Eat the Week National: Pre-Masticating Mama, Cockroach Cocoa, and GMO Holdup
1. This piece of celebrity gossip is too odd, albeit nauseating, to save for later. Alicia Silverstone posted a video on her website last Friday that shows her feeding her 10-month-old son, Bear Blu, pre-chewed food directly from her mouth. Yes, like birds. She’s even quoted as unself-consciously saying Bear will crawl “across the room to attack [her] mouth” whenever she’s eating. Not only is this behavior highly unhygienic and depriving the kid of the wondrous joys of chewing, it’s downright psychological complex–creating. Picture the scene: Bear weans late and winds up seven years old, jogging over to his mom, who’s snacking on a bench, watching him play with his friends in the park, just to get a quick bite of masticated Goldfish crackers wetted with homemade applesauce. Alicia, let’s please not let that happen.
2. In more gag-inducing news, Starbucks came out with word of ground-up beetles used as the red food dye in their Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino, Strawberry Smoothie, and a few of their pastries. Otherwise known as cochineal extract, the beetle powder is FDA-approved and commonly used. In fact, a lot of foods that look red or orange or purple look that way because they have crushed insect shells all over and inside of them. This is every vegan’s bi-annual told-you-so moment, 2012.
3. Under the impression you’re allergic to chocolate? Turns out you’re probably just allergic to cockroaches. According to Mt. Sinai allergist Morton Teich, avoiding cockroach parts in chocolate is virtually impossible due to the bugs’ constant presence on cocoa farms. Side-effects such as migraines, hives, and cramps thought to stem from the bean or other ingredients in chocolate are most likely reactions to ground roach. We’re having trouble deciding if this is good news for those suffering from allergies or terrible news for everybody.
4. A study conducted by a medical professor at the University of California, San Diego, and published Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine, supports the theory that regular consumption of chocolate may positively influence one’s metabolism. Out of about a thousand participants, aged 20 to 85, the people who ate chocolate more often had not only a lower body mass index but, interestingly, larger caloric intake than their non-chocaholic peers. The source of this paradox might lie in cocoa’s ability to block the pancreatic enzyme responsible for processing dairy fat. Essentially, it’s possible that the fat in chocolate leaves your body before it’s even digested. But you’d better believe the cockroach bits are in there for the long-haul.
5. Prepare for a popcorn price hike. According to a study done at the University of Scranton, popcorn contains more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables, carrying 90% of the polyphenols in its hard, flaky hull. The 100% whole grain snack is a healthy alternative to chips and dip, but not if a ton of melted butter gets ladled over the bowl. So go light on the dressings if you decide to go heavy on the popcorn. And, this study might be best viewed as the preliminary step in a larger goal: finding which components of the kernel actually improve health and how much of popcorn’s antioxidants are actually absorbed by the body.
6. Yesterday, 22 new TV shows were outlined by the Food Network and Cooking Channel for their 2012 line-ups. Some sound pretty promising — “Mystery Diners,” designed to catch food service employees at their worst, and “Eat the Street,” featuring restaurant-saturated strips across different U.S. cities — others, not so good. A show about seven strangers sharing a meal? Sounds like any holiday spent with extended family. Check out the full list.
7. PBS is dropping some new programming too, premiering April 5, in the educational and inspirational vein. Standing opposite the food-policy downers, the celebrity chefs, and the competitive eaters, “Food Forward” will follow agricultural entrepreneurs, practical farmers, positive reformers, and all pioneers of America’s contemporary food movement.
8. Wendy’s stepped up to the podium this week to volunteer their “pink-slime free” status to the public, taking advantage of recent media swirl surrounding lean beef trimmings by rolling an ad Friday in eight major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Miami Herald, saying they’ve never sold meat with pink slime and never would. Two steps ahead.
9. Chicago’s Michelin-ranked schmancy-pants eatery Alinea jumps up from Restaurant Magazine’s number six spot in last year’s “World’s 50 Best” rankings to achieve Elite Traveler’s #1 this week. Check out Alinea’s international runners-up (a.k.a., 99 additional amazing restaurants).
10. The FDA returned from the meeting room Tuesday, technically abiding by the “Just Label It” campaign deadline, saying they had yet to decide whether to federally mandate GMO labels on foods that contain biotech ingredients. They decided they need more time, in part because of the sticky semantics of docket counting — citizen petitions, such as “Just Label It,” and the people who sign and leave comments on a form letter, despite their real numbers, will be counted as a collective single comment. One count per form letter, regardless of tens of thousands of signatures per letter. This leaves the FDA with an official count of only 394 GMO-labeling supporters, as opposed to the over one million supporters counted by “Just Label It.” Talk of a delay-of-game lawsuit against the Administration is circulating.
Photo: Public Domain Photos