Sunday, June 19, 2011

Around The Culinary World

Good evening everyone! The weekend is winding down, a new week is starting up. (I move into my new position on Monday - woo promotion!) that can only mean one thing - it's time for another edition of Around The Culinary World:

The first story this week has Maggie and I a little perplexed. Perhaps you've seen this particular Yoplait ad on TV. A woman is standing at the refrigerator debating if she can afford to eat the desert or not. I could run in place - she suggests. She rationalizes (or tries to) ways she can eat the tempting dish. Then a thinner coworker walks in (small talk ensues) and the first woman, now jealous of the thinner woman, opts to grab Yoplait instead of grabbing the cake.

Well, apparently this has some up in arms about the premise behind the ad. There are groups out there who are calling for Yoplait to pull the ad because they believe it encourages eating disorders. Maggie and I have talked this particular point over multiple times. We don't know where to land on this one. On one hand, we understand the pressures and the mental insecurity that comes with eating disorders. Having a commercial basically say "if you eat cake you are fat - eat yogurt instead" certainly isn't helping anything. On the other hand, we can't shake the feeling that this may be an overreaction to the actual point of the commercial - which lies somewhere closer to "Yoplait tastes like cake, but is better for you than cake" than "Eat Yoplait or you're a fatty". You can read the full argument HERE.

For what it's worth, Yoplait reacted by pulling the ad - what do you think readers? Overreacting or unnecessary advertising? Let us know in the comments.

There are many causes in the food/cooking world that are worth getting behind. Better food for our school systems, more transparent food production practices, better safety guidelines - the one that Maggie and I have become the most interested in (outside of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution) is sustainable food production. I'll encourage you to go out and read everything you can on sustainable farming. It's a topic much too big to delve into in one blog post but I'll sum it up as concise as I can.

At this rate, the human population of this planet will eat itself out of resources in the not-as-distant-as-you-might-think future. Simply put, we're consuming more than we can produce. This has a nasty impact both on wildlife and vegetation. Entire populations of wild fish have been driven to near extinction due to overfishing. Habitats are destroyed and turned into farm fields so wheat, corn and bean production can expand in a (futile) attempt to keep up with demand.

Sustainable farming is (part of) the solution to this problem. Rather than saying, 'eat less' or 'don't eat this', sustainable farming looks at ways of keeping up production without the negative impact on the environment. Things such as fish farms allow entire schools of fish to be raised simply for the purpose of food - they are raised in tanks and never are placed into an ecosystem so their presence (or lack thereof) cannot impact the environment. The best part is it allows natural occurring animals to repopulate and return balance to the ecosystem. This doesn't even dive into crop production - but as I said, it's a big topic. Google it, read about it, it's an important concept.

My point with all of this is that Maggie and I make an active effort to buy sustainable fish, produce etc. whenever we can. Is it helping? Well, according to THIS story - it is.

Quick, name the most popular food in the world. This one actually isn't that hard if you stop and truly think about it. Remember, it's the world we're talking about - so you have to think in terms of readily available food for the entire planet. Not to mention something accessible - so the fancy steak you had at Outback last week probably wont show up on the list. That narrows it down doesn't it?  Like I said, not as hard as you might think. Do you think you have the answer? Did you guess rice? Well, you're wrong. I fell for this trap too, thinking in terms of quantity and less in terms of quality. So, what is the world's most popular food? Something exotic? Something special? Nope, THIS is the world's most popular food. (Makes sense after you think about the percentages doesn't it?) 

Our WTF story of the week revolves around a children's lemonade stand that was shut down and fined $500 for operating without a permit. (Read the details HERE). Of course, there was great public outcry and the city waived the $500 and allowed the stand to open again - but that leads to question - where the hell is the common sense the FIRST time around? Why does it take the general public crying "What is wrong with you!?" For city officials to stop and realize how moronic they're acting? I know there isn't an answer to this (it's called Government...) but still... it makes you wonder sometimes. 

My favorite story this week involves a very cool concept. What if you packed up your local grocery store, put in on a bus and took it to places of the world that didn't have access to grocery stores and couldn't survive on farming? Well, THIS is what you would get. Very cool indeed. 

That's all the news that's fit to blog about this week. We've got an accelerated week for you - Maggie cooks Tuesday, I'll take to the kitchen on Wednesday and we're off until next Monday. (It's Maggie's birthday weekend and we have plans on Thursday night). Stop back in Tuesday night to see what Maggie has cooking. Until then, 


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