obama

SNL Takes Shot At HFCS Commercials

Since it first aired in the 1970’s Saturday Night Live has tackled issues the regular media won’t touch.  From time to time they have also been guilty of trading their ethics in order to advance their personal political agendas (especially the past four or five years).  But they still occasionally take on “the man” on controversial issues.

Recently SNL spoofed those highly unethical Sweet Surprise disinformation commercials the folks at the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) lobby put together in an attempt to confuse the general public about the ever increasing dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (aka HFCS, aka Corn Syrup).  This is not only a big deal because it is the first real attention the national media has given to the issue but also because it seems to buck at SNL’s recent trend of blindly supporting the Obama Administration regardless of its obvious failures in certain areas.

You see, Monsanto and other large agribusiness companies (the ones who profit from HFCS) were among the largest contributors to the Obama candidacy.  In return for their financial backing they were rewarded by getting to put their own people in charge of the government agencies that are charged with regulating them.  The number of agribusiness lobbyists now operating within this administration is staggering with the two most notable moles being USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and FDA Food Czar Michael Taylor.  The result is that neither department can be considered reliable anymore.

I was recently at an event with a number of food writers.  Most worked directly for large publications.  They related tales of how food writers were being harassed by Sweet Surprise anytime they wrote something unflattering about HFCS.  If they wrote an opinion column they were hit with libel suits.  If they dared to publish any of the mountains of scientific research that reveals the truth about HFCS they are getting buried with cease and desist orders and other frivolous ligation.

From a legal standpoint none of these suits have a leg to stand on.  Opinion columns (like this one) are just that, a statement of opinion and are Constitutionally protected.  And it has never been a crime to print scientific results.  That isn’t the point, CRA knows they don’t stand a chance of winning any of these suits.  The point is to harass the parent organizations into telling their food writers to just leave well enough alone.  It is litigious terrorism.

Well, chalk one up for the good guys:

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.

Has the First Lady Crossed the Line?

Though I have some issues with the job the President has done thus far I have continued to have respect for Mrs. Obama.  Her mission to teach people how to grow their own produce is commendable.  More than that it’s admirable.

The White House kitchen garden has inspired thousands of school gardens across the nation.  That is a positive not only because it teaches children to have a relationship with their food but because it has helped ease a little of the burden on the cash strapped tax payers in this country.

But. . .

HypocriteRecently it was revealed that Mrs. Obama has been meeting behind closed doors with the National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) in an attempt to impose her personal views on the menus of tens of thousands of restaurants.  The First Lady has tried everything short of having her husband send in the troops.  She has spent the past year trying to strong arm restaurant owners to reduce the size of portions and to, in essence, replace everything a child likes to eat with everything they hate.

With all due respect, Mrs. Obama, get your nose out of my menu.  Let’s set aside for a moment that this is an egregious infringement on our civil liberties.  Let’s also jump over the fact that a non-employee of the federal government is attempting to make US domestic policy.  Let’s get straight to the burr under my saddle.

When Mrs. Obama went from setting a positive example of proper diet to mandating proper diet she moved into the category of hypocrite.  It’s one thing to wage the war on obesity.  It’s a whole different story when you try to force me to follow your example while your husband is auctioning off the nation’s food system to the very people responsible for causing the obesity epidemic.

In 2007 then Senator Obama spoke at the Iowa Democratic Primary Debate saying, “. . . we can also improve the economic engines in a lot of these rural communities, and that is something that I’m absolutely committed to doing as President, but it’s going to require overcoming the excess influence of agribusiness lobbying.”  He would go on to say “I don’t take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

Well Mr. Obama’s very first hire after his election was to tab Monsanto lobbyist Tom Vilsack to head the USDA.  His very first hire mind you.  Not White House Chief of Staff, not Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense but Secretary of Agriculture.  Campaigns, after all, are not cheap.  He has since gone on to place no less than six lobbyists for the agribusiness giant into policy-making positions in the USDA and FDA that directly regulate Monsanto.

Granted Michelle is not responsible for Barry’s business dealings.  After all we elected him, not her.  However, before Mrs. Obama dare try to force us to reorder our homes she should first take a look at her own.

I believe that in covertly trying to manipulate the populace into changing their eating habits while her own husband continues an unholy alliance with agribusiness is nothing short of hypocrisy.  There is nothing worse than a hypocrite for a hypocrite combines all of the distasteful characteristics of a con artist with the self-righteous edicts of a narcissist.

The respect I once had for the First Lady is now gone.  I cannot trust someone capable of such hypocrisy.  By employing cloak and dagger techniques like this Michelle Obama has done serious damage to her own image.  However, it would be easy for Mrs. Obama to earn our trust back.  She simply need to publicly admonish the President for hiring Vilsack, Michael Taylor and all those other Monsanto lobbyists.  Do that, Mrs. Obama, and you begin to regain our respect; do it not and I must politely ask you to butt out.

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?”

Follow Stuart via “the Online”

Sip & Chew with Mike and Stu

Add to Google

addtomyyahoo4

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

Archives

Subscribe to this blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

ISO 9000 Culinary Arts Certification