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Range hood solution for open peninsula: Downdraft? Unobtrusive hood?

Looking forward to it!
I have the 36 inch induction with stainless steel look, and the matching 36 inch 13+ inch downdraft, and I love them!

May 18, 2012
freia in Cookware

Range hood solution for open peninsula: Downdraft? Unobtrusive hood?

Aw thanks, chocoholix! I have Thermador for both. The key is to match the cooktop with the downdraft -- mixing and matching can be tricky.
I went with the Thermador for a couple of reasons: for the cooktop, I liked the metallic finish that looks like stainless steel. I wanted to avoid the look of a "black hole" in my countertop, if that makes sense. But the driving factor for Thermador was specifically because of the downdraft, because at that time, Thermador had the highest snorkel rise, and the higher the better!
Today, both Bosch and Thermador have snorkel downdrafts with 13+ inch rises, and the cfm is the same, and both can be fit with a recirculation option, which is what I think you'll need because you can't vent to the great outdoors. So the key factor will be the look that you want. Bosch only makes black induction cooktops, and Thermador has the stainless steel look. Bosch is IMHO equally good as Thermador, so I'd say go for the look that you love!
AND, just so as you know, there is a killer sale on at Thermador, where if you get the induction and the downdraft at the same time, you will save a ton of $$$
http://www.thermador.com/about/promot...
Pics! When you're done! Mandatory! LOL
:)

May 18, 2012
freia in Cookware

ISO stracchino cheese in GTA

JEALOUS!! I'm in Kingston, I miss my stracchino...:(

May 18, 2012
freia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

Low carb/low sugar diets were not the defacto way for 50-100 years. There has been a cyclical, predictable shifting in diet regimes since 1825. Brillat-Savarin/Banting was replaced by Graham, replaced by Fletcher, replaced by Chittenden, replaced by Fisher and Fisk, replaced by Copeland, replaced by Linn, and so on. Dietary fads are cyclical in nature, and there is no and has been no "defacto way" to lose weight.
The primary and ONLY "defacto way" to lose weight is to through compliance to whatever plan you choose to follow.

May 17, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

It's the hyper-availability of highly processed, highly manufactured food with a specific fat : sugar ratio that makes it both extremely palatable and devoid of nutritional value. It is extremely cheap to make, easy to sell, and extremely convenient for busy people. It is everywhere, and it is difficult to resist when you've had a tough day at work, the kids are in the car, it's dinner time and you haven't made anything and soccer practice starts in 45 minutes and you are RIGHT by the Burger King. It is a hard lifestyle pattern to break, but it can be done and done successfully, but it has to start with a personal commitment to change and a complete acceptance of personal responsibility for one's lifestyle and dietary choices (been there, done it, lost and maintained 82 lbs to date for the past 5 years).
And as you say, you can't legislate nor regulate it away. There has to be a cultural shift through a heavy emphasis on education I think in order for society as a whole to change it's views on obesity, junk food and physical activity (I don't mean the gym, I just mean being more active overall -- stairs vs elevator/walk vs drive/that sort of thing), much like what has happened with smoking in the past 20 years.
No easy, pat answers I fear.

May 17, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

how do you handle this??? [Moved from New Jersey]

Two little words...
Judge
Judy
LOL

May 16, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

Ask people what goes in traditional mincemeat...seriously...why is it called minceMEAT, not minceFRUIT, people.

May 16, 2012
freia in Not About Food

ISO stracchino cheese in GTA

Maybe try St Lawrence Market -- specialty cheesemongers plus a place with alot of Italian cheeses and oils there (found ricotta bufala there, which was amazing!).

May 16, 2012
freia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Do people really drink a 4-ounce cup of coffee?

If you keep the price the same and decrease the amount sold, it equates to an increase in price, which is probably why people have issue with product size changing.

We unfortunately have had to leave our favorite Thai restaurant -- in the past 6 months the prices have risen gradually (50 cents at a time) to equate to a 30 percent increase in price. At the same time, portion sizes have decreased by an equal 30 percent. Squeezed from both ends, so we've had to find a new local.

I think people feel the same way about product pricing and size at their local grocery store.

May 16, 2012
freia in General Topics

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

Makes no difference: he's a science writer pure and simple. I never said he offered slogans and personal opinions. I said that science writers create a controversial theory, cherry pick the data to substantiate it, create villains for publicity, and reap the profits. His vested interest is money in his pocket, and he gets that through publicity created by a controversial theory. Plain and simple. And the worst part? It isn't even new information -- his theories are simply a reiteration of a cycle of nutritional hype and "optimization" which makes the rounds every 20 years or so.

May 16, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

This is my point, exactly. If you take any literature review from an individual who is purporting a theory and has no credentials in the area that they are researching, you are reading simply a theory. My other point is that to take any theory and purport it as the "truth" may have consequences far down the road (well WELL down the road) that we simply don't see today. IF the epidemiological data in the China Study is to be believed (pure epidemiology, not the dietary theory), cancer rates will be significantly higher down the road in those that follow high protein, low carb/low grain diets. But then again, if you look at other epidemiological studies, you may have higher rates of certain other types of cancer if you are low protein and high grain/carbs. There is a ton of research out there that links high dairy consumption with increased weight loss and lower body fat. But if you believe Dr. Campbell's research, liver tumors can be turned ON if you exceed a certain amount of dairy intake, and tumors can be turned OFF if you reduce your dairy intake. This is the very nature of dietary theorization and research -- so much research out there, so much conflicting evidence, so many science writers looking to make a buck, and so much finger pointing and blame around obesity. So to point to Taubes, or to The China Study, or to Keys, or to anyone as having the "real truth" and thinking that there really is any original thought out there about diet optimization is IMHO ridiculous. There IS no "real truth" out there. We've turned the issue of diet optimization for health over and over and over again since the late 1700s and we are still no further ahead in any significant definitive way.

Dietary theories are constantly cycling in and out of favor and have been since the days of Brillat-Savarin (considered the father of the low carb diet craze dating from the late 1700ss) and Dr Kellog (low protein,high grains), Fletcherism, obsession with body weight and body mass (just consider how body ideals have changed from the days of Lillian Russell in the late 1800s to today -- heck, just think of the change from her time until the era of the Flappers!). Taubes, the China Study, Keys -- they are simply our generational iteration of dietary fad promoters.

The only sustained and proven concept has been all things in moderation -- kind of hedging one's bets so to speak. Don't demonize anything (except crap food and we all know what that is), eat in moderation, exercise, and have a happy life.

May 16, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

My friend can't bear any pink in her steak or roast. She lives in Italy, and came for a visit last year. Took her to The Keg Steakhouse. When we arrived, she became extremely flustered and embarrassed. I asked her why she seemed upset, and she said "I don't want pink in my steak, but I'm afraid that I'll cause a fuss because this is a steak place". I said "HEY get what you like! Who cares? If you want super well done, heck, ENJOY. They will make to order with a smiling happy face!". She was so relieved, ordered it super well done, Chicago style (up here that means super well done with a nice char on the outside) and it was done exactly as she liked and noone batted an eye.
In Florence where she lives, Bistecca Fiorentina is a "national treasure" and it MUST be served rare, rare, rare. So she never eats it because it causes a fuss when she has it done to her liking. So sad, IMHO.
Smartie, enjoy your steak however you like it!!!!
:)

May 15, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Asking people to join you for dinner

I remember leaving one temporary place of employment (worked at one branch for a couple of months), and the custom with my employer was to have a farewell luncheon for departing members. My luncheon was nice, reasonable restaurant (as in, my lunch bill was less than $15) but what I've never encountered was as the guest, being presented with a bill to pay for my own lunch! I thought since it was a farewell luncheon for me as I was leaving, my work group would actually buy me lunch! I paid up, but was a little taken aback. I'd worked at a number of branches temporarily, and never been asked to pay for my own farewell luncheon as a guest!
Live and learn!
LOL

May 14, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

LOL no, Taubes isn't the issue. My POV doesn't rule out journalism at all, but what Taubes and any science writer with a profit-driven agenda does is not journalism. The issue is when science writers, on a profit-driven basis, purposefully select controversial theories and cherry pick research to fit, create villains and conspiracies, and present all of this as the truth. Which is fine, until one sees people taking an unproven, controversial and profit-driven POV as gospel to the point of excluding any reasonable discussion of alternative POVs. Which we all have seen and continue to see on these Boards. And which is out of the boundaries of what I thought Chow/Chowhound was about. Proselytizing controversial theories under the guise of "hey, look at this neat article" is really outside of the margins, IMHO, because the intent is clearly not to have a discussion. And again, this isn't the only thread on which this happens (I believe you referred to other threads of this nature).
In any event, to address the OP's alleged question/observation, there are many reasons for obesity: Taubes has one POV. Authors of The China Study have another. And it should be noted that no matter what extreme one follows, the science writer has the money in the bank while the die-hard followers will bear the medical consequences of that POV many, many years down the road. We simply don't know what those consequences are. Science writers 20 years ago were purporting a certain food regime with consequences seen today. Science writers are trying to "correct" this with current food theories. Followers of high protein/low grain and low carb diets very well may see increased levels of cancer in the future (if you believe the China Study). We won't see the consequences for another 20 years. At which point another science writer will create another theory, cherry pick the data, and go on another profit-making tour. People forget is that science writing is all speculation for profit without regard for what the possible consequences are for individuals down the road. There are very few absolute truths in the field of nutrition especially when discussing "optimal" dietary compositions. Accordingly, the safest thing to do may very well be to consume all things in moderation with the exception of crap food (and we all know what that is).
Why are we obese? We eat too much junk, too much processed/refined foods, too few natural foods, and sit on our butts for hours in front of the TV and behind the wheel of the car. Lifestyle and food choices are key. I look to no one but myself for responsibility and accountability, and I feel dismayed when science writers vilify food groups and create conspiracy theories to deflect responsibility from the person who is holding the fork.

May 14, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

He has no training in the field in which he is commenting. It is like saying, as an engineer who has read scientific articles, you are qualified to comment on various articles in the field of psychology.
Scientists in their field will create hypothesis, test them, observe, comment, do further research.
Science writers create a hypothesis (preferably controversial ones, because that's what sells), cherry-pick the existing literature to substantiate what they want to say, then publish a book, do a publicity tour (after all, they've picked something controversial), and repeat for max profits.
BIG difference.
We'll see the outcome in 20 years -- maybe he's right. Most likely, he's wrong, and the ones who will suffer (if the China Study has shown anything) are the fervent proponents of his theory. And another theory will come along, from another science writer, and the whole scenario will repeat.
It's an industry, just like any other.

May 14, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America's Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing

According to his own website, he is not a scientist. He is a science writer. BIG difference.

May 13, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Come Dine With Me

I love the Canadian version! I guess, to each his or her own.

May 11, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

I think what was shocking is that the show kitchen wasn't for use, just for show,and that all cooking was done by the staff in the "staff's kitchen".

May 11, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Say what?? Cooking comments that baffle you

Went to a fundraising early evening drinks thing at a very high end home in our small town. Big home, beautiful, but odd odd odd -- there were two fully equipped kitchens, almost side-by-side. One was fully equipped with more industrial equipment. Huge gas cooktop, quadruple convection ovens, two fridges, 2 separate islands along with a peninsula layout. The other was high end magazine quality with top of the line EVERYTHING, from 6 burner gas stove plus integrated grill, to the double Sub Zero fridges, integrated Miele latte machine, 2 microwaves, 2 dishwashers -- you get the picture. Fully open to the dining area. Granite, marble baking centre...fantastic kitchen. Now, I've heard of 2 kitchens in very wealthy strict kosher households, but I know this isn't the case here. Since enquiring minds wanted to know, I asked the Lady of the House. I said "you have a beautiful kitchen, but i'm wondering why you have a second one just beside the first?". And she said (and this is a quote):

Oh THIS kitchen is for show. The OTHER kitchen is for the staff.

Seriously...

May 11, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 9 (spoilers)

Agreed on all counts. I think I got a sense of this with the banter between the judges and Ryan (when they said it was a beautiful plate and he said Ya heard THAT one before ...)
Maybe it takes a while for judges to kind of feel their way, and for the contestants to feel more comfortable after getting more used to the format and filming.

May 10, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Friend coming for a few days from London, England. What can't she get across the pond that we do well here?

:) This internet posting business can be tricky! Things come across in unintended ways...understood, and apologies right back at you. I was snarking a bit (blush)...sorry

May 10, 2012
freia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Friend coming for a few days from London, England. What can't she get across the pond that we do well here?

Hmmm...I'll own the Pacific salmon idea. And yes, i visit London and surrounds frequently, as in annually. Not stuck in 1973. When I am in London/UK I often have the Scottish salmon. I don't turn my nose up at it simply because I can have Pacific salmon at home. Sometimes a different variety of a common food is a nice thing? Seriously, you should be a little less judgemental and just have some fun with this, no?

May 09, 2012
freia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 9 (spoilers)

Pork Rinds! I seem them all the time out West in vending machines. Saw them here in Ontario at our local college. Plus ramen! But yes, not the usual vending machine goods. I'd have loved to see cheetos, peek frean cookies with the jam in the middle, miss vicki's salt and vinegar chips, and maybe some M and Ms...

May 09, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Dieting during work travel

LOLOL veggie burger LOLOL...*wipes eyes*

May 08, 2012
freia in Home Cooking

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 9 (spoilers)

Maybe! And yes, over fire? Yikes, I'd have toasted EVERYTHING, if I ever got the fire going LOL. David MAY be the dark horse but I wonder his performance to date has been so spotty that he just won't make the top because of it. I'm not sure as to whether the judges look at the overall performance of the chef, or the single final round dish. If it is the former, I'm not sure if David has a chance: if it is the latter, a mediocre chef throughout the competition could win on an exceptional out-of-the-park home run dish, but would that chef be truly the top chef, or simply the winner of that round?

May 08, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Kitchen remodel -- which comes first, granite or cabinets?

I feel your pain! I was there, in the stone store, with 2 different cabinet doors, 2 different pieces of flooring, a paint chip, and a massive amount of angst, going through all the combinations and colors. Took me 3 hours to settle, and I haven't looked back.
I can't imagine doing this twice!

May 08, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Top Chef Canada, Season 2, Episode 9 (spoilers)

Thanks for this summary, chefhound! Much appreciated!
Is it me, or are the judges more "complimentary" now? Seemed like the feedback was positive and on point this time, instead of "this is salty and bland" or "seems oily". The judges seemed fairly positive this time, which was nice.
I knew Ryan was going, no matter really what he put on the plate (unless it was absolutely exceptional and someone messed up their dish beyond repair). He had been at or near the bottom for far too long to stay any more. I suspect we'll see David go next, then Xavier, then Trista. I think the final 3 will be Jonathan, Trevor and Carl. Just speculating, as speculating is FUN LOL...as to who will win? I think all three would be great, so I'm rooting for all of them! Actually, on this season, there has been only one chef I've disliked and that chef is gone -- I think all of them are very good and it comes down to who is the best of the best, if that makes sense.
:)

May 08, 2012
freia in Food Media & News

Kitchen remodel -- which comes first, granite or cabinets?

Such a hard call. I know people who have chosen the countertops first and then couldn't get their artisan to match the cabinetry properly (one friend had their cabinets hand finished by an artist 3 times without being happy). I know people who love their cabinets and had a heck of a time picking their countertop and when they did, the veining/overall immenseness of the stone in an indoor, small setting overwhelmed the rest of the kitchen.
When I did my huge reno, I did the cabinet/countertop/paint and flooring all together. I decided on what material and style I wanted, and what overall look I wanted. I had a paint color in mind, so armed with that chip and with the flooring I wanted, I decided what cabinet style and color I wanted. I did the prefinished thing, so I bought a cabinet door, and took all samples to the stone vendor to figure out the countertops. Took me a while, but once I got all 4 coordinated, I went with it. The last thing to pick was the backsplash.
The stone was the hardest thing to choose, but I got it right because I love the look of my kitchen. I was glad I did it this way, because when I went to pick the countertop stone, the stone I loved loved LOVED just didn't go at all with the overall flooring/wall/cabinets. Something had to give, and for me, it was the stone. I wanted consistent color throughout the house, and I wanted consistent flooring in the main floor area. If I'd chosen the stone first, I'd have had a very different outcome to my kitchen.
This probably doesn't help you at all LOL, but what I'm trying to say is that the consideration of all the materials has to be done in conjunction with each other, in my opinion. I would start with some ideas of overall look, get samples, put things together, and once everything coordinates, then make the purchases. Just my experience, that's all...
:)

May 08, 2012
freia in Not About Food

Friend coming for a few days from London, England. What can't she get across the pond that we do well here?

I think most Brits absolutely love love LOVE their own Cadbury brand, so I'm not too sure chocolate would be on the list.
I think any local product would work -- bison burgers, venison, Pacific salmon, fiddleheads, maple syrup, a massive rack of ribs (very costly not common in the UK).
Poutine as a fast food, for sure, but it has to be GOOD poutine!
Blueberry grunt, Saskatoon berry pie or jam would work for desserts.
:)

May 06, 2012
freia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Dieting during work travel

As a WW veteran and traveller, I know where you are coming from. It is hard, but not impossible, to stick to the program. The key is to map out and plan exactly what you will have, points wise, meal by meal.
You first have to make sure you count the wine points, deducting from your daily points.
Second, you need to figure out what would work for a portable breakfast. There are cereal bars, WW breakfast bars, and so on that are portable, discretely carried, and will definitely work. If breakfast is presented, keep the fruit and the coffee, and pull out your cereal or keep it for later. Now, if you don't like pre-made granola bar/cereal bars, do a little research on the WW site for recipes for home made breakfast bars or energy bars. I have a great recipe for energy bars made with dried apricots and nary an artificial sweetner in sight!. At the very least, you'll be able to account for your points and have a good breakfast. You also may want to bulk up your breakfasts? one egg white wouldn't last anyone, and 3 egg whites are a single point, so you have the points flexibility here. If there is a microwave accessible, then oatmeals are definitely in your future. Canned single portion tunas and chicken breasts are also an option.
Third, for lunches that are included, it may help to contact the site in advance for special dietary requests that you have. If it is a culinary student presentation, they will with enough advance notice, prepare you an alternate meal. No different than if this was a religious requirement. You may want to experiment and say that you are a vegetarian for example and see how it goes. I'm sure that being in the culinary world, they would expect if not welcome such requests. I can't imagine someone who is allergic to, say, dairy, being expected to eat a prepared meal.
Last, you need to sort out your snacks! Sorry, but dried fruits and nuts are SO energy dense that it is easy to fill up on empty points. You may look at 100 calorie snack packs to keep you going.
As for dinners, you have a few options. First is to just do the best you can, given the variety out there in these small towns. I'm pretty sure that with careful selection you could make the plan work. Baked potatoes instead of french fries, green salad with dressing on the side, grilled/poaches vs deep fried. The usual. It takes time and attention, and sometimes if you are with a group and know your hotel in advance, sorting out menus online in advance might be a good option. If there is no healthy option, which personally I'm not sure would happen very often, then it simply comes down to portion control and bumping up your exercise. The second is that if the hotel has an accessible microwave, there could be the possibility for you to actually make something if you so desire especially if you have a vehicle and could actually get to a grocery store or a quickie mart. If this appeals to you, packing a mini kitchen, with can opener, microwavable bowl, small strainer, plate, knife/fork/spoon is an option. IF you want to go whole hog, you can even pack an actual mini kitchen, with the above, plus ingredients that you can make simple meals from, and a portable induction cooktop. Now, this is the long term solution -- I did just that when I was in a yoga teacher training program that meant hotel residency for 9 weeks. I couldn't eat out, so I brought my kitchen with me. I would only do this with an induction cooktop as they are very safe, and pack it away completely during the day because hotels would rather you didn't cook in their rooms. From my POV, I couldn't afford to eat out every single meal (no meals were included and I was maxed to the limit budget wise), so that is what I did without problems. But that is a really hard core solution LOL!
Unfortunately, during travel, it comes down to just doing the best you can, making the best choices that you can, portion control, getting up early to work out every day, and perhaps eating not exactly what you would normally eat for the sake of points values (i.e. I don't like frozen dinners, but if I had to, I'd be eating them). Carry your points values books with you everywheres and double and triple check what you are having. The thing I found with travelling is that it is easy to get out of the portion control routine and into a "well, I'm here I might as well have..." mindframe.
There is hope and it can be done -- I went on a 2 week cruise last year and actually LOST weight simply through portion control, rigid points counting, and exercise. I took nothing with me, and ordered off the menus and/or buffets.
OH and be careful with the minibars! Many hotels these days charge you a fee if you even simply OPEN the minibar, so clearing it out and stocking it with your own stuff OFTEN incurs a charge.
Best of luck!
:)

May 05, 2012
freia in Home Cooking