photo by Dave Koch

Compelled to eat more vegetables, eat more locally, and eat more organic, we signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box.  It is delivered from Eat Well Farms in Dixon, California and we pick ours up only a few blocks from home.  We opted to go with the semi-weekly box because there is just the two of us.  The cost?  Just $27.

This week's box contained: 

  • Marjoram
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Stir-fry mix (dark, leafy greens - like chard)
  • Radishes (red and a milder white variety)
  • Broccoli
  • Green Garlic
  • Navel Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Jerusalem Artichokes (AKA Sunchokes)
  • Lemons

We are well stocked for the week and have already made some fun dishes.  I like that they send you some items that you might not pick out on your own.  To help out those that may be stumped with something in there, they add a few recipes in the box.  This batch had instructions for a Cream of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Sautéed Radishes with Radish Greens &/or Arugula, and Carrot-Cous Cous Salad.

They also run a blog, check them out!

You can also, find a CSA farm near you.


Authordavid koch
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photo by Antoinne Rimes

It's over!  I have said so long to Starbucks' coffee.  We grew apart awhile ago and only recently did I try to salvage the relationship. I want to say it's not them but me, but it's really them.  Or, I should say it's because of Peet's coffee that I no longer care for Starbucks' coffee anymore. 

I was so into Starbucks.  I had their coffee everyday like clockwork.  A venti cappuccino with two packets of Splendawas my order.  I was there so much the baristas didn't ask me for my drink order anymore.  They would say, " …and anything to eat?" 

I was Norm and Starbucks was my Cheers

Then, it, crashed into my life.  I don't know if it was the longing for something new, or the feeling that I just could not go on being unhappy and feeling like there was something missing from my daily brew.  I knew I was stepping over a line that most never cross, but I needed to feel whole.  

I needed to know that there was no other option out there that I was letting slip by because I was comfortable where I was at. 

That's how I was seduced over to the dark, intense flavor of Peet's coffee.  Like some exotic beauty with luscious lips and curvy hips, Peet's coffee-soul kissed me away from the frumpy girl next door: Starbucks. 

Starbucks coffee is like being kissed on the cheek at the family reunion by the pretty cousin you have a crush on, and Peet's coffee is like being French kissed by a naked Rosario Dawson on a deserted strip of beach in the Caribbean.  I could never go back once I tasted the deep roasted flavor of Peet's slightly bitter brew.  

After one sip of Peet's coffee, Starbucks' coffee seemed like a warm beverage for children.  There was no depth of flavor, no hint of far off lands and foreign cultures like there was in every sip of Peet's lovely brew.  Starbucks' coffee simply lay there and expected me to be happy that I was with it… no effort, no passion, only hype.  While Peet's coffee would grab me, feel me up, and then kiss me, as if it was saying, "Hello, baby, I really missed you."

In time, I went hard core and started getting my small cappuccino dry with four packets of Splenda.  The sweet taste of Splenda melded with the bitter taste of Peet's coffee, transforming my drink into and exciting mélange of flavor and seduction.  I tasted dark chocolate with cherry overtones, and the sweet bitterness of dark treacle.  

This coffee…this woman, dark and lovely is my mistress.  She is my passion, my obsession, and my muse.  I am merely existing in-between the times when I have her and when I do not. 

Good bye, Starbucks… pretty, dull cousin.  Hello my dark beauty, my love.

AuthorAntoinne von Rimes
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photo by youcansleepwhenyouredead

I've been reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and to say the book is excelent would be to describe the Golden Gate Bridge "nice."  It is a true manifesto and a call to action.  Although much of the research he details in the book is still in progress - and often controvercial, it opens your eyes to contemporary theories in nutritionism.

Some of these theories revolve around omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; both of which are unsaturated.  What has been known for a long time in the scientific comminity is just beginning to gain press, that "not all fats are created equal."  The American Heart Association even has a page on their website for children called Meet the Fats, going into the differences between Trans, Saturated, Poly- and Mono- unsaturated.

The media have made popular the evidence that omega-3's may have a link to possibly limit the risk of heart disease.  People have been supplementing omega-3's in their diet (usually in the form of fish oil) for many years and more recently, it seems that flax seed is getting put into practically everything.

What Pollan and much of the researchers he cites are starting to divulge is the idea that omega-3 suppliments alone may not account for improved cardiovascular health.  There is evidence to suggest that what is more important than an increase in omega-3 is a proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (called n-6 and n-3 for short).  This ideal ratio of n-6 to n-3 is hypothesized to be between 1:1 and 4:1.

What makes this difficult is that the typical American diet is overwhelmed with government subsidized corn and soy.  The oils of which carry n-6 to n-3 ratios of 46:1 and 7:1 respectively.  What's even more alarming Pollan states that, "Nine percent of the calories in the American diet today come from a single omega-6 fatty acid: linoleic acid, most of it from soybean oil" (In Defense of Food page 131) 

That's a profound thought.  Consider this, if true, of all the compounds humans can consume, digest, and extract energy from... 9% of the energy in the typical American diet comes from this single molecule.  We are omnivorous and benefit from a varied diet.


Linoleic acid


According to the Omega-3 wiki, "Typical Western diets provide ratios of between 10:1 and 30:1" and they list the ratios of n-6 to n-3 of some common cooking oils:

  • Corn 46:1
  • Soybean 7:1
  • Olive between 3:1 and  13:1
  • Canola 2:1
  • Sunflower (no n−3)
  • Grapeseed (almost no n−3)
  • Cottonseed (almost no n−3)
  • Peanut (no n−3)
  • Flax 1:3

They continue:

It should be noted that olive, peanut and canola oils consist of approximately 80%  monounsaturated fatty acids, (i.e. neither n−6 nor n−3) meaning that they contain relatively small amounts of n−3 and n−6 fatty acids. Consequently, the n−6 to n−3 ratios for these oils (i.e. olive, canola and peanut oils) are not as significant as they are for corn, soybean and sunflower oils.

What compounds our consumption of omega-6's is that livestock and poultry feed in this country is largely made up of corn and soy as well.  A project completed at Cal State Chico showed that grain-fed beef had a ratio of 4:1 (n-6 to n-3) vs. grass fed beef which was about 2:1.  Ergo, there are even more n-6's making their way into our diets than one might be natural because they are coming from not only plant but animal sources.  

This shift in our entire ecosystem from one based on leaves to one that is based on seeds (corn, soy, olive, peanut, etc.) is pivotal in Pollan's manifest.  It tipped the ratios of fatty acids far towards the omega-6 side, but he also states it, "helps account for the flood of refined carbohydrates in the modern diet and the draught of so many micronutrients and the surfeit of total calories."

Joseph Hibbeln, a prominent researcher at the National Institute of Health, has done extensive research on how these compounds effect our health - and specifically our mental health.  He believes that much of our society's reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are to quell the effects of too much omega-6 fatty acids in our diet.

In April 2006, Hibbeln (et al) published an article called Omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies in neurodevelopment, aggression and autonomic dysregulation: Opportunities for intervention - concluding the Summary with, "Ensuring optimal intakes of omega-3 fatty acids during early development and adulthood shows considerable promise in preventing aggression and hostility."

In December 2006, Hibbeln (et al) published another article called Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry.  They suggest, "EPA and DHA [two specific omega-3 fatty acids] appear to have negligible risks and some potential benefit in major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder..."

From In Defense of Food, Pollan quotes Hibbeln:

"The increases in world [omega-6] consumption over the past century may be considered a very large uncontrolled experiment that may have contributed to increased societal burdens of aggression, depression, and cardiovascular mortality."

...I feel like eating a bowl of oatmeal now.

Authordavid koch
4 CommentsPost a comment

 photo by j-rod89

Celibrichef Cat Cora is one of our favorite Iron Chefs
.  There was one battle in particular that she lost and I almost wrote a letter to Food Network because I thought she was robbed.  I've done it before.  I wrote them when they moved Good Eats out of the 11:30pm slot, thus ruining my "Hour of Power" of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm and following it with Alton Brown.  I didn't get a response.


Back to the subject at hand.  Cat Cora and her partner Jennifer are both pregnant, Cat is due three months later.  They have 2 children together, and according to Fox News, they are all from the same anonymous sperm donor and thus biologically related. 


To make things even more fun... Cat is carrying Jennifer's egg! Both women's embryos were implanted with Jennifer's current pregnancy so they don't know who the biological mother is, and they don't have plans to take a DNA test.  Cat tells OK! Magazine [via Cat's blog]  "[Jennifer] carried my embryo amd [sic] I carried hers. It’s like surrogating, but obviously all of our kids are equal.”


Well, "Good on ya Cat" - as they would say in Australia



Authordavid koch

It is March already and I'm wondering how the expert's predictions are panning out.  Here is a list of several food trends that were going to be HUGE in 2009 from Gourmet, Bon Appetit, News Wire Today, The Appetizer, Epicurious, and NPR.  To keep things interesting, those trends that appeared in more than one article I put in bold.  

Some themes appear with regularity; 1) the economy of dining out and eating, 2) food becoming more healthy and sustainable, and 3) a lean towards more rustic and comforting dishes.  Some are quite specific (like Pisco Sours), others are pretty vague (like Health).  

Which do you think are going to have the biggest impact on what we eat this year?

Gourmet (12/8/2008)
Home cooking - Comforting recipes - Cooking classes - Prix Fixe menus - Big beans - Goat's and sheep's milk ice cream - Neutrceuticals - Probiotics - Yogurt - "Bitter blockers" for cocktails - Small distillers - Made in the USA labels - Pre-amuse amuse-bouche - Salvadoran - Dominican - Korean - Indian - Ecologically responsible

Bon Appetit via the Huffinton Post (12/9/2008)
"Dinner Party of the Year -- Luxury for Less," "Dessert of the Year -- Peanut Butter Desserts," "Restaurant Trend of the Year -- Breakfast," "Destination of the Year -- Lima, Peru," "Ingredient of the Year -- Ricotta," "Cuisine of the Year -- New Southern," "Wine Trend of the Year -- Great Bargain Bottles"

News Wire Today (12/11/2008)
Comfort food - Scratch cooking and home baking - British - Less protein - Head to tail - Sustainable meat and fish - Changing drinking habits - Thirst for food skills and knowledge - Restaurant and farm alliances - More miniaturisation - More customisation - Health

The Appetizer (12/11/2008)
Eating local - Probiotics - The Cocktail - Acai - Sweet Potato Fries - Fast Food - Charcuterie - Molecular Gastronomy - Small Portions - Cheap Cuisine

Epicurious (12/1/2008) by James Oliver Cury
"Value" is the new "Sustainable" - The Compost Pile is the new Flower Garden - Peruvian is the new Thai - Noodle Bars are the new Sushi Joints - Ginger is the new Mint - Smoking is the new Frying - Regional Roasters are the new Starbucks - Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon) - Rustic Food is the new Molecular Gastronomy - "Top-Rated" is the new "Critic's Pick"

NPR FOOD (1/11/2009) interview with Bonny Wolf
Dining on the cheap - lower prices - bar menus - fixed-price meals - more a la carte options - flexible hours - dishes that can be shared - breakfast-all-day - cooking classes - [comfort foods] mashed potatoes - meat loaf spaghetti and meatballs - sophisticated twists - bring back the the family dinner - kitchens will become "greener" - charcuterie platters - bite-sized desserts - Peruvian cuisine - Pisco sours - noodle bars - anything with an egg on - bargain wines

Authordavid koch

In an interview with ABC's Nightline airing tonight, 'Celebrichef' Rachael Ray defends some PR moves that she has made in the past, including a sexy layout with men's magazine FHM.  It was 2003, she was 35, and her career was just beginning to skyrocket.  From the interview and quoted by US Magazine

"And I thought about [FHM] for a while, and I said, 'You know what? This magazine has as young as 17-, 18-year-olds in hottie bikinis, and these are all actresses, models, pin-up girls. I don't belong to any even remote club of theirs...

I thought, 'If I'm gutsy enough to do this, this is a good thing for everybody. This is the everywoman, here she is,'" she adds. "And I did it, and it was the most scared I've ever been, and I wouldn't change a thing. I'd do it again tomorrow."

Ray's Empire now consists of the TV shows "The Rachael Ray Show," "Tasty Travels,” “$40 A Day,” “Inside Dish,” and “30 Minute Meals," (with which she won a Day Time Emmy for).  There is the magazine, Every Day With Rachael Ray, that was launched in 2005.

I also counted more than 20 books on Amazon that list her as the author including the 365: No Repeats - A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners - where a family followed the recipes in the book, in order, from cover to cover and wrote about them.  Hilarious.

She has a line of products including everything from a 10-Piece Hard-Anodized Cookware Set to a Lazy Spoon and Ladle Set named after her - to Nutrish, her own dog food label.  What is next?  Public office?

Well good on ya, Rache.  I'm a fan.  Some people complain about her being overexposed but the fact remains, too much of anything will cause a belly ache.

Authordavid koch


Jon Stewart on his Daily Show poked fun of Baconaise the other night and I was compelled to learn more.  Not only is the product Kosher! - but there is a Baconaise Lite, which packs in only 3g of fat per serving, AND they have a chart that explains how using Original Baconaise instead of 3 slices of real bacon - can cut the fat content of a Turkey Club by 50%.  Using Baconaise Lite will cut the fat content by more than 85%!

So I suppose the question becomes, "Can Baconaise Save You Life?"

These miracle spreads (dare I call them?) are made by a company called JD Foods.  So what else is going on in the heads of these people?  

Enter Bacon Salt, "a low sodium, zero calorie, zero fat, vegetarian and kosher seasoning that makes everything taste like bacon."  Interestingly, their mission was to bring the joy of bacon to vegetarians and those who adhere to kosher law.

Is this altruism? Unadulterated genius?

I'll have to try some before I make that call.  What makes their story even more bizarre is that their first set of funding came from winning $5,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos.

The salt amazingly comes in 9 flavors: Original, Hickory, Peppered, Natural, Applewood, Maple, Cheddar, Jalapeno, and Mesquite.  



 (from video) "Bacon needs to pace himself!" - man in bacon suit.

Authordavid koch

This famous quote by French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) may be more pertinent now than it has ever been.  Several recent studies have begun to shed light on the subject of our past and how cooking may have been the single biggest development to help Mankind diverge from apes.

Last year from Wired:

"Some have proposed that it was our high-energy, high-protein and cooked diet that enabled us to fuel our big brains during our evolution," said study co-author Mehmet Somel.

More recently, Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, outlined in a meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) how he believes that it was cooking (and not simply a shift from a plant-based diet to a meat-based diet) that allowed for Homo Erectus to literally feed a larger brain.

I find his logic is sound and it follows like this.  The human brain consumes up to 25% of our caloric intake.  Ergo, it would require the consumption of either 25% more calories OR for us to more completely digest what we've eaten.  He notes three major factors involved with the cooking of food. 

  1. Softens food - In one study, two groups of rats were given different diets: soft pellets and hard pellets.  The soft group gained 30% more weight than the hard group after 26 weeks.   
  2. Breaks down starches
  3. Breaks down and denatures proteins

Quoted from Wired:

"Wrangham cited data showing that cooking increases the body's ability to digest starches (as found, for example, in bread, potatoes and bananas). Only about 50 percent of raw starches are digested, compared to 90 percent of cooked ones. The trend, and the numbers, are similar for protein: from 50 to 65 percent digestibility raw to better than 90 percent cooked."

Referencing the same meeting with Wrangham at the AAAS, the Economist states,

"[Cooking] “denatures” protein molecules, so that their amino-acid chains unfold and digestive enzymes can attack them more easily...That makes it easier to digest, so even though the stuff is no more calorific, the body uses fewer calories dealing with it."


I feel compelled to mention too, that cooking food makes it taste a heck of a lot better!  Now get cooking and pass the paprika please...


Authordavid koch
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Most everyone will agree that a sure way to cut the cost of running a household (especially in a recession) is to cook more meals at home.  

Another step would be to buy in bulk and cook in bulk.  

In the NY Times' article Chefs Offer Depressing Strategies for Cutting Food Costs they quote Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto “Cook one time. Save gas, save energy.”

What else are chefs suggesting to help cut down the cost of even cooking for yourself?  Some other recent articles have delved into the subject.


From Food & Wine's articleCost-Cutting Secrets from Star Chefs:

1. Master basic techniques - using cheaper cuts of meat requires more attention and skill

2. Keep your scraps - "vegetable tops, stems, greens and peelings don’t make it into the garbage"

3. Use the whole animal - don't forget to use up you bones, cheeks, and livers

4. Manage a weekly budget - you can splurge on some items so long as you can average it out

5. Eat seasonally and locally - go to your farmer's markets

If you take a look at these suggestions, 1-3 require skill, 4 requires some business acumen, and 5 requires knowledge; specifically, where your farmer's markets are, and what is in season.  All great tips.


Quoted by the Wall Street Journal in their article Chefs Talk Quality and Cost at the James Beard Awards, chef Michael Psilakis states, "The key is to find multiple uses and to use every last thing that there is.  It's really a test of a true chef to take something that may not be the best part of an animal and make something beautiful with it."

This is an excellent point.  I could make the argument that most novice chefs know how to cook beets, but I would also agree that most do not know how to cook beet greens.  These delicious greens, unfortunately, get thrown out - often in my house too.


I think I'm going to cook some beets AND their greens this weekend...

Authordavid koch

From National Geographic comes The Green Guide; and like the magazine, the website is visually fantastic.  Specifically, their Food Section has topics on how to stay green when Buying, Cooking, and considering food Safety & Storage.  Right now, the Buying section offers up a guide to some of the new-ish labels you may have noticed appearing on your beef's packaging.  

What do they all mean?  Check out their Beef Label Decoder to find out more or click on each of the labels that you see below:


USDA OrganicUSDA Process Verified




Food Alliance Certified


American Grassfed


Certified Humane


Animal Welfare Approved








Authordavid koch

Ital Cuisine photo by svacher

Today, February 6th, is Bob Marley's birthday and it would have been his 64th.  I thought today would be appropriate to investigate Rastafarian Cuisine, also known as Ital (from vital).  The Ital diet adheres to Biblical guidelines, mostly GenesisDeuteronomy, and especially Leviticus.  Ital dietary guidlines are, like anything else, open to many different interpretations.  

At it's core, Rastafarian diets are essentially composed of foods that are fresh and natural; avoiding chemicals, additives, coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.  Most Rastafarians also do not consume coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, or even Western medicines.  

Herbs, however, are GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe: an FDA term).  Many Rastafarians are vegetarian, but those who do not abstain from all meat generally avoid pork, shellfish, and often red meat.  Those who do eat fish, generally avoid fish more than 12 inches long.

Most also take measures to avoid consuming metal.  In order to avoid metal, some Rastafarians avoid cooking and serving food in metal vessels, and some even avoid metal eating utensils.  For the same reason, some also avoid foods that have been canned.  

Many avoid preparing food with salt and/or oil.  What's left you ask?  The bulk of their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  I found this recipe on



  • 1lb 8ozs to 1lb 14ozs sweet potato (I used 1lb 14ozs in this Pudding)
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 ½tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 to 1 ¼4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups soaked raisins (I have mine soaked in Sherry for over 5 years now. I top it off with more Raisins, Prunes and Sherry every time it gets too low in the bottle.)
  • ½ - 1 cup flour (More or less flour will make it firmer or less so I used half a cup)
  • 5ozs Beet Root or Carrots (optional)


  1. Puree sweet potato and coconut milk in blender
  2. Pour mixture into a bowl
  3. Dice beet root
  4. Add all the ingredients to the bowl. Mix and pour into a well greased 8" or 10" round tin
    (vegetable shortening to grease the tin)
  5. Bake at 350F for 1 ½ hours then 300F for 25 mins
  6. Remove from the oven immediately.
  7. Best eaten the next day or at least 5 hours after cooking.
  • The pudding sets as it cools.

    And this book, specifically on Rastafarian Cuisine.


    Authordavid koch
    2 CommentsPost a comment

    photo by southerntabitha

    I found this article from the San Francisco Chronicle's website, (via and it so funny it is worth repeating.  SF Gate columnist Mark Morford discovered an evangelist named Jim Rutz from Megashift Ministries who is proclaiming that because soy contains estrogen-like compounds (isoflavones), it is turning society gay.

    Jim Rutz claims:

    "Research is now showing that when you feed your baby soy formula, you're giving him or her the equivalent of five birth control pills a day. A baby's endocrine system just can't cope with that kind of massive assault, so some damage is inevitable. At the extreme, the damage can be fatal.  Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.

    The danger zone is the first three months of both pregnancy and infancy, when male physiology and brain circuitry are still developing. In other words, a girl-chasing, football-playing college boy won't go gay even if he becomes a vegetarian or snacks all day on soy energy bars. (He might develop thyroid or other health problems or lose most of his libido, though.)"


    This increase in gay must because of the dramatic increase in the sale of soy products.


    From the FDA's website:

    "The problem, researchers say, is that isoflavones are phytoestrogens, a weak form of estrogen that could have a drug-like effect in the body. This may be pronounced in postmenopausal women, and some studies suggest that high isoflavone levels might increase the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

    Research data, however, are far from conclusive, and some studies show just the opposite--that under some conditions, soy may help preventbreast cancer. It is this scientific conundrum, where evidence simultaneously points to benefits and possible risks, that is causing some researchers to urge caution."

    It sounds like Jim's claims are a big helping of crazy with a dash of pseudo-science just to throw off the sent of paranoid schizophrenia.

    Check out Mark's article where he goes "nuts" on Jim (soy nuts, anyone?).  It's hilarious.  Mark rants:

    "It is no secret, after all, that the consumption of excess Girl Scout cookies -- particularly Caramel deLites -- will make you a butch lesbian. It has also been reported in lesser-known scientific journals that eating lots of organic baby greens means you want to subscribe to the New Yorker and drive a Prius and get your genitals pierced, often at the same time.

    Stay in school, kids. Stay in school and for Christ's sake please learn something lest you end up like Jim, what with his trembling hands and his spasming colon and his violent nightmares featuring giant tofu robots leading perky armies of sashaying soy-fed children, marching into his yard wielding soy lattes and Barbra Streisand records and waving gay-marriage petitions like victory flags. Shudder."



    Authordavid koch
    6 CommentsPost a comment

    Ugli Fruit - photo by GabeB 

    So New Years Resolutions are in full swing and the easiest, and most delicious, way to a more salubrious lifestyle is to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Recently enough, the Center for Disease Control has set up a new website to promote the addition of fruits and veggies into the American populous,  

    They have their tips, but what's really cool is their recipe search function.  You can enter keywords and ingredients, then select any or all of: Appetizers, Beverages, Breakfast, Desserts, Dips/Spreads/Salsas, Entrees, Finger Foods, Salads/Stews, Side Dishes, or Soups - and it will spit out recipes that match.  This was more or less an idea spawned by friends of mine years ago, I'm glad someone did it.

    Instead of entering a keyword, you can also pull down and select a specific fruit or vegetable and it will do the same.  Cruising through their list I came upon a fruit I've never heard of... "Ugli Fruit?"  Mind you, I've read Adam Leith Gollner's The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession (GREAT book, by the way) so I've at least heard of a ton of exotic fruits, even though I may have not tried them.

    This piqued my interest, so I did some digging.  I found the following information on

    "UGLI® is the registered trade mark under which Cabel Hall Citrus Ltd. markets its brand of tangelos [a tangelo is a hybrid of a grapefruit (or pomelo) and a tangerine] from Jamaica.

    This tangelo is a variety of citrus fruit grown exclusively in Jamaica and exported by Trout Hall Ltd. to markets all over the world. It was discovered growing wild in Jamaica over 80 years ago and has been developed by the family of the owners of Trout Hall Ltd. into the commercial variety now in production.

    The original tree is believed to have been a hybrid formed from the Seville orange, the grapefruit and the tangerine families. Since 1924 when it was first discovered several improved scions have been used by Trout Hall Ltd. to produce the current variety which is so popular."


    Unfortunately for us, only has one recipe for the Ugli Fruit... yup you may have guessed it, Exotic Fruit Salad.


    Authordavid koch

    Constiution banner - photo by fixermark

    Today marks the 75 anniversary of the ratification of the 21st Amendment which officially ended prohibition.  I'm going to celebrate by going to a beer tasting at one of my favorite establishments in San Francisco, The Jug Shop.  

    The process began with Michigan on April 10th, 1933 and was completed on December 5th later that same year when Ohio, Pennsylvania, and [I'll bet the slightly reluctant] Utah joined in. 

    This was in the email I received from The Jug Shop and thought it was so interesting, I would relay it here:

    "Christmas beers, also known as Winter Warmers, are a tradition dating back at least 2,000 years, with the ancients making highly intoxicating brews to celebrate winter's Saturnalia. This brewmaking evolved into a holiday celebration when medieval monks, the world's first professional brewers, pulled out their finest ingredients to produce soul-warming styles for the occasion.

    Today brewers continue the custom, either with centuries-old recipes or newfangled concoctions with spices and herbs, enabling thirsty beer fans to put aside their everyday favorites each winter and deck the halls with the world's most flavorful ales and lagers, brewed especially for the holidays." from Don Russell's Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest, and Most Unusual Holiday Brews"

    I find it especially poignant that some historians have pointed out that it took a year of sobriety to grant women suffrage.  Prohibition began with the 18th Amendment in 1919.  The 20th Amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920; and 13 years later the 21st ended the nation's teetotalling.  

    So let's all thank the temperance movement for spurring Congress into action, finally allowing our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and daughters the right to be heard.

    While we're at it, here's an interesting read.  Alcoholica Esoterica: A Collection of Useful and Useless Information As It Relates to the History andConsumption of All Manner of Booze.  Although I have not read it [yet], I heard an interview with the author and it looks sounds perfect for a toilet book.  Here are some of the excerpts (from Amazon).

    Did you know...

    • that the word bar is short for barrier? Yes, that’s right—to keep the customers from getting at all the booze.
    • that Winston Churchill’s mother supposedly invented the Manhattan?
    • that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because the sailors on the Mayflower were running low on beer and were tired of sharing?
    • that you have a higher chance of being killed by a flying Champagne cork than by a poisonous spider?
    • that the Code of Hammurabi mandated that brewers of low-quality beer be drowned in it?
    • that beer was so popular with medieval priests and monks that in the thirteenth century they stopped baptizing babies with holy water and started using beer? 


    Authordavid koch

    Yelp - photo by Dave Schumaker

    If you haven't had pop up recently in a Google search for a local business I'd be surprised.  Here in San Francisco it happens all the time.  Yelp allows people to post reviews - and although most people immediately think about restaurants, it is a fantastic resource for choosing other vendors where trust is important.  I'm talking about auto repair, plumbers, contractors, doctors, and dentists.  

    This is a great tool if you have recently relocated to a new city and don't know many people... how do YOU pick a dentist?  The Yellow Pages?  Ick.

    Lately, I've been utilizing a few of the other features within Yelp.  They have a forum at where people can post questions and get answers from fellow "Yelpers."  The forums are VERY active.  One recent post titled, "Arrogant inlaws.  how do you deal with them," received 46 responses in the first hour alone.  Yelp Talk topics are obviously not limited to business reviews.

    Another useful section is on local events at  Besides searching within posted events, you can sort by date, category (including music, fashion, food, charities, etc.), most popular, and my favorite way to sort, free.  People can post comments about the event and you can see if any of your Yelp "friends" are planning on attending, for whatever that's worth.  

    There are a lot of postings in the events section if you like to get out.  Today, a Tuesday, is showing 20 events near San Francisco including everything from an AC/DC concert to a bike light giveaway.  

    Of course their bread and butter is still restaurant reviews; but when I recently had to plan a birthday dinner for 15, I found that using both the review section and the Talk section I was able to pin down exactly what we were looking for.  Thank you yelp, I'm a fan.


    Authordavid koch

    From, comes some interesting insight into holiday dining and drinking trends.  Citing a fragile economy, it indicates that business is down for restaurants and bars.

    "two-thirds (66 percent) of fine dining patrons admitted they are going out less often compared to a year ago...and 52 percent of casual dining visitors." 

    They delve into how grocery and convenient stores may be picking up the slack as people consume their beverages of choice at home.

    Some other interesting factoids in the survey are:


    •      Expect an increase in online alcoholic beverage shopping, especially wine.
    •      On-premise retailers may begin to push customer loyalty programs.
    •      Some states may increase the legal hours for alcohol purchases, Sundays for example.
    •      Due to the "localization" trend in consumerism, domestic wines and spirits are making gains against imports.  
    •      Alcoholic beverages are traditionally more recession-resistant than other products.
    •      There will likely be an increase in giving alcoholic beverages as gifts this year. (like's Best Selling Gifts)



         The Nielsen Company's Senior Vice President for Beverage and Alcohol, Richard Hurst gives some advice to retailers

    “[They] should consider multiple store display locations to capitalize on impulse purchasing, as well as providing gift accessories nearby, such as bottle openers, gift bags, mixed drink party pack ingredients and glassware.”

     - Dave Koch

    Authordavid koch