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racer x's Profile

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​McDonald's won't be using GMO potatoes

at least not for now ...

Nov 15, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News
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Do You Enjoy Crisp Waffles, Pancakes and Crepes?

Given those choices, thin and sponge like. But not too thin!

And give me a crispy waffle or a crispy crepe and I will be very disappointed.

Nov 10, 2014
racer x in General Topics

Does your city have an International District/Chinatown?

I live in Miami. My city IS an international district. ;-)

Plenty of Latin American / Spanish Caribbean markets and restaurants everywhere. A lot harder to find good Korean or Chinese here than in some of the other major cities in the country.

Nov 09, 2014
racer x in General Topics
1

Does your city have an International District/Chinatown?

There used to be a Cambodian restaurant in Brooklyn, near BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), if I'm remembering right. But that was 20 years ago.

Nov 09, 2014
racer x in General Topics

Do You Enjoy Crisp Waffles, Pancakes and Crepes?

I detest crispiness in these foods.
My favorite thing about pancakes, in fact, is probably the soft texture throughout.

Nov 09, 2014
racer x in General Topics

US voters reject ballot initiatives for mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods

I'm 100% with you, JTPhilly. MORE info is better.
Why hide this info from consumers?

Nov 08, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Who knew that Log Cabin, Mrs Butterworth, etc, syrups do not contain actual maple syrup?

This is an old thread. Since that 2010 post of mine in which I said I preferred Log Cabin syrup, I've tasted several other real maple syrups and found that I prefer real maple syrup over the artifically flavored high-fructose corn syrup stuff.
(I've also found that the taste of real maple syrup can vary a lot. I've had some that was pretty awful, certainly much less appealing than Log Cabin.)

Nov 08, 2014
racer x in General Topics
1

US voters reject ballot initiatives for mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods

Now, this is very interesting: A survey conducted in Oregon just days prior to the vote showed a striking gender difference. Some 51% of women surveyed were in favor of the labeling requirement while 59% of men were opposed.

Perhaps less suprising was the age difference: 61% of adults younger than 36 were in favor while 57% of those over 64 were opposed.
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/in...

Nov 08, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

US voters reject ballot initiatives for mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods

Most of these ballot measures are being defeated by extremely narrow margins. The Washington and California measures went down by just 1-2% point difference. The Oregon measure was defeated 50.5% to 49.5%.
The agribusiness corporations certainly seem to think that those tens of millions of dollars are having the effect that they want.

Nov 08, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

US voters reject ballot initiatives for mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods

National polls show very large majorities of Americans (we're talking 80-90+%) in favor of labeling genetically-modified foods.
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/stor...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03...
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/sci...

But once the opposition campaign money starts rolling in, opinions start to change.

In Washington: "Early polling showed voters favored the measure. But a barrage of TV and radio spots financed by a food industry group and five biotechnology companies has helped narrow the gap. The opposition outspent supporters about 3 to 1."
http://www.king5.com/story/news/polit...
"A poll in September by Elway Research based in Seattle found that 66 percent of voters supported the labeling measure. But as television ads attacking the measure multiplied and some major newspapers, including The Seattle Times, have urged rejection of the measure in editorials, support has eroded."
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/us/...

Nov 08, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

US voters reject ballot initiatives for mandatory labeling of genetically-modified foods

This week, voters in Colorado and Oregon defeated ballot proposals that would have mandated that certain genetically-modified foods to be labeled as such.

Similar previous measures have been defeated by voters in Washington state and California.

Campaign spending by opponents of the measures outdistanced spending by supporters several times over.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gmo-label...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/bus...

Nov 08, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Study: Milk may not be very good for bones or the body: British Medical Journal

Sunshine, I was not commenting on the study. I was commenting on the hole in your reasoning.

Study: Milk may not be very good for bones or the body: British Medical Journal

"I still don't buy that it wouldn't have shown up centuries ago in dairy-dependent cultures."

Sunshine, the problem with that is that it has only been in very recent generations (the past couple of centuries) that adult life expectancies reached into the 60s and beyond. So health problems that today arise in people in their 70s and 80s might not have been apparent in populations in which people typically died by their early 50s.

Nov 06, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Two guys serve McDonalds at a high-end food event and nobody can tell:

Thanks for sharing. That was hilarious.

It's just like with the wine-tastings. People, even so-called experts, will think something tastes so much better if you present it in just the right way.

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

"which is tasteless and undoubtedly 'select' grade beef" -- could be "standard" rather than "select" ...

Oct 16, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Several of the points were in response to comments posted in this thread by others.

For example: paulj's comment, "If grading is largely based on a visual inspection, shouldn't an experienced shopper do (nearly) as well as the USDA inspector? Surely we can judge the marbling of a steak." No, if the USDA official grading is based on a cut at the 12th-13th rib and you are just looking at a cut from the shoulder blade area, your assessment may be very different unless you are very experienced.

Or Tom34's comment, "According to the USDA, the only time the big packers don't quality grade is if the meat was of such poor quality that it wouldn't make a grade." That statement is likely true, but it's worth noting that smaller suppliers who specialize in grassfed beef often don't seek USDA grading not because the meat is of poor quality per se but because the current grading system is biased in favor of cornfed and against grassfed beef. (That's one of the issues that may be addressed in the standards revision USDA is working on.)

Or Ennuisans' comment about trying to save money by not grading. If only 2% of a head are prime, the sellers would be losing out on the additional profits for beef of that quality (assuming some cattle of any head are prime). It would only make sense not to grade if the cost of grading is greater than the dollar premium of prime over the lower grades.

Oct 14, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

We may be about to get another change in the grading system soon.

http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-n...

Oct 14, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

I don't eat beef steaks much, and I know almost nothing about this area. But from what I am reading, there are several useful points, I think.

First, the vast majority of beef in processing plants is USDA choice or select. The 2011 National Beef Quality Audit found 2% prime, 59% choice, and 33% select - with only 5% standard, 0.9% commercial, and 0.3% utility in their random sampling of nearly 10,000 carcasses at 28 packing plants across the US. (The 2005 audit had found a very similar distribution.)
http://bqa.org/CMDocs/bqa/Phase2Onlin...

Second, technically speaking, the official quality grades are not determined based on marbling found on inspection of INDIVIDUAL CUTS of meat. They are determined based on inspection of whole carcasses, and specifically on inspection of meat from cuts made at the 12th to 13th rib. (So all of the cuts taken from a "prime"-graded carcass would be labeled USDA prime.) Presumably, an experienced shopper should be able to achieve a decent correlation between their evaluation of a retail cut and the official USDA grading if the cut is taken from fattier areas, but getting that good correlation is probably a lot harder for cuts taken further away from the official anatomical target site, at sites where the meat naturally tends to be leaner.

A few other tidbits I found interesting:

"Up until about 30 years ago, grades were primarily determined by the individual. Today, Video Imaging Analysis (VIA) is used in most facilities to help with objectivity."

"High-end steakhouses once controlled the lion’s share of prime, but due to the economic slump, many steakhouses have had to scale back, putting prime steaks on the shelves at retail prices."

"Don’t splurge for prime when buying loin cuts (tenderloin, sirloin). They are naturally tender, and the marbling when compared to the next grade down just isn’t worth the upgrade."

"So what about a boutique butcher that sells locally-raised beef with no grades? Small-scale producers, particularly ones who pasture-raise, usually don’t participate in grading because the standards are built around what grain-fed beef should look like, which all but guarantee a low score. There’s no way a cow raised on grass will match the color, texture (both visual factors in determining age) and marbling of a cow raised and fattened on grain."
http://modernfarmer.com/2013/10/demys...

"Although the grades are useful. many people would argue that the USDA watered down its grading standards in 1976, permitting leaner meat that should be labeled choice to be labeled prime.... When he goes to his wholesale suppliers and looks at 200 or 300 sides of beef graded usda prime, he finds only 5 or 6 that meet his standards."

"Phrases such as 'prime cut' and 'prime quality' can fool customers into thinking they are being served USDA prime beef when they aren't. For example, Ruth's Chris uses the phrase 'U.S. Prime' on its signs, but while its strip steak is USDA prime, the filet mignon is USDA choice."
http://books.google.com/books?id=lv4D...

Oct 14, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Yes, my sarcasm may have not been clear. (notice the winking emoticon)

Oct 13, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Left to their own devices, corporations will generally err on the side of doing what's best for their customers. Like getting rid of the distinctions between "choice" grade and "select" grade meat on the labels. ; )

I see the issue of whether USDA grades should be identified on the label as analogous, from the consumer's perspective, to whether genetically-modified foods should be identified. Let people know what they're paying for. If they don't care, it shouldn't affect their buying habits.

I was surprised to learn from this article that the USDA grading system is optional, if nearly universal. I had thought it was required by federal law. Not so. Grocers apparently pay a fee to voluntarily have their meats USDA graded. (It's the safety inspections that are required by law.)

Oct 13, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

Anthony Bourdain visits Da Bronx

Did anyone catch Bourdain's Parts Unknown episode showcasing the Bronx? I caught part of it but was interrupted by telephone calls. From what I could see, it looks like he didn't go to Arthur Avenue. Seems a sin to have a show on food in the Bronx and neglect to include a trip to Arthur Ave (especially to Zero Otto Nove).

Oct 07, 2014
racer x in Outer Boroughs

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

I agree with you on avoiding peaches that have no peach aroma at all, but I've been pleasantly surprised after taking a chance and trying some pretty hard nectarines that at least had a good strong scent in the store. After sitting at room temperature for a few days, they soften up and, in many cases, taste delicious. I've been seeing these types more often the past couple of years.
(Fortunately, I haven't yet seen the green peaches you mention!)

Sep 01, 2014
racer x in General Topics

Cake Problem - Edges Too Brown

I've mostly eliminated the problem by switching to greasing with coconut oil and turning the cakes out of the pans for cooling MUCH sooner than I used to. And using parchment paper for the bottoms.

(For the bundt cakes, I dumped the old nonstick I'd been using and switched to a heavier Nordicware.)

Sep 01, 2014
racer x in Home Cooking

You've Been Slicing Watermelon Wrong All These Years...A New and Easier Way to Eat.....

Why make it so complicated?
K-I-S-S

Sep 01, 2014
racer x in General Topics

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

foodieX2: "Any good farmer/market offers you an ear to try. If they don't, then don't buy it."

-- I grew up in corn country (Chicago area), and it was routine in the grocery store in those days to shuck back the husk and take a look at an ear or two before buying a bunch of ears. (I never saw anybody actually bite into corn in the store though.) As I recall, the corn was always of excellent quality.

But at my local Publix and Winn-Dixie stores, they now sell ears of corn on styrofoam trays, pre-shucked and covered with plastic wrap.

Aug 20, 2014
racer x in General Topics

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

Yeah, I figure they would, as my sense has been that my local branches value customer service. (The one item I've asked for a refund for over the years at Publix was for something that was advertised as on sale but was rung up at the usual price. I asked them only to make up the difference, but they gave me a full refund and let me keep the product without any questions.)

I was just curious as to how others handle tend to handle this sort of situation with fruit, which I'd think isn't all that uncommon. Especially since more and more of it is being sold wrapped in plastic without any samples.

Aug 20, 2014
racer x in General Topics

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

"No, because I can't be bothered to return groceries due to logistics. But these kinds of claims do drive me nuts - same with 'tree-ripened' fruit that isn't ripe, 'ripe' avocados that aren't, etc. Especially if you pay some kind of premium price."

-- Thank you, julesrules.

There's been a lot of talk here about the wonders of farmers markets. Well, I think we all agree that farmers markets are great -- when they are available and convenient for you to use. That's not what this discussion is about. This is specifically about produce from the local supermarket.

There's also been a lot of talk here that basically amounts to saying that the buyer deserved to get unsatisfactory product for having been so foolish as to buy out of season.

As I tried to point out above, EVERYTHING - short of some citrus and strawberries - is ALWAYS out of season here. Yet we still often manage to enjoy very good fruit, including cherries on occasion, even though it has all been carted in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. So it's not just a matter of having bought something out of season that had to withstand travel over long distances. If I were to limit myself to only buying fruit that was locally grown and in-season, I'd have to stop buying fruit.

My beef is with the store having described the cherries as "extra sweet" when they are not. I don't fault the store for selling fruit ranging among a variety of levels of quality. It would be unreasonable to expect a store to always have perfect fruit. Mother Nature just wouldn't cooperate. But I do fault them for describing the fruit in a way that is misleading. And after eating and buying cherries for decades, I think I've developed a reasonably accurate gauge of what the spectrum of normal sweetness for cherries is (regardless of whether what I consider to be pleasingly sweet is the same as what others do).

So by all means, go ahead and sell the cherries. Just don't make them sound like something they are not.
And price them fairly. When they cost $4 a pound, I'd really like to have the option of enjoying them eaten out of hand, as opposed to feeling no choice but to make do using them for a compote or something.

Aug 20, 2014
racer x in General Topics
1

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

Just about the only things we grow here in Miami are citrus, strawberries, and condos. Even most of the commercially grown tropical fruits we have come from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

If the fruit were always bad, that would be one thing. But it's very hit or miss. Some batches of fruit from the grocers are spectacular.

Aug 20, 2014
racer x in General Topics
1

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

Since a couple of contributors to this discussion have stated that 'sweet' refers to a variety of cherry, as opposed to how sweet the cherries are expected to be, let me clarify.

(1) In my area, at the grocery stores where I routinely shop, cherries are not labeled "sweet cherries" to identify a particular variety. If the store is selling a sour cherry variety, then they label the product as "sour cherries." Otherwise, all cherries are labeled simply as "cherries" and are implied to be a sweet cherry variety.

(2) Here's exactly what the tag at the store says:
"Northwest Cherries
Extra large and extra sweet. High in vitamin C and folate."

Aug 20, 2014
racer x in General Topics
1

Return "sweet" fruit that isn't sweet?

I don't fault the store for selling fruit that is not to my liking. I fault them for misrepresenting the product. Calling something that is in fact not sweet "sweet" is misleading.

The difficulty is in the subjective nature of how "sweet" is defined. If I found that a "seedless" watermelon I had bought actually contained numerous seeds, I wouldn't hesitate to return it because whether a watermelon is seedless or not is a more objective question that most observers would readily agree on.

Aug 19, 2014
racer x in General Topics
1