Blog Posts by Chef Rob Endelman

  • Slow Food's Time for Lunch Campaign

    Slow Food USA, another organization (there are hundreds!) involved in the real food movement, is leading a campaign, Time for Lunch, dedicated to having citizens contact their senators and representatives about the Child Nutrition Act, which will be reauthorized by Congress this year.

    According to Slow Food:
    The Child Nutrition Act is a federal law that comes up for reauthorization in Congress every five years. It governs the school meal programs, which feed more than 31 million children every school day.

    Right now, Congress leaves school lunch programs with only $1 per meal to pay for food. Schools do their best to stretch that dollar, but it's simply not enough to provide kids with the food they need to stay healthy and to perform well in the classroom.

    The original deadline for reauthorizing child nutrition programs was September 2009, but it was temporarily extended. Congress is now expected to address school lunch in early 2010. We have until then to show Congress

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  • How to Store and Save Bread

  • Dried Fruit: If Possible, Avoid Sulfur Dioxide

    Dried fruits make for a great snack, but as is the case with almost all foods, there are good and bad options.

    On the left in the photo are dried apricots treated with sulfur dioxide to increase shelf life and promote the bright orange color. On the right are organic dried apricots showing their true darker hue.

    Even if you don't believe that sulfur dioxide in our dried fruit presents a health issue, doesn't common sense dictate eating food as close to its natural state as possible? Given a choice, purchasing the organic apricots should be our decision.

    Some helpful information:

    • To counter the shelf life issue, store unsulfured dried fruit in the freezer.
    • Unsulfured dried fruit is available in most health food stores and many progressive supermarkets.
    • At Fairway, where I buy my dried fruit, the pictured apricots are exactly the same price ($4.99 per pound).
    • Add chopped dried fruit to oatmeal or plain yogurt for sweetness.
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  • How to Construct Simple Healthy Meals

    Because I am extremely strict about knowing the origins of the food I eat, 95 percent of my meals are homemade. Hardly anything comes wrapped or in a package.

    But relatively few of my lunches and dinners are grand
    productions. In truth, I eat rather simply, with most cooked efforts taking about 20 minutes. Last night's dinner-whole wheat pasta with an off-the-cuff sauce of onion, garlic, olives, anchovies, roasted pepper, parsley and tomato paste-fit that description.

    At least half of my meals are random constructions of different food items. With a little planning, anyone can replicate my lunch yesterday (photo, above right). It would be difficult to argue with its flavor and nutrition. Plus, to use the words of clients who have recently changed their cooking and eating habits, I felt clean after eating, not like crap.


    TUESDAY'S LUNCH

    Hard-boiled eggs
    - 12 minutes of cooking time, during which I prepared the below:
    Bunch of carrots - 20 seconds to clean one carrot.

    Avocado - 15

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  • Yale School of Medicine & Pepsi: A Questionable Relationship?

    As any parent knows, the multinationals' marketing influence is omnipresent in kids' lives. Licensing tie-ins between movies and fast food restaurants abound, while cartoon characters are festooned on the boxes of all types of junk food.

    But, shockingly, these tricks are no longer just for kids. In what direction are we headed as a society when one of our great universities allows a food conglomerate entry not just inside its dining halls and sports arenas but into the actual rarefied halls of academia?

    According to a Yale University Office of Public Affairs press release from December 2009:
    "PepsiCo, one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, will fund a graduate fellowship in the M.D.-Ph.D. Program at Yale School of Medicine to support research related to nutritional science." Excuse me? The Yale School of Medicine is including itself, Pepsi and nutritional science in the same sentence? What happened to the Hippocratic Oath? Did someone at Yale Med do a Google and

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  • Why Choose Grass-Fed?

    The reasons for eating grass-fed meat and dairy products are many. Personally, I base my decision on superior taste, health and food safety.

    The last factor should be important to us all as the blatant disregard for accountability within our modern food supply becomes increasingly evident.

    While our world becomes more connected and America continues to be a great melting pot, I don't think our hamburger patties should be subject to a similar open-door policy.

    An article in The New York Times last October exposed what, unfortunately, seems to be the norm: the compromising of our health for corporate profit. How else to explain Cargill's hamburgers made from various grades of beef, fat and trimmings from slaughterhouses and sources in Nebraska, Texas, South Dakota and Uruguay? We are the victims, as thousands of us are sickened annually by E. coli in beef.

    In addition, Cargill declined requests from The Times "to interview company officials or visit its facilities." What do you think

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  • Nicholas Kristof: "The Spread of Superbugs"

    To find out why I avoid eating meat from animals raised with the help of antibiotics and counsel others to do the same, read Nicholas Kristof's column, "The Spread of Superbugs," from yesterday's New York Times.

    Because of the low doses of antibiotics given to farm animals to help them grow faster, superbugs have developed that are resistant to antibiotics when administered to sick humans. The micro doses of antibiotics don't kill off the bugs but instead make them stronger.


    According to Kristof, the "Infectious Diseases Society of America, an organization of doctors and scientists, has been bellowing alarms. It fears that we could slip back to a world in which we're defenseless against bacterial diseases."


    Legislation exists in the House of Representatives to deal with this issue, but-shocker-"agribusiness interests have blocked it in committee-and the Obama administration and the Senate have dodged the issue."


    Again, the consumer gets the short end of the stick.


    How to avoid

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  • More on Bisphenol A (BPA) in Aluminum Cans

    A reader commented on yesterday's post about Bisphenol A in aluminum cans, stating that Muir Glen's 14.5 ounce containers of tomatoes do not have BPA in their linings.

    Unfortunately this is not the case; there is BPA in the linings of all canned tomatoes.

    Yesterday, I called Muir Glen (owned by General Mills) for verification. According to Harry, the customer service representative who helped me:
    "All of our tomato products utilize BPA in the cans' linings. We are looking at alternatives, but right now there is not a viable solution. Virtually all manufacturers use aluminum cans with BPA in the linings." The notable exception is Eden Foods, which uses non BPA-lined cans for its bean products. (Eden's tomato products come in BPA-lined cans.) From the Eden website:
    "All 33 Eden Organic Beans including Chili, Rice & Beans, Refried, and Flavored, are cooked in steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel that does not contain the endocrine disrupter chemical,

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  • Bisphenol A (BPA) in Aluminum Cans

    Bisphenol A (BPA), a possible endocrine disruptor that has been linked to a host of medical issues, first gained widespread attention when its inclusion in plastic baby bottles raised the ire of mothers, doctors and politicians.

    Intense
    pressure forced the bottle manufacturers to eliminate BPA.

    However, unbeknownst to many consumers, the majority of aluminum cans also contain BPA in their linings. The word is spreading, though, and the big food companies are again looking for alternatives.


    But, according to a recent Washington Post article, the solution isn't that simple:
    "Major food companies declined to talk publicly about their efforts to find a replacement for BPA linings. 'We don't have a safe, effective alternative, and that's an unhappy place to be,' [one source at a major U.S. food company] said." Even though the "[m]ajor U.S. foodmakers are quietly investigating how to rid their containers of Bisphenol A" and the "FDA announced last month that it had reversed its

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  • Removing Toxins From Your Kitchen: No More Microwave

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