One of my godsons, Daniel, knows how I am about bacon and let me know about an article, in Popular Science, in which bacon cuts metal. Bacon. Metal. Fire. That boy is growing up with some proper values.
The Accidental Hedonist's Food Journal reports that "the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has recently
begun a campaign to encourage processed food companies to reduce the
amount of sodium in their goods by more than 40 percent over the next
decade." Not clear to me whether they are aiming to legislate, as they did for trans fats in restaurants. I hope not. Spending public funds to promote lower salt is fine with me, but making it the law is another matter. Here's the comment I posted.
Difficult question, but not new: Freedom vs. public good. I don't think the public benefit here is sufficient to tell people what they can buy and sell. But that said, I would enjoy seeing lower salt use because people are so used to overly salty foods that they can't taste it. Reducing all the salt use would make foods taste better for all. As it is, most reduced sodium products (e.g. chicken broth) are saltier than I like.
But that's just me and while I would like to see it happen, legislating it seems wrong to me.
I probably see 100 recipes a month I want to try. It's funny how some stick in my mind and won't go away. When I saw Mark Bittman's "ducketta" -- a stuffed duck breast version of Italian porchetta, I just knew it would stick. I don't use duck nearly as often as I would like.
Watch this space! Tomorrow is ducketta night. As it happens, I stumbled on an old episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" in which he prepares duck, so I will be combining the techniques. Brown brines his duck and browns it in cast iron in a hot oven. I'll be adding those to Bittman's recipe. (I always try to do my browning in the oven when working with fatty products, because stovetop browning requires grueling cleanup.)
I also like Brown's idea of using all the rendered duck fat ("gold," he called it) to braise some greens. Or I might use it to oven roast some potatoes.
Then, on Sunday, foodie friend Butch (I would link to his blog but sheesh, last time the guy wrote anything there, Webvan was still around) is coming over and we will make some home brew beer and prepare some other not-yet-identified delectable-from-scratch.
Meanwhile, we have a new puppy. That has nothing to do with food, except that his name is Sage, but heck, who doesn't love puppies?
It's defined as the first day each year I hear that song -- you know the one. Last year, it was at Starbuck's in November. This year, I was thinking it wouldn't happen but tonight, we were watching 30 Rock and there was a commercial for some new movie. I didn't even notice the song right away, but Kathy pointed it out!
If you're in the San Francisco area, tune in to Best of the Bay on KRON TV, channel 4, on Saturday at 5:30 and you just might see Mr. FeedMe!
I was in Lafayette yesterday with my brother, his wife, and my mother, visiting from New York. We say a TV crew outside the Yankee Pier, recording what turned out to be the opening segment for an episode of Best of the Bay. Host Janelle Marie did the "Let's go inside" bit (though ironically, they weren't going inside — those segments were recorded on another occasion — and laughed about the lobster door handle, which she called the lob-knob. (I want one.)
We talked a while and she asked if we wanted to help introduce the next segment on pubs. I am not a TV guy but what the heck? Suddenly there I was introducing Alameda's best pub.
Dr. Michael Debakey (pictured at right, at age 85) died today, at age 99. He invented the coronary bypass. He performed one on my father. This is the story of how that came to be.
Dad's second heart attack occurred while he was getting an arteriogram, as part of the one-year followup, after his first attack. If you're going to have a heart attack, NYU's cardiac care hospital is a pretty good place to do it.
The doctors wanted to do a bypass. My mother, noting that insurance allows a second opinion, asked a cousin who was in medical school who was that best cardiac surgeon in the country. "The doctor who wrote my text book is pretty good," said my cousin. It was Dr. Michael Debakey.
Most people would seek a local doctor for a second opinion. We weren't rich or famous or well connected, but I don't suppose Mom thought twice about seeking the top name.
Mom wrote two letters: One to Debakey and one to his then-rival and former partner Denton Cooley. A few days later, the phone rang. It was Dr. Debakey. "Will you consult on my husband's case?" she asked. He would. She had them NYU send the records.
A few days later, he called again and advised a triple bypass. I don't suppose she thought twice before she asked, "Will you do it?" He would. They talked for a while and he asked if she had any questions. She said no, and he said, "That's because you don't know what questions to ask," and he answered all the questions she did not know she had. They were on the phone for an hour and a half.
A few days later, we were in Houston. It was July or August, as I recall. Not a good time to be in Houston. Hot, very hot, and shirt-wringingly humid. I remember that spending hours waiting in a hospital was not so bad, since it was air conditioned.
Debakey put my Mom in the hospital. He was talking to her in his office and noted she did not look healthy. She is allergic to tobacco smoke and was suffering from days in the waiting room, with the families of Debakey's 60 patients. He had her admitted for treatment.
Debakey was 69 when he did my Dad's surgery. His patients filled a floor of the hospital. My mom recalls he did 21 operations that day. He did about 100 a week. His team prepared and closed each patient. By 1992, he had done 50,000 surgeries. "Man was born to work hard," he said.
He also played hard. I recall someone pointing out a blue Mercedes in the parking lot. It had a baby seat in the back. "That's Dr. Debakey's car." His wife was 34.
My Dad, shown here at a much younger age, also believed man was born to work hard. He survived another eight years, one of many thousands who benefit from Debakey's work. Debakey's patients included at least three U.S. presidents and dozens of celebrities and world leaders. Celebrities were no different to him:
"Once you incise the skin, you find that they are all very similar," he once said.
And one of the great men Dr. Bakey worked on was Harry Rubenzahl. Because my mother didn't hesitate to think that the doctor who took care of presidents would be the perfect choice to take care of her husband.
Reporting about an emotional response can't capture it. If you haven't seen it, please do. A rare look past the public persona into what drives a public figure.
It's easy to be cynical about our political system but I think most politicians are motivated by real caring and a desire to make a better world. It's true for the few I have met (except Darrel Issa who was a bigger ass in person than he is in public.) I think that in order to withstand the hurdles of major politics, one has to have extraordinary motivation, which means either a deep caring, or a needy ego, and I prefer to think there are more of the former than of the latter.
Serious Eats Serious Eats is another blog which plants its stake, and its steak, in the fertile land where food meets science. There is lots of great material here, much of it by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, or Kenji. If you like FeedMe, you will like Serious Eats.
Cooking for Engineers What do you get when you apply the engineer's mind to the kitchen? Straightforward, practical recipes and tips and a passion for simplifying without sacrificing quality.