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Dining

On my 11-18-12 blog, I had discussed the near extinction of the Twinkie since it had halted production last year and here in Canada, Twinkies are still being produced as we speak. I also mentioned in that blog that it’s just a matter of time until a new buyer will come in and resume Twinkies production in the U.S.

Well, that reality is coming on July 15,2013  as the return of the Twinkie or in other words, the Second Coming of the Twinkie.

This means that all those online sellers of the Twinkie can just reassess their business situation. No use convincing U.S. prospective buyers to cater to your business since the Twinkie will return on July 15. These online sellers can still survive if their buyers are outside both the U.S. and Canada.

As the new punchline goes, it’s the sweetest comeback ever!

Enjoy!

Josie

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Twinkies, known as the”Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling” was invented in 1930  by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. This iconic American snack cake got its name from a St. Louis billboard–“Twinkle Toe Shoes”.

I wonder what Mr. Dewar would think if he knew that years later, his baking invention would cause an uproar these past few days as well as panic buying,hoarding and even scalping at eBay .

Twinkie’s manufacturer Hostess Foods,Inc. which is also the maker of Wonder Bread,Ho-Hos,etc, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in  January 2012, claiming that majority of their clientele have switched to healthy snacks. On Nov. 2012, it announced ceasing production of all Hostess Foods products especially after a current bakers’ strike at their plant had occurred due to grievances over pay and job benefit cuts.

In my opinion, I hope that another company would buy out Hostess Foods,Inc. so that the production of Twinkies and its counterparts would enjoy production longevity as well as continuing happiness for its American consumer fans. We can sometimes be emotionally attached to certain foods , you know, mon  ami especially if it evokes great memories.

To the  American Twinkies fan base, please take note….

Here in Canada, Twinkies are still being produced by  Vachon,Inc.,a subsidiary of Saputo Incorporated(a Montreal based company known for dairy especially cheese products). Vachon,Inc. owns the Canadian rights from Hostess Foods,therefore it isn’t affected by the impending closure of the U.S. plant.

So if you or any of your friends get a chance to drop by Canada, aside from getting a bottle of maple syrup, you might just also buy a box of Twinkies too.

I don’t know if there’s an actual Canadian online shopping website particularly for Twinkies purchases but I wouldn’t doubt if something would eventually come up by an enterprising soul in light of what has been happening with Hostess Foods–USA. The only other shopping website that I know is eBay.ca here in Canada but since it involves bidding, expect inflated pricing.

Bonjour!

Josie

In light of the recent Hurricane Sandy situation, one of the survival modes that we need to do is to stock up on rations(food and non-food). What I’d like to discuss today is the food rations.

Bear in mind especially for a natural disaster, there’s  usually a possible  power outage therefore it’ll mean no way to cook,freeze nor prepare food with little or no water.

Because of this, you’ll need the following items based on guidelines from FEMA(Federal Emergency Management Agency) where you can also get pointers on how to keep your perishables safe for as long as you can during a natural disaster.

A manual can-opener (Remember..no electricity! Ditch the electric one for now. If you don’t know how to operate one manually,PRACTICE !)

 Healthy Foods to Eat in a Hurricane or Other Natural Disaster:(Compact and lightweight as well as to not make you easily thirsty–you don’t want to use up those water bottles so early!)

1 gallon of water per adult,per child and per pet per day(3-day minimum)

Condiments—– salt,pepper,olive oil

Canned sardines and tuna; Corned beef, luncheon meat and ham are good too(already cooked before canning)(I wouldn’t call the latter meats as too healthy though but surely convenient)

Canned beans,fruits and vegetables preferably with high liquid content

Peanut butter and jams( Unsweetened PB since the jam is already sweet)

Pre-washed fresh vegetables and fruits

Nuts,seeds and dried fruit

Hard-boiled eggs(already prepared in advance)

Salt-free crackers,whole grain oats,granola bars,trail mix

Canned juice,milk,soup  (Use a thermos if you  need to heat some food items)

Vitamins

Comfort/stress foods–cookies,hard candy,sweetened cereals,lollipops,instant coffee,tea bags

Pet food (Your pet has to eat too,you know)

Just bear in mind the kind of foods that infants,elderly people and those with special dietary concerns or who have specific food allergies will need.

Modify your food ration list if you need to in the interest of yours and your family’s and pet’s safety.

The list that I’m showing you now is a general one.

One final note : Always check your food  supplies from time to time particularly their respective expiration dates. You might need to replace them and use the expiring ones for immediate consumption already.

Happy shopping!

Josie

The saga of the recent discovery of E.coli-tainted beef products as evidenced by 11 victims in 3 provinces and at this present time, already included one in Hongkong and one in  Newfoundland continues to grow with no definite resolution yet. Canada only has 2-3 huge meat processing centers responsible for processing and distributing meat all over the country. One of them is the XL Foods Inc.in Brooks,Alberta where it all happened.

The social and political implications are obvious here with the Agricultural Minister being held blame for it and the sudden fear of even touching beef products(steak,roast,etc) from this Alberta center. The timing to warn the Canadian public was delayed by 2 weeks within last month by the CDC(Center for Disease Control) for no clear reason yet the US which imported the beef from Alberta was informed 2 weeks earlier. Huh????? What have the meat inspectors got to say about this?! That Canadians aren’t good enough to be informed early about this and the Americans are? We’re not chopped liver(no pun intended) ,you know.

Possible litigations may follow. Latest update is that the parents of a 5 year old boy had recovered after ingesting cooked yet tainted ground beef in a recent barbecue. It was first discovered when he woke up in the middle of the night in great pain and blood was found in his underpants. His parents reportedly will join in the litigation process to teach the culprits a lesson and not to get away with it.

This unfortunate  situation regarding tainted beef is still ongoing until the entire issues are  hopefully fully  clarified and resolved for the sake of public safety and not at the expense of political expediency.

What to do in the meantime?

Unless you’re a pure vegan or do not take beef for religious/health reasons, avoid eating beef for the meantime until this whole thing blows over.

But knowing human nature,some can’t live without eating beef so one has to take prudent steps so as to skirt this issue.

Inquire where your beef source is from . If the restaurant/fastfood place can’t fully answer your inquiry to your satisfaction,take your business elsewhere. If at a grocery or even local farmer’s market, do the same too. You can’t afford to get timid with them because it’s your health at stake!

If you do buy beef from a reliable source and will be cooking it, cook it well-done. For those folks who love the taste of rare or medium-rare steaks, you can indulge if you’re very confident that your meat source is safe.

Make sure also  that you observe all precautions in the kitchen like frequent handwashing everytime you handle raw meat and not using the same chopping board,kitchen utensils,plates,etc. when cooking the meat to prevent any possible Salmonella outbreak.

Bon apetit but with a cautious eye in this case!

Josie

Just recently, I saw a coupon displayed within the pages of my local paper’s weekend edtion. The coupon was for a discount for a single dine-in at a big Chinese restaurant near my place, specializing in buffets. The coupon is good for 3 months. If group discounts are desired, one has to call the restaurant ‘s reservation section to avail of it.

I found this quite surprising since I don’t recall any of the Chinese restaurants in my town  ever issuing  dining coupons.Fastfood places like McDonald’s,Burger King.etc.,yes,they do issue coupons, in fact, I always get them in my mailbox!

I started asking around and I was told by other foodies that because of the rising inflation nowadays, the dining-in traffic at this particular Chinese restaurant has started to slow down significantly. Not because of any lousy service or food but because it’s too expensive now to eat out.

Considering that one also has to pay the dining tax and give a tip to the waiter, I could see  what my co-foodies were talking about. Cheaper to just get take-out but nothing beats cooking your own meals.

Yet even the aspect of preparing your own food can be costly too since supermarket prices have been rising constantly too. Constant comparison shopping and if needed,couponing are keys to make sure affordable home-made meals can be a reality.

Obviously, what I’m seeing now is just one aspect of inflation and one sign of our current economic times.

In spite of this, I still believe that sometimes, one may still go for a nice sit-down meal in a restaurant to celebrate an occasion, share moments with friends or loved ones even on a casual basis or just for savoring the ambience of the place. That would be money well-spent in their minds because they’ll believe that enjoying life’s pleasures is important for one’s soul and dining out is one of them.

Bon apetit,mon ami!

Josie

As the song goes,  Old McDonald  had a farm and had all sorts of animals.

For my topic today, I’ll be bringing up the issue of raw milk( yes, the milk squeezed out from the udders of cows,goats,buffaloes,etc by hand or machine) as to whether it’s safe to drink or not.

A dairy farmer in Ontario,Canada has been battling the Dairy Board of Ontario regarding the regulations regarding the  production,distribution and selling of raw milk which is deemed illegal in Ontario province.

It’s really amazing how we’re all so concerned about what food we eat and how it’s prepared today.

In the olden times, the farmer would subsist on food derived from all the animals and plants he had tended in his farm. No factory preservatives involved. To preserve food, curing,canning with herbs and spices are used. Cooking recipes were simple and straight forward too so as to bring out the natural ,fresh flavors of the food ingredients.

Case in point, let’s take raw milk  consumption before Monsieur Louis Pasteur implemented the process of pasteurization to eliminate any existing microbes which may harm our overall health.

I’m quite sure when these 4-legged animals bore their young, these offsprings drank their mother’s raw milk for nourishment. It didn’t kill them. Don’t  even get me started on human breast milk. And to think that experts extol the health benefits of breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding for human babies.

Perhaps the ongoing concern of raw milk nowadays is whether proper and sanitary handling of farm animals were implemented in the first place to ensure safe production of such milk and not necessarily raw milk per se.

I’m not fully aware of the Ontario dairy farmer’s circumstances to comment further regarding this aspect but based on what I have read so far,  that person’s s determined to continue selling raw milk and in fact has a solid customer base.

Some people love the taste of raw milk.  They don’t like the taste of pasteurized milk and perceive it as less nutritious since they believe that all the necessary nutrients had been killed off or removed in the dairy plant. They said that it didn’t kill their ancestors so why should it be a problem for them today?!

Whatever,this topic will still be ongoing in the days to come.

Milk is good for you whether in its pure form or unless you’re lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive ,then other secondary milk products(yogurt,cheese,etc) would be good too.

Got milk?

As the Italians say, Salut!

Bonjour!

Josie

With the ongoing summer heat wave upon us, absolute comfort is necessary in terms of our clothing and having the fan/AC around us as well. It’s also important to consider what to eat during this time of year too. Sandwiches,salad,cold desserts and other light meals are  usually considered because they take less cooking time and therefore, less heat to feel around. It also is less taxing on our digestive system since it wouldn’t make us feel too heated up after eating. The heavier meal choices are eaten during the cold months so as to get enough heat as well as sustenance into our systems.

What’s more important is to consider your comfort level  in making wise food choices during the summer  months. There’s no such thing as a perfect summer food. It’s influenced greatly by one’s upbringing and cultural background. Also take into consideration your medical history if you have any known food allergies or other medical illnesses  which may affect your food  choices.

Whatever works for you, go for it!

Bon appetit!

Josie