Bye Gord

The Tragically Hip have a unique space within the pages of barfblog.

They are kinda our house band.

Multiple posts have included references to their music, lyrics and videos. The music they created, meshes Canadiana, hockey and storytelling; sorta like what we try to do.

Gord Downie, lead singer of the band, passed away today after a battle with brain cancer. I’ve read a bunch of eulogies to Gord over the past couple of hours and nothing really captures his impact.

Tonight I’ll head to the arena, lace up my skates, race around the ice (somewhat terribly) as Hip songs play in my head.

That’s my tribute.

 

Food Safety Talk 135: This is a podcast

Don and Ben are on the road, talking to some of the best folks in the food safety world at the NEHA Region 4 conference/FDA Central Region retail food protection seminar in Minneapolis. This recording was an experiment, the first Food Safety Talk recorded in front of a live, non-studio audience. Topics included raw milk, hepatitis A, listener feedback on liquid nitrogen, our favorite Bond movies and least favorite pathogens.

Episode 135 can be found here and on iTunes.

 

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Trumped

If I paid $300,000 for a membership, the kitchen better be pristine and safe.

As President Donald Trump took office earlier this year, state health inspectors arrived at Mar-a-Lago, the new president’s “winter White House,” for their annual inspection of the the private club’s kitchens.
What they found was not pretty.
Just weeks before Trump began entertaining world leaders and other dignitaries during his frequent visits to the Florida club, Mar-a-Lago’s restaurant was cited for 13 health code violations in a single inspection, the Miami Herald reported.
The infractions included potentially serious violations, including serving dangerously raw fish and keeping raw meat in malfunctioning coolers. The minor violations included not having hot enough water for staff to wash their hands and employees failing to wear hair nets when preparing food.
So, how do the kitchens at Trump’s “summer White House” in New Jersey compare?
The kitchens at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster — where the president is wrapping up his working vacation — have been cited for at least 17 health code violations during routine inspections between 2011 and 2016, according to records obtained through the state’s Open Public Records Act.
The reports included mostly minor infractions in the main kitchen serving the clubhouse restaurant and a smaller kitchen serving the pool-side cafe. Both restaurants are open to members as part of their $300,000 membership fee.
The violations included “significant fly activity” in the pool kitchen and main kitchen, dirty wiping cloths, grease-covered fryer units, uncovered and spilled food storage bins, melons stored at the wrong temperature and dirty kitchen utensils with “old and encrusted food buildup.”
In each case, the violations were minor enough for the golf club to get a “satisfactory” rating and its restaurants were allowed to remain open.

Australian swim star Ariarne Titmus reveals food poisoning setback before world titles

Tasmanian teenager Ariarne Titmus has revealed her world championship swimming success came off the back of a bout of food poisoning.

The 16-year-old represented Australia at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest last week, winning a bronze medal with the 4 x 200m freestyle relay team.

Her performance in Budapest also ranked her fourth in the world for the 400 metres freestyle, behind record holder Katie Ledecky.

Titmus said she contracted food poisoning just days before her world championship debut, which heightened pre-race nerves.

“I didn’t really know how I was going to race because a week out from the competition I got food poisoning and I was actually vomiting the weekend before racing started,” she told ABC Hobart.

“But I was positioned next to Katie Ledecky, which was really exciting.

Despite her 400-metre result, Titmus cited her relay performance when she reeled in a Russian competitor as the highlight.

“I definitely felt really fast, I was mowing her down and it was a really really good swim,” she said.

“It was so cool to be standing up on the dais, because the dais was looking over the whole stadium you can see everything. It was really amazing, unlike any other medal ceremony I’ve ever had before.”

The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved: 5 quotes that capture the madness

Elaborate clothes, excessive drinking and loutish behaviour. Can you tell the difference between the 1970s Kentucky Derby and the atmosphere at the races today?

‘The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved’ is Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970s rendering of the ever-famous Louisville event, the annual Kentucky Derby. Alongside his companion and cartoonist Ralph Steadman, he paints a picture of an event that is just that: utterly decadent and wholly depraved.

Check out our top five quotes and you’ll see what we mean…

#1 Hunter S. Thompson and Steadman arrive at the racetrack bar and anyone who’s anyone is there: the politicians, the beautiful women and the rich locals, all there to see and be seen.

The only thing more important than the horse race itself is the sport of people-watching.

How different is that to the streams of spectators dressed in their best finery on Millionaire’s Row, desperate to impress the watchful eyes of the fashion police at the track nowadays?

#2 Looking out over the stands, Hunter S. Thompson imagines them packed with spectators, crying, fighting and falling over each other when the Kentucky Derby begins. The screaming, the vomiting, the public urination, the desperate grappling for money.

Ever sat in the cheap seats at a race track? If you’re in the infield, say goodbye to your hearing, you might as well throw away your shoes, and forget about personal space.

#3 Hunter S. Thompson studies the faces of the horse breeders, looking for the one face that perfectly represents the character of the typical Kentucky Derby race-goer. The privileged sort, drunk on whiskey and the belief in their own pure-bred Southern superiority.

They might be less conspicuously drunk nowadays but the only people who claim to be more pure-bred than the horses at a derby are the people who breed them.

#4 That night after the first race, drinking ensues in the unfortunate absence of drugs. Stealing passes to the race clubhouse, Hunter S. Thompson and Steadman spend an incoherent Kentucky Derby Day lost in a sea of whiskey-soaked people.

We’ve all seen the pictures of the rowdy drunken crowds falling over each other and pouring out of a race track. Hardly a stretch for the imagination.

#5 Hunter S. Thompson awakes from his drunken, sleep-like stupor, he sees an ill, red, haggered-looking face in the mirror. The exact face of the loathsome type of person he was looking for at the Derby.

The morning after the night before. We’ve all been there. This one doesn’t necessarily apply exclusively to horse races…just, mornings.

Hunter S. Thompson got one thing right in ‘The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved’: the racetrack is capable of bringing out the worst in human nature. But there’s really no denying it, it’s still a great day out.

Food Safety Talk 123: My mom was pissed

In this episode, Don and Ben talk about life hacks and things that might not be life hacks; Gwyneth Paltrow, cookbooks and Ben’s recent media experiences (and the perils of emailing while sitting on the toilet). Also in this episode the guys breakdown STEC in soy nut butter and Dixie Dew’s FDA 483 form plus a bonus on ROP cheeses.

Episode 122 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Heston still don’t know food safety, and Aust. viewers thought he was on acid

In late February 2009, complaints from customers who suffered vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms began pouring celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s UK restaurant, the Fat Duck.

A report by the UK Health Protection Agency concluded that 529 patrons paying a ridiculous amount of money for food-porn styled dishes were sickened with Norovirus – this at a restaurant that only seats 40 patrons per night — introduced through contaminated shellfish, including oysters that were served raw and razor clams that may not have been appropriately handled or cooked.

Investigators identified several weaknesses in procedures at the restaurant that may have contributed to ongoing transmission including: delayed response to the incident, the use of inappropriate environmental cleaning products, and staff working when ill. Up to 16 of the restaurant’s food handlers were reportedly working with Norovirus symptoms before it was voluntarily closed

Last night, Heston appeared on Australian current affairs program, The Project, and left hosts and viewers scratching their heads.

Appearing on the show to promote the announcement of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Blumenthal was asked a simple question by Waleed Aly but gave the world’s most confusing answer, with some viewers joking he might have been on “acid.”

“What is it that makes a great restaurant?” Aly asked.

“This might seem a little tangential,” Blumenthal replied, which turned out to be the understatement of the year.

“Human beings became the most powerful species on the planet because through being able to imagine things that don’t exist we created shared beliefs. So all the things that happened after humans: religion, money, language, cultures, social media, fairy tales, they are very human being.

“The reason that happened was the brain trebled in size for lots of reasons but primarily through eating cooked food. It broke the food down and our gut changed and this [touches head] is on top of our body to protect, because this [touches neck] is where the next generation are prepared for life.”

Blumenthal’s answer was met with blank stares from The Project panelists, but the celebrity chef pushed on.

“And so the thing, we should be called omnivores or herbivores, we’re coctivores … we are interdependent beings,” he said.

“We’ve been able to work collectively in numbers larger than any other creature and our efficiency in group learning has become quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker. We don’t have to climb a mountain to get water every day, we don’t have to kill an animal to the death to feed our children.”

The Project’s resident smarty pants, Waleed Aly, interjected and said, “That explains why we like restaurants, but how do we tell the good ones from the bad ones?”

And Blumenthal was off again.
“We have two universes,” he said.

“We have our internal universe, our human being and we have our human doing. We have our feelings and our emotions and then we have getting on in life … The problem that’s happening is we are confusing the two things. We are thinking that our happiness is going to be developed by a numerical system … thank god we have because that’s what’s got us to where we’ve got to.

(Hang in there, it’s almost over)

“There’s a palliative care nurse that wrote a piece in The Guardian last year, the most common things, regrets people had while they were passing away and it was they wished they lived a life true to themselves,” Blumenthal said.

“If every human being had an ambition not to have that feeling, and that’s because our new brain that came from eating cooked food … starts to fade and then our raw emotion comes through and we realise, actually, this is about emotion. Food is about emotion.”

Food is also about sustenance, enjoyment, socializing, and not making one barf.

Heston is a master of both food and words to make one barf.

Our battle with Gwyneth: cookbook edition

The coverage of extension associate Katrina Levine’s research on cookbook food safety messages took an unexpected turn yesterday. Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘people’ weighed in.

By ‘people’ I think it’s the folks who published her cookbooks.

It started with a string of emails from some folks in the UK who saw the NC State press release about the research. After analyzing 1700+ recipes from cookbooks on the New York Times best seller list we found that safe endpoint temperatures only appeared in just over 8% of the instructions.

Not great.

A few journalists want to know who are the biggest offenders are (quick answer: it’s pretty well everyone we looked at – but not all the time).

One of the books included in our study was Paltrow’s It’s All Good. In a flurry of questions, and without being able to find all the recipes online, I sent one of the enquiring minds a recipe from another book, My Father’s Daughter as an example of what we were looking at, with this note:

“Here’s one from chef Paltrow that does not have a safe endpoint temperature included (165F or 74C).

Heat oven to 400°. Mix butter, garlic salt, paprika, pepper and salt in a bowl. Rinse chicken inside and out; pat dry. Insert fingers between skin and breast to separate the two. Rub seasoned butter over chicken and under skin. Tuck wings underneath bird and tie together with a piece of twine. Tie legs together with another piece of twine. Place chicken on its side in a heavy roasting pan and roast 25 minutes. Turn onto its other side and sprinkle with several tbsp water; roast 25 minutes more. Turn chicken on its back; roast 10 minutes more. Turn on its breast; roast until skin is crispy and chicken is golden brown, 10 minutes more. Remove from pan and let rest, breast side down, 15 minutes, before carving (remove skin).”

The Paltrow folks responded, through the journalist with this:

“The recipe for “Roast Chicken, Rotisserie Style” was published in MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER in April 2011. While it did not have an endpoint temperature included, the directions called for the chicken to be roasted at 400F for 70 minutes, which is ample time to cook a 3-4 pound chicken.

IT’S ALL GOOD, which was published in April 2013, does include endpoint temperatures. “Super-Crispy Roast Chicken” in IT’S ALL GOOD is baked for 1-1/2 hours at 425 degrees and the recipe advises “The chicken thigh should register 165 degrees F on a digital thermometer at the very least (I usually let it get to 180 Degrees F just to be completely sure it’s cooked all the way through the bone).”

So we went back to the data – and yep, we noted that the Super-Crispy Roast Chicken had a safe end point temperature. What they omitted was that the first instruction in the recipe was to wash the chicken; one of the steps that can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.

There were these other recipes from It’s All Good that don’t have the safe endpoint temperatures (and tell the reader to do non science-based things like touch it, look for clear juices or color to ensure doneness):

The row (I think that’s the correct colloquial British term) made the front page of the Daily Mail (above, exactly as shown).

As for this comment, ‘the directions called for the chicken to be roasted at 400F for 70 minutes, which is ample time to cook a 3-4 pound chicken.’

Maybe, show me the data. Lots of variables that can impact the final temperature – starting temperature of the chicken, thickness, oven heat calibration.

Isn’t it just easier to tell folks what the safe temperature is and tell them to stick it in?

Food and Wine points out exactly what we found. It’s not just Gwyneth.

But for once, let’s cut Paltrow some slack. Out of the whopping 29 best-selling cookbooks these experts analyzed, only nine percent of them included specific temperature information. She’s in good company. Meanwhile, only 89 — 89! — of the 1,497 recipes included in the study were deemed instructionally safe.

Honestly, none of this seems too egregious, and we almost wish Paltrow didn’t have to deal with the PR headache.

Oh well.

Raw is risky: Drake cancels show in Amsterdam after sushi makes him barf

For Canadians, the musician Drake will always be known as Jimmy Brooks from the teen dram series Degrassi: The Next Generation.

For Americans, he’s known as Drake, with 21 tracks on the streaming songs chart (all from ‘More Life’), beating his own record for the most concurrently charting tracks. He’s also No. 1 on Billboard.

For the Dutch, Drake is known as the barfing performer who couldn’t do a show.

TMZ reports Drake ate some bad sushi on Monday, and it messed up his stomach. We’re told it was so bad he had to get medical treatment immediately. It wasn’t enough though … he was still too sick to go onstage, which seriously pissed off the entire arena full of fans who’d already been waiting in their seats for 75 minutes when they got the bad news.

It was the third time in 3 months Drake had to postpone an Amsterdam gig … which explains why fans threw crap onstage. He’s promised to make up the show Wednesday.

Sometimes celebrities — and mere mortals — use foodborne illness as an excuse to mask their excesses the night before. Just sayin’.

Hundreds get food poisoning from free meal in Myanmar

 

I used to look like Buddhist, Richard Gere, but I’ve aged and he hasn’t.

A free lunch for villagers in southern Myanmar turned sour after it landed more than a third of the rural community in hospital with food poisoning.

Hundreds of villagers from Eain Ta Lone, west of Yangon, fell ill after eating fish stew served at a Buddhist ceremony to celebrate the ordination of local novices.

The entire 1,000-person village was taken to the nearest hospital, where 367 were admitted for treatment, said charity worker Wai Lin Aung, who helped to transport the villagers. ‘