‘ Food’s That You Can Easily Make Yourself ‘


10. Vanilla Extract

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Pure vanilla extract is really easy to make—you just need vanilla beans and a cup of vodka, rum, or bourbon. Not only do you get a much better ingredient than the store-bought version (and more extract than if you bought the same amount), everything you use the vanilla extract in (cookies!) will taste better as a result.

9. Cheese

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Making your own American cheese, cream cheese, and other cheeses (homemade ricotta isamazing) is surprisingly easy with just a few basic ingredients. Besides having really fresh cheese, you can mix in other flavors if you like.

8. Buttermilk

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Most of us don’t have buttermilk around all the time, and when we do need it for something, the carton is often too big and we end up wasting the whole thing. Add a little vinegar or lemon juice to milk, though, and you can whip up some buttermilk in a few minutes on the cheap.

7. Spice Mixes

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, and other pre-packaged spice mixes are very easy to recreate on your own when you have the ingredients list. So instead of paying $5 for a bottle you might not use up before the mixes get stale, just stock up on the basic spices that are behind these mixes. And if you haven’t tried it already, you might want to make your own bacon salt too. (Who am I kidding? Go make some bacon salt.)

6. Stock

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

When you make your own stock, you turn kitchen scraps—things you would normally throw away—into an awesome base for soups and other dishes. Make chicken stock like a pro and customize its flavor and healthiness to your liking. You don’t even need a recipe to make vegetable stock.

5. Alternative Milks

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Soy milk, nut milks, and nut butters are all cheaper to make at home, not to mention fresher. Our own Dave Greenbaum says he saved 20% on almond milk when DIYing it using organic almonds at home—plus the added benefit of getting almond meal, which you can use in other recipes.

4. Cocoa Powder and Instant Hot Cocoa

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home1

You only need three ingredients to make better-tasting, higher quality cocoa mix: powdered chocolate or cocoa, sugar, and a little salt. If you want your hot chocolate to be creamier and taste more chocolatey, add in a few more ingredients to your hot cocoa mix and you’ll be all set in these cold winter months.

3. Bread

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

There really is nothing quite like freshly baked bread. Although some breads may take more time and effort than it’s worth, many breads can be made with just a minute or 5 of prep time. You don’t even need a breadmaker: a pressure cooker will bake a warm loaf in minutes or you can “bake” bread dough on the stovetop.

2. Peanut Butter

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home2

DIY peanut butter is worlds away from the commercial stuff. All you need is a food processor and five minutes (plus roasted peanuts, of course) to concoct your own better-tasting peanut butter. Let Alton Brown show you how to roast peanuts for it in a wok.

1. Salad Dressing

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

When you know the formula for salad dressings, there’s no need to ever buy packaged dressing (which often has so much salt, sugar, and other ingredients you might not care for), since it’s so easy to combine simple ingredients into a great vinaigrette.
Photos by kavastudio (Shutterstock), Silanti (Shutterstock), Matthew Cole (Shutterstock).
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#AceFoodNews

‘ Great Christmas Drinks Just Right for Cold Winter Evenings ‘


#AceFoodNews – Featured Post:Dec.17 – These 21 hot and cold festive drinks just in time for Christmas. Enjoy.

♫ Oh the weather outside is frightful / And this booze is damn delightful ♫

1. Spiced Irish Coffee

Spiced Irish Coffee

Whiskey + coffee: a perfectly acceptable way to start a cold winter day. Get the recipe.

2. Slow Cooker-Mulled Wine With Cranberries and Rosemary

 Big-batch slow cooker cocktails FTW. Get the recipe.

3. Orange Bourbon Tea

Orange Bourbon Tea

Get the recipe for this and two more easy cold-weather cocktails here.

4. Bourbon-Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Bourbon-Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Not a bourbon fan? Kahlua works too. Get the recipe.

5. Earl Grey Hot Toddy

Earl Grey Hot Toddy

Get the recipe.

6. Kahlua Hot Chocolate

Kahlua Hot Chocolate

A dozen mini-marshmallows on top are, in fact, mandatory. Get the recipe.

7. Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum

Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum

Butter rum > Butterbeer. Just saying. Get the recipe.

8. Mexican Hot Chocolate

More ideas here.

9. Maple-Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy

Maple-Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy

Get the recipe.

10. Winter Cranberry Martini

Winter Cranberry Martini

The homemade infused simple syrup — just cranberries, sugar, and water — is easy and delicious enough to make year-round. Get the recipe.

11. Cider Rum Punch With Thyme

Cider Rum Punch With Thyme

Unlike many cider punches, this one isn’t overly sweet — thanks to lemon juice and bitters that balance everything out. Get the recipe.

12. Homemade Candy Cane-Infused Vodka

When life gives you candy canes, spike ‘em. Get the recipe.

13. Stove Top-Mulled Wine With Brandy

Stove Top-Mulled Wine With Brandy

Get the recipe.

14. Christmas Sangria

♫ I’m dreaming of a white…wine to make sangria wiiiith ♫ Get the recipe.

15. Pumpkin and Pineapple Spiced Rum

Pumpkin and Pineapple Spiced Rum

Get the recipe.

16. Red Nose Punch

Red Nose Punch

With bourbon and beer. Get the recipe.

17. Bourbon and Citrus Sangria

This is technically dubbed “autumn sangria” but I’m just gonna drink it through the winter and ~don’t you dare~ judge. Get the recipe.

18. Sour Green Apple Margarita

Sour Green Apple Margarita

With jalapeno for warmth, obvs. Get the recipe.

19. Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

With cognac or cava (or preferably both). Get the recipe.

20. Spicy Ginger Gold Rush

Spicy Ginger Gold Rush

Get the recipe.

21. Winter Old-Fashioned

Winter Old-Fashioned

A spiced take — cardamom, star anise, cinnamon — on a rightful classic. Get the recipe.

*And for garnish: Boozy Sparkling Cranberries

*And for garnish: Boozy Sparkling Cranberries

BRB, snacking. Get the recipe.

‘ Health Benefits of Walnuts & Their Versatility ‘


#AceFoodNews – Dec.10 – According to (Health Castle ) These wrinkly lobes surely are popular and versatile! Walnuts have a long history as food, having been around from as far back as 7,000 B.C., and were popular as food for the royals in ancient Persia. Nowadays, the US is a major producer of walnuts, with the bulk of the nuts coming from the state of California. Among all nuts, walnuts pack significantly higher amount omega-3 fatty acids ALA! They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Indeed, walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein!

Health Benefits of Walnuts

Heart-Health Benefits: 

More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). CRP was recently recognized as an independent marker and predictor of heart disease.

Diabetes Benefits:

A study published in Diabetes Care in 2010 found that 2 ounces of walnuts per day improve blood flow in people with type 2 diabetes.  A previous study also found that a diet supplemented with walnuts help type 2 diabetes patients lower their LDL cholesterol by 10%.

Nutrition Tidbits for Walnuts

1 oz (14 halves) of shelled whole walnuts contains:

  • Calories: 185 kcal
  • Fat: 18.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 4.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below 55)

FDA Approved Health Claim for Walnuts

In 2003, the FDA recognized the benefits of nuts and their role in heart disease prevention by approving a health claim for 7 kinds of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts). These seven nuts were approved as they are the only kinds that contain less than 4 grams of saturated fats per 50 grams.

In response to a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission, the FDA further endorsed the health benefits of walnuts by approving the following health claim in March 2004.

Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Adding Walnuts in a Healthy Diet

Nuts in general are high in calories, so moderation is the key. The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating walnuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. Therefore, instead of just adding walnuts to your current diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats (such as cheese and meat) and limit your intake of these tasty treats to the recommended 1.5 oz per day. That is about 20 walnut halves.

Walnuts add a flavorful crunch to dishes. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate walnuts in your diet to reap their health benefits:

  • instead of snacking on cookies, crack some walnuts open and eat them as snacks
  • instead of using meat, toss toasted walnuts in your salad or pasta to add some crunch
  • instead of layering pepperoni, use chopped walnuts in your pizza
  • instead of eating bacons or eggs, use walnuts as a protein choice by sprinkling chopped walnuts in your oatmeal or breakfast cereal

#AFHN2014

‘ How the Turkey Got its Name ‘


#AceFoodNews – Dec.01 – As we arrive once again at the first of December l thought this interesting news snippet would seem quite festive.

Starting wit the word  “Turkey” and how this bird of native North America, got its name:

But “turkey” the word is a geographic mess—a tribute to the vagaries of colonial trade and conquest. As you might have suspected, the English term for the avian creature likely comes from Turkey the country. Or, more precisely, from Turkish merchants in the 15th and 16th centuries.

How exactly the word “turkey” made its way into the English language is in dispute. The linguist Mario Pei theorized that more than five centuries ago, Turks from the commercial hub of Constantinople (which the Ottomans conquered in the mid-15th century) sold wild fowl from Guinea in West Africa to European markets, leading the English to refer to the bird as “turkey cock” or “turkey coq” (coq being French for “rooster”), and eventually “turkey” for short. When British settlers arrived in Massachusetts, they applied the same terms to the wild fowl they spotted in the New World, even though the birds were a different species than their African counterparts.

The etymology expert Mark Forsyth, meanwhile, claims that Turkish traders brought guinea fowl to England from Madagascar, off the coast of south east Africa, and that Spanish conquistadors then introduced American fowl to Europe, where they were conflated with the “turkeys” from Madagascar. Dan Jurafsky, another linguist,argues that Europeans imported guinea fowl from Ethiopia (which was sometimes mixed up with India) via the Mamluk Turks, and then confused the birds with North American fowl shipped across the Atlantic by the Portuguese.

Here’s where things get even more bewildering. Turkey, which has no native turkeys, does not call turkey “turkey.” The Turks “knew the bird wasn’t theirs,” Forsyth explains, so they “made a completely different mistake and called it a hindi, because they thought the bird was probably Indian.” They weren’t alone. The French originally called the American bird poulet d’Inde (literally “chicken from India”), which has since been abbreviated to dinde, and similar terms exist in languages ranging from Polish to Hebrew to Catalan.

Then there’s the oddly specific Dutch word kalkoen, which, as a contraction of Calicut-hoen, literally means “hen from Calicut,” a major Indian commercial center at the time. These names may have arisen from the mistaken belief at the time that the New World was the Indies, or the sense that the turkey trade passed through India.

So what is the bird called in India? It may be hindi in Turkey, but in Hindi it’sṭarki. Some Indian dialects, however, use the word piru or peru, the latter being how the Portuguese refer to the American fowl, which is not native to Peru but may have become popular in Portugal as Spanish and Portuguese explorers conquered the New World.

The expansion of Western colonialism only complicated matters: Malaysians call turkey ayam blander (“Dutch chicken”), while Cambodians opt for moan barang (“French chicken”).

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#AFHN2014

‘ Calling Time on Tied Pubs as House of Commons Passes Amendment ‘


#AceFoodNews – LONDON – Nov.27 – It looks like last call for a 400-year-old British rule requiring many pubs here to buy their beer from the large companies that own them.

' House of Commons Votes to End Centuries-Old Rule '

‘ House of Commons Votes to End Centuries-Old Rule ‘

Shares in Britain’s largest pub companies fell sharply Wednesday after lawmakers voted the previous evening to allow “tenanted” pubs to buy their beer on the open market. The change would let publicans opt out of the “beer tie,” a centuries-old system that critics say force publicans to overpay for beer.

Around a third of U.K. pubs are run by tenants of one of the big pub companies, the largest of which include Enterprise Inns PLC and Punch Taverns PLC. Pub tenants are required by current rules to buy their beer from their owners, some of which brew the beer themselves. Others act as a middleman for the beer, buying it wholesale and selling it on to their pubs.

The amendment passed in Britain’s House Commons by 284 to 259 votes, despite opposition from the U.K.’s Conservative-led government. It still must be approved by the House of Lords before passing into law. Any significant changes made in the U.K.’s upper house need to be voted on again by the Commons.

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#AFHN2014

‘ World is Running out of Chocolate ‘


#AceFoodNews – Nov.26 – There’s no easy way to say this: You’re eating too much chocolate, all of you. And it’s getting so out of hand that the world could be headed towards a potentially disastrous (if you love chocolate) scenario if it doesn’t stop.

' World is Running out of Chocolate '

‘ World is Running out of Chocolate ‘

Video Link Here:

Those are, roughly speaking, the words of two huge chocolate makers, Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut. And there’s some data to back them up.

Chocolate deficits, whereby farmers produce less cocoa than the world eats, are becoming the norm. Already, we are in the midst of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years. It also looks like deficits aren’t just carrying over from year-to-year—the industry expects them to grow. Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, the two chocolate-makers warn that that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.

The problem is, for one, a supply issue. Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region. A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either. The International Cocoa Organization estimates it has wiped out between 30 percent and 40 percent of global cocoa production. Because of all this, cocoa farming has proven a particularly tough business, and many farmers have shifted to more profitable crops, like corn, as a result.

Then there’s the world’s insatiable appetite for chocolate. China’s growing love for the stuff is of particular concern. The Chinese are buying more and more chocolate each year. Still, they only consume per capita about 5 percent of what the average Western European eats. There’s also the rising popularity of dark chocolate, which contains a good deal more cocoa by volume than traditional chocolate bars (the average chocolate bar contains about 10 percent, while dark chocolate often contains upwards of 70 percent).

For these reasons, cocoa prices have climbed by more than 60 percent since 2012, when people started eating more chocolate than the world could produce. And chocolate makers have, in turn, been forced to adjust by raising the price of their bars. Hershey’s was the first, but others have followed suit.

Efforts to counter the growing imbalance between the amount of chocolate the world wants and the amount farmers can produce has inspired a bit of much needed innovation. Specifically, an agricultural research group in Central Africa is developing trees that can produce up to seven times the amount of beans traditional cocoa trees can. The uptick in efficiency, however, might be compromising taste, says Bloomberg’s Mark Schatzker. He likens the trade-off to other mass-produced commodities.

Efforts are under way to make chocolate cheap and abundant — in the process inadvertently rendering it as tasteless as today’s store-bought tomatoes, yet another food, along with chicken and strawberries, that went from flavorful to forgettable on the road to plenitude.

It’s unclear anyone will mind a milder flavor if it keeps prices down. And the industry certainly won’t mind, so long as it keeps the potential for a gargantuan shortage at bay.

Source: 

#AHRN2014

‘ Renaissance Table Etiquette & the Origins of Manners ‘


#AceFoodNews – Nov.27 – Art and culture flourished throughout Europe during the Renaissance. It was the period when Michelangelo wielded his chisel, Galileo defied preconceived notions about the universe and William Shakespeare penned some of the most enduring dramatic works. It was also a period that saw the evolution of manners, as the article “Mind Your Manners” in the Spring 2011 issue of Folgermagazine will attest. Manners were a response to the violence and crude behaviours run rampant in burgeoning cities and a means of reinforcing social order and distinguishing the privileged class from everyone else.

' Renaissance Table Etiquette and the Origins of Manners '

‘ Renaissance Table Etiquette and the Origins of Manners ‘

A first generation of Miss Manners – typically men—took up the quill. And the newly defined codes of conduct were especially important at the dinner table.

Italy more or less led the cultural revolution, table manners included. Italian poet Giovanni della Casa advised in ” Galateo,” his 1558 book on manners: “One should not comb his hair nor wash his hands in public… The exception to this is the washing of the hands when done before sitting down to dinner, for then it should be done in full sight of others, even if you do not need to wash them at all, so that whoever dips into the same bowl as you will be certain of your cleanliness.” To the modern reader, these attitudes toward public displays of personal cleanliness might seem a little over the top; however, considering that one’s hands were also one’s dining utensils, this sort of advice was of utmost importance. In his study on the social customs of this period, sociologist Norbert Elias noted that “In good society one does not put both hands into the dish. It is most refined to use only three fingers of the hand. … Forks scarcely exist, or at most for taking meat from the dish.”

That’s right: no forks. They were initially viewed as excessively refined or, in the case of men, a sign of effeminacy. The newfangled fork custom began in Italy and was a hit, but forks were slow to catch on in Northern Europe. The use of forks to get food from plate to mouth didn’t gain wide acceptance until the 17th century—and even then, only the well-to-do could afford them.

Utensils such as spoons were communally used—making the etiquette of eating soups a delicate matter. “If what is given is rather fluid,” Dutch theologian  Erasmus of Rotterdam writes, “take it on a spoon for tasting and return the spoon after wiping it on a napkin.”

But in spite of trying to polish social customs, some human behaviors were deemed permissible at the dinner table. On farting, Erasmus writes, “If it is possible to withdraw, it should be done alone. But if not, in accordance with the ancient proverb, let a cough hide the sound.” Slick, no? However, lest you follow this example, modern manners maven Miss Conduct says that “civilized folk will protect others from any sounds or smells that may be displeasing.”

This is not to say that all Renaissance manners are outdated. On respecting fellow diners’ personal space, Giovanni Della Casa says, “It is also an unsuitable habit to put one’s nose over someone else’s glass of wine or food to smell it.” And again, from Erasmus: “It is rude to offer someone what you have half eaten yourself; it is boorish to redip half-eaten bread into the soup.” Anyone remember the “did you just double dip that chip” episode of Seinfeld? George Costanza was definitely a couple hundred years behind the etiquette curve.

Even modern science shows that re-dipping partially eaten foods is a great means of spreading bacteria. It certainly gives you an idea of what Renaissance society was trying to improve upon—and how far we’ve come since.

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#ANS2014

‘ DOUBLING SATURATED FAT IN THE DIET DOES NOT INCREASE FAT IN THE BLOOD – STUDY ‘


#AceFoodNews – OHIO (Columbus) – Nov.27 – Doubling or even nearly tripling saturated fat in the diet does not drive up total levels of saturated fat in the blood, according to a controlled diet study.

However, increasing levels of carbohydrates in the diet during the study promoted a steady increase in the blood of a fatty acid linked to an elevated risk for diabetes and heart disease.

The finding “challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn’t correlate with disease,” said senior author Jeff Volek, a professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.

“It’s unusual for a marker to track so closely with carbohydrate intake, making this a unique and clinically significant finding. As you increase carbs, this marker predictably goes up,” Volek said.The researchers found that total saturated fat in the blood did not increase – and went down in most people – despite being increased in the diet when carbs were reduced. Palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid associated with unhealthy metabolism of carbohydrates that can promote disease, went down with low-carb intake and gradually increased as carbs were re-introduced to the study diet.In the study, participants were fed six three-week diets that progressively increased carbs while simultaneously reducing total fat and saturated fat, keeping calories and protein the same.

When that marker increases, he said, it is a signal that an increasing proportion of carbs are being converted to fat instead of being burned as fuel. Reducing carbs and adding fat to the diet in a well-formulated way, on the other hand, ensures the body will promptly burn the saturated fat as fuel so it won’t be stored.

“When you consume a very low-carb diet your body preferentially burns saturated fat,” Volek said. “We had people eat 2 times more saturated fat than they had been eating before entering the study, yet when we measured saturated fat in their blood, it went down in the majority of people. Other traditional risk markers improved, as well.”

The research is published in the Nov. 21, 2014, issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

Volek and colleagues recruited 16 adults for the study, all of whom had metabolic syndrome, defined as the presence of at least three of five factors that increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes (excess belly fat, elevated blood pressure, low “good” cholesterol, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, and high triglycerides).

After getting them to a baseline reduced-carb diet for three weeks, researchers fed the participants the exact same diets, which changed every three weeks, for 18 weeks. The diets started with 47 grams of carbs and 84 grams of saturated fat each day, and ended with 346 carb grams per day and 32 grams daily of saturated fat.

Each day’s meals added up to 2,500 calories and included about 130 grams of protein. The highest-carb level represented 55 percent of daily calories, which roughly matches the estimated daily percentage of energy provided by carbs in the American diet.

Compared to baseline, there were significant improvements in blood glucose, insulin and blood pressure that were similar across diets. Participants, on average, lost almost 22 pounds by the end of the trial.

When looking at palmitoleic acid, however, the scientists found that it consistently decreased on the high-fat/low-carb diet in all participants. The fatty acid then showed a step-wise increase in concentration in the blood as carbs were progressively added to the diet. Elevated levels of palmitoleic acid in the blood have been linked to obesity and higher risk for inflammation, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and prostate cancer.

The study does not address what happens to palmitoleic acid levels when high carbs are combined with a diet high in saturated fat. Instead, Volek hoped to identify the carb-intake point at which participants began to store fat.

“That turned out to be highly variable,” he said. “Everyone showed increased palmitoleic acid levels as carbs increased, but values varied widely between individuals, especially at the highest carb intake. This is consistent with the idea that people vary widely in their tolerance to carbohydrates.”

Participants’ existing health risks were not a factor in the study because everyone ate the exact same diet for 18 weeks. Their bodies’ responses to the food were the focus of the work.

“There is widespread misunderstanding about saturated fat. In population studies, there’s clearly no association of dietary saturated fat and heart disease, yet dietary guidelines continue to advocate restriction of saturated fat. That’s not scientific and not smart,” Volek said. “But studies measuring saturated fat in the blood and risk for heart disease show there is an association. Having a lot of saturated fat in your body is not a good thing. The question is, what causes people to store more saturated fat in their blood, or membranes, or tissues?

“People believe ‘you are what you eat,’ but in reality, you are what you save from what you eat,” he said. “The point is you don’t necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat. And the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet. Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction.”

Volek sees this palmitoleic acid as a potential biomarker to signal when the body is converting carbs to fat, an early event that contributes to what he calls “metabolic mayhem.”

“There is no magical carb level, no cookie-cutter approach to diet, that works for everyone,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in personalized nutrition, and using a dynamically changing biomarker could provide some index as to how the body is processing carbohydrates.”

This work was supported by the Dairy Research Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Associationand the Egg Nutrition Center.

Co-authors include Brittanie Volk, Laura Kunces, Brian Kupchak, Catherine Saenz, Juan Artistizabal and Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut; Daniel Freidenreich, Richard Bruno, Carl Maresh and William Kraemer of Ohio State’s Department of Human Sciences; and Stephen Phinney of theUniversity of California, Davis.

#AFHN2014

‘ Origins of the Chef’s Uniform ‘


#AceFoodNews – Nov.27 – I try to find interesting news about everything about chef’s and this l thought would interest my readers. Chefs, for the most part, wear their uniforms almost every day of their working lives, replete with toque, checked pants and double-breasted jacket. Though these uniforms are ubiquitous in the foodservice industry worldwide, they are often taken for granted and worn without much thought.

' The traditional chef's uniform, including hat '

‘ The traditional chef’s uniform, including hat ‘

However, many may find that the origin and reasons behind traditional chef’s attire are as interesting as it looks.

Much of the chef’s uniform has developed out of necessity. The jacket, for example, is double-breasted so it can easily be reversed to hide stains that may accumulate throughout the day; the double layer of cotton is also designed to insulate our bodies against the intense heat of the stove or an accidental splattering of hot liquid. Even the knotted cloth buttons were fashioned for a reason-cloth will withstand the frequent washings and abuse buttons often take from contact with pots, pans and other heavy equipment. Though executive chefs often wear black pants, working chefs and cooks usually don pants with black-and-white checks-the dizzying pattern of hound’s tooth camouflages minor spills and soilings. Today neckerchiefs are primarily worn for aesthetic purposes, to give our uniforms a more finished look, but originally cotton cloths were draped around ones neck to soak body sweat while working in the inferno-like kitchens of yesteryear.

The traditional chef’s hat, or toque blanche, is what is most distinguishing and recognizable of the uniform, and also the component which often causes the most debate. Chefs as far back as the 16th century are said to have worn toques. During that period artisans of all types (including chefs) were often imprisoned, or even executed, because of their freethinking. To alleviate persecution, some chefs sought refuge in the Orthodox Church and hid amongst the priests of the monasteries. There they wore the same clothes as the priests-including their tall hats and long robes-with the exception of one deviating trait: the chef’s clothes were gray and the priest’s were black.

It wasn’t until the middle 1800’s that chef Marie-Antoine Carême redesigned the uniforms. Carême thought the color white more appropriate, that it denoted cleanliness in the kitchen; it was also at this time that he and his staff began to wear double-breasted jackets. Carême also thought that the hats should be different sizes, to distinguish the cooks from the chefs. The chefs wore the tall hats and the younger cooks wore shorter hats, more like a cap. Carême himself supposedly wore a hat that was 18 inches tall! The folded pleats of a toque, which later became an established characteristic of the chef’s hat, were first said to have been added to indicate the more than 100 ways in which a chef can cook an egg.

Escoffier too, thought the cleanliness of the cook’s uniform was very important, and that it promoted professionalism. His staff was required to maintain clean and complete uniforms while on the job, and were also encouraged to wear coats and ties while not at work. To this day cooks and chefs around the world wear the same attire that has traceable origins back to more than 400 years. Along with the other conveniences the 1950’s brought, paper toques were invented to look like cloth but could be disposed of once they were soiled.

The traditional chef’s uniform may be the standard for our profession, but it’s definitely not the law. Since the mid-1980’s a legion of chefs and cooks have begun to wear non-traditional “fun” chef’s attire. These nouveau uniforms run the gamut from pinstriped baggy pants and denim jackets to full blown wildly patterned outfits with chili peppers, flowers, and even the CIA logo. While some chefs may nay-say these new-style uniforms as non-professional, others retaliate that they are more comfortable and give chefs an opportunity to express their individuality through their clothes as well as their food.

Actually, the non-traditional uniforms of today may remind some of the late chef-philanthropist Alexis Soyer, author, inventor and one time chef of the Reform Club in London. Chef Soyer was known to have his entire wardrobe-including his work attire-tailor made. Some of his headgear was as eccentric as a red velvet beret; his jackets were often cut on the bias with large lapels and cuffs. He called his individualistic style “à la zoug-zoug,” and the more his contemporaries ridiculed him the more outlandish his outfits became. Like the old adage says, “What’s old is new again.”

As a professional chef myself, I prefer to adhere to traditional chef’s attire-the uniform and its history are something to be proud of. On the other hand, I can also understand a chef’s desire to want to be expressive. As the twentieth century comes to a close, these nouveau style uniforms have their place in certain establishments; restaurants today, after all, are considered a form of theater. As with anything, the chef’s uniform continues to evolve, who knows what the future has to hold? One thing is certain though, the image of a chef, in a pristine white jacket and toque, is recognized the world over as a professional, and we have our predecessors to thank for this.

(This article was originally published in the National Culinary Review)

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#AFHN2014

CHEF CHRIS SAYS: ‘ For a Happy Thanks Giving Safely Roasting a Turkey ‘


#AceFoodNews – Nov.27 – It is that time of year again in USA it is thanks giving, and soon in the UK Christmas and every year as a chef, l hear of food poisoning cases from under-cooked fresh and frozen Turkey’s.

So this year is my guide to getting it right.

Fresh or Frozen?

Fresh Turkeys

  • Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
  • Buy your turkey only 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it.
  • Keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
  • Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly.

Frozen Turkeys

  • Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
  • Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
  • Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely; however, cook within 1 year for best quality.
  • See “Thawing Your Turkey” for thawing instructions.

Frozen Pre-Stuffed Turkeys

USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or State mark of inspection on the packaging. These turkeys are safe because they have been processed under controlled conditions.

Image of seal of inspection for poultryDO NOT THAW before cooking. Cook from the frozen state. Follow package directions for proper handling and cooking.

Allow 1¼ pounds of turkey per person.

Thawing Your Turkey

There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely — in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave oven. 

Refrigerator or Cold Water - Screenshot from 2014-11-27 13:17:46

Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen. 

Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.

In the Microwave Oven

  • Check your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound and power level to use for thawing.
  • Remove all outside wrapping.
  • Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak.
  • Cook your turkey immediately. Do not refreeze or refrigerate your turkey after thawing in the microwave oven.

REMINDER: Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.

Roasting Your Turkey

  • Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
  • Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  • For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
  • If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.
  • For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily.
  • Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(325 °F oven temperature)

Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

Stuffed or Unstuffed - Screenshot from 2014-11-27 13:16:51
It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.

Optional Cooking Hints

  • Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for more even cooking. This is referred to as “akimbo.”
  • Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
  • If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1 ½ hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist, and reduces oven splatter. To prevent overbrowning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.
  • If using an oven-proof food thermometer, place it in the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. For turkey breasts, place thermometer in the thickest part. For whole turkeys, place in the thickest part of the inner thigh. Once the thigh has reached 165 °F, check the wing and the thickest part of the breast to ensure the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product.
  • If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.

REMEMBER! Always wash hands, utensils, the sink, and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.

For information on other methods for cooking a turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)
http://www.fsis.usda.gov

Storing Your Leftovers

  • Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
  • Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
  • Use refrigerated turkey, stuffing, and gravy within 3 to 4 days.
  • If freezing leftovers, use within 2 to 6 months for best quality.

Reheating Your Turkey

Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated.

In the Oven

  • Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
  • Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

In the Microwave Oven

  • Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time.
  • Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165 °F.
  • Consult your microwave oven owner’s manual for recommended times and power levels.
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