{weekday reading} Post-Holidaze Edition

We’re back from our holiday break and ready for what 2011 has in-store for us! Before we get back into the full swing of things; meaning our New Year Resolutions and Reflections, an exciting cookbook giveaway and an announcement of our first-ever event, I’m doing a few housekeeping posts. First, all the lovely food news, recipes and bloggy goings on that have happened since December 24th.

Tomorrow, I will be saddling-up on the “Best of” Bandwagon and reflecting on our most popular posts and recipes from 2010. Lastly, I will list my “Top” Food Stories of 2010. A trifecta of goodness to welcome everyone back to the From Scratch Club.

We’ve missed you. -Christina

First up, President Obama will be signing S.510 into law tomorrow with TESTER amendment, so that all small food producers and farmers making under $500,000 will be excused from the new law but will have to obey by the old 60 year laws already in place. Serious Golf Claps.

RECALL #1: Close to 35,000 (thirty five THOUSAND) pounds of industrial organic & “natural” ground beef, possibly contaminated with E. coli O157:H7,  that have been sold in multiple states, including NY, NJ, Washington and California. All the information is on USDA’s website.

RECALL #2: This one is interesting, I’ve never seen one like this before but 180,000 pounds of chicken wings, sold to RESTAURANTS & INDUSTRIAL FOOD SERVICES has been recalled due to an undeclared allergen ingredient, egg. Its not the food allergen is what is scary, but the fact that pre-made food to cafeteria’s, hospitals, restaurants are being recalled, a step removed from the actual consumer. EEEK!

Fine Cooking has 5 different categories of “Best Food Blog 2010”…Go take a look, some of my personal favorites made the list like Food in Jar, Not Eating Out in New York, The Candy Professor and Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.

Mrs. Q’s Fed Up with School Lunch blog has turned 1. In one year this anonymous school teacher, who ate school lunch for one entire school year and documented her journey, has become a leader in the fight for better school lunches. She has been interviewed for numerous press outlets, Jamie Oliver has called her and referenced her on numerous occasions and has had AMAZING guest writers-from the who’s who in the school lunch food fight- on the blog. Her story truly shows how one person’s voice, via a blog, can help create a greater dialogue and create change. Brava Mrs. Q- Happy 1st Birthday.

Locally, Steve Barnes of the Times Union, has a preview of this weekend’s Albany Chef’s Food and Wine Festival Wine & Dine For The Arts.

EWG (Environmental Working Group) came out with a Top 10 GOOD Environmental Stories of 2010; and there is a lot of baby steps people to be happy about.

Cathy Erway of Not Eating Out in New York has had a new blog for sometime now, Lunch at Sixpoint, where she documents meals made for the staff at Sixpoint Brewery from food grown on the Brewery’s roof. She & Shane, her boyfriend and owner of the Brewery also have a chicken coop on the roof. I visited Cathy, the roof and the chickens in August during my family’s vacation in Brooklyn (that’s right I said Brooklyn not “The Cape”), and it is awesome. I don’t know why I haven’t shared my photo diary of the event. Maybe during these long, cold days of winter I’ll recap. In the meantime, Cathy has posted “5 Things I’ve Learned From Raising Chickens (So Far)”, about her first year raising chickens on a roof in Red Hook, Brooklyn (awesome!).

Over on Not Eating Out in New York, Cathy has compiled a great list of best food books in 2010. Our top pick, and very first giveaway, Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks-Vinton made the list…

Andrew at Eating Rules put together a thought-provoking graphic, adjectives used by Big Food to sell their products, for his New Year greeting. Hilarious. Scary. Gross.

Food Safety News has carved out a few emerging food safety issues for 2011.

2011 is a year of the happy-meat resolutions…I believe we will have a few here in the coming days, in the meantime, I have two male bloggers that are taking the challenge to eat “happier” meat in 2011. First, Francis Lam at Salon has vowed to eat happier chicken in 2011. He wrote a great intro piece; Cheap Chicken Manifesto. Next up, Albany’s own Daniel B. at FUSSYlittleBLOG who has “taken the challenge to trying to cut back on the conventional meat he consumes on a daily, weekly and yearly basis.” He will track all the meat he consumes on his “Meat Sheet”. In the post, Daniel outlines his stance and parameters for the challenge. If you remember a few weekend readings ago, I posted about The Humane Society’s report that Smithfield was abusing its gestating pigs and piglets. I have been on a mission every since to post on Paula Deen’s Facebook page, Smithfield Celebrity endorser, to make a statement. She still has not; which is a problem because she is taking money from Smithfield and endorsing the products. Remember the Cathy Lee & Kmart “sweatshop” clothes that bared her name years ago? I do. Ms. Deen, make a statement please. Here’s to happier meat in 2011!

While we’re on the topic of happier meat, another AMAZING local food blogger, Albany Jane, has written and drawn an AMAZING post, The Great Meat Debate, about her thoughts on the factory farming industry, namely chickens and the agita it brings her. A must read. The illustrations are hilarious!!!!

Dr. Marion Nestle is back from bloggy vacation and has two new posts not to be missed folks! First up, a story that I COMPLETELY MISSED (how did this happen!!!!!!!) the USDA is requiring nutritional labeling on meat & poultry, excluding small producers, which was voluntary before…. You don’t wanna miss this post as Nestle goes through the ins & outs of labeling issue step by step. Secondly, Dr. Nestle posts her predictions of food related stories of 2011. Two GREAT posts.

Oye. Wall Street Journal reports about Pepsi Co & other beverage companies getting in on the apple and other pureed fruits in a pouch bandwagon. All aboard the applesauce in a pouch train- choo choo!

In local news, Steve Barnes reports that Harmony House is bringing back its local food/wine tasting event for January 12th. In addition, Steve is reporting that there will be a HUGE grass-fed beef conference where Joel Salatin (remember Food Inc. or Omnivore’s Dilemma?) on January 28 & 29th in Latham-WOW! More on this in Saturday’s LOCAL EDITION.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook documents the surprise wild honey mushrooms growing outside of Simply Recipes’s Elisa’s house. Its a great educational post, a field guide to honey mushrooms!

The Atlantic has a short but sweet article on reflections of a Steph Larsen’s first year on her working farm.

In the “our environment is so toxic” category comes a VERY interesting article about pesticides from a 12-year study by The Center for Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS)  a joint project of UC Berkeley, the Natividad Medical Center, Clinica de Salud Del Valle de Salinas and other community organizations. From the article: “Its goal is to assess exposure to pesticides and other pollutants in pregnant women and young children to determine the effects on their health, and to try to prevent contact with the chemicals.” Its been a 12 year study and its been so successful in its data collection that the federal government is funding more research in other locations…

GRIST has a hilarious, and frankly frightening slide show on 12 “food” items you should never put in your mouth. I had NO IDEA you could buy a pre-cooked WHOLE chicken in a can.

Some recipe posts that peaked my interest of the past break. After all those heavy holiday meals, deserts and drinks; some light salads and juices sound refreshing and light. Brooklyn Supper has a grapefruit, pomegranates and kale salad.Goodlife Eats has a lettuce, fennel, orange and pomegranate salad– refreshing! I’m a veggie juicing/shake convert for a few years now; Shutterbean has two juice recipes I’m trying this week; Green Energy Shake and Spinach, Celery and Cucumber Juice. Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, has listed a bunch of her healthy One-Pot Meals to ring in the new year. Although I can’t make everything she posts due to food allergies, everything I’ve made has been amazing. And her photography on the blog is worth checking in weekly. Seriously Yum.

Last but not least, Mark Bittman has written another wonderful article, this time in The New York Times, about sustainable food=cooking at home. He is really writing some very important articles right now to a VERY large audience. Keep rockin’ Bittman!

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