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Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

about 3 hours ago
MGZ in Food Media & News

Americans Are Finally Eating Less

The Times has been continuing to print articles on the subject. Today's is "How Changing Attitudes Went Along With a Drop in Calories", and notes, in part:

"America had its misgivings about excess weight, even as it packed on the pounds. There have been fitness booms and diet crazes for decades. But in the early 2000s, something changed, many public health experts say: Many people started seeing obesity as a health crisis instead of a personal problem. This shift explains the surprising reduction in calorie consumption since about 2003, the first in decades. Obesity became a national issue — and not just a health issue but a cultural and economic one, too."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/ups...

about 5 hours ago
MGZ in Food Media & News

U.S. House Passes a Bill Banning GMO Labeling

"Therefore, GMO labeling is irrelevant and thus useless information. We don't need our packaging filled up with clutter."

Your conclusions regarding the relevance of the information is fundamentally missing the point, but it's also useful to help illustrate why increased disclosure on packaging is warranted. When making a decision concerning consumption, the buyer should be permitted access to relevant information and thereby not be in a disadvantaged position in the transaction. The buyer is then capable of making a decision from an educated perspective. It's at this point that you are free to draw your conclusion.

Personally, the information isn't going to change my consumption patterns nor those of many, but that doesn't in any way diminish my desire to see it on products. Adding a half dozen words to a package label is far from "cluttering it up"; but, even if it did, so what? The first priority of any package should be to truthfully disclose the nature of its contents. Customer manipulation and aesthetic values should never be more than merely secondary concerns.

Disclosure of known facts is not official judgment. We put all sorts of material facts on labels, but no one thinks that mentioning 25% of the RDA of Vitamin C means Vitamin C is unsafe. Our securities laws (another area of consumer protection) actually require significantly greater disclosures - and they're only dealing with money. Hiding information that a majority of consumers want distorts the market, is disingenuous to the citizenry, and dangerous to the function of governments.

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

Sure, there are historical examples, particularly glaring ones occur during revolutionary times. Hell, tarring and feathering supporters of the British crown was the original expression of "political correctness" in the US. Ironically, these revolutionary expressions of PC were reactionary mirrors of the types of practices used by the governments that were being violently toppled.

So, clearly there is a power dynamic at play. The absence of real power in the hands of the contemporary, progressive intelligentsia is only part of what I was referring to yesterday.

Mostly, however, I am always tickled when I perceive the implications from others that there is some organized conspiracy at work. That "The Left" is some kind of functioning cartel; as opposed to divers thinkers who recognize the inevitability of change, often try to help speed it along, and sometimes are able to dress up their brain farts enough to make it sound like a song. Anyone who's ever spent any amount of time in a group of exceptionally bright, highly educated people will tell you, the only universal thought is that each is the smartest one in the room.

about 7 hours ago
MGZ in Food Media & News

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

PC is a boogeyman - it doesn't actually exist, but provides some an excuse for the fear.

any ideas for smoking something new/unusual?

I really like barbecued lamb, but I can understand what you're saying about flavor expectations. I've never tried a neck though. Maybe soon.

U.S. House Passes a Bill Banning GMO Labeling

While I don't disagree about the overuse of the word. In this context it is correct. We are talking about labels on products which makes them factors in the act of consumption. We are "citizens" always, but when standing in a store reading packages we are in the subcategory "consumers". The necessity of information relating to the act of making consumption choices is why we pass "consumers protection" laws.

Jul 26, 2015
MGZ in Food Media & News
1

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

Mine too.

Jul 26, 2015
MGZ in Food Media & News

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

That sorta raises a question: What the hell is "American food"?

Jul 25, 2015
MGZ in Food Media & News
2

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

Yeah. The term is only useful because it permits the speaker to be lazy.

any ideas for smoking something new/unusual?

One of the most exciting, new (to me, at least) ideas I've heard in a while.

Jul 25, 2015
MGZ in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Americans Are Finally Eating Less

I have not had a chance to focus on the material you're calling attention to; however, the Times ran a companion piece to the article I linked explaining the sources of the data and research underlying the reporting. It explained:

"Our goal in this article is to explain the data that we used in our story about the recent decline in Americans’ calorie consumption. As that article said, none of the calorie-measuring studies we examined are perfect. But findings from all three have areas substantial overlap, giving researchers confidence that the changes are real."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/25/ups...

It is a helpful read and a good illustration of conducting research journalism and trend reporting.

Jul 25, 2015
MGZ in Food Media & News

Americans Are Finally Eating Less

I don't think either of those things are noteworthy drivers for the trend. Initially, it's clear that the data shows the biggest drops in calorie consumption are for children and then for the adults who live with them. If anything, the fact that our population's getting older, coupled with the data that the members of the older group are not significantly reducing their calories, supports an extrapolation that the younger groups are actually cutting caloric intake in greater numbers than the averages.

As to real wages, there're two problems with the theory. First, they have been declining since the 1980s. For almost the entirety of this continuing period of decline, we observed caloric intake increasing. I find it a stretch to try and say that all of a sudden its impact produced an opposite result.

The second problem is that high calorie foods are actually quite cheap and widely available. This fact, coupled with the drop in real wages, is more plausibly what helped drive the calorie intake/obesity increases over the past thirty years. We're just starting to get to a point in the public education process where people understand this reality.

The data shows that high sugar, carbonated beverage consumption decreases are the most significant. Yet, overall, the beverage segment of the industry is not showing any declines in profitability. The conclusion from this is that people are not spending less on beverages, they are simply choosing lower calorie drinks.

Jul 25, 2015
MGZ in Food Media & News
1

Perceptions in taste, not preferences

Thanks

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in General Topics

Perceptions in taste, not preferences

There is an NPR story today on tasting sugar that you might find interesting. I'm not currently able to post the link, but it's easy to find.

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in General Topics

Americans Are Finally Eating Less

Interesting.

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in Food Media & News

Pulled pork and what other entree?

New shells can be steamed, but submerging them into rapidly boiling water will introduce even more water into the body. I've even seen some where the meat wound up being destroyed in the shell.

A couple of tips for shedders. Poultry shears are a great and easy way to get to the meat - even the knuckles. If your buying them from a place where you can stick your hands in the tank, select those whose shells have hardened more, i.e., have had a longer time since molting.

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

Maybe I can get your boss some of those cards I mentioned the other day?

As to the right to work thing, that's up to the people in Florida to stop voting against their own interests.

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in Not About Food

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

Whether you know it or not, you make a good argument for the fact that our shift to a service based economy means that we should be seeing an increase in all service employment compensation (and that medical staff in your state really should start to unionize). We've tolerated capital-slanted policies for a long time now and the concentration of wealth continues to create dangerous imbalance.

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in Not About Food

Perceptions in taste, not preferences

See there, I'm thinking you meant to do that. Give me a nice example of how it's impossible to separate out perception since it innately relates to our experiences and then immediately moving on to illustrate how we can then exercise active "listening" skills to better comprehend what has been said. Good work, my friend.

That's basically what I meant when I mentioned "reverse engineering" the other day. I've been sort of skirting the issue of active listening in this discussion, but it's crucial to the exchange of information and the provision of descriptions. It also ties to the concept of vocabulary's role that foxglove mentioned above.

To use the chardonnay is buttery example already mentioned, I'd say the first thing to acknowledge is that it's not really literal. Preliminarily, it's worth mentioning, butter doesn't have a great deal of pronounced flavor. As others have noted, there are primarily two elements that contribute to the use of the description. The oak factor plays to aroma which has a massive impact on what we think of as "taste". The chemical reactions contribute to mouthfeel, which replicates the sensation we experience from unctuous foods. Together, this overall taste sensation is what we've come to call "buttery" as a shorthand.

It's here that the vocabulary element reappears - in two ways. Initially, we have an expansion of meanings for a single, already familiar word. Butter is not only the semi-solid milk product, but also a descriptor for a particular characteristic in some wines that has a sensory identifier. One can actually never taste "butter" in a glass and still be able to understand and identify a "buttery" chardonnay. It is this expansion of individual vocabulary that then leads to the development of the "dedicated" lexicon that, in my first post, I suggested was missing.

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in General Topics

Pulled pork and what other entree?

NEVER boil a soft (new) shell lobster.

Now that that's out of the way, why not take advantage of the sale? You could even serve splits grilled, if you don't have a good way to steam 'em.

Edit: I was still thinking about your question as I walked in and remembered how much fun we had with lobster tacos when the new shell prices were at their bottom last summer. Basically, I'd just steam, cool, remove, and cut the meat in advance, then serve it with a habanero salsa and good, warm tortillas (wrap in foil and use the grill's heat). When you think about it, they're really just a variation on a mini lobster roll thing (which would also work and can be done in advance - except for the roll grilling).

Jul 24, 2015
MGZ in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

U.S. House Passes a Bill Banning GMO Labeling

Nah. It's just an assertion of the belief that consumers need to be treated like mushrooms.

U.S. House Passes a Bill Banning GMO Labeling

The "market" isn't being allowed to open its doors. This is the same highly partisan, industry sponsored legislation that has been being pushed to keep information from consumers for a couple years now.

There is, however, a telling political lesson to be taken from it. "States' rights" rhetoric can be easily silenced with corporate funds.

Food Truck Preceptions

Much like there are both good and bad home cooks and restaurants, there're good and bad food trucks.

Perceptions in taste, not preferences

I think that it's almost impossible to completely avoid some judgments when trying to describe tastes. The speaker's relationship with the point of comparison plays a part in the decision to use that item for the description. Perhaps, it's actually advisable for a speaker to disclose such information; otherwise, the onus falls on the listener to have enough of a relationship with the speaker to already know it. (If you think about it, this concept is actually part of what makes this Site, with its reliance upon the community, work.)

What I think is doomed to failure for a descriptive approach is sole reliance upon terms that are purely judgmental. Stating that a piece of cheese is "delicious" tells little. Stating that it is "earthy and peppery" is better, but, as we've seen, still vague. Stating that it is "deliciously earthy and peppery" helps solve both problems. Although, I would think that adding in a level of additional reference with simile is even better: "the cheese was deliciously earthy and peppery, like a taste of cream in a freshly mowed field."

Jul 23, 2015
MGZ in General Topics

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

"Where we reach a bit of unbalance is trying to compare a system which was based off a "minimum wage" and now call that a "living wage". The minimum wage was NEVER instituted or intended to be a living wage. It was a wage which was deemed "Fair" and non-abusive for employers to pay someone for their hourly time. The entire concept of a minimum wage was NEVER INTENDED to be a living wage, it was intended to prevent employer abuses/slave labor."

I forget, is it "po-Tay-to" or "po-TAH-to"?

Jul 22, 2015
MGZ in Not About Food

Perceptions in taste, not preferences

I think this is a very interesting topic, and capable of being stretched far in a couple of different directions. I will, however, endeavor to keep my ramblings in check. The act of describing flavors is actually a very elusive art to master (as if precise communication in general wasn't difficult enough in and of itself).

Initially, there are limitations in vocabulary to be acknowledged. Both in terms of what the speaker has at her disposal to employ, and what the listener has for purposes of understanding. Moreover, since we do not have a dedicated vocabulary for describing tastes, we resort to comparisons. By doing this, we make the description subject to two sets of (at least) two perceptions.

To take the oregano as "earthy and peppery" report as an example, we can see it has a pretty glaring flaw in assuming the listener knows what two words susceptible to multiple meanings means to the speaker. Is "earthy" a reference to dirt, "mineraliness", something fundamentally "plantish"? Is "peppery" a reference to black peppercorns? Green peppers? Further, even assuming that the listener does know exactly what the speaker meant by the words, there is a subjective perception/pleasure element that becomes inextricably caught up in our understanding of the description based on a comparison. An element of clean soil as a taste note is "good" to some and "bad" to others.

Now, that being said, I can vaguely "reverse engineer" what was meant by the description because I know what oregano tastes like. Eventually, I can twist concepts of "earthy" and "peppery" to fit that knowledge, until arriving at the point of, "Oh, I kinda get it now . . . ."

Ahh, I need to stop or this will go on for hours. Did I really step into the subjectivity zone again? Is it too early for wine? I promise to try and find the delicate tones of pear in the nose.

Jul 22, 2015
MGZ in General Topics
1

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

That's the thing. It's a cowardly political protest that does nothing at all to help his cause, but instead punishes innocent beneficiaries. Apparently, the guy used to take pension checks from mailboxes, to protest the existence of Social Security.

Jul 21, 2015
MGZ in Not About Food
1

$15 Minimum Wage=No Tip

The card was way too wordy. It should have simply read: "I'm an asshole."

What is it that really turns your stomach?

"I mean really makes you want to put down your fork and wretch? Is there anything that would interfere with your meal that much?"

I can only think of three things that will really make me lose my appetite at the table - and none of 'em are food. In order, they are:

Over-cologned or perfumed members of my party.

Conversations about money, blood tests, diets, or medications that last more than thirty seconds.

Someone pulling out an iPad to show baby pictures (although, admittedly, it's better than them bringing the real thing to dinner).

I'll trade you any of the above for all the rare chicken you ever encounter.

Jul 21, 2015
MGZ in Not About Food
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