Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stop making scents

Best oddball food-related story this month, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Looking to beef up your mojo this holiday season?

Burger King Corp. may have just the thing. The home of the Whopper has launched a new men's body spray called "Flame." The company describes the spray as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat."

The fragrance is on sale at New York City retailer Ricky's NYC in stores and online for a limited time for $3.99.

Burger King is marketing the product through a Web site featuring a photo of its King character reclining fireside and naked but for an animal fur strategically placed to not offend.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What the Dickens?

Combatting hunger

Words of wisdom from today's Economic Times:

The efforts to reduce hunger and ensure enough food for all need to be linked to efforts for environment regeneration with special emphasis on soil and water conservation and afforestation. It is only in conditions of water and moisture conservation and growing greenery that it’ll be possible to promote low-cost, sustainable farming practices that can produce more food on the farms of small farmers.

The article also pointed out the 2008 World Development Report assertion that GDP growth based on agricultural growth is as much as four times more effective in reducing poverty than growth in other sectors.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A simple supper

Over the years, Jim and I have become quite adept at fixing hot dinners that travel well. Here's one I prepared the other night. Rice is a good choice for traveling dinners; it usually stays hot for a half-hour or more.

Winter's melange
Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 ounces of ham, chopped
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
Fresh ground pepper to taste
½ cup uncooked rice
1 cup water
Salt to taste
2 cups baby spinach leaves (or ½ cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed)

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat; add onions and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes, add ham and saute for another minute, then add mushrooms. Season with pepper to taste. Cover, turn down heat to low and cook until the rice is done, stirring occasionally.

To cook the rice, put it in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid with the water and salt. Bring to a boil uncovered, then put on the lid and turn heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, if using fresh spinach, process until well chopped; if using frozen, squeeze out the excess water, and remove any tough stems.

When the rice is almost done, add the spinach, stir well, cover and continue cooking until done. The heat of the rice will cook the spinach.

Put on plates or in traveling containers, then pour the ham mixture over the rice mixture. Eat within 30 minutes, or reheat in the microwave for a minute.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Food trends from abroad

Yesterday, I posted the 2009 trends from; today, we check out what the Europeans foresee, courtesy of
Among the mega trends expected to continue into next year, are “comfort food, nostalgia, scratch cooking and home baking, as consumers want to save money as well as feel good about the food they serve.”
Overall, the amount of protein on plates will shrink. But where meat is served, consumers will aim to make it go as far as possible through “head-to-tail” eating – including offal.
And considering the stiff markup of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and bars, more people will have that drink at home, either with their meal there, or before going out.
Thefoodpeople sees less reliance on packaged food. The group also predicts an uptick in fishing and growing your own vegetables.
Also emerging will be ‘freeganism’ – that is, the practice of living off discarded, yet perfectly edible food that has been thrown out. To date the freegan movement has been driven by green crusaders who object to unnecessarily wasted food clogging up landfill sites. Now it may catch on with people trying to decrease household spending.
People may start to club together and produce food by committee, and begin community food projects.
Sustainability will “remain high on the agenda”. This includes sustainable fish sourcing, and investigating little consumed varieties that are not endangered, such as rockfish and flounder.
Organic foods, because of their expense, may well drop back in importance.
Desserts are likely to contain less sugar and derive more flavors from the ingredients themselves, and also cross the line into savory sensations.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Food trends

Top 10 Food Trends for 2009, according to the Food Channel:

1. Home on the Range - Downsized economy breeds new generation of home
chefs, more food-savvy than their predecessors
2. Foodie 2.0 - Growth of virtual and non-virtual food communities
3. Going, Going Green - Kitchens go eco-conscious
4. Living La Vida Locavore - Eating locally and seasonally, both at home
and in restaurants
5. TMI? - Is seeing the calorie count on the menu Too Much Information, or will it lead to healthier choices?
6. FrankenFood - The rise of bioengineering and genetically modified
food; the next evolution of last year's Functional Food trend
7. Food Philanthropy - Individuals and companies address world hunger
8. Food Insecurity - The call for tighter food controls, after the
tomato and jalapeƱo scares of 2008
9. Brewing Business - Striking a balance when cost is an issue; the
divide widens between the exotic and day-to-day food needs
10. Where in the World ... is the next flavor trend coming from? It's
all about globalization and variety