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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Facts About Tobacco

Tobacco used to make cigarettes is a tall, leafy annual plant, originally grown in South and Central America, but now cultivated throughout the world, including southern Ontario. There are many species of tobacco; Nicotiana tabacum (or common tobacco) is used to produce cigarettes.

Nicotine, a powerful central nervous system stimulant found naturally in the tobacco leaf, is classified as a drug. Nicotine is one of the main ingredients in tobacco. In higher doses, nicotine is extremely poisonous. It is commonly used as an insecticide.

Tobacco leaves can be burned and inhaled (in the form of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smoke, etc.) or absorbed through the mouth (in the form of spit tobacco, chew, or snuff). The membranes in the nose, mouth, and lungs act as nicotine delivery systems - transmitting nicotine into the blood and to the brain.

Smokers usually feel dizzy and sick when they first inhale the nicotine in tobacco, but gradually build up tolerance to its effects. Other symptoms new smokers experience includes coughing, a dry, irritated throat as well as nausea, weakness, abdominal cramps, headache, coughing or gagging. These symptoms subside as the user develops a tolerance to nicotine.

Nicotine is highly addictive. The addictive effect of nicotine is the main reason why tobacco is widely used. Many smokers continue to smoke in order to avoid the pain of withdrawal symptoms. Smokers also adjust their behavior (inhaling more deeply, for example) to keep a certain level of nicotine in the body.

Smokers who usually smoke at least 15 cigarettes per day and/or smoke their first Cigarette of the day within 30 minutes of waking are likely to experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms. They will likely find quitting uncomfortable.

Stopping can produce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms including depression, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, anxiety, decreased heart rate, increased appetite, weight gain, and craving for nicotine.

Symptoms peak from 24 to 48 hours after stopping and can last from three days up to four weeks, although the craving for a Cigarette can last for months.

Most smokers make an average of three or four quit attempts before becoming long-term non-smokers. Relapse is the rule rather than the exception and must be viewed as part of the process of quitting.

"Trading Spouses" Teaches Relationship Building Through Cooking

Last night I watched a television show. It was rather hilarious and disturbing at the same time.
I was actually talking to my mother when I first heard about it. I called her to chat and she told me she was watching this show called "Trading Spouses". Isn't that name terrible?

I couldn't believe my Mom was watching such a thing.

But, after she told me about it, it sounded hilarious, so I decided to check it out when it came on in my time zone (we have a four hour time difference). And she was right, it was hilarious. So, I watched it with my husband last night.

Now, I'm not a big reality show fan. So, I'll get to the point in a second.

So, anyway, last night's show was about two husbands that traded places. The one was a New York City lawyer who lived in Manhattan - and he changed places with a low income worker who lived in the country in Georgia.

(Okay, and just to clarify for those of you whose minds might be going elsewhere - there was no hanky panky going on...)

So, you can imagine the difference in life style!

The country guy had his very first plane ride to get to New York, and he was blown away by the speed of life. The rich man's kids were great; but his wife was a witch. Shocked that he was never at a restaurant that required dressing up, bragging about their beach home being worth $2-3 million, freaking out when someone walked into the kitchen with sand on their shoes, and nagging and pushing the son about getting his bar mitzvah speech right - especially since the affair was costing about as much as a wedding.

They city guy was in culture shock too. The house was run down and messy; and the kids were NIGHTMARES! They were totally out of control.

Unfortunately, I have seen kids that bad before in real life - but it's been awhile. They were hitting, fighting, ignoring their mom, telling the man to "shut up" - can you believe it? And this was good behavior in front of the television crew and visitors? It was really awful.

So, here were two examples of BAD family relationships. A rich family with kids that behaved - but they couldn't enjoy their family life because it was to much "go, go go" with a Mom that was wound up so tight that she'd wring the enjoyment out of everything. And a low income family with a family life - but one that sucked because the Mom couldn't stand to be around her kids.

Oh - and you know what the Mom said about her bratty kids? She said that she "tried everything". She tried sitting down and talking with them, she tried taking away toys, she tried sitting them in time-out. She tried it all, but nothing worked. Hmmmmm. Seems she left out THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE! The controlled, loving, whack across the caboose.

When are parents going to "get it" that loving, proper, consistent discipline when they're young means that they'll be controlled, loving, children that behave when they are 6, 7, and up.

AND - children can't be happy if they aren't disciplined. You can see it on their faces. Whiney, out-of-control children are miserable. And so is everyone around them, for that matter.

When's the last time that you've seen a miserable, well disciplined child? You haven't. I mean, there are a few moments of bad attitude or whatever that quickly goes away with correction; but they are basically happy, content, and secure.

So, anyway, back to my story.

Each family was getting $50,000 for the trade. But the catch was that the visiting spouse made the decision of how the other family would spend their $50,000. The rich man's answer to fix the low income family? Buy the house, remodel it - basically improve material possessions.

The country man's answer to fix the wealthy family? Family relationship counseling, cooking lessons, and family vacation time.

And you guessed it - the rich wife flipped out - she was planning on using the $50,000 to pay for her son's bar mitzvah!!

But, I'll say one thing. The country man was right on for what that family needed. Less focus on "things" and more focus on "relationships".

Actually, he was downright clever. He showed America the #1 way to build family relationships...Cooking together.

Ahem. Ring a bell?

Cooking creates family bonds - across all ages - across all abilities. Too bad the country man didn't have more of that wisdom to have disciplined kids too.

So, if you're already ahead of the game with well behaved kids - don't forget about the relationship side of things. And don't overlook the easiest, most funnest ( he, he), I mean "fun" way to spend time with you kids - COOKING!!!!

The Importance Of Water Storage Systems

People often take water for granted, even though it is one of the worlds most precious resources and a basic human right. Without access to high-quality clean, potable water people perish. On an annual average almost 3.4 million people die as a result of contracting waterborne diseases. People who cannot easily access safe drinking water should consider investing in a water storage system which is complemented by a compact and effective treatment system. On a global scale in excess of 780 million people lack access to clean drinking water.

It's interesting to note that an effective water containment system can also be used in domestic and commercial applications; including sanitation and agrarian agricultural projects. In the third world it is estimated that women spend approximately 200 million hours facilitating these tasks which could easily be accomplished with the implementation of basic water storage infrastructure. Another alarming figure provided by water.org is that the number of people who have access to a cellular telephone far outstrips the number of people who have access to a flushing toilet.

In the locations where a clean drinkable water is freely available, water storage facilities are still vitally important, as they have they act as a redundancy solution which can be employed in an emergency situation; including fire outbreaks, earthquakes, and unexpected droughts.

Research states that there are about 160,0000 operational potable water supply systems that service the majority of South Africans. This may sound like a good thing but, sometimes through improper water treatment of the water and is not pumped through a disinfectant system and thus there are a lot of health risks involved when drinking. Even pollution is a concern. It is a good idea to invest in a drinkable water source. At least then you don't have to worry about you and your family.In the market today there are various types of water storage tanks available. So that each individual person's needs can be satisfied.

You need to decide what you need in a portable water system, the quantity of water, time required to be in storage and what the water will be used for. Another thing to consider is the positioning of the stored water. Elevating the supply tank is an effective way to ensure continuous water pressure by taking advantage of siphon principles.

Pink Slime Meat, the Finely Textured Lean Beef

What is pink slime and how is it made? It's a meat filler made from low grade trimmings and contaminated animal parts. It is simmered on low heat to separate the tissues from fat and sprayed with ammonium hydroxide to kill the germs accumulated from contamination.

Manufacturers are allowed under USDA rules to add up to 15% of the filler in ground beef to be considered safe. And, this is another situation where no labeling requirements are required to tell consumers what is in the products because it is considered a manufacturing process. Consumers who purchase ground beef, other than 'organic' or 'grass fed' clearly labeled 'no ammonia added', where it is not allowed, are probably consuming pink slime without knowing it.

The critics argue that ammonia hydroxide has a role in pink slime the same as the role in cheese, baked goods, and some chocolate. It has been shown ammonium hydroxide acts as a leavening agent in baked goods, acidity in cheese, and some chocolate products. When it is heated, the ammonia gas is released and does not stay in the food. Which brings the question of safety in the filler where ammonium hydroxide is added after the heating process. It is made up of nitrogen and hydrogen from natural sources.

According to chemical fact sheets, ammonium hydroxide is made by diluting anhydrous ammonia, a colorless, corrosive, and highly irritating gas, in water. The anhydrous ammonia is produced from a process of mixing nitrogen and hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst or as a by-product of petroleum refining processes. Diluting it in water may make it a safer alternative, but it still contains health hazards. Respiratory problems can still come from low concentrations.

The only way to avoid pink slime beef is to look for meat labeled as 'grass fed beef' that is clearly labeled 'no ammonia added'. Even though, some other products may not contain this filler, there is no way to adequately know without the proper labeling. It is considered a manufacturing process that does not require the proper labeling for consumers to know its presence, therefore the transparency in labeling is not required.

Even with critics arguing the safety of pink slime, is it appropriate to use contaminated parts of animals in the food supply system where diseased animals are not allowed to be used? What's the difference? Is one contamination different than another? Is not contamination still contamination regardless of the source? What do you think?

Rebecca is passionate about spreading education on how toxins are added to manufacturing processes and what research says about them. In efforts to reduce toxins in our own environment, it is imperative to educate oneself about how to avoid bringing toxins home from the grocery store by way of products.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

The best diet plan is one that easily becomes a lifestyle! The Mediterranean Diet is popular because it includes so many delicious foods: the diet is high in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products. Of course, there are many countries in the Mediterranean area and diets vary from country to country. It is interesting to note the similarities between them all, however, two of them being eating fresh and in season, and avoiding processed foods. Other similarities between Mediterranean countries believed to affect longevity and overall health include low incomes and extensive social support systems.

The Mediterranean Diet is also very flexible and forgiving, another indication of a "best diet plan". Small amounts of red meat and dairy products are ok. With a forgiving diet, it is also possible to use products such as diet pills that act as fat binders. These are pills you can take after you have slipped off your diet (maybe it was a birthday party or a wedding reception) and they reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body.

If you are looking for a heart-healthy diet, look no further. Besides lowering the chances of contracting major chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, lung disease, asthma, cancer, and Parkinson's, following the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart. There is less risk of stroke or heart attack when combining the Mediterranean diet with moderate exercise and a low-stress lifestyle, and also a retention of bone mass in the elderly.

Many detractors point out that the Mediterranean diet is high in fat. Olive oil is the main fat used, in everything from salads and pasta to breads and cakes. Why is olive oil good for you? One reason is the presence of oleocanthal, a compound that may reduce inflammation, thereby helping to prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in abundance in the Mediterranean diet and help prevent many of the same diseases.

5 Facts You Didn't Know About Organic Food

To make the organic switch is great, yet not knowing much about organic food products isn't the right way to make the transformation. Ergo, we have put together some facts about organic food, which aren't known to many. Be well acquainted with the change you're considering making, as that is the right way to go about it.

• The 'organic' concept isn't new:

Prior to World War II, all the crops that were grown were produced without the help of chemicals and toxic pesticides. Later on, farmers started to make use of synthetic and artificial produced pesticides to get rid of insects and unwanted weeds. Unfortunately, the use of chemical pesticides was abused and has caused serious damages to our planet and resources. Hence, the organic paradigm has been brought back into implementation to help save the environment.

• Organic food is not just for the rich:

All countries are making earnest attempts towards enforcing the intake of organic products to avoid serious health issues in the long run. There are a handful of organic food suppliers that make earnest attempts to sell organic produce at a subsidized price to ensure all can afford the same. You can now buy organic food online by looking for food dealers in your vicinity that supply your order straight to your doorstep without having you to actually intervene.

• Attention all pregnant women and kids!

If you're expecting or have a tiny toddler at home, you must make the switch to organic foods right away. Consuming the conventionally available produce could result in your newborn/ infant suffering from some kind of complication or disorder due to the exposure to these toxic chemicals and pesticides.

• Seafood is not organic:

When it comes to seafood, you must understand the fact that there are no set rules and regulations that state whether the seafood is genuinely 'organic'. Get out of that misconception and be wary of any seafood that is tagged organic and priced higher than the usual. Until there is no proper set of regulations out, beware.

• Organic doesn't mean 100% pure:

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), any food product that reads 100% organic is not 100% pure. To be marked as a 100% organic product, all the ingredients should be at least 95% organic. In addition, there are some food products that get exempted as they are extremely difficult to be produced organically.

Organic products undergo a stringent set of regulations before being passed off as 'organic'. They make use of no chemicals or harmful pesticides. Organic farmers resort to natural methods and techniques to get rid of insects, fertilize the soil as well as bring about the much required nutrition in the soil.

Know more, do more:

It is crucial for you to know all about the organic epitome before involving it in your lifestyle. Read as much as possible about the health benefits of consuming organic yield and how it can do wonders to the deteriorating of your near and dear ones.

Is Water The New Wine?

It is not uncommon to deliberate over the perfect wine to accompany an entree when out at a fancy restaurant. But too frequently, we overlook one important aspect of our meal. What if after asking our waiter for a wine pairing with our entree, we asked which fine water he would recommend to supplement the dining experience?

That's exactly what is happening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art restaurant, Ray and Clark's. The manager, Martin Riese, is a German water sommelier who for decades has worked at three-star Michelin rated restaurants. He has recently introduced a water menu with twenty fine waters from around the world. He argues that a great water can enhance delicious meals and excellent wines, which are often tainted by commonplace tap water.

Not that there's anything wrong with tap-- more than a third of American bottled waters come from purified municipal sources. Mr. Riese's point, though, is that additives such as chlorine can coat the palate and alter the taste of a delicate wine. The artesian waters on his menu have natural trace minerals that come from geological formations in the earth. Brands such as Fiji and Aquacai represent tastes specific to the sources where they are bottled. These are the waters Mr. Riese prefers, because like a hundred dollar vintage, their complex flavors can complement a meal, and offer a unique terroir.

Even artesian water bottles are of a higher echelon, made from fully recyclable polyethylene terepthalate (PET). Lower-grade bottles often contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which the FDA banned last year from children's sippie cups and baby bottles. Besides being more environmentally friendly than BPA bottles, PET is also very strong, so that companies that long used glass, such as Voss, have now introduced plastic options as well. Glass bottles, by the way, do not make water taste any better.

Once poured from the bottle, three factors determine a water's flavor. The most obvious is carbonation. Very bubbly water can overpower subtle textures, which is why highly carbonated water pairs well with crispy and fried food. It's a good idea to drink these at a higher temperature (64 degrees Fahrenheit), to mitigate the intensity of their bubbles. Lesser carbonated water and still water better suit delicate dishes, such as fish. And, as white wine is to red, flat water should be served ten degrees cooler than its more carbonated counterparts.

After the question of still or sparkling, total dissolved substances-- vitamins and minerals known as TDS-- are the next feature in tasting bottled mineral water. According to finewaters.com, water with high TDS, such as San Pellegrino, has more than 1100 mg/L. Perrier has 550 mg/L. Aquacai has about 50. The higher the TDS, the harder and more substantial the water. Lower TDS makes for a softer and lighter water. Heavier water pairs appropriately with hearty, robust foods, such as cheese and meats, while seafood and desserts match well with lighter water.

The least obvious aspect of a water's flavor is its pH level. Alkali water, with a pH that ranges from 7.8 to 10, is slightly sweet, and is ideal for sipping with dessert. Acidic water, whose pH ranges from 5 to 7.3, may be subtly bitter, and resultantly, better accompanies salads and fatty foods.

When pairing water with wine, still water is always more appropriate, especially when drinking champagne or other sparkling wines. A bubbly water, especially one high in TDS, can leave an aftertaste, and affect the wine's flavor. Typically, water with low mineral content
and a neutral pH works best with white wine. The best water to pair with wine is neutral-tasting and has no additives.

Now that awareness about bottled water is on the rise, it's more likely to think of a fine water as a way to heighten the flavors of an expensive wine or a thick steak. Fiji and Aquacai have natural mineral content, neutral pH, and are bottled at the source, which makes either one a great way to hydrate for taste, health, or to bring out the flavors in your favorite vintage.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

How to Find or Make Yourself a Good Chef

It takes more for a person to make a good chef than training and passion. The perfect qualities for a great chef include several personality traits. They have the ability of handling criticism from customers. It is important to know that not everyone will like what he gets to prepare. An experienced chef understands that he should not take unfavorable reviews personally. If you are looking for a good chef, the following traits must be part and parcel of his CV.

· Stamina

A great chef has stamina - with the ability to work for long period of times under high pressure. It must be understood that cooking in professional settings is normally different from doing your cooking at home. Therefore, a chef needs to have the necessary stamina to work odd hours featuring long stretches. He will need to learn how to cope with tedium. Many find themselves making same cuts time and time again as they seek to prepare dishes for large crowds. During a long shift, he is likely to experience aches on the feet and back. He is also likely to burn himself, cut himself and get sweaty and greasy. However, great ones will be in a position to push through physical discomfort on a daily basis.

· Flexible

A good one should be flexible. Times will be experienced when staff members are in short supply. Therefore, every good chef should have mastered a wide array of fundamental preparation and cooking to ensure all the food preparation stations have been covered. Therefore, he should be in a position to mix drinks or operate the dishwasher. The best chefs understand that no job is lowly or too mundane. As long as the task has to be performed in the kitchen the chef is working, it is important to know how different tasks are performed and be willing to undertake the task.

· Creative

A great chef needs to be creative. They consider what they have learned in culinary school. They then apply these training to prepare delicious meals. Creativity is grounded by proper excellent cooking skills. Furthermore, creativity enables the chef to handle difficult situations; therefore, a shortage of important ingredients can be handled as a challenge as opposed to a tragedy.

· Customer focus

Good chefs understand without customers, they are likely to lose their jobs. They appreciate the fact that customers are constantly looking for delicious fresh foods that are presented attractively; he/she should ensure this happens for all customers who get to visit the restaurant. A professional chef should also be in a position to handle complaints gracefully. They should be in a position to draw lessons from even unreasonable customer grievances.

How To Ensure Your Buffet Food Is A Memorable Success

The organisation or an event can take a lot of effort and important decisions need to be made. After deciding on a venue and time for your event, the next most important decision you need to make is about the food for your guests. What food are you going to serve them and in what format? Canapes delivered by waiting staff, buffet food or a formal sit-down meal.

Buffet food is a great way of feeding a large quantity or guests in a social format. Although a bad buffet can be really dreadful, a good buffet can lead to satisfied guests. It will also ensure that your guests are able to network and talk to each other during the meal which can make your event more social and often, more productive. A good buffet will be well stocked and frequently replenished to ensure that everyone get the same high-standard of food, no matter whereabouts in the waiting queue they are. Your buffet can include a range of hot and cold options and depending on your budget and guests' requirements, should easily cater for a wide range of dietary requirements and fussy eaters.

Networking opportunities

If the purpose of your event is to create networking opportunities for your guests to conduct business and develop relationships, the last thing you want is for them to be sat at one table with 7 other people for the duration of the event. In order to maximise the number of new connections they can make, your guests will want to be talking to a number of different people throughout the event. Buffets can provide the perfect backdrop for people to be able to socialise and network with many people instead of just the 7 people you are sat with initially.

Additional touches

To ensure that your buffet is well received, it is important to consider the finishing touches and fine details to add a little finesse to your event. Having attentive staff on duty to cater to your guests needs and ensure your buffet remains well stocked and hot can greatly affect the running of your event. Ensure you have the right ambience with a keynote speaker or other entertainment.

Details such as high quality china, cutlery, linen and flowers and table decorations can also help to make an event special. It may be worth enlisting the help of a reputable outsourced catering company to ensure your event will be remembered for all the right reasons.

What Can You Do With Gourmet Cheese?

Gourmet cheese is great not only because of flavor and quality, but also because it allows you the flexibility to do a lot of things with it. As long as you are a little creative you will be able to do things that people would think you went to culinary school for. There are some traditional recipes which can be enhanced to have a flavor and feel that you would have never expected. Gourmet cheeses can add a lot of class to your get together with friends just by serving it alone, but why not do a little bit more with it and impress everybody?

Simple Tray

The great thing about gourmet cheese is that though you could get really creative with it, the cheese can be the star of a simple serving tray. It is a good idea to mix up the types of cheese that you are serving so that people can have a different taste with every bite. You can place the tray as a snack during a get together or why not throw a wine tasting party and have it be the star of the get together. Throw in some crackers and that may be all that you need to have those in attendance raving about your get together every time they talk to each other.

Quesadillas

Quesadillas are something that is a lot easier than people make them out to be and you can add a touch of class to this traditional Mexican dish by adding gourmet cheese to the recipe. You can decide to use any other type of filling such as vegetables, duck, chicken, beef or pork and the cheese that you choose will make the dish just stand out. Fresh mozzarella cheese is perfect nut give it a bit of a different taste with naturally smoked mozzarella varieties.

Blue Cheese Salad

A salad is simple and it can be a lot better with gourmet blue cheese. To make your salad you will need the pasta shells, bacon sugar, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste and throw in a few caramelized onions. Such a salad is very easy to make and can be ready in less than an hour. The gourmet blue cheese gives it a different taste and the people you serve it to will notice the difference. Make sure that you chill the salad before serving as this is a cold pasta salad.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

If you love stuffed chicken breasts then you will definitely love what it will taste when you use goat cheese. Believe it or not the recipes for stuffed chicken breasts are not that difficult and what you stuff the breasts with can be anything of your choice. Some will use solid vegetables like broccoli and onions while others will include fruits like raspberries. The tangy flavor of gourmet blue cheese is better countered with peaches or raspberries. You end up with chicken breasts that are sweet due to the fruit and tangy from the goat cheese.

Edible Wild Plants, Wild Grasses

I have been foraging and learning about wild edibles for several years now and focusing on the plants available to me in the Utah desert primarily simply because that is where I live and I enjoy finding edibility in an apparent hostile environment. While out looking for the wild edibles I have learned how to step carefully to avoid getting my socks full of those prickly irritating pieces of grass. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. The grasses get dry and then you end up with all the sharp seeds in your socks as you walk through them. What I wasn't thinking about for the longest time is the edibility of these annoying seeds. All grass seed is edible and it is abundant in the west utah desert. There are many varieties and some are easier than others to collect mostly because of the size of the seed.

Identification

One of the hardest parts of learning about wild edibles is identification of the plants. many think that it is dangerous to forage wild edibles. I think this is a silly idea that comes from our cultivated civilization. We are so disconnected from nature we don't even know where our food comes from. I certainly agree that you should not just go out and start eating any plat you find in the wild without proper identification but I think we should definitely work to learn all we can about those plants that grow in our area and work to add them to our diet. With some, identification takes a lot of research and time. I think the time is worth spending personally and can be very helpful but with grasses identification is not as big a worry. At least you know you are not going to poison yourself by eating the seeds you find, that is as long as they are far enough away from mans chemicals that we seem to think we can't live without. If it is a grass and it has seeds you can harvest you can eat it.

Preparation

the next thing we need to understand then is preparation. This again is a lost art to many. Even when we eat grains as part of our diet we generally buy it all cleaned and sterilized and we are not involved with the process of taking it from plant to table. So here are some ideas of ways to eat grass seed.

Learn How Oxygen Absorber Packets Can Increase Profitability

Oxygen is important because it sustains life. It can often prove detrimental for the very reason. The presence of oxygen in food and beverages can expedite the growth of mold, bacteria, yeast, fungi, and pathogens. This renders the food unsafe for human consumption, thus causing millions of dollars in losses to manufacturers. One of the simplest ways to counter this problem is by using oxygen absorber packets.

Oxygen is the key to survival for several aerobic creatures, and eliminating oxygen would automatically mean eliminating these creatures. The oxygen absorbing agents are placed at specific points to aid this very process. The effects of aerobic creatures on food can be seen in the form of a change in the smell, taste or texture of edibles. In non-edible items too, the effects are clearly visible. For instance, metal parts will develop rust.

What is an oxygen absorber?

Oxygen absorbers are essentially agents that purge oxygen from the head space. These absorbers play an integral part in protecting food and pharmaceutical products that tend to deteriorate with the presence of oxygen, or are sensitive to oxygen.

It finds applications in several different products such as electronics and computers, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, food packaging, metal parts that can corrode with the presence of oxygen, leather goods, powdered or beaded glass, powdered chemicals that are sensitive to oxygen, and so on.

Food items such as noodle packets, coffee packets, meat (both fresh and dry), spices, grains, can benefit from the use of oxygen absorber packets. The packets can be manufactured in a variety of grades and mesh sizes. Vitamins such as A, E, and C are oxidized easily making it imperative to take measures against this phenomenon.

By using high-quality oxygen absorbers, it is possible to bring down the oxygen levels to as low as 0.1% for the desired time period. With this, it becomes easier to prevent deterioration of products and components during transportation and storage. The shelf life of these very products can thus be increased. All of these factors give a manufacturer a competitive edge in the market by protecting products during the transportation and storage stage.

Usage of Oxygen Absorbers Oxygen absorbing agents are available in several different forms. They could be purchased as separate packets or as strips. Once placed inside a packaged environment, the oxygen packets instantly set to work and begin to eliminate oxygen. A high-quality blend of oxygen packets will purge oxygen in the range of 15cc to 1000cc.

These oxygen packets are safe for use with food items because they are non-toxic. They do not cause any harmful effects on the food items, nor do they interfere with the natural flavors and colors of the foodstuff. In fact, these packets help retain the natural flavors of even the most delicate food items such as cheeses and other dairy products.

Should Food Handlers Receive Training On Listeria Monocytogenes In Food Safety Courses?

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can be found on foods such as ready-to-eat meals, fish, cold meats, hot dogs, deli meats, pasteurized or unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. It can also be present on raw meats, ice cream and raw vegetables, therefore the potential for contamination can be seen to be high when considering the range of popular foods common to the food chain.

However clinical tests show the actual levels of contamination on these foods to be low when compared with pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, but the mortality rate from the resultant disease, Listeriosis, approaches 25% of infected cases whereas in Salmonella cases the mortality rate is far closer to 1%.

Listeria is a genus of bacteria that contains ten species, but it is the L. monocytogenes that is the causative agent of Listeriosis. In very simple terms the bacteria invades cells in the hosts body and then by growth contaminates the adjacent human cells.

This can then lead to a number of mild flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea which in a healthy body may be defeated by the immune system, but the potential for escalation to more life threatening complications such as sepsis and meningitis, is high in the vulnerable such as the elderly, pregnant women, newborn infants and people with weak immune systems.

The reason why particular training for food handlers as a part of their Food Safety training may be required is that the Listeria monocytogenes pathogenic bacteria can exist and multiply outside of the standard range of temperatures defined by the majority of food handling training as safe.

The Food Safety Certificate Level 2 training as accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health is recognised as one of the gold standards of UK/EC food training and conforms with all Food Act recommendations as laid down by the UK Food Standards Agency. However this identifies the "Bacterial Danger Zone" to be between the temperatures of 8 - 63 degrees Celsius, whereas L. monocytobenes bacteria are still capable of growing and multiplying at temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius.

Food handlers will know that many more subtle foods can be damaged if chilled to below 4 degrees Celsius and so the 8 degree temperature requirement is acknowledged by most as an acceptable compromise level for targets to be set at, yet without further training on the dangers such as L. monocytogenes a significant hazard to health may be allowed to enter the food chain with dangerous effect to the vulnerable members of society.

Based on the fact that 1470 cases of Listeriosis were registered in the EU in 2011 and the popularity of eating away from home continues to grow it is my opinion that the current Basic Food Handling, Food Safety Training should have added to it an additional section on how to minimise the potential contamination of this dangerous pathogen and to increase awareness that even adhering to the 8 degrees Celsius minimum temperature to the Danger Zone, does not completely illuminate all risk.

Dew Drops of Sake

On Japanese rice brew: While using such hyperboles as 'water of the gods' or 'sake from a mountain peak blossom' is justifiable, never use words like cotton candy and peaches to describe something as refined as Japanese sake. You could attach the ephemeral qualities of a plum blossom dripping sweet rice wine down your chin and cleavage, which would perhaps evoke a much better sense of how Japanese sake exudes the allure of beauty. Saying it tastes like a fruit from a farm may be a bit of an understatement. I guess we all have our vain glory.

Sake that is naturally slow cooled and aged through a series of labor intensive techniques could only produce something like the sake mentioned above. When you hear terms like nama-zume, hiyaoroshi, and honjozo thrown around amongst sake aficionados, and you don't know what they mean, then you know the sake is going to be well worth a sip. All the words for some reason sound like something good is about to be enjoyed. Although it helps to understand the labels on the battle, it is not essential. You do not have to be a sake guru to love and appreciate Japanese sake.

Honjozo is a term used to denote a premium grade of sake that has very limited amounts of alcohol added and is stored without pasteurization. Nama-zume is heated once before it is stored whereas regular sake is heated twice during the whole sake production process. More emphasis is placed on the natural development of the final product than the overly pasteurized filtration of sake. It's not like the average drinker is going to remember all of those terms, nor care. What's important is that you have a very general idea of what it is you are drinking. For example, is it a premium grade sake, or a regular table sake? When was it made and what kind of rice was used? What percentage of the rice is milled away? This information helps the drinker get a general understanding of the sake first before drinking it.

Words like Daiginjo, Junmai Ginjo, and Junmai, all sound like they were made with labour intensive techniques. We are not required to understand the finer details of how it was made unless we are working in the industry. How these terms translates into taste is simply wonderful because we do not know what we are going to get on the nose and the palate. Think, full body, semi-dry, floral, and clean going down you, deep into your bosom. How about warmed sake, what kind of flavor profiles can we get with that? These questions and answers all depend on the drinker, and this is one of the beautiful aspects of imbibing on sake. Rice never had it so good until it married a koji spore that gave birth to moromi, a fermented mash. Taste it, it is the liquid essence of what's to come.

Find Out If Drop Off Catering is Right for You

Drop off catering provides a level of convenience in that food is delivered rather than you having to prepare it or go to pick it up for a restaurant. While you don't receive the services associated with traditional catering service, you still have a wide variety of menu items and you can serve any way that you like.

Performed correctly, the providers of this service make sure that your event's food will be fresh and hot. If you want high-quality food but you don't need all of the formalities normally associated with a fully catered event, then drop off catering may be a very viable option. This type of service is also helpful when you want to make a good impression on your attendees, but you also want to do it as simply as possible.

Many event planners prefer this method because they don't want to have to go anywhere to pick up the food. The food that arrives will be hot and ready to eat, so it won't be necessary to spend time cooking or preparing. Meals remain attractive because they do not have to sit for long.

This type of service can also be a good option if you have budgetary considerations. Drop off catering provides meals at a much lower cost and still includes full meals, drinks and desserts.

If you want to have the highest level of confidence possible that you will be pleased with the results of the services you receive, perform some due diligence before you decided on your drop off caterer. Call different companies to see what sort of menu options they offer, and ask any co-workers, friends, or family members who may have had the same services performed for them.

Make certain that the company will be able to provide the service you need on the day that you need it. The last thing you want to encounter is any sort of delay in the arrival of your event's food, no matter how casual it may be. You should also check to see that the company has an actual, physical location, and is not just a phone or online ordering service that acts as a sort of middleman. This can often result in problems with accountability and food quality.

Find out what type of cancellation the company has should the event not take place at the originally scheduled time for whatever reason. Then, get a quote to see if the company can meet your budgetary requirements. Talk to three or four companies before you make your final decision.

Emergency Preparedness: Storing Food And Water

It is crucial for families to be ready for natural and human-caused disasters. When these catastrophes hit, it is possible that you won't be able to access food and water for a while. In such calamities, it is crucial that you and your household eat enough so you can stay strong. By taking some time now to store food and water supplies, you can increase your family's odds of survival during such events. The tips for keeping emergency food and water below are not exhaustive however they are some of the more important ones.

Be prepared for power failure

Following a calamity, black outs are may happen, and they may last for a couple of days or even weeks. Having said that, you should store canned foods and dry mixes. Your emergency food supply should be made up of things that do not require refrigeration, cooking, or special preparation.

Stash enough

While it is improbable that an emergency would cut off your food supply for two weeks, but to be on the safe side, maintain a supply that is going to last that long just the same. It is preferable to have extra you can share than to run out. Be sure to verify expiration dates, and observe the practice of first-in, first-out when building your emergency food supply. Include a manual can opener and disposable utensils with your emergency food supplies.

Pick the correct food

When stocking food, it is crucial to take into account your family's unique needs and tastes. It is necessary to have familiar food items in your emergency supplies because these will raise morale and give a feeling of security during catastrophes. Be sure to keep foodstuff that are safe for members of the family who have specific diets and allergies. For those who have a baby, also store liquid formula to cover for times when they can't be breastfed. Soups and juices are useful for ill and older people. In case you have pets, be sure to keep nonperishable food for them, as well. Avoid stocking salty food as they will make you feel parched. Bear in mind that your water supply may be restricted throughout these events.

Make sure to store water

An individual has to consume a minimum of two quarts of water daily. Kids, breastfeeding mothers, ill people, and those who live in warm places may require more. Be sure to store a minimum of a two-week supply of water for each loved one. If it is impossible for you to store that amount, keep as much as you could.

You can also get devices and products which allow you to treat water outside your house.

Stash properly

Keep you supply of emergency food and water in a dry, yet cool location. You can also empty stuff from opened packages into screw-top, airtight cans to prevent them from being spoiled. Be sure to change your stored food regularly.

Outsourced Caterers - What You Need To Know

If you are organising an event there are many things that are important to you. It may be worth your while outsourcing as much of the event arrangements as your budget will allow. Professionals will always get you better results. If your budget does not allow you to outsource everything, make sure it at least stretches to employing outsourced caterers.

Outsourced caterers will ensure that your food is the best it can be for your budget. There may also be extra services and assistance they can offer you to help reduce the burden and stress of organising your event. When choosing the caterers for your event, there are a number of key factors that you may need to consider.

The standard of food provided at any event is always of high importance to a host and can often mean the difference between success and failure. In order to ensure that all of your guests are impressed and any dietary requirements are properly accommodated for, the preparation and delivery involved can be a stressful and time consuming experience, with an end result that doesn't always meet expectations.

An outsourced caterer should understand that hosting an event can sometimes feel overwhelming when ensuring that everything runs smoothly. They should be happy to work alongside you and provide assistance at every stage so that not only are your guests are left happy, but you are too.

As part of the complete service solution of an outsourced caterer, they may have a team of experienced caterers, chefs, waiting staff and event planners that will go above and beyond to guarantee that your event is memorable and as you originally envisioned. This involves everything from meeting any requirements for staff and equipment to supporting you with advice and guidance. They may even be able to provide assistance in booking a venue as well as providing cutlery, linen and even table decorations and candles. It is definitely worth asking them to see exactly what they can help you with.

A professional outsourced caterer's approach to catering should always been a professional one. Ensure that the one your chose prides themselves on having a reputation for a personal touch. They should specialise in delivering a service that listens to and compliments any ideas or themes you are working to, creating bespoke menus when necessary. With options ranging from buffet food to home cooked meals, they should firmly believe that high quality food should be an affordable choice to match any budget that you might have.

Has the Horse Meat Crisis Affected Consumer Confidence?

Over the last few days the headlines have been dominated by the horse meat crisis which continues to evolve and grow on a daily basis. Initially it was thought only a handful of products were directly linked to horse meat although over the last couple of days we have seen this number grow significantly. There are now rumours and counter rumours with regards to suppliers of beef and other meats in the UK and indeed what our food actually contains.

Has consumer confidence been hit?

There is no doubt that consumer confidence has been hit in the short to medium term amid signs that many people are concerned about exactly what they are eating. Food labels which many us depend upon to see exactly what we were eating now appear to have been incorrect in some situations and there is a lack of confidence going forward.

While the news continues to attract calls for government heads to roll, companies to be taken to court and other drastic measures, perhaps we should look at the fact that this food contamination has been found amid growing concerns that this is something of a criminal master plan taking in many different suppliers around the world. These rumours have yet to be substantiated but as each day brings yet more bad news there is growing concern of a wider problem.

Does this open up the market for local produce?

Perhaps the only positive note from the ongoing horse meat investigation is the fact that more and more people are now looking to buy local, they are looking to buy from their local butcher, local food producer and indeed it seems as though they are willing to pay that little bit extra to know exactly where their food is coming from and what it contains. This has opened up a very interesting market for gourmet food which includes gourmet pies and other products which may well have fallen off the radar over recent years but are now making a comeback.

Local councils will also be hot on the trail of the larger food producers and there will inevitably be an increase in the cost of regulating this industry. The situation is likely to be very different for those local producers using local ingredients, which is where the smaller gourmet pie companies can come in.

Do you get what you pay for?

For many years now people have wondered exactly what was in their food with great concerns about those foods at the lower end of the market. The fact is that consumers and retailers have been pushing their suppliers for ever more competitive pricing which in many ways has helped to create the environment in which this horse meat scandal has been revealed.

Perhaps now we may move back towards the good old fashion, you get what you pay for, and people may now be willing to pay that little bit extra for quality produce. That's not to say that budget food and budget ranges will disappear but the fact is that many more people will now be a little wary of those at the cheaper end of the market and perhaps more willing to spend more of their monthly budget on higher quality and ultimately more expensive products.

Whole Foods That Can Provide Your Immune System a Boost

If you are looking forward to keeping your immune system in good order, you must also be making attempts to have a diet which will help you achieve this objective. You cannot rely upon a diet of meat and vegetables with the belief that they can help your immune system. You must look forward to adding some natural foods, which are known to help in this regard. Let us look at how by choosing the right foods you can make your body stronger and keep it free from common ailments.

There is a long list of foods which you can have every day to achieve the objective you have in mind. You will not have any difficulties in finding the foods that are mentioned below because they are available in the markets. You just have to bear in mind that you will be required to take these foods everyday apart from the regular diet you have. This means that it will be an addition which will have to be incorporated within your lifestyle.

Vegetables like mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, sweet potatoes and broccoli are known to contain antioxidants, which can give your immune system a boost. Oysters too are a good source for the same. Fruits like elderberries, watermelon, and acai berry along with the grapefruit are also helpful. You can also give your body the immunity it needs by having a portion of almonds every day. The foods mentioned above will prove very helpful and make your body develop an immune system which will be able to fight away some of the commonly known infections.

Reading through the list provided will not be difficult for you and the same could also be applied to the purchase. However, you will be required to have a certain portion of the foods mentioned apart from your regular diet, which can be rather heavy. Under the circumstances, how will you go about and try to make your immune system better.

Dietary supplements which can help you in this regard are a good way to make a start. Supplements of deer antler velvet are known to improve immunity and even have the ability to slow down the process of ageing. You will only be required to take two capsules of the supplement everyday along with your regular diet. If you manage to incorporate this regimen, you will succeed in your efforts faster than trying any of the foods mentioned above. Deer antler velvet supplements are today known as a whole food which can provide your body with many benefits. The best part is that they cost a lot less, will not be a hassle or leave you with a feeling of being heavy. Decide today about whether you want to take the easy way out by using antler velvet supplements rather than including a whole lot of other foods to improve the immune system of your body.

Personalized Hurricane Glasses for Your Barware Needs

Every restaurant, bar or lounge has to have the right glassware to serve their customers their specialty cocktail drinks. Hurricane glasses, also known as tulip glasses because of their shapes, are a must have for any busy eatery or bar. Not only can you use them for serving the classic hurricane rum cocktail but other drinks as well such as piña coladas, daiquiris and other popular mixers. Their unique design makes them popular amongst many crowds. Getting them customized can really make you stand out from other businesses. Get personalized hurricane glasses with your logos printed or engraved on them. On some designs you can even add colors to their stems.

Custom hurricane glasses have become a major trend at different types of events. Weddings, bridal showers, anniversaries, bachelorette parties and holiday parties are amongst many celebrations that love to add customized glassware as part of their drinkware, decoration or favors. These specialty glasses can be used to serve your guests their beverages and you can use them as part of the centerpieces for your tables. Your options are limitless. Another great idea is to have them laser engraved or imprinted with names, dates, clipart images, messages or quotes and use them as your party or wedding favors. They make excellent keepsake items.

Personalized hurricane glasses can make excellent personal and holiday gifts for family and friends. You can buy a set and give them out as birthday, wedding or housewarming gifts. You can customize the glasses for them, or just leave them clear. Everyone loves having new glassware for their home. You can also just buy them for yourself. Maybe you want to get them etched with your initials or names. Next time you're having a dinner party or a get together, you can show off your new drinking glasses to all of your guests.

Whatever your needs may be, customized hurricane glasses can come in handy. Plus, some companies take advantage when they buy them at wholesale to use them as promotional products to give to their customers and clients. They can serve as a significant advertising and marketing tool for your business. You can personalize them with the name of your company, your logo or a slogan and hand them out at your next promotional event. You can even sell them with your own brand name if you own a store. You can find just about any use for these specialty glassware items.

Reasons Why It Is Better To Hire A Catering Company

As the event planner, you have to carry out different functions. On one end, you will have to act as the decorator and point person. You have to be the one to fix the date as well as the venue for the upcoming get together. You must distribute the party invitations on time to ensure that people will know about your gathering and they will be able to block their schedule for that specific date. Apart from that, you also need to man the table and chair set-up. You have to make sure every piece is placed on the right location so that the gathering will run smoothly. You likewise need to pick the right decorations and put them in the perfect spot. Included in this job is to also prepare as well as cook the perfect food that will gratify the hunger of your guests.

On the other hand, you will serve as the receptionist. You have to welcome guests and lead them over to their assigned seats or introduce them to your buddies. Furthermore, you ought to entertain them and have small talks with everyone. You must make them feel welcomed at your event.

All these tasks are tiring and time-consuming. As a result, party organizers no longer have time to catch up with their old buddies as they have to make sure everything is on the right track. Even during the event, they have to make certain all meals are ready and served.

Instead of you shouldering all these responsibilities, you can actually entrust some to reputable firms. For example, food preparation and serving. Note that this undertaking can really be taxing and hence, it is more advantageous to hire a reliable company that offers catering service.

When you do so, you are actually guaranteed to get professional service and high quality food. You might be good at cooking but remember that your guests have a diverse taste palette. Employing a catering agency who has previously catered numerous events has the expertise and know-how in preparing meals that will satisfy all kinds of taste buds.

Additionally, if you want to impress your guests and want to share your country's local delicacies, you can certainly do so with the assistance of a caterer.

Another great benefit of hiring a catering firm is the after event cleaning. Of course, there will be lots of wastes right after the gathering and naturally, you will be the one to clean them up. But with a catering agency right beside you, you can give them this task and you can just go to bed right away.

Digestion 101: The Key To Unlocking Health

In the normal progression of life, a human baby would be fed mother's milk, thus filling the intestines with mother's probiotics. The next step for the baby would be crawling and playing in the dirt and putting his/her hands in the mouth. In a natural environment free of pollution, this allows for friendly soil-based organisms to congregate in the intestines. Admittedly, it sounds uncivilized; however with both probiotics and friendly soil-based organisms in place, and with the eating of raw fruits and vegetables as the child grows, the stage is set for perfect food digestion and optimal health.

A Healthy Digestive System - What Helps?

Picture your intestines like a bed of rich soil. In order to sustain life, soil needs to contain a healthy amount of friendly organisms to help breakdown the dead plants, fallen trees, forest life etc. to produce food (nutrients) for the plants that are growing in that soil.

Likewise, in order to have a healthy digestive system and sustain excellent health, our intestinal area needs to have a healthy amount of enzymes, friendly bacteria (probiotics) and soil organisms.

Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help ensure the food we eat is broken down and sorted.

Probiotics

Probiotics are extremely effective at combating parasites, fungus, mould and yeast in the body.

Soil Organisms

Soil organisms help repair and restore the small intestines, which are responsible for absorbing nutrients. They are found on fruits, vegetables and herbs when they are picked fresh and eaten unwashed - the way we have always eaten from the beginning of time.

Unfortunately, most of today's modern produce is covered by unhealthy man-made substances, which necessitates thorough soaking before eating.

When our intestines are clear and working optimally- they are rich with life. As your intestines build up and match that kind of richness - your digestion will astound you. A probiotic bacteria supplement can greatly help in this regard.

What Doesn't Help?

If we were fed formula instead of mother's milk, if we grew up in the cities without connection with natural food and the soil, if we took antibiotics (antibiotics are like pesticides as they kill both the friendly and unfriendly bacteria in our tummies), if we ate foods high in sugar (contributes to fungus/candida), excessive alcohol, carbonated beverages, chemical food additives and drugs, then we can be assured that we will greatly benefit from taking a probiotic bacteria supplement.

Why Should You Cleanse First?

No matter what's going on right now, the road to glowing health begins with cleansing and detoxification. Picture for a moment your kitchen sink and its drain pipes. Your sink is designed to carry away mostly water and some small natural food scraps through the pipes. When we pour the wrong stuff down the sink (e.g. junk food) for long enough, over time it accumulates and we end up with blockages causing poisonous toxins to be stored and reabsorbed into our blood, when normally they would have passed through, naturally.

Cleansing clears away all the physical blockages, leaving us feeling and looking great.

Sometimes, simply not eating for a day or two (e.g. Juice fasting) can restore the balance as the body is always striving to restore balance when given the proper support.

However sometimes, an intense cleanse is needed such as the Master Cleanse, which has provided many people with remarkable results.

Digestion 101 Recap:

A healthy digestion system is the foundation of good health and requires:

1. A Cleanse or Detox.

2. Enzymes: e.g. from eating raw fruits and vegetables.

3. Probiotics: e.g. from a Natural Probiotic Supplement.

4. Soil Organisms: e.g. from eating Organic Fruits and Veggies.

It's not always easy, but the numerous sustainable health benefits far outweigh the challenges.

When one completes a digestive health makeover, energy and vitality flow though the body. You will feel a change in your thoughts, emotions, judgements and motivation. Your appearance is transformed, one's focus and concentration are naturally drawn to higher things and you discover just how healthy and happy we can be.

It's Time to Eat Pralines

If you haven't tried pralines, it's about time you try them soon. Once you've sampled even one small bite, you will be hooked on this delicious and decadent treat. Although these candies are made in around the globe with slightly different recipes, the most popular ones in America can be found in the south where pecans grow abundantly from mature trees. When French explorers arrived in the southern part of the U.S.A., they brought these confections with them and the yummy candies caught on like wildfire. The recipe for these favorites includes pecans, brown sugar, butter, buttermilk and/or cream. The mixture is heated while being stirred in a saucepan on top of a stove. When the concoction reaches a certain temperature and thickness, it's time to drop them in dollops on a sheet of foil to cool into cookie-sized goodies. There are plenty of occasions that simply beg for the inclusion of this special dessert.

With Coffee or Tea

You know how drinking coffee or tea makes you crave a sweet treat to eat along with your beverage? Instead of a ho-hum cookie or donut, grab some pralines and share them with a friend. Your taste-buds will be tantalized for sure. The combination of flavors is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. Because they're so rich and tasty, eating just one will satisfy your craving. Don't feel too guilty for caving in to a craving, either. Because these goodies are chock-a-block with pecans, they are providing a healthy amount of protein, as well.

After a Meal

Some meals just taste better when finished off with pralines for dessert. A plate of barbecued ribs or chicken, corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes, and a side of coleslaw is a comfort food extravaganza. After you're finished eating your dinner, it's time for a sweet to top it off. Having your brown-sugared pecan treat with a cup of decaf or a dish of vanilla ice cream can be something close to heaven on earth.

At a Special Occasion

Throwing a baby shower, wedding reception, or anniversary party? Don't forget to serve pralines to make the occasion even more special. At your dessert table, you can have the celebratory cake, some beautifully displayed fruit, a silver dish of mixed nuts, and a platter of these brown-sugared pecan treats. You can serve the full-sized circles or order pralinettes for bite-sized delights.

Once you've sampled pralines, you'll never be the same again. Let's give thanks to the French settlers who traveled across the Atlantic to bring this culinary treat to our soil. Eaten with coffee or tea, savored after a hearty meal, or served at a special occasion, when these dessert rounds are passed around, the world becomes a sweeter place.

Enjoying the Praline and Its History

If you have not done so yet, bite into a praline slowly. Enjoy the soft texture, the crisp pecans, and the creamy feel of the caramel-like topping. As you do, you will be tempted to grab a glass of milk and find a hiding spot to enjoy this luscious treat. Many people find that this very sweet treat is one of the best ways to remember the South, which is where they have been popular for decades. On the other hand, you may have memories of a long lost loved one making these in an old kitchen.

What Is It?

Often confused with a cookie, the praline is a type of dessert treat. It is about the shape and size of a cookie, but it has no cake-like filling or texture to it. Rather, a thick syrup, which can be made from simple sugars, maple syrup, or other sweet combinations is boiled until it thickens. Then, the very hot candy is worked to create the thicker substance and candy-like texture. The mixture often covers pecans, though other nuts can be used as well. The end result is a very sweet treat that is ideal for those long days when you simply need to getaway and cannot do so.

Where Did They Come From?

Depending on where you are in the South, chances are good you will hear stories about the creation of these treats. Most stories differ on the creation of them. However, most people agree that these decadent treats came from France. During the early portion of the 17th century, a man named Cesar duc de Choiseul, comte du Plessis-Praslin is said to have created them. More precisely, this diplomat's personal chef is believed to have created these treats. Of course, the story changes from one version to the next, but the facts remain the same. These French-inspired treats were very popular in New Orleans when the French dominated the area.

The original version was a sweet confection. It was made not with pecans, but with almonds. It has some type of sugary, creamy coating that was boiled until it caramelized. In fact, if you visit France, you may find a small shop called Maison du Praslin. It is said to be the sweet shop that the personal chef opened when the praline gained enough attention to warrant it.

Regardless of the history of this decadent confection, many people today enjoy them in the South. You can purchase them in various styles, but one thing is for certain. Once you bite into a praline, it will be very difficult to walk away from them again.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Amsterdam Food Trends

With the Summer tourist season now in full flow, that means more culinary tours, which means that I am walking through Amsterdam pretty regularly, taking my clients to tastings in my favourite shops and markets. With all this strolling around, I can't help but notice the in store, in restaurant trends. Actually, it's my job to notice these, and tell my clients about them. Some trends I am more keen on than others, it has to be said. Without mentioning any names one of my least favourite was an eaterie which specialized in sushi, coffee and cake. There is something about that combination which is hard to stomach, even for me. And of course, there is a trend, sadly not exclusive to any city or even many countries at this time, which is the trend of so many stores and restaurants closing.

On a cheerier note, I have compiled some of my favourite current Amsterdam foodie trends.

Coffee with Everything

If you know Amsterdam, even a little, you will know that the Amsterdammer loves their coffee. No business or social meeting, no discussion, no task can begin without a "bakkie" (cup of coffee). They can be quite particular about it, which was surprising to me, as I had always associated the coffee culture with more southern European countries.

Now though, "en bakkie doen" (having a cup of coffee) has been taken to a whole new level. Coffee in book stores has been around for while, nowadays you can scarcely shop for clothes, shoes, antiques or furniture without being tempted by the fizzing and frothing of the stores latest installation, the almost ubiquitous Italian style, full force, industrial coffee and cappuccino maker. There is something I like about it though. Often these stores are in really nice locations and have beautiful interiors, so why not offer coffee for your customers? There must be a commercial benefit to the business. Other than the few Euros it costs for a coffee, they must have seen the benefits to their turnover. I say this, for two reasons. The Dutch in general seem to be born with a bit of a commercial gene. They are brought up to believe that they are a country of Entrepreneurs. You can argue the truth of this, but talk to any Dutch person about what it means to be Dutch and you will hear these words. My second reason is that here in Amsterdam, space is at a premium, so no self respecting business person would give over those precious square meters to anything unless is was making money for them. That being said, as a customer, I enjoy it. My most favourite being Concerto. Here the combination is coffee and music. Concerto is an institution and if you like music, it is the ideal place to while away a rainy afternoon, actually, it's the perfect place to while away any kind of afternoon. Now they have a new reason to hang out there - their coffee bar.

The Italian Style Café

I suppose, when I say "Italian Style Café", I mean my memory of this which is cafés run by Italians who settled in the UK, and more specifically in the west coast of Scotland. The ultimate treat as a child was to be taken for an ice cream float at your local café - the ultimate in sophistication for my 6 year old self.

These cafés offered a range of ice-creams, toasted sandwiches, fresh sandwiches, cakes, coffees and teas. Some may even go as far as to offer a 70's style spag Bol or fish and chips. It may be a stretch of the imagination to say that this style of café is having a revival in Amsterdam, but think about the menu I have just listed - ringing any bells?

OK, the ice-creams are now hand-made, organic and artisanal, the toasted sandwiches are Panini, the ice-cream floats and milkshakes are juices and smoothies, but essentially the format is the same. I have to say, I really enjoy these kind of cafés, for an informal lunch or an afternoon treat. One of my haunts at the moment is Pasticceria on the Van Wou straat, their ice-cream alone is worth a taste.

The Flip Flop Shop

No, they don't sell flip flops! What these stores do is that they change their product mix to suit the season. "Ijscuypje" Was the first of these stores that I noticed, in the summer time they sell ice cream and in winter they swap this for stampot style dishes and the store name also changes to "stampotje". In case you are not familiar with stampot, it is a very traditional Dutch meal. A couple of the most popular are "hutspot" made with mix of potatoes, carrots and sometimes other root vegetables made into a mash with stock and served with a smoked sausage. The other popular dish which follows this style of cooking is "Boerenkool". This time the mash is made from the familiar potato base but with kale mixed through. Although these dishes are not the most sophisticated (Dutch readers please forgive), they are very comforting and satisfying on a cold winter's day.

As a complete contrast to this kind of "flip flop", there is also a frozen yogurt store that flips into a noodle bar in the winter!

Mint Tea

No self respecting bar, café or restaurant can get away without offering Mint Tea these days. This trend started about 3 or 4 years ago, I have no idea what sparked it off, I kind of assume that it came from the large amount of Turkish and Moroccan people and shops selling lots of great fresh mint. A really simple and refreshing drink - hot water and fresh mint leaves. As much as I do like the mint tea, I have a little gripe about it. That is, where is the tea people? It is always served with hot water, mint leaves, and you get some honey on the side, but, haven't we forgotten something? Yes, the tea!

Cup Cakes

Walking through town, I sometimes feel like I'm tripping over cup cake stores. Always fancy frilly and fun. There is something about a cup cake that brings a smile to your face. A simple sponge cake decorated with (hopefully) butter icing - and loads of it please, creative flavour combinations and colourful decorations, love it. There are a couple of other reasons why I love the cup cake trend. One is, I am always in flavour of anything that gets people to cook or bake for themselves. There are so many food trends, do's and don'ts, so many chefs and experts telling us what techniques, equipment or skills we should have before we even dare to step into our own kitchen. Let alone be allowed to turn on the oven! This has resulted in so many people feeling intimidated by a basic human activity which can give so much pleasure. The cup cake, for me symbolizes the ultimate in simplicity and has provided a non-threatening jumping off point for people to get into their kitchens and bake.

The other reason is purely selfish. I realized, quite soon after arriving in the Netherlands, that nobody seemed to bake at home. Every time I was invited to a Dutch friend's home, and offered a sweet treat, it had always been bought. Not that I expected everyone to get baking just because I was coming to visit, but it was everyone, every age every walk of life. It seemed that it just wasn't part of the food culture. The rise in popularity of making your own little cup cake has meant that stores are now selling baking goods! Gone are the days of ordering fondant icing over the internet, I can get all I need at practically any food store.

High Tea

High brow, low brow, quirky or classic. There seems to be a High Tea for every taste. Before I go any further though, I just have to correct something that's a bit of a pet peeve. I should really be talking about Afternoon Tea, not High Tea. Afternoon tea is the scones, finger sandwiches and patisserie, eaten around 4pm, that has become so popular. High Tea, is a full meal that is eaten earlier than dinner. It was traditionally a more working class meal which would be eaten around 5/5.30pm. The reason I have called this food trend High Tea, is that (as with so many English phrases and words) the Dutch have got hold of, slightly, the wrong end of the stick, but like any terrier, they are not letting go! That aside, Afternoon tea is a favourite trend of mine because it is one of my missions in life to find the perfect scone. So, with all this choice around, I have every excuse, woops, I mean reason, in fact it is an obligation to keep eating them till I find the perfect one, and of course an afternoon tea is not an afternoon tea without THE perfect scone.

The Benefits of Buying At Farmer's Markets

As consumers, we rarely get a chance to meet the people who are responsible for producing our foods. Farmer's markets are a great way for food producers and food consumers to meet each other. Apart from the obvious benefits of being able to buy fresh produce, farmer's markets offer a number of other benefits as well. Here are just a few of them.

1. Many fruits and vegetables are seasonal, and you will find a wide range of them available in these markets. You are most likely to discover a number of freshly grown food items that you might have never seen before in a supermarket or grocery store. Be prepared to be amazed, thrilled, intrigued and invigorated by the huge variety of fresh produce you would find here.

2. Carting items from locally grown farms has various advantages. The shorter distances dramatically decrease fuel usage for transportation. Packaging is reduced, and the need for preservatives is almost non-existent. This results in foods that are healthier, fresher and tastier. The entire system is more eco-friendly as well.

3. Local farmers need our support to thrive in their agricultural business. But more importantly, we need them for our own good. They supply us with healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables that are grown organically. The diversity of crops grown by local farmers is also quite huge. We gain to benefit the most from their success. It is a perfect win-win situation. Therefore, we need to extend our support to them by shifting our shopping from mega supermarkets to local farmer's markets.

4. You can learn of lot of new recipes by visiting these places. Most sellers would be happy to tell you how to cook tasty dishes with their rare and exotic food items. You can get to know one-of-a-kind recipes and try them at home next time to shop here.

5. Farmer's markets can help build a better community as well. It could be a place where people in the local area can meet each other regularly and have a sense of brotherhood. You can take your children along for shopping and help them to get a better understanding of how fruits, vegetables and other food items are grown and processed.

And of course, most of the produce you find here would often be less expensive than what you would find in a supermarket. You are likely to end up buying food items that are fresher, tastier and healthier, at a lower price.

Top 10 Turkish Food to Satiate Your Taste Buds

Craving for some tasty Turkish treats but don't have a clue where to start? Here are 10 special Turkish recipes that should be perfect for your hungry palette.

1. Kebaps

Ever wondered what those big slabs of roasted meat you see in most Turkish restaurants were? The ones where they take big chunks off and serve it in all its tasty and juicy form? Those are called Kebaps. Pronounced as kebap [Sheesh keh-bahp,] this is traditionally made using Turkish free-range lamb skewered under a true charcoal grill. It can also be made from beef or chicken.

2. Hummus

Present in many traditional Turkish restaurants, Hummus is dip or spread made from chickpeas. Normally given as an appetizer, it is often served with pita bread. Frequently, the taste of the hummus can differ from one restaurant to another depending on how it is prepared.

3. Yaprak Sarma

Here's another staple treat worth checking out. The Yaprak Sarma is made up of wrapped vine leaves filled with succulent rice and a barrage of onions and various spices like currant, cinnamon, mint and pepper. Oftentimes, it is the Turkish food of choice for vegans who want authentic Turkish meals without sacrificing their personal ideals.

4. Lahmacun

For fast-food and pizza lovers, the Lahmacun is a must-taste meal. Resembling pizza, it is made from flaky dough that's sprinkled with onions and really tasty meat. Over the years, it has become a popular dish in Turkey. It is spicy and has a very thin crust and definitely yummy.

5. Döner

A Döner is one of the many dishes that originally came from Turkey but has since been exported to a lot of different countries. Like the Kebap, it is cooked vertically on a skewer and grilled to perfection. It is then sliced thinly and mixed with aromatic herbs and spices.

6. Manti

Officially called dumplings in the Western World, a Manti is a simple appetizer dish made up of two parts: yummy dough and a filling. The filling often consists of lamb or chickpeas which is then steamed. It is served with yoghurt as well as garlic and sumac.

7. Pilav

If you're craving for a Turkish meal with rice, then the Pilav is a must try. Like many cuisines, there are a variety of ways to serve up this meal. However, the main form is when it is cooked with plain rice along with water, butter and vegetable oil. There's also a bit of noodle-style pasta in there. You will also find eggplant, meat, liver slices and chickpeas. Of course, it wouldn't be a Turkish dish without the spices so it is packed with thyme, cinnamon, pepper and even a bit of almond.

8. Baklava

For the sweet tooth, there's also something you can enjoy when trekking over to your favorite Turkish restaurant. The Baklava is a traditional pastry dish made up of thinly sliced layers of phyllo pastry. It is absolutely sweet and often filled with syrup, honey, and chopped nuts.

9. Karniyarik

Eggplant lovers will enjoy this little dish. It's an eggplant stuffed with a variety of veggies like onions, garlic, pepper, ground meat, parsley and so much more.

10. Köfte

These are essentially Turkish meatballs but unlike traditional meatballs, they are served up in a host of different shapes. This dish is made with ground meat and then mixed in with bread crumbs, spices and onions. Depending on the type of dish, it can be mixed with a variety of other stuff as well.

Examples Why Clubs Should Be at the Top of Your To Do Lists While in Any City

When you are visiting any great city, you can always find great things to do during the day to entertain, educate, and feed yourself to keep the time flowing smoothly. What about at night? The nightlife in any great city is thrilling and memorable. You just have to find the right clubs that fit your preferences and budget.

Any great club scene in the city has great music. Of course, your own preferences for music may differ from those of any given nightclub. You must do a little bit of research to figure out if the noise will be right for you. Typically a club will list who their DJ is or what kind of music they play on a website or advertisement. You can then make your choice based on your musical preference or mood.

Dancing is a great way to relieve the stress of any day or week. Letting loose with your friends, having a great drink, and flowing with the music are great pastimes of the human race. Dancing at a club can be electric; you can feel the energy of everyone around you. If you have never been to a popular nightspot before, you need to try it just to connect with all of the people on the floor around you.

Visit a club scene for a tactile experience! There are a few places where you can actually feel the music coming to meet you while you dance. Some venues have managed to place the sound system in some very odd places, including the floor, just so club goers can feel the sounds all around them.

Clubs are a great place to feel and hear music like never before, but they are also great places to get to see live performances. Big names often play at nightclub venues, making the events feel like one big giant party instead of a regular concert. There is a more personal feel to the concerts than can be felt at other live music events.

Try a different end of the spectrum of nightspots and go to relax instead of being amped up. That's right; you can relax in certain clubs with a laid back atmosphere. Some clubs even have swimming pools! The next time anyone in your group complains about overcrowded and noisy atmospheres at hot nightspots, suggest a great night scene that can make you feel at ease.

One of the best reasons to go clubbing is to become someone else. You don't have to be dramatically different, but it's great to be able to shed the skin of the work week and become daring, flirtatious, or whatever else you want to be. Hitting the dance floor, meeting new people, and being able to be anyone you want is an empowering and incredible feeling.

These scenes are always filled with people having great times. It's a great way to meet new people and socialize with people who share the same interests as you. Whether you are a biker, trendy fashionista, or whatever label you'd like to wear, there is likely a club that caters to that specific niche which you can call home on a few weekend nights.

It's a wise idea to try a few nightclubs to see what you like the best. After a little bit of time, you may find yourself becoming a regular and getting to know other regulars by name. And then when you get tired and what to try something new, you can always fall back on one of the many other night scenes in the lovely city that lights up your nights.

How You Can Bake Quick Bread in Bulk

You may be throwing a big party or you may have any other reason for wanting to bake several loaves of bread instantly. In order to get the best result, you need an industrial oven, professional mixing equipment and many bake wares but if you cannot lay your hands on these items, you can make do with what you have.

You should look for a quick-bread recipe for bulk baking before you start to bake. You should get enough ingredients at the grocery store and some stores offer bulk supplies of ingredients like sugar as well as flour and you can place your order online in order to get the best deal. It is advisable to have extra amount of ingredient so that you will be able to make adjustment in the final mixture if necessary.

You should make use of a large mixer and bowls to produce a big batch batter which can be divided into loaf or muffin pans. If the batter is too much, there may be need to blend it up in quite a few batches and divide it at the end. You can simplify the process by making use of a professional kitchen with industrial mixers as well as other baking utensils.

The batter should then be distributed evenly among the loaf or muffin pans. If you end up with more batter that the pans can contain, you can refrigerate the extra batter while the first batch of loaves bakes. As soon as the first batch comes out of the oven, you should allow it to cool and then clean, dry and grease the pans again for the purpose of baking the subsequent batches.

The space in your oven should be used effectively and if you are using a conventional oven with only two racks, you should position the loaves in such a way that many of them can fit in at once. The total baking time can also be increased in order to properly distribute heat evenly to all the loaves. If you desire more space and in order to save time, you can use an industrial oven or a large clay oven.

If it is not in your plan to serve all the loaves of bread at once or within a couple of days, you can freeze them properly so that they can be prevented from becoming moldy or stale. Before freezing, you should allow the loaves to cool completely and they should be wrapped tightly in a plastic wrap.

How to Make the Perfect Shrimp Remoulade

Have you ever been to a restaurant and wondered how they make that shrimp so plump and juicy and that remoulade sauce to spicy and delicious? Well, it's actually not that difficult to do and it only takes about 20 minutes. Here's how it's done:

-Making the Sauce
There are several different remoulade recipes out there, but the one that seems to be the most popular is the Louisiana version. This type of remoulade contains mustard, paprika and Cajun spices and is typically the one that you'll find at most restaurants in the south.

In a bowl, simply mix the following ingredients: 1.5 cups of mayonnaise, 1 cup of Creole mustard, 1.5 tablespoons of paprika, 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, 1.5 teaspoons of horseradish, 1.5 teaspoons of sweet pickle juice, 1.5 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.

A good remoulade is better when it's been left alone in a refrigerator for a couple of hours. The flavors will need this time to mix together and begin to sing.

-Preparing the Shrimp
First thing you'll need to do is get yourself about a pound or two of large shrimp or prawns. Take the time to shell and devein them. It's up to you whether or not you want to leave the tails on. If you're preparing this dish for a party, go ahead and leave the tails on. If this is just for you, taking the tails off at this point just makes it a little easier to eat. Fill 2 gallons of water in a large pot and combine cayenne peppers, salt, pepper, lemons, onions, and garlic and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the shrimp and cook them until they become plump and aren't translucent any longer. This process should only take about 2 minutes. When ready, drain the shrimp, put in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and place aside.

-Presentation
If you are going for that magical, prime steakhouse or seafood house type of presentation, then you should get a few cocktail bowls and fill them about half way up with something green and leafy. Next, scoop the remoulade sauce and fill the upper half of the bowl with it. Then, place 4 or 5 of your shrimp or prawns around the rim of the bowl and sprinkle some finely chopped parsley all over the dish. Finally, chop a lemon in quarters and place a few of them in between the shrimp around the rim just like a fine dining restaurant would.

Finding the Best Praline Candy to Bring Home to Family and Friends

When people go on vacation they often choose candy or another item to bring home to family and friends. Next time you are in the South, you may want to look for a praline candy to have your family try. Not everyone will like these because of the nuts, but there are many who likely will. You will want to sample a variety before choosing one. Some things to consider before buying might include texture, flavor, freshness, and reputation.

When you walk into a candy store, you might think initially that they are all the same. This may sometimes be the case in one area, but if you go to a variety of small and large shops, privately owned and franchised, then you will likely see a number of subtle differences. As you go to the various places, be sure to sample a praline or some other candy that you like. Make a note of your favorite places so that at the end of your visit, you can go back and buy some candy.

Before purchasing a type of candy, take the time to consider the texture. Texture is one of the most important traits to consider as you choose a candy. Most people will have some preference in this area. Some might not like nuts, so you will probably avoid praline candies for them. Others might enjoy textures like coconut or cream fillings. It will just depend on preference.

You should also consider flavor before choosing a certain type of candy. Make sure that the flavor is what you would expect. If it claims to be maple, be sure that it tastes like real maple. The same is true if it claims to be vanilla or chocolate. Look for flavors that are authentic.

Freshness also needs to be considered. Make sure you find out when the candies were made, whether they were frozen before coming to the shop, and how long they have been out on the shelves. As you taste a sample, consider whether it tastes fresh.

The reputation of a candy company might be more difficult to research than some places, because most people do not go online and research candy companies before going out touring an area. If you have a smart phone of some other way to access the Internet, you might want to look up reviews before purchasing from a company.

After looking at all of these options, hopefully you will be able to find an option that your family will enjoy. If you decide to take a chance and purchase praline candies for those who do not like nuts, make sure to choose wisely so that it will be convincing.

Yom Kippur With Food Allergies

Successful Yom Kippur fasting requires preparation. This 25 hour fast requires great physical endurance. What you eat and drink in the days leading up to a fast is critical to making the day productive. Avoiding certain foods before a fast is also important. Maximizing your nutritional intake before a fast may seem even more challenging if you have food allergies. It doesn't have to be.

One crucial element before fasting is hydration. Drink, drink, and drink some more.
Try to do this several days before the fast but be especially mindful of drinking the day before the fast. Water is best, but juices and Gatorade work too. You'll want to avoid all caffeinated beverages as caffeine works as a diuretic (depleting you of vital hydration). If you're a coffee addict, try to decrease coffee consumption a few days before the fast to prevent "withdrawal" symptoms on Yom Kippur.

Eating fruits and vegetables high in water content is also helpful with pre-fast hydration. Lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes are all high in water content. Grapes,melon,berries, and citrus fruits are packed with water as well. You'll want to have plenty of these types of produce on hand before and after the fast.

In addition to drinking, one should eat high water content fruits and vegetables before the fast. Fruits such as melons, berries, grapefruit, oranges, and grapes are ideal. Some hydrating vegetables are: lettuce, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.

While hydration is important so is solid nutrition. Choose your foods wisely for maximum endurance on Yom Kippur. High carbohydrate dishes like pasta and breads are great choices for stored energy. Just like runners preparing for their big day by eating bowls of spaghetti, you'll want to pack in the carbs to prepare for your spiritual marathon. If you're avoiding gluten you'll want to make sure these dishes are wheat free. Choose alternative pastas made with brown rice, potato, or quinoa. Breads and pastries should be made with wheat free mixes and flours.

Preparing specialty allergen free baked goods from scratch requires additional time. You'll want to give yourself enough time to prepare. It's a good idea to make your post fast dishes in advance as well so your meal is ready to go when you are.

While your planning your menu to include powerhouse foods, you'll want to avoid greasy and spicy foods. Fried foods and dishes that leave your mouth "burning" are obviously poor choices for good digestion. You don't want your stomach acting up during the prayer service in synagogue. Try to limit salt as well.

The Most Important Factors Behind The Quality Of Chinese Tea

Tea merchants often talk about high quality tea products that they offer. However, the factors that embody quality tea are not clearly defined. We are going to discuss about some of the factors that make up the quality of Chinese tea, and focus on the cultivation stage of tea production. In general, these factors can be categorized as agricultural practice, ecological factors, and tea tree characteristics.

One of the most important factors when it comes to tea production is the agricultural practice. Unfortunately, many of the tea products available in the market are from non-organic ways. The disorganized use of fertilizers or pesticides results to termination of useful parasites and predators, and to the downgrade of top soil. Non-organic methods may seem to increase production and profit for farmers, but the results disrupt the natural process of ecosystem. Thus, the leaves that are produced have a bland taste. Authentic teas must be produced from tea trees that are cultivated organically. However, the organic method of tea production generates less numbers. Thus, organic teas are more costly compared to non-organic teas.

Moreover, agricultural practice also affects the health properties of teas. Tea trees are capable of absorbing chemicals in their environment. Thus, non-organic tea can be harmful to a person's health because of the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides used. The great thing is that Vintage Tea Company goes the extra mile to ensure that the teas offers are only made from organic farming methods. You will surely get the value of what you pay for.

The next thing to consider is environmental issues. Tea trees are capable of growing in various locations. However, the location will also determine the quality of the leaves. An area that has a comparatively high level of humidity is an ideal location for producing quality leaves. Humidity is an important factor to consider, because there is more control of the temperature of an area. In contrast, the temperature in dry areas has the tendency to cool own or heat up quickly, and the temperature in wet locations has the tendency to cool down and heat up at a slow pace. It is important to grow tea trees in a stable climate to produce uniform leaves with nutrients.

In addition, high quality leaves are also from elevated areas. This is when the air is cooler at higher altitudes, because air force is lower. Subsequently, there is also a decrease in the capability of air to grasp water. When the air rises, it makes bigger and cools down. Thus, clouds form and produce rain or snow storm. The side of the mountain that faces the wind gets the higher amount of rain, while the side away from the wind is dry in comparison. Tea plantations are usually located on the side of the mountain facing the wind, as tea trees love water. Higher altitudes also prolong the growth of tea trees so that they can have more flavors and aromas.

The last factor for high quality Chinese tea is the tea tree characteristics. There are varieties of tea trees that exist, but Camellia sinensis is the only plant species responsible for growing non-herbal leaves. Various types of aromas and flavors can be produced. Some leaves are used for green teas, while others are better for making black teas.

Ancient and local varieties of teas have more flavors than the recent ones. An example of these is the Shi Feng Longjing tea. Every tea tree in the Shi Feng area is subjected to similar climatic environment and a range of the same agricultural methods. Despite this, you would still notice that Longjing tea from recent Cultivar 43 has less intricate taste and trace compared with those that were produced from native cultivar or Qunti Cultivar. This is because the growth of older tea trees and local cultivars are slower. Thus, the leaves are able to develop a more unique and intricate taste. The local cultivars are also better at absorbing the soil content of an area. Unfortunately, local and native cultivars are being replaced with newer cultivars to produce more leaves, but with lesser flavor and taste.

In conclusion, it is immensely rare to find leaves cultivated using ideal methods. Most farmers now use non-organic methods that depend on synthetic fertilizers. They also substitute native cultivars with recent varieties. Such methods help them cultivate tea trees faster and with more by-products. Locations at lower altitudes are also being used as cultivated areas, but pesticides are necessary to ward off parasites and pests. The substandard ways of cultivating tea trees and producing leaves are due to the competitiveness in the tea market and the low-level of consumer consciousness. Unfortunately, it is not impossible that authentic tea will become rare in a few years.

Seasonal Foods