Monday, April 30, 2012

Around The Culinary World

Hello again everyone! It’s Monday once again…and whether you choose to look at that as a bad thing or a good thing is entirely up to your personal disposition and present employment situation. One thing I’m sure the glass half full and half empty crowd can agree on is that our weekly trip through the culinary news makes the work week all that much easier to get going. We’ve got an eclectic mix of stories this week (then again, when aren’t they a little eclectic?) but due to a buggy blogger platform, we’re sans photos this week (Sorry!) Let’s dive in to the culinary news for this week!

The burrito is one of the shining examples of culinary simplicity and delight walking hand in hand. While this Mexican dish is anything but complicated, it does pack an amazing flavorful punch that’s hard to beat. Many Americans love the dish – and with good reason. Is it possible, however, that some love the burrito a little TOO much? One newspaper thinks so. After erroneously running a story stating that their local Mexican restaurant was closing, The Appalachian, a student run news paper for Appalachian State University, was bombarding with emails, phone calls and Twitter messages. Obviously, this case of misreporting greatly inflamed their readers. How did the newspaper respond? By taking their readers to task for misplaced priorities (of course!) Read the newspaper’s full response HERE.

Late last year, we shared a story about a grocer watchdog group that did a little digging into the breakfast cereal industry. The Cornucopia Institute released a report titled “Cereal Crimes” that took many producers to task for improper product processes, misleading labels and flat out bad content in their cereals.

One of the companies named in this report was Kashi brand cereal. The report cited Kashi for advertising that it was 100% natural, yet using products that contained GMOs (Genetically modified organisms). For the most part, that story went unnoticed in the mainstream media, with very little attention being paid to the culprits. (Kashi included)

Last week, however, the story came to the forefront once again. An innocuous sign, posted by Kashi (a health centric subsidiary of Kellogg’s) on the shelves of one grocery store quickly became viral across social media. The sign caused people to ask questions and last year’s report was quickly brought to the forefront once again. This time, consumers made the connection and Kashi is experiencing a great deal of backlash.

You can read more about what Kashi posted on the grocery store shelves, along with the problem with GMOs and the consumer’s response to this controversy HERE.

Late last week, Burger King announced it was making a big change in the type of products it would be using in the future. The fast food giant plans to only use eggs and pork that were raised in cage free environments by 2017. This announcement was pressured by rising consumer demand for humane treatment of farm animals. Reports have shown that consumers are willing to pay a little more when they know a product was fairly produced. Burger King is hoping this point proves true and helps raise sales of their products in the coming years.

The food production industry (egg and pork producers) is largely opposed to the move, citing the increased production costs such a move would cause. However, if the market (restaurants in this case) dictates a change needs to happen, many producers will be forced to comply or simply be squeezed out of the lucrative supply chain for the major buyers.

You can read more on this story, including how other fast food chains are following the humane treatment of animals trend HERE.
The knife is the most versatile and important instrument for any chef. From a paring knife, serrated knife all the way to the most important – the ever adaptable chef’s knife, many at home cooks have arsenal of trusty blades that make at home culinary exploits easy and fun to undertake. (Ever try to carve a chicken with a bad knife? Not very fun. Switch that bad knife for a high quality blade and watch the party start!)
Such important instruments need to be treated with the utmost care and respect. (Especially since the high end knives carrying a hefty price). However, many people routinely use and abuse their knives, causing them to wear out and fail much before they actually need to be replaced. How can you ensure you’re taking the best care of your kitchen cutlery? Avoid these common mistakes of knife care by reading THIS.

The refrigerator is produce’s best friend, right? After all, the lifespan of many popular fresh products is extended tenfold by simply sticking them in the refrigerator and preserving them for future use. Those products stay fresh, they last longer and you save money. While this is certainly true, you have to be careful not to get refrigerator happy as there are actually produce and other foods that are done more harm by being stored in your refrigerator. Check out the list of the 5 foods you SHOULDN’T refrigerate HERE.


That’s all the culinary news that’s fit to blog about this week. We’ve got another full week of cooking on the docket this week. Maggie leads things off on Tuesday with a brand new recipe that plays in her favorite theme. I’ll follow her on Wednesday with my dish from last week that got bumped (due to illness) and I’ll have another new recipe on Thursday to share as well. As a bonus, two of the recipes this week feature products that Maggie and I have never tried in our lifetime. It’s a week of new recipes and new foods, so it’s sure to be fun! Be sure to stop in Tuesday night to see what Maggie has cooking. Until then,


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