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Accused of shoplifting!

"So if your basket is a means of carrying your items to your car (not many items; baskets can't hold all that much), just use re-useable shopping bags instead. As others have said, I have never seen anyone carrying groceries out of the store in a basket."

My baskets are larger than the stores' baskets, while also easier to maneuver with than the full-size shopping carts. And they are much CLEANER.

Dec 23, 2014
racer x in Not About Food

Accused of shoplifting!

"After your initial conversation at the front desk...presumably there is a distance to the front door, or is it right at the entrance or exit? I just don't understand what compelled the manager to follow you first with his eyes, then you out the door."

I spoke with the manager near the service desk, which is near the center of the front of the store. The door I left through is some distance from there, 50 feet maybe?
I don't understand it either.

Dec 23, 2014
racer x in Not About Food

Accused of shoplifting!

lol

Dec 23, 2014
racer x in Not About Food

Accused of shoplifting!

I had the pleasure of being accused of stealing from a local grocery store this weekend.

I usually avoid shopping on weekend afternoons because of the crowds. And especially so on the weekend before a major holiday. However, I needed some ingredients for something I was cooking, and I had had to be in the area anyway.

The checkout lines were hellishly long, as expected, but the clerk was so efficient that I got through the express line even faster than I usually get through checkout lines when the lines are much shorter. In fact, I was so impressed by the clerk's efficiency that I went up to the front of the store to find the store manager, and I told him how good a job that clerk was doing.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished.

I promptly left the store, put my purchases in the trunk of the car, and was about to pull out of the parking lot when I saw that the manager had followed me out to the car. He came up to the window and demanded that I return their shopping basket. I think his actual words were something along the lines of, "We'd like our cart back." I had no idea what he was talking about - I thought he'd said they wanted their "card" back, which made no sense. He repeated his demand, and I realized he was asking for the shopping basket.

As I've previously posted here, I try to use my own plastic shopping baskets when just buying a small number of groceries, to help cut down on the detrimental effects of plastic bags on the environment.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9086...
Unfortunately, my basket is the same color as the store's baskets.

I told the manager that the basket was my own; I had bought it.
He asked, "It's yours?" in a very sarcastic tone, with a look as if he couldn't believe I was lying so audaciously.

At this point I completely lost my cool and started yelling at him. I got out of the car and showed him that my basket was larger than theirs (also cleaner, I might add), and did not have the store's label emblazened on the sides the way the store baskets do. He was also able to see that sitting next to the basket in the trunk I had a spare basket exactly like the first one. (Along with a spare paper shopping bag from a competitor grocery store.) At this point he acknowledged that I was right.

Moral of the story, I guess, is that if you decide to use your own shopping basket, get one that doesn't look anything like the ones used by the stores where you plan to use it.

Actually, I am dismayed that the practice of using unnecessary disposable plastic bags has become so deeply ingrained that when someone opts to not use them here, the person is automatically assumed to be a criminal.

Dec 22, 2014
racer x in Not About Food

Freeze Parmesan Reggiano?

Just came to this thread with the same question as the OP.
Actually, the going price around here is now $20-25/lb, but it's on sale at a local shop for $15/lb, so I think it might be a good idea to stock up. If I just leave it in the refrigerator, it may get moldy after a few months (based on experience), so freezing seems to be the way to go in this situation.

Dec 15, 2014
racer x in Cheese

Corn prices

NPR recently broadcast a report on how a fantastic corn harvest this year has been causing a glut in the market, made even worse by farmers being unable to transport all of the corn available due to a shortage of rail space (from a recent jump in the amount of oil being transported via rail). This has supposedly resulted in the lowest corn prices in 5 years.

Have the prices of fresh corn where you shop fallen?

(I realize that much of the corn grown in the US is not intended for human consumption, but I would imagine that many of the factors affecting the harvest would be the same for both types of corn.)

Dec 01, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News

What type of cuisine do you NOT like?

?Chinese. Ipsedixit, for some reason I thought you were Chinese-American.

Nov 26, 2014
racer x in General Topics

What type of cuisine do you NOT like?

Excellent point about the psychology of taste, PhilD, as we have seen time and again.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/arc...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qa6Q...

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/...

Nov 26, 2014
racer x in General Topics

​McDonald's won't be using GMO potatoes

at least not for now ...

Nov 15, 2014
racer x in Food Media & News
1

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