Archive | April, 2009

Surprise! Yet another food advisory ( alfalfa sprouts)

28 Apr

This is the reason why I have a permanent tag for salmonella :

According to U.S. News and World Report, the government has issued an advisory for alfalfa sprouts.  The culprit: Salmonella. The government is warning cionssumers to refrain from eating any alfalfa sprouts, or products containing alfalfa sprouts. Go to fda.gov  to read the associated press release.

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Win a $25 gift card from Shop-Rite

24 Apr

shopritelogo Culinary Chick and the kind folks from Shop-Rite grocery stores are giving away $25  Shop-Rite gift cards to two lucky readers of this blog. All you have to do is post an answer to this question:

In these lean times, how do you maintain a gourmet touch in the meals you prepare for yourself, or your family?

A gourmet touch could be anything from using a simple garnish like a parsley sprig,  to breaking out that extra virgin olive oil, to splurging on seafood or a special cut of meat. I will choose the  best five entries; and you, the readers will choose the best two.  The two winners will receive the $25 gift card, courtesy of Shop-Rite.

Contest entries must be in by midnight, May 10.  Voting will end on midnight, May 17. The winner will be announced on May 19, 2009.

Contest Rules:

1) No substitutions will be given in lieu of gift cards.

2) Shop-Rite gift cards can only be used at Shop-Rite stores.

3) Contest entries must be in by midnight, May 10.  Voting will end on midnight, May 17. The winner will be announced on May 19, 2009.

4) All posts must be limited to 50 words or less.

5) All entries must have a valid e-mail address

6) Only one entry per valid e-mail address

7) Please refrain from using racist, sexist or pornographic comments. Entries which contain theses elements will be disqualified.

Have Fun!

In the case of Domino’s Pizza: A commentary

20 Apr

It’s that time of year again, folks.

I find that I have to have “the talk” with my friends every time this happens. In case you were out of the country, two “employees” of Domino’s Pizza committed the crime of food tampering, and posted a video on YouTube.

I won’t post the video because it is too disgusting.

Suffice it  to say, executives at Domino’s  acted swiftly to quash the problem. They fired both employees and pressed charges against them. The president of the company,  Patrick Doyle  released a video on YouTube offering his apologies, and asked for the public’s understanding. The company also opened up a Twitter account so the public can follow any updates concerning this case.

As a public relations student,  I believe the company is on the right track. But, they have a long road ahead of them.  The two individuals involved in this case not only did damage to the individual store and its owner, but did damage to the entire franchise at a time when the public’s view of corporations are shaky at best.

These two people violated a social contract– we patronize your company, and in turn, you provide us with a good or a service that is free from defects.  It is an understood trust that is vital for any business to succeed.  Without it,  business cannot be conducted, and the retailer-customer relationship breaks down.

I believe that more can be done to get Domino’s through this. One is to keep open the lines of communications with the public. Another is to reiterate the company’s sanitation policies. Lastly, raise the rates of hourly employees and hire older workers. Theses steps may work, but they won’t work if the people they hire lack  pride in a job well done, and a sense of responsibility to the public.

Unfortunately, that is something we seem to see less and less of these days. These people were both over the age of 25, so you would think they would know better.  These two showed such a contempt for their customers, that it shocked even an old pro like me.  I’ve never seen anything like it. Apathy and lack of respect is something no corporation can fix. It has to come from within.

I don’t know why this behavior is pervasive in fast-food establishments. The public has a right to be wary; after all, if you continue to hear and see reports of how individuals bathe in sinks designed for cleaning pots, or people farting on sandwiches, you’d be suspect of any carry-out. I think that this is a sign of a growing lack of respect and common decency for that we now have for one another.  The act of tampering with someone’s food is glorified in the movies and in the practical-joke shows that is considered entertainment these days. The yahoos that perpetrated this crime seemed oblivious to the ramifications of their youthful hi-jinks.  We’ve also lost a sense of empathy, how else can you explain the actions of those persons in the spotlight for committing these actions. It’s almost like they forgot how they would feel if the same crime had been committed against them.

This is something that Domino’s cannot fix. This is a societal ill that can only be cured by example. Unfortunately, the owner of that particular Domino’s may learn this by the loss of his business. It’ s a shame, too.  Will I still eat Domino’s pizza? Yes. Did I eat Wendy’s chili after the whole finger incident? Yes.  Why? Call it sympathy. I know there are thousands of people who make an honest living at these places. People who support their families by making pizza and wings for us.

So if you are on the fence about eating at Domino’s, don’t be. Go back when you are ready, but go back. You’ll save someone’s job.  If you have friends that think this kind of crap is funny,  correct them. It’s not funny. In this economy, we all need to work.  Don’t penalize the pizza guy because some bumpkins thought it would be funny to play with someone’s food.  Give the smackdown on those who perpetrate these acts.

**Note: I’ve never worked for Domino’s Pizza. As a matter of fact, when I applied for a job there, they wouldn’t hire me ( wrong kind of experience).

I promise to blog tomorrow!

19 Apr

The CC started a job last week, and it physically wore an old girl out! I promise to post entries tomorrow.

Today, I’m going to sleep! (more sleep)

Gastronomic Monstrosity #10: Marshmallow Peeps

13 Apr

Some people swear by them; of course, I don’t. But; I love creativity and strange food, so in the spirit of the season, I present to you the following blog entries  and photos from around the blogosphere:

Smeeps: S’mores made with peeps by the Curious Domestic,

Deep-fried Peeps from Serious Eats,

P. B.  & Peep sandwich, Peep Mojitos, and Toasted Peeps from Geeks Are Sexy; and my favorite,

2009 Peep Diorama entries from the Washington Post.

Enjoy,

The CC

What is Steakfish, exactly?

12 Apr

I was on the phone with my 82-year-old aunt, and she asked me a question:

What is steakfish?

I had to think about it, and I don’t know what steakfish is. I’m supposed to be my family’s culinary expert, and I had to think about it. I remembered eating steakfish  fried on Fridays as a child, and loving it. I’ve noticed the delicacy is scarce, because everytime I go to the market, they are sold out of steakfish.

Now; I know some of you are scratching your head, and may be asking the same question. It is easier to  explain what steakfish is not.

It is not:

1) Any fish that is cut into steaks (tuna, salmon, halibut, swordfish, barracuda); or,

2) Hake ( which older people in the African-American community vehemently agree, that what is being sold now is not the steakfish they remember. What is generally passing for steakfish these days is more sinewy and tougher in texture than what we all remember).

Now, let me describe what steakfish is. Steakfish is:

1) A dish that seems to be unique to Baltimore’s African-American community;and,

2) A name given to some species of fish that has a delicate flavor, a texture similar to catfish, and is cut into steaks, and either fried or baked  (although I suppose it can be poached as well)

See how non-descript this is? This is the generic description given to almost all white-fleshed fish served in restaurants. How many times have you heard this description when dining out:

Server: Tonight’s fish special is  Braised tilapia with  fennel, tomato and garlic.

Customer: What does tilapia taste like?

Server: It is a mild-flavored flaky white fish.

Customer: Ohhh….

Well that’s clear; isn’t it? Well, I have a theory. I think it is some type of hake, just a different species. For example, most crab meat or soft crabs  sold now in Northeast markets and served in restaurants is  NOT Blue Crab as we know it. It is blue swimming crab, native to the Phillipines, Mexico, Venuzeula, and other locales around the world. It is similar in flavor just enough to fool people who don’t know any better. True blue crab comes from coastal states on the eastern seaboard and southern states in the United states. It is known for its distinctive sweet flavor and texture. I think the same thing happened to steakfish. It may be profitable to use another form of hake and call it steakfish.

So I’ma throwing it out to you: What is Steakfish, exactly? Please enlighten us all.

Pistaschio Recall Update: Setton recalls an addtional million pounds

10 Apr

Setton Foods recalled an additional million pounds of pistachios Thursday, according to Foxnews.com. The cause of the infestation seems to revolve around alleged reports of vermin infestation at the Setton processing plant. The public is warned to refrain from eating pistachio and products containing the nut or derivatives.

To date, no reports of illness from consuming pistachios have been reported.
More to come.

The CC