ethics

Reader beware.

Something that has been bothering me for a while. continue reading...

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides iPhone App

3 years ago, I mentioned a handy list of produce ranked by how much pesticide is used to grow them. The higher (=more pesticides) the ranking, the better it would be to stick to organically grown.

I recently got a new iPhone (yes…I’m the very opposite of an Early Adopter of tech gadgets) and discovered that the same list is available as a free iPhone app called DirtyProduce. Here’s a screenshot of the opening page:

dirtyproducep1.png

It doesn’t do much beyond list the Dirty Dozen (the most heavily pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables), the Clean 15 (the last pesticide-used) and the full list of 47 produce items, but it’s handy to have around with you. Who knew for instance that peaches were the most pesticide-laden fruit or vegetable? I tend not to peel my peaches, and I ate, oh I don’t know, a few tons of them over the summer. I may start peeling them next season, or look for non-treated ones.

Anyway, if you do have an iPhone, take a look. And if you don’t, there is still the PDF list to print out and carry in your wallet.

filed under

Real beef

Some real meat this time. continue reading...

filed under

Meat and the environment

Today is Green Day, and we’re being bombarded with Green Day Sales, reminders as to how Green this company or the other is, and so on. It’s a big topic nowadays.

I feel that the things that we can do as individuals is getting increasingly muddy. For a while it seemed like biofuels were a solution, but now the huge demand for plant-based fuels may be causing serious food shortages. Food miles and locavorism may not be as clear cut a solution either. Michael Pollan says we should start growing our own vegetables, but that’s not possible for a lot of people, for space or time reasons.

Is there something relatively easy we can do? Sort of. continue reading...

filed under

Hold the tuna and the food guilt, please

Tuna with a side of mercury, and all that. continue reading...

filed under

Cloned meat and animal products poll results

Thank you to everyone to participated in the cloned meat poll! Here are the somewhat surprising results. continue reading...

filed under

A new poll: Would you eat food from cloned animals?

The first poll about chickens (the original question, the actual poll, and the results summarized) was so interesting to me, that I’d like to make polls a semi-regular feature on Just Hungry. I think that polls and the answers to them on difficult issues can help qualify one’s thinking on the subject. So, here is another one for you about on the subject of the ethics of eating. The subject is cloned animals.

Yesterday the The U.S. government approved the sale of food from cloned animals. Here is the Food and Drug Administration’s report. The European Union issued a public call for consultation on the scientific issues regarding food derived from cloned animals. The draft opinion of the agency (link, PDF) is that such food is safe for human consumption.

How do you feel about this? Remember that food from cloned animals would include eggs, milk and milk products as well as meat. Please include your opinions in the comments to the poll too.

filed under

The U.S. government has approved the sale of food from cloned animals and the EU seems to be headed that way - what will you do?

I'll buy and eat cloned meat and eggs and milk, no problem.
36% (92 votes)
I may try it, but I'm skeptical.
26% (67 votes)
No way will I buy cloned foods, ever.
34% (89 votes)
Other
4% (11 votes)
Total votes: 259
filed under

Saturday morning thoughts no. 1: Chicken poll results

The results of the Chicken Poll posted earlier this week continue reading...

filed under

The question of food ethics: What's your chicken policy?

thechoiceswemake.jpg

It may well be that 2008 is the year when questions of ethics and choice really come to the fore. In the UK, coincidentally or not three major TV programmes on the subject have been airing this week. As I mentioned earlier the BBC is airing a second season (series) of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, a program about the slaughtering of animals for human consumption. On Channel 4, two heavyweights of the TV cooking world, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, are tackling the issue of battery raised chickens. In the U.S. Michael Pollan, author of the seminal The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has a new book out, In Defense Of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (I haven’t read this yet). Here in Switzerland, the leading supermarket chain stopped selling traditionally raised fois gras, at least in the German speaking parts of the country.

I don’t really have hard-and-fast rules on food. I’m not a diehard locavore, I’m not a ethically-motivated vegan, I buy conventionally farmed produce as well as organic. One food I do have a firm line on is chicken. Ever since I found out in what conditions factory farmed chickens are raised, I have only bought organically raised ‘happy’ chickens and eggs, as I wrote about two years ago. I think that chicken is a sort of bottom line type of food. A lot of people nowadays may be avoiding red meat and pork (is pork a red or white meat? I’m never sure), but they do eat chicken. And even if you don’t eat chicken, you may eat eggs.

So, I’m curious. What are your personal policies when it comes to chicken? I’ ve put up a poll about it - please vote, and tell me your opinion in the comments there.

filed under

Chicken: what's your choice?

Whatever is cheapest/on sale
11% (36 votes)
A reputable brand name chicken
19% (61 votes)
Free range, organically raised, happy chickens only
48% (157 votes)
I don't eat chicken at all
18% (59 votes)
Other (tell us in the comments!)
4% (13 votes)
Total votes: 326
filed under

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It is back too

I just realised that Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, the BBC Three show that brings you into a real working abattoir, is also back for another series (season) starting tonight at 10:30PM BT/11:30PM CET (also repeated at 12:45AM/1:45AM). I mentioned it yesterday as one of my top food TV shows of last year. It will be shown every night for this week, and the lineup looks interesting, to say the least. They are going for the baby animals…

  • Monday (today): Suckling Pig
  • Tuesday: Kid Goat
  • Wednesday: Veal
  • Thursday: Milk Fed Lamb
  • Friday: Omnibus (recap of the week I guess)

For more information, see the BBC Three site.

filed under

Swiss shopping news: Get used to happy foie gras

nomorefoisgras.jpgWe received a PR release the other day from LeShop, Migros’ home food delivery web site, that they are no longer going to be selling traditionally raised (with the gavage method of force-feeding) foie gras to German speaking Switzerland. This didn’t come about because of government legislation, but apparently was a decision made by Migros, following the results of customer surveys which were overwhelmingly against gavage. continue reading...

filed under

Do you think about the carbon footprint of your holiday feasts?

As I’ve mentioned her before several times, I’m not a diehard locavore. But I do try to keep an eye on how far my food has travelled to get to me. Admittedly, many of my seasonings and such have travelled a long way, because I need my Japanese food and I’m here in the middle of Europe. For fresh produce and meats and things like that I do try to buy things that haven’t travelled too far as much as I can. I think I’ve fairly typical in that respect these days. continue reading...

filed under

The stressful act of supermarket shopping

Yesterday, the Soil Association in Britain, a highly inflluential charitable organization, announced that in a year, they will only certify food that is air shipped into the country as organic if it also met fair trade standards. Since some thought that they should stop certifying any imported fresh food as organic, this looks like a compromise on their part. Even if on the surface organic and fair trade don’t have much to do with each other, in the realm of fuzzy good-feeling consumerism they are certainly related.

I don’t think that enough study has been done yet on just how greener locally produced food is though. As I’ve written about here before, food produced in cold to temperate climates with short growing seasons requires a lot of energy. It’s probably beyond the scope of organizations like the Soil Association at this point in time to try to address complicated issues like that though. Far easier to place restrictions and requirements on far-flung producers with little or no political power.

Buy organic, support fair trade. Avoid trans-fats and simple sugars. Avoid additives and chemicals and extraneous packaging. Hope there are no harmful bacteria. Oh yes, and worry about the rising cost of food too. I used to love going to the supermarket. I still do mostly, but these days that enjoyment is tinged with a lot of stress.

(See also: should the supermarkets pre-edit our choices? Personally, even with all the thinking and decision-making that’s required I’d rather make my own choices.)

filed under

Food Stamp Budget post followup

Following up to my previous post about food stamp budget experiments:

Rebecca has left a comment, where she points out she is following the USDA Thrifty Meal Plan, on which food stamp benefits are based. This is where her budget figure of $74 per week for 2 people (not $74 per day as I erroneously typed…that’s sort of generous!) comes from, which comes out to $5.30 per day per person.

Actually another blogger did a month-long Thrifty Meal Plan experiment 2 years ago, though she did not stipulate organic/local as Rebecca is doing. Half Changed World ate on the Thrifty Food plan for a month (followup posts are here, here, here, here and the final wrapup.) She had the additional challenge of feeding her two small children, including one who was (is) a picky eater, as well as her husband.

(It seems quite illogical to me that the food budget or food stamp allocation is the same for all people, whether it’s a tiny baby or a growing hungry teenager. But I guess that’s government for you.) continue reading...

filed under

Food Stamp Budget experimenters

[The following has been edited to correct some things from the original posting and add a couple of links. Serious Eats lists some more congresspeople participating.]

Last year the most popular food plan experiment was “eating local”. This year so far it seems to be “eating on a food stamp budget”. The main reason for this is upcoming debate on the 2007 farm bill. Bush administration is proposing to make big cuts in food assistance for the poor, a large part of which would mean cuts to the food stamp program. [Edit: as an anonymous commenter pointed out, that was a link to an article about the 2005 farm bill cuts.] (A NY Times editorial about the subject [Edit: this actually is about the 2007 Farm Bill :)].) So a number of politicians are doing the Food Stamp Budget Experiment at least in part to protest against this.

Here are the ones I’ve found so far (Note, some of these links were already posted to my del.icio.us, so my apologies for the duplicates if you follow that also.) continue reading...

filed under

A lonely way to die

Yesterday, I found out that one of the most talented sushi chefs I’ve ever known had died. He was still relatively young (in his 50s). He was at one time one of the itamae at the late, lamented Sushisay in New York.

The authorities are investigating the cause of his death. They have to do this, because his body was found in his bath, at least a month after he had died. continue reading...

filed under

The sushi that knocked me out with a vicious punch, and the perils of food blogging

Yesterday, I had some takeout sushi that was so terrible that I still shudder, more than 24 hours later, thinking about it.

No it didn’t make me physically sick. I did not get food poisoning. But it was bloody awful. It was sold as ‘fresh’ sushi (and it certainly hadn’t been frozen), but it had been refrigerated for some time, for who knows how long. (It had a ‘sell-by date’ but not a ‘made-on date’. Sushi must, must, be eaten the same day it’s made.) The rice was mealy, the grains hard. The neta (the fish) on the nigiri, salmon and tuna, was mushy and utterly tasteless. The rolls, filled with cucumber and some sort of tuna mix, were no better. continue reading...

filed under

Out of love with silicon for baking

Some years ago, when silicon baking wares came out, I jumped on them with glee. No more scraping off baked on crud from the baking sheets! Muffins that popped right up with no greasing of the cups required! Easy washing up!

But these days I’ve definitely fallen out of love with silicon sheets and silicon muffin pans and the like.

About those muffin pans first: while muffins do brown on the outsides, they don’t get as crispy-brown as I’d like. They also seem to rise a bit less than I’d like.

Also, they are totallly useless for popovers and Yorkshire puddings. You can’t really heat them up, so you can’t make them piping hot and pour in hot batter. The alternative method for making popovers ‘pop’ is to start them in a cold oven, but that doesn’t work either. So I end up with flat, boring muffins of a sort, rather than high and airy pockets of trapped air and eggy, moist insides. Yes, I know I could just get separate pans for the popover and Yorkshire puddings, but I don’t have that much storage space in my not-too-large kitchen, and I like to avoid ‘single-use’ type equipment as much as possible.

As for silicon baking sheets, used to line heavy baking sheets, they do okay on the browning front. But what I dislike about them is that, after a few uses they take on an unpleasantly ‘greasy’ feel to them. No amount of washing or soaking in soapy water seems to cure that. I don’t know if I’m over-sensitive to this, but it drives me nuts. So I end up throwing them out over maybe 3 uses. This doesn’t seem too economicalor environmentally friendly to me. (Do those things disintegrate at all in landfills?)

So, I’m back to good old metal baking tins and lining my baking sheets with kitchen parchment paper. My old metal muffin pans tend to stick a bit on the bottoms, so for delicate cupcakes and such I just use paper cupcake liners. (Which means of course I avoid those individual silicon cupcake cups.) Paper, at least, does disintegrate after a while.

How do you feel about those silicon baking products? Do you love them or hate them? continue reading...

filed under

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Part 4: Traditional butchery in Spain, and chickens

In the fourth and final episode of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, they reviewed and summarized the previous 3 episodes, visited a small poultry ‘processing’ plant, and showed how a pig is butchered in the traditional way - no stun guns - in Spain.

(Warning: potentially disturbing details follow) continue reading...

filed under

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Part 3: Pigs

Last night I finally watched the third episode of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, as it aired instead of recording it for later viewing, fast-forward button at the ready. (My reviews of Part 1 and Part 2.) In this episode, it was the turn of pigs to be slaughtered. (Warning: some gory details follow…warning put here since a reader complained about a previous entry. When animals get slaughtered, it is gory.) continue reading...

filed under

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Part 2: Lamb

I’ve just watched the second episode of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. If anything it was more intense than the first. I just couldn’t watch it live, just in case I needed to fast-forward some spots, so I recorded it on my DVR and watched it a bit later. As it happens I didn’t fast forward anything, though I was very tempted to at times. I made myself sit still and watch. continue reading...

filed under

Kill It, Cook it, Eat It: a BBC series that shows exactly how meat gets to our plates

Last night the first episode of a TV series called Kill It, Cook It, Eat It aired on BBC Three. The premise of the program(me) is to show exactly how meat gets to our plates.

The first episode jumped right in, by showing, in an actual working abattoir, the slaughter and butchering of real live cows. This was witnessed by several members of the public through glass windows in a special observation area built around the abatoir. Later on, the same people ate meat cut from the cows they had just witnessed being slaughtered and prepared on the spot by a chef. continue reading...

filed under

Why is health quackery alive and well?

Unless you live in the UK, you probably don’t know who Gillian McKeith is. I didn’t know much about her even though I do watch British television, since she has a show on Channel 4, which I don’t get here. Apparently she is famous as the host of a diet show called “You Are What You Eat”, bestselling author of diet books, and hawker of herbal pills. She puts a Doctor in front of her name, and she’s regarded as a Health Authority. Yet, she is not a medical doctor or even a properly trained and certified nutritionist. Her only health related degree may or may not come via a correspondence course from a non-accredited American college. continue reading...

filed under

Gobble, gobble, or maybe not

turkeyhead.jpg

The BBC News web site’s Magazine section has an article today about the history of how turkey became fast food. While it’s about turkey production in the UK, it’s probably applicable to any nation that has large scale consumption, and production, of turkey meat. continue reading...

filed under

Eat Food/Not too much/Mostly Plants in action

Anyone who has any interest in food, nutrition, where our food comes from, and most importantly, how to eat at all, should read the massive (12 pages) article by Michael Pollan in the New York Times, Unhappy Meals. continue reading...

filed under

Truly hungry

Today, October 16th, is World Food Day, a day designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations since 1945 as a day for promoting awareness of issues related to hunger, agriculture and food production.

While much of the time this site, like most food blogs, talk about indulging personal hunger and food cravings, there's a lot to think about on this subject these days, much of it rather sobering. continue reading...

filed under

Pesticides, cabbages, and onion sandwiches

continue reading...

Yesterday's musings on the priciness of at least some organic produce reminded me of a very useful guide to pesticides on popular fruits and vegetables, published by the Environmental Working Group. I've listed it before in my Daily Links, but I'm repeating it here in case you missed it. It's a wallet-sized guide to the produce that has the most pesticides (so worth buying organic) down to the ones that have the least (so perhaps worth buying conventional.

filed under

The $9 organic burger at Farm Aid

I am old enough to recall the '80s rather clearly (and, isn't it a bit scary how '80s fashion like humongous oversized sweaters seem to be making a comeback now? What's next, the return of footballer-sized Dynasty shoulder pads?), so I remember when the first Farm Aid concert took place. At that time, family farms in the U.S. were in dire straights, so a bunch of musical artists, inspired by the massive Live Aid concert, got together to raise money and awareness for the plight of the American farmer. continue reading...

filed under

The Refrigerator Buyer's Dilemma

subzero.jpg Ooh, baby. This is the Sub Zero Pro 48, aka Fridge Porn.

Our old refrigerator is dying.

It's about 15 years old, so I suppose it has a right to die. Still, it depresses me to think about it. On a list of indispensable appliances in the modern household, fridges have to be near the top. When it malfunctions, it's like your heart beating irregularly. It's really stressful. continue reading...

filed under

More about soy, manufactured food, and food trends

continue reading...

Just in case you missed it, this article about soy that plume linked to in the comments to the previous entry about the anti-soy article in the Guardian is excellent.

filed under

A problematic report on the 'dangers' of soy

There was a report in yesterday's Guardian about the supposed dangers of soy products. I am rather dubious about the claims, simply because some of the 'facts' stated about the use of soy beans in Asian cuisine, or Japanese cuisine in particular, are just plain wrong. The implication made in the article is that all soy products are fermented for a long time in Japanese cuisines, but this is simply not true. Only miso and soy sauce and like products - which are only consumed in very small quantities, since they are quite salty - fit that description. continue reading...

filed under

The real taste of food

I found this New York Times article article about the "bad rap" of high fructose corn syrup, aka HFCS, very interesting. Before I proceed though, here are two other opinions you may want to read: continue reading...

filed under

Let's hear it for ugly fruit

bruised_cherries.jpg

A common complaint that food lovers and cooks have with supermarkets is that they sell smooth, perfect looking fruits that are hard and tasteless. Tomatoes and peaches come to mind as the top offenders. continue reading...

filed under

The choices we make

filed under

Recipes and copyright - followup

Some very thoughtful responses were left to my previous post, about recipes and copyright. Rather than trying to squeeze all my responses in a comment, here is a folow-up:

Rachel, who was quoted in the Washington Post article, says: continue reading...

filed under

Recipes and copyright

The Washington Post has an interesting article titled Can a Recipe Be Stolen?. It addresses the question of copyright and recipes. Can recipes be copyrighted? If you take an existed recipe, and change around a couple of ingredients, does it make it your own? How much change is enough? continue reading...

filed under

Related sites

Share food, change lives
Play Freerice and feed the hungry

Hello!

Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

About this site

maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

This article is from justhungry.com.