Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Madame MPH

After a quick two years, I have finished my graduate program (aka, my excuse for not blogging.) It is exciting and nerve-racking to be all done with school. I can't remember a time in my life where I wasn't researching the next program I would apply to. Maybe there is a PhD in my future? Maybe not! As for now, please refer to me as Madame MPH. Thanks.
Update: Vince and I moved back to San Diego. We miss Santa Monica, but enjoy being home. Vince is almost always working these days, not that I'm complaining. I am almost never working these days - now I am complaining. I actually do have a job. I work part time for California Food Policy Advocates as a Nutrition Policy Analyst. I love the organization, I am passionate about the work I am doing, I just wish there was more. 

But more importantly, I am almost always busy with wedding planning. The wedding is in 4 months and I have a long list of home-made to do's. Currently: Invitations. Who was the crazy person who told me making my own invitations was not that bad? (I think it was me.) I only have approximately 150 invitations to make and I have only added about eight different crafting layers to each one. I am also on the hunt for a good wedding cake. In the process, I have learned that I just don't like wedding cake - uh oh. I kind of want a wedding apple pie. Sounds just slightly messy to feed to each other, though. Any suggestions?

Thanks to those who have waited through the long lulls of nothingness! No excuses now… I'm back!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fine Whine

Sometimes, when we receive a nice bottle of wine as a gift (thank you, B & G), I find myself admiring the bottle - but not drinking it. I am stuck in a conundrum where the fine wine must be accompanied by a gourmet meal that I don't want to make. The wine tempts me, looking oh-so-enjoyable, yet makes me feel like a lazy, uninspired cook.

Well... I have found that there are times when you just have to give in and purchase yourself a nice, gourmet... delivery pizza.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's not so EGGcellent

This latest round of salmonella infested eggs has me rethinking my choice to eat meat. A recent article in the LA Times detailed (via FDA reports) the disgusting state of the chicken farms from which the ill eggs were derived. I'll let you read the article yourself if you like, but (as maybe the least disturbing detail) I'll share this: There was manure built up as high as 8 feet pushing pit doors open allowing vermon in and chickens out to wander in the crap. It's no wonder the eggs contained salmonella (not to mention the shockingly dirty water used to "clean" the eggs).

I love cured ham. I will never become a vegetarian based on my love for prosciutto. HOWEVER - I do think there is something to be said about being an educated consumer and a humane omnivore. Purchasing eggs from chickens kept in sanitary and healthy living conditionss not only makes you feel good, but it also allows your intestinal tract to function properly. Confused by the varying types of eggs sold in grocery stores? Me too. Definitions follow.

Lesson for the day: 

Producers must demonstrate to the FDA that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside. A vague definition, but none-the-less better than no legal definition at all.

A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (e.g., no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.)

A term that appears to have no legal definition for the USDA or FDA. This means that "Cage Free" is up to seller to define (uh-oh).

A term that refers to the regulations and standards of the feed fed to the chickens. For eggs to be labeled "organic," the chickens must be fed organic feed (grown without commercial fertilizers or pesticides), and not given hormones or antibiotics. This has nothing to do with how the animals are kept, however.
A paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones with attached edible meat under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. Can be found in products such as the Slim Jim.

Interested in this topic? I suggest the following reads:

If you haven't already, Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: The Penguin Press, 2006.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics. Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press, 2007.

A USDA fact sheet on Meat & Poultry Labeling

The FDA's report on the state of the Iowa egg farms

Don't have the time to read? Watch Food Inc., it's free, relatively quick and on-demand on Netflix.

What makes me an expert? I'm not - by any means. But I am getting my Masters in Public Health and I currently work as a Nutritional Policy Advocate. All I'm saying is take the time to know where your food comes from. It might shock you. It definitely shocked me.

Sick of all the questions I am posing? Okay, I'll stop.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A 2 dollar wine that taste like 4

Maybe you've read the Fortune Magazine article on Traders Joe's, or possibly you were  listening this morning to NPR and heard the story covering the story from Fortune Magazine's article on Trader Joe's. Regardless - the best thing I have gotten from all of this story coverage is the following:

If you are a TJ junkie like me, you must agree that this video is genius.