1. NYC will grade restaurants! A measure approved two days ago will require all NYC restaurants to display the, “A,” “B,” or “C,” they receive from the city’s board of health. The ruling goes into effect in July. Imagine what that is going to do for business. Restaurants are already suffering from the recession. Is there a better way to inform the public? In turn, why not have a rating system for publicly elected officials and require them to wear their letters. As much as I admire Thomas Farley, NYC’s health commissioner, I’d give him a gentleman’s “C” for this measure. http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=380794&menu_id=1368
2. In the U.K., there are calls to outlaw halal and schechita slaughter. These are, respectively, the Islamic and Jewish methods of killing animals. Cut to the chase? The animal has its throat slit and bleeds to death. In an article in The Guardian (3/17/10), Nesrine Malik defends the practice: “Isn’t there some hypocrisy in heartily consuming meat but being precious about how animals are butchered? Apart from lethal injection in a Swiss clinic somewhere, I cannot imagine that any method of execution is particularly pleasant. If you’re squeamish about the killing, surely vegetarianism is the only tenable position.” She’s onto something here: Assisted Suicide in Animals. I think it could catch on. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/17/halal-slaughter-regulation
3. “I cannot recall,” will no longer be a viable excuse now that the FDA’s collection of data on food contaminants is up and running. Each week, more products are taken off the market due to risks. We’re talking ordinary things used day to day. The latest? Black pepper: “The recalled products contain black pepper distributed by Mincing Overseas Spice Company. The pepper has been recalled by Mincing because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.” http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm204986.htm
4. Hangover cures. In today’s Boston Globe, hard-hitting story listing an array of cures from many cultures. These include pickle juice, sour plums, expresso, and oregano tea. They left out the more traditional New England cure, which is, “The Eye-Opener,” typically vodka. http://www.boston.com/travel/gallery/hangover_cures/
5. It may not seem as if it’s in the same league as grading restaurants, killing animals, contaminated food, and getting drunk, but on a strictly personal level I am finding that toast, blood orange juice, and a mid-morning coffee from Dunk’s is having a ritual effect on my mood. I’m a better person for it. We all need to find rituals to start the day that use food as Virgil to guide us through hellish times.