I'm happy to announce that…

Menu for HopeI'm happy to announce that I'm participating in the Menu for Hope, a food blogger fundraising campaign. This year, Menu for Hope III will raise funds to support the UN World Food Programme, which provides hunger relief for needy people worldwide. Last year's Menu for Hope raised over $17,000 for Unicef, and I'm sure with more participation we can do even better this year!

KitchenAid Stand MixerHow does it work? If you make a $10 contribution, you will be entered to win your choice of prizes donated by participating food bloggers. There's some really cool stuff in there, including coffee with Thomas Keller (either in CA or NY). I've donated a KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer (in Empire Red).

If you're interested in participating, here's what you need to do:

1. Go to the donation page at First Giving.

2. Make a donation, each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. The prize code for my KitchenAid mixer is UE03. Do tell us how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code -for example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for UW01 and 3 for UW02.

3. If your company matches your charity donation, please remember to check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

5. Check back on Chez Pim on January 15 when we announce the result of the raffle. (The drawing will be done electronically. Our friend the code wizard Derrick at Obsession with Food is responsible for the wicked application that will do the job.)

Thanks for your participation, and good luck in the raffle!

Today only 13 slaughterhouses process…

Today only 13 slaughterhouses process the majority of the beef consumed by 300 million Americans. Eric Schlosser on the sorry state of our food supply safety efforts and the role politics has played in making it less safe. One chilling statistic: "Cutbacks in staff and budgets have reduced the number of food-safety inspections conducted by the F.D.A. to about 3,400 a year — from 35,000 in the 1970s." With food distribution more centralized than ever, ensuring the safety of our food supply is critical.

This week's gift suggestion comes…

Snowman OrnamentThis week's gift suggestion comes from my favorite place for unique gifts: Etsy! Etsy, if you're not familiar with it, is an online marketplace for handcrafted goods. All week I'll be featuring gifts from Etsy, but consider yourself warned now: if you like what you see, you better go ahead and order it right away. Since everything's handcrafted, quantities are limited. Today's gift is a Llama Felt Snowman Ornament. "4 and 1/2 inch tall snowman with a lavender hat and a blue scarf. He's made entirely from my llama fiber with 'coal' buttons and eyes and a 'carrot' nose." So cute, he can hang from your recipient's tree for only $15.

<a href="http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1968665,00.html" title=" Statement on…

<a href="http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1968665,00.html" title="
Statement on the 'new cookery'”>The term "molecular gastronomy" does not describe our cooking, or indeed any style of cooking. Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Harold McGee step up with an international agenda for great cooking. "Three basic principles guide our cooking: excellence, openness, and integrity." Great principles, they should be applied to a lot more than cooking.

Could a chef make dishes…

Could a chef make dishes that are as good, or better, using only the trace amount of trans fats allowed under the city’s new rules? With the passage of the trans fat ban in New York City, chefs are reformulating recipes to be compliant with the new regulations. I wonder if we'll see the development of a black market for trans fat baked goods in the future?