Monday, January 3, 2011

Around The Culinary World

Good evening everyone and happy new year! Over the weekend, we all welcomed 2011 into our lives (some willingly, others treated the entry of a new year like a two year old - kicking and screaming down the aisle of Target). It was around this time last year that Maggie and I were taking stock of our lives and decided that it was time to change things. Take out, frozen dinners and low quality foods were creating havoc on our digestive systems...and our waistlines. We started 2010 off slow - simply buying better food. But, by February of 2010, we were venturing out on our own actually COOKING things. By March, we were comfortable enough to start sharing our creations and experiences with the world - and the rest is history.

So, as we enter 2011 - Maggie and I have a few (new) goals for the blog - and our lifestyle in general. (We're not calling them resolutions - as those tend to be broken too easily).

1. Improve the blog - both in content, quality and experience. In reality, this is an everyday goal. We want to provide entertaining posts, that are complete with full, detailed first hand directions to help you recreate any recipe you feel up to taking on.

2. Trend back towards all healthy cooking. The blog was born simply to provide an outlet to share healthy recipes. By the end of 2010 -we were delving into a few not so healthy dishes (looking at you pumpkin pie...) For 2011, we're shifting the focus back to eating healthy.

3. Enjoy every minute. Enjoy blogging, enjoy cooking, enjoy life - if you're not having fun - what's the point? The day the blog becomes a chore, rather than a pastime, I'm pulling the plug. I want to keep having as much fun writing this blog as I did from the first day.

There you have it. Three simple little goals that we're striving for in 2011.

Now that our little 'welcome to 2011' blurb is out of the way, let's get into the regularly scheduled Monday programming. Here's what's happening 'Around The Culinary World' for Monday, January 3rd, 2011:

Food clarity and transparency have become very large topics of late. People are (rightfully) demanding to know what is going into their food, where their food has come from and exactly what the food contains from a nutritional standpoint. In 2012, a new regulation will be rolling into effect for meat products that will help consumers understand just what nutritional value is in a particular cut of meat. Read all about the new developments coming to ground beef, chicken, turkey and other meat products HERE

Fast food - we've rallied against this sector of American 'cuisine' for the longest time. (After all, we are a cooking blog that promotes healthy eating...taking a pro fast food approach really wouldn't go with our message!) We've shown how certain fast food burgers don't seem to decompose...or deteriorate at all. We've shared how even 'healthy' fast food menu options can be very bad for your health. Tonight, we have yet another reason to avoid the drive-up lane and simply cook for yourself. A new study has found that toxicperfluoroalkyls a chemical used in wrappers and bags of fast food restaurants is actually leaking into the food it is surrounding. Yes, these chemicals are everywhere in the world around us (especially in non-stick cookware) but anytime you have an opportunity to remove a known carcinogen from your environment, you probably should take it. Read the full (slightly frightening) details HERE

It really wasn't a 'good news' week for culinary stories. We have yet ANOTHER case of poor food safety leading to many people becoming ill. This time the culprit is the (vile) alfalfa sprouts. A salmonella outbreak stemming from the greens has been traced back to producers in Illinois and has caused reported illness all the way to California. Now, I'm not a fan of alfalfa sprouts - I find their taste horrid and too much like actual grass for my liking. I can't really understand how a normal human can tolerate to eat this horrific plant. For some reason people DO eat them, however, and their consumption is yet again drawing attention to the food safety rules and regulations in the United States. Thankfully, the recently passed food safety act (that we've discussed multiple times on our Monday features) should help this issue - it's just a shame that stories like this have become all too common in our Monday features.

Did you have a little too much to drink this new year? Did you find yourself waking up wondering where the horrible drumming was coming from - only to realize that it was only your blood vessels pounding like a bass drum? Hangovers are an unfortunate (evil) side effect of a night of drinking - and many companies have plopped products on the market to 'cure' or even prevent hangovers. Do they work? How about the old wives tales regarding products like coffee or energy drinks? Do they fight off hangovers and better? Find.Eat.Drink (via the Huffington Post) has gathered a list of the most common hangover cures and put them to the test. See for yourself what works and what doesn't - and be prepared for the next time you indulge in a few too many drinks.

Finally tonight, we'll lighten things up with a little humor. (After a 'downer' news week - it's a welcome addition!) For many people, a new year is the time to make resolutions. Save more money, get a better job, lose weight, start cooking etc. etc. Many people, however, have a misconception that cooking is hard or needlessly difficult. Sadly, many people's first and only foray into cooking looks a little something like the comic below:

WARNING: In a few places, language may be NSFW or small children.

You can find a larger version of this comic HERE. Credit for this comic goes to The Oatmeal - for those who have not read - we'd recommend you take a journey over there right away. It's a hilarious site filled with comics, stories and other musings. Well worth a few minutes of your internet time each day. 

What's sadly accurate about the above comic is that this situation probably happens all too often. People get into cooking with the wrong recipe, or they simply feel like that's how every recipe is - and they try (usually fail) and give up. Cooking isn't hard - and doesn't have to seem so daunting. Maggie and I went from two lazy college students who could barely boil water to two amateur chefs who can duplicate the finest French dish. If we can do it - you can do it. 

What better way to learn to cook - or to see just how easy cooking can be - than to order a friendly, helpful, low cost cookbook to get you started. Have we got just the book for you! The Out Of The Culinary Cookbook is a collection of the best recipes from the blog so far - all broken down into easy to follow, easy to understand directions. Each recipe has been tested by Maggie and myself and are certified delicious! Be sure to buy your copy today - just follow the link on the right hand side of the blog. Get 2011 started off right by buying your copy of the Out Of The Culinary Cookbook today! 

(Hey, I put a lot of work into that book - you'd better believe I'm going to plug it every chance I get!) 

That's all we have for you this evening. We're back to cooking tomorrow night - I'll be starting things off on Tuesday, and finishing us off on Thursday. Maggie will fill in Wednesday (her old 'usual' spot from back in the early day of the blog!) so be sure to stop in and see what's for dinner. Until tomorrow, 


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