part gave up and was replaced years ago. I hadn't used the food processor part very much, but it still worked, so of course I kept it. I used it almost exclusively for making cole slaw, but eventually it became easier (and faster) to shred the cabbage by hand—and even easier to buy pre-shredded cabbage at the grocery store.
Not long ago, I found a recipe that I wanted to try, and it recommended using a food processor to shred the cauliflower, so I dug ours out. And discovered why I rarely use it. The motor wasn't powerful enough, and the workings kept getting jammed, so I'd have to stop, clear it out, and restart, over and over again. The process finally completed, but it was a pain, and made mess. However, it turned out that we both like the recipe, so I want to make it again—only without so much hassle.
After some thought, I concluded that I'd use a food processor for much more than shredding cauliflower—if it worked as I think it should. I'm generally loath to bring more potential clutter into the house, but I wanted to give the idea of the appliance a second chance. Hence #29 on my list.
I decided on the Cuisinart DLC-10S, attempting to hit the midpoint between unnecessarily complex and expensive, and too cheap to do the job. Time will tell. After I get a chance to play with it some, I'll come back and comment here.
For the curious, here's the recipe that drove this decision. Follow the link for the original; the text version below reflects my small modifications and notations. Also note: This is a "Paleo" recipe, and I emphatically don't do Paleo. But I'm not a vegetarian either, and some vegetarian recipes are really good. Also, I don't care what the title says, these are in no way anything deserving of the name "biscuits." You don't have to be a Southerner to appreciate that! However, even though our Maryland friends would throw their own hands up in horror at the thought, we both found them a quite acceptable "crab cake," especially with cocktail sauce. Delicious, in fact, and I suspect they could be made vegetarian without much loss by leaving out the bacon. Who'd have thought cauliflower could taste so good? Then again, who'd ever have thought of putting cocktail sauce on cauliflower?
Cauliflower Biscuits with Bacon & Jalapeño
- florets from one head cauliflower (Next time I'll include more of the stems, since you shred them anyway.)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup fully cooked bacon, chopped
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 jalapeño, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Using a food processor with a shredding blade attachment, shred the cauliflower.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Sauté the shredded cauliflower with jalapeño, bacon, & spices for about 7 minutes to get the cauliflower cooking (should be softened & slightly translucent). (I found it took much longer than 7 minutes.)
- Remove from heat, and stir in the eggs & almond flour.
- With a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the biscuits at 400ºF for 35-40 minutes, or until they look browned & crispy. (For my oven, this was too long. They were still good, but would have been better not so brown on the bottom.)
- Allow the biscuits to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
What, pray tell, is the point of being able to get a foreign product in the U.S. if it has the same or similar name but has an entirely different composition? I made this discovery earlier, when Nestlé acquired the rights to market the Ovaltine malted chocolate drink in the United States. I remember Ovaltine as a child, the name having been changed from the Swiss Ovomaltine by a typo in the legal papers. In Switzerland, Ovomaltine comes in many forms, from awesome chocolate bars to cookies to breakfast cereal to the hot chocolate drink that Nestlé appears to be imitating. But there turns out to be a huge difference between the two products: the version you can buy in America has been modified beyond recognition, to conform more to other Nestlé product flavors. Most importantly, what is overseas an entirely malt-sweetened product is in America loaded with sugar. I'm a big fan of sugar, to be sure, and other Ovomaltine products in Switzerland do make use of that ingredient. But when you have a perfectly good chocolate product without added sugar, why mess with it?
Ask the people at Hershey. Being from Pennsylvania, I have a natural sympathy with the Hershey company, even if I find their chocolate mediocre. But this time they've gone too far. I'd wondered why Cadbury chocolate no longer tasted as good as I remembered it from a long-ago visit to England, but had just assumed that memory was gilding the previous exprience. No, I was informed by my brother, who lived in England for quite a while and visted yet more recently. In America, he said, chocolate under the Cadbury name is an entirely different product from that in the U.K. And while one used to be able to purchase the real thing in some specialty shops, Hershey has broght that to an end through (surprise, surprise) a lawsuit.
Hershey's has blocked British-made Cadbury chocolate from entering the US. The chocolate company struck up a deal with Let's Buy British Imports to stop imports of Cadbury products made overseas ... A Hershey's representative told The New York Times that the company has the rights to manufacture Cadbury chocolate in America using different recipes, and that importing British chocolate is an infringement.
Once again: same name, different product for dumb Americans.
The New York Times broke down the major differences between the kinds of chocolates. "Chocolate in Britain has a higher fat content; the first ingredient listed on a British Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (plain milk chocolate) is milk" ... "In an American-made Cadbury’s bar, the first ingredient is sugar." The American version also contains preservatives.
This deception is now protected by copyright law.
You'd be shocked at the number of people who think our daughter and her family live in Sweden. Just as homeschoolers know that they will inevitably and repeatedly be asked the S Question ("But what about socialization?"), the Swiss know that much of the world will always think they live in the land of IKEA, ABBA, and free health care. Thus I was not surprised to see the following in an article on the Cooking Light website.
First Up: You'll love this Rösti Casserole with Baked Eggs. We have whittled down the calories in this traditional Swedish dish and added our own spin with Greek yogurt and artisan spices. This dish embodies the alluring qualities you'd expect from rösti—shredded potatoes that are cooked until browned and crisp on the edges. Serve with a colorful mixed greens salad.
At least the Swiss won't have to be annoyed at the alterations to their traditional dish—they can blame it on the Swedes.
Chick-fil-A remains my favorite fast food restaurant, ever. I like the company; friends who have worked there say it's a good place to work. I like the fact that they are closed on Sundays. Well, okay, I've more than once wished I could eat there on a Sunday, but I do appreciate that they take—and give their employees—the day off. I also like the fact that, although not required here to do so, they post the calorie counts of their meals on the menu.
None of that, however, would of itself induce me to eat there. That takes good food. For the genre, it's great food. If we're in need (or want) of a quick, easy meal, and there's a Chick-fil-A nearby, and it's not Sunday, there's no debate: Chick-fil-A is my first choice. Their chicken sandwiches—especially the spicy versions—are the best I've eaten anywhere, including those from my own kitchen. Their waffle fries are very good, their lemonade is real, and their breakfast biscuits? ahhh!
Why this paean? We just returned from breakfast at our local Chick-fil-A: a spicy chicken biscuit for me, and their new grilled chicken sandwich for Porter. Ketchup and barbecue sauce came with our meals, but we brought them home untouched: the food was that good, unadorned. I could easily have eaten two of those spicy chicken biscuits—except, of course, for the above-mentioned calorie counts.
Even better: thanks to coupons, our breakfast was totally free. This is a case where I will not say a meal was worth what we paid for it! And despite our not spending a cent, the man who took our order was friendly, cheerful, and gracious, and did not hesitate to fix us the chicken sandwich (normally a lunch and dinner item) during early breakfast hours, only apologizing that we had to wait five minutes.
Now if only Connecticut would get with the picture. The closest Chick-fil-A to Old Saybrook is north of Springfield, Massachusetts!
"I don't want to eat" has almost never been a problem in our family! Nonetheless, this article on ending mealtime battles caught my eye, and it has some wisdom in it, so I'm passing it on. I can sum up what I like about it in a couple of quotes.
It's dinnertime and my 4-year-old son is deep in play. When I announce that dinner is ready he makes his own announcement: "I don't want to eat, Mommy."
I tell him five words that avoid the food battle that he wants me to engage in: "You don't have to eat."
This is the rule in our house but it is followed by a second rule that everyone follows, regardless of wanting to eat or not. I tell him that family dinners are about being with family, and not just eating, so we all have to sit at the table.
What I like most about Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding, is it gives parents and children very specific jobs in the realm of feeding. Parents are in charge of deciding what is served at meal time, when meals occur and where. Children get to be in charge of choosing what to eat and how much from what is offered to them.
So when my children complain about what I make for them, I always remind them that they can choose not to eat it. And I make sure to include at least one or two items they are likely to accept. This gives them some control, melts away the tension, and makes them more likely to try it....
This strategy puts more onus on the parents to make sure all the food offerings are nutritious: if the meal on the table includes chips and soda, a strategy of letting your children decide what and how much to eat from the offerings appears a lot less wise. Nor would I include anything not part of the family meal among the offerings, i.e. no chicken nuggets when the rest of the family is eating chicken tikka. But letting them choose proportions (including nothing) from a good meal sounds like a reasonable strategy for giving children autonomy within secure boundaries.
I wonder: if I had not been required to eat a portion of everything served, would I have learned to like vegetables sooner than I did? Very early on I developed the tactic of swallowing my vegetable bites whole, with great gulps of water, like pills. (Peas are particularly easy.) My parents were willing to insist I eat the veggies, but would not go so far as to require me to chew and taste them. If, instead, they had simply been offered as part of the meal, and I had observed my parents enjoying it all, might I not have tried them now and then, thus developing the taste for certain foods that eluded me until later in life? I'll never know, but I like this strategy better.