If you've ever walked through the beer aisle in most grocery stores you may have noticed that hard cider is beginning to get more shelf space than ever before. At first glance the 6 packs of bottles look like they may be micro beers, but no, its cider.
Now Anheuser Busch has announced the launch of Stella Artois Cidre, a hard cider. This is coming on the heels of news that hard cider sales rose 85 percent last year. Seriously? I really am amazed by this, cider is so far off my radar.
So ok, Nabisco recently decided it was a good idea to incorporate actual food stuffs into their Triscuits, foods like red beans, rice, potatoes and onions. Their thinking was people don't have the time to eat or the inclination to cook foods, so why not add food to crackers.
Along the same lines, the Jones Soda company long known for bizaare flavors of soda-Turkey and Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, etc, is now coming out with a new one. In a nod to a favorite food of Canadians, Poutine, they've concocted the fries n gravy soda. Poutine is french fries smothered in gravy and melted cheese.
If you like to eat this dish but don't have time, now you'll be able to slug it down on the run.
Do you want to grow your own vegetables but don't have much space? How about trying the Tower Garden? I was talking to a member of the seminary guild the other day about food gardening and she mentioned that her daughter tried one of these last summer and it produced amazingly. She said we might want to try it out.
I'm intrigued and am pretty sure we will give this a try in some corner of the campus, maybe our yard. It looks like a great idea for a home deck or patio. It uses an aeroponic system, a system new to me. We've kicked around the idea of trying to grow hydroponically, but what is aero?
"Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil. It uses both water and air to produce more colorful, better tasting, better smelling, and incredibly nutritious fruits and vegetables."
A pragmatic look into the world of "locally sourced food" by the Washingtonian Magazine's food writer, Todd Kliman. For some time now restaurants and grocery stores have been touting many of their menu items and products as "locally grown and locally raised" and I've wondered, and it seems Kliman wondered, how true this is. And, what do people mean by local. When you think about it, how can St. Louis or Chicago or Kansas City chefs claim they use locally produced foods when at least 6 months of the year sees nothing growing?
Here at Concordia Seminary we have worked hard to grow vegetables and herbs all over the campus for students and faculty and staff to use at home. We've also set up a large area filled with individual garden plots for students to grow what they want. So, I'm a big believer in growing things but...
The national push begs the question, what is local? Some food purveyors such as Whole Foods use the word contiguous as a way of defining local foods sold in their store, as do many restaurants. The DC area belongs to the Mid-Atlantic which includes New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. So that means that tomatoes sold in Whole Foods stores in that region may be from North Carolina since that state borders on (contiguous) Virginia which is in that region.
One of the 3 dozen food personalities Kliman interviewed told him that "America is my local". So it's a box within a box within a box. Also supposedly Local reduces our carbon footprint, but as the article points out this means fuel expenditures or fuel use before it reaches our table. Here's the SAT type question Kliman asked one restauranteur: "Is a large 18 wheeler bringing eggs or other product coming from 80 miles away better than 50 pickup trucks with the same ingredients coming from 50 miles away better?"
No correct answer.
And, when you go to a restaurant which claims on its menu or advertising that they are using local food, you assume they are. You'd assume at least half the menu is local or even 3/4's. But no. Most of the time the locavore places may be serving up 30 percent. Most don't buy local onions and carrots and celery etc locally but pick the vegetables that get noticed like tomatoes and corn.
This is not to say the food industry isn't trying, but we have a long way to go in getting a network of farmers on board with this and a distribution system. And, figure out how to supply during the winter months. California and Hawaii, maybe Florida can pull this off, but most states can't.
This is a great article which is not online yet since the issue just hit the public. But if you get a chance to read it in the coming weeks, it's an eye opener. And, let me say, Todd Kliman isn't thumbs down on this local world, but he is very realistic about what is actually going on.
Clayton's farmers market opened for the season on Saturday. Looking at the photo accompanying the story makes you wonder what exactly farmers had to sell this week. With the unrelenting cold and rain this area has had very little has even been planted much less grown to a sellable size. Yes, the asparagus has been popping up, so there's that.
The numbers are out for 2013 and the verdict is in: More people make purchases under the golden arches than anywhere else.
McDonald’s beat out such behemoth’s as Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, and Target to stake its claim as the country’s most visited retail business.
And the numbers behind it are staggering. In March, 49 percent of Americans over 14 years old ate at McDonald’s.
This is interesting information considering all the talk by food experts to convince us to stop going to places like McDonald's, the list of the 50 most visited fast food places is also fascinating. The study published a list of the top U.S. restaurants and beverage destinations by in-store visitors. The top five are McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, Starbuck's and Wendy's. The others are listed here.
Most likely some of those on the list are not commonly present in all parts of the country or they'd be higher on the list. For instance, I'd love to try a Chick-a-Filet but they are rare in the St. Louis area, it would mean making a bit of a drive for fast food.
What a week this has been and still is. Call Day on Wednesday, Jambalaya Fest on Thursday, Seminary Guild's 80th year celebration at noon today, Spring Fest from 4-9 today, and the St. Baldrick's head shaving event to benefit childhood cancer from 3-5 today. Saturday sounds good right now, rain or no rain.
Here's a look at the Jambalaya Fest put on each year by the wonderful people from Village Lutheran church in Lacombe Louisiana. They put in hours of work to provide the entire campus with cajan food including-jambalaya, red beans and rice, bbq'd shrimp and grits, catfish, sausage of all kinds, fried pickles, corn on the cob, boiled red potatoes, crawfish, hot dogs, burgers, chips, King Cake, beer wine, and soft drinks. Everyone comes, students, faculty, staff, kids and the food lasts forever.
Red Beans and rice.
Beer and wine from New Orleans
Shrimp and Grits
There's Dr. Kloha helping in the grits stand. Good food, an unfortunate choice of t shirt.
Sausage and burgers
The students always have a great time
But it wasn't long after the start that it began to rain and rained the rest of the night and into this morning. But that did not stop the jambalaya fest.
Creativity is key.
Be prepared, also good.
Have a back up plan, which in this case meant being able to go into Wartburg Hall to eat.
Some of the students' parents who were here for Call Day, stayed and came to the Fest.
Here's Eric Ekong, student association president with his parents. His dad is a pastor in, I think, Michigan or Ohio. I'm not sure I should ever confuse those two states, but...
Oh look, there's Dale. He's all wet, not prepared.
Then, what's this?
It's our communications director Phil Ebeling entertaining.
The seminary had a great framed picture made and given to Pastor Paul Ernewein and his members. It is a picture made from many many photos of past jambalaya fests put together in such a way that Jesus showed in the middle.
Admissions officer, Kyle Castens does the thanks to Pastor Ernewein
Then student Brennan Woell presented the gift with explanation.
Then even more amazing, the church presented the seminary two checks as a thank offering.
I'm not sure exactly what reddit is, but I'm seeing links to it more and more lately, mostly on Twitter from St. Louis. Anyway, a question was asked on St. Louis Reddit "What is the best fried chicken in the area. I've got a wicked craving that KFC simply won't satisfy."
This received two responses, of which I agree with. The other I can't speak too never having been to Hodaks.
But the second answer is YES! "
"I used to think the best was Hodak's. But these days I have to give the nod to Porter's. (On Big Bend in Maplewood across from the Deer Creek Center.)
If Porter's is slammed, you can go a couple of blocks over in the neighborhood to The Piccadilly at Manhattan. They have KILLER fried chicken. (My wife likes it better than Porter's)
And Porter's ALWAYS makes your order up fresh. Nothing sits around under a warmer."
Porter's is just soooooo good and so is Picadilly's. Picadilly's is a go and sit down bar/restaurant rather than carry out, but their chicken is unreal. We call Porter's and order a carry out a lot, mainly Sunday nights and Picadilly at Manhattan is our default "go out to eat" place.