Friday, May 24, 2013 was it?

The term is about over.  So -
What surprised you?
What food did you love?
What was the most memorable experience?
What recipe could you see yourself making again and again?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Exotic Foods

Every culture around the world has traditional dishes that are seen as weird and unusual to other cultures. Finding these exotic foods here in the United States can be difficult mainly because they are not a part of our culture of cheese burgers and hot dogs. It can be hard for people to try new things especially if it is gross and disgusting. It’s hard to imaging people in different countries eating things that might make you throw up at the sight of it; I have heard of people afraid to step in another country simply because of the food that they heard people eat, but in our diverse nation you can find some unusual foods that you would never imagine in eating. 

In Texas you usually hear about Texas barbeque and in California you hear about the famous eggrolls but you never hear about cow lips – yes, cow lips - found in parts of Texas and California.  It is a slab of flesh covered in spikes; you can see it looks similar to the scales of a crocodile.  People that find cow lips appetizing will braise and cook these lips with herbs.

In South Korea you can find silkworm larvae as a snack. Walking down the street you can find silkworms being steamed and boiled then eaten directly in a special sauce. In New York you can find a hot dog cart in the street corner; in Korea you can find these silkworm carts around town. 

One of the most exotic foods that I have found is called Balut, a half fertilized duck egg that is eaten after it has been cooked. The few brave people that have tried this duck egg have said it to be appetizing and flavorful. The long time fans of Balut even said that the taste of the chick is wonderful. The idea of eating a half born chick makes me want to puke, but good luck to anyone that is considering in finding this dish; only some remote parts of China and Middle East Asia call this a delicacy.

                Japan is famous for their sea food; sushi restaurants can be found around the country but there’s a difference between American sushi and Japanese sushi. One dish that you may never find in an American sushi restaurant is tuna eyes.  It is literally tuna eyes cut directly from the tuna fish, then served  It can also be steamed then dipped in soy sauce.   

Source s:

You Are What You Eat: How Certain Foods Can Change Your Mood

You Are What You Eat: How Certain Foods Can Change Your Mood

                Have you ever wondered why after you eat certain types of food you feel happy or tired?  Well it’s been proven that certain foods can change and alter your mood for better or for worse. The science to this is that recent research has shown that the nutrients in food are precursors to neurotransmitters. Depending on which foods you eat, you develop certain levels of those neurotransmitters, which can affect your mood. The secret, however, lies in knowing which foods have a positive effect on your mood as well as which foods have a negative effect on your mood.
                Some of the most common mood draining foods or foods that negatively affect your mood includes soy, diet soda, sugar, and coffee. First let’s start with soy; soy contains a substance called goitrogen which can have a negative impact on the thyroid, or the gland in your neck that secretes hormones. Therefore this can lead to exhaustion and irritability, among other things, and can ultimately affect your mood. Second is diet soda; many people choose diet soda because they believe it is a healthy choice. Ironically enough however, diet soft drinks are loaded with chemicals including artificial sweetener. Therefore many people who consume diet soda report a number of health issues including headaches and mood swings which can negatively affect your mood. Third is sugar; it may seem that consuming sugar in any of its forms provides a natural pick me up but contrary to popular belief it does more harm than help. The truth is it leads to a rise in blood glucose. As your blood glucose rises, your body releases insulin to return it to safe levels. As blood glucose normalizes, you may experience an energy dip with result in mood changes, also known as the infamous “crash.” Last but not least is coffee. To most people a classic cup of coffee seems like a pick-me-up, and many people rely on caffeinated beverages to give them the boost they need to start their day. The main ingredient in coffee, caffeine, works on the adrenaline centers of the brain and can trigger anxiety. Along with anxiety can come irritability and mood swings.
                Just as certain foods can negatively impact moods, others can lift you up and make you feel like you’re on the top of the world. Some of the most common foods that can positively impact your mood are complex carbs, high folate foods, spicy foods, and iron-rich foods. First up is complex carbs. Complex carbs can actually boost the level of serotonin in your brain. For those who don’t know serotonin is a neurotransmitter said to have a calming effect and to play a role in sleep.  This can elevate your mood and make you happier. Some examples of foods that contain complex carbs are brown rice and oatmeal. Next, high folate foods are very healthy for you, especially the dark leafy greens like spinach. Folate deficiency has been linked to depression but having a good amount of your high folate foods can overcome that depression and improve your mood. Also spicy food can also boost your mood as well as giving you a more natural pick-me-up. Spicy food, like chili peppers, can increase circulation, causing your brain to release endorphins which result in your mood boosting. Lastly are iron-rich foods. Deficiency of iron in your bloodstream can lead exhaustion, depression, and irritability. However, eating iron-rich foods can assure you keep your red blood cells pumped up with oxygen, keeping you in a great mood.
                You can see that certain foods can have different effects on your mood and can determine how you will feel and react. You truly are what you eat.

Dinner Etiquette

Have you ever been at a fancy dinner dressed in a suit and tie and there is a person who does not know how to properly behave? You know - the guy who chews and talks with his mouth open, or who burps out loud, or who gulps down their food before others have been served. It is extremely important to know how to have proper table manners and dinner etiquette. Most decisions in the business and professional world are made while you are sitting at a dinner with someone, so knowing how to behave in a formal dinner setting is important.
                The first rule for going to a fancy dinner party is knowing what to wear. Appearance is very important because that is on what the person at a formal dinner will base their first impressions. Make sure that your clothes are clean and ironed; a ragged appearance may give someone the wrong idea. The second rule is do not be late! Arrive to the dinner ten to fifteen minutes early and make sure to greet your hosts and thank them. If the dinner is at someone’s home bring something like flowers or a bottle of wine as a gift. An easy “trick” to know what is going on during the dinner is to watch and follow your hosts; their cues will indicate what to do next.
There is a basic way that a dinner table will be set up and it is important to know what utensil to use for the food that you are eating.  A basic table setting will include: a napkin, a fork, a plate, a knife, a spoon, a bread-and-butter plate and knife, and a water goblet. A simple way to remember the order things go in is to use the word FORKS. First is F for fork, next is O which is the shape of the plate, the K for knife, and finally S for spoon. We forgot the R but this is still a great way to remember the proper order of your dinner utensils. Your water goblet always goes to the right of your plate and the bread-and-butter plate goes to the left. As for your napkin you may place it on your lap so the crumbs have a place to fall. A trick for when your napkin is too big to fit on your lap is to fold it slightly because it should only cover your lap nothing more nothing less. If you have to excuse yourself from the table at any point fold your napkin and put it on the side of your plate, never on the chair.
Now that you are ready at the table with everything set you may want to watch and wait to see if your host may want to say grace before your meal; it is awfully embarrassing if you are the only one eating while the other guests are waiting to say grace. Once grace has been said you may be wondering when you may begin eating and the best advice is start eating when others do. There is a rule that says never eat alone, but eat while food is hot.  Also ,while eating, remember to chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth. Only put a single bite in your mouth so if you need to speak you will spend less time making others wait. Also ,you should bring your food to your face, not your face to your food. Do not lean over like an animal in order to eat your food. Also while you are eating do not put your elbows on the table (mom was right). You never want to reach for something while at the dinner table; instead, ask the person closest to the item to pass it to you. If you happen to spill something clean it up and assist anyone with the rest of clean up, then carry on with your meal. If there is something you find rather unpleasant, like a food you don’t like, do not grab your napkin and spit it back out into it. Instead what you should do is place your fork to your mouth and place the unwanted food back on the fork, if it came in using a fork it should come out using a fork, and then place it on the side of your plate. If it is in the napkin then it is easy to fall out and ruin your clothes or somebody else’s clothes. Some final tips to proper dining etiquette are to enjoy your meal, engage in good conversation with others but mind your manners, and finally turn off your cell phone. There is nothing that signals to me that our conversation isn’t important like you on your cell phone; you can live without Facebook or Twitter for a couple hours. Finally ,to signal that you are done, place your silverware face up on the plate, with your fork on the left and your knife on the right with the blade facing the fork, at the four-o-clock position on the clock. Now that you know these tips and tricks for table etiquette practice them whenever possible because practice makes perfect.  


Nasty Burgers

Almost all Americans have had a burger from Burger King, McDonald’s, or Wendy’s. The burgers taste fine to me and I have been eating them for years, but have you ever wondered what these fast food chains really serve us in the burgers we eat? After you hear about the chemicals and the meats used in these burgers, I think you might second guess yourself on getting a Big Mac or any type of burger from one of the fast food chains I named above. The burgers might look good to eat, but the meats and ingredients used to make the burger are not so appetizing.
Many people often hear that fast food is bad for you and that you should not eat it, but nobody really knows why people say that. Today I will tell you all the harmful things that are in hamburgers, hotdogs, and other fast foods that many of us consume. We will first start with the famous burger that everybody knows and loves from McDonald’s. The first thing to know about the burgers from McDonald’s (and any other fast food chain burger you get) is that they do not contain real 100% beef. The meat that is used in a burger from McDonald’s in particular is meat from many animals that is mixed together and then formed into patties, but not 100% real beef. The problem with this is if one piece of meat is from an animal that is ill, it will contaminate the whole batch of meat and whoever eats that batch is likely to get sick unless ammonia is added to the meat. The ammonia added in the meat can also be found in glass cleaner. The reason for the adding of the ammonia is to kill the E. coli and other bacteria that can be in the batch of meat.
The other thing that is not healthy in a fast food burger, surprisingly, is the bun. The bun contains a chemical called ammonium sulfate which is used in artificial fertilizer. The reason for the ammonium sulfate is the chemical activates the yeast, which allows the bread to rise. Lastly, the oils have GMO. Surprisingly, the bun is probably just as bad as the meat.
GMO are Genetically Modified Organisms that are in the oils in where the bread is made. There was a study on the harmful effects of GMO; these Genetically Modified Organisms were fed to rats for two years and after the two years the rats grew large tumors all over their bodies. I’m not sure a burger from Wendy’s or McDonald’s looks appetizing anymore. There was also another case that a burger that was kept in the original bag, inside of a coat pocket in a truck, and stayed there for 14 years. Surprisingly, the burger looked exactly like a burger that was just cooked. This shows that the meat and buns that these fast food places serve us can’t be good if they look fresh after lying around for 14 years. After all this I think twice before I step into a fast food restaurant and ask myself “do I really want to put this in my body?”

Diseases That Can Come from Eating the Wrong Foods

There are many foods that we eat every day that we feel attached to, foods like pizza, burgers, chicken, pasta, etc. We all love the taste that each of these foods have, but with the wonderful taste comes unhealthiness. Every year, approximately 1.5 million people die from diseases such as diabetes, heart attack and stroke. These diseases can come from a wide range of things, but for the purposes of this article I will only talk about the foods that can cause these diseases.
                It’s not necessarily true that one can get diabetes or a heart attack just from eating a certain type of food, but if one excessively eats that certain type of food, then they are at risk of developing these diseases.
Refined Grains
During the process used to make refined grains, much of the grain’s vitamin, mineral, fiber and protein content is lost. As a result, refined grains have a high glycemic index, meaning they cause your blood-sugar levels to rise rapidly and demand more of the hormone insulin from your body. And Diabetes comes when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin.
Foods with Added Sugars
These foods also have a high glycemic affect.
High-Fat Meats and Dairy Products
High-fat meats and dairy products are top sources of saturated fat, an unhealthy fat linked with an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Heart Attack
Fried chicken
Fried chicken is a known cholesterol and fat powerhouse, which are some leading causes of a heart attack.
Sausages have a lot of fat and sodium, which can clog up your arteries.
Burgers also have a lot of calories, fat and sodium as well.
Doughnuts have a lot of fat, sugar and carbohydrates.

Crackers, chips, and store-bought pastries and baked goods
Muffins, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and many other baked goods are high in trans fats. Trans fats are dangerous artery-blockers.
Smoked and processed meats
The preserving processes of different meats leave them packed with sodium, and the preservatives used to keep them from going bad are known to diectly damage blood vessels.
So, in order to prevent these diseases, it is imperative to watch how much of these unhealthy foods we consume!