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As Japanese sushi conquers restaurants and homes around the world, industry experts are fighting the side-effects of the raw fish boom: fake sushi bars, over-confident amateurs, poisoned consumers.

Once a rare and exotic treat, seaweed rolls and bites of raw tuna on vinegared rice are now familiar to most food fans. So familiar, in fact, that many hobby cooks in Europe and the United States like to make them in their own kitchens.

But chefs and sushi experts at an international restaurant summit in Tokyo warned of a lack of awareness in handling raw fish among amateurs and some restaurateurs who enter the profitable industry without sufficient training.

“Everybody thinks: ‘sushi is so expensive — I can buy cheap fish, fresh fish, I can make it at home.’ It’s not true. Not every fish is suitable to eat raw,” chef and restaurateur Yoshi Tome told Reuters.

Tome’s restaurant, “Sushi Ran” in Sausalito, California, was awarded a Michelin star and he often advises customers on preparing Japanese food.

He sees himself as an educator as well as a chef, and believes that more and better training opportunities are needed to prevent food scandals that could hurt the entire industry.

“I get these questions all the time — people call me: ‘Hey Yoshi, my husband went to fish a big salmon, we’re looking to eat it as sashimi. We opened it and a bunch of worms came out. Can we eat it?”’

His answer: you cannot eat it as sashimi; but you can throw away the affected parts and cook and eat the rest.

In fact, Tome said salmon, which is prone to parasites, should never be eaten raw but be cooked, marinated, or frozen before being consumed.

He described another case in which an inexperienced restaurateur in the United States served raw baby crab. This lead to cases of food poisoning and prompted a recall of that type of crab. Tome serves the crab deep-fried at his restaurant and says it is perfectly safe if prepared the right way.

“Here in Japan, some people eat raw chicken, chicken sashimi. But we know chicken can have salmonella, so in the U.S. nobody eats raw chicken,” he added.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23843666/
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Published by Irene on Apr 1, 2008
A paratha (or parantha) is a flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is usually made with whole-wheat flour, pan fried in ghee or cooking oil, and often stuffed with vegetables, especially boiled potatoes, radish or cauliflower and/or paneer (Indian cheese). A paratha (especially a stuffed one) can be eaten simply with a blob of butter spread on top but it is best served with pickles and yoghurt, or thick spicy curries of meat and vegetables. Some people prefer to roll up the paratha into a "pipe" and eat it with tea, often dipping the paratha into the tea.

The paratha can either be round, square or triangular. In the former, the stuffing is simply mixed with the kneaded flour and the paratha is prepared like the roti, but in the latter two, the peda (ball of kneaded flour) is flattened into a flattened shape, the stuffing is kept in the middle and the flatbread is now closed around the stuffing like an envelope. The two variants differ in the fact that while the former is like a thick (in terms of width) version of the roti with filling inside; the latter two, have discernible soft layers if one "opens" the crispier shell layers.

The paratha has a social connotation too. The significantly higher expenditure and effort in preparing the paratha when compared with the daily roti means that the paratha is usually prepared as a special item, or for important guests.

The paratha was conceived in ancient North India especially in the region of Punjab. Regardless of its origins, it soon became popular all over India and is now available everywhere in South Asia. Even the South Indian states have their own versions of the ubiquitous paratha, the most popular being "Kerala paratha," also called Kerala porotta.

Indian immigrants took this dish to Malaysia, Mauritius (where it is known as farata) and Singapore, resulting in variations such as roti canai and roti prata. In Myanmar (Burma), where it is known as palata, it is eaten with curries or cooked with either egg or mutton, or as a dessert with white sugar. Htat ta ya, literally 'a hundred layers', is a fried flaky multilayered paratha with either sugar or boiled peas (pè byouk). Paratha in Trinidad and Tobago differs from the South Asian paratha in that it is generally thinner and larger. In Trinidad and Tobago it is commonly called "buss up shut" ("burst-up shirt"), especially by non-Indo-Trinidadians.
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Published by Art99 on Mar 26, 2008
Makers of Italy's best mozzarella battled on Friday to save the reputation of their cheese after police found some of it was being made with milk contaminated with cancer-causing dioxin.
Police near Naples are investigating whether feed given to buffalo herds, which produce the best milk for mozzarella, was tainted, possibly by gangsters involved in illegal waste disposal.
The scandal is the latest blow to the cheese which used to be seen as by-word for fresh and natural Italian produce.
Sales of buffalo mozzarella plunged 40 percent in January due to health fears when Naples and the surrounding Campania region became inundated with household waste when the garbage disposal system ground to a halt.
In an attempt to stop further damage, the association of buffalo mozzarella makers took out full-page advertisements in Italian newspapers on Friday to state that none of their members were being investigated.
Farmers' association Coldiretti said the contamination only affected a tiny part of mozzarella producers.
"We need as quickly as possible to separate the 'bad apple' from the rest so we can defend what is one of the most representative 'Made in Italy' brands: buffalo mozzarella," it said, promising to cooperate with the investigation.
Mafia waste disposal may be linked
The Naples mafia — known as the Camorra — is heavily involved in waste disposal, particularly the dumping and burning of industrial waste in the Campania countryside, police say.
That has caused contamination of water, soil and air which scientists have linked to higher instances of some cancers in parts of the region.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23746441/
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Published by Art99 on Mar 24, 2008
Easter, also called Pascha, is the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day after his crucifixion around AD 33. Many non-religious cultural elements have become part of the holiday, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike.

Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Easter tide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter.

Easter is termed a move able feast because it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. Easter falls at some point between late March and late April each year (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity), following the cycle of the moon. After several centuries of disagreement, all churches accepted the computation of the Alexandrian Church (now the Coptic Church) that Easter is the first Sunday after the first fourteenth day of the moon (the Paschal Full Moon) that is on or after the ecclesiastical vernal equinox.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar. The Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion is generally thought of as a Passover meal, based on the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7). The Gospel of John, however, speaks of the Jewish elders not wanting to enter the hall of Pilate in order "that they might eat the Passover", implying that the Passover meal had not yet occurred (John 18:28; John 19:14). Thus, John places Christ's death at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lamb, which would put the Last Supper slightly before Passover, on 14 Nisan of the Bible's Hebrew calendar. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, "In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration."
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Published by Art99 on Mar 22, 2008
In a finding likely to get cheese lovers talking, researchers in Nepal and Canada report that yak cheese contains higher levels of heart-healthy fats than cheese from dairy cattle, and may be healthier.

Their study is scheduled for the March 12 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Producers make the cheese from the milk of yaks. Those long-haired humped animals are fixtures in Tibet and throughout the Himalayan region of south central Asia, Mongolia, and a few other countries. Yak cheese has only recently become available in the United States and is available in select gourmet food stores. Studies by others have shown that certain types of dairy-derived fatty acids, particularly conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), may help fight heart disease, cancer and even diabetes. However, little was know about the fatty acid composition of yak cheese.

In the new study, Brian W. McBride and colleagues compared the fatty acid composition of yak cheese from Nepal with that of cheddar cheese obtained from Canada. They found that levels of CLAs were four times higher in the yak cheese than the dairy cow cheese. Levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy for the heart, were also significantly higher in the yak cheese, the researchers say.
American Chemical Society
http://www.huliq.com/53859/hearthealthy-yak-cheese
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Published by Art99 on Mar 17, 2008
During its long, arid summers, Andalucía cools itself down with chilled gazpacho, a hearty and pungent soup that has gained fame throughout the world for its amazing thirst-quenching quality.

Often described as a liquid salad, gazpacho descends from ancient Roman concoction based on a combination of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. As Romans labored to build roads and aqueducts across Spain in the scorching heat, this creamy soup replenished them with the necessary salt and vitamins lost through physical exertion.

Later, shepherds and farmers added vegetables to make it more hearty and satisfying. Because tomatoes and bell peppers were not indigenous to Spain, these ingredients were not added to the soup until after Spain's discovery of the New World. Since that time, gazpacho has remained relatively unchanged - an unpretentious soup designed to quench the thirst evoked by the unrelenting Spanish sun.
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Published by Margo on Mar 14, 2008
A new study by an international team of researchers from Cardiff University and University of Maryland has revealed how a cup of black tea could be the next line of defence in the threat of bio-terrorism.

According to the team of scientists led by Professor Les Baillie from Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University and Doctor Theresa Gallagher, Biodefense Institute, part of the Medical Biotechnology Center of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, the humble cup of tea could well be an antidote to Bacillus anthraces –more commonly know as anthrax.

As a nation, the British currently drink 165 million cups of tea, and the healing benefits of the nation’s favorite beverage have long been acknowledged.

But now the team has found that the widely-available English Breakfast tea has the potential to inhibit the activity of anthrax, as long as it is black tea.

Anthrax - a potentially fatal human disease - is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthraces. A very serious and rapidly progressing form of the disease occurs when bacterial spores are inhaled making anthrax a potent threat when used as a biological warfare agent.

Published in the March issue of the Society for Applied Microbiology's journal Microbiologist, Professor Baillie said: “Our research sought to determine if English Breakfast tea was more effective than a commercially available American medium roast coffee at killing anthrax. We found that special components in tea such as polyphenols have the ability to inhibit the activity of anthrax quite considerably.”

The study provides further evidence of the wide range of beneficial physiological and pharmacological effects of this common household item.

The research also shows that the addition of whole milk to a standard cup of tea completely inhibited its antibacterial activity against anthrax.

Professor Baillie continued: “I would suggest that in the event that we are faced with a potential bio-terror attack, individuals may want to forgo their dash of milk at least until the situation is under control.

“What’s more, given the ability of tea to bring solace and steady the mind, and to inactivate Bacillus anthraces and its toxin, perhaps the Boston Tea Party was not such a good idea after all.”

Professor Les Baillie is Professor of Microbiology at Welsh School of Pharmacy. He is also Associate Professor, Director Biodefense Initiative, Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, and Adjunct Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology Department, University of Maryland at Baltimore.

Source: By Cardiff University
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Published by Margo on Mar 13, 2008
Irish cuisine can be divided into two main categories – traditional, mainly simple dishes, and more modern dishes, as served in restaurants and hotels.

Colcannon is a good dish made of potato and one of wild garlic (the earliest form), cabbage or curly kale, (compare bubble and squeak). Champ consists of mashed potato into which chopped scallions (spring onions) are mixed.

Other examples of simple Irish meals are Irish stew, and also bacon and cabbage (boiled together in water). Boxty, a type of potato pancake, is another traditional dish. A dish mostly particular to Dublin is coddle, which involves boiled pork sausages. Ireland is famous for the Irish breakfast, a fried (or grilled) meal generally comprising bacon, egg, sausage, black and white pudding, fried tomato and which may also include fried potato farls or fried potato slices.

While seafood has always been consumed by Irish people, shellfish dishes have increased in popularity in recent times, especially due to the high quality of shellfish available from Ireland's coastline, e.g. Dublin Bay Prawns, Oysters (many oyster festivals are held annually around the coast where oysters are often served with Guinness, the most notable being held in Galway every September ) as well as other crustaceans. Salmon and cod are perhaps the two most common types of fish used.

Traditional Irish breads include soda bread, wheaten bread, soda farls, and blaa, a doughy white bread roll particular to Waterford.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_cuisine
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Published by Irene on Mar 7, 2008
Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially St. Paddy's Day or Paddy's Day, is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa 385–461), one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on 17 March.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide by Irish people and increasingly by non-Irish people, as well (usually in Australia, North America, and Ireland). Hence the phrase, "Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day." Celebrations are generally themed around the color green and all things Irish; both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green or orange, eating Irish food and/or green foods, imbibing Irish drink (usually Guinness), and attending parades.

Corned beef and cabbage is the most common meal eaten in the United States for St. Patrick's Day, even though historically, corned beef and cabbage is an American (rather than a traditionally Irish) meal.

In the United States, many people have also made the holiday a celebration of the color green. These people, besides wearing green on that day, may also stage dinner parties featuring all green foods. An example of such a menu would be chicken with rice and lima beans with sliced green maraschino cherries in coconut sauce colored with green food coloring, a green salad including greens, avocados and sliced green apples, split pea soup, green tinted bread spiced with sage, Lime Jell-O, iced limeade and/or a green-beer, and lime pudding, key lime pie, or lime sherbet for dessert.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Patrick's_Day
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Published by Caroline on Mar 3, 2008
University of Minnesota School of Public Health Project Eating Among Teens (EAT) researchers have found further evidence to support the importance of encouraging youth to eat breakfast regularly.

Researchers examined the association between breakfast frequency and five-year body weight change in more than 2,200 adolescents, and the results indicate that daily breakfast eaters consumed a healthier diet and were more physically active than breakfast skippers during adolescence. Five years later, the daily breakfast eaters also tended to gain less weight and have lower body mass index levels – an indicator of obesity risk – compared with those who had skipped breakfast as adolescents.

Mark Pereira, Ph.D., corresponding author on the study, points out that this study extends the literature on the topic of breakfast habits and obesity risk because of the size and duration of the study. “The dose-response findings between breakfast frequency and obesity risk, even after taking into account physical activity and other dietary factors, suggests that eating breakfast may have important effects on overall diet and obesity risk, but experimental studies are needed to confirm these observations,” he added.

Over the past two decades, rates of obesity have doubled in children and nearly tripled in adolescents. Fifty-seven percent of adolescent females and 33 percent of males frequently use unhealthy weight-control behaviors, and it is estimated that between 12 and 24 percent of children and adolescents regularly skip breakfast. This percentage of breakfast skippers, while alarming, has been found to increase with age.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., principal investigator of Project EAT, says that this research confirms the importance of teaching adolescents to start the day off ‘right’ by eating breakfast. “Although adolescents may think that skipping breakfast seems like a good way to save on calories, findings suggest the opposite. Eating a healthy breakfast may help adolescents avoid overeating later in the day and disrupt unhealthy eating patterns, such as not eating early in the day and eating a lot late in the evening.” -University of Minnesota
http://www.huliq.com/52356/teens-who-eat-breakfas…
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Published by Caroline on Mar 3, 2008