Premier Foods’ Douchey Move

just look at all that frosty spongey goodness...

(note for the readers:   this post was written back in December, at the time the news broke.  It's been languishing in the drafts folder, up until now...) For decadent deliciousness and low-to-none nutritional value, Mr. Kipling's Angel Slices and French Fancies are the British riposte to Ding-Dongs and Twinkies, right on up there with any sugar-bombs Lil' Debbie  can dream up.   Along with quick-noodles and tuna, snack cakes and pies are the basis of a sound nutritional plan for any iron-stomached university student. Along with Mr. Kipling's, Premier Foods flogs palate-pleasing fare as Ambrosia Devon Cream and Batchelor's Noodles.   One would think they'd in the same happy boat as Golden Enterprises, similar purveyors of … [Read more...]

Try some British Food. Tastes Just Like Chicken.

british food

Here's what not to say to your hired car driver in jolly old England: "You know, nobody ever says: hey, let's go out for British food! I've been here over a dozen times, and never really had decent British food." Such was the words blurted out by one American colleague from the backseat peanut gallery during last week's trip. Discussing dinner options shouldn't be a cultural minefield, but there it was. The driver - let's call him Lance, because that was his name - displayed the self-control and perfectly stiff upper lip for which the English are renowned, and only mildly opined that some pub food is better than others, and shepherd's pie at the Spotted Cow was quite good, what? Only a tightening of the jaw line and clenching of … [Read more...]

In The Kitchen: Rub-a-dub-dub, Let’s Smoke Some Ribs

icy covered BBQ grill

  Nothing better than a rack of pork ribs slow-smoked to perfection. Or at least, good enough to chow down on, with good beer and good company. So, let's smoke some ribs. Here at Casa USA Financial Service we don't (yet) have a true smoker with a separate fire-box for the fancy hardwood. No fancy electric convection smoker, no "outdoor kichen" built-ins. Just a regular ol' grill, made the old-fashioned way by Chinese prison and/or child labor. Even though the grill was out of commission for a couple days during December's "polar vortex" cold snap, as long as we're a few degrees above zero and the wind chill is manageable, it's smoking/BBQ/grilling time! First up, the rub: just equal parts freshly ground black pepper, kosher … [Read more...]

Cheetos In China: You Are What You Eat

Somewhat typical canal in China -- water might be used for irrigation and/or fish farming and/or laundry... and as a dump for old bikes

  Goodness gracious, who knows what's in that candy bar. Stay away from that hamburger, and don't even think about those Doritos. It's all going to make you fat, give you diabetes, rickets and high blood pressure, you know. And yet, in Shanghai, Chinese shoppers might actually consider Cheetos and Ding-Dongs and pork rinds as health food. China's toxic harvest: Consumers flock to imported food When Yuri Valazza started a small imported food shop in Shanghai eight years ago, his target consumers weren’t Chinese. "At that time it was almost 90 percent foreigners," recalls Valazza, sitting at a small table in shop in the city's former French Concession neighborhood. Not anymore, thanks to a rising consumer class … [Read more...]

Tamales Will Make You Obese… or Will They?

world's fattest countries

  Based on simple observation from several trips south of the border, we assumed that the population of Mexico can be as portly as any populace, but not according to the headlines.  From breathless headlines, websites and blog posts, it seems that Mexico is breaking all records: This recent one from The Economist's website: Eating Themselves to Death:  Diabetes in Mexico ... Mexico has become one of the most overweight countries on earth, even more so than the United States; a quarter of its men and a third of its women are obese. Indecorously, the country has even come up with figures on figures: the Mexican Diabetes Federation says that among women between 20 and 49, the average waistline is 91.1cm (35.9 inches), more than … [Read more...]

Stupid Labeling Tricks

Good wholesome delicious whipping cream and kefir

    What's not to like from organic whipping cream and kefir? Kefir will keep your gut well-populated with new lactobacillus and saccharomyces probiotic bacteria. Be like Turkish an Greek shepherds, drink a daily glass of kefir with your morning bread and olives, and live well into cantankerous old age (without getting into a border war over a little island.) Organic whipping cream is delicious in coffee, whipped up on strawberries, and guaranteed to come from happy cows.  Or mildly contended or even irritated cows. Hard to know what they're thinking as they're getting  their boobies yanked on milked by humans. Whatever. Labels are confusing though.  On the heavy cream from The Fresh Market:  "Our … [Read more...]

Mid-Week (Organic) Fish Wrap: Whole Foods and Pricey Dates

 Welcome to the Fish Wrap, a semi-frequent collection of commentary, link, topics, served on a platter of fresh green-leaf lettuce with a garnish of cilantro.  How humbling is it to be neatly pigeonholed into a consumer category by a large corporation?  You're just not that special a snowflake. Whole Foods has market resarched  its customers into Conscionables, Organics, Experientals, and Foodies.  Nice little cubbies. The extract in question from Whole Foods' 10-K filing: Unlike shoppers at conventional grocery stores, we believe many of our customers connect with us on a deeper level because of our shared values and, for this reason, continue to shop with us even in uncertain economic times. Based on our research, we … [Read more...]

Cut Out That Middleman! Buying Local Saves You Money

Potatoes grown in the Dieng Plateau (****) (Photo by Midori)

  Never pay retail. Here's a good lesson in reductive economics (*), from the Wall Street Journal blog, a grass-roots movement in Greece: Potato Movement Takes Root as Recession Bites (**) Angry over food prices that keep rising even as Greece stumbles through a fifth straight year of recession, ordinary Greeks have teamed up with local farmers in a new grass-roots consumer movement to bring potatoes and other basic foodstuffs to market by cutting out the middle men. The middle men being price-fixing wholesalers and supermarket chains, who enjoyed immense markups from the wholesale price all the way to retail: The roots of the movement date back to late last year, when farmers in the northern Greek district of Nevrokopi … [Read more...]

Rounding Out this Week… Agricultural ETFs, Food Prices, and Whether/Whither To Expatriate

World War II poster, 1942  National Archives, Records of the Secretary of Agriculture

At the New York Times, dateline March 2009 :  Going Galt: Everyone's Doing It A couple of seemingly unrelated links, but.... First, it's worthwhile to revisit Sydney's rant at Untemplater: Taxes Suck and Make Me Want to Shut Down my Small Business.   I was going to post an excerpt, but the title pretty much encapsulates it.  Here's a small entrepreneur that is just discouraged by the high rate of taxation. Moving on with other personal experiences, here's a recent podcast on Financial Sense ("The Search for Greener Pastures Overseas")  Guest Erik Townsend was a very successful internet entrepreneur and investor. After selling off his company, he decided that he'd had enough of taxes and high regulation on small business, and … [Read more...]

Rounding Out The Week – Cereal Killers

I was going to lead off with a sentence like "apologies for the lack of posting", but as I recently read in an internet forum, this is the internet. Nobody really cares if you go off for a week, you're not that special. On the other hand, as blog traffic experts know, slack off on posting good content on a regular basis, and watch your stats plunge deeper than Lady Gaga neckline. Busy, busy, busy week... painting the inside of the well house a bright orange out at the hacienda (don't ask me, that's the Mrs. 101 color wheel at work), getting quotes on roof repairs and new siding (getting ready for those before/after pictures), making new raised beds in the garden, and generally leading the country squire life. NOT SO GOOD EATS A … [Read more...]