Monday, September 26, 2011

Around The Culinary World

Hello again everyone! It’s a brand new week (for better or worse) and fall is fully upon us. Cool air, crisp mornings – beautifully warm afternoons, cooler evenings. It’s the perfect time of the year. We’ll move into a more ‘fall focused’ menu over the coming weeks – starting with one of my recipes this week. That comes later, however. First, it’s Monday – so it’s time to take a trip ‘Around The Culinary World’ This week we’ve got food recalls, shopping guides, black water and much more. Let’s dive in!

Sadly, the most common stories we cover in ‘Around The Culinary World’ are food recall announcements. Last week, news broke that a supply of cantaloupes from Frontera Produce in Colorado were tainted with a disease known as listeria. As of Friday, the death toll had risen to eight (four from New Mexico, two from Colorado, one from Okalahoma and one from Maryland). All together, 55 people in 14 states have been made ill by the tainted fruit. While produce related food recalls are relatively rare (especially in the case of melons), this is the third listeria related break out in three years. You can read more about the breakout HERE. Later on Friday, the FDA announced that the cantaloupes have been shipped to more states than previously thought. You can read more about the implications from this development HERE.

Roughly four to five years ago, grocery stores and major retailers (mainly Wal-Mart) began moving to a new trend – self checkouts. The concept was simple, let customers with small amounts of items to ‘speed up’ the process and blaze through check out lanes. You save money on employees and you keep impatient customers happy. The problem? Most customers don’t want to use the lanes. Many customers find that the extra help a story employee provides to be worth waiting in line. Worse yet, when a problem arises on a self checkout lane, it can usually take longer to resolve the problem than if you simply waited in line and used a traditional lane. I’ve always been a fan of the self checkouts – but I’ve had the same problems – mainly that they’re harder to use than they need to be. Well, most stores have heard customers and are making the move to remove the self checkout lanes. What do you think? Self checkout lanes are going the way of the dodo – a good move or an overreaction? Read more about this story HERE.

Courtesy of
 Speaking of overreactions – our ‘stupid story of the week’ is in contention for ‘stupid story of the year’. One particular Taco Bell customer didn’t take too kindly to not receiving any hot sauce with his order. His response to this ‘outrage’? Ask kindly for hot sauce? Point out that he never received the sauce he requested? Nope – he pulled out his gun. Read more about this moron HERE.

Don't forget your gun!

If you’re an at home chef (which, judging by the fact that you’re currently reading a cooking blog – I’d wager that’s a safe assumption) you know that olive oil is an essential kitchen item. This simple oil is the base in many, many recipes and is probably the most commonly used item in our kitchen. You also know (you avid oil user, you) that there are a lot of options when it comes to buying olive oil. (And yes, there is a difference – have you ever bought cheap ‘low quality’ olive oil? You CAN taste the difference). So, which oil is worth the cash – and what ones taste like trash? Kitchen daily has composed a handy guide to supermarket olive oils. Check out the cream of the olive oil crop HERE.

Water enhanced with humic and fulvic acid has become quite the popular item to the ‘rich and famous’ out there. It’s a common item in reward show gift bags – it’s popping up in big name restaurants and health markets. The catch? It’s black, and it looks like motor oil. Supporters of the water (called Blk Water) are quick to point out that it tastes just like normal water and provides amazing health benefits. But, can the common consumer get past the fact the water looks like sludge? I don’t think I could. Check out this extremely unique product HERE.

It’s college football season (in my opinion the best sport in the world – yes, college over pro) which means tailgating and, if you live close to your favorite team – a few trips to the stadium. While it’s not as talked up as baseball stadium food, football stadium food has become a respectably delicious option on game day. Which stadiums top the list when it comes to college football grub? Check out the list HERE.

Finally, we’ve got a very cool video to share. Watch as a prize winning 1,487.5 pound pumpkin grows right in front of your eyes. A camera, programmed to take a photo every 15 minutes was positioned above the pumpkin when it was planted in June. Watch as this 1:30 second video shows the pumpkin grow to an absolutely ridiculous size. Easily, the coolest video you’ll watch today. Check it out HERE.

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog about this week. We’ve got another front loaded week of cooking for you. Maggie will take to the kitchen on Tuesday with a brand new recipe and I’ll follow her on Wednesday with my first foray into fall cooking for the year. Be sure to stop back in tomorrow night to see what Maggie has cooking. Until then,


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