Megnut

From Toronto comes this news that trans fat in fast food varies not only by restaurant but by city. So a KFC in one city or country has a different amount of trans fat than in another. Which leads to this news from the Financial Times that KFC is being sued in the US for using trans fats.

Clearly I'm a little tired this AM because I saw this headline, Thailand upgrading food standards, and thought, But their food is already so good! Of course the article was referring to improving food safety, not making a better pad thai.

Reader Feedback Day

It's been nearly four weeks since Megnut went full-time food. I feel like I've gotten a bit of a rhythm going now and you've got a sense of what it's like as a food site. So now I'd like your thoughts on how it's going. I've gotten some emails about some problems with the RSS feed, those should be addressed now, and I've received some requests to turn on comments.

I'm interested in hearing what you think of things. Are there too many links a day? Not enough? Just right? What would you like to see more of? Less of? Does the design work for you? Can you find what you're looking for on the site? What trips you up? What else do you want to tell me? I see this site as an ongoing process (hopefully a continuously improving one at that) and plan to make adjustments as I go along. Your suggestions will help me to do that and I look forward to hearing them. Thanks for taking the time to share them with me.

Note: comments are open

Someone's asked Metafilter if liquid pectin causes jam to set more slowly. I've never heard that. I've only ever used liquid pectin in my fairly limited jamming experiences, and never had any problem with it.

Buying local food is trendy. Well it's certainly a better trend than Ugg boots or those giant 80s-style belts people seem to be wearing these days.

U.S. Agriculture Department is going to allow grass-fed beef to carry a special USDA seal verifying that the meat is from cattle fattened only in pastures. 99% of the animal's diet must come from grass to get the seal. Earlier propsal would have allowed cow to receive a 20% corn diet and still get the grass-fed label. What a joke, that's like a vegetarian that eats 20% meat! I'm glad they came to their senses and decided to create a label with meaning. [via del.icio.us/sautewednesday]

Bookslut has a good interview with Anthony Bourdain about his new book, travel, his TV show, and other stuff. [via del.icio.us/sautewednesday]

Martin Kastner actually designed the utensils I mentioned in my Alinea write up. And guess what? You can buy them on his website. So you too can serve your food like chef Achatz on the "bow" or the "squid"! Or just have them on your desk as objets d'art.

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce (.pdf). I feel like I've linked to this already but I don't think I did. Plus it's so handy. I can never remember what to buy organic. [via A Full Belly]

Here's a BBC article with tips on how to prevent food poisoning. I thought I was pretty good about hygiene in the kitchen but this has some things on it I didn't know (like not putting meat on the top shelf of the fridge). And of course some things I just plain don't do, like cook burgers until there's no more pink.

Others enjoyed the Big Apple BBQ more than I did. Jason Perlow has great pics, podcasts and a video. AG has a short video of the event and Gothamist had a nice time but the commenters hated the lines.

The Big Apple BBQ Review

BBQOn Saturday I headed to the 4th Annual Big Apple BBQ with some friends. This year, in an attempt to ease the long lines of years past, the Q offered a "fast pass" that you could purchase in advance and pre-load with money. Then you could use the fast pass line rather than the regular queue. Alas, even the fast pass line was slow and crowded, and I fear the Big Apple BBQ doesn't work well with the number of people who attend.

Every year the Big Apple team does their utmost to address the issue of long lines and crowding at this very popular event, and every year the lines are still really long. Honestly, I'm not sure what they could do to fix this. We discussed the issue in depth as we waited over forty minutes on Saturday afternoon in the fast line for Salt Lick brisket. You could easily spend your entire afternoon just trying to get a plate of brisket, some pulled pork, and some ribs, because each pit serves one thing, and each pit has its own long line. And then there's another line for beer and wine. And dessert. Unless you bring a team of folks and divide up the food acquisition tasks, it's just not feasible to sample any kind of variety of BBQ without committing hours to the process.

I want to love the Big Apple BBQ because it's a great idea and brings great food and people together in the city. But my group didn't have the energy to withstand hours of line-waiting and ultimately we headed home, less full of BBQ than we would have liked.

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project is a wonderful collection of old cookbooks you can view online in their entirety. The titles of some of them alone are priceless. I like this page of Favorite Dishes of Distinguished Persons. Frizzled? Is that an alternate past tense for "fry"? [via MUG]

Nice article about grass-fed animal farms in Texas. I'm trying to come up with a better term for sustainable, grazed-animal farming like the kind discussed here (better than "grass-fed animal farms" for sure). The article mentions "super natural" and "beyond organic" but I don't think that captures exactly what's happening on these farms, why it's important, or what the value is for the consumer.

What's the deal with the new ads?

Last week I removed the Google ad from the front page of this site and replaced it with selected links to items at Amazon. Since that time I've received some emails from readers asking why I chose some of the things I did, and wondering what my opinions were regarding various items.

When I created the ads, I wavered between simply linking to products or linking to products with some commentary. Ultimately I decided I didn't want to blur the advertising/editorial line by wrapping my thoughts around each ad. I didn't want to set a precedent on this site whereby advertising gets confused/blurred with content.

So I'm not going to tell you all my thoughts about the items, but I will tell you how it will work (for the time being): as I see items at Amazon that I think are interesting, I will add them to the "advertisements" column. It may be because I own the item, or I want the item. It may simply be because I think the item is something I think you guys may like. But as with (nearly) everything on this site, I point you to things. Sometimes I give you my opinion, but ultimately you decide if you agree with/like/want it.

From the New York Times, The Range Gets Crowded for Natural Beef. Lots of conflation between "natural" and "organic" in this article, and very little mention of grass-fed beef. The article talks about the higher cost of organic feed, but doesn't go into the fact that that feed is still corn, and that cows don't eat corn except when we force them to. I guess because it's from the business section its focus is the booming organic food industry.

The (UK) Guardian "offers a taste of the best of the [food] blogs" and Megnut makes the list! Thanks Guardian, and welcome new readers. I'm honored to make the list.

Taste of the New York Subway System is a pretty comprehensive listing of restaurants in NYC organized by subway stop.

Until recently, all of the world's seafood was wild. Indeed, ocean fish are the last wild food on earth we eat with any regularity. That is all about to change. Paul Greenberg for the New York Times Magazine on the rise of aquaculture, or farm fishing. His asks: "Will all wild fish ultimately be either domesticated or extirpated? Will we prosecute the same war upon diversity at sea as we have on land?"

eGullet trailed Grant Achatz and crew as they worked to open Alinea in the fall of 2004. It's a fascinating look behind the scenes.

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