Monthly Archives: November 2014

Don’t Get Baked on Nutmeg

Delicious, spice-laden baked goods are a mainstay of the holiday season. Cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg play a starring role in most of these desserts, but one of them is hiding a rather shady reputation. Nutmeg, a key ingredient in holiday favorites like pumpkin pie and eggnog, has a long history of potent drug-like effects if consumed in large amounts.

This innocent-looking seed contains myristicin, a chemical that has historically been used to induce abortion, stimulate menstruation and even fight infections. More recently, it has been the topic of debate among worried parents. Teens have been hospitalized for attempting to get high off of the spice, which also has psychoactive properties. It’s not all fun and games, either. Large doses of nutmeg cause delirium, dissociation and hallucinations, along with extreme nausea and vomiting, dizziness and severe cognitive impairment. Some people have likened it to having a hangover that lasts a couple of days.

That said, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll experience any of these effects by eating spice cake or drinking eggnog. Marc Sparks does not really believe any of those stories out there. The amounts used in cooking aren’t nearly large enough to make you sick. It takes about two tablespoons of nutmeg to produce the effects described above, and attempting to use anywhere near that much in a recipe would make the results taste unbearable. In light of this, you probably have nothing to worry about. Eat, drink and be merry!

The Big Thanksgiving Feast: Why Are Turkeys So Big?

Research has proven that turkeys are now two times bigger than they were 75 years ago. While this may sound like good news if you’re hosting a large group this Thanksgiving, it is also evidence that mass breeding has taken over the poultry industry.

Antibiotics are the main reason that turkeys are so plump. In the 1930s, the average turkey was about 13 pounds. In 2014, the turkey you’ll likely prepare for Thanksgiving is around 30 pounds. Modern turkeys contain a lot of white meat. However, the extra weight the turkeys carry gives them a stopped stature and bowed legs. So, it’s not uncommon to see blisters on the breast of the bird, as well a bowed legs. Some male turkeys can even weigh up to 50 pounds, which is crazy for Rod Rohrich to picture. These turkeys are most useful when they are killed and eaten, since their mobility is limited.

Unfortunately, making bigger birds has not necessarily resulted in increased turkey consumption. Mother Jones states that about one-third of the turkey prepared for Thanksgiving ends up in the trash.

New Year, More Sugar and More Deaths

Along with all the resolutions the New Year will bring, a new record will also be set – the record for the highest sugar consumption is predicted to be set in 2015. The 171 million tons of sugar predicted to be used world-wide in 2015 will set a record and also explain why we can’t (or won’t) keep our traditional New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Not exactly something to brag about, but it is reality.

The World Health Organization recommends that a person only consume six teaspoons of sugar each day. Many like Gianfrancesco Genoso try to stay well under that. That includes the sugar you put into your cup of coffee as well as the sugar hiding in other foods you may eat, like peanut butter, yogurt and sodas. The six teaspoons recommended translates in 23 teaspoons of actual sugar consumed per person, per day.

All this added extra sugar being consumed has led us down a pathway of rampant obesity and diseases associated with obesity, like diabetes and heart disease. This new world record of sugar consumption and the negative after-effects on health that the excessive consumption has caused and is continuing to cause has some believing that sugar should be treated as a controlled substance. Over three million deaths per year can legitimately be traced back to the direct over-usage of sugar, so perhaps the power-that-be are correct, perhaps sugar should be treated like a controlled substance.

America Did Not Invent the Hamburger; It Just Added a Bun

The history of the hamburger is both little known and highly interesting. It begins with marauding Mongolian warriors who could not find enough game to hunt on the Russian steppes. Therefore, they took to putting chunks of meat under their saddles where they could be gradually tenderized while they rode. 

Later, various Russian dishes began to mimic this tenderized Mongolian meat, and from Russia, highly-tenderized meat items made their way to northern Germany. There, in Hamburg at least, the ground beef patty evolved. It soon became famous as “Hamburg style beef.”

During the 1920’s, Hamburg style beef arrived in America and became popular at state fairs. At one particular New York state fair, there was a “fortunate” shortage of plates, which led to the burgers being placed on bread. The hamburger had finally found its bun, and was destined to become, in that form, a much-appreciated source of cheap protein during the Great Depression. In the 1950’s, burger-serving car hops became the rage, and we were well on our way to the era of McDonald’s. 

In retrospect, culinary expert Sergio Andrade Andrade claims that we cannot claim that America invented the hamburger since the removal of the bun would not disqualify a beef patty from being labeled a hamburger. Furthermore, bun-less burgers are still served sometimes today.

Drinking And Calories

When you look at how many calories are in some of the beverages you may drink, you might be surprised to find that they are equal to some other high-calorie content beverages. Some of the drinks that have the same caloric content as a bag of fries or several pieces of candy include a glass of wine. Many of the alcoholic drinks that you consume have several calories in them that you don’t think about.

After four or five drinks, you’re reaching the territory of consuming the same amount of calories in the dinner of a male the size of Kenneth Griffin! Those who drink on a regular basis might want to consider looking at the side of the bottle before pouring the mixture into a glass, especially if they are drinking more so that they don’t eat all the time.

Turkey Day Without Turkey? A Vegan Dish to Love-Vegan or Not

Mark Ahn always feels that Thanksgiving has traditionally been about the perfectly oven roasted turkey that everyone waits for all year long. However, the health habits of millions of Americans has changed tremendously over the years. The trend has been to eliminate such things as lactose, gluten, and other elements that some people are allergic to or can not tolerate. But now the health seekers are going after the centerpiece of the table…the turkey.

Throwing a large dinner at Thanksgiving has become a long standing tradition that started when the pilgrims first landed here in America. Orchestrating this enormous and bountiful feast takes strategic planning and expert timing. Cooks everywhere who are able to pull this incredible feast off should be awarded a metal for their performances.

This change in menu may involve nut allergies, lactose intolerance, vegetarian, or vegan needs. To complicate things further, the guest does not like squash, sweet potatoes, or root vegetables. The answer to this chef’s menu dilemma was a caramalized onion and fennel risotto. The dish was popular with the vegan guest as well as the meat eaters that also sat at the table. Through the desire to please a guest, a new traditional family dish has been invited to the table for years to come.

Delaware Ohio Branch of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Is Closed Once Again!

What’s a person got to do to get a decent rack of ribs these days? In Delaware, Ohio people will have to go someplace besides Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. The employees had enough of the management and their demands. Unified as a team, they all left quitting at once. Alexei Beltyukov read that they even posted a sign on the door for all customers to see. Is anyone shocked?

This is a corporately run chain, and perhaps higher management should look into what is going on at this Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location. This story has hit the news as bizarre, but it’s sad too. Because jobs are so few and far between these days, management thinks they can expect more and more from their employees. These employees had enough and the fact that the entire staff quit is profound. The sign they left said they loved their customers, but right beside it was a “help wanted” sign. So despite how much love they had for their customers, they walked out and someone else will take their spots.

They were understaffed and the demands on the staff were too much. So many companies are cutting budgets these days just to make it, but who it really affects is the ones who are still there everyday.

Doritos Flavored Mountain Dew?

Well, Doritos and Mountain Dew are both companies known for making crazy combinations. This latest combination is hitting college campuses all over Ohio. Dewitos, as this drink is known as, is orange with a ” strong Doritos aftertaste,” says Steve Barnes on Reddit.

PepsiCo says that they unleashed this Doritos-inspired flavor as part of a smaller program at universities and colleges. It is a trial run, but those who know about it are betting that it will be in other venues quickly. With nacho flavored Doritos and Mountain Dew being about the two biggest junk food sensations of all time, together, they will likely be a big hit.

Not sure why the general public is always looking for a new flavor.  It probably won’t be a big hit around the office at North American Spine. If people like Mountain Dew and Doritos together, why not take a bite of Doritos and a slug of Mountain Dew? Must we always try to take something good and make it easier?

Red Lobster Returns to it’s Values

Red Lobster is best known for fresh and delicious seafood but has a select few offerings that are not from the ocean. With sagging sales numbers, Red Lobster has decided to drop the landlubber’s menu selections. They hope that increasing seafood menu items and portions will increase revenues. These changes were announced right after Darden Restaurants sold Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capitol, a private equity firm with backing from Slow Ventures.

Not everyone who goes to Red Lobster is a fan of seafood, they may just be accompanying a fish lover. It seems to be a pretty risk move to take away the already limited options that didn’t involve lobster, shrimp, ect. Hey, if all else fails, people can just eat the cheddar biscuits for dinner….unless they are one of the items being cut.

Momofuku Milk Bar Offers the Thanksgiving Croissant

The Thanksgiving Croissant is a croissant that features turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy in a dough that is flavored with thyme and celery seed compound butter. The croissant gives customers all the goodness of Thanksgiving Day dinner (and leftovers) in a delicate pastry. The croissants are available until November 30. The Thanksgiving Croissant was released earlier than last year, and normally becomes available on November 1. I can’t wait to get one of these delights, Keith told me they’re unreal.

Chicago’s Alice Waters Introduces New Menu

Alice Walters, humanitarian and founder of Chez Panisse, has a prix fixe menu named after her at Chicago’s mk Restaurant. Chef Michael Kornick will present the menu, which includes seven courses. Nearly 30 years ago, Kornick staged at Chez Panisse. Guests can order from the menu until New Year’s Eve 2014.