Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grain Distillation

Aquavit, genever, gin, and whiskey (or whisky as the Canadians and Scots spell it), as well as vodka and the unflavored German schnapps called korn, are all part of the extended family of grain-based spirits. Except for whiskey and korn, whose compositions are strictly controlled by legislation, these potent drinks can also contain so-called agricultural alcohol made from molasses, potatoes, and other ingredients.

The name of this strong Scandinavian spirit is derived from the Latin t|ii,i vitae (water of life), and was once the designation for all liquor. The basis of the pale or golden-yellow aquavit is very pure, almost nil-less alcohol distilled from grain or potatoes with 96 percent alcohol by volume, or almost 200 proof.

It is distilled with water and a variety of flavorings, such as caraway (the most traditional), cinnamon, cloves, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon peel, and star anise, along with a number of "secret" ingredients. The heart of the distillate is then mixed with neutral alcohol and softened water and left to mature in the producer's cellars or warehouse. The alcohol content of dinish aquavit is 80 to 84 proof; German aquavit is 76 to 80 proof.

Serve aquavit very cold in a short glass, similar to a shot glass; this is how its full, round, and distinctive taste develops. It acts as a stimulant on the stomach wall and is very easily digestible, so it is ideal to offer guests after a meal as a digestive.

Genever is the Dutch national drink, and what is considered to be first gin. The word genever developed from the French word genievre (juniper), which is not surprising because genever, like somevatieties of gin, has a juniper aroma. First-class genever is matured for several years in oak casks and is golden yellow. The alcohol content is 76 to 86 proof. The Dutch drink their genever neat and very cold in small, tulip-shaped glasses as an aperitif. Fruit-flavored genevers are also available.

Clear spirit is one of the drinks without which a bar would be lost. The alcohol is based on barley and rye, to which a mixture of herbs and spices, called botanicals, is added, such as i, aniseed, cardamom, coriander, juniper, and lemon and orange zests. After distillation, the gin is diluted to the customary strength of 76 to 90 proof. "Dry gin," for example, is 80 proof.

Gins, produced in England, Holland, and the United States, have different taste qualities. The most requested gins are those as "dry gin" and "London dry gin." The dry designations developed to discriminate the contents from that which was labeled Old Tom gin" and "Plymouth Gin," both of which used to be sweeter than they are today. Sloe gin is, in fact, a liqueur, not made by macerating crushed sloes in gin.

Klarer This colorless, weak, and often flavorless spirit is made from potatoes, corn, and millet. The minimum alcohol content is 32 percent

Korn schnapps
When a German orders a "schnapps," the chances are that it is this clear, grain-based spirit that is required, not the flavored, often creamy drinks called "schnapps" in the United States. Korn is the most popular drink in Germany, where it is traditionally drunk neat or as a chaser to beer. Produced from wheat, rye, barley, oats, or buckwheat, it has an alcoholic content of between 32 and 38 percent by volume, or 64 to 76 proof.

If the designation Alt or Alter is on the label, the product has been matured for at least six months. Pure korn just tastes of grain, nothing else. If it is distilled from wheat, it is very mild; but if it is based on rye, it is powerful and spicy. Some varieties, called Kornbrand, contain a minimal addition of flavorings such as aniseed, cinnamon, cloves, or coriander. Apel Korn has been made with apples.

In Russian, the meaning of the word vodka is "little stream." Vodka is a colorless, clear, smooth, and pure spirit with a neutral taste. It is distilled from mixtures of grains or potatoes. The top brands, however, consist only of grain (primarily barley and wheat, and occasionally rye). Its strength is usually at least 80 proof, with some brands being far more potent. Flavored vodkas have become popular and the range is constantly expanding.

Widely available flavors include lemon, lime, pepper, and other fruits. In the United States, vodka is perhaps best known as the main alcoholic ingredient in Blood Marys and Screwdrivers, but in many countries it is drunk neat as a straight shot. When you serve neat vodka, make sure it is as near ice cold as possible. If you store your bottle in the freezer, the high alcohol content prevents the liquid turning to ice and it will always be ready to enjoy.

"Whiskey" may be the generic term for the most widely drunk liquor in the world, but you will find great variety, not least of all determined by where it is produced. Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and the United States are the great whiskey producers.

Each country produces different product, and within each country there is great diversity. Even the spelling of the word is not the same: the americans and the Irish spell it "whiskey"; the Scots and the canadians spell it "whisky."Scotish whisky, or scotch as it is commonly known, is produced from malted barley or a mixture of grains, which can include malted and unmalted barley and the whole grains of cereals, such as corn or wheat, It is aged for at least three years in oak casks (traditionally second hand sherry casks) before bottling.

You will also see on the label the scotch is blended or a single malt. Blended scotch, as the term implies, contains scotch from several distilleries and will contain malt and grain whiskies married together. Single malts, on the other hand, are produced from only malted barley. If the label on a blened whiskey also contains an age, that is how long the youngest whiskey in the blend was aged in the cask.

One other characteristic of some scotch, especially some single malts is a smoky aroma. This occurs if the barley malt grains aredried over burning peat taken from the moorlands. Irish whiskey, produced from barley, wheat, rye, or oats, is blended, with only one significant single malt produced.

(The Irish use the term -vatting not "blending.") After distillation, clear water is added to give the whiskey its final alcoholic content of about 80 proof'. Irish whiskey is matured in wooden casks (for at least three years that previously stored sherry, rum, or bourbon. As a general rule irish whiskey has a mellower flavor than scotch, and you will never find any with the smoky, peaty aroma of some scotches because the grains are not dried over peat-fueled fires. In the United lush whiskey is best known as a component in Irish coffee or after-dinner drinks.

Good bourbon is aged for four to six years, but some is left much longer in the cask. Like scotch, bourbon is also available either blended or straight, the latter meaning that it has been distilled from a single grain and all the whiskey comes from a single distiller.

Rye whiskey, also popular with Americans and often simply referred to as rye, is distilled from a mash with at least 51 percent rye and matured for about four years. The taste is generally spicier than that of bourbon, and it also comes in blended and straight varieties.

Tennessee whiskey, which must be produced in the state to be labeled as such, is filtered through wood charcoal and is therefore very mild. Some of the best-known brands also have a distinct flavor, easily recognizable as different from bourbon because they are produced from a sour mash containing some previously fermented yeast (similar to the starter used to make sourdough bread; fresh yeast produces a sweet mash). This is the whiskey someone wants if they ask for a "sour mash whiskey."

American blended whiskey is a mixture of bourbon, rye whiskey, and corn whiskeys. Canadian whisky is blended from straight grain whiskies and practically flavorless neutral alcohol, resulting in drink that is paler and lighter in flavor than most American whiskeys. This is why Canadian whisky is often used in drinks with soft-drink mixers, such as ginger ale.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Shop Online

The Internet is a wonderful world within itself. Even though it has its problems, the benefits far outweigh the set-backs. With its apparently unlimited amount of websites on every subject and topic, no matter what your interest is you can find millions of sites. In the real world you can't come close to experiencing all of the stores or shops that sell the widgets that you are interested in. How many times in the real world have you visit a restaurant or little store in your hometown for the first time that has been in the same location for years? If it is a pleasant experience you wonder why you had not tried their business sooner.
You might have driven past their location for years, and then one day you decide to go inside, only to find out that they offer something that you absolutely love or have to have.

The Internet is exactly the same way, I have been on the Internet for about 10 years and I just recently decided to try food shopping online. I have been an online shopper from the beginning. I never had a problem with trusting the merchants that I purchased from. That's why I cannot understand what took me so long to try online food shopping. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the supermarket, even though it's not one of my favorite things to do, but I don't mind going to the market. My wife has told me that there is something sexy about a man that food shops. So that alone is enough incentive for me to go with her. Going by myself is another matter all together.

One day the food shopping needed to be done, and I drew the assignment. I decide to check online to see if any of the local supermarkets had a website or offered delivery. Approximately 20 minutes later I had schedule for delivery $175 worth of groceries from the very supermarket that I was going to be going to. They had every item on the list that my wife had given me. For a nominal fee of $6.95 they would bring our groceries to our house at a day and time that I specified. The whole time I'm thinking that this is worth every penny of 7 bucks, no shopping carts with a bad wheel, no crying babies, no long check out lines, no price checks, clearly the only way to food shop.

The delivery was scheduled for the next day, our delivery man was on time and courteous.
He also did not drop the 10 bags of groceries at the door, he carried all of the bags to our kitchen. I'm not sure, but I think he would have put them away if I asked. I was more than happy to give him the $7 tip that I gave him. The surprise of the whole thing is that I did not tell my wife that I had scheduled the delivery, after the delivery guy left, come to find out that, figuring out a way to do the food shopping without going to the supermarket is even more sexy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Food Labeling: Why You Need It

Food labeling is an essential way of protecting your health. Although you do not realize it every time you pick up a jar of peanut butter, someone has had to determine just what is in that jar and what it will do to you if you should consume it. For most healthy people, eating anything they like seems fine. They don?t feel bad and nor do they think twice about it. But, the problem with this is that people can become sick overtime based on the foods that they eat. The food labeling?s job is to help to reduce the amount of illnesses that happen based on providing knowledge to individuals about what they are consuming.

You will find a wealth of information on food labels. You?ll find information such as which vitamins and minerals are in the foods as well as how much of that should you be consuming. You?ll also find food labeling takes a hard look at the bad stuff too. How much cholesterol, fat, sodium are in foods is measured and recorded in this manner as well. Going even further, food labeling will tell you how many calories are in foods as well as how much a serving of the food is. All of this information is mandatory for foods that are sold in the United States to be listed.

It is up to the consumer to pay attention though and act on what the food labels have on them. That means it is necessary for the individual to flip the product over and find out what is in the box, can, or other container. If the consumer doesn?t do this, he or she is risking his/her own health.

But, how do you react to what is provided in the food labeling? The Food and Drug Administration has set up a number of excellent resources to help you. On their website you will find guidelines as to how much of what you should be consuming. This then can help you to decide if a food is worth eating based on the information provided.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Glorious Food

The most enjoyable events are often those in which the food is divine. Oliver Twist said, “Please Sir, can I have some more?” And although it is doubtful that you will be serving gruel at your next catered event, you’ll want your guests feeling pleased.

If Woody Allen is on your guest list, be certain to alert your catering service when you sit to menu plan. Allen has made it very clear, “I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded, dead." Perhaps Woody Allen would prefer to eat your mother’s fruitcake; some caterers will prepare ‘family favorites’ upon request. According to Harper's Index, 1991, the ratio of the density of the average fruitcake to the density of mahogany is 1:1.

Henry miller wrote, "Americans will eat garbage provided you sprinkle it liberally with ketchup." Well, maybe not exactly garbage but Richard Nixon liked ketchup on his cottage cheese.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s catering service knew that the English adored their sausages when hot dogs were served to King George VI of England during his 1939 visit to the United States.

Jimmy Carter is pleased that It takes about 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of creamy peanut butter. People who become hysterical when peanut butter sticks to the roof of their mouth have 'arachibutyrophobia'. If someone attending your catered event has a tendency to suffer from this condition, be certain to alert your caterer about this dietary restriction.

If you are planning to request that your catering service provide ice cream at your event, remind your guests not to eat too quickly because they may get a very painful headache. This is caused by blood vessel spasms which are triggered by the intense cold from the ice cream. The resulting headache is much the same as a migraine - the spasms interrupt the blood flow and cause the vessels to swell.

Quiche is a popular item to serve at events. Depending on how many guests will be attending your event, it is good to know how large a quiche can be: The largest being a quiche made in Paris, November 22, 1997. Chef Alain Marcotullio used 125 quarts of milk, 1,928 eggs, 156 pounds of bacon, 134 pounds of butter, and more than 140 pounds of flour to make the world's largest quiche. It baked for over 18 hours and fed more than 125 people.

Since you cannot book the late Chef Boyardee (born in Italy, worked at the Plaza and the Ritz-Carlton in New York) to cater your event, browse the The Catering Services Directory for a caterer near you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food Allergies

An allergy can be described as a malfunction of the immune system, an exaggerated response to certain substances. Your body mistakenly believes that something it has touched, smelled or eaten is harmful to it and your body releases massive amounts of chemicals, such as histamine to protect itself.

It is believed that 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies. These allergies are as varied as food itself is. Some people suffer from an allergy to one food, some to many. The most common food allergies are generally eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Symptoms of food allergies are varied and range from a tingling of the mouth to swelling of the tongue and throat to difficulty breathing to hives, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and in some instances death.

There are ways to help you or your loved one manage your food allergies. First seek the help of an allergist. Your allergist will perform a patch test to determine the exact cause of allergic reactions. This will be the guideline you use as you develop a diet based around your food allergies.

As with other types of allergies there is no cure for a food allergy. Some children do grow out of some food allergies as they age although allergies to peanuts, fish, shellfish and nuts are often considered lifetime allergies. You or your loved one must simply avoid the food that causes the allergy. This can be difficult, especially when eating out in a restaurant. Depending on the severity of allergy, even slight cross contamination of food products can cause reactions.

Food labeling is a very important component of avoiding foods that trigger allergies. Since 2000 the FDA has been presenting information on allergy risks and labeling requirements to manufacturers. They seek to have manufacturers change some labels to be easier to read, using plain language like "milk" on a label instead of "caseinate".

In the case of a milk or egg allergy there are alternatives that can be used when cooking or baking. There are many online sites dedicated to supplying information, education and support to those with food allergies.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Food Addiction

Food Addiction: A Craving You Can’t Seem to Control

You may overdose on potato chips or tortilla chips once in a while, but would you consider yourself to be a food addict? The answer is important, because it could be the key to determining what course of action you need to take in order to lose weight. A number of medical experts say that food addiction is just as serious as nicotine or cocaine addiction—and can potentially be just as deadly.

When you suffer from food addiction, you have an overwhelming desire for a particular food. The desire is so strong, in fact, that if you are unable to consume that food, you suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and depression. Food addicts crave the comfort that a particular food gives them. They also may engage in binge eating. Their cravings for food may be both physical and psychological.

It should be pointed out that there are different varieties of food addiction. For instance, there is compulsive overeating, where an individual goes on eating binges that can last several days. The addict may sometimes lose weight, but tends to gain it back again. Symptoms include eating quickly, compulsively eating alone, and eating when there is no evidence of hunger.

Yet another form of addiction is bulimia, in which an individual overeats, then purges either by vomiting or by taking laxatives. Signs of this condition include isolating oneself when eating, trying to consume huge portions of food rapidly, and being preoccupied with one’s weight.

Food addiction can also come in the form of anorexia, where an individual attempts to starve oneself in order to achieve an unrealistic weight. Anorexics tend to be 15 percent below normal body weight and have a phobia about being fat. They have difficulty eating with other people and appear to be obsessed with weight. They may engage in ritualistic behavior involving food and may suffer from depression.

The good news is that food addiction can be successfully treated. This treatment can come in a variety of forms. A food addict may work with a psychotherapist to develop new ways to deal with food and his or her emotions. The therapist might be able to identify the source of the individual’s fear or anger—the reason behind the individual’s addiction. In the majority of cases, the psychologist will help the individual to develop a treatment plan which spells out expectations and goals, both for the short-term and the long-term. In the most serious cases, an individual may have to undergo in-patient treatment at a psychological facility. Treatment often involves helping the individual to return to healthy eating methods, dealing with the underlying emotional causes of addiction, and learning effective coping techniques.

Food addicts often follow the tenets of the same kind of 12-step program used by alcoholics. This involves admitting their powerlessness over food, their belief that they could be restored to sanity, and an admission of their faults and failings. In addition, food addicts often draw strength from support groups made up of people who have similar difficulties dealing with food. Just knowing that there are other people who face the same challenges can be incredibly therapeutic.

It is unclear at this point whether food addiction is a genetically-based illness. Certainly, however, there is evidence of eating patterns being passed down from one generation to the next. In fact, many food addicts may only seek help after they have determined that their illness could adversely affect their children.

It is entirely possible that a food addiction can never be cured, that it can only be treated. In other words, the recovery period for the addiction can last a lifetime. However, one should never lose hope of beating a food addiction. With patience and with time, individual addicts can learn the behavioral skills which will enable them to keep their weight under control. Of course, there will be times when individuals will be tempted to indulge in sweets or excessive carbohydrates. However, knowing the pain that they will undergo if they continue their harmful eating habits could be just the incentive they need to stay the course.

this is an extract from: http://www.healthyeatingadvice/

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Five "Health Foods" That May Be Making You Sick!

There are many of us who are dieting and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. We exercise and go out of our way to eat the best foods we can. Most of us already know that trans-fats, white sugar and white flour are not the best health choices, especially if we want to keep our weight down.

Unfortunately some of the very foods that we think are healthy are ones that can cause a lot of trouble for our bodies, and even make us ill. Below is a list of some surprisingly unhealthy “health foods.”

Artificial Sweeteners
Many people who are dieting, whether it is low calorie or low carb diets, will opt for beverages with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Admittedly sugar is certainly a troublemaker and should be avoided, but artificial sweeteners are actually worse for you and could even be dangerous to your health.

All the artificial sweeteners are bad, but one of the worst sweeteners for us is NutraSweet (Equal, aspartame). There are over 92 different health related side effects associated with aspartame consumption, including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures. There are more adverse reactions to NutraSweet reported to the FDA than all other foods and additives combined.

A much better alternative to chemically derived sweeteners is stevia, which comes from a plant. It has been used for centuries with no know side effects. It can be purchased in most health food stores in the United States.

Sports Drinks
Although marketers would have us believe that sports drinks are what the body needs when exercising heavily, the truth is that sports drinks are filled with sugar (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) and salt (potassium and sodium) as well as artificial flavorings and colorings. Add a little salt to Cool-Aid and you have about the same thing. You would be much better off drinking spring water or diluted freshly squeezed juices while exercising.

Most Energy and Sports Bars
Most sports and bars are also filled with things that are not the best for our bodies, and are little better than candy bars. Many of them contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, and synthetic nutrients. Check the ingredients before you buy an energy bar. Try to find one that is made with whole foods, such as oats and flax seeds, fruits, and natural sweeteners.

Soy Products
This is one of the most surprising ones of all, after all soy has been used for countless generations in Asia. But the way we now use soy is very different than the way the Asians have traditionally used it. The ancient Asians knew that the soybean was hard to digest, so they had extensive fermenting processes that broke down most of the indigestible components, making it much healthier to eat. Examples of this would be products like soy sauce, tempeh, and miso. These were used in small amounts as condiments and flavorings, not as a meat replacement.

But the way we use soy as a meat alternative (texturized vegetable protein or TVP) can be very unhealthy, since soy contains large amounts of toxins or anti-nutrients. Some of the problems the anti-nutrients in soybeans cause are conditions of the pancreas, cancer and thyroid problems. Soybeans also can block the body’s absorption of essential minerals.

Granola (and Other Unprepared Grains)
For the last 30-40 years granola has been synonymous with heath food. But eating unprepared grains, or grains that have not been soaked, fermented or sprouted, has only come about in the last 50-100 years. People who lived before our time understood that unprepared grains could cause dietary distress.

There are anti-nutrients in grains (like there are in soybeans), such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, that make them harder to digest. These antinutrients can cause serious problems like Crohn's disease, colitis, and even mental disorders. Our failure to prepare our grains properly is one of the reasons that celactic disease is so prevalent now.

So, stay away from the granola. Oatmeal is an excellent addition to our diets, but use whole rolled oats (not instant) and soak them overnight before boiling them for breakfast. Go to our recipe blog at for a good recipe for coconut oatmeal.

Good breads to eat are those that have properly prepared grains, including whole grain sourdough and sprouted grain breads. You can usually find these in specialty grocery stores and health food stores.

If you are trying to lose weight and/or eat healthier, remember that just because a company markets a “healthy” product well or a health food store sells it, it doesn’t mean that it is really healthy for you. Do some research before you grab that sports bar, or better yet, reach for an organic apple, cherries, or some other natural (not processed) food. Your body will thank you and reward you for it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Five "Health Foods" That May Be Making You Sick!

There are many of us who are dieting and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. We exercise and go out of our way to eat the best foods we can. Most of us already know that trans-fats, white sugar and white flour are not the best health choices, especially if we want to keep our weight down.

Unfortunately some of the very foods that we think are healthy are ones that can cause a lot of trouble for our bodies, and even make us ill. Below is a list of some surprisingly unhealthy “health foods.”

Artificial Sweeteners
Many people who are dieting, whether it is low calorie or low carb diets, will opt for beverages with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Admittedly sugar is certainly a troublemaker and should be avoided, but artificial sweeteners are actually worse for you and could even be dangerous to your health.

All the artificial sweeteners are bad, but one of the worst sweeteners for us is NutraSweet (Equal, aspartame). There are over 92 different health related side effects associated with aspartame consumption, including brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilepsy/seizures. There are more adverse reactions to NutraSweet reported to the FDA than all other foods and additives combined.

A much better alternative to chemically derived sweeteners is stevia, which comes from a plant. It has been used for centuries with no know side effects. It can be purchased in most health food stores in the United States.

Sports Drinks
Although marketers would have us believe that sports drinks are what the body needs when exercising heavily, the truth is that sports drinks are filled with sugar (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) and salt (potassium and sodium) as well as artificial flavorings and colorings. Add a little salt to Cool-Aid and you have about the same thing. You would be much better off drinking spring water or diluted freshly squeezed juices while exercising.

Most Energy and Sports Bars
Most sports and bars are also filled with things that are not the best for our bodies, and are little better than candy bars. Many of them contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives, and synthetic nutrients. Check the ingredients before you buy an energy bar. Try to find one that is made with whole foods, such as oats and flax seeds, fruits, and natural sweeteners.

Soy Products
This is one of the most surprising ones of all, after all soy has been used for countless generations in Asia. But the way we now use soy is very different than the way the Asians have traditionally used it. The ancient Asians knew that the soybean was hard to digest, so they had extensive fermenting processes that broke down most of the indigestible components, making it much healthier to eat. Examples of this would be products like soy sauce, tempeh, and miso. These were used in small amounts as condiments and flavorings, not as a meat replacement.

But the way we use soy as a meat alternative (texturized vegetable protein or TVP) can be very unhealthy, since soy contains large amounts of toxins or anti-nutrients. Some of the problems the anti-nutrients in soybeans cause are conditions of the pancreas, cancer and thyroid problems. Soybeans also can block the body’s absorption of essential minerals.

Granola (and Other Unprepared Grains)
For the last 30-40 years granola has been synonymous with heath food. But eating unprepared grains, or grains that have not been soaked, fermented or sprouted, has only come about in the last 50-100 years. People who lived before our time understood that unprepared grains could cause dietary distress.

There are anti-nutrients in grains (like there are in soybeans), such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, that make them harder to digest. These antinutrients can cause serious problems like Crohn's disease, colitis, and even mental disorders. Our failure to prepare our grains properly is one of the reasons that celactic disease is so prevalent now.

So, stay away from the granola. Oatmeal is an excellent addition to our diets, but use whole rolled oats (not instant) and soak them overnight before boiling them for breakfast. Go to our recipe blog at for a good recipe for coconut oatmeal.

Good breads to eat are those that have properly prepared grains, including whole grain sourdough and sprouted grain breads. You can usually find these in specialty grocery stores and health food stores.

If you are trying to lose weight and/or eat healthier, remember that just because a company markets a “healthy” product well or a health food store sells it, it doesn’t mean that it is really healthy for you. Do some research before you grab that sports bar, or better yet, reach for an organic apple, cherries, or some other natural (not processed) food. Your body will thank you and reward you for it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Barbecue Tips For Better Taste

We all know that for some reason there are a lot of people that volunteer to be responsible for the grilling and barbecue at every event that has this option, and many times the barbecue is destroyed for a wide variety of reasons, the fire was too strong, the wind increased the fire, the meat was not right etc.

To know how to grill successfully is not about being an expert at all kind of meat grilling and fire building, it is simply keeping some very basic rules to the way you use the grill and some advice regarding the fire. Control of the fire is a basic rule you must keep if you want a better chance of eating a nicely grilled meat, and if fact it is the most difficult to keep, you need to be slow and conscience of what you are doing.

Most people discover that grilling takes much longer than they thought it would, this brings a lot of problems to the barbecue table, the person in charge of the barbecue gets hungry, people come to visit the grill and offer a lot of advice and tips and some people just visit to see how it is doing, because they start getting hungry. The best thing to do is know your plan, find out the time that the meat is expected to be ready, and start the fire 20 minutes ahead of time since increasing the fire is not a problem, but decreasing it might be a very big problem.

Have a little something to eat before you start, or throughout the cooking to keep you focused on the quality and not the time it take to cook, take the meat out from anything that keeps it cool about 30 minutes before you will load it on the grill, this will help the meat to cook ideally.

In most cases you would want the barbecue not to have any fire but only heat and at that point you need to decide if its warm enough, or needs more heat. To increase the heat you can simply blow into the fire or use something you can wave to make it grow, if you want to decrease the fire you can use a small amount of water to kill some extra warm places and reduce the heat, do not use a lot of water because if you do you run a very good chance of killing the fire altogether. If you are unsure about the heat you can place a small piece of meat and wait 10 minutes to see the effect.

Take the fat off the meat before you cook it, the fat can increase the fire when it starts to drip into the barbecue, and in some cases, if the fire is too strong it can result in the meat actually catching fire which is a catastrophe for the person who is about to eat that piece of meat. In any case, when cooking some kind of meat you never had cooked before you should always test the fire before you introduce all the meat to the grill, so start the grill ahead of time, test the meat for about 15 minutes and see if it’s the right heat for it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bar Stools Made From Various Metals

In order to keep metal bar stools looking as good as the day you bought them, the bar stool or stools need to be maintained on a regular basis. The level of care you should provide is determined the type of metal used. Most of the bar stool that are manufactured from metal are aluminium, stainless steel, tempered steel, bronze, or wrought iron. Each of these bar stools is different in the way they need to be maintained to ensure the excellent quality is kept up.

Aluminium bar stools are very good to have in any area of the bar, restaurant or home because they wont rust and they are very strong and durable for how light it is. To clean these aluminium bar stools you can use simple house hold products, it is simply a matter of spray and wipe. Use a cotton cloth. If you detect a scratch, lightly buff it with a coarse cloth or very fine sandpaper, be sure to go easy though. For dings and dents, try a ball peen hammer, if the location is accessible. Otherwise, ask for the help of a professional.

Stainless steel bar stools, just like the aluminium stools, are very easy to maintain. If the bar stools have a high shine or have a chrome coat then the best thing to use is chrome cleaner to refresh the shiny surface. Otherwise, just use standard cleaning products. Stainless steel and temper steel bar stools are very strong, so you should never have any problems with dents. Although if one ever occurs, then you might need to seek professional advice in order to rectify the problem. If you need advice to fix some minor bumps and scrapes then check out the internet for advice.

You can also get polished surfaces refinished for a small fee through some furniture stores, should the stools become badly scratched over time.
Pewter, bronze, and wrought iron are alike metals in terms of their softness. They are easily cleaned with particular cleaners made for that exacting metal. Just ask when you acquire the stools and the salesperson should point out the suitable cleaning agents.

These metals do run the risk of becoming dented or badly scratched. Because they are softer, dents can become hazardous if they are profound and affect the stool legs. It can cause a leg to crumple and the entire stool to give way with a person sitting on it. For this reason, it's a prudent move to inspect the legs on stools made from pewter, bronze, or wrought iron regularly. If you have any doubts, take the stool out of commission and have a pro look it over.

All metal stools are built to last for years with minimal care. It's one of the main advantages of buying them. Just clean each stool occasionally and keep an eye out for scratches and dents.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gourmet Coffee The Best Information

If you are really fed up with having the hum drum coffee all the time. Then it’s time to recompense yourself with something diverse and exciting. Why not spritz up your morning routine with a cup of exquisite “gourmet coffee”.

The dictionary definition has gourmet food down as this, “Gourmet food is that which is of the highest quality, perfectly prepared and artfully presented.” If you want the maximum quality food you go to a star class restaurant, but if you want the premier quality coffee, this can be achieved by you at home. That gourmet meal is in all probability staying at the restaurant where you ate, unless you become friends with the chef and invite him over, but as for the cup of gourmet coffee you can make it where ever you desire.

Gourmet coffee is more expensive than the standard supermarket brands, but there is simply no comparison in the quality of the coffee. If you are wealthy then you could enjoy such gourmet coffee when ever you wanted, otherwise it would be a nice thing to keep for weekends or when ever you had special company over for a visit.

To make your own gourmet coffee, start with the coffee beans. Gourmet Coffee beans can be purchased in several forms, by the pound or by the kilo and so on and there are several varieties from which to choose. Some of the most admired gourmet coffee beans include Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, and Sumatra types.

Coffee beans are similar to wine in that they name the coffee beans after the region of origin. In the world of wine you have the well-liked Sonoma wines which come from Sonoma Valley in California. In the world of coffee the equivalent would be Kona coffee beans which come from Kona, Hawaii.

Kona coffee beans are developed in rich volcanic soil and the placid tropical climate of the Kona coffee belt on the west side of Hawaii. It has a superbly full, rich and silky flavour with little or no bitter after taste. Be sure that you buy Kona coffee beans and not a Kona blend. A Kona blend can legally be labelled as Kona with as it consists of as little as 10% of actual Kona coffee bean.
The next thing you will need to do is grind your gourmet coffee beans. Ground coffee starts to lose it’s flavour once it has been grinded and exposed to the fresh air.

So to keep the optimum freshness you will only grind what you need for that one gourmet cup of coffee. You will want to grind your coffee beans until they are extremely fine, but don’t pound them into dust. If the ground coffee is to fine the heat of your coffee machine with dry up all the oils of the coffee bean and it is this part that gives the gourmet coffee its exquisite flavour.

Another key element in good coffee making is to clean your coffee machine on a daily basis. A clean coffee machine makes a major distinction in the final taste of your coffee. At least once a month pour a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water into your coffee maker. Allow the mix to travel through the complete brewing process. Repeat the procedure again using only water this time to rinse out any junk or vinegar left inside. Do this until the smell of vinegar is no more.

Now your work is finished and it is time for the coffee machine to pull it’s weight. Use clean filtered water and fill the coffee maker to the desired level. Use about 6 ounces of water for every 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee. Turn it on and hang around while it brews. You will want to present to soak up the delightful aroma.

Everyday coffee is perfect for everyday use. But every once in a while you should treat yourself to something special. And what better way to start a special than that with a special cup of coffee. Gourmet coffees can really jazz up your day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gourmet: A Defining Moment

Do you remember the first time you had a “gourmet” delicacy? I do. I was having dinner in a restaurant of supreme quality and reputation, and I ordered the escargot. It was the most wonderful entrée I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. The food there was delicious and prepared with individuality. Therein is the chief ingredient for gourmet. The definition of gourmet is a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment, especially good food and drink. That is the discriminating difference between McDonald’s and Savoy’s. Food production for the masses is a necessity. But it eliminates the wonderful, sensual, enjoyment to be had in the consumption of a gourmet meal.

Having operated a restaurant for several years, I can vouch for the truth in the discriminating taste of the public. Everyone would like a gourmet meal on a shoestring budget. It is just not a possibility. If you’re going to ask for sensual enjoyment, you’re going to have to pay for that privilege. It’s not cheap food. It was not intended to be. Gourmet food is prepared with the individual tastes and talents of a trained chef. The use of only fresh, high, quality ingredients is a must, and strict adherence to the chef’s preferred seasonings required. Given all this special attention, one must assume the price to be more than $2.95. But then, I ask you, if it’s gourmet, is price not irrelevant?

Occasionally, we must throw aside our frugal tendencies, and simply take a moment to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The gourmet inside us all needs an opportunity now and then to experience a rare bottle of wine, the finest liver pate, or the gourmet chocolate of Godiva. That’s the wonderful thing about gourmet. It’s very subjective. Your tastes are not mine.

There are some basics about gourmet that remain no matter what the taste of the chef or the customer. It isn’t gourmet if it isn’t made with quality ingredients, attention to detail, individuality, and seasonings and flavors that bring unique richness to the food. To simply include the words exotic, specialty, or rare does not make food gourmet. The experience of real gourmet is much bigger than just fancy words.

Many gourmet chefs and cooks have been apprenticed or educated formally for several years. They have degrees in how to uniquely prepare your food. Or maybe the term gourmet is applied because the preparations and process have been so refined as to be considered expert in the field. This is the case with certain wine makers. The wine is considered gourmet because of the unique sensations and taste of the wine on the taster’s pallet. It is beyond compare. Many gourmet chefs buy only locally grown foods. In doing so, they are adding to the uniqueness of the experience.

So, as you can see, gourmet is not just a description. It is truly an experience to be enjoyed by young and old, rich and poor. Take a moment, set aside the budget and allow yourself the extreme pleasure of a gourmet meal. Ah….. the pleasures of life!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Glens Whisky

Glen Ord
At a glance, the fertile plains of the Black Mr Horn a pretty fine site for a distillery quality supplies of barley, some peat from illy hansons ground, pure water..

Given the fecundity of the area it Is perfectly logical that UDV, Glen Ord has one of its main makings on the market, making Glen Ord one of only three distilleries to produce all its own malt on site (the others being Tamdhu and Springbank).

Because it's uncommon to look inside a 11 dern commercial makings, this vitally important element in making malt whisky needs to be glossed over. When you walk into a vast majority of distilleries, the tour starts at 11 at the mill and the skill of the people in the malting area is forgotten.

Glen Ord, for example, makes the malt for six of UDV's plants, including Talisker, and each of the distilleries needs a slightly different specification of malt-peating level, moisture content, even variety. When you are processing 1,000 tons of barley a week and hitting those tight specifications week in, week out, that's some achievement.

So, is Glen Ord makings with a distillery attached, a distillery with a makings, or a hybrid of the two? For a few years recently it seemed that the distillery had the upper hand. It was to be UDV's trump card, and it deserved to be. Today it seems to have been quietly dropped, but don't tell that to Barbara Ogilvie, Glen Ord's ambassador.
Barbara is the latest in a long line of women to run the distillery - at one Mini' I litre were five female malt masters working in the Hour makings - and has an irrepressible lovr nl 'her' malt. The visitor's centre is more of a community museum than the usual showcase and her tales of illicit distilling, mild knowledge of modern distilling and mulling are encyclopaedic.


Glen Ord 12-year-old
Freshly turned earth, sultana and cake mix/malt on the nose. Clean and smooth on the palate, with some clootie dumpling, sugared almond and spice balancing the sherry wood

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Glens Scotch Whisky

Glen Garioch
Despite being one of the most fertile parts of Scotland, Aberdeenshire has very few distilleries. In 1995 it looked likely to have one less when Morrison Bowmore (MBD) mothballed Glen Garioch, in the little town of Oldmeldrum. Much to everyone's surprise they reopened it two years later - in time for its 200th birthday - and gave Fraser Hughes his first managerial job.

Fraser is overseeing a radical shift in Gier. Garioch's style. For years, MBD had hammered on the peat, but now the malt i-unpeated. A new yeast strain is being usec and the cut has been narrowed, resulting :r. i gorgeously-sweet and fragrant new make. 'Not many people get the chance to be in charge and be in at the start of such a huge transformation,' says Fraser. 'I'm really excited about it. 10 years down the line this will be a winner.'

The superb malt barns could produce three-quarters of the distillery's needs and Fraser is clearly itching to get them going again. Successful trials mean it is a distinct possibility that the smell of kilning malt could once again waft over the village, whici has been rejuvenated since the reopening. 'Five of the original staff came back when we reopened, even though they had taken new-jobs elsewhere,' he says. 'That shows the faith they have in us. We have to repay that, by making good spirit.'

Eleven jobs have been created and, if malt barns and warehouses reopen, more could appear. It seems to run counter to industry practise. 'I don't believe all that computerisation is whisky making,' says Fraser. 'You need that personal touch. It's hard to explain, but it should never be likes conveyor belt. Nothing beats being hands« it's graft and sweat that makes whisky.

'I've worked my way up from the floor. Not many people can say that these days and, sadly, not many people will have that chance. I'm lucky and it keeps your feet on | the ground.' A manager and a whisky to watch out for.


Glen Garioch 8-year-old
Some turfy/peaty notes, with bonfires and a bint of sherry. Smoky, roasted flavour with a lick of ginger on the finish.

Glen Garioch 15-year-old
Pungent, intense mix of fresh ginger, fabric conditioner and leather car upholstery.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Glenmorangie Scotish Whisky

Single Highland Rare Malt Scotch Whisky

Few distilleries have been as transformed I the malt explosion as Glenmorangie. 'In til 1970s there were two stills and we were selling five cases of malt a year," says manager Graham Eunson. 'Now we've go( eight stills, we're the biggest selling malt in little chance that success will breed complacency here on the northeast coast; for this is a firm that is forever asking why trying out new ideas, trying to grasp the elusive secret of Scotch. You might expect space-age control panels, but you won't find any.

'I've yet to be convinced of the benefits) computerization in a distillery,' says Graha 'And I'm yet to be convinced that the capit expenditure needed to install computerization justifies laying a man off. you replace a mashman with computer equipment then you have to employ an evei more expensive engineer to solve any problems.' That was music to the ears of Brian Gilmour, who was mashing as we chatted. He was turning valves, nudging the temperature this way and that, and always listening; for, as he explained, part of his jol is knowing the significance of each sound -whether it's the change in pitch of the pump or the switchers girning away. 'The fact it's manual keeps you involved,' he says. 'It giv< it that personal touch - and there's always something to be done!'

It means that Glenmorangie's long-running 16 Men of Tain campaign is no PR gloss. Neither are these old guys looking back with rose-tinted glasses. This is a youni team well aware of the needs of today's J industry, but faithful to tradition. 'I'm a traditionalist, but a realist as well,' says Graham. T don't believe in change for change's sake and altering production to cu the workforce is beyond me. Can you imagine if Glenmorangie was the 16 megabytes of Tain?'

The workforce here understands their distillery's little quirks - from the use of ha water to the tall, slim stills that stand like elegant pillars in the cathedral-like stillhou Their height and narrowness means not only this there's considerable interplay between vapour and copper, but that only the lightest Vti pours can force their way to the top. But running four wash and four spirit stills at-the •mme time takes great skill, especially as some of them behave differently. The longest serving man here, Kenny McDonald, has had .1 running battle with Number Two wash still tor years,' says Graham. 'You can come in and he's yelling at it. It just doesn't behave.'

The water and stills each play their part in creating Glenmorangie's spicy, pear-drop and apple character, but it is rounded out and given added complexity by a wood policy, masterminded by Bill Lumsden, that's among the tightest in the industry. Not only does the firm now insist on using only ex-Bourbon casks made from air-dried wood from certain slopes in the Ozarks, but it also controls what type of warehouses are used to age the Glenmorangie stocks.

The 10-year-old, for example, has a recipe for first and second fill wood, so certain types of casks are placed in certain types and areas of warehouses. They are pinning it down to the microclimate within each warehouse. With an ever-expanding range of finishes and plans to release a malt made from barley grown on its own farm, the range just keeps growing. Graham believes this is the difference between a malt-led company and a blend-led one.

I worked for a blend-led firm before this and you were a number. The people who took the decisions on whether you are open or shut didn't know who they were affecting or how their decisions impacted on people and communities. The guys here have strong feelings about Glenmorangie's success. They are the custodians of the distillery and the fact that they make something that's known worldwide gives them enormous pride.'


Glenmorangie 10-year-old
The benchmark distillery style: pear drops, light orange and citrus fruit, light spice and a crisp note. Delicate but with a good, smooth and soft body.

Glenmorangie 15-year-old
finished in new wood 43%ABV Creme brulee, orange peel and vanilla. Light spice and a hint of sooty wood. A mix of bracing air and vanilla on the finish.

Glenmorangie Cellar 13
aged in first-fill casks A fragrant nose with apple blossom, fresh pear, ozone and lemon icing. Soft and long, with a great mix of blossom-like top notes, a creamy palate and a salty tang on the end. Brilliant. Finishes all 43 %ABV

Port Wood has touches of anise, red fruit, spices and a long rosehip syrup finish; Sherry Wood has full-on oloroso notes, tending to nut and spice with some cake mix and pear; and Madeira Wood is a fascinating mix of dried mushroom, spice and charred wood ending with a salty tang.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Glenfiddich Scotch Whisky

Nothing is straightforward in whisky. Here is a distillery which makes the biggest selling malt in the world, but still uses coal-fired stills, a technique most distillers have abandoned for being too expensive and liable to give variable results.

It's a light dram produced from tiny stills, when industry wisdom maintains that small equals big.
Only Glenfiddich and Springbank make, mature and bottle on the same site. To be the manager of all of that must be daunting, but lan Millar is up for it. With 25 years' experience in 10 UD distilleries, lan knows how to get the most out of a plant.

As a modern distillery manager he has to balance the need for a plant to be cost-effective, while preserving the tradition which uniquely impacts on the distillery's character. 'The lower the cost per litre, the greater the margin,' he says.

'So whisky production is all to do with lowering the cost of the make.' Unromantic? A distillery manager's job has always been about getting the best possible yield from the malt, without impacting on quality or character.
Bring three managers together in the same room and you can bet that within minutes they'll be bragging about how high their yield is. Be will be boys. lan is obviously enjoying the challenge! managing such a high-profile place. 'This i such a diverse site.

We have floor malting Balvenie, we have three distilleries Kininv is also on site, one of which is coal-fired, we've a cooperage, we're maturing all the stocks on the one site and bottling it here« well. Working for a smaller company has enabled me to get involved in areas such as wood purchase, which I've been unable to access in the past, so personally there's a new depth to the job.'
As a new boy, it also means that he relied on the experience of his staff. 'Work with people is the joy of this job,' he says

A lot of people here have been brought up in rhe whisky industry. Their fathers, inii It's and grandfathers have worked here lirli in1 them. They've great pride in what they tin .ind are steeped in tradition.

Developing his skills is, he feels, fundamental to developing the Glenfiddich tick. 'Traditionally, the distillers and brewers haven't been given enough credit for what they have done. The way things are developing it's the integrators who are taking more responsibility, whereas in the past they would look up and ask, what to do.

'We didn't give them an understanding of the process,' he adds. 'If people are more involved and have more responsibility you are more likely to monitor the quality of the spirit. If they're not involved, it's down to you.
Glenfiddich is up there to be shot at, but no matter what the rest of the trade or the critics say, it keeps on selling. Its site may be a tourist trap (but then it does give free tours), and it may be seen as a sign of weakness or innocence to say you like a dram of 'Fiddich, but can millions of consumers be that wrong?

OK, it's not the greatest malt in Scotland, but it has never claimed to be. In its standard issue it's a perfectly decent (and mixable) drink - a Strauss waltz rather than a Mahler symphony. The newest expressions, the likes of Solera, Millennium and 25-year-old, point to a degree of substance behind the froth.


Glenfiddich Special Reserve
Hay-like and grassy, with some pear. A sweet start, with a touch of peanut brittle on the finish. * Glenfiddich 12-year-old A malty/oatcake nose with some grassiness. Sweet in the mouth with a mix of white chocolate and gorse. A spicy, creamy little number ivith a tingling finish

Glenfiddich 15-year-old Solera Reserve
A mix of dried fruits and milk chocolate on the nose. Touch of fruit and some walnut/orange sherry notes. Crisp, with a finish of fresh raspberries, chocolate and cream.

Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18-year-old
A waft of cereal/bran notes and some sherry wood. A little peat smoke and mocha. The finish has a bint of caramel.

Glenfiddich Millennium Reserve 21-year-old
Lovely nose of fresh flowers, nuts and ripe red plums. Soft and quite chocolatey to start; velvety, with a mix of vanilla pod and coffee bean on the very long finish. Subtly charming.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Give The Gift Of A Gourmet Gift Basket

A tisket a tasket, a special food treat basket. What a great way to say “I’m thinking about you.” Gourmet gift baskets are really nice, always appropriate and not overly expensive. They’re a great one to send your congratulations on a joyous occasion, or to say "I care" when things don’t seem to be going so well in someone’s life.

Gourmet gift baskets are great to give as an office gift, to a fellow employee or even to your boss. They’re also great to give as gift for all for an office party or for a business meeting when some sort of refreshments are in order. You will want to think carefully about what to order to fill the basket, things that won’t be messy for an office business meeting for example. Careful thought along those lines will point you to just the right things and your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

These are also the kind of gift that can be given to a fellow employee or to your boss without having to be concerned about being misunderstood. They’re a gift sure to be appreciated without being personal in a way that will start unwanted rumors.

A gourmet food basket is also a great gift to welcome a new employee to the company or a new client. Possibly your company is hosting a sales or business convention. What a great welcoming gift for each conventioneer to find in their room, they’re sure to feel welcomed and wanted and what a great attitude to start off with for this sort of an occasion.

Perhaps a friend or family member has just had a new baby. What a great way to say congratulations to the new parents and welcome to the new baby. You can have the basket filled with special treats sure to make the new mom and dad feel pampered and special and also include some small treats such as a pacifier and small stuffed animals for the newcomer. If there are older brothers and sisters, don’t forget to include some special little thing for them as well.

These baskets also make great holiday gifts for those people whom you definitely want to remember with something really nice but for whom you just can’t think of the right thing. There is such a vast selection of treats that you are sure to be able to make your basket a special treat and sure to be appreciated. Adding some sort of festive trimming to reflect the specific holiday will make your gift just right for any occasion.

Gourmet gift baskets are sure to be regarded as a special gift no matter what the occasion. They can be packaged and sent within 24 hours and also can be specially packed to be sent through the mail. When you need a gift that’s sure to be appreciated, send a special food treat, send a gourmet food basket.

Copyright 2005 by D. L. Randolph. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gift Baskets Sweeten The Deal

Gift baskets in the middle of no-holiday month are not uncommon these days especially with the business community recognizing the potential gift baskets have to impress clients or prospective suppliers. According to statistics, gift basket sales have increased in recent years even during months that are considered off-season. It is also becoming a very popular gift of choice in the corporate setting. This gave rise to the concept of business gift baskets.

With the realization that it is necessary for business survival, companies took extra steps to cultivate relationships with business partners, clients, suppliers, and employees. They realized that taking care of these professional relationships is essential to develop loyalty. And nothing says "I'm glad to be your partner" or "It's a pleasure to do business with you" than gift baskets sent right after closing deals. It is also to the givers' advantage if the gift baskets mirror the interests of the recipients. This shows that the giver is really interested and keen to develop professional relationship with the receiver. For example, send your new business partner a chocolate gift basket instead of a fruit basket after he closed a huge deal because he has a sweet tooth. Though the recipient would appreciate the fruit basket, the chocolate basket would reflect your sincere thanks and congratulations. In short, it is necessary to really know your partners, associates, and employees so your efforts would not appear half-baked.

However, you cannot just give gift baskets to anybody even if you do know what they like. It is also vital to consider the level or degree of professional relationship. Does the recipient has a higher position than you? Is he/she a prospective client that could bring in a huge deal? Is the recipient the your most reliable supplier that gives you the best deals? Then by all means, be generous. Give him or her a pricey gift basket. This will reflect your taste, and the value of your gift may be read as the value you place on them. This is not to say that you could go giving your employees dime-worthy gift baskets because they are inferior by position. It is alright to give your best employees special gift baskets as a token for closing a big deal or a project ahead of schedule. For general gift giving during the holidays, gift baskets that reflect their job would do the trick. For example, add a journal with a nice pen for your writers or a CD of new graphic styles for your graphic artists.

As cliche as it sounds, it is still the thought that you put into giving that counts. But remember that the gifts you are planning to give such as your gift baskets are not ordinary gifts. They show your partners that you value them, but they are also for forging stronger business ties and professional alliances with them. It may sound extreme, but what you give them could make or break your business.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Get away from it all

Haven't you ever had time you wanted to get away from it all? In March/April 1978, published a story about a couple who bought McLeod's Island — a 90-acre island off the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.

They have a few animals, spend very little on groceries, and are pretty well sustained by the island itself. Although it does present them with some challenges:

"The sea, you know, is not called "restless" for nothing. A glass-smooth bay (as we've learned so well!) can churn-sometimes seemingly in seconds-into a windswept chaos of currents and combers. We've also seen that same bay (the one in which our island is located) thaw and then completely refreeze in just hours on a single December day.

Winters up here can be especially variable. Continual spring-like thaws throughout 1976's cold season, for instance, kept our bay filled with slushy ice that was too thick to push a boat through ... but too dangerous for even a fox to walk on. We were marooned for three full months, from the first of January until the end of March. Last winter's record cold snap, on the other hand, filled the bay so solidly with pack ice that we could hike back and forth to the mainland for our mail and toboggan loads of supplies any time we wanted."

For some of us, we find the Internet gives us the freedom to be able to work and live almost any place we want to. These people didn't have that luxury. I use the past tense as I can't find any current information about them. Who knows? Maybe the tide swept the out to sea.

Life is full of sacrifices. Some are just more dear than others. Still, I don't think buying an island is in my future.

You can read the whole article here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

German Beer

Copyright 2006 Joshua Spaulding

Most German beers are popular, because they are vegan (no animal products are used). Bavarian purity laws require them to use four ingredients only: water, grain, hops and yeast. Real German beer is also not pasteurized as many American beers are, which allows the beers real flavor to flourish.

Listed below are some of the different types of German beers typically found in Bavaria and what you can expect if you order one of these types.

"Helles" ( A lite beer) The standard light beer, when you order a "Helles" in a pub or restaurant you will usually get a pint. Depending on the brewer it can be quite refreshing. Some beer gardens have responded to the public's outcry for smaller quantities and now also offer them outdoors, the "real" beer garden only serves the "Maß" (one quart). By the way, this precise nation has laws governing the quantity of liquids served to the public, that is why you will find level markers on each glass. If your Maß looks like it is not quite 1 liter after the foam settles, just go back and say "bitte nachschenken". The man at the keg will be impressed that you know your way around.

"Pils" (Pilsener) If you like a more bitter and less malty taste try the pils which is also called pilsener. You can order them in restaurants and special pils bars. Take a closer look at the time consuming process of serving a foam crowned pils with perfection. You will see dozens of glasses filled with foam only, waiting to settle. It can take a good quarter of an hour for the foam refills to turn into the golden liquid. This particular beer is arguably the closest to American beer you will find in Germany.

"Dunkles" (A dark beer) Against popular beliefs it is not the most powerful in alcohol contents. It is basically a lager bottom brewed beer containing "toasted" malt. Many enjoy mixing this with cola.

"Weissbier" (A white beer) A very good idea on a hot day when you prefer a lighter tasting beer. Weizen means wheat, often called a Weissbier (white), and is served in tall and elegant 1/2 liter glasses. But beware of its "light" character it is the strongest in alcohol content. While some will serve it with a slice of lemon, do not put one in your Hefe (yeast) Weissbier. The Hefeweissbier comes only in bottles. A professional will wet the glass and pour the bottle at a steep angle. With the foam that remains at the bottom of the bottle he will collect the yeast (swirling action) and add it to your beer.

“Bock and Doppelbock” (A Bock beer) Bock is a term used for a stronger beer (doppel meaning double). Fasting monks found an ingenious way of compensating the lack of food - they started brewing very strong beers. March and October are the two most prominent seasons for brewing these special beers but you can find them year round.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fusion Cooking – Blended Cuisines

What do you get when you cross hot Indian food with the English love of tomatoes and all things creamy? Chicken Tikka Masala is a famous combination of chicken tikka and masala.Chicken tikka is a marinated piece of meat cooked in a tandoor, an Indian oven made of clay and coal-fired. Masala is gravy commonly made out of some kind of tomato gravy or puree with cream and various Indian spices.It is technically a mild curry dish, though the addition of sometimes large amounts of tartrazine causes the dish to often look orange.In other recipes, it can look anything from red to orange to green.

Chicken Tikka Masala is possibly the most popular Indian dish in the world, and has arguably replaced tandoori chicken as the flagship of Indian food, including on the subcontinent itself; it even has a musical written singing its praises.In the United Kingdom alone, Marks & Spencer, the famous English retailer, claims to sell 18 tons a week of the chicken in Tikka Masala Sandwiches, while 23 million servings a year are sold at Indian restaurants. Sainsbury’s, another retailer, sells 1.6 million dishes every year, and stocks 16 different products containing what is affectionately known as CTM.10 tons a day are manufactured by Noon Products to later be sold at supermarkets.

The chicken, though widely considered an Indian dish, does not hail from India. Kitchens from London to Glasgow claim to have originated the dish, which was first seen in the late 1960s.According to urban legend, the dish was created by a Bangladeshi chef in Britain when he served chicken tandoor to an Englishman only to be asked, “where’s my gravy?” The result? A mixture of cream of tomato soup and spices, which he called masala.And like that, chicken tikka masala was born, an early example of what we would now call fusion cooking.It is now so popular that British politician and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook once described it as, “a true British national dish,” citing its combination of authentic Indian cooking with the British desire to have their meat served with gravy.

What goes into a chicken tikka masala? Well, a 1998 survey indicated that of 48 versions, the only common ingredient was chicken.A common recipe includes chicken marinated overnight in yogurt, ginger, garlic, cardamom powder, cumin, white pepper, and other spices.The chicken is cooked briefly in the hot tandoor, and is then served with a sauce made of tomato, ginger, garlic, cream, green and red pepper, and an assortment of spices.The sauce is poured over the chicken after it is cooked. In contrast to tandoori chicken, on which it is based, the taste is mild and creamy, rather than spicy.

Is chicken tikka masala an English or an Indian dish? The answer is unclear, as it has been adopted so readily that it is served in almost every Indian restaurant, an indication that Indians have accepted it as their own.Several English firms now specialize in exporting the dish back to India.Whatever its origins, however, it is now enjoyed by millions each year.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Furniture Style Bar Stool Designs

Furniture bar stools are just like any other recliners or sofa chairs. At their core they are still bar stools with swivel action seats and bar stool style legs, although these bar stools have far more uses than your ordinary run of the mill bar stool. For those of you who would have one of these stylish and elegant bar stools in your home, you will find that they would go well in your living room or entertainment room. These furniture bar stools are also exceptionally comfortable when used as a counter stool in your kitchen.

Now if you are in the market for furniture bar stools there are a number of places to go to find them. You could in all probability find an extensive range at a local furniture store; this is of course if you live in or around a big city or town that boast such stores. The number 2 option is to check out the local gaming and billiard room factories. The third option is by far the best option all round, shop online; the selection of furniture bar stools available to you is truly astounding. Applying this method of shopping will not only save you a lot of time and hassle but comes with an added bonus you need never have to even get out of your pj’s.

Outside the straightforward conveniences of shopping online, the amount of bar stool designs you will find on the internet is incredible. There are numerous websites that feature nothing but bar stools. Some of the best bar stool site have quite literally 100’s of bar stools to choose from. You are sure to find the style of stool that will suit you.

If you are after discounted or cheap bar stools then it would be advisable to check out some of the best bar stool sites that always have keen prices and discounts like or ebay. There are a lot of quality bargains to be found if just take time to investigate the options available to you.

If you want to find 2nd hand bar stools, but you don’t want to shop online because you don’t feel like its your cup of tea, check out your local newspaper's garage, car boot and yard sale announcements. Look for estate sales and auctions in particular, and get there early because all the best furniture always goes fast at such events.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fruits That Grow In Different Seasons In The US

Besides being a country that inhabits a diverse civilization; the United States of America also carries out diverse cultivation and processing of a wide variety of fruits. Fruits that are unique to America have gradually permeated the global fruit market thereby validating the advanced agricultural biodiversity that has developed across the US. A wide variety of fruits are cultivated in different parts of America; during different seasons.


Cranberry is a significant commercial crop of America; with Wisconsin as its leading producer. The second largest producer is Massachusetts and it also forms a major crop of Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine and Washington. They are predominantly grown and found in the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. The plant is a low shrub with slender stems; with small evergreen leaves. The berry (fruit) is larger in size than the plant leaves and develops a deep red color in its fully ripe phase. The fruit is a tad acidic sweet and possesses many antioxidant qualities. It is popularly known as the "superfruit" of America due to its rich nutrient content. While cranberries are sold in their fresh forms to consumers; mostly cranberries are processed into sauces, juices as well as dried cranberries (sweetened). In fact, Cranberry sauce forms a significant culinary item during the American Thanksgiving as well as various European festivals. Cranberries are usually harvested during the months of September and October. The fruit is also favored due to its health benefits.

American Mayapple

This fruit is also termed as the Devil's apple, Hogapple, Indian apple, Wild lemon or the American Mandrake. While the flower of this crop appears in May; the fruit only appears during summertime and the Mayapple plant is perennial. It is usually found in the woodlands in Canada as well as East of Oklahoma. The plant stems are approx 30-40 cm tall and the rhizome of this plant is supposed to have various medicinal properties. It is important to note here that the Mayapple plant, except for the fruit; is toxic in nature and if consumed can kill a human within 24 hours. The fruit, in some cases may cause diarrhoea. The plant is therefore rated as "unsafe" by the FDA.

American Persimmon

The American Persimmon tree is native to the Eastern region of the United States and the fruits typically appear when tree is about 6 years old. The American Persimmon fruit is orange to black in color and is round or oval in shape. The fruit size may vary between 2 – 6 centimeters. They are commonly referred to as “simmons” and forms an essential part of American desserts or cuisines. Its commercial varieties include Early Golden, John Rick, Woolbright, and Miller and the Ennis. The fruit is juicy and sweet in its ripened phase. The fruit ripens during late autumn and is a rich source of Vitamin C.


The Blueberry plant is native only to the North American region and its leaves are either evergreen or deciduous and bell shaped. The berry fruit develops a dark purple color when fully ripened with a sweet and acidic taste. The fruiting takes place between the months of May and October, with July being the peak fruiting season. For this reason, July is referred to as the "National Blueberry Month" in the US and Canada. The Blueberry fruit has been categorized as a "superfruit" as it is rich in nutrient content and also happens to be a rich source of antioxidants and has various health benefits. It is also used in the manufacture of various consumer products.

Beach Plum

The Beach Plum (plum specie) is native to the Atlantic coast of North American region, from New Brunswick south to Maryland. This shrub grows naturally in its sand dune habitat. The blooming takes place during mid May and June and ripening of fruit takes place in August and early September. A well-drained soil and sun is preferred by this plant and it well tolerates the salt. In its sand dune habitat; the plant gets partially buried in the sand. The plant is commercially cultivated primarily for its fruit, which is used to make jams. The Plum Island in Massachusetts gets its name from the Beach Plum Fruit.


The Pawpaw plant is native to the Eastern region of North America. Locally; the fruit has assumed various common names such as the Prairie Banana, Indiana Banana, Kentucky Banana, Ozark Banana and Michigan Banana. The Pawpaw fruit is among the largest fruits of North America. The fruit is approx 5 to 16 cm long and resembles a large berry with numerous seeds. Upon ripening it develops a yellow or brown color. It happens to be a rich source of protein and Southeast Ohio happens to be the largest grower and harvester of the Pawpaw fruit.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fruit For Though: How Grape Juice Can Help Keep Us Mentally On Track

We've all heard that drinking wine is good for us, but what about those who are on medication and just can't indulge in alcohol? Well, according the experts, non-fermented (Concord) grapes may be just as healthy for you, especially when it comes to our aging brains. In fact new studies suggest that drinking a healthy amount of unadulterated (Concord) grape juice can help us healthy by keeping our bodies laden with important antioxidants and our minds limber and our memories on track.

Recent research shows that grape juice given to lab rats (who were approaching the end of their life span) enhanced their cognitive and motor abilities and skills. The researchers placed laboratory animals under a significant series of tests focusing on their short-term memory and their neuro-motor skills. What they found, was that the majority of the tests conducted revealed ample improvement or a trend toward substantial improvement in these essential areas that also significantly affect humans as they age.

These experiments, addressing our continually and increasingly aging population (people these days can look forward to enjoying a healthy life, up into their 80s and beyond, with a new standard reaching the 100 year mark), seek to determine better ways for individuals to grow "old" gracefully and maintain their mental and physical abilities and skills.

Experts go on to add that although these tests and findings are currently in the preliminary stages, they assert that much (previous) research has identified (red, concord) grapes as containing essential antioxidants that are beneficial for our health for a vast variety of reasons, including lowering cholesterol, and warding off serious ailments such as certain types of cancers. Now, drinking Concord grape juice is gaining notoriety for it (seeming) potential to help retard the mental and physical deterioration process that generally has been associated with aging.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fruit Basket Checklist: Are You In The Know?

How many of these mistakes are you making?

1)You buy items on impulse and nothing else.
2)You don't comparison shop before spending your hard earned money.
3)You like spend more money and get less than you really should.

Well, I was like you too until I discovered a little thing called the internet. The internet makes comparison shopping much easier than it was just 10 years ago. Finding that a product is similarly priced between vendors makes the decision process a lot easier. Fruit basket shopping is no different than any other type of shopping and the internet has revolutionized it as well.

Let's take a look at your fruit basket shopping checklist and help you get a feel for what you should be looking for when fruit basket shopping.

1) Delivery. This is one of the most important things to look for when shopping for a fruit basket. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you are buying a fruit basket for someone else as a gift instead of yourself. Not that many people buy fruit baskets and deliver them to themselves. Pay special attention to the delivery qualifications of the vendor you are looking at. In my opinion, FedEx is always the way to go. They get things delivered all over the world. A fruit basket delivered by FedEx can make quite an impression.

2) The quality of the fruit in the basket. Fruit varies in quality from the perfect to the rotten. So do fruit baskets. If you are buying a basket for the first time, make sure the merchant has a reputation for delivering quality goods. Look around the merchant's website for testimonials from happy customers who have used and liked merchant's services and goods before.

3) Get informed about the different types of fruit baskets. The first 2 points pale in comparison to getting in the know about the different types of fruit baskets. Some are great, some aren't. Learn all about them by doing some homework.

Monday, July 5, 2010

French Cuisine

Indisputably, one of modern France's greatest treasures is its rich cuisine. The French have an ongoing love affair with food.

The cuisine of France is remarkably varied with a great many regional differences based on the produce and gastronomy of each region.

Culinary traditions that have been developed and perfected over the centuries have made French cooking a highly refined art. This is true of even the simplest peasant dishes, which require careful preparation and great attention to detail. It is expected that even the simplest preparation be undertaken in the most careful manner, which means disregarding the amount of time involved.

Of course, the secret to success in a French kitchen is not so much elaborate techniques as the use of fresh ingredients that are locally produced and in season.

French cooking is not a monolith: it ranges from the olives and seafood of Provence to the butter and roasts of Tours, from the simple food of the bistro to the fanciful confections of the Tour d'Argent.

A French meal might begin with a hot hors d'oeuvre (or for luncheon, a cold hors d'oeuvre) followed by soup, main course, salad, cheese, and finally dessert. The French operate with a strong sense that there is an appropriate beverage for every food and occasion. Wine is drunk with the meal, but rarely without food. An aperitif (a light alcoholic beverage such as Lillet) precedes the meal and a digestive (something more spirited -- say, cognac) may follow. This close relationship between food and wine may, in part, closely parallel the evolution of great cooking and great wine making. It is probably not coincidental that some of the best cooking in France happens in some of her finest wine-growing regions. In Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, and Touraine, wine is as prevalent in the cooking process as it is in the glass.

French cooking is considered by many to be the standard against which all other cuisines are measured (it is also referred to as haute cuisine). This standard was introduced into the French courts by Catherine de Medici in the 1500s, and later perfected by Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935), who is considered the Father of French Cooking.
Nouvelle Cuisine, which became popular in the 1970s, was in reaction to the rich cooking of classic French cuisine. This new cuisine has a healthful cooking philosophy: crisply cooked vegetables and fruit based sauces as opposed to flour and cream sauces. From classic French cooking to Nouvelle Cuisine, and the many French regional cooking styles, there is something to satisfy just about every palate.

Visit the French Connections website .

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fred Harvey: Founder of the Chain Restaurant

In 1850, a 15 year old boy from London arrived in New York City with $10 in his pocket. He found a position as “pot walloper” or dishwasher at an upscale restaurant and began a lifelong passion with fine dining. From this inauspicious beginning, Fred Harvey would change the way people West of the Mississippi dined, create a marketing tool that helped create the world’s largest railroad, champion women in the work force, and build an empire.

As Fred Harvey worked his way west, stopping in New Orleans, St. Louis, and Kansas City, he acquired knowledge of the restaurant industry. When he wasn’t on the floor waiting tables, he was asking questions of chefs and learning everything he possibly could about every aspect of the industry. His goal was to own his own restaurant, and in that endeavor, he accepted a lucrative position as a traveling freight agent on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. Traveling conditions were frightful in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. Trains were dusty and full of mice and flies. Experienced travelers packed their own picnic of fried chicken, hard boiled eggs, cheese and maybe a piece of cake. When that ran out, you were forced to disembark the train and take your chances on whatever was available at the station.

Along the way, anything was possible. At best, one could expect rancid, bitter coffee, brewed once a week. Rotten food was common as well as GI distress and illness from food, and the fear of being left behind in the middle of nowhere made travelers eat as fast as possible, scrambling to get back on the train. Scam artists negotiated with railroad workers to cheat travelers. Before reaching a stop, the conductor would take reservations requiring a 50 cent deposit. When the train arrived at the station, the food would be served just as the conductor called, “All Aboard!” As the travelers ran back, the restaurateur would scrape the food back into pots for the next train passengers and give the railroaders 10 cents per head as their take. These conditions and scams made train travel dangerous to one’s health, and as he worked his way across the West, Harvey realized that there was a market for clean restaurants serving good food at reasonable prices along the line.

In 1875, he approached officials at the Burlington Railroad with his idea of opening restaurants at the train depots. Railroad officials had no interest in supplying food and laughed him out of their office. But as he left the office, one of the officials commented that he should approach the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which was the most rapidly expanding railroad in the West. Santa Fe liked the idea and a partnership was formed. Harvey opened the first restaurant, The Harvey House, in Topeka, Kansas in 1875. It was an immediate success, not only with travelers, but with local residents as well. Within 9 years, there were 17 Harvey Houses along the Santa Fe route, and the first restaurant “chain” was born.

Because of Harvey, his restaurants and the rapid expansion of the West, Santa Fe became the premiere passenger railroad, as travelers could be assured of exquisite meals in clean dining rooms. Harvey was a shrewd negotiator. When he negotiated his second agreement with Santa Fe, he obtained exclusive rights to all restaurants along their line. Not only did he obtain exclusivity, but the railroad supplied the building and property, passage for Harvey employees, and fresh laundry, ice, meat, and produce shipped in daily.

Harvey’s only problem was his wait staff. The waiters were undependable, coming to work drunk, picking fights, and destroying company property. No one civilized wanted to work out West. Where could he get decent, dependable help? Women.

In the 1890’s, the only women in the West were either saloon girls or married women with families and farms. It was truly the Wild, Wild West, full of cowboys, gunslingers, scam artists and roughnecks. An uncivilized place to be. So, Harvey did something truly revolutionary. He placed an ad in East Coast papers for women 18 – 30 years of age, attractive, educated, and decent. Harvey offered room and board, free train passage, and wages of $17.50 per month. No experience necessary. Harvey wanted to train them his way. But would they come?

They came like gangbusters. In the late nineteenth century, opportunities for women were very limited. The only suitable positions were as teachers, servants, dressmakers, or factory workers. Not only was being a Harvey girl an opportunity to make great money, it was an opportunity for adventure. But being a Harvey girl was not easy.

The standards set by Harvey were rigid. First, they were given a 6, 9, or 12 month contract during which time they were not allowed to marry. If they did, they would be financially penalized by half of their salary and lose their travel privileges. The dormitories were strict, with a house mother overseeing the girls and a curfew of 10 pm every night. If you broke curfew 3 times, you were summarily fired and sent home. The training process was a grueling 30 days of learning strict cleanliness, grooming and table service without pay. The training period was difficult and stressful, but many women spoke of how the experience gave them self-assurance and poise.

They were trained in the Harvey way. Because of the train schedule, timing was incredibly important. When the train arrived in the station, the first course was already on the table. One girl came through and took drink orders as another was right behind her pouring. A system of coffee cup placement was the key to communication. As the first course was being cleared, a manager would come in with trays of hot entrees which would be served by the girls. Generous portions and seconds were the standard. And so was the timing. The trains only stopped for 30 minutes and Harvey provided a refined, delicious dining experience on a schedule.

Cleanliness was also a key to success. If they weren’t busy, the girls were expected to be cleaning; their station, polishing silver or brass, folding napkins or dusting. In spite of the dust and dirt of the West, Harvey Houses were known for their immaculate tidiness. This included the girls’ uniforms. They were expected to be well-groomed, spotless and ironed. If they got dirty during a shift, they were expected to change uniforms immediately. Gum chewing was ground for dismissal. Harvey himself would make surprise inspections and literally perform a white glove test.

Harvey’s chefs were also the best. When Fred Harvey traveled, he would try to lure away the chef anytime he had a superb meal. He paid his people well and believed in the best quality ingredients. The chefs had the authority to create their own menus and pay handsomely for supplies and produce. Not unlike great restaurants today, Harvey Houses had the first choice and the best supply of meat and fresh vegetables. Hence, they had the ability to provide diners with first class meals.

Harvey was also a believer of promoting men and women from within. Many women started out as a waitress, became head waitress, and some even became managers. Another way he emphasized respect and respectability was in the name he chose for his wait staff. His girls were never referred to as waitresses. Rather, they were known by and proud to be called Harvey Girls. Being a Harvey Girl meant poise, respect, and independence.

Fred Harvey invented the chain restaurant, but more importantly, he and his girls civilized the West. Not only did they provide a service to the travelers and the communities through their restaurants and mere presence, they became the standard of civility and dining. Many Harvey girls did find marriage and adventure. Many had lifelong, fascinating careers in Harvey’s empire that would have been impossible back East. Some paid for college and went on to become professionals in other careers. No matter what paths they found themselves on, the Harvey Girls became the matriarchs of the West.

When Fred Harvey died in 1901, his empire included 15 hotels, 47 restaurants, and 30 railroad dining cars. At its peak, the Harvey House restaurants were the most successful in the country, with 100 locations, and provided the Santa Fe Railroad with the marketing tool and support to become the largest passenger train company in the United States. During both World Wars, the Harvey House was instrumental in providing meals to the troops being moved across the country on trains. But the Wright brothers, the automobile, and the Great Depression led to the demise of the empire. Fine dining and civility in the West are legacies that Fred Harvey and his Girls bequeathed us all.

Mary Margaret Ambler is the Publisher and Editor of Black and Whites Magazine, a trade publication for wait staff,

This article was researched and references, The Harvey Girls: The Women Who Civilized the West by Juddi Morris. Published in 1994 by Walker Publishing, Inc.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Four Roses American Whisky

Driving up to Seagram's Four Roses distillery makes you feel strangely like Warren Gates at the start of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. This bizarre lemon-coloured confection of a Mexican-style ranch seems incongruous with Kentucky's gentle rolling grasslands and tree-lined hollows. Thankfully, master distiller Jim Rutlege is more hospitable than the patriarch in Sam Peckinpah's violent film classic.

This is the last remaining Kentucky outpost of the mighty Seagram empire: in fact, until the firm's Lawrenceburg plant in Indiana reopened it was the only Seagram distillery in the United States - stark evidence of the decline that beset the American whiskey market from the 1970s. That hasn't stopped Jim making a pretty classy whiskey at Four Roses, with 'pretty' being the operative word.

It's a given that every distiller has his or her own technique, but Four Roses stands apart from its colleagues in Kentucky. Perhaps it is Seagram's Canadian roots showing through, but no other distillery in the state makes such a range of different base whiskies.

With five yeast strains being used on the two mashbills-one with 75 per cent corn, the other with only 60 per cent-Jim has 10 subtly different whiskies to blend into the Four Roses style. When you drop in different distilling strengths and different ages you've got a pretty complex package of flavours.

'We feel that you get most of the flavour from the small grains,' says Jim. 'In our case that means rye and some malted barley.' He then explains that, contrary to popular belief, bourbon-makers don't use malted barley solely for its enzymes, but for flavour and another little-known property. 'Malt does two things,' he says. 'There's the enzyme conversion which begins to break down starch molecules and change them into soluble and therefore fermentable, sugars, and also liquefies the corn slurry by breaking down its molecular structure'.

Jim therefore adds malted barley twice during cooking (mashing). First, the corn is cooked at a high temperature with some malt, to help liquefy the thick gloop; then the temperature is dropped and rye is added (this stops rye balls forming and cuts down the risk of bacterial infection in the ferment). Then the temperature is reduced once more and the malted barley (along with some backset) is added for its enzyme.

The mention of backset triggers a long and patient explanation about pH levels, consistency and soleras. 'The backset comes from the bottom of the still and is high in acidity,' says Jim. 'It is put into the cooker and the fermenters to get the correct pH. As the ferment proceeds, the pH drops and turns sour.

You know by the smell and taste how far it is advanced. It is science and art combined'. Jim places a priority on careful monitoring of the process, from smelling the grains as they arrive, right through to the end of the distillation - and on to maturation. 'I'm looking for a rich, sweet aroma from the new spirit,' he says. '

But to do that you need to have built-in good flavours to begin with, and they are first generated in the ferment. You can run a still wrong, but you can't make your basic material any better'.

Even the maturation is different here; in a single storey palletized warehouse, rather than the traditional racks. But, hey, who is to say what is right and what's wrong? The end results - the precise, pretty, spicy Yellow Label and the richer, complex Black Label -are bourbons of the first order.


Four Roses Yellow Label
Gentle and lightly oaked, with fragrant lemon notes. A great mixer. * * *

Black Label
Firmer and smokier, with hickory wood, honey and a crisp rye-accented finish

Friday, July 2, 2010

Foods To Avoid On The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet is a plan that is set for right carbohydrates and right fats for a healthy life. Many considered it as the “big thing” in the series of diet fads today. However, as the number of people who consider the South Beach Diet as a popular diet from different parts of the globe, many people are still not aware about the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet.

So what then are the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet?

Before knowing the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet, one should first know the overall concept of the South Beach Diet. So generally, the South Beach Diet is specifically divided into three different phases. Each phase has its own distinction and limitation. However, knowing the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet requires a great focus on the phase one of the diet. Why? It is for the reason that the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet are largely found here.

The phase one of the South Beach Diet is considered to be the strictest phase of the diet. Perhaps, it is for the reason that there are so many foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet. So among the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet specifically on the phase one are beef rib steaks, honey-baked ham, breast of veal, all yogurts, ice cream, milk including whole, low-fat, soy, and full fat cheeses, beets, carrots, corn, yams, fruits and fruit juices, all alcohol. It is also necessary to remember that aside from those foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet, there are also some sorts that are included in the foods to avoid in the South Beach Diet and these include all starchy foods such as bread, cereal, oatmeal, matzo, rice, pasta, pastries, baked goods, crackers, etc.

As you will notice some of the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet are really carbohydrates. These mentioned foods are considered as foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet for so many reasons. One of the big reasons is that the theory states that once weight decreases, the followers of the diet begin to metabolize carbohydrates properly and the longing for carbohydrates will consequently disappear. It is also important to know that another version of the such reason for having those foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet is the goal that is to eat three balanced meals a day, and to eat enough so that the dieters don’t feel hungry all the time, and the expected weight loss during the phase one of the diet is eight to 13 pounds.

On the second phase the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet then reintroduced back into the diet, so in this phase up to the last phase, the presence of the foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet are not at all a necessity. However, if we will look at the overall principle and rules of the South Beach Diet, we can see that the South Beach Diet advises those looking to lose weight to be aware of such foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet. The logic for these foods to avoid on the South Beach Diet holds that the fat are replaced with carbohydrates, and are therefore still fattening.