Jaw Wired Shut blog

I had a broken jaw once – wired shut for six weeks. Filled up on soup, shakes and various forms of slop.

That was a long time ago. Today, people with broken jaws can go to the Jaw Wired Shut blog.

Frank Bruni writes in the New York Times,

Jaw Wired Shut is one of those when-God-gives-you-lemons things, and it really does capture the glory of the Internet, which allows people in very particular situations, with very particular needs, to find guidance and company. To connect.

But it also has an amusing dimension, with a cultural-commentary side. As the blog’s author approaches her latest appointment with the blender, she muses on flavors and food rituals much the way any other recipe writer or tester would, never mind that her end result will invariably be … mush.

The posts play as a simultaneous homage to, and parody of, food porn today.

“Fresh lettuce reminds me of childhood summers,” begins one recent post. “I loved going next door to play in the dirt in our neighbor’s garden.”

Food safety in French: Le Blog d’Albert Amgar

I’m not sure how I would have figured stuff out when I moved to Manhattan (Kansas) if Amy wasn’t with me.

Especially the American university administrative hoops. And the French. I’m Canadian but, like many other Canadians, don’t speak French. Fortunately, Amy’s a French professor so I can now understand all the food safety stuf Albert Amgar sends me from France – it’s usually in French.

Albert has just retired and has started his own blog, Le Blog d’Albert Amgar. It sounds classy, cause it’s French.
“Among the subjects reviewed are the recall of food in France, Europe and the rest of the world, food hygiene, HACCP, management of microbial risks, food safety policy, food microbiology through microorganisms of interest and those that make problems (emergent or not), chemical risks of different natures, problems arising in food safety and security as well as some elements in nutrition, and some simply in security.”

Albert also has this quote at the top of his blog from Pierre Darmon’s, “L’homme et les microbes” (The Man and the Microbes):

“Hygiene, before Microbiology, is only hygienic in its intentions. It’s a Science of appearances that rests in the hands of the blind: what’s healthy is beautiful, good, and doesn’t smell bad.”

Best wishes for the blog, Albert. And after three years I’m starting to understand the Tour de France – or at least the scenery.

barfblog.com featured in Jan. Food Technology magazine

Amy is a merciless editor.

Sure, she looks all sugar and spice, cuddling with baby Sorenne (right, exactly as shown), but when it comes to words, Amy’s vicious.

I know Ben cries – silently, inside — whenever he gets edits from Amy.

I tried to get Kansas State public relations to do a press release about the husband and wife barfbloggers, but they weren’t going for it.

Instead, they came out with this after we wrote a paper about our blogging experiences that was just published in the Jan. 2009 issue of Food Technology, the monthly magazine of the Institute of Food Technologists (the full paper is below).

K-State’s Doug Powell, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and
pathobiology, is a co-author of the article "New Media for Communicating Food Safety.” In the article, Powell and the other researchers describe how methods of informing consumers must evolve to fit a new generation of food handlers.

"It is especially important to reach younger individuals, who at some point might handle food in a food service business and who get their information from nontraditional media like blogs," he said.

One such blog is Powell’s barfblog.com, a site that receives more than 5,000 visitors daily. The site operates with the understanding that to compel audiences to change their food-handling behaviors, the messages should be rapid, reliable, relevant and repeated, Powell said. The blog is available at https://www.barfblog.com

The content combines pop culture references and current events with food-handling information to engage readers. The posts also combine food safety messages with personal experiences, which connect readers to the effects of foodborne illness on families and communities, he said.

"Up to 30 percent of all Americans will get sick from the food and water they consume each year. That’s just way too many sick people," Powell said. "The site is all about providing information in a compelling manner, using pop culture and different languages, to ultimately have fewer sick people."

The other authors of the article include: Amy Hubbell, K-State assistant professor of modern languages; Casey Jacob, K-State research assistant in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; and Benjamin Chapman, food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University.


Safefoods blog

My friend Roy Costa has started blogging, adding his considerable insight into all matters food safety.

Roy says that www.safefoodsblog.com is a publication of Environ Health Associates that provides insight into public health protection and the fields of environmental health and food safety. The topics covered are multifaceted and deal with many of the less discussed but critical areas of food safety such as industry self control and self regulation, privatization of food safety, the changing paradigms of government agencies and public health protection programs, and the political and economic forces at work behind the scenes driving these changes. In depth analysis is provided on the key threats to public health posed by contamination in the food supply. Foodborne illness outbreaks reported in the media are investigated, we provide commentary on the chain of infection and offer our insights into factors associated with the spread of illness. We provide a compendium of our Food Safety Update newsletter and links to programs developed by Professor Roy E Costa RS, MS, MBA, of the Walt Disney Centers for Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Orlando Florida. All comments are his own, based on almost 30 years in the field of food safety and do not reflect the opinions of any entity other than Roy E. Costa. Environ Health Associates, Inc. can be found on the worldwide web at www.safefoods.tv.

That’s a mouthful. here’s Roy playing the guitar (middle) in the photo below.


Georgetown University dining hall closed; dozens of students barfing and crapping show up at Emergency last night

Amy and I went for lunch today in the student union. Nothing fancy, the salad fixin’s were reasonably priced, and the food selection was a lot better than when I was a student – way back in the old days, like on the Flintstones, with humans and dinosaurs playing together.

Any food service operation is vulnerable to foodborne illness, but the university ones have been popping up regularly of late – Guelph, Michigan State, and now, Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Georgetown University closed its dining hall today after dozens of students went to the emergency room last night with symptoms of severe vomiting and diarrhea.

A call from an emergency room doctor at Georgetown University Hospital at about 12:30 a.m. today alerted campus officials that many students were being treated for symptoms that could indicate a foodborne illness, said university spokeswoman Julie Bataille.

She said officials are not sure yet of the number of students, but it could be dozens. About 5,000 students participate in the campus meal plan and eat at the Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall, which most students call Leo’s. The dining hall serves about 3,000 meals daily.

In an e-mail to the campus community today, Todd A. Olson, vice president for student affairs, announced that as a precaution the university had decided to close the dining hall and that breakfast would be served in a lounge on campus and that lunch and dinner would be served at the student center.

New food was delivered this morning, Bataille said, and health officials are now on campus taking samples and investigating the situation.

When chefs blog

The Los Angeles Times reports that in the last few months some of the bigger names in food across the country have joined the online chattering class, posting their innermost thoughts, with photos and recipes, just as home cooks have been doing for years.

Do any of them ever write about food safety issues?

Laurent Gras, an Alain Ducasse protégé and former executive chef at the Fifth Floor in San Francisco, is now blogging almost daily at L.2o Blog on the run-up to the opening of his own restaurant in Chicago.

In New York, Michael Laiskonis, the pastry chef at Le Bernardin, started blogging in January, and his lengthy disquisitions on desserts and how he creates them are windows with photos into a wildly creative and contemplative mind.

Other chefs have latched on to the apron strings of established websites — Traci des Jardins of Jardiniere in San Francisco (right) and Rick Bayless of Topolabampo in Chicago both blog for the Epi-log at Epicurious.

But as Des Jardins notes, keeping up with a blog is the hard part. She has been writing for Epicurious since December and says she is loving the freedom of expression, with editing only to "clean up my bad grammar," but has seen chefs let blogs "get old and stale."


I’ve been traveling for over 25 hours now on my return from Melbourne, and I don’t know what it is about Dallas, where I’m currently parked, but I’ve had five different people within a 10 minute span say, hey, great shirt, in response to my English Don’t Eat Poop T-shirt (left, not exactly as pictured) I’ve been stinking up all day.

The T-shirts are still available at donteatpoop.com, and that website will be receiving an overhaul in the next few weeks.  And we’ll be introducing on-line payment (finally).

We’ve also designed a barfblog T-shirt but haven’t printed them just yet.

For those who have traveled lately and know the frustrations, here’s a thorough overview from the current Business Week, appropriately titled Fear and Loathing at the Airport, which reminds me …
While I have enjoyed Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour during the flights and delays, does anyone else thinks he reads a little like Hunter S. Thompson-lite?