Frozen food gets ready for its image upgrade, and Michael Pollan did not invent cooking

I’ve always been a fan of the frozen food.

With four kids to feed, it was convenient, and if you want to eat local, get the fart-inducing cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli doug-tom-fieldand the always popular bok choy from the freezer section.

Chapman mentioned a road trip we took about a decade ago with the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (that’s in Canada) where we saw the amazing lengths farmers and processors go to keep frozen and canned product safe.

I remember walking into the IQF (individually quick frozen) unit that was freezing corn: it was cold.

Now, with its pulse on a changing nation, state-sponsored jazz, otherwise known as NPR (National Public Radio) is reporting the frozen food folks are tired of being left in the cold.

“What we call fresh in the supermarket is really better termed raw,” says Kristin Reimers, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition for ConAgra Foods. “A lot of times, those vegetables have been transported for days, and then sit. It could be a matter of weeks between when they’re picked and consumed.”

Frozen vegetables, she says, are “probably more nutrient-rich than many of the raw vegetables in the produce section.”

According to NPR, the frozen food industry just hired two big ad agencies for a $50 million campaign to convince us that frozen food is good.

ConAgra is one member of the new Frozen Food Roundtable, along with General Mills, Heinz, Kellogg and other big manufacturers. They have ordered up a campaign “designed to change the way consumers think and feel about frozen food by promoting positive messaging regarding the benefits and attributes of frozen food,” according to Ad Age.

Sure, but don’t make consumers sick with frozen  pot pies, and then blame consumers. Frozen and safe. It’s a slogan. Publish the data and market it.

And as noted by NPR, stay away from the meals – too much fat and salt. But I always have a bag of frozen berries, even though I grow my own, because farming is hard, and if someone had to rely on my skills jauce.jordan.nov.12for food they would be hungry. And a variety of veggies. Little kids love frozen corn and peas. Sorenne is four, but will still munch on the ones she doesn’t spill  on and into the couch.

Frozen and safe.

Oh, and Michael Pollan did not invent cooking with the family. See that pic of me and Sorenne on every blog post? I did that with all the girls, and the oldest is about to turn 26. Hanging out with the 23-year-old last month (that’s her, right, with her boyfriend who stole my hair style from a decade ago to apparently impress my daughter; nah, it’s not that, she thought I was a dork), we mainly talked – and did — cooking. For those in North America, the Pollan bit from Colbert last night starts about the 15 minute mark on the video at I’ll post the clip when it’s available.

Pollan gets $25,000 to speak with students?

I figure the Chinese–funded U.S. bailout has at least been good for Denis Leary, Howie Long, and the dude who does dirtiest jobs cause they all got gigs selling American cars.

What’s worse is that sustainably-minded Michael Pollan is stiffing students for $25,000 to come and share his menu planner.

As reported in Feedstuffs today, Pollan spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last week, some farmers and aggie types challenged Pollan’s, uh, views of agriculture, and that Pollan was paid  $25,000 to speak.

Pollan has a university gig like me, although I’m not sure how he got it. My cv or resume is on-line and anyone can see it. Today I got two requests to speak: one with the Missouri public health folks, one with some food safety conference in Chicago. In both cases, I said, cover my expenses, cause otherwise I’m taking money away from undergraduate and graduate students, money that I have to raise. But no fees.

Why anyone would waste $25,000 on Pollan is baffling.

Michael Pollan — You’re no Julia Child

This will be brief because I have to cook dinner (another week in Venice, Florida, and supper will be permanently moved to 3:30 pm).

With the upcoming release of Julia and Julie, food pornographers everywhere are reminiscing about their love of Julia Child, widely credited with bringing French cooking to mainstream America.

Michael Pollan takes 8,272 words in tomorrow’s N.Y. Times magazine to say The Food Network appeals to eaters not cooks, that people wouldn’t be so fat if they had to make food with basic ingredients at home, and he’s nostalgic for his mother’s cooking.

Salon magazine has already driven a few trucks through the rather gaping holes in Pollan’s arguments and cherry-picked supporting evidence. About word 745, I recognized Pollan’s hypocrisy and wondered why I was reading this trash when I could be cooking?

And Dan Ackroyd at least deserves a cameo in the new movie for best Julia Child impersonation (although John Candy’s Julia on Second City TV, duking it out with Mr. Rogers in a boxing match during a satirical Battle of the PBS stars is a close second).

Roadkill burgers banned in Newfoundland

"I’ve been involved in getting moose for over 30 years from wildlife, and I have never heard of anyone ever getting sick from eating a moose burger."

So says Dave Barker, who works for the Knights of Columbus in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland.

I hear similar sentiments all the time. It’s completely meaningless.

If someone got sick from a past practice, they would probably not accurately link it to a specific food; if they died, they wouldn’t be around to complain.

But perhaps the bureaucrats in the Canadian province of Newfoundland have gone a bit too …  bureaucratic.

The provincial government recently discontinued the donation of roadkill moose meat, and charity groups say the decision strips them of a vital source of fundraising.

For decades, wildlife officers have offered charities moose killed in road collisions. The charities had butchers mince the meat into burgers, a very popular treat in the province, and held community barbecues and other events to raise money for their various causes.

"It depends on how much moose is actually destroyed in the accident, but normally you get at least two moose burger sales out of one moose, so you’re looking at anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000," said Shane Budgell, president of the Lions Club in Grand Falls-Windsor.

The government’s decision comes after the province’s auditor general flagged problems earlier this year about the department’s donations of wild game meat.

"The department did not always track where all of the meat from a particular animal was sent," John Noseworthy wrote in his annual report.

After a review, the government decided to stop donating roadkill moose meat, saying the practice would expose them to liability if any health or safety risks arose.

Moose are ruminants, and there have been outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 associated with moose meat (it’s not just corn-fed feedlot cattle; I’m talking to you, Michael Pollan and Food Inc.).

But rather than ban the use of roadkill, why not have better training for butchers and food service types and teach them how to not cross-contaminate and use tip-sensitive thermometers to ensure the meat is prepared safely?