Friday, October 31, 2008

Loon Call Out

I grew up in Canada and I love this, it reminds me of many years spent at the lake.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seafood Chart

Years ago I can remember being in a magazine and Lotto place on Second Avenue, adjacent to the Second Avenue Deli, when it was still there (it's now a Chase Bank). Neil and I went through a many year phase where we ate at the Deli nearly weekly and sometimes Neil would want to do take out so I'd go next store and look at magazines while I waited. It was there I discovered Earth Island Journal and was immediately attracted to if for it's blunt, thorough tackling of issues pertaining to our environment. We have been subscribers and supporters of their work ever since. I encourage you to check them out.

This is a total digression from what I had been looking for, which is a Seafood Chart. I thought they'd have it, but they didn't so I went over to another favorite site: Check out the freaky fish competition. But it turns out that they don't have a Seafood Chart either.

Third try was lucky: Environmental Defense has a great Seafood Chart .

After looking at their chart I have to apologize for making a generalization in my Bacaro article. I said that cod was an endangered species, and then I see on the Seafood Chart that:
"line caught Pacific cod" is on the good list.

This got my back up, so I had to go searching and get to the bottom of why I had seen cod on a list of no-no's and yet here the very respectable Environmental Defense people are saying it's a good choice.

First, before I go any further I have to confess I was born and grew up in Canada. The Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland used to be alive with Cod, there are wild historical tales of the gross abundance of them, fish swarming thick in the water around the incoming boats.

Well, lets just say the situation has changed. After just a few clicks I found, as part of that same chart, the lowdown.

Details About Atlantic cod

Atlantic cod

a.k.a. Gadus morhua, rock cod, codling, scrod cod

Health Details

This is an Eco-Worst choice. If you decide to eat it, we recommend the following due to contaminant levels:

  • Adults and children could eat 4 or more meals per month without risking exposure (that doesn't make sense, 4 or more? What? Maybe they mean no more than 4? )

Eco Details

  • Heavily fished for the last 50 years, U.S. and Canadian cod stocks remain extremely depleted, and European populations have declined as well.
  • Poor management and unreported catches threaten Atlantic cod's recovery (emphasis added).
  • Atlantic cod are caught with bottom trawls, which damage bottom habitat and result in considerable by catch of other ground fish species (such as halibut and flounder).
  • Look for cod that has been caught by hook-and-line.
OK so I don't feel to stupid. My question now is can you actually get line caught Pacific cod in NYC? Where do we get our cod? How much is line caught Pacific cod?

Sometimes don't you wish you were ignorant of all this information? It's all so much! Sometimes you want to just give in and forget the whole thing, don't you? I do. Who can remember all this stuff? It's why I think in my head it was easier to just eliminate cod then remember "Oh no, I can eat cod, but only if it is line caught Pacific cod." Jeez.

Well we do what we can and I do believe that every little bit helps.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Concord Grape Pie

Concord grapes are my favorite local food. If you live somewhere else and you can't get Concord grapes your pie will taste different. You see "foxy" often as a description of the taste. Really it's what we know as Kool Aid grape flavor, only not artificial tasting.

The skins, thick and sour, the flesh so sweet and juicy. They have pits. People seem to have an issue with that but I just swallow the whole thing and you really don't notice them.

Neil wants me to make concord grape pie ice cream, that would mean that I'd have to make a vanilla ice cream and fold in several large scoops of pie, sounds good right?

Last night (Saturday) Debbie came over and I made my first Concord Grape pie of the season - the video and the recipe are below.

Really, seriously: if you live somewhere you can get Concord grapes you must try this recipe or get one of your friends who likes to bake to make it for you.

Concord Grape Pie

Sift together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 T sugar, together in a large bowl.

Work 12 T butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.

Sprinkle in up to 8 tbsp ice cold water, stirring dough with a fork until it just holds together.

Press dough into a rough ball, then transfer to a lightly floured surface Give the dough several quick kneads until smooth.

Divide dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, wrap in plastic wrap then press down on the balls to make two disc shapes, refrigerate for at least 2 hours (at the minimum).

Rinse and remove stems from 2 lbs. of concord grapes.

Remove the skins from each grape and put the pulp into a medium sized pot and the skins into a large bowl.

Cook pulp over medium heat, stirring often, until soft, 8-10 minutes, then strain the hot pulp mixture through a sieve into the bowl with the skins, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon. Discard seeds.

Stir 1 Cup sugar and 3 T Tapioca Starch(found in Asian food stores) or quick cooking tapioca (or Organic non GMO Cornstarch) into the grape mixture and set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the larger dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a 12" round, then fit into a 9" pie
plate. Trim sides of excess.

Pour the grape filling into the pastry, scatter a 1 T unsalted butter cut into small pieces onto the top of the grape filling.

Roll the remaining dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a 10" round, if you want you can cut a small hole in the top or use your favorite cookie cutter pattern, alternately you can make several slits in the top once you have place it over the filling.

Cover the filling with pastry round and crimp the edges to create a seal (although, it always seems no matter how hard I try some bubbling, grape filling manages to erupt at the edges anyway).

Whisk together 1 egg yolk and 1 T cream and brush over the top of the pie then generously sprinkle with sugar, about a 1/3 cup, I like to use larger crystal sugar like Turbinado.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, then reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 45 minutes more, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling.

Set pie aside to cool completely, overnight is ideal.

I like serving this with a big dollop of freshly whipped, unsweetened cream, but vanilla ice cream would also be tasty.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Sad Day

Aung San Suu Kyi
democratically elected leader of Burma
now in her 13th year under house arrest
today is her 13th year anniversary

Burma used to be the largest supplier of rice in the world; now its citizens are starving and all the profits from agriculture are spent on buying arms from China. It's one of the poorest countries in the world and rates #2 as most corrupt (Somalia wins the #1 spot.)

In my previous life as a store owner that sold artifacts from SE Asia I was lucky enough to learn more about the situation in Burma (Myanmar as the military junta have renamed it) and to travel there. It stole my heart away... This country is in desperate need of our help, but because there is no oil there and because China has great influence in Burma the West has sat by and done little (economic sanctions aside, the West's response has been tepid at best and has met with no success at all).

To commemorate Aung San Suu Kyi's 13th year under house arrest I felt it was important that we take a moment and acknowledge this great woman's sacrafice for peace and justice in her country and in the world.

Here is a wonderful editorial about her, and if you would like to learn more about the situation in Burma please check out this wonderful organization.

I encourage each and everyone of you to take a moment to sign this petition encouraging Ban Kyi Moon, the UN General Secretary, to visit Burma by year's end and to force the military junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winning, democratically elected leader of the Burmese people, from house arrest.

Thanks for your help and I promise tomorrow it will be back to Corn Bread Recipes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Here is a silly article from the Huffington Post about two nutritionists who warn consumers that one can't always believe the advertising of big commercial food producers - SHOCKING!

Turns out childhood obesity is a major problem (like that's news?) and is getting worse.

Now the big commercial food companies are trying to figure out how to sell their unhealthy products as healthy. I mean, really, how insane is that? Can you imagine a multimillion dollar industry set up to convince people carrots are healthy? That oatmeal really doesn't take that long to cook and is much cheaper then this instant shit in packages? And it tastes better? That eating fresh fruit will always be a better choice than drinking juice? That you don't need cantaloupe in February? Anyway, I pass it along, just as an update even though I realize I'm preaching to the choir here and may sound a little shrill.

I'm still amazed that we have gotten so far from what is essential to our healthy existence (farm grown, sustainable, local, food), that instead of encouraging people to eat food, as opposed to "products" corporations spend billions a year on making and marketing inedible crap that makes you simultaneuosly fat and malnourished and then want to deceive you into believing it is somehow good for you. Obviously a touchy issue for me. ;-)

Support farmers. Eat seasonally. Cook at home. Enjoy your food with friends and family.

Tell your friends to make a stand for what is right and good and tell the big food corporations that not only don't we need them, we don't want them.

Our health and the health of the planet depend on it.

Zen and the Art of Food

Double click to enlarge.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do you Blog?

Hey there,

Just on the off chance... if someone who reads this blog is also a blogger and lives in NYC and would want to help me figure out some things so I can maximize my blog and get up to speed with formatting and all that stuff I'd love to hear from you.

I have no money but I sure would be game to barter a dinner for a few hours of hand holding and instruction.

Let me know and thanks in advance!


Friday, October 17, 2008


The restaurant Bacaro is about 4 blocks from my apartment way downtown on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It's a very diverse neighborhood where trendy hipster meets Chinese fish monger.

What makes it such a great place to live is the fact that we haven't become totally gentrified yet, there's still a lot of diversity, you have industrial sign making shops next to emerging small art galleries on Essex street, old rent controlled tenements and super deluxe condos all vying for space in this ramshackle part of town that until 5 years ago wasn't even on most people's radar.

With all the attention the media is giving the neighborhood it's not surprising that so many new restaurants have opened up in very unusual, or at least hitherto unthinkable, locations. Bacaro is on Division street near Allen? Get out your maps! As hard as it may be to find you will be very glad once you have. Bacaro is a celebration of Venice. The look, the food, the wine and the old building all conspire to transport you to a back alley somewhere off San Marco Square.

Upstairs, where you enter, is a small room with a few small tables, one bigger communal table by the window, and a splendid bar. The ceiling is all dark beamed wood and in the center of it all is an elaborate simple white Venetian glass chandelier.

But the restaurant mostly occupies the excavated dark basement revealing old brick, stone, archways and a labyrinth of rooms, some with large tables ideal for entertaining a group of friends in semi-privacy (they charge $50 per person for food for parties of 6 or more who want one of the rooms; this does not include wine or tip). In addition there is a small downstairs bar.

It's the little things you notice here. Like the stemware, also from Venice and quite fancy, given that the place is more or less middle of the road when it comes to cost. You can find a splendid Venetian wine, Calao Ca'Orologio 2004 for $48 on the all Italian, modest sized wine list. A rare and special treat that I've been unable to locate anywhere (I inquired at the Italian Wine Merchant about ordering a case, they said they would look into it and get back to me - that was two months ago.) Not to be discouraged, my friend Jane and I did discover a great little wine shop on Avenue C called Alphabet City Wines, run by a very amiable, informed and chatty guy named Keith (100 Avenue C near 7th street 212-505-WINE ) who researched it while we waited and was able to order two cases for us. It's going to take two months to arrive, but is well worth the wait.

Back to Bacaro.

Sadly, for all the external feelings of obscurity and discovery the masses did indeed receive the press release and the place is a zoo and, much to my chagrin, they don't take reservations (unless you're booking a party). Best time to go is Sunday evening, it's the only night when it's slow enough that if you show up at 7 you can easily (still) get a seat. The bar is great to sit at and the bartenders are very astute, friendly and have great memories. My only criticism is that the bar stools are wicked uncomfortable (but look great!).

Food: Italian with an emphasis on all things Venetian. My first dish was a green bean and anchovy salad (insalata aciuga $9) a wonderful combo of salty/fishy and fresh/crunchy.

Insalata Pulpi (also $9) is a great starter, starchy potatoes meet tender, slightly oily, fishy Octopus with a little citrus dressing , wonderful.

What impresses me most about the food is that I've had both these starters on several occasion and the kitchen is very consistent. I hate it when I go to a place and the same dish can be presented 4 different ways depending on who is in the back cooking. Consistency always win the day for me.

Lasagna Treviso ($15) is out of this world with layers of freshly made pasta and a single layer of radicchio (I'm not sure, but I think it might be wilted before they add it to the lasagna). Then the entire thing is covered in a blanket of creamy rich smoked mozzarella - when I first read the description I crinkled up my nose - something about smoked mozzarella sounded so un-Italian, more Kraft singles to my mind. I was totally wrong, this is one of the best pasta dishes I've eaten in recent years and every time I go back I have to restrain myself from ordering it again. The whole wheat duck pasta is also a winner although I wouldn't mind if the sauce was a little more hearty and rustic with bigger pieces of duck, but for $16 it hits the spot.

Other highlights were a soupy, rich, white Asparagus risotto ($16) delicious any time of the year although I think it might be a good idea to try and only serve asparagus when it is in season here. It would make it more special and also help to diversify the menu by including seasonal local vegetables. For example, Blue Hubbard Squash risotto would do well served in a similar style.
Asparagus is on the menu in October - twice, and let's face it California asparagus shipped to the east coast isn't much more then green cardboard. The Slow Food movement started in Italy and encourages all of us to be more sensitive to the seasons. I think good restaurants like Bacaro who have a lively dedicated clientele could afford to be a little more aware of what they are serving from an environmental point of view.

Cod is an endangered species, do we really need to be eating it? Given the obvious cleverness of the chef you'd think he/she (it doesn't say on their site) could come up with an alternative to this traditional seafood (and don't get me wrong I love it, but...). Also if you look closely at "salted cod" when you buy it in a grocery store it often isn't even Cod, it's Pollack or some other, similar fish.

Along these same line there is nothing on the menu that states any of the meat is locally raised, so while I appreciate the price point I think it is necessary these days that everybody ask their server where the meat comes from and if they don't know or if it is just more industrially tortured CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations ) meat then I say no to it.

Write letters to your favorites chefs, restaurants and tell them you are willing to pay a few dollars more for an organic chicken or some grass fed beef (or maybe some local Bison - I know a place at the Union Square market that would be happy to sell it to you wholesale). I know this is a constant complaint of mine, so I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but if the people who own Diner, Marlowe and Bonita can do it (and are even opening up their own butcher shop) and still offer affordable meals in their restaurants then everybody can - you just need to want to.

Regardless of my cry for a more aware, sustainable, restaurant culture, Bacaro is definitely worth a trip downtown. Consistently high quality food, excellent service in a unique and cosy environment - it's one of my new favorites. Let me know what you think. Bon appetite!

136 Division Street 212-941-5060

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Resource for Locavores!

This online guide tells you were to buy local all over North America! A much needed and very valuable resource!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's in a Foodies Fridge

The Sunday New York Times magazine (on line) had a wonderful array of food articles. The first one I looked at contained a series of videos of what was in the fridge of "foodies". It's interesting to me how the first two people in the list talked about juicing.

For the record I think juicing is a bad idea.

Why take something whole and reduce it to just its essential sugar? A carrot or an apple are, to my mind, way better for you when you eat them whole then if you eliminate all the fiber and just drink the juice. Also, when people drink juice they are usually drinking 6-8 ounces so they are just taking in the sugar of however many oranges or apples or carrots or whatever they are juicing to get that glass of sugar. And, yeah, OK, I understand that when you make veggie juice there are other minerals and vitamins you will get and I suppose you get more with juice because it's taken so much whole food to make one glass of this supposedly precious liquid. Do people who juice believe that if they were to eat a big salad, for example, that they wouldn't be getting enough nutrients from said salad?

It strikes me as a very rarefied, bourgeois idea of eating.

My mantra is Eat Whole Food.

Why make a salad into a beverage?
Why take an apple and eliminate it's crunch?

It makes no sense to me: you have to have all these ingredients to make yourself one glass of fluid that I would imagine isn't going to fill you up the same way as if you had eaten just a piece of fruit or a salad.

Anyway, that's my digression for today - it is still very interesting to watch and listen to what these passionate and committed foodies have to say.

And of course you need to read Michael Pollan's essay:

It's really exciting to me to see the conversation about food become main stream. To get the word out that eating well isn't something you have to be rich to do and that how and what we eat is important to all of us. That "eating well" as a phrase means something different now then it did twenty years ago. Eating well doesn't have anything to do with corporate food or convenience or microwaves or any of the other modern technologies that were suppose to make our lives easier.

Food is art and it takes time, patience and a little bit of love to make.

The same can't be said about a microwave TV dinner.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Meatrix

This has been around for a while but I just rediscovered it and wanted to share:

Really great, watch all three.
It was in my search for a job that I came across:

These people are doing amazing work and I'm so glad I discovered them. I heartily encourage you to check out their numerous sites and support there really important work.

Here is the general link that will give you the overview of all they do:

Monday, October 6, 2008


Check out this site

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Losing Weight

I just came across this on one of my favorite blogs ( and thought it would be funny to start out this essay about eating well and losing weight. This is the kind of crap being sold in groceries stores? Does this really look like a food option to anyone but a 4 year old? Really if this doesn't represent the end of our civilization what does? Nuff' said. You want to lose weight? Ignore the freezer section.

My world was rocked when I found out that I had become a type 1 diabetic in my mid-40’s (yes, that’s ordinarily the “juvenile onset” type, not the obesity related, “adult” one). It made me confront food in ways I would never have imagined, like carbohydrate counting and restriction of intake.

First of all I spent about a year eating very little, indeed less and less, as I struggled to avoid the rapidly approaching need for daily insulin. Eventually reaching near starvation mode, I lost about 20 pounds in 6 months. Despite the extreme exertion that it took to maintain such a diet and the ultimate inability to more than slightly delay the need for insulin, I was pleased at least with the result of looking the best that I’ve looked since early adulthood (even though so many of my friends thought I looked "sick" and too gaunt - I ask you can you ever look too gaunt?). Despite the negative impetus for the change, I had become fit and trim! Now, settled back into more normal eating and relative accommodation to my nightly insulin dose, can I say I'm not so happy to report that a year later, it's all back? Drat!

But the thing I learned about the process of losing 20 pounds is how little you really need to eat to function just fine and how much over eating we all do as a matter of course and habit.

My goal was to eat around 130 grams of carbs a day and it is worth the 5 bucks to buy a carb counter just to give you an idea of how many carbs are in what you are eating.

This is how I ate during this period of deprivation (or so it felt):

At breakfast I had two slices of low carb bread (the Baker) without butter, but with organic, freshly ground peanut butter. If I wanted to be a little “crazy” I added a tablespoon of Bionaturae (, very low sugar, organic jam. Alternately, with unsweetened almond milk (discovering this beverage was like manna from heaven), I would have very high fiber cereal like Nature's Path Flax Plus ( (It's great because it's only 23 grams of carbs per serving (3/4 cup) but this includes 7 grams of fiber* - so you can deduct that 7 from the 23 and giving an value of “actual” carbs of only 16 grams.) A note on fiber is that if an item say's it is high fiber and then you look and the amount of fiber is under 5 grams - it isn't high fiber. In order for you to be able to deduct the fiber number from the total carb number it has to be higher then 5, under 5 is condsidered insignificant.

For lunch I would have a salad. This would be a problem for me now because I used to have chicken with everything even though I knew the chicken was manufactured and treated in a way I find reprehensible, probably containing growth hormones and antibiotics. So my rule of thumb these days is that if you can't find protein that is local, farm raised and maybe organic I wouldn't eat it. This means I now eat a lot of Greek salad, with feta cheese being the main protein source.

For dinner I want something filling and satisfying and a salad doesn't cut it. I do think to have a salad as a starter is a good idea as it helps to fill you up. I ended up eating a lot of protien, roats chicken or fish and lots of greens, and cheese. I ate no carbohydrates except a slice of low crab bread but I never touched regular bread or any root vegtable. Soup, like an onion soup with lots of melted cheese (but no bread) would be good. Eggs can be amazingly gratifying on a peice of grainy toast and melted local chedder on top with some hot sauce. It was very limiting. A lot of apples and a peice of cheese or a smear of peatnut butter (or almond butter or...)

easier said then done

Here's a partial list of things I believe you need to absolutely avoid if you want to lose weight or if you are just concerned with eating better.

NO soda of any sort, even “diet” soda – drink water!

NO artificial sweeteners. They are just plain bad news, tasting awful and now some reports suggesting that they spike your blood sugar just as badly as sugar only it takes longer. Oh, and they may also be carcinogenic or neurotoxic (brain poisons). Google aspartame - truly scary.

NO juice - it's just sugar. Eat a whole fruit (preferably one that is in season) and thereby also get the fiber and pleasure of eating a tasty apple instead of the sugar juice of ten apples in one glass.

NO manufactured meat. If it isn't local, farm raised, then you're just eating poison: antibiotic and hormone filled and containing all the physiologic reactions to true, physical torture. Frankly, I think it's time we all started asking our favorite restaurants and grocery stores to carry this kind of meat. And you know what? It is possible and it is affordable - we all need to be activists in order to shift the paradigm. If we all just raise the question with restaurant and food shop staff, over and over (“why don’t you offer organic, locally grown, free range meat as an option?”) then change may start from the bottom up. It is essential to the health of the planet not to mention our own health as individuals.

NO processed food. Even organic processed food like Boca veggie burgers or sausages. It's all crap, filled with things you can't pronounce and so processed that its value as “organic” is nullified by the fact that it has become a manufactured "commodity" rather than a recognizable food source. I'd say you were better off buying a local turkey breast from say DiPaolo Turkey stand at the Union Square market and grind your own meat for making patties in advance and freeze them for convenience of later use, or use bison or chicken. And if the reason to buy the packaged, manufactured veggie burgers is to avoid meat, then try the recipe for veggie burgers here on this blog (7.3.08 Burger Time), making in bulk and wrapping and freezing them away for your future convenience. Added value: you’re at home, focused on actually making your own real food. Yes, it takes time and changes everything, but at the very least spend a few hours on a Sunday making yourself a nice big stew that you can eat through out the week.

NO obsessional, meat supremacy - eat vegetarian 5 out of 7 nights and when you eat meat eat no more than a 4 to 6 oz portion. Again, a stew or maybe two are a great idea. Maybe alternating a vegetarian stew (Black Bean and Yam Mole) with a meat one (maybe a nice Chicken with Tomatoes and Corn to highlight all the wonderful produce at the market). It is so essential that we cut down on our meat intake and re-think the 1950's idea of having to have a luxury portion as the center piece of every meal. Besides, these days the price of meat and fish is becoming prohibitive.

NO large scale stocking up at mega huge grocery stores. Sure, go to Whole Foods and buy quality olive oil or other “365” brand name, organic staples, but stop there. Everything else try to get fresh, from the market. Large food chains are not interested in your health they are interested in hawking the stuff they get the most pay back from supporting - rarely is it good, quality food. Read Marion Nestles' "What to Eat" - you'll never see grocery stores the same way again.

OK enough of the NO’s.

Bottom line, don't spend your paycheck on all this low fat crap that pretends to be healthy but isn't. Think protein bars are a good way to get you through the afternoon slump? Think again. Look at the ingredients, not at the marketing fluff that obscures them! How can you say a protein bar with 48 grams of carbs in addition to high fructose corn syrup is in any way good for you?

You'd be better off eating a piece of fine 70% chocolate!

Or better yet, to reiterate, drink some water and have a fruit that is in season and grown by a farmer. Add some almond or peanut butter, but don't buy the stuff in the jars, get it fresh ground and add salt as you see fit. Or add a small piece of (local, organic) cheese as a part of your snack.

I say all this like it was easy - and I can tell you it's not because at the moment the hunger has set in and you've been eating Caesar salads with chicken for 28 days straight you don't want an apple. You want a caramel, fudge brownie with almond swirl ice cream and whipped cream.

I used to hate it when people started to talk to me about carbs and numbers and values. I have some issues with the whole field of nutrition and think we all need to make our own exceptions and give ourselves a treat every now and then (preferably a good homemade treat made with good ingredients or an extra helping of potatoes with lots of butter.)

One othe most valuabel thing that I learned from a nutrionist was that Fat + Fiber help break down sugars into your system slower, ergo eating something fatty like cheese with you jucie sugar filled apple - but unlike juice the fiber in the apple will introduce the sugar into your system in a more natural and slower way, there by not spiking your blood sugar. Even if you're not concerned with blood sugar it helps you maintian a better metabolic balance and it is providing you with a complex snack not just sugar that is going to go directly to your wasteline!

A recent report I read showed that women in a diet study who ate hardier, more carb heavy breakfasts (but ate low carb the rest of the day) lost weight as much weight as women who ate a carb restricted fashion all day long, but kept losing weight even as the ones who ate carb restricted breakfasts gained their weight back at the end of the study. Be tough with yourself but don't be mean to yourself, food is essential for our pleasure and for our health.

Good luck!

*these days my feelings are that the entire low fat fad is just that: a fad. It's yet another way of processing food and making it into a commodity that can then claim health benefits. High carb anything is going to be fattening, not so with high fat foods, that also have the benefit of making you feel full with less intake. The way I lost weight was avoiding carbs and when I ate carbs I ate high fiber or I ate a carb say like mashed potatoes (my favorite example) made with lots of butter and I had a small amount. The point here isn't to feel like you are doing with out it is about portion control, exercise and eating healthy whole foods.


My newsletter came today with the below update on the state of fisheries. It's information like this that makes me really conflicted about seafood.

Please check out: it's a great organization and a wonderfully informative site.

Dr. Daniel Pauly discusses the challenges facing the Common Fisheries Policies

Dr. Pauly, the world renowned expert, presented his views on why fisheries management around the world is failing

September 18, 2008

MADRID -- During the meeting together with Oceana experts, Dr. Pauly, a French citizen, Professor and Director of the Fisheries Center at the University of British Columbia in Canada, outlined measures that should be considered to reform Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in order to conserve fish stocks, provide a sustainable future for fishermen and protect the marine environment.

Oceana reminded that six years after the CFP underwent reform, the statistics on European fisheries remain bleak: the disastrous state of tuna stocks and mismanagement led to the closure of the fishery in the Mediterranean, the anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay is still closed and shark catches remain unregulated. 88% of EU fish stocks are overexploited, the fleet is at least 40% too large for available resources and repeated efforts to reduce the size have failed. Moreover, as fish stocks decline, fishermen need to fish harder and further to catch fish, reducing their profits and increasing environmental damage. The increasing fuel prices earlier this year only have exacerbated the situation.

An absurd aspect of the CFP is that despite an overlarge EU fishing fleet, resulting in over fished stocks, subsidies that contribute to increasing fishing pressure, such as those that subsidise fuel costs, continue to be given to the sector by governments, in order to make fishing activities economically viable,

Dr. Pauly said. While these subsidies may increase profits in the short term, in the medium to long term this increased effort will cause further reductions in fish stocks, catches and profitability.

At the meeting, Dr. Pauly, Oceana Board Member, also discussed how over fishing does not only affect the conservation of fish stocks but can have adverse effects on the entire marine ecosystem. As well as directly affecting other ocean wildlife such as marine mammals and turtles, destructive fishing practices, such as bottom trawling, can severely damage the marine environment. Moreover, removing key species from the sea can often have long term and damaging effects on other species in the ecosystem and contribute to the disappearance of essential top predators such as tuna and sharks.

He also pointed out that the current level of fishing cannot be sustained by available stocks, and any reform must start with a significant reduction of capacity of the fleet. It was also mentioned how scientific advice is not often followed by decision makers, leading to the setting of catch limits above recommendations. Recent Oceana investigations have shown that over the past 20 years, 80% of scientific recommendations on European Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in the Northeast Atlantic have not been followed. This situation must be urgently changed. A key step to be undertaken for achieving sustainability is the exact application of scientific advice in European Union fisheries management.

The European Commission plans to launch a wide ranging consultation on the future of the CFP, scheduled for reform in 2012. Julie Cator, Oceana Europe´s Policy Director pointed out: “Oceana welcomes moves to revise the CFP. However, policy and decision makers must not be distracted from implementing important CFP regulations currently in the pipeline in order to implement the ongoing policy, such as strong management for sharks, eliminating discards and establishing effective control over Europe’s fisheries”. The level of commitment shown by Fisheries Ministers to agree current issues on the negotiation table, will be a good indication of Member States commitment to really improving the CFP.

{Mark's 2 cents...funny how the government giving subsidies is considered a way of keeping fisheries viable? For who? And note that they are fuel subsides, why don't they give it to an inventor who will build a boat that doesn't need fossil fuel to run? }

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Reading is such a good thing yet I find myself with so little time to do it.

I've been reading Barbara Kinsolver's book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for weeks! I know I'm late at getting to this after it's already been a best seller and in paper back forever, but if you haven't picked it up and you are interested in food - run don't walk to you nearest local bookstore and buy it! And please, shopping local means shopping local for everything, support small business and buy books from bookstores or soon they will no longer exist. This message was brought to you by my friend Keith who runs a bookstore in lower Manhattan. Besides, walking to the store is good exercises as well!

OK enough of that, here is an excerpt from page 54:

Crop failure is a possibility all farmers understand, and one reason why the traditional farmstead raised many products, both animal and vegetable, unlike the monocultures now blanketing our countries midsection. History has regularly proven it drastically unwise for a population to depend on just a few varieties for the majority of its sustenance. The Irish once depended on a single potato, until the potato famine rewrote history and truncated family trees. We now depend similarly on a few corn and soybean strains for the majority of our calories (both animal and vegetable) eater by U.S citizens. Our addiction to just two crops has made us the fattest people who've ever lived, dining just a few pathogens away from famine (emphasis added by me).

This reminds me of my favorite new statistic: for the first time in history we have poor, obese people who are undernourished!
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