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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

From October 28 to 29,2012  Hurricane Sandy became an unforgettable storm for all ages. Initially, she was called Frankenstorm because it’s occurring a few days before Halloween. She’s also described as a once in a lifetime storm and others say, even The Perfect Storm… the big one. She is currently now downgraded to a subtropical cyclone but still leaving a path of death and destruction complicated by the fact that she’s a lingering storm. Right now, she’s called Superstorm Sandy and still going strong by pouring more rain and winds along Chicago and  Lake Michigan as well as  continuing to dump more snow on West Virginia and Maryland.

What makes her unique in so many ways is in a way immeasurable but I’ll try as humanly possible to describe her from my point of view.

Hurricane Sandy is a combination of the worst of both a Category 1 Hurricane and a Nor-easter. That’s a double punch! It consists of srong gale winds, heavy rainfall with flooding and a cold front with heavy snow potential.

She came at an unusual time..near the tail end of the hurricane season which meteorologists say is unusual this time of year.

She came during the tail end of the current U.S. presidential election campaign which caused both presidential candidates to revise their campaign schedules so as to get themselves and their constituents out of harm’s way. I believe that the election outcome will be affected by her . As to which way, we will know in the coming days. Talk about an October surprise!

She first went to the Caribbean,then would ascend upwards along the Atlantic Ocean and would enter an unusual path… westward towards  the Carolinas then up  further westward towards Maryland,Washington DC,West Virginia,Pennsylvania ,Ohio,Illinois and yet at the same time ,also going up northward towards the Northeast United States(New York,New Jersey,Connecticut and New England states of Massachusetts,New Hampshire and Maine. It even reached Ontario province in Canada specifically Toronto and parts of Quebec province and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s possible for this to happen because she covers a wide upward yet northwesternly swath in her trail. Accdg. to weather reports, it covers 800-1000 miles and would affect at least 80 million people . And to think that this upper part of the United States especially the Northeastern U.S. rarely encounters such a natural climate disturbance!

Of course, we humans have to go into survival mode, stocking up on rations, getting generators,flashlights,batteries,plywood,etc,bunkering down or going elsewhere for safer grounds. Common sense is imperative here .

All sorts of land,water and air travel were suspended during this difficult time. Offices and schools were closed. Only the news media were on deck to deliver the news and updates on this storm.City,state and federal officials ,the Red Cross and all hospitals and other related agencies were all on deck to provide any further assistance to the public.

What we can learn from this is that Mother Nature has her own timetable and we humans can be powerless at times to control her. Mother Nature deserves our respect . Same with Hurricane Sandy. They’re both creatures of nature that we shouldn’t mess with.The best that we can do is to let nature take its course and we adapt by going into survival mode and avoiding nature’s path.

Hurricane Sandy may be waning now but her trail of death and destruction and its aftermath will be felt profoundly. The massive cleanup and rehabilitation will continue for a considerably long period of time.

It may be hard to believe but I think that any natural disaster is part of how Mother Earth works to keep the ecological balance in place. Same with earthquakes,tsunamis, cyclones,blizzards,etc.

It is very important to respect and save the environment or else,consequences like global warming will continue to prevail leading to probable natural disasters to come.

Just my food for thought on this!

Josie

I noticed this as far back as 2 years ago when Christmas stuff(decorations,wrapping paper,cards,etc) have started appearing as early as September. Even the local Hallmark card shop has been selling Christmas tree ornaments as early as July every year since God knows when.(Definitely more than 2 years ago).

They’re around already before Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween,Remembrance Day ,Rosh Hashanah,Hanukkah but NOT before Labor Day(the unofficial end of summer). It’s almost like you have to have a flexible mindset when you go into a store and see them around and tell yourself, it’s not that time yet to celebrate.

The economy nowadays isn’t as upbeat for the past 4 years and I couldn’t blame the stores for being so preoccupied with Yuletide  profits since it comprises 25% of their annual profit. Without it, they’ll have to close shop. They’re so eager to get your money that they’ll  try to entice you with all sorts of sales whether instore or online until the after-Christmas Day sale. Here in Canada,we call it Boxing Day–Dec. 26), a British traditon wherein the masters reward their servants  with boxes of gifts after Christmas Day.

Last year, many Canadian stores even have a Black Friday,same day as the Americans have after  the U.S. Thanksgiving as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. Reason for such opening is that the Canadian retailers want to keep their fellow  bargainhunting Canucks from doing crossborder shopping  in the U.S. whether traveling down there or going online with free shipping to boot. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens again this year, mon ami.

That’s our new reality as far as Christmas shopping is concerned.

Enjoy it anyway. We’re the ones to gain with getting the best prices for the things that we want to buy.

Happy shopping!

Josie

It has been 11 years since that fateful day—Sept. 11,2001(9/11/01) when terrorists hijacked 4 U.S. domestic,commercial passenger airplanes while on flight  with plans to hit target points in suicide mission mode. 3 of the planes hit on 3 separate targets–2  at the World Trade Center  in NYC and 1 at the Pentagon Building in Washington,DC. The 4th plane(United Airlines Flight 93) didn’t reach its intended target in Washington,DC. We will never know which specific target  because the brave passengers of  United Airlines Flight 93 fought with the terrorists to the bitter end and was able to divert the plane to a farm field in Shanksville,Pennsyvania.

We all know all the horrifying details of that fateful day. We also know where we all were as these tragic events kept unfolding one by one that day. Aside from ongoing TV news coverage, with  the magic of technology,those passengers’ cellphone messages to their loved ones describe their ordeal and encounters with the terrorists. Because of those cell phone messages,air travel was never the same again. Not only for all airports in the United States but worldwide. New airline and airport security measures as well as high-tech surveillance equipment were implemented  and kept being updated through the years as the terrorists try new ways to outwit US airline authorities but weren’t successful because of astute intelligence gathering.

The Department of Homeland Security was created and intelligence data gathering was shared and coordinated with other agencies(FBI,CIA,Defense Dept,etc) so as to be one step ahead of terrorist networks.

Every year since then, we keep observing this specific date in memory of lives which were lost as well as the loss of innocence in one’s perspective that the world is no longer safe as it was.

And to think that on Sept. 11,2001,I remember it as a bright,cloudless Tuesday with nothing much in the news except that Michael Jordan, an NBA veteran is coming out of retirement.

It goes to show you,mon ami, that life is full of surprises. Things happen for a reason even during  this horrific period of time–a turning point in the 21st century. Whatever the reason, we may not know it now but perhaps in due time.

They say that experience is the best teacher. The Sept. 11 event was a very horrible experience. Whatever we learned from it is an ongoing process  through these years consisting of reacting, adapting and reflecting.

As I reflect on it  11 years later on this 11th day of September, the only way that we could do is to try to live our lives the way we want it to be but to be also cognizant of the fact that we have to be on alert just in case another intrusion like this(God forbid!) happens again.

Whether we like it or not, it’s the new normal,folks!

Josie

Today, in my neck of the woods, we’re celebrating Acadian Day(August 15). It’s mainly celebrated for the past 400 years+  by the Acadians, (a group of French-Canadians here in Canada) as their day of national pride and identity. Some of their  French -Canadian counterparts left Canada centuries ago and have settled in Louisiana,becoming as we say now, Cajuns.

It’s a holiday like no other as if it’s their independence day in a way.

Their cuisine reflects centuries of  history as they struggled as new settlers in Canada. The way they made their dishes speaks of practicality yet charm as it exudes uniqueness  in character and flavor.

Regular Acadian dishes like Acadian pea soup,chicken fricot( a form of chicken stew), apple dumplings,headcheese( pork head/pork hocks cooked  in a way like ham),meat pie and poutine rapee(boiled  and peeled  potatoes made into a ball with pork stuffed within it) for example are usually highlighted today.

Lively celebrations are rampant today as well. French music abounds as well. Kite flying beckons and the Acadian flags are all around!

Bonne Fete Acadie!

Josie

As a follow-up to my blog last 7/17/12 regarding needles inside catered  sandwiches for inflight meals, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I recently read an article here in Canada of a similar incident just discovered in a Canadian domestic flight(c/o Air Canada) from Victoria,British Columbia to Toronto,Ontario.

Investigations are ongoing as well as collaboration with Amsterdam police(from last month’s incident) but I couldn’t help but think that either copycats are around making mischief or a nefarious group is trying to find another outlet to make a statement. This time,it hits Canadian soil and not in Amsterdam like the last time. Deja vu? What’s next? A US domestic flight? Anything is possible,mon ami .

Nevertheless, vigilance even in what we eat inflight is emphasized even more now. Peanuts,anyone?

Josie

The Summer Olympics are here again,folks. This time it’s in London. I was able to watch a bit of the opening ceremony. The best one for me was that of Queen Elizabeth II and the James Bond actor (Daniel Craig) in a taped movie short, meeting and leaving Buckingham Palace to fly out towards the Olympic Stadium via the Royal Chopper. The piece de resistance was that through the magic of moviemaking and 2 stuntmen dressing as the queen and James Bond,it would appear like the 2 most recognized Brits had parachuted down towards a gobsmacked audience.

Sacre bleu! Queen Elizabeth is the newest Bond girl! Who knew it would ever happen? Considering that she has a good sense of humor would never be denied.She may not be too stuffy after all.

At least you can view that whole scene   via Youtube. It always took my breath away watching that scene again.

The competitions are still ongoing and the Olympic medal count being monitored constantly by  any aspiring country for  bragging rights.

May the best man win and good sportsmanship prevail.

Once this is over, the next venue will be Brazil in 2016.

Bonjour!

Josie

It is safe to say that after traveling away from home for a good period of time, I had finally settled in back in my own home. No more jetlag and no more feelings of being a tourist trying to familiarize myself with old surroundings and routines.

I’m pretty sure ,mon ami that you have had some similar experiences after being bitten by the travel bug and finally coming back home afterwards.

Traveling is fun,mind you but there are times when you just feel like getting back to a certain routine. For that to happen, it has to be a habit grown into you.

I think that they call it personal space. It can’t be quantified or measured but you do know that it’s there for you because you feel its presence.  It’s really what you make of it to become your personal space.

That’s just my 2 cents’ worth of opinion on the matter.

Bonjour!

Josie

Today’s news about the US-bound flight from Amsterdam (c/o Delta Airlines) regarding 4 sewing needles found in turkey sandwiches served on separate flights made me cringe and second guess about my recent US trip if I had ingested any sandwiches in-flight. Luckily, I didn’t.I don’t like the idea of having a perforated intestine or stomach from it. I also  hate to take HIV or Hepatitis  medication as a precaution.One  of the male passengers who were interviewed  was told to take the latest USDA -approved drug to combat HIV(called Truvada) which was a sad reality to take in. One of the 4 passengers was even a US air marshal who saw one of the 4 needles in his sandwich.

With all airline and airport security precautions evolving over the years, it was inevitable ,mon ami, that airline food will be one of the new targets at some point.

Even if the current situation with  Delta Airlines and the catere(GateGourmet) didn’t appear to be due to terroristic intentions at this time, I fully agree with the FBI and the NTSB investigatng it alongside the Dept . of Health to cover all bases as a precaution.

Well, it looks like we can’t even bring anything solid like a dry sandwich on board anymore, much less be served a fresh sandwich, because they’re now deemed as security risks. It’s either all airline food will have to be vacuum sealed before boarded on the flight and the menu? It may now be open-faced sandwiches,pizza,anything that will make you SEE what you’re eating. As for drinks, perhaps, anything opaque like milk will have to go too. All CLEAR fluids might be the norm. And to think that we usually complain about being served peanuts in-flight. At least, it’s still safe to eat them.

They’ll have to SCAN all food trays and go through the metal detector to spot any needles,etc. All the food servers and even the catering truck and the driver have to be inspected too. Don’t forget the airline chef and his cooking crew since the food is created by them. Radioactive food,anyone? And to think that fears from the body scan radiation isn’t enough for us.

I know that my imagination is running wild right now but if you were an official connected with homeland security,wouldn’t you be? But realistically, you can’t possibly inspect every sandwich pre-flight but it does make you pause and second-guess your next step.

I guess that more food testers will need to be hired by the airlines . That’s a new job creation in effect.It better have hefty job benefits considering the job risk involved. To paraphrase, you are only as good as your last meal.

It’s not only heads of state that have them for their overall protection.

In spite of it all, it shouldn’t take the joy out of eating. it’s just that now, we’ll have to to do it with a wary eye sadly.

Bon apetit!

Josie