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Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Nanette in motion
Nanette came home late this evening after a hard day's work. Yet within 30 minutes we had a simple feast on the table. Here's how she did it.
When she came home from the KCC Market this Saturday, she washed, dried and bagged all the greens (Okinawan spinach and baby Romaine from Nalo Farms, frisee and mizuna from Hiraoka Farm). She sauteed the Kauai shrimp (Tropic Fish) with olive oil, lots of garlic, fresh medium-hot red chilis (Stanley Asato), white wine and fresh mint from our new herb garden (Growing Creations).
Fast forward to tonight, Tuesday. On her way through the kitchen she put up the pasta pot to boil and put some ciabatta bread from the freezer into the toaster oven before changing her clothes. By the time she was ready to toss in the linguini she had shelled the shrimp and started heating the luscious juices in a saute pan. While the linguini boiled she put the different greens onto a platter from which we could help ourselves, washed some tiny tomatoes (North Shore Farms) and set the table including candles.
A quick toss of the linguini with the juices and shrimp, and voila! Dinner is served.
For dessert, a mini chocolate cake (Starpoint) with decaf espresso.
30 minutes from the time she came home, we had a candlelight feast. The pizza delivery guy could not have made it here that quickly!
After, it took me only a few minutes to clean up. What a deal.
Op-ed: The politics of cattle slaughter"Animal-welfare and food-consumer groups have long warned that the agriculture department has been playing Russian roulette with the nation's meat supply by allowing "downer" animals -- cattle too sick to stand or walk -- to be slaughtered for human consumption."
Article (AFP): Farmers, consumers proceed with caution after US mad cow alert
""They lied to us for years about how good their inspections are," said Mary Kolby, a "fresh food activist" who belongs to an organization known as Slow Food."
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Article: Meat from Mad Cow in Hawaii and Guam
"Dr. Kenneth Petersen, an Agriculture Department veterinarian, said investigators have now determined that some of the meat from the cow slaughtered Dec. 9 went to Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and Guam."
Article: Tests reveal chemical contaminants accumulating in humans
Even if you eat organic foods, chemicals can accumulate in the body, according to this Associated Press article:
Use the Tip Sheet to plan your weekly shopping
Each week's Saturday Farmers' Market tip sheet tells you what is expected to be available the following week. We use this to help plan our weekly shopping.
For example, why buy eggs in the supermarket on Friday if we can get Blue Lotus organic eggs the next day at KCC? Click the link on this page to see or download a scanned copy of the current Tip Sheet.
Saturday, December 27, 2003
Just-picked flavor - MizunaMizuna is available year-round - young mizuna is an ingredient in mesclun salads - that pointy-leafed green which is slightly bitter. Mizuna may also be called Japanese watercress. So you've probably had it before -- but I'll bet never fresher than the just-plucked mizuna on sale at the Hiraoka Farm tent at the KCC Farmer's Market this morning. (Several vendors had mizuna). What a treat! The larger, older leaf is great for year-end ozoni, a soup which is part of Japanese New Year celebrations.
We had some for lunch - crunchy, fragrant, and a bit bitter. For ozoni, bitter is better. It made a great salad.
I'm spoiled -- Safeway can keep their greens. Nanette also scored some naga-negi, whatever that is in English (long green onions?). We never had vegetables this fresh when we lived in Japan.
What about organic beef -- is it really safe?
Is organic beef safe? What makes beef "organic?" See this article in the Washington Post today:
"The discovery of mad cow disease in the United States may give a major boost to the organic beef business because cattle raised organically are less exposed to the major risk factor for the deadly wasting disease."
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Mad cow in Washington - risks, greed, and politics
Although most news articles cite the USDA's estimate of 130,000 downed cows slaughtered annually, this document, on the Friends of the Earth's website, estimates that there are 195,000 to 1 million downed animals each year, and that the USDA tests hardly any of them, although they are the highest risk population for BSE (mad cow disease). The report, "Mad Cow Disease: Are Americans at Risk?", is an excellent summary of the European experience as well. It notes, for example, that in Europe, 100% of downed animals are tested, while in the US only 2% of these high- risk animals are tested.
The report also cites a July 2003 study suggesting that 3 to 13 percent of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia actually suffered from CJD, the form of mad cow disease that has spread to humans.
After reading the report I'm convinced that the best way to assure the safety of the US beef supply is to institute testing similar to that which protects Europeans and to ban feeding and slaughter methods that propagate this dread disease.
As to the risks, it's likely we're not being given all the information we need to assess risk. It will take vigilance on the part of the USDA to protect consumers, but so far, their pattern and practice is to protect the industry. As to Congress -- read on.
AP Dec 23
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States' first major mad cow scare comes just a week after a court decision reviving a lawsuit against the government's policy on so-called "downer" animals so sick or injured they must be dragged to market.
The suit, pushed by members of the New York-based animal rights group Farm Sanctuary, claims the Department of Agriculture is not doing enough to protect consumers from mad cow disease in the meat of downed animals.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resurrected the 1998 lawsuit last week, finding a lower judge had wrongly dismissed the case. In dismissing the case, the judge found the possibility of infection from mad cow disease in America too remote to justify the suit.
The appeals panel disagreed, ruling 2-1 that the man who brought the case, Michael Baur, had "successfully alleged a credible threat of harm from downed cattle."
AP Dec 24
Congress Scuttled Meat Protection Measure
"I said on the floor of the House that you will rue the day that because of the greed of the industry to make a few extra pennies from 130,000 head, the industry would sacrifice the safety of the American people," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., chief House sponsor. "It's so pound foolish."
The Agriculture Department estimates that 130,000 downed animals that are too injured or sick to stand or walk unassisted are slaughtered every year.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., a negotiator who voted for the measure in the House, said Democratic negotiators never had a chance to fight for the proposal.
"The Republicans, the leadership, shut off the conference, they closed it down, and this is one of a number of provisions which were handled in a backroom deal without the Democrats there and with only the Republican leadership," said Hinchey.
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
More on USDA and industry distortion
I should have included this article, representative of several that revolve around Seattle, Washington TV station KIRO-TV's exposure of potentially deadly practices of the cattle industry and the USDA reaction:
Mad Cow in Washington
Must the Free Range Gourmet give up red meat entirely?
The Free Range Gourmet seldom eats red meat -- but last night we enjoyed some roast beef at a holiday party. We ate without fear and enjoyed our hosts' fine pupus immensely. Suppose we knew... would we have skipped the roast beef? I think I would have.
Although the Washington (state) mad cow report has just hit the news, the cow in question was slaughtered on December 9, two weeks ago. Many articles, including the first one below, reflect denials that there is real trouble ahead, as officials and industry representatives play down the possibility of that one cow causing any trouble. Either we're told "infectious portions of the animal were removed", or we're simply offered a blanket assertion that the risk to humans is very low.
An interview on this morning's Democracy Now program was not so reassuring: there are nerves and blood vessels throughout the animal, so can we say that removing certain parts eliminates the worry? The interview also raised major concerns about the practices of the US cattle industry, an important sector of our export economy. Click the link to the program below to hear that point of view.
Also very troubling is the last article cited below, a UPI report that the USDA refused to release mad cow records. The USDA is supposed to be protecting you and me, not the industry it regulates. The EPA let us down by declaring New York City air around the rubble of the Twin Towers to be safe to breath when it wasn't, and now the USDA won't release records on the safety of our food supply. What exactly is going on in Washington (DC)?
This will certainly play out more in the days and weeks to come. If there is just this one cow (can it be?) then perhaps it will blow over. If not, what effect will it have on Atkins dieters and others? What effect on the US economy? What effect on Hawaii's economy? Even if our cattle is grass-fed, can we vouch for where the animals came from originally? Many questions.
"... Meat from the animal, slaughtered Dec. 9, traveled through three processing plants before a test revealed the problem 12 days later. Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture insisted, however, that infectious portions of the animal were removed at the slaughterhouse and diverted to a rendering plant...."
"The Hawai'i Department of Agriculture said last night it was unlikely Hawai'i livestock would be traced to the farm in Washington where a case of mad cow disease has surfaced...."
"Local cattle ranchers are unsure how news of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease will affect their livelihood here.
Until more is known about how foreign countries will react, the attitude of ranchers here and across the country is to wait and see."
"...TOKYO -- The mad cow disease scare in the United States spread quickly to Asia, where nations including top U.S. markets Japan and South Korea blocked the import of American beef products after a cow in Washington state tested positive for the illness...."
",,,The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July.
In addition, former USDA veterinarians tell UPI they have long suspected the disease was in U.S herds and there are probably additional infected animals...."
Guests on the program are:
John Stauber, co-founder of PR Watch and co-author of the book, Mad Cow USA: Could The Nightmare Happen Here? (Common Courage Press, 1997) which reveals how mad cow disease has emerged as a result of modern, intensive farming practices.
Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth From the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat. A former cattle rancher-turned-vegetarian and food safety activist. In 1996, Lyman revealed, to a national television audience, how the cattle industry potentially exposed Americans to mad cow disease by feeding cows the remains of live animals - including other cows. As a result of his remarks, Lyman was named a co-defendant with Oprah Winfrey in the infamous "veggie libel" case brought by Texas ranchers in Amarillo.
Washington Times 12/18/03 - Hawaii a paradise for food aficionados
This article in a recent issue of the Washington Times is like a guidemap to Big Island agriculture. It names places, it names names. I think it is also a great example of how sucessful marketing happens. It would be great if our local newspapers paid proportionate attention to this segment of our economy -- and of our lives (farming is more than a business!).
Hawaii, the Big Island, offers unexpected food finds as well as unforgettable travel opportunities. In what other place can you visit a commercial coffee or cacao plantation or macadamia groves and packing plants or observe the production of sea salt from a 2,000-year-old water source deep within the ocean?
Click the above link to read the full article.
... and it could be good for you!Chocolate for a Long Life
British Medical Journal - A three-month study will begin next month in France and Canada to see if a diet rich in cocoa beans, the base product of chocolate, will have the same effect on humans as recently observed in tests on rats. The rat experiments showed that a cocoa-bean rich diet helped to reduce stress, put off aging and protected cells from disease.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Lilikoi by JanellWe enjoyed Lilikoi Curd made by Janell Beattie with our croissant and espresso this morning. The label indicates that it is made with Hawaiian Vanilla Bean, and it was at their tent that Nanette found it at this week's market. Yum!
This is what a blog is for -- to share the love. Speaking of which, darn, should have bought more, it would make a great present this time of year.
Chocolate HeavenAfter so many years favoring the same particular Lindt chocolate, I am now in deep trouble. What to do?
Nanette brought home a bar of dark chocolate from the KCC market last week. It was from The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory. Both of us agreed it is easily the best we've had -- and we've scoured Belgium to experience their best chocolates [and beer].
I'm in trouble because it seems that good chocolate, whether Belgium or Hawaiian, is more costly than the Lindt chocolate I've resigned myself to eating for the last few years. I'll reveal a secret, though -- it's more reasonable to buy it at the Saturday Market than in the stores. In fact, the saving is worth the trip even if your refrigerator is otherwise fully stocked.
This week I went over to their tent and tried the samples. I found the milk chocolate samples better even than the dark chocolate I usually buy.
Thinking positively, I have only six more bars of Lindt left, and then...
eGullet forum has KCC Saturday Market pics
Check out this forum for a few pictures taken at the Saturday Market. You have to scroll about 2/3 of the way down to see them.
Good shot of some papayas from Chinen Farms and heirloom tomatoes from North Shore Farms.
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