Special Agent Oso, the unique stuffed bear, washes hands and vegetables (Stephen Colbert is terrified)

In my continuing quest to watch children’s TV and become addicted to every infectious kids song out there – because 1-year-old Sorenne has a cold and insists on being held — we watched an episode of Special Agent Oso, the unique stuffed bear.

3 special steps, that’s all you need

wash the vegetables

chop the vegetables

toss the salad

Jade has to help make a salad for cousin Rachel, who can’t eat cheese or bread because she has food allergies – no pizza for Rachel.

Special Agent Oso — the unique stuffed bear — and Jade wash their hands before preparing the salad, and wash the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, straight from the garden, but eventually use a vegetable brush because the veggies are so naturally dirty. Problem solved.

BTW, the songs on these kids’ shows are bizarrely infective, like a foodborne pathogen.

The Hot Dog song on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was written and performed by They Might Be Giants, and the Handy Manny theme song was written and performed by Los Lobos.

French travelers once again contract trichinosis from eating bear in Canada; were they in a canoe?

Canada was settled by French and other European explorers by canoe – hence the Canadianism, as stated by Pierre Berton, a Canadian journalist and novelist,

"A Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe without tipping it."

The National Post reports this morning
that for the second time in four years, health authorities in France have identified an outbreak of the parasitical illness trichinosis from bear meat devoured by French travelers in northern Canada.

The grizzly that ended up as steaks, stew and even "grizzly-bear Bolognese" had been threatening an Inuit camp on the Nunavut shore when it was shot by rangers, with the carcass later divided up among locals and visitors.

In 2005, 19 French travelers got sick after eating black bear in Labrador, while two others caught trichinosis from a polar bear in Greenland a few years earlier.

A Paris-based expert who investigated the outbreaks attributes the spate of bear-meat illness among his compatriots to the French culinary penchant for trying unconventional meats, and either eating them raw or cooking them very little.

One of the French adventurers — on a sailing trip across the Arctic — ended up hospitalized for 11 days after digesting the tainted food in September, though she avoided the most serious heart and brain complications of the infection.

Dr. Jean Dupouy-Camet, head of a trichinosis-tracking program, said in an interview from Paris,

"It’s quite fascinating to see that French people seem quite fond of bear meat. French people travelling abroad like to consume exotic meats … [And] they are usually fond of raw meat: steak tartare."

But the latest episode was not confined to the French sailors. Members of another North-West Passage sailing expedition, headed by a Canadian, ate some of the same meat and two of them also became ill.

Other people have had witty things to say about Canada. British novelist Douglas Adams said each country was like a particular type of person, and "Canada is like an intelligent 35 year old woman." America, on the other hand, is a "belligerent adolescent boy" and Australia is "Jack Nicholson." I may prefer Australia. 

Food safety defined -the how to avoid bears definition

Stephen Colbert’s fear of bears – usually listed as the biggest threat to America in his Threat Down segment – has made it to the blogsphere.

I’ve made it a point to say in my talks lately, when I talk about food safety, I’m talking about food that doesn’t make people barf. Food safety means lots of things to lots of people, but I’m focused on the microbes that sicken up to 30 per cent of all citizens of all countries every year (that’s what the World Health Organization says).

If you plan on venturing into the wilderness on a camping or hiking trip, you need to be prepared to deal with potentially dangerous wildlife. Bears in particular need to be respected and avoided. One of the easiest ways to avoid bears is to be careful with storing and preparing food.”

It’s not just Colbert. On a family trip when I was, oh, about 13-years-old, we spent a couple of nights in Banff, Alberta, and were visited by a bear that emptied the cooler.

"Be aware of the necessary food storage and cooking precautions while camping. Do everything you can to keep food odors away from your camp. Taking these precautions is the easiest way to prevent a bear encounter."

So respect the bears (especially in the video below, which involves Canadians, kids, hockey and bears).

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown – Bears
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Protests

Bear visits Subway restaurant in Canada; Stephen Colbert terrified

Tap-dancing rats in restaurants seems so yesterday after a black bear visited a Subway restaurant during the early morning of Sept. 15, 2008, in the north coast town of Kitimat, British Columbia.

Rebecca Branton, who was in the back, told CBC News,

"I was just back there making soup … but I saw the door open and it was a bear. I grabbed my cellphone and ran to the back and locked myself in the bathroom and called my parents.”

The young bear’s every move was captured by nine video cameras in the shop, including how it managed to grab the handle of the front door and pull it open.

See for yourself as part of The Colbert Report the other night. The bear bit starts at about 2:30. The zombie piece is hilarious, though, so watch through to the end.

No word on whether a health inspector was called to give the OK on potentially contaminated ingredients.


Michelle Mazur: Sex and food in the City

The James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception was held last month in New York City.

Sex & the City’s Kim Cattrall hosted, dubbed “the Oscars of the food world,” alongside co-host Bobby Flay.

Although I’m very confident that Bobby’s culinary skills are far more advanced than Kim’s, one can only imagine that every eye was on Kim as she did her best Samantha Jones act in a slinky gold dress.

Why Kim Cattrall?  Most likely because she’s dating Canadian chef Alan Wyse.  However, the press release announcing the host insists otherwise.

“A leading figure in the entertainment industry, Kim will shine a new light on the awards and further enhance the Foundation’s mission to elevate the nation’s consciousness of America’s culinary culture. …

“Beyond the stage and screen, Kim has a known interest in the culinary world which has been enhanced through her boyfriend Alan Wyse.”

Does she truly have an interest in the culinary world, or is she just interested in her boyfriend?

This year’s theme for the awards ceremony was "Artisanal America," emphasizing small farms and specialty food producers from across the country—“the chefs behind the great chefs,” as foundation president Susan Ungaro said.

"[Beard] believed you got the true flavor of a place by meeting the local farmers, cheese makers, bread bakers, and butchers. We believe our theme is just another way to celebrate his legacy and the very active and passionate artisanal movement being embraced by America’s greatest chefs."

A complete list of this year’s winners can be found in the James Beard Foundation Awards website.