California – YES on 37 – GMO Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

Bee Collecting Pollen - Bees are being killed - We need GMO labelingUsually, since this is mostly a recipe blog, I don’t talk about politics. But, I feel this is a very important subject, and since it is about food, I feel it is appropriate. Normally, I make a “read more” link in my posts, but not this one. I want you to read the whole thing, right now.

If you live in California, and you are a registered voter, please remember to vote Yes on 37, the GMO Food labeling initiative. If you wish, you may read Prop 37’s text.

If you don’t live in California, then please take this matter up with your own representatives. Speak up on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, tell your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, people on the street. If you know someone who does live in California, please call them and urge them to vote on 37. What happens in California often cascades into other states, so we cannot afford to lose this one.

Update: November 7, 2012 – Prop 37 did not win, Monsanto did. However, you can still shop smart and not eat GMO foods by finding what crops have been affected. The GMO Database is not American, so I feel it may be a little more truthful.

What is GMO?

What is the big deal about GMO? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This does not mean something that would occur naturally, like two different plants making a new plant. This is about scientists taking DNA from one organism and putting it into another, so that host will acquire traits of the organism. Soybeans have been developed that express a crystalline insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis – got it? The soybean got a bacteria’s DNA – this would never happen in nature.

Is GMO Safe?

Which brings up the question, is this safe? What about allergens? What if you happen to be allergic to that bacteria? What happens when we consume a lot of it? Huh? The FDA considers GMO safe, but they thought Fen-Phen was safe, too, and a host of others we hear class action lawyer commercials about late at night. Sometimes, it takes a long time for side effects to appear. I don’t want my child to be a science experiment, do you want yours?

In Europe, GMO foods are labeled. As a matter of fact, some countries have even destroyed their Monsanto corn because it was invading non-GMO corn, and actually killing bees.

GMO Corn Kills Bees

Bees? Sure, bees make honey, but they are also responsible to most pollination of the plants on this planet. Without bees, there’s no pollination; without pollination, there’s no plants. We die. Read the Reuters article Mystery of Disappearing Bees. What is killing the bees? It’s GMO corn crops, made by who? Monsanto, of course.

Facebook Conspiracy

Today, November 1, 2012, I noticed that there was a No on 37 Like status on my Facebook news feed. It appeared as a new status. Researching it, I discovered that it was from October 22, 2012 – a full 10 days ago, but only 5 days before the election November 6, 2012. I did not notice any Yes on 37’s as “new” status on my news feed. Makes you wonder, huh?

Dr. Oz Censored

Dr. Mehmet Oz had a show about GMO foods on October 18, 2012. The show was censored in some parts of the country. These are actual posts on Facebook reporting it – I omitted names for privacy reasons.

  • Fox5 in San Diego pre-emptied the segment on GMOs with an old re-run of News Radio. Instead of important information vital to voters in California, we got to watch an actor (who is not longer alive, by the way) puffing away obsessively on a cigarette.
  • You should know that the Fox affiliate in San Diego that broadcasts your show broadcast a rerun of “News Radio” for the first half hour of your show. I’m assuming this is the part of the show that covered Gmo’s. The broadcast resumed to show your segments of 3 issues women should know about, BUT your usual wrap up at the end was replaced with blackness for about 1 minute. No sound. No picture. Did you say something else about GMO’S at the end? In light of Prop 37 on the ballot in California in November, it is pretty obvious you were censored by Fox.

Who is Behind No on 37?

Who is behind No on 37? The biggest contributor is Monsanto, who with $7,100,000.00 in contributions, brought us such horrors as DDT and Agent Orange. Monsanto said they were safe – obviously, they’re not. Who else is on the No bandwagon?

Largest Opponents to Prop 37
Contributor Amount
MONSANTO $7,100,000.00
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO. $4,900,000.00
PEPSICO, INC. $2,145,400.00
BASF PLANT SCIENCE $2,000,000.00
BAYER CROPSCIENCE $2,000,000.00
DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC $2,000,000.00
SYNGENTA CORPORATION $2,000,000.00
KRAFT FOODS GLOBAL, INC. $1,646,000.00
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA $1,455,500.00
NESTLE USA, INC. $1,315,600.00
CONAGRA FOODS $1,176,700.00
GENERAL MILLS, INC. $1,135,300.00
KELLOGG COMPANY $790,700.00
SMITHFIELD FOODS, INC. $683,900.00
DEL MONTE FOODS COMPANY $674,100.00

Conclusion

I hope what I have written here is enough to get you to go to the polls on November 6, 2012 and vote YES on Prop 37. Even if you don’t vote for anything else, vote for this. Our children and our children’s children depend on you.

Did you just click on the link that said conclusion without reading the article? Well, here’s a second chance, with links to the various parts. Please be informed.

DDOS Attack – Not Chicken Little

Spane, 6 years old, in April of 2010

My own personal DDOS, Spane, 6 years old, in April of 2010

So, yesterday, August 9, 2012, there was a DDOS attack on the servers that host The Good Plate. This is the second time this has happened. This is not something for which the hosting provider is at fault – this is some miscreant doing damage.

Have you ever heard of a DDOS attack – it’s a Distributed Denial Of Service. Basically, thousands of computer send simultaneous requests to a single server, and there are so many requests that the server is unable to respond, and has to shut down until the attack stops.

It’s as if you’re in a room with a hundred people, and they are all asking you different questions at the same time. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel like I’m under at DDOS attack when Spane starts asking me “Mom, why does this? Mom, why does that? Mom! Mom! Mom!”. You know how it goes if you have kids.

Continue reading

Fail! A Taste of History

This morning, the television happened to be on to my local PBS station, and being Saturday, there was a cooking show. This one caught my attention because the chef was using an open hearth instead of a stove. This was eighteenth century cooking! It reminded me of cooking with Berta because she does not have any temperature controls other than me.

Screenshot of Taste of History

Select to view full size Taste of History screenshot

I was intrigued and decided to check out the web site, A Taste of History. Well, I would be happy to report back what I found, except that I can’t read any of it.

As some of you know, I am a web developer, and I have always been a champion of accessibility. In the United States, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically section 508, and if you violate that, you and your website can get into a lot of financial trouble.

I called the restaurant this morning, and then I sent an email to Chef. Here’s what I said:

Chef, I spoke with your wonderful wife this morning, June 25, 2011 about visiting your web sites.

I called because I wanted to make sure that you were made aware that the sites are not accessible. The font size is way too small, and there is not enough contrast between the text and background color.

Your wife said that the designers of the web sites say this follows an 18th century theme. Well, text in the eighteenth century was not tiny. Look at the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. It’s large black letters on a buff background. Even printing presses in those days did not have itsy bitsy letters, they could not make the letters that small. Do a Google Image search for 18th century books <http:/tinyurl.com/69d8xfe> and you will see what I mean.

The websites would not pass Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and since A Taste of History appears on PBS stations, and PBS stations are funded in part by the Federal Government, you could face problems.

Even my son, who is seven years old, with perfect vision, says “You have to change the color, Mommy, I can’t read it with that color”. If he can’t read it, no one else can either.


Adrienne Boswell
Arbpen Designs
http:/cavalcade-of-coding.info/

Well, we shall see what happens and if any of the web sites are changed. It’s a pity, they look like they might be interesting, but it’s a little too distracting to turn CSS off, or where there are images/flash up the size to 130% in order to see. I’ll be reporting back soon.

Update: June 27, 2011
I got an email! Here’s what the email said:

Ms. Boswell:

We are very sorry the “A Taste of History” Website was not displaying in a clear manner for you to read. We are currently designing an updated website, and we will keep your suggestions in mind as we make these revisions.

Please don’t let your experience with the website color your opinion of our series. We’re thrilled that you are enjoying watching “A Taste of History,” and hope you will continue to watch.

Best Regards,

Ariel Schwartz
Producer
Multi Media Productions

Update: July 18, 2011 – No changes yet!

Update: July 1, 2012 – Yeah! They changed it, but some of the old links do not work. So if you really want to make those Salmon Corn Cakes, you’re just going to have to use my recipe for Salmon Corn Cakes from A Taste of History.

Peaches Raleigh – Rosey Peaches with Ice Cream

Picture-83Recipes in This Post

Last night, May 24, 2011, was the last night of Dancing with the Stars. I’m not that much of a TV fan, but there are a few shows that I watch, and I do try to watch this one – especially the final show.

So, I thought since we were going to be watching in the living room of TV trays, that it would be nice to have a fabulous dessert to go with the show. I created Peaches Raleigh, and they were great!

Rant

Just a note about how I feel about television. When I was growing up, we had one television, and it was in the living room. The only time that it was ever in the bedroom was when you were sick.

It’s important to spend time at the table with your family and friends, television is too much of a distraction. Meals are the time to share the ups and downs, joys and comedies of the day, throw ideas around, and give thanks to the Lord our God for making the meal possible. It is not a time to the sucked into the television – unless it’s a special occasion, like the Academy Awards or Dancing with the Stars.

Okay, back from Rant, the local Armenian stores are full of wonderful fresh fruits organically grown in Fresno. The fruits may not say organic on them, but for all intents and purposes, they are organic. I have found that the big chain markets get organic fruits and vegetables, but they are not nearly as nice as the stuff grown in Fresno and brought into Glendale early every morning.

My local store had some lovely white stone peaches, and I had ice cream, boysenberry and rose preserves at home.

White flesh peaches are not like their cousins the Free stone peach, so you have to remove the pits with a knife if you want to do anything with them other than eat them out of hand.

I served the peaches on nice glass dishes with a fork, and they were a great hit. Of course, the battery in the camera died, so not pictures, but I’ll make it again, and have pictures.

Recipe: Peaches Raleigh

Summary: Make this rosey peach ice cream dessert and get wows from guests

Ingredients

  • 3 White Flesh Peaches
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Marsala
  • 3 tablespoons Rose Preserve
  • 1 1/2 cups Peaches and Cream Ice Cream
  • 6 teaspoons Blackberry Preserve

Instructions

  1. With a sharp knife cut each peach in half, and carefully remove the seed.
  2. Put butter into a large sauté pan, and when it has melted, put the peaches in skin side up. Slide them around a little, then add the Marsala. Slide them around a bit more, and add the Rose Preserve. Slide them around more, then put a top on the pan, lower the heat to very low, cover, and let them cook/steam for about 10 minutes or until the skins have puckered up on the peaches. Turn off the heat.
  3. Put the peaches on to a plate and put them in the freezer. Leave the liquid in the pan, you will be using that later.
  4. When the peaches are very cold, it is time to make the dessert.
  5. Remove the skins, and put each peach half on a nice serving plate, pit side up.
  6. Reheat the sauce left in the pan, and let it thicken a bit, stirring all the while, about 2 minutes.
  7. Take a small ice cream scoop, a size 24 is perfect, and put one scoop of ice cream on each peach half, then put a a dime size of blackberry preserve, the a spoonful of the sauce over that. If you have left over sauce, put it in the bottom of each dish.

Quick notes

If you cannot find peaches and cream ice cream, vanilla will do just fine.

Variations

You can use sliced peaches, and boil the syrup to pour over the dessert.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate – Adrienne Boswell.
Recipe by Adrienne Boswell.

Barbeque Salads – Red Cabbage and Steamed Red Potato

My friends, Amber and Stevie invited me over for barbecue this evening. I love it when Stevie barbecues – he has a great big drum barbecue and he has my Weber until I drag it home some day.

He said “I have a lot of meat, do you girls want to make potato salad?” and I said I would be happy to.

Usually, when you think about potato salad, you think about russets. They had red potatoes, and not too many of them, I had some, so I said I would go home, make the salad there and include my potatoes.

When I got home, I started pulling things out of the refrigerator I thought I might need – red potatoes, mayonnaise, carrot, onion – and then I spied with my little eye, a half a red cabbage and an apple.

I thought to myself, that would be good, red cabbage and apple, and how about some bacon, kind of like a spinach salad! Ah ha! Genius!

While I was making the red cabbage salad, I started water boiling for my red potato salad so I could steam the potatoes just like I regularly do. My intention was steamed red potatoes, only cold.

When I brought the salads back to Stevie, he lifted the lid on the red cabbage salad, I told him what it was, and he said “Sounds good, looks ugly”.

By the end of the night, he said “I loved that cabbage salad. That was really good!”

I went home very happy, and now, I’ll share my success with you:

Red Cabbage Salad

You can make this with the ready made Hormel Real Bacon Bits, or you can cook bacon and use the fat and crumble the bacon yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, large shred
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 apple sliced into match sticks

Directions

Melt the bacon fat in a large skillet. Add the cabbage and onions. Sauté until the onion is slightly translucent, then add the vinegar, reduce the heat and cover. Let the cabbage steam for about 5 to 10, then check it. If it is still very crisp, continue cooking it until it is tender, but not soft.

Add the sugar, water, caraway seeds, bacon and raisins, cover and steam for another minute or so.

Remove from the heat and put in a large bowl, then toss in the apple sticks.

Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6

Steamed Red Potato Salad

I love steamed red potatoes with plenty of butter and sour cream. This will remind you of that, but it’s a little healthier.

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen red potatoes, halved and quartered
  • 1/2 onion, chopped very finely
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream 1
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (fresh is best, but dried will do in a pinch)

Directions

Steam the potatoes until they are fork tender. Remove from the heat, drain and put into a large bowl.
Combine the remaining ingredients, pour over the potatoes, and toss to mix. Take the salad and put it in a nice serving dish.

Serves 6

Rant!

I do not understand why people buy that stuff that says it is sour cream, but it has all this other stuff in it like whey, modified food starch, sodium phosphate, sodium citrate, guar gum, carageenan, calcium sulface, potassium sorbate (preservative) and locust bean gum.

Sour cream does not need all those extra ingredients, just cultured cream is necessary. Alta Dena, Daisy and Knudsen brands are just cultured cream.

Glendale GUSD Parents – I am ashamed

I am ashamed. With 105 teachers getting their pink slips from GUSD, and K through 3rd grade class sizes increasing, I was one of only 4 parents of children from our school who showed up at the walk to GUSD this afternoon, May 4, 2010. There were more teachers at the walk than parents, and that’s a shame.

Our children need their teachers, especially the young ones. Classrooms are already splitting at the seams, and yet, five more children are to be added to each class this September. Right now, my child has 22 children – with an additional 5, that will be 27.

In 1996, the California legislature passed SB 1777, a reform measure aimed at cutting class size in the early school grades from what had been an average of 29 students to a maximum of 20. As a result, our students have had higher test scores, and more students are graduating high school to go on to college. Glendale is doing better than LAUSD, and better than statewide – see Standardized Achievement Test Performance.

In front of Glendale Unified School District with Spane, his teacher, and other teachers

In front of Glendale Unified School District with Spane, his teacher, and other teachers

Well, maybe the $16.8M GUSD received can go to building bigger classrooms, or failing that, the kids can be stacked on “bunk chairs”.

I realize that a lot of parents work. The event was not publicized very much, but there were parents out in front of our school passing out flyers. I was one of them, and I know I got commitments from at least 10 parents.

I say to you that could have come and helped support our teachers, don’t come whining when little Johnny can’t read. If you want things to change, you have to take action.

Sorry, no recipe today – we had In & Out because we felt it was more important to support the teachers, and ultimately, the community.