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Attack of the Killer Corn!

I think we have all seen this ad:

The gist of this $25 million PR campaign by the Corn Refiners Association is that since the public doesn’t know the specific dangers of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) then there must not be any.  The commercial even goes so far as to call HFCS natural.  Syrup is a processed food therefore by definition can not be natural.

The ad also states that it is no worse than sugar.  No worse than sugar?  First off sugar is pretty bad.  Secondly it is far worse than sugar.

The amount of research that proves HFCS is harmful to humans can be measured in volumes. The data reveals that this unnatural, processed food-product causes and/or contributes to several serious diseases.  Let’s examine some of the evidence.

From knowthelies.com:

In a recent chemical analysis of eleven carbonated soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), researchers from Rutgers University found very high levels of reactive carbonyls.

Reactive carbonyls, which have been linked to tissue damage and complications of diabetes, are elevated in the blood of people with diabetes. A single can of soda, however, has five times that concentration of reactive carbonyls. Old-fashioned table sugar, on the other hand, has no reactive carbonyls.

From Health Mad:

Since HFCS’s widespread introduction in the 1980’s North American obesity rates have skyrocketed. Obesity has been linked to many heath issues including heart disease and many forms of cancer. When HFCS is ingested, it travels straight to the liver which turns the sugary liquid into fat, and unlike other carbohydrates HFCS does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin; which acts as a hunger quenching signal to the brain. So we get stuck in a vicious cycle, eating food that gets immediately stored as fat and never feeling full.

Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist & author of Lick the Sugar Habit:

Consumption of fructose causes a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid; after ingestion of glucose, no significant change occurs. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease. Furthermore, fructose ingestion in humans results in increases in blood lactic acid, especially in patients with preexisting acidotic conditions such as diabetes, postoperative stress or uremia. Extreme elevations cause metabolic acidosis and can result in death.

From Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:

Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply

The Corn Refiners Association bills itself as a national trade association representing the corn milling industry but being based in Washington DC (where the are no mills) it is clear that what they are is a lobbyist group.  They do not represent farmers, millers or even unions as their name suggests.  They represent large agri-business corporations.  According to their own web site they lobby on behalf of:

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) – ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM’s annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM’s corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30. ADM is a partner of Monsanto.

Cargill, Incorporated – Cargill has recalled more than 20 million pounds of beef and poultry products tainted with E. coli and Listeria bacteria, respectively since 2000. This recalled meat has been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks, miscarriages, and several deaths. Cargill is a partner of Monsanto.

The list goes on – Corn Products International, Penford Products Co., and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc.  All huge agri-businesses with ties to Monsanto.  Kind of blows that wholesome farmland image the Corn Refiners Association tries to portray.

Now take a look at this HFCS parody ad from Aaron Woolf, Curt Ellis, and Ian Cheney, creators of the documentary film KING CORN, then visit www.kingcorn.net

FDA’s Michael Taylor Promotes Himself

On Jan. 13, 2010 Michael Taylor, who was only recently hired as Food Safety Czar by President Obama, has now promoted himself to the new title Deputy Commissioner for Foods. He created this position to head his newly created Office of Foods for the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

According to an FDA press release Taylor’s new mission is, “to develop and implement a prevention based strategy for food safety, plan implementation of new food safety legislation, and ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition.” The web site also goes on to suggest that Taylor is a nationally recognized food safety expert. Of course legitimate nationally recognized food safety experts point out that he is anything but.

As part of Taylor’s credentials the press release cites his previous experience in the FDA and USDA. It also attempts to add authenticity by mentioning that he has served on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees. What it fails to mention is that he has spent most of the past 30 years as a lawyer and lobbyist for the nefarious Monsanto Company. It was Monsanto’s genetically modified corn process that introduced humanity to e coli. And they used your tax dollars to do it.

So while the FDA’s web site tries to convince people that Michael Taylor is the right person to have governing their food safety, the reality is that he is likely just securing more amnesty and tax dollars for Monsanto. That, after all, was the result of the his previous tenures in public service.

The Huffington Post has called Taylor, “The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history,” and that tends to be the consensus throughout the food safety world. Only the future knows how many more Americans will have to die before Taylor is done. One thing is for sure, no good will ever come of this.
The Face of Evil

ICA: Chef Gabrielle Hamilton

Never have I seen a contestant on Iron Chef: America become as popular as mild mannered Gabrielle Hamilton.  She has been one of the most searched for items on my blog.  This first hit the net on July 20, 2008.

Tonight Bobby Flay takes on Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in New York City.  Prune is a well thought of restaurant in the East Village that offers . . .  well, why don’t I let Gabrielle tell you for herself.

Chef Hamilton has endured herself to the city that never sleeps as Brooke Barrier explains in her article from the Nation’s Restaurant News.  The judge’s are Karine Bakhoum (bubbly) , Louisa Chu (adorable), and Michael Ruhlman (commanding).  Enjoy the Battle.

UPDATE:  I just watched the episode; congrats to Chef Hamilton for a great battle and win.

Be sure to read my review of Gabrielle Hamilton’s chef memoir “Blood, Bones & Butter” HERE.  There’s an excerpt read by the chef/author.

http://wannabetvchef.com/?p=6282

New Cheflebrity Alex Guarnaschelli

One of the most popular pieces I ever postified.  Oddly the most common search phrase that brought people to it was “Alex Guarnaschelli bitch.”  They said it, Alex, not me.  I think you’re adorable.  Originally published on August 28, 2008.

With her new show just weeks from airing here’s a chance to get to know The Cooking Loft’s Alex Guarnaschelli in this interview from The Next Blog:

Sautéed Florida Shrimp with Arugula Leaves, Crispy Duck Confit, Tomato-Capor Raviolini… All of those dishes sound absolutely divine; they also sound like nothing we could cook up here at ThisNext.  Good thing there are chefs out there that can cook up such delicious dishes without setting the kitchen ablaze.

ThisNext chats with Executive Chef, Alex Guarnaschelli from New York’s Butter Restaurant to find out what’s cooking in her kitchen.

TN: What is Butter’s most popular dish?
AG: My grilled halibut with roasted asparagus and a squash emulsion. It was supposed to be a soup but I turned it into a sauce and had it on the menu for four years. One time I took it off for a short period and customers started asking for it so I put it back on and it’s been with me every since. When I look back it’s always the most popular dish.

TN: What is your favorite food?
AG:
To eat: Eggplant Parmesan and piping hot blueberry pie with way too much hagan daazs vanilla and a ton of lemon zest.  To cook: fish and salads. I love to make fresh vegetable salads. I’ve always really loved seasonality of ingredients. I couldn’t live without hitting the green market.

TN: Why do you have such a green focus?
AG: It dictates what I buy. I go to the local market a few blocks away and it’s an easy way to see what people are up to and what’s growing. My favorite equipment of all are vegetables.

TN: Do you have a most memorable dish story you can share?
AG:
I went to a hole in the wall in Nice, a place called la Miranda with no phone, no reservations. It’s very informal. You go in and sit on a stool at a table it’s very informal. At the time the wife served and the husband cooked. The wife sat my colleague and I and down. I looked over and saw the cook pan-frying something in olive oil and it looked just perfect. He then took the pasta, steaming, out of the water and dropped it steaming hot into a vibrant green basil pesto and that waft of steam gushed from his bowl and into my nostrils. He quickly tossed the basil pesto with the pasta and it was the best dish I’ve ever had.

TN: What is always in your fridge?
AG:
At home I always have a bottle of champagne. I like a couple of different brands but my favorites are Camille Saves Rose or Bollinger. Both are French champagnes and I always have one or both on hand. Also 8-10 jars of mustards, none of which I can ever finish and lingenberry jam. I always have way too much brie. I’m a classic girl and don’t like the bells and whistles, just give me a slab of cheese. My favorite is straight Brie De Meux from a place outside of Paris.

TN: Being a pro chef, do you spend a lot of time in your own kitchen?
AG:
None. If I had more free time I would. I love to cook but I think it’s OK for a chef to say, “Hey I just spent 12 hours in the kitchen and for the other 12 I have left I am going to be outside the kitchen.” I just got married and my husband loves to cook so I let him do it.

TN: Which is your most important room in your house? Why?
AG:
The bathrooms because it’s quiet and cool in there, the things I don’t often get to enjoy in a [restaurant] kitchen. When I close the door I feel like everyone is going to leave me alone for a few minutes. Also, I’m a soap collector, like a squirrel in winter hording nuts. I can have up to 20 soaps on hand at any time. Roger Gallet is a favorite. They make a lot of different vegetable and fruit based soaps. One is lettuce scented and is a cross of freshly moved grass and the best salad I’ve ever eaten. He also has a tomato soap that I like.

TN: How would you describe the style of your home?
AG:
I would say it’s a mix of classical and modern. Kind of like Ikea meets the Mediterranean. It’s more on the modern size but I have my classical touches. I love a good oriental rug and some hardwood floors and maybe a scratched steel coffee table.

TN: How would you describe your fashion style?
AG: I am seven months pregnant so I am very disconnected from my wardrobe right now. Typically I buy a lot of Betsey Johnson. I also love calypso and Lolita Lempicka but I also have sweat pants from the Gap. I don’t shop at H&M and I don’t shop at Target. Not because I don’t like them but because I don’t believe anything that cheap can really be that good.

TN: Prized possession?
AG:
A Vitaprep blender. If I could bring it home and hide it under my bed every night I would feel much safer in the world. It’s looks similar to a frappuccino blender and is good for everything. I couldn’t make a soup or a sauce without it. The one at Butter is model number VM0101. This is my number one choice for a blender or food processor.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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