Nikki Marcotte: Manhattan (Kansas) Dairy Queen cited for 8 critical violations

KMAN radio in Manhattan (Kansas) reports the Dairy Queen, located at 3116 Anderson Avenue, was marked for 8 critical health code violations, according to the inspection report.

Among some of the violations reported were an unapproved license, improper hot holding and cold holding temperatures for certain meat and produce items, and improper cooling methods.

Many of the issues were dealt with on-site, according to the report. However, a follow-up inspection will take place sometime in the near future.

China adding pulverized lime to flour – report

The courthouse where Amy and I got our wedding license 

in downtown Manhattan (Kansas) is built of limestone (right, exactly as shown) and featured, along with a picture of the Great Pyramid of Gaza (below, left) on the Wikipedia page about limestone.

Who knew that ancient Egypt and Manhattan (Kansas) were connected in such a manner? And if it’s on wiki it must be true.

Me, I love the limestone buildings all around Manhattan (Kansas) and the bottom half of our house (Notre maisonette en ville — our cottage in the city).

I want to look at limestone in buildings, not eat the pulverized form into flour.

But, according to media reports, that is exactly what is going on in China in the latest food fraud BS scandal.

Pulverized lime, which can lead to gradual damage to the lungs and eventually the entire respiratory system if consumed, has been added to bleaching agents widely used in flour production in China.

Bleaching agents, usually made from cornstarch, are added to flour to shorten the time needed for whitening. Substituting cheaper and heavier lime for cornstarch cuts the cost of producing the bleaching agent, which is sold by weight.

The price of corn has risen to an all-time high on China’s futures markets this year, possibly inspiring the substitution by companies competing to cut selling prices.

Flour is mostly used to make noodles, dumplings and steamed buns in China, especially in the north.

‘My mother died, so we’re roasting a pig; drop by’

That’s the way to celebrate a life.

The mother was the matriarch of the Weisbender family, 96-year-old Violet, who died March 21, 2010.

She had nine kids, many who stayed in Manhattan (Kansas). Amy and I have become friendly with a few of those kids as they improved our house, informed us on local politics and hosted the annual Labor Day fish fry where Violet was a fixture and we got introduced to the extended family of, according to latest estimates, 96.

Amy and Sorenne and I paid our respects down at the Veterans’ Club earlier this evening, dining on pulled pork and beans provided by the Cox Brothers and maintained at a proper temperature.

Good food, friends, lots of kids.

Son Russell gave us the blanket that Sorenne is now permanently bonded with. Son Tim, who provided the quote in the headline, also made our day yesterday, by dropping off this handmade sign which now graces our house in Manhattan (Kansas). Notre maisonette en ville — our cottage in the city.

Thank you.

Egypt and Kansas – food brings us together

I’ve been hanging out with the visiting Egyptians since Thurs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has this Cochran Fellows program that provides U.S.-based agricultural training opportunities for senior and mid-level specialists and administrators from public and private sectors who are concerned with agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.

After spending over 30 hours to reach Kansas from Egypt, with a variety of travel headaches, the three food scientists and one professor have been taking in the best Manhattan has to offer: dinner at the Little Apple Brewing Company, viewing the animals at the Riley County Fair, shopping, taking in the Kaw Valley Rodeo Saturday night, and my lectures.

Sunday, the Fellows came to our house for some American-style BBQ and hospitality. I showed them how to cook a hamburger with a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, they told me about cooking and hospitality in Egypt.

Baby Sorenne was the star attraction.

And it’s been a huge honor hanging out with the accomplished gentlemen and learning.


Food porn or food art?

At the Manhattan, KS Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Chefs Bryan and Sarah Severns demonstrated cooking with local ingredients. At their cooking station, you could find an array of utensils, several cutting boards (separate ones for raw and cooked meats and vegetables—no cross-contamination), hand sanitizer, and a three-bucket washing station.

The purpose of their demonstration was to show a variety of recipes with ingredients found at the market. Samples were provided; they were delicious. Since it is recommended to wash your hands prior to eating, the chefs had hand sanitizer available for patrons.

Bryan commented on their cooking at the market as being more of food art than food porn. Both Bryan and Sarah will return to the market for another demonstration August 1.

Final hockey game – Friday, 7 p.m., our place

Fortunately, Dale’s in Germany so I don’t have to listen to how awesome Pittsburgh is and how he’s followed them since he was a kid.

Me, I was crushed when Pittsburgh beat out Carolina in 4 straight games in the semis.

But I’ve gotten over it to host game 7 of the National Hockey League finals Friday night. Seriously, in Manhattan, KS, and with Dale in Germany, Amy and I are  hockey central.

And Amy once again wants Detroit to win. Zetterberg is her hero.

Game starts at 7, we got the big screen, the HDTV, the food, the beer, and the hockey know-how – watch me explain again to Bob what offside is – and where would you rather be?

You’re all invited. Even you public health students I talked with this morning. I’ll show you how to properly cook a decent hamburger using a digital, tip-sensitive thermometer. Let’s see if you really read


Hockey hat trick hats are often discarded for sanitary reasons

After three games of the Stanley Cup finals with Detroit leading Pittsburgh 2-1, and some of the best hockey in years, I finally have a reason to blog about it.

Puck Daddy asked today, What happens to hats thrown for hat tricks?

It all comes down to sanitation.

In hockey, when a player scores three goals in a game, it’s called a hat trick, and after the third goal, the ice is often littered with hats from fans.

One of hockey’s greatest traditions, the tossing of hats on the ice when a player scores thrice evolved from local businessmen handing out fedoras to players about 90 years ago. During the 1970s, fans built on that tradition by tossing hats on the ice, and the NHL eventually amended its rule book to say that "articles thrown onto the ice following a special occasion (i.e. hat trick) will not result in a bench minor penalty being assessed" to the home team for delay of the game.

So where do all of these hat-trick hats eventually end up?

1. The Players Keep the Hats.

2. The Garbage: Remember what mom used to say about wearing other kids’ hats back in elementary school? Turns out that health concerns about the indiscriminate origin of the hats is a consideration.

Mike Sundheim, media relations for the Carolina Hurricanes, said that a portion of the hats that are in decent shape are given to the players, but that "the majority of the older, well-worn ones pretty much have to go in the trash because of health concerns."

That was echoed by VP of communications Tom McMillan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, although he said a student once did a project with the Penguins in which he took hats thrown on the ice, had them "cleaned and medically approved" and then donated them to charity.

Katie’s stuck in Chicago, my book chapter is overdue, and the house next door is on fire

The Flintstones were a cultural milestone for kids like me and those who believe that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.

In one particular episode, Barney and Fred join Joe Rockhead’s volunteer fire department as a cover for the dance lessons they are taking so they do not humiliate themselves at the charity ball.

Betty and Wilma eventually realize that the all-stone town of Bedrock is fire proof. The wives then suspect that their husbands are slipping out to meet other women.

It’s like that in Manhattan (Kansas). I love the limestone rock that is the cornerstone of many of the buildings in town, including our own house.

The house next door is made of plaster or something and houses students who drive too fast down our dead-end road.

That house now has a hole in its roof.

It seems like the entire Bedrock volunteer fire department was out tonight after the students next door called in a fire. One of the kids said it was an electrical short. Katie called me, stranded in Chicago, and said it was probably a grow-op or crack den. Whatever it was, there were 30 firefighters working on this house for the last couple of hours. They had ladders, chainsaws, groovy duds, and a lot of them had moustaches.

Government recommends Kansas for biodefense lab

I’ll comment more on this later, but for now, Associated Press reported about an hour ago that the U.S. federal government has recommended a site in Manhattan, Kansas for a new $450 million laboratory — the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility — to study biological threats like anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease.

The Department of Homeland Security’s choice of Manhattan, Kan., beat out intense competition from other sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.

A formal announcement won’t be made until later this week, when the agency releases an environmental impact statement.

The new lab would replace an aging 24-acre research complex on Plum Island, about four miles off the eastern shore of Long Island, N.Y.

The lab is expected to generate about 1,500 construction jobs and a permanent payroll of $25 million to $30 million for more than 300 employees once the project is completed by 2015.

Manhattan rocks.

Tornado hits Manhattan (Kansas)

I love Manhattan (Kansas).

People are always asking me, with a bemused, smug look, Kansas? Why would you move to Kansas?

I explain to them how Manhattan is huddled in the Flint Hills, beautiful spot, and most of the bad weather goes around Manhattan.

Not last night.

The townhouse Amy used to live in probably doesn’t exist anymore. That was one of two areas of town that got hammered by a tornado about 11 pm Central time.

ABC affiliate KTKA in Topeka captured the tornado on video as it entered Manhattan, at least until the camera on the weather tower got taken out (see below).

Cheryl May, Kansas State University’s (awesome) director of media relations extraordinaire, told CNN the storm destroyed a wind erosion lab, damaged several engineering and science buildings and tore the roof off a fraternity house at the school (right, Weber Hall, home of much of Animal Science).

"Our campus is kind of a mess."

There were no immediate reports of injuries, she said.

In an update released at 8 a.m. (CST), Tom Rawson, vice president for administration and finance, estimated storm damage at Kansas State University to exceed $20 million.

"The damage on campus is extensive. Roofs have been damaged or torn off, windows have been blown out in many buildings. Weber Hall is severely damaged. The Wind Erosion Lab is gone. There is significant damage to the engineering complex, and to Waters, Call, Cardwell and Ward Hall."

And since my students don’t seem to know, but of course read barfblog, classes are cancelled for today.

Local radio station KMAN has a complete list of known damage. People are being asked to stay away from damaged areas — and there are various unsubstantiated reports of looting.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has the following food safety advice after a weather emergency:

Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.

Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without power.

Never taste a food to determine its safety

Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred

Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved.

When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If you have any firsthand reports, pictures or video, send it along. Amy and I are going to start working our way home from Quebec City.