Gift theft? Use the poop

KRON reports that a San Francisco mail theft victim is fighting back with cat poop after 50 of her packages were stolen in the past three months–and it only got worse around the holidays.

So, she decided to leave a little surprise for the thieves. The story has now gone viral.

The woman in Noe Valley says her whole block has fallen victim to these package thieves, but she decided to take matters into her own hands and teach these criminals a lesson in karma.

“So, I thought, you know, what I’m going to put this really stinky poop into Amazon boxes, and if they steal it, they deserve it! So, I put six of them, and they were all stolen all between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” Mail Theft Victim Cameo Wood said.

Six packages were stolen in less than 24 hours in one instance. Her frustration led to the creative comeback.

Enjoy the holidays and follow safe food practices

As Christmas fast approaches, it is time for family and friends to get together and share in the festivities. This year my extended family and I have rigged together a massive outdoor spit and intend on roasting different cuts of meat all day. My job is to lather the meat with rosemary infused olive oil and ensure food safety. The latter is a given since my family knows my background and my less than par culinary skills. I’ll leave the cooking to my father-in-law and kids, I’ll make sure we have thermometers on hand.

The Boston Globe reports

One of the most rewarding parts of throwing a holiday bash is hearing the next day from guests reminiscing about how delicious and fun the prior evening was for all. What you don’t want to receive are messages about an impromptu afterparty thrown at the local emergency room. Food poisoning is a horrific holiday present to give folks as it’s a gift that could keep giving . . . for days.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people get sick from food poisoning each year, with 128,000 of them having to be hospitalized. Bouts of nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea are not only unpleasant reminders that you ate some bad food, but this type of foodborne illness can accelerate to the point that is life-threatening. According to the CDC, 3,000 people die annually from food poisoning.
If children, pregnant women, older adults, and/or those with certain chronic conditions are on your guest list, they are even more susceptible to food poisoning because their immune systems might be weakened or not as strong as they need to be yet. To help you enjoy your holiday season without regret, here are five strategies to safeguard your guests:
Be mindful when making cookies and dough ornaments
If you are baking cookies or making raw dough ornaments at your party, you could be asking for trouble. While you shouldn’t eat raw egg-containing cookie dough or batter because of the increased risk of salmonella, that’s only part of the problem. According to the Food and Drug Administration, flour may contain bacteria that can also sicken you. In 2016, there was an outbreak of foodborne illness from bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. Because of this, the FDA is now recommending that you don’t let children play with raw dough. If you or your guests come in contact with flour, make sure that all hands, work surfaces, and utensils are thoroughly washed when the baking and crafts are completed.
Alter Grandma’s homemade eggnog recipe
Sipping eggnog topped with ground cinnamon and nutmeg just screams holiday cheer. Unfortunately, making the traditional recipe with raw eggs will put you and your guests at risk. The CDC recommends that you swap out the raw eggs from the eggnog recipe for pasteurized eggs that can be found at many supermarkets. Even better, save yourself time and worry by buying pre-made eggnog that is already pasteurized. Just don’t tell Grandma. 
Roast a safe turkey or chicken — and don’t wash it first
In a study done by researchers at the CDC, poultry was found to be the most common cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. The good news is that proper cooking will kill nasty bacteria. To avoid food poisoning, get yourself a reliable food thermometer and make sure that it is inserted in the innermost part of the thigh, wing, and breast of the poultry. If the thermometer reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, you are good to go. Contrary to popular thought, don’t wash the poultry before cooking it. Giving your bird a bath in your kitchen sink will not wash away the bacteria, but it could splatter it in the sink and contaminate surrounding surfaces.
Buffer the buffet table
When putting food out on a buffet table, you need to remember to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Cold foods, such as cooked shrimp and salads, should be placed on a pan of ice to help keep these items at 40 degrees or colder. Use heating trays to keep hot foods at 140 degrees to keep bacteria from multiplying to levels that can make folks sick. Better yet, only put out small portions of these foods at a time. When the platter is empty, replenish the buffet table with a new platter of food from the refrigerator or oven. When the party is over, perishable foods left at room temperature for two hours or more should be tossed.
Provide parting gifts that go the distance
If you are sending your guests home with leftovers, be mindful of the distance they have to travel. If they’ll be on the road more than two hours, perishables should be packed in a cooler with ice or cold packs that will keep the food at 40 degrees.


‘I hear that lonesome whistle, hang my head and cry’ What New Zealand inmates will eat on Dec. 25

What I remember from prison 35 years ago was, it was lonely.

There were fights, dramas, scandals, but that was nothing to the continual loneliness.

johnny_cash_at_folsom_prisonAccording to the New Zealand Heraldthere will be no trimmings, treats or trifle for the 10,000-odd prisoners behind bars this Christmas.

The Department of Corrections has today released details of the Christmas Day menu for the inmates at its 18 prisons across the country.

Inmates will man the kitchens on the day, preparing 10,000 meals of roast chicken, gravy, roast potatoes, carrots, green peas, two slices of bread and apple pie with custard.

All prison meals are designed and prepared in line with nutrition guidelines recommended by the Ministry of Health.

The main Christmas meal will be provided at lunchtime, with sandwiches given in the evening, Corrections said today.

As with any other day, vegetarian and other special dietary requirements will also be catered for.

Turkey’s are sorta boring: Re-create Christmas a 12-day drunken festival in centuries past

It’s a line I use frequently, from our Christmas movie tradition, Mystery, Alaska, or second fave, Trailer Park Boys Christmas:

historic-xmas-7_custom-c9322f035d60b76c3ab1fcedd928a3512b503b99-s1600-c85The only fun things to do in cold weather are fornicate and play hockey.

If you are eating turkey this Christmas out of some sense of tradition, food historian Ivan Day says, put down that drumstick. After studying English cookbooks hundreds of years old, Day says the giant bird isn’t even that traditional. Besides, he says, “It’s a dry wasteland of flavorless meat.”

Sure, the first turkey came to England in the 1600s. It was an exotic “treat” from the New World. But a time traveler from Shakespeare’s time wouldn’t understand why everyone in the modern world was having the same dull bird on Christmas night.

At his farmhouse in northern England, Day collects old cookbooks and food illustrations. He says in olden days, Christmas celebrations were all about novelty and variety. The tables of the rich might include a turkey and a goose, but also peacocks, swans, partridges and plovers. A rack of venison would sit beside a giant turtle. The eating would go on for days.

Christmas used to be a 12-day drunken festival. Imagine Mardi Gras with snow. Cooks were always trying to top one another in outrageousness, from the traditional presentation of the boar’s head to the array of sickeningly sweet puddings. Day shows me a 19th-century illustration of a pie that took a crowd of servants to carry. It was filled with boned geese, woodcocks, hares and any other game they had around.

“This was the original turducken,” he says.

Ivan Day will be having beef roasted in front of an open fire for Christmas, and he says you really should stop and appreciate how Christmas must have felt to people, say, 400 years ago. They might have gone months eating the same thing every day, bacon and bread. The Christmas meal, with its exotic fruits and endless variety, must have felt like a miracle. “It was a moment of sunshine in a dreary year of grayness,” he says.

319 sick; Norway Christmas party E. coli outbreak declared over

I’m not sure how a foodborne disease outbreak linked to a Christmas party can be declared over before Christmas, but that’s what Norwegian health types have done after 319 people were struck with tourist diarrhea or enterotoxigenic Eschericia coli (ETEC) at a Ringerike, Norway hotel.

The gastrointestinal outbreak happened after guests ate a Christmas buffet Klækken Hotels Hønefoss.e.coliat Klækken Hotels Hønefoss during the period of Dec. 4-9.

Six people were reported as requiring hospitalization for their illness. Guests had mainly diarrhea and abdominal pain, some had vomiting and fever.

The source of the outbreak has not been ascertained.

Preliminary results of surveys made ​​among the guests at the hotel during the relevant period, may indicate that the source of infection is the cold food from the buffet. FSA continues to work on mapping and analysis of these foods .

The Folkehelsinstituttet says since there have been no reports of illness after Dec. 9, the outbreak is over.

Feast of the seven temperature verified fish and Merry Christmas

I’m not Italian, I’m not religious, but now that I’ve found a decent fish monger, the Feast of the Seven Fish is the kind of meal I can get behind in support of winter or summer soltisce, depending on your hemisphere.

Or even for Christmas Eve.

We did our own version on the barbie: snapper, ocean trout, farmed Tasmanian salmon, big prawns, little prawns, steamed oysters and Morton bay bugs from just up the road a bit, along with some sweet potato crisps and rustic bread (would have gone for Tassie mussels but everyone was sold out, so it was two kinds of shrimp).

It was a feast, and we were grateful. Everything was cooked to a tender but safe thermometer-verified temperature. The bowl on the right is remnants.

Neil Young knows this: beware the Christmas ham, says insurer

Neil Young once had to cancel some tour dates because he sliced a guitar finger while making a ham sandwich.

New Zealand’s state-run Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), which offers universal insurance cover for accidents, released figures today showing the cost of treatment, rehabilitation and compensation for accidents recorded last Christmas Day have topped $NZ1.9 million ($1.45 million).

That includes several claims for ham-related injuries – including carving mishaps and burns, neck and knee strains from carrying heavy hams, and even a crushed finger after a ham toppled from a stand.

Most of the 3,040 Christmas Day injuries accepted by ACC resulted from outdoor activities – including frisbee, fishing, slippery sliding, trampolining and poolside antics.

One person laughed so hard they fainted, hitting their head in the garden, another broke their tooth on a dislodged gem that ended up on the menu, and someone taking their post-lunch nap was injured when a drunk person stood on their face.

Xmas events shelved after Dublin hotel vomiting outbreak

The Regency Hotel in Dublin has had to cancel a number of Christmas events and suspend its food and beverage service after a suspected outbreak of norovirus linked to its catering services.

Manager John Glynn told the Irish Times he had received “between 50 and 100” calls from people who had dined there last week complaining of being ill afterwards.

“Last Thursday a number of people were in touch saying they had been at a function on the Wednesday night and were not well.

“On the Friday evening the HSE was in touch saying they had had calls, and they visited the hotel and took samples from all the menus, including ice and water, which was stored in fridges over the weekend, to be examined in their labs.”

He said all food and beverage operations in the hotel had been suspended since yesterday morning while all food and drink service areas were decontaminated, a process he said would take 48 hours.

“We have had to cancel two events, affecting about 500 people, which is a pity but the people are very grateful and understanding of the stance I have taken.”

Merry Christmas from The Trailer Park Boys

Holidays are all about tradition. After five years in Kansas, Amy and Sorenne and I have settled into a routine of lamb (that was last night), fish, cognac and champagne and no barfing, except 2006, when Amy was so sick we got married.

There’s the television shows: It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Scrooged, endless children’s specials. TBS runs a 24-hour marathon of nothing but the quirky 1983 holiday entry, A Christmas Story. But for us, nothing captures the true meaning of Christmas better than the 2004 Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special.

In this scene (language warning), Ricky extols to the congregation in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (that’s in Canada), about the true meaning of Christmas.

“Sorry to interrupt, but I just had one of those brain-learning things pop into my head. … What is Christmas? I just got out of jail, which was awesome, you know, they don’t have presents and lights and tress, we just get stoned and drunk, it’s the best time. And I get out here and I’m all stressed out.

“… That’s not what Christmas should be, you should be getting drunk and stoned with your friends and family, people that you love. … That’s Christmas. … Getting drunk and stoned with your families and the people that you love. And if you don’t smoke or drink, just spend time with your families. It’s awesome. Merry Christmas.”

Or as Sorenne says, don’t make your friends and family barf with bad food safety.

Gratuitous food porn shot of the day – Xmas eve edition

Christmas Eve dinner in Manhattan with a couple of Kansas State modern languages graduate students from Senegal (they speak French there).

Oven-roasted French-cut lamb ribs – cooked to 140F but still needed a quick zap in the microwave to bring out the flavor — with roasted herb-garlic potatoes, Frenchy cheese, whole grain bread and salad.