Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Feed Someone This Thanksgiving

The period leading up to Thanksgiving is a food blogger's favorite time of year.  We dig out recipes for; turkey, stuffings, gravy, potatoes, and pies; post basting tips, recommend wine pairings, and generally get pumped for the big feast.  In fact, I recently came across a recipe for Peking-Style Roast Turkey with Molasses-Soy Glaze and Orange-Ginger Gravy, and I'm flirting with the idea of talking my family into going such a route this holiday.  I'm a foodie, it's what I do.

Child of miner eating lunch on schoolhouse grounds.
Subject:Child of miner eating lunch on schoolhouse grounds. | Date: 09/04/1946 | Photographer: Russell Lee | This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.
Foodies & food bloggers, like myself, generally focus on the next yummy thing.  I was at my computer, ready to blog about an elderberry cider I'd discovered, when Food Network aired a commercial about child hunger.  I looked at the TV, looked at my computer screen, looked at the TV, looked back at my computer screen, sighed, and decided it was time to do some research.

According to the organization No Kid Hungry, "48.8 million Americans—including 16.2 million children— live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. As a result, they struggle with hunger at some time during the year."

Meanwhile, the USDA's latest data states, "In the United States, 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. For the first time, ERS estimated the calories associated with food loss: 141 trillion in 2010, or 1,249 calories per capita per day."

Putting these facts together lead me to a single inescapable conclusion.  Children aren't going hungry because there's not enough food.  Children and families are going hungry because we can't distribute the food we do have.

We can't distribute the food.  We can man an international space station and invade any Middle Eastern country we want, but we can't get a kid a sandwich three times a day.  Think about that.

I could go into a tirade over the bumfuzzled political causes of this travesty, but such an epistle would change nothing.  I'd rather spend my ink (pixels) encouraging people to address the problem in their own corners of the world.

Some people can work a soup line, drive meals to shut ins, and/or stock shelves at a local food bank.  Those of us who can't give physical services, can probably donate food and money to a reputable charity dedicated to feeding the hungry.

However we choose to help curb the tide of hunger, it's a good bet that doing so will make our own feast taste better on the 27th.
Instead of the usual links to related products, you'll find links to a few hunger related charities, you can donate to, at the bottom of this entry.

| No Kid Hungry | Save The Children | Feed The Children | Random Acts Of Pizza |
| Meals On Wheels | Loaves & Fishes |
| Portland's Sunshine Division |

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Little Caesars Pretzel Crust Pizza - A Review

I don't generally buy ready made take out pizza, simply because I like to choose my toppings.  However, being hungrier than normal a few nights ago, I shelled out $6.00 for Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza.
Little Caesars Pretzel Crust Pizza
Subject: Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza | Source: Little Caesars' Press Release |

Divided into eight large slices, the pizza consists of a soft salted pretzel crust topped with a Cheddar cheese sauce, cheese, and pepperoni, all sprinkled with an additional blend of Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan, and White Cheddar cheeses.

With the understanding that ready made take out pizzas sit beneath heat lamps before they're ordered, I knew, going in, that the pie would be lukewarm, rather than piping hot and fresh.  Thus, it didn't bother me.

In fact, I enjoyed the first slice.  The Cheddar cheese sauce was creamy, the pepperoni was spicy & salty, the four cheese blend was flavorful, and the pretzel crust, which the pizza is named for, tasted like a soft, ball park pretzel.

Yet, after the first slice, the salty Cheddar cheese sauce, salty/spicy pepperoni, salty blend of; Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan, and White Cheddar; and soft salted pretzel crust pummeled me with saltiness on top of saltiness on top of saltiness on top of saltiness.  The addition of mushrooms, bell peppers, and/or sun dried tomatoes would of added some badly needed balance to this one note pie.

A single slice of Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza would be a nice snack, alongside a beer, while watching sports with a large group of friends.  As a meal pizza though, I have to give Little Caesars' Pretzel Crust Pizza 5 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Common Dilemma Sees Freezerburns Saying Goodbye As Daym Keeps On Keeping On

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about Gregory Ng, the self-proclaimed "Frozen Food Master," and host of Freezerburns™. Gregory began his frozen food review vlog in 2008 with a series of, five to ten minute, frozen food reviews. Between the publication of my blog and now, Freezerburns came to an abrupt, and rather dramatic, end.

While reviewing the $2 Kid Cuisine How to Train Your Dragon Chicken Nuggets Meal, Ng snapped under the impression the meal delivered, "breading with a hint of chicken on the inside." With utter disgust plastered across his face, Ng exclaimed, "You know what? I can't do this anymore. This is horrible. We should not be feeding our kids this. We should not be eating this frozen food anymore. I'm done with this." Ripping his microphone from his chest, the "Frozen Food Master" stormed out of the camera's view, and hasn't produced another episode since.

I understand his frustration.  Food critics can easily pass something off as tasting good, without considering what's going into the eater's body, especially kids' bodies.  Not wanting to mislead children, by glorifying junk food, Gregory Ng removed himself from the culinary arena.

Coincidentally, the fast food critic, whom I wrote about in the same blog, recently faced a similar dilemma.  Daym Drops became concerned that kids were watching his reviews and getting the idea a  normal diet consisted entirely of fast food.  Rather than walking away from his show though, Daym has decided to do vegetable themed episodes for kids, beginning with Carrot Talk.

I applaud both men's concern for children's health.  Lord knows, food manufacturers don't seem to give a rip.  When faced with the idea that they may be negatively influencing children, each man took action in his own way.  I respect that.  Personally, I like Daym's educational solution better than walking away.  However, if Gregory Ng felt he couldn't walk the fine line between promoting flavor and considering health, then I respect him for addressing the problem as he thought best.
OK, I hear some of you out there calling me a hypocrite.  No, I get it.  I give good reviews to high calorie burgers, steaks, and cheese laden (everything), and I'm applauding two other food critics for being conscious of chlldren's health.

Keep in mind though, I've always maintained that if someone reads my review of a bacon cheeseburger & fries and buys their kids such a meal multiple times per week, then allows those kids to watch TV and play computer games all day, instead of burning energy outside, those kids WILL become obese.  That's not my fault.

Such meals are perfectly fine when consumed as a bi-weekly, or even monthly, treat. In between special trips to their favorite burger stand, kids should be getting; fruits, veggies, dairy products, and whole grains; at home, and burning those calories in fun and/or productive ways.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Love You Pulled Pork, But Stay Off My Burger

Pulled pork is a method of cooking a tough cut of pork, usually the shoulder, which allows the meat to become tender enough to be "pulled", or easily broken into individual pieces. The meat is seasoned with a BBQ rub and/or sauce, then cooked slowly at low temperatures (8 to 12 hours at 225°F) to break down the connective tissue and eliminate toughness.
Carls Jr BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger
Subject: Carl's Jr.'s/Hardees' Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger | Source: Carl's Jr.'s/Hardees' Press Release |

While I love pulled pork, as such, I have to say, I hate these Pulled Pork Burgers which are popping up all over the place. Famous Dave's BBQ has one, Carl's Jr./Hardy's has one, Burger King has one, and yesterday Wendy's told the press they'll adding one to their menu.

Essentially, these are sandwiches with a burger patty, pulled pork, cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce, all topped with Cole Slaw, deep fried jalapeño peppers, or onion rings.

Keep in mind, I love bacon on a burger, it adds a smoky saltiness which one simply can’t get any other way. However, bacon is THE ONLY OTHER meat I want on my burger.

I’ve had a few of these Pulled Pork Burgers. The thick layer of sauce drenched pork, atop the beef patty, initially tastes good. The sandwich is so heavy with meat though, that after the forth bite the sandwich becomes a laborious chore to finish.

Ignoring the portion which winds up on one’s lap, because the thing is so messy, one is forced to either leave part of the burger uneaten or spend the rest of the day feeling stuffed and bloated.

Give me a simple cheeseburger, or a delicious pulled pork sandwich, any day. Just leave them separate please.