Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Pull up a chair. I’ll pour you some of this Smuttynose Imperial Stout, one from their Big Beer Series, or I’ll get you a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale from the fridge — my seasonal house beer. I was disappointed in the Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout from Heavy Seas, tasted off to me, so I’m not pouring that one. Now, let’s talk food.

The biggest food news this week came on Monday from Capitol Hill where the Senate passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act with the Tester/Hagen Amendment. Although there are now concerns that provisions of the bill are not constitutional because they would allow the FDA to impose fees on importers and on companies whose food is recalled due to contamination.  Since all revenue-raising bills must originate in the House, the Senate might have to bring the bill back to a recess-hungry Senate wrestling with tax cut extensions and filibusters.

Better news: the child nutrition bill is headed to the President’s desk after the House of Representatives passed it on Thursday. It gives the federal government more authority to set standards for food sold in vending machines and elsewhere on school grounds; provides funds to poor schools to subsidize free meals; increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches; and sets mandatory health guidelines for schools.

food news potatoes beer italian

photo by Ernesto Andrade (flickr: dongkwan)

Ah, the things people do for marketing. The head of the Washington State Potato Commission just ended a self-imposed diet of potatoes-only to prove that potatoes aren’t fattening. He said he lost more than 20 pounds in two months. I would never want to eat a potato again.

This week Italian trade officials launched the “Italianissimi” campaign to combat the use of misleading words and images to imply products are from Italy. The campaign will educate consumers about food products that are authentically Italian. I’ve always found it easy to figure out if something was imported from Italy or made here, so I wonder how much change this campaign will cause.

food news italian food beer

salumeria in Siena

If you have beer lovers on your Christmas list, take a peek at this holiday beer book gift list from All About Beer editor, Julie Johnson. I heard Santa might be buying me Pete Brown’s Hops and Glory: One Man’s Search for the Beer That Built the British Empire.

Friday night I heard Patti Digh read from her latest book Creative Is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative. Stop listening to those gremlins in your head. Create something! Make something for dinner. Bake some cookies. Make some spiced nuts. Write a Christmas essay to your parents. Or try these simple creations to decorate your table.

If you don’t like the way they turn out, no problem, you’ve got to eat them eventually. Ho ho ho!

2 thoughts on “The Sunday Table: December 5, 2010

  1. mmmhealthyfoodie says:

    Can you pasteurized eggs like you mentioned for your holiday eggnog? According to the USDA, you can’t pasteurized eggs without cooking them. They also mention about one company who is the only one on the market that can pasteurized shell eggs using patent technology. I’m interested in your process.

    1. deirdrereid says:

      I wish I had the links to where I originally researched making eggs safe for eggnog, but it was long ago and I can’t remember where I learned all this, but I did a lot of research including pulling out my old pastry school textbooks too — sold those before moving here.

      I believe that if I were to heat up a beaten egg alone, it would definitely cook at the temperatures I use, just like the USDA says. But since the egg is diluted by lots of milk and sugar, it comes very close to getting cooked but doesn’t. I continually scrape the sides of the bowl to prevent the egg from cooking on the sides because it will if I don’t. As I mentioned in my eggnog recipe post, there are usually little cooked bits of egg which is why I strain it through a fine sieve before adding the liquor to it. If someone wanted to be extra cautious they could use pasteurized eggs (liquid form) and do the stove top steps just to get that additional custardy creamy texture, but my method has served me well for close to 15 years.

      Thanks for commenting!

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