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Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

I have read a theory that the increase in allergies may be linked to the increased use of antibiotics to raise food animals...that they are messing with our immune systems.

As for the income variations, many health professionals believe it has to do with exposure to allergens as a young child. Higher income folks are less likely to be exposed to dirt and dust (better air conditioning systems that filter those things out; thicker walls and higher quality windows, etc). Dirt is good, folks, at least if you want to grow up with less allergies. Or maybe lower income folks eat less meat and are exposed to fewer of those antibiotic residues.....

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

Actually, it was my son you called a jackass. And he can be one at times, but usually not to his patients:-) And I don't believe you have to be a parent to understand children's health needs, sorry. Actually, the only reason I brought up his opinion (and my pediatrician friend's opinion) is that I thought it was interesting to hear physicians' opinion on the matter...to me their background gave their opinions some weight...obviously I have more faith in doctors than you do, and that's ok. As for the letter that sparked the discussion, yes, it did come from the school. But certainly the school would not be so concerned if the parents hadn't brought them their concern. And knowing where my friend lives, I doubt if there are many non-English speakers there. Your other examples may have some merit....but at some point you have to draw the line. No one can be kept perfectly safe no matter how you try, especially if you "mainstream" disabled children. (NOT meant to be a comment on the merits of doing so; just a statement of fact. Yes, those groups will have more risk. Although I'm not sure a visually impaired child is at any more risk of ingesting allergens than anyone else...after all, what the parents are MOST worried about are nuts or other allergens that CAN'T be seen and therefore aren't obvious. And the visually impaired do tend to have better developed senses of smell...so they may SMELL the peanuts that can't be seen...Just a thought).

Actually, the thing that was so striking to my friend that received the letter was that the rules were far, far stricter for middle school than for the elementary kids. Although presumably allergies were present when she was younger, no such letter or restrictions ever occurred. (She voluntarily didn't pack nuts in her child's lunch, but that was a voluntary choice as she knew there were kids who were allergic to them. But no letter instructing her to do so had ever come). This led to a discussion if it was just the principal who was making an arbitrary decision, or if the feeling was that middle school kids can't be trusted, or what? It just seemed odd, as well as very difficult on the parents (since the list was long and wide-ranging and prohibited any foods that might contain even a little of the offending items...when they were very common items such as eggs...).

And the folks with the kid and the baseball games live a loongg way from Minnesota. And although I think its nice to make such concessions, my entire point was that most medical professionals feel that to go to such extremes is unnecessary and unfair to the children. And obviously you and I have different opinions as to whether they are correct. Furthermore, I suspect that the Twin's action is less out of concern for the children (has anyone ever died after their sibling was exposed to peanut dust at a Twin's game and then brought it home? For that matter has anyone ever died from actually eating peanuts at a Twin's game when they knew they were allergic?) and more out of a desire to attract more fans and make the organization look good...

And I may no longer be raising children but I am still a mom. No, not a grandmother yet but certainly hope to be. I'm a grand-aunt if that counts. And maybe there weren't the same dangers when my kids were growing up but there were plenty...oh, and I'm not THAT old anyway: my kids grew up using the internet. And when they were young air pollution and chemicals being dumped were actually worse than they are now....trust me, we had plenty to worry about.

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

I think that there's a big difference between deliberately and repeatedly giving a child food that is known to make them sick, as your grandmother apparently did (Sorry, but that's child abuse in my book) and forcing a group of other children to follow the dietary restrictions of one child that could get sick from eating certain things. I am NOT advocating we feed kids stuff that could make them sick. I AM wondering out loud if there is a better way to protect a 12 year old than forcing the entire classroom to avoid certain foods. If nothing else, the difficulties of the allergic child will only be increased if other children learn that s/he is the one responsible for no more oranges in their lunch. There will no doubt be nasty comments at best and perhaps attempts to sicken the child at worst. If I were that child I would rather keep my food issues to myself unless the offending food were forced on me...and I think that a 12 year old can and should be able to do that.

Oh, and as far as walking in someone else's shoes: I had severe digestive problems as a young child, and could eat basically ONLY milk or bananas. I don't remember much of that, but I'm sure it was hard for my mother to have to restrict my diet so severely. Even with the problems got better, I still couldn't eat chocolate without getting sick for a long time. Now, THAT I remember, and chocolate is something that many kids will be tempted with. But somehow I managed to follow my mother's and doctor's advice and avoid the chocolate. I convinced myself that I really didn't care for it that much, and although I can eat it now (proving that my intolerance was not a true allergy but rather a digestive issue), I do not crave it at all. Given a choice between a fruit desert and a chocolate one, I will chose the fruit almost every time (unless of course it contains dark chocolate AND fruit...:-) And to this day I will NOT eat a banana....too many of those early in my life I guess.

And the two doctors I was discussing in my original post are VERY compassionate people. In fact, one won the award in his medical school class for being the class member who most cared about his patients and showed the most compassion (sort of the "Miss Congeniality" award of the med school:-). I don't think their comments were meant to be callous at all. They were just an observation: that both kids AND parents might be happier and just as well off if they lived their lives as best they can with allergies without letting them run their lives. We cannot always live in fear, even when there is real danger. We should deal with the danger as best we can and move on. IMO, living with the danger of allergies should mean making sure the child knows what choices to make. Oh, and as far your grandmother and sibling goes, if I had been in that situation, I would not have stayed. I would have taken my children, said "Mom, I'm sorry, I love you, but I love my children too, and we'll come back to visit when I can insure that they will be given food that is safe for them to eat."

I just re-read that last sentence, and realized that it sounded harsh as well. For that I am sorry, but I have decided to not delete it. Because I am trying to make the point that there IS a difference between deliberately feeding children unsafe food and forcing everyone else in a school to eat only what one child can eat. And as horrifying as your story is, I don't think that it applies to my original post. Apples and oranges, to make a very bad joke...

Sep 15, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

I was on a SW flight earlier this summer and I definitely had peanuts. And DH always brings me a bag of peanuts from when he flies.....

Sep 15, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

I think we should make a distinction between a very small child and one who is in school. I think if you are old enough to be in first grade, you are old enough to know what you cannot eat. A two year old is different. And I don't have a problem with avoiding peanut butter with small children who might be allergic, but avoiding all contact with peanuts or even the possibility of contact is a bit over the top. Clearly sitting near someone who is eating peanuts will not be a death penalty even for those with peanut allergies, as my pediatrician friend pointed out. If it were, then Southwest Airlines would have stopped serving those peanuts. Yet I have a distinct memory of visiting a home where there were several children, one of whom (with no allergies) went to a baseball game with friends. The child involved did NOT eat or touch peanuts, just went to a game where they were served. And still, when he came home, because he had a sibling with severe peanut allergies, I watched as he had to strip on the front porch, be wrapped in a clean towel (for privacy I guess:-) and escorted immediately to a shower. His clothes went straight to the washing machine, by themselves. All this because there are peanuts at baseball games, and his parents were worried the dust would be transmitted to his sibling. Now, peanuts can be hidden within foods (which is why I always ask about peanut allergies specifically before cooking), so there is a chance that someone at that child's school is eating peanuts without him knowing it. Does mom go through the same routine every time he comes home from school?

As for faking allergies, that wasn't really what I was talking about. I was referring to people who define a negative side effect as an "allergy." There is a difference. I am an eye doctor, and I've had people who tell me they can't have the dilating drops because they are "allergic" to them. Yet when you ask them what reaction they have, the answer is "they make my eyes blurry." Well, yeah, they pretty much do that to everybody. And many others claim that they are "allergic" to codeine, because it makes them constipated. Again, it makes me constipated too...but I am NOT allergic to it. And as scary and upsetting as it may be to see your child vomit, even vomiting and stomach upset from an ingested item may not mean allergy. Again, not trying to be unsympathetic, just trying to point out that there is a difference between side effects and allergies, and many people don't understand that.

And yes, I do understand the fear of something happening to your child. But you can mitigate the fear somewhat by being prepared, and teaching the child to be prepared. And you must understand that there is some risk in everything. If you totally wanted to protect your child, you would never let them out of bed. You certainly would never let them ride in an automobile. If my child was so allergic to anything that he couldn't even touch something that someone else who was eating the offending item touched earlier in the day, then I wouldn't let him leave the house either. But if ingesting something is the problem, then at some point don't you have to teach them what to eat or not eat? Banning all potentially dangerous items seems unreasonable AND untenable.

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

OK, you can say that about my son if you wish...he is after all an internist, and still only in his second year of residency. But to say a pediatrician's opinion on childhood allergies is not relevant??? That just doesn't make sense to me. Sure, a child with severe allergies might end up seeing an allergist, but who the heck do you think is going to send them there? The pediatrician's opinion to me is the MOST relevant. Basically, she said that to restrict 12 year olds in such a matter was impractical and mean-spirited....and that some of the foods listed on the forbidden list are not foods likely (at all) to create life-threatening allergies. And she agreed that a 12 year old with such allergies needs to be taking care of themself.

Sep 14, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Kids and Allergies - long and a bit of a rant.

OK, apologies in advance for even bringing up the subject, as I know there are a lot of strong feelings out there on this and related subjects. But there is a discussion going on about food restrictions and a wedding, and what it is polite to ask for in terms of accommodation ahead of time, and its kind of spun off to the whole "how do you protect your kids" subject, and, well, I just had to jump in....

First of all, I had this discussion recently with a group of friends, and had some interesting input from two physicians present (One is my son, who is in his second year of Internal Medicine residency, and the other is a pediatrician...so I feel like both have relevant medical training). And both MDs agreed that they feel that parents can be too protective of their children who have allergies. More on that later.

The discussion started because one woman present had received a letter from her child's school with a long list of foods prohibited in her child's lunchbox. Her child happens to be in middle school, and is 12 years old, and therefore is presumably at an age where she and her peers are capable of taking some responsibility for their behavior (including what they eat). But although she refrained from packing items with nuts/peanuts when her child was younger, she was a bit perturbed by this letter. And frankly, I would have been too: among the forbidden items were such common lunch ingredients as eggs, tuna fish, kiwis, oranges...and many others. I think it was something like 20 items. Apparently if there was any chance of reaction to anything, it was on the forbidden list.

So the discussion began on what to do about kid's allergies. Certainly a ban on trading lunch items is reasonable. And certainly children who are middle school aged should understand the consequences of eating certain foods if they are allergic (heck, at that age they are capable of knowing how to use an epipen). But the interesting thing to me was to hear both MD's reactions: both my son AND the pediatrician agreed 100%: that parents get overly concerned about allergies. Now, we are setting aside the (valid, IMO, and in their opinions as well) argument that children should be exposed to potential allergens when young to help avoid allergies. We are talking about kids who already supposedly have life-threatening allergies. I say supposedly because both MDs agreed that parents/patients will often say that their child has a severe allergy, but that when you question them the reaction was digestive and not life-threatening. And I do not mean to demean those who DO have a life-threatening allergy: but even then both docs agreed that the risk is often over-emphasized. In other words, those with severe nut allergies (as an example) will generally NOT go into anaphylactic (sp?) shock from touching a small amount of peanut dust (such as if another child ate peanuts and then wiped their hands on the play equipment). Both agreed that the reaction is usually brought upon by actual ingestion, and that rarely happens accidentally UNLESS the child eats something that contains nuts without realizing the ingredients. Bottom line, they told us that in their experience parents become so afraid of the allergens that they let them run their kids (and their lives). They are so afraid that the child won't understand "Don't eat any cookies if you don't know what's in them" and become so afraid of the offending item (usually peanuts) that they don't let their child be at any event or participate anywhere there is even a chance of the offending antigen being present. I know kids who will never get to go to a ballgame because of their peanut allergy; and frankly I think that's just sad.

It was an interesting conversation to be sure, and keep in mind that these two docs had never met before the conversation took place, and practice in two very different parts of the country. Yet they both said essentially the same thing, which was basically parents are too paranoid, and let the allergies control their lives rather than the other way around.

Curious what chowhounds think? At what point do we assume people must take some self-responsibility? Now I would never dream of serving dinner to new guests without asking about food preferences and allergies, but to me that's just common courtesy. OTOH, I can't imagine having to worry about a list of 20 items to avoid putting into my child's lunch box....especially when the children involved are old enough to know what to eat and not to eat!! How do parents deal with school lunches these days if these kinds of restrictions are there? And what if you want to take a treat to school?? Yikes!!

Sep 13, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Am I the only one who lives in a magic house? A lighthearted look at ourselves & food safety

My husband (born and raised in India, as you know) thinks we're crazy to refrigerate eggs. And he's probably right....He also tends to leave cooked food out ("oh the spices will keep the bacteria away"). If I want it refrigerated I have to put it in myself. OTOH, I rarely eat leftovers more than two days old. They just don't appeal. DH, otoh, yesterday ate some cooked salmon that was 8 days old. yuck.

Sep 10, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

I cannot think of cooking tonight, so it may be cereal. Not only is it hot, but I harvested an over-abundance of tomatoes this am. Seriously, I picked about 25 pounds worth from our little garden. And now I am cooking huge pots of spaghetti sauce to freeze. (Also picked a lot of basil and oregano to go into the sauce). I can't bring myself to even cook some spaghetti to pour it over for tonight:-)

Food-centric weekend

There's always Las Vegas.....plenty to eat and enjoy there!

Sep 01, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

Favorite Movies About Food?

Adding a new favorite which came out after the last post to this thread: "The Hundred Foot Journey". It managed to poke fun at classical French cooking AND Indian cooking yet still make you yearn for the best of both. Plus I thought it was a sweet statement on the immigrant experience. And bonus points for beautiful French countryside scenery and market scenes. Going with DH (who is from India) enriched the experience...there are a few scenes where Papa comments under his breath in Hindi, and his comments are not subtitled. DH translated, and a couple were zingers. OTOH, I like it when films where the story line would require several languages to be spoken don't translate every word...it feels more real and gives you a feel for what the characters are going through. The film did the same thing with French a few times. But go to see the food scenes. I am craving sea urchin, and you will too!

Aug 17, 2014
janetofreno in Food Media & News

On the road

Hey, I've seen your van!!

Aug 01, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Possible Double Standard Regarding Dietary Needs/Preferences

I agree; it might seem arbitrary but it might represent a reawakening of faith. My husband went through that (he was raised Hindu), and now won't eat meat (he will eat fish) and particularly beef...both of which he ate when we first met and were married. I guess the easy part for me is that he made this conversion after our children were mostly raised and out of the house...so planning meals for them was never difficult (well, except when they went through picky phases:-). Of course, I know and love my husband well, and I respect his religious beliefs even if I don't totally agree with them...so I would never dream of serving meat in our house now. Because I was with him when he went through this conversion, I understand that it is genuine. In return, he respects my beliefs and doesn't have a problem with me ordering meat when we go out to eat (even a good steak should I crave it:-), and is ok if I keep a package of ham in the fridge for my beloved ham sandwiches I make for lunch. Of course, he reserves the right to refuse to kiss me right after I've eaten that steak:-)

Food to eat while healing a sore throat

ummm....not to be technical on you or anything, but strep throat (although it might occur secondary to a viral infection) is caused by a bacteria, specifically one of the group A streptococcus bacteria strains.

Jul 31, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Great Mexican (Indian, Ethiopian) anywhere close to I-15?

I would also recommend Viva Zapata's. Good food, good margaritas for the non-drivers :-), and good service. And very easy on/off I15 without city hassles. Bonus: there are several inexpensive gas stations at the same exit.

Jul 23, 2014
janetofreno in Las Vegas

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

We too have suddenly had an excess of cucumber in our garden. And I'm not a huge cucumber fan....so lots of salads, and lots of raitas. Raitas can help get rid of a lot of cucumbers:-).

Someone mentioned craving beets: maybe I'm a bit anemic too, because I too have craving them. I picked a couple from the garden today, even though they were still small. But when they are small you can slice them thin and they are delicious in salads! (along with more cucumbers:-) So tonight we had a big salad and roasted corn. Simple.

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Today was actually the coolest day in weeks!!! We actually had rain, and the outside temp at dinner time was probably just above 70 degrees!! Rain!!! yeah!!

So we celebrated by turning on the oven. Winco (store chain here) has a premade pizza dough that's pretty good. All you have to do is add toppings and bake according to directions. The garden tomatoes are going crazy, so I made a fresh tomato sauce. I chopped up a couple of Japanese eggplants from the garden, along with some onions and lots of herbs...made a good sauce! We then added stuff from the garden and the fridge as toppings: wax peppers, basil leaves, mushrooms, mozarella. Delicious!

If you're ever looking for good Indian food in Sayre, Oklahoma....or just need a good pit stop off of I40

OK, this tip comes directly from my husband, who is not on Chowhound, and I have not eaten at the place myself ... but OTOH it is about an Indian restaurant, and he is far more the expert on those than I am:-)

Last week found DH on a long work-related road-trip. 4500 miles in a week, with several stops. Seriously. And since most of it was in the South and Texas, my veggie husband found himself craving some of his own (non-fried) comfort food from home (he was born and raised in India).

So when he stopped for gas at a truck stop in Sayre, OK, and noticed a sign in Punjabi, he was of course intrigued. In turns out that the truck repair place at the I40 Truck Stop in Sayre also cooks some good chow, mostly for the many Sikh truckers who apparently travel that road. There is no sign other than the one in Punjabi, and no menu. In fact, you'll be served whatever is on the menu for the day (the menu is limited, and varies depending on available produce and the like). The proprietor does speak English, and will tell you what's available. DH says that it is all freshly made from scratch, and delicious ... He says that any Hounds who are anywhere near there, or just passing through, should check it out. The tiny (seats maybe 15) restaurant is attached to the truck repair place next to the truck stop, so you'll have to seek it out. Look for the sign in Punjabi:-)

Jul 20, 2014
janetofreno in Great Plains

What's for Dinner #313 - There's a Summer Place Edition! [through July 21, 2014]

You know, this is slightly off topic, but even though I never would want to live there again, one summer food I miss is watermelon. Real, sweet, cold watermelon like they used to grow in Texas (I lived there most of the first 10 years of my life). My dad used to search out the best watermelons from a certain town there, and now I can't even remember the name of the town (maybe my sister will read this and remember...). I really haven't eaten watermelon in years that was that good. In fact, I've almost stopped eating it because it just doesn't taste that good to me anymore. I was beginning to think that my memories were exaggerated, but DH is currently traveling through Texas on business (poor man), and texted me to tell me that I was right: the watermelons there ARE better. So I guess my summer place is under a shade tree, eating a slice of perfect watermelon. Or maybe on Galveston Beach, doing the same...

In the meantime, I have watermelon growing in my back yard. Real ones, with seeds, Not near ripe yet, but I am hoping they help me reach that place.....

Restaurant blames cellphones for service complaints

My son is a teacher in Japan (in Yokohama) - elementary level. There lunch is prepared ON CAMPUS for everyone. According to him it is often his main meal of the day, because it is free (to him; not sure if the kids pay), delicious and healthy. It consists of miso soup, rice, meat or fish, vegetable...different menu every day. When lunch is ready each classroom will send two student volunteers to go pick up the food, and the students eat in the classroom with the teachers. Everyone sits at the table, student volunteers serve, and everyone talks to each other during lunch. It is considered an honor and a treat to sit at "Teacher Edward's table." After they are finished, the students go out to the playground for about 20 minutes. If he has playground duty, my son joins them...otherwise he heads to the teacher's lounge - where there is talk with colleagues but no eating (since everyone eats in the classrooms).

Jul 17, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Does anyone still get the whole family together for Sunday dinner?

We don't live in the same state as the rest of my sisters, father, etc...so Sunday dinners don't happen in that sense.
But when our sons still were at home, and even after they left but were attending college in the same city, we had regular Sunday dinners. The boys would come over, often bringing a friend or girlfriend, and do their laundry while we cooked and watched football. It was a given that they would be there. We would try and cook their favorites, but it was really more about being there than the food. For many years a good friend who was single would join us as well.....it was a standing invitation and he knew he just had to show up. He now lives elsewhere (and luckily is no longer single:-) but he still emails me once in awhile on a Sunday to let me know he misses those dinners. Good times.

Jul 14, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

Well, it was quite a few years ago, so the schedule could have changed. So could have the food, but DH says no....Same ole, same ole...

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

We are going to a late-afternoon reception, and not sure how much food will be served. Maybe if we're lucky we won't have to cook!

But I do have dinner planned just in case: The garden is going crazy, so there will be a salad using tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, and herbs that I picked today. We will have rice mixed with fresh peas I also just picked. The main course will be some salmon steaks left over from a picnic we attended last night. I'll just heat them up a bit in the skillet...so other than the rice almost no cooking!

We often eat outside when its hot (our evenings tend to cook down...but the house doesn't...and our only air conditioning is in the bedroom). Might just heat up the salmon on the grill....or heck, just eat it cold. Its already fully cooked.
Yes, I know that's not vegetarian..sorry. We eat fish about once or twice a week at home...otherwise all our meals are vegetarian.

Expecting guests tomorrow night, and they are vegan, so the meal will be vegan as well. East Indian. I haven't planned the menu yet; will see what the menu yields in the am. I think there is eggplant ready to be picked..so probably a pea/potato/eggplant sak (curry). And we might make bhajia (fritters; sort of like Indian tempura) with zucchini, peppers, and onions from the garden. It is supposed to hit 100 tomorrow, and I won't feel like cooking inside, so might plug in the electric skillet to the outlets on the deck for the bhajia. And of course tomato salad, because the tomatoes are out of control at our house (I know, I know...such a first world problem:-) Oh, and we have some really good okra I found at the farmer's market as well....so maybe fried okra East Indian style. DH is going out of town for the week on Monday..so I'll be perfectly happy if there are tons of leftovers!!

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

All that being said, the regular vegetarian meals on Delta on recent flights to/from Tokyo were pretty good, and better than the regular meal imo. One out of the four contained pasta, but two of the four were breakfasts.

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

um, not necessarily. The Indian "Asian Vegetarian" meal I ordered on British Airways looked awful. I say "looked" because the one time I ordered it (on a flight from London to Mumbhai, via Dubai), the airline loaded enough beef meals for everyone on the plane (most folks did not pre-order meals) and two "Asian Vegetarian" meals for my husband and I (at the time DH had not yet gone vegetarian, but our experience was that the pre-ordered meals were better.) Well, the flight from Dubai to Mumbhai was full of Indian nationals returning from working the oil fields (It was right before New Year's, so I assume they had holidays). Anyway, none of them wanted the beef, naturally. So DH and I traded our Veggie meals with folks near us for the beef meals. The beef meals looked a lot better, btw. Shame on British Airways for having no option other than beef on a plane they should have known would be full of Hindus.

DH finally tried the "Asian Vegetarian" meal on a flight to Mumbhai several years ago (I stayed at home). He reported back that it tasted no better than it looked....

Railway Dininig. Ever experience it ?

I've done the Napa Valley Wine Train (a business colleague of my husband's was treating; I wouldn't have paid for it myself). The food was ok, but nothing special. And the train doesn't really go anywhere....it just goes back and forth between two locations in Napa with no stops, and in the evening you won't see much. (due to darkness). Actually, during the daylight hours you don't see much either...mostly vineyards. It gets old after the first 15 minutes. And the wine aboard is for purchase at not inexpensive prices. We had fun, largely because we were good friends, but as I said it is not something I would do again.

Jul 10, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Railway Dininig. Ever experience it ?

About 25 years ago we took a train from what we then called Bombay to Madras (now it would be Mumbhai to Chennai:-) in India. We took other trips by train in India, specifically from Delhi to Jaipur, but that long one to the south was the most memorable. We had a sleeper car, which was nice, but we didn't figure out until the second and last night that we had to pay the purser to get blankets and pillows (I remembered being quite annoyed at my husband for not knowing that. After all, he had grown up in India. But he hadn't taken a train there since childhood, and presumably his parents always quietly paid for the amenities:-)

But as for the food: in India (at least at that time) there was no real dining car. However, there is plenty of good food. The purser will come around about an hour before mealtime and take food orders off of a menu. Then they radio them ahead to the next stopping point (there are almost always decent restaurants in the rail station). The food would then be delivered to your seats shortly after the train left that station. Somehow everyone always got their order, and it was hot and usually tasty. And since it was ordered ahead, there was never worry about the train running out of food! In addition, if a stop was long enough, there was always someone willing to sell snacks and tea through the windows when the train stopped.

I still think of that train trip sometimes. A beautiful way to see the countryside.

Jul 09, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

What's for Dinner #309 - the Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer Edition [through June 30, 2014]

Waaayyy too hot to cook tonight. So we made a delicious meal mostly from leftovers. DH had grilled some beautiful salmon steaks on Friday, and we still had salmon left over. So I added some chopped purple basil and onions from my garden along with a little mayo and seasonings, and made a salmon salad. We ate it in sandwiches on leftover burger buns with lettuce and tomato garnish. We also had a ton of fruit, thanks to a mis-communication about who was buying peaches at the Farmer's Market. And I also had a few slices of canteloupe left over from breakfast, along with a couple of strawberries from the garden (they've been coming in dribbles; I think the birds get to them before I do! They seem to sing especially loud and happily when they are near those berries!:-). Finally, our fruit salad was completed with the perfect mango. All I had to do was squeeze on it the half-lime leftover from the gin-and-tonics we had before dinner, add maybe a half-tablespoon on honey, a touch of salt, and a handful of dry roasted (unsalted) peanuts. The fruit salad went great with the sandwiches, and the only use of heat was when I toasted the buns in my toaster. Perfect!

Brother's Barbecue Reno

hmm....not sure they have a liquor license. Didn't notice any, and I wasn't planning on having any so didn't really pay attention. I remember soft drinks and lemonade (I had water) but no beer. Sorry.

Jun 26, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

Brother's Barbecue Reno

This place opened recently in a small house on Wells (a few blocks north of Vassar) that has been at least two other barbecue places if I recall correctly...maybe the same smoker is still there?

Anyway, somehow I was hoping that the name "Brothers" might hint at Oakland-style cue. No, they advertise on their menu as "Texas Style" but the ribs are pork....how can that be Texas style? Just more generic imo.

But on to the food: Of course I tried the ribs. I will always try the ribs first at a Barbecue place. The rib plate had three large meaty pork ribs. I ordered them without sauce and was glad I did...they didn't need it. The meat had the right bite with just a bit of chew but very tasty with a spicy rub. I ate every bite. I tried a bit of the regular and the "habanero" sauce....neither one did that much for me. They actually tasted too sweet...both of them. And the habanero sauce wasn't that much more picante than the regular.

The plate came with two sides and the requisite soft bun. The "kicked-up" cole slaw (as opposed to regular slaw) doesn't have too much mayo, which is how I prefer my slaw, and the spice was nice. Unfortunately it too was too sweet. Someone at this place needs to go easier on the sugar or honey or whatever they use. If it had a little less sugar and a little more vinegar it would have been perfect.

The homemade potato salad, otoh, was darn near perfect...and I'm fussy about potato salad. A little bit of crunch from celery, and a good mustardy kick to it. No bland potato salad here. And I was glad to eat something that didn't taste sweet. The counter guy steered me to the potato salad as opposed to beans....and he was right.

The rib plate was 11 dollars. Plenty of food. I would definitely go back for more ribs, minus sauce. And potato salad. Actually, after I ordered I noticed a special "Texas Plate" that sounded good (and like enough food for two): a 1/4 chicken, a hot link, pulled pork, beans, coleslaw, and Texas Toast for 12 dollars. I would like to try the brisket as well (you can get that on the Texas Plate instead of the chicken), and definitely a hot link. I'll be back; I'll just go easy on the too-sweet sauce. Maybe I should sneak in a little bottle of vinegar to doctor up that cole slaw:-)

Jun 26, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest