Jimmy Carter

President’s Day – a Celebration of Beer

Most Americans are aware that founding father Samuel Adams was a brewer.  In fact his brewery is still going strong today.  But many don’t know that most of America’s early Presidents were craft brewers including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Half-Yard Ale Glass available at amazonThe entire tapestry of Colonial America and the revolution it spawned was woven in beer halls.  Virtually every important event in American history leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence took place in a pub.  Let’s face it, to pick a fight with the most powerful and vicious empire in the world requires the kind of courage that only comes from a bottle.

In the early days of New World colonization New England winters were too cold and too lengthy to grow the grapes necessary for wine making and we had yet to discover the rich volcanic soil and perfect climate of Napa Valley.  Additionally the area was settled mainly by the beer drinking English and Netherlanders who brought their centuries old brewing techniques with them.

Fermented drinks have served a crucial part of mankind’s evolution.  It is no overstatement that without the invention of fermentation humans may not be here.  After all, water has only been a dependable source for hydration for around a hundred years.  Prior to that drinking water was a crap shoot.  Remember, rivers are nature’s restrooms.  Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.”

In the early days of America, industry was haphazard.  The corporations and conglomerates that dominate our economy now did not exist then.  That Mr. Beerincluded large breweries.  As a result most townships and many homes had their own brew houses.  Washington’s Virginia homestead, Mount Vernon, had its own brew house and Washington had his own signature recipe:

“To Make Small Beer:  Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. — Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Molasses into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask — leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.”

Thomas Jefferson (3rd President) loved his ale and his wife, Martha, brewed beer at Monticello.  Jefferson once opined, “Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the tempter, cheers the spirit, and promotes good health.”  Likewise his predecessor in the White House, John Adams, also considered his favorite drink to be Abigail Adams’ home brewed ales and ciders.  Adams was a sharp cookie having begun studying at Harvard at the age of fifteen where his daily breakfast was said to be nothing more than bread and beer.

James Madison (4th President) was so enamored by beer that he actually proposed the establishment of a national brewery and the appointment of a new cabinet member, the Secretary of Beer.  You can’t make that kind of stuff up.  But the party ended with James Monroe (5th President) who was puritanical in his notions towards alcohol, a major bone of contention President Beerbetween the President and his youngest son.  Willie Monroe was known at Oberlin College for his epic drinking escapades.

Throughout the years other Presidents have had their own stories regarding beer.  Abraham Lincoln (16th President) once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”  Upon the repeal of Prohibition, Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd President) was quoted saying, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

Ulysses S. Grant (18th President), a legendary drunk, once lived in St. Louis, Missouri at a place now known as Grant’s Cabin.  Grant’s Cabin was purchased by August A. Busch of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company and today is a popular tourist destination annually hosting some 24 million guests who come to see life as it used to be, drink free beer samples and have their George Washington's Taven Porterpictures taken with the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales.  No discussion of Presidents and beer would be complete without mentioning the acrid brew marketed by the bungling brother of Jimmy Carter (39th President) known aptly as Billy Beer.  And who can forget President Obama’s embarrassing “beer summit?”

So what has become of those old beer recipes our founding fathers used to forge this mighty nation?  Thankfully Yards Brewery in Philadelphia has started a line of premium craft brews they call Ales of Revolution which feature the original recipes enjoyed during the founding of our nation including George Washington’s Tavern Porter, Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce Ale and Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale.

Additionally Starr Hill Brewery has recently announced the launch of Monticello Reserve Ale, the official beer of Monticello.  They have planned a free tasting for the launch this Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 21, 12 p.m.- 3 p.m.  The tasting will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center Museum Shop. The ceremony will feature the tapping of the very first keg followed by free tastings.

So if we celebrate New Year’s with champagne why not slam a pint for President’s Day?  It’s like patriotic or something.  I know I will be spending part of this three day weekend attending the Top of the Hops Craft Brew Festival in Biloxi, MS and I encourage you to do your civic duty by responsibly enjoying a cold one as well.

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” Benjamin Franklin.

Taco Bell Recalls GMO Taco Shell

Taco Bell Gmo CornFor the first time since untested genetically modified foods first invaded our food system back during the 1970’s a GMO product is being recalled.  Kraft Foods Inc. is recalling Taco Bell Home Originals brand taco shells from US supermarkets specifically because of its GMO content.

President Jimmy Carter was the first to compromise the nation’s health in exchange for a truckload of the money that Big Ag companies like Monsanto throw around.  When Monsanto first approached the FDA about it’s Round-up resistant corn the FDA correctly King Corn Documentarydetermined that a good 20 years of research was necessary before allowing it into the nation’s food system.

After a few calls to the White House it was “agreed” that testing wasn’t so necessary after all.  The result has been a meteoric rise in diabetes, obesity and pancreatic cancer.  Nice job, President Carter.

The problem with the Taco Bell shells is that they contain a strain of GM corn that has not been approved by the FDA. Now on the surface one would have to think that if the FDA hasn’t approved this GMO corn then it must be really bad especially since history has proven the FDA and USDA will approve just about anything for the right amount of money.  Take high fructose corn syrup for example.

The discrepancy in the taco shells was discovered by the Friends of the Earth (FOE) which proves the adage even a blind dog finds a bone now and then.  They stumbled on a report from an independent lab which indicated an unapproved GMO called StarLink manufactured by Big Ag company Aventis was used even though the FDA has not approved it for human consumption because it is not heat-stable, is resistant to stomach acids and enzymes and potentially causes severe allergic reactions.

FOE is one of those stereotypical environmental groups that care about tax free donations far more than they care about actually protecting the environment.  You can tell this because they still haven’t removed their Global Warming section from their site proving their disconnect from reality.  Admittedly the link for Global Warming is a bit hard to find because of the deluge of buttons begging for donations.  But kudos to FOE for happening upon this issue.

Climategate the Crutape LettersWith the exception of FOE, the entire world knows the Global Warming Hoax was exposed in 2009 when tens of thousands of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at England’s University of East Anglia were leaked.  The correspondences revealed that the leading climate scientists have been purposefully fabricating, suppressing and misstating scientific data to perpetuate the Climate Change myth.  Since then Global Warming has been completely debunked and the scientists that colluded on it have admitted to their part in the worst scientific scandal of our generation.

I think it is important to point out that these are not necessarily the same shells that Taco Bell sells at their fast food stores but rather the ones Kraft markets for home use under the Taco Bell name.  Now the repercussions of the Taco Bell GMO corn recall could prove good for America as a whole since it will continue to flame the fire of discontent most people feel about these dangerous frankenfoods.  We don’t need to ban them, per se, but foods that contain them should be labeled so that people can make an informed decision.  But the Big Ag groups and their lap dogs in the Obama administration, the FDA and USDA have fought labeling GMO’s which begs the question, “What are they trying to hide?”

An Open Letter to Coca Cola

Dear Coca Cola,
I have an idea and I think you are going to like it.

You see, Coke.  Can I call you “Coke?”  Good.

You see, Coke, your product, though tasty and refreshing, isn’t exactly healthy.  Now that in and of itself is not a problem.  After all this is America and if a citizen wants to consume something that is not-healthy that is their right.  The problem is that your products go beyond not-healthy; they are toxic.

Sure most of the ingredients in your soft drinks are benign but there is one ingredient that is the primary cause of the rise in cancer, Diabetes and obesity in the country over the past 30 years.  You know what ingredient I am talking about, High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I think you call him HFCS.  It’s a nickname or a handle or something.  Maybe it’s his Twitter account.  I don’t know.

Now, the US Government knows that HFCS is toxic but they don’t want to come out and say it.  You see, there’s a company named Monsanto (you know who I’m talking about) and they not only invented HFCS but they also manufacture the main ingredient in making it, Genetically Modified Corn.  So Monsanto doesn’t want the masses knowing their creation is lethal.  Therefore they entered into a “business” agreement with the White House.

Now this is not a recent event, they did it back in 1991 and they have maintained a flow of “support” to the Oval Office ever since.  In fact, it appears Monsanto has increased that “support” in the last year and a half.  We’ve noticed a lot of landscaping being done by the new tenets.  These upgrades coincide with Monsanto lobbyists taking on policy making positions within the departments that are supposed to regulate them.

Equate it to our criminal system.  It doesn’t matter how much evidence the police (modern science) compiles if the Prosecutor (USDA, FDA) doesn’t indict then the jury never gets to hear that evidence.  And just to be on the safe side they (Monsanto) also make sure that the Judge (the President) will throw out the verdict.

I know what you are saying, Coke, calm down.  No it is not your fault that our government is corrupt.  But here’s the rub, rather than admit that HFCS is a problem they are calling ALL forms of sugar evil and are even threatening to levy a tax on soft drinks so that people can’t afford them anymore.

Here’s my idea: you come out and admit that HFCS is toxic.  It doesn’t even have to be an out and out admission just say that recent studies have brought into question the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup.  And say that you are going to offer an option.  Say you are doing it for the good of the people; we always buy that because we want to believe it is true.  The government loves to use that one themselves.

Say that you are now going to offer all of your great Coke products in both the economical HFCS recipe and for the “more discerning” Coke lover a recipe sweetened with all natural cane sugar called Coke Premium.  If you phrase it right people will pay the extra five or ten cents you charge per serving.

In fact, it may generate the kind of sales you got when you did the whole “New Coke” thing just to disguise the fact that you changed to HFCS to begin with.  People will be rushing the stores to try Coke Premium.  Not to mention all of the labs and university science programs that will be buying both products so they can do head-to-head comparisons as to how they effect our health.

I’m telling you, Coke, this is a good idea that takes care of everyone.  Monsanto still gets to sell their poison, the government gets to continue taking kick backs from Monsanto, you get to keep selling cheap soft drinks to a lazy consumer that believes water is bland and tea is too much trouble and those of us who enjoy a Coke now and then but not the effects of HFCS can splurge on Coke that tastes like the Coke of old.

I’m telling you, it’s brilliant.

XXX OOO,

Stuart

SodaStream USA Save the Planet 4

The Corn Supremacy – A Trilogy

The following is a work of fiction.  Though much of the information is documented fact certain elements have been fictionalized.

St. Louis, Missouri
Realizing that the manipulation of the federal government that had steam rolled their genetically modified corn into the nation’s food supply was over with the election of Ronald Reagan, Monsanto took their operations underground.  They would spend the 1980’s cross pollinating their corn with corn free of their still untested genetic modifications.

Why you may ask would they do that?  Because if they could show modified genes in the corn being grown on farms that did not purchase their seed from Monsanto they then could claim trademark infringement.  If they could convince a judge that their trademark had been infringed upon they would offer the farmer a settlement – either purchase a licensing agreement for growing Monsanto corn or we’ll take your farm away.

The plan was simple really, just plant GM corn up wind from real corn; let Mother Nature do the rest.  Of course to be on the safe side they would load trucks with plenty of pollen from their Frankencorn.  The trucks had no destination, their job was simply to drive by field after field of real corn letting the pollen do its thing.

FrankenfoodIt was also during this underground period that Monsanto began developing other GM crops.  They expanded to canola and soy bean with great success.  Today if there is a plant that springs from a seed, Monsanto has a mutant version of it.

It was during the George H. W. Bush administration that Monsanto was able to infiltrate the US Government again.  Michael Taylor, a lifelong Monsanto lobbyist, was appointed as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy.  Despite having no training or practical knowledge of food science or biology, Taylor was passed off as an expert on food safety.  Years later the Huffington Post would describe Taylor as, “The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history. . . ”

It didn’t take long for Monsanto’s mole to begin manipulating policy in favor of Big Ag though at the peril of the American public.  It was Taylor who championed the concept of substantial equivalence which states that genetically modified foods should be considered the same as natural foods and therefore require no testing.

Substantial equivalence remains the policy at the FDA to this day.  In addition to opening the flood gates to untested mutant produce, Taylor was also instrumental in legalizing the genetically modified bovine growth hormone (BGH).

Taylor’s tenure with the FDA began what is now referred to as the Monsanto revolving door, a series of Big Ag cronies placed in positions of great influence within government departments that regulate Big Ag.

When the elder Bush’s tenure ended Taylor returned to the private sector where he was rewarded for his work at the FDA by being named vice-president of Monsanto.  There he would instruct a whole generation of Monsanto moles that would weave in and out of the FDA and USDA during the Clinton and George W. Bush years.

The 16 years of Clinton/Bush would see Monsanto’s GM corn sneak its way into 80% of the US food supply.  Cancer, Type II Diabetes and child obesity have sky rocketed, the result of which has put a colossal strain on the nation’s health care system driving prices up.  Many politicians have begun heavily investing in pharmaceutical companies despite the clear conflict of interest.

Monsanto became the predominant recipient of the US farm subsidies that were intended for family-owned farms, not factory farms run by corporations.  With those billions of dollars in farm subsidies, Monsanto was able to under cut the price of it’s product so that they all but eliminated the family farm.  By throwing some of that cash at a handful of Federal judges Monsanto slowly began absorbing many of the remaining family farms after they were found guilty of unintentionally infringing on Monsanto’s trademarked seeds.

With the world on the brink of collapse only a savior can preserve the Union and slay the corporate dragon.

Get caught up by reading The Corn Identity.  Next time The Corn Ultimatum.

Next time, The Corn Supremacy.

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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.

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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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