Safe food when the power goes out – chill the beer on the porch

Baby Sorenne slept for a four-hour stretch last night. Not bad one week in. And now the big chill is supposed to arrive later today. It was 60F (15C) at 5 a.m., and has already dropped to 26F (-4C) by 10 a.m., and supposed to be 10F (-12C) by tonight.

A year ago Manhattan (Kansas) was suffering through an ice storm that knocked power out for a few days. The U.S. Northeast is going through the same thing: more than 1 million homes and businesses are without power after a huge ice storm.

“The ice storm compared with some of the Northeast’s worst, especially in New Hampshire, where more than half the state — 400,000-plus homes and businesses — was without power at the peak of the outage. Far fewer customers were affected by the infamous Ice Storm of ’98, when some residents spent more than a week in the dark. New Hampshire opened at least 25 shelters.”

"This is pathetic," said Bob Cott of Portland, Maine. "I’m already sick of winter and we have nine days to go before it officially begins."

And that’s a good reason to be in Kansas, rather than Maine, or Canada.

‘I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a lobotomy

Some new New York restaurant is going to offer wine and beer in baby bottles to diners.

The New York Times described the impending birth of La Cave des Fondus, an underground crib at Prince and Elizabeth Streets, as “a faithful homage to the Montmartre restaurant Le Refuge des Fondus, where Parisians enthusiastically suck down the house red and white."

The owner of the Manhatten playpen said,

“I wanted to set up my place exactly like the one in Paris. It’s such a fun place. Everybody loves drinking beer and wine from baby bottles – even my father thought it was fun – and I think New Yorkers will like it too. I checked with the health department and as long as we put the bottles in the dishwasher they have no problem with it.”

Shouldn’t these geniuses be figuring out a way to deliver beer and wine through the breast? Everyone knows breastfeeding is best for babies.

Top 10 beer slogans: nothing to do with food safety, but the marketing slogans could be used

Everyone knows that beer is great. But sometimes the slogans used to sell it are even better.

10. Blatz – How Mother and Baby "Picked Up"
This advertisement actually says, "A case of Blatz Beer in your home means much to the young mother, and obviously baby participates in its benefits

9. Schlitz – The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous
Being famous for Schlitz is up there with being famous for dandruff

8. Red Stripe – Hooray Beer!
After three or four brewskis the little man in your brain isn’t thinking about problems at work, your mortgage payment or the fact that your wife doesn’t find you attractive anymore. He’s just dancing around in his boxers and yelling, "Hooray Beer!"

 7. Mackeson Milk Stout – It looks good, it tastes good, and by golly it does you good.

6. Carlsberg – Probably the Best Beer in the World.
Hey, this beer might be the best one in the world. Or maybe it’s not.

5. Courage Beer – It’s What Your Right Arm Is For
God gave you two arms for a reason. Your right one is for shoveling Courage Beer into your face. And your left one is for everything else. (I’m pretty sure that’s somewhere in the Bible.)

4. Miller High Life – The Champagne of Beers
Does it make sense to use another type of alcohol to try and sell your own brand of alcohol?

3. Pabst Blue Ribbon – This One Has The Touch!
I have an uncle who got a case of "the touch" after a case of Pabst. He’s not allowed to come over for Thanksgiving anymore.

2. Colt 45 – It Works Every Time
Colt 45 wants to make it very clear. It will get you laid EVERY TIME you drink it. Not 1/3 of the time. Not 74% of the time. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Just ask Billy Dee Williams.

1.    Schaefer – It’s The One Beer To Have When You’re Having More Than One

Beer pong: Breeding grounds for disease?

I still own a house in Guelph, Canada, that I rent to students. Last time Amy and I were in Guelph retrieving vestiges of my past – like milk cartons full of vinyl record albums, or Johnny Bower vintage goalie equipment, both of which stayed in Guelph and were donated to others – we noticed the double garage had been converted into a ping pong playing and viewing space, complete with an elevated chair for the referee.

Same with our student neighbors in Manhattan (Kansas). The living room contains a ping pong table.

When not trying to do their best Forrest Gump, these students are probably fans of beer pong, featured in the 2007 movie, Beerfest (below).

According to some UCLA publication,

Last month, CO-ED Magazine reported that there has been an increase of orally-transmitted herpes due to the not-so-sanitary game of beer pong. …

When playing beer pong, you have a possibility of getting any type of disease transferable via saliva.

The story has some stuff about throat gonorrhea which could possibly be transmitted or mono. Doubtful. The last tip, however, caught my eye:

“If you and your friends are the type to play practical jokes on each other (say light each other’s crotches on fire), I’d keep an eye out for them in beer pong. Their next brilliant idea may be to use toilet water to fill the ball-rinsing cup. If so, you could find yourself in a state of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever—due to feces-contaminated water. Let’s hope you’re up-to-date with your Hepatitis A vaccination.”


Germans concerned about beer price increases

$100-a-barrel oil means more farm acreage to biofuels and a bunch of pissed-off Germans.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the German beer industry is bracing for a 10 percent to 15 percent price increase early next year and as much as 40 percent over the next five years because of generous European Union subsidies to farmers who grow crops used in the production of biofuels.

Many farmers have switched from growing barley — used to make malt, the main ingredient in beer — to crops such as rapeseed and corn. This has driven up the cost of barley to more than $410 from $190 a ton last year.

Stefan Haase, 44, an advertising executive in Berlin, said,

"Of course I’m not happy about a price increase, but it won’t stop me from drinking my daily after-work beer. Or two. But there are many unemployed in Germany, and for them the evening beer in the neighborhood pub is their only social contact. A price increase would be traumatic for these people."

Beer drinking may be deeply ingrained in German culture, but the biofuel juggernaut appears to be unstoppable. Of Germany’s 30 million acres of agricultural land, 5 million are now dedicated to growing biofuel crops. Barley production fell 5.5 percent in 2007.

Unlike the U.S., where the market is dominated by a handful of large national brewers, Germany has more than 5,000 beers produced by 1,284 brewers.

The variety reflects pronounced regional preferences in taste. Beer drinkers in northern Germany, for example, like a sharper, bitter beer, while in the south the preference is for a milder brew.

Beer tampering mystery solved; Bob and Doug fingered

If Canadian cattle or chickens or pigs get sick, the public is told all about it. If Canadian people get sick, not so much.

Like the salmonella in fruit salad outbreak from summer 2006, in which 41 culture-confirmed Salmonella serotype Oranienburg infections were diagnosed in persons in 10 northeastern U.S. states and one Canadian province. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports in a summary report today that the culprit was likely cantaloupe, served in fruit salad in health care facilities.

As Ben Chapman and I have written (left, not exactly as shown) it’s not the first time Canadians have been told about food safety problems in Canada by U.S. authorities. But you know all those folks at Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and that Canadian Food Inspection Agency are very important and busy people.

But there are a couple of areas where Canadians shine.

Hundreds can be sickened by food in Canada — like the 650 sickened in southern Ontario in fall 2005 by Salmonella in fresh sprouts — and no one will get sued. Sicken a Canadian’s pet, like with the melamine-contaminated pet food earlier this year, and Canadians are first in the lawsuit line.

But Canada’s real strength is beer.

Canadian Press reports today that Labatt breweries has solved the mystery of how some tainted bottles of Stella Artois were served to customers in Toronto and Kamloops, B.C.

Labatt corporate affairs vice president Neil Sweeney says the company created several displays for the beer and one of its suppliers filled the display bottles with concentrated alcohol.

Sweeney says, after speaking with thousands of bar owners across the country, Labatt discovered that some of the displays had been dismantled and the bottles placed behind the bars and eventually served to customers.

Labatt and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned consumers in July about cases of suspected tampering after ethanol was found in bottles of Stella Artois beer.

Several people drank some of the ethanol, although no one became ill.

Sweeney says settlements have been negotiated with some of the customers but he is not revealing how much compensation has been paid.

Oh, and at the wine and cheese festival at Disney in Orlando on the weekend, Amy and I went to the Canadian booth, where they were serving Labatt’s Blue.

I said to the Canadian behind the tap, "Blue is the best we can do?"

He directed me to another stand that at least had Moosehead.