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10 Weird Ways To Open A Wine Bottle Without A Corkscrew

September 3, 2014 Ron Dicker 0

A toast to ingenuity!

Watch this Foodbeast video, titled “10 Unconventional Ways To Open A Wine Bottle,” and learn how to adapt without a corkscrew. Or you can purposely lose the corkscrew, and impress your friends with your knowledge.

Some of the m…

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How Blueberry Pie Caused A Girl’s Strange Allergic Reaction

September 3, 2014 Amanda L. Chan 0

By Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer
Published: 09/03/2014 09:48 AM EDT on LiveScience

A girl in Canada experienced an unusual allergic reaction to blueberry pie — she was not allergic to any of the pie’s ingredients, but instead reacted to antibiotic residue in the food, a new study suggests.

Shortly after eating a slice of blueberry pie, the girl experienced facial flushing, hives and abnormal breathing. She was taken to an emergency room, and treated with drugs used for allergic reactions, including epinephrine, and recovered.

A team of doctors then investigated what might have caused the girl’s reaction. Although the patient was allergic to milk, an analysis showed the pie did not contain milk. Doctors also performed tests to see if the girl was allergic to other ingredients in the pie, such as blueberries, eggs or nuts, but the tests all came back negative. [8 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]

Further analysis showed that the pie contained residue from an antibiotic. The doctors tested the girl for an allergy to streptomycin, an antibiotic used as a pesticide on fruit. And, indeed, she reacted to streptomycin in much the same way as she had responded to the blueberry pie.

Although the researchers did not have access to enough of the pie to confirm that it contained streptomycin specifically, the study results suggests that the girl’s allergic reaction was caused by streptomycin-contaminated blueberries, the researchers said.

Allergic reactions to antibiotics in food — such as beef and milk — are rare, but have been reported. The new study is the first to link an allergic reaction to antibiotics in fruit, the researchers said.

The findings serve as a reminder to doctors in cases of unexplained allergic reaction. “Don’t forget to think about antibiotics,” said study researcher Dr. Anne Des Roches, an allergist at CHU Sainte-Justine, a health center affiliated with the University of Montreal in Quebec.

Allergic reaction to antibiotics in food are underdiagnosed because doctors cannot simply check a product label for antibiotics; they have to send the sample to special laboratories to perform an analysis, Des Roches said.

“This is a very rare allergic reaction” Dr. James Sublett, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said in a statement. “Nevertheless, it’s something allergists need to be aware of and that emergency room personnel may need to know about.”

Use of antibiotics in agriculture has received criticism because it may contribute to the rise of antibiotic resistance. Some countries have banned the use of antibiotics for growing food, but the practice is allowed in the United States and Canada.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took steps to help phase out the use of certain antibiotics in livestock; the drugs had been used to help animals gain weight faster.

Stricter policies to reduce antibiotic contaminants in foods will not only help to fight antibiotic resistance, but may also reduce the type of rare allergic reaction that the girl in the study experienced, the researchers said.

The study is published in the September issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ]]>

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A Tale of Two Meals

September 3, 2014 Liz Neumark 0

Wednesday was a typical day at Katchkie Farm; CSA harvesting & packing and a small group of Sylvia Center students were engaged in garden work, harvesting and cooking their meal. The weather was crazy beautiful and I was looking forward to my visit.


Chef Bob Turner of the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck was there, looking to learn about The Sylvia Center program by participating with a group. My dear friend (community garden movement leader) Karen Washington was across the street at neighboring Roxbury Farm – along with our colleague Jane Hodge – participating in a farmer training program. I was to pick them up at lunchtime as neither had ever seen Katchkie Farm. Finally, I had met a young Ecuadorian farmer at a community garden in Williamsburg the previous week, Victor, and lured him out of Brooklyn with the promise of a visit to an established Hudson Valley farm. His girlfriend Rachel, a JTS student, came along. Whitney Reuling, Program Manager of our Sylvia Center City Programs, rounded out the foursome in my car.


On the menu: Sylvia Center students prepared vegetable dumplings, rolled veggie nori rolls and made wicked fried rice. Chef Bob harvested some magnificent heirloom tomatoes, cilantro and parsley for a luscious salad. I (the vegetarian) had cooked a brisket and a duck egg veggie quiche the night before and added that to the buffet.


Farmer Bob and Kristy joined us for the meal. It was a diverse collection of individuals all united in love of agriculture and a desire to learn from others – and by 1 PM – all very hungry. It was one of those moments when you look down a 24′ stretch of orange picnic tables at an unlikely collection of faces and truly feel the blessing of the meal ahead. For bringing this group together, for the bounty on the table, for our freedom to gather and talk about anything, for the seeds we would sow in creating new friendships that day – we are grateful.


The talk was of farms, cooking, activism, ag politics, crazy weather patterns, farming, teaching, schools, Brooklyn, community gardens, struggles, hope and food. There was so much cross-pollination going on; the buzzing was intense. It could only happen at a place called Farm.

A few days later, we had the honor of hosting the annual Labor Day BBQ for US Senator for New York Kirsten Gillibrand and her community of family and supporters from Columbia and neighboring counties, for a fundraising event for the Senator’s Off the Sidelines PAC. It’s a really big deal to host a Senator (there are only 100!) so Farmer Bob and crew worked hard to make sure the farm looked great while Mother Nature took care of the weather – a perfect day with cool breezes and abundant sun.

Photograph courtesy of Michael Molinski

Our chefs let seasonal ingredients determine the menu and it was a vibrant array of salads with colors and flavors. Kinderhook Farm provided their signature hamburgers and hot dogs. (After 5+ years of vegetarianism I was sorely tempted to wolf down a hot dog. The tantalizing aroma!!) Local Chatham beer and Millbrook Wine, along with local water infused with local watermelon & basil, local apples & stone fruit, incredible local pies, and local cheese (get the picture?) rounded out the offerings. NY at its finest.

Photograph courtesy of Michael Molinski

No one could remember a tastier gathering. And it was all prelude to hearing Senator Gillibrand talk about the need to continue the fight to protect our farms, support women’s rights, make sure our kids have access to healthy food, fight against hunger, build jobs in our local communities and ensure a just society.

It was an inspiring call to action and a wonderful moment of feeling the power and critical importance of leadership and vision.

Photographs courtesy of Michael Molinski

Two meals on these two perfect summer days, in fields where many of our own dreams have been realized, set the agenda for the work that is ahead. What resonates so wonderfully is that both meals created a strong sense of community, which in turn strengthens our resolve to work together to find solutions to the problems confronting us and help us commit to mentoring and guiding one another.

Let’s plan more meals on farms.

Photograph courtesy of Michael Molinski

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‘Better’ Burgers Worse for Your Health, No Better for the Climate

September 3, 2014 Elliott Negin 0


Like a lot of cities across the country, Washington has been overrun by so-called “better-burger” joints over the past few years. The granddaddy of this craze, Five Guys Burger and Fries — which got its start here in the D.C. metro area back in 1986 — has been joined by Black & Orange, Bobby’s Burger Palace, BRG: The Burger Joint, Elevation Burger, Fuddruckers, Shake Shack and Smashburger, most with locations just a few blocks from my downtown condo.

Smashburger, the newest premium burger establishment in my ‘hood, is the third-fastest growing U.S. chain, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, an industry trade publication. Founded in 2007 by the former owner of the Quiznos sandwich chain, the Denver-based company expects to have more than 300 locations in 32 states and five foreign countries by the end of this year. That still pales in comparison to Five Guys, which has more than 1,100 locations nationwide and plans for 1,500 more.

These relatively new, better-burger “fast-casual” restaurants are enjoying stupendous growth, purportedly because Americans are looking for higher quality food than they can find at the big three traditional, “quick-service” chains, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. Although the big three accounted for 70 percent of the $75.9 billion in U.S. burger sales in 2013, according to the market research firm Technomic, they have been steadily losing ground to more-upscale, fast-casual chains, including premium burger eateries. Last year, the top 25 better-burger chains totaled sales of $2.7 billion, a 12 percent jump from 2012.

But aside from stupendous growth, are better burgers really better than a Big Mac, a Whopper, or Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy?

Consumer Reports readers think so, at least when it comes to taste. Of the 21 burger chains cited in the magazine’s July survey of the best and worst fast-food restaurants, McDonald’s scored dead last, just ahead of Burger King. Wendy’s, meanwhile, was ranked 16th, well behind Five Guys, Smashburger and Fuddruckers, which came in at 7, 8 and 9, respectively. (The California-based In-N-Out Burger was rated No. 1.)

But there are more important issues to consider. Are better burgers better when it comes to your health or the health of the planet? The short answer is no. When judged by those standards, we would be better off if we ate fewer hamburgers, plain or fancy.

Supersize Me

While beef consumption worldwide has been going up, Americans have cut back considerably since the mid-1970s, largely due to rising beef prices and a greater awareness of the health risks associated with consuming red meat. As of 2012, the average American was eating 52 pounds a year, about 30 pounds less than four decades ago. Regardless, we still consume more per capita than the citizens of every other country, excluding the beef emporiums of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Eating less beef is a good thing. After all, it’s been linked to a host of potentially life-threatening problems, including coronary heart disease and breast, colon and prostate cancer. But instead of forsaking beef altogether, financially strapped Americans are eating more ground beef instead of steak and other pricier cuts. Our “hamburger economy” has, in turn, created a market for better-burger chains, which promise, well, better burgers.

Jayne Hurley, a registered dietician at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), cringes when she hears the food industry’s better-burger label.

“These new upscale burger restaurants are serving more meat between the buns with at least twice the calories,” Hurley said. “You would get a healthier meal at a traditional fast-food burger place like McDonald’s or Burger King. The Big Mac and the Whopper look downright petite compared with the burgers coming out of these upscale burger joints.”

In June 2010, Hurley and co-author Bonnie Liebman, CSPI’s nutrition director, singled out Five Guys in their annual “Extreme Eating” feature in the organization’s Nutrition Action Healthletter. They reported that a Five Guys Hamburger sans toppings is 700 calories, considerably more than a Big Mac’s 540 calories or a Quarter Pounder’s 410 calories with everything. A Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger, meanwhile, has 920 calories and 30 grams of saturated fat — one-and-a-half day’s worth — without toppings. That’s more calories than two Quarter Pounders.

“These places aren’t serving healthburgers,” Hurley said. “And there are so many reasons not to eat beef. It’s full of saturated fat, it’s high in calories, it increases the risk of colon cancer and heart disease, and then there’s the threat of E coli. We don’t recommend eating it.”

Grass-Fed Marginally Better than Grain-Fed

According to a 2013 Technomic survey, a significant percentage of Americans are looking for healthy menu options and are concerned about how their food is produced. The research firm found that 59 percent rated “socially responsible” as an important factor when deciding on a restaurant, 58 percent said they would prefer that restaurants serve meat and poultry raised without hormones or steroids, 45 percent favor free-range poultry and grass-fed beef, and 41 percent are looking for “natural” and “organic” fare.

To further differentiate themselves from traditional fast-food burger chains, some premium burger chains have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon. BGR: The Burger Joint, for example, trumpets that its burgers are from “grain-fed cattle; all natural, no hormones, fillers or antibiotics, and most importantly, they run free in the fields.” Shake Shack’s menu boasts that its burgers are “100-percent all-natural Angus beef, vegetarian-fed, humanely raised and source-verified. No hormones or antibiotics — ever.” Elevation Burger goes even further, promising “100-percent USDA-certified organic, grass-fed, free-range beef.”

Hormones and antibiotics aside, the biggest distinction when quantifying beef’s marginal benefits to human health and nutrition — as well as a cow’s well-being — is whether cattle end their brief lives in crowded, confined feedlots eating genetically modified corn and soybeans or spend all of their time on pasture eating grass and other forage crops, which is what they evolved eating. Feedlot cattle are prone to getting sick, so producers routinely feed them antibiotics, which also serve to accelerate growth. After they are weaned from their mothers and grazed on grass, most cattle are shipped to feedlots to fatten them up quickly on a grain diet.

If you’re going to eat beef, you want the grass-fed variety. A 2010 study in the Nutrition Journal reviewed three decades of research comparing the nutritional profiles of grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. It turns out that grass-fed beef has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. It also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and provides more vitamin A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Not many better-burger chains offer grass-fed beef, however, because there’s not a lot of it around — making it more expensive — and because it has a “grassy” flavor that Americans accustomed to fatty, grain-fed beef find unfamiliar. Elevation Burger, which has 33 restaurants in 11 states and D.C., is the lone grass-fed burger purveyor in my town, and a cursory Internet search turned up only three other premium burger chains featuring grass-fed beef: Bareburger, with 19 locations in four states; Burger Lounge, with more than a dozen locations in California; and Yeah! Burger, which has two locations in Atlanta.

Beef is the Worst Meat for the Climate

Before you begin searching high and low for a grass-fed burger, however, there is something else to consider. Free-range, grass-fed cattle may be slightly better for your health than those that are “grain-finished” at feedlots, but both are bad for the climate.

Agriculture accounts for about 6 percent of total U.S. global warming emissions, and beef production alone accounts for 2.2 percent of the total, according to a 2011 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report, “Raising the Steaks.” That’s roughly equivalent to the annual heat-trapping emissions from 33 average-sized coal-fired power plants. Beef cattle and stored cattle manure also are responsible for 18 percent of U.S. methane emissions, which have nearly 25 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide. So while the emissions from beef production may seem relatively small, it is not an insignificant part of the problem.

“The more beef Americans eat, the worse global warming gets,” said Doug Boucher, director of UCS’s Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative. “Americans would protect their health and the climate if they replaced beef with poultry or pork — or ate less meat altogether.”

Beef is what scientists call an “inefficient protein,” Boucher said. It requires substantial resources to produce compared with what it contributes to the human diet. A 2012 UCS study Boucher co-authored, “Grade A Choice? Solutions for Deforestation-Free Meat,” found that beef production uses about 60 percent of the world’s agricultural land, but produces less than 5 percent of the protein and less than 2 percent of the calories that feed the global population.

A July study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which focused specifically on the United States, echoed Boucher et al.’s analysis. It found that beef requires 28 times more land and 11 times more water to produce than the equivalent calories from pork or poultry, and produces at least five times more carbon pollution. The contrast between beef and such staples as wheat, rice and potatoes is even more stark. Beef requires 160 times more land and results in 11 times more heat-trapping emissions.

The U.S. beef industry is not convinced.

“The PNAS study represents a gross over-simplification of the complex systems that make up the beef value chain, a point which the authors acknowledge,” Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said in a statement. “The fact is the U.S. beef industry produces beef with lower greenhouse gas emissions than any other country.”

Stackhouse-Lawson is not entirely off base. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock in the United States and other developed countries peaked in 1970 and have fallen 23 percent since then, according to a July study in the journal Climatic Change. That decline, however, has been offset by rising livestock emissions in developing countries, which more than doubled, largely due to increased domestic demand for meat. The study found that worldwide livestock emissions jumped 51 percent from 1961 to 2010. Beef cattle were responsible for more than half of the emissions, followed by dairy cattle at 17 percent.

That doesn’t let Americans off the hook, however. Even though we’re eating less beef these days — which explains the drop in U.S. livestock emissions — we’re still No. 1 in the total amount of tonnage. Last year, we put away 11.6 million metric tons of beef and veal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Brazil was a distant second at 7.9 metric tons, and the European Union’s 28 member countries — which collectively have a larger population than the United States — came in third at 7.6 metric tons.

Americans’ love affair with beef has consequences beyond our borders. According to Boucher’s 2012 study, U.S. beef consumption helps drive tropical deforestation, which is now responsible for about 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. As demand for beef goes up worldwide, so does deforestation.

If U.S. consumers ate less beef, Boucher explained, U.S. producers would have more to export to other countries. And those exports would displace exports from Latin American beef producers, reducing incentives to cut down tropical rainforests for cattle pasture land.

“The bottom line is U.S. demand for beef plays a substantial role in global markets,” Boucher said. “If U.S. consumers want to eat ‘better’ burgers, they should consider turkey burgers, veggie burgers and other alternatives. All of those are much better for the environment, whether you’re talking about climate emissions, land use, water use or nitrogen pollution.

“Lowering demand,” he added, “also could help cut production here at home, where beef cattle account for more than a third of all U.S. agricultural heat-trapping emissions.”

Ken Caldeira, a co-author of the July Climatic Change study, wound up coming to the same conclusion Boucher and his colleagues did two years ago.

“The tasty hamburger is the real culprit,” Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, said in a July 21 press release. “It might be better for the environment if we all became vegetarians, but a lot of improvement could come from eating pork or chicken instead of beef.”

Elliott Negin is the director of news and commentary at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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5 Ways You’re Wasting Money In The Kitchen

September 3, 2014 Joann Pan 0

Even if you’re buying in-season produce and on-sale chicken, you could be missing these hidden costs of cooking dinner.

By Lynn Andriani

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost OWN on Facebook and Twitter .

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Signs You’re A Bad Dinner Party Guest (VIDEO)

September 3, 2014 Lisa Capretto 0

We all know the basic rules of dinner party etiquette — be clear about whether or not you’re attending, don’t bring a surprise guest, arrive on time, make a point to thank the host — but even polite people can make all-too-common mistakes in today’s world of modern get-togethers. Etiquette expert Jodi R.R. Smith recently spoke with #OWNSHOW about four faux pas that well-intentioned invitees often overlook in their efforts to be a gracious guest.

Mistake #1: Springing your dietary restrictions on the host.

Whether you’re vegetarian, gluten-free or allergic to dairy, Smith says it’s OK to inform the host of any dietary restrictions as long as you do it well before the party. “You’re allowed to tell the host what you can or cannot eat, but you need to do it when you accept the invitation,” Smith says. “For you to arrive at the dinner party [after] the host has been spending all this time cooking, cleaning, shopping, chopping, and you sit down and that’s when you tell them that you don’t eat any meat… that’s not fair to anybody.”

If you didn’t tell the host in advance, the onus is on you to eat what’s available, Smith says. “You can have some of the salad, you can have some of the rolls, you can have a lot of dessert, a little bit of extra wine,” she advises.

Mistake #2: Trying to have a friendly conversation with someone you dislike.

Even if you don’t care for everyone invited to the dinner party, you can still have a meaningful conversation beyond basic polite chit-chat. Smith’s trick to elevating friendly, superficial talks? Change your approach. “Put on your journalist hat,” she suggests. “Instead of thinking of this as somebody you’re going to have a friendly conversation with, have an interesting conversation. Find out more about where they’re coming from, what their interests are. And then, whenever possible, include other people at the table.”

Mistake #3: Eating before the host is seated at the table.

There are different schools of thought on this topic, with different people calculating a wide range of variables before arriving at an answer: the length of time you’ve been waiting, the number of guests at the table, the temperature of the food, etc. For Smith, however, the answer is very clear-cut. “As an adult, you can wait until the host or hostess sits down,” she says. “Now, if you’re under the age of 5 or over the age of 85, then clearly you can have a little bit of a nibble of your roll or some bread. But other than that, you should be waiting until everyone’s seated.”

Mistake #4: Overstaying your welcome.

As the dinner winds down and the conversations kick up, some guests unknowingly stick around longer than their host would like. So how can you be sure when it’s time to leave? A good host, Smith says, will provide clear clues; it’s up to you as a guest to read those cues. “It’s going to be clear from my actions when I say, ‘It was so nice of you all to come,’ or ‘I really need to take the dog for her evening walk,’ that it’s time for you to go,” Smith says.

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