Want lobster but don’t want it to suffer?

lobster by Sassy Bella Melange via Flickr

Author David Foster Wallace reads “Consider the Lobster” in a review of the 2003 Maine Lobster Festival – on the ethics of boiling a creature alive in order to enjoy its taste.Author David Foster Wallace reads “Consider the Lobster” in a review of the 2003 Maine Lobster Festival – on the ethics of boiling a creature alive in order to enjoy its taste. h/t to Laurie Kahn on the find.

If you want to eat lobster at home but don’t want to make it suffer, here’s a how to humanely kill a lobster at home guide. Tip: get plenty of ice! read more

SNAP now for NJ College Students

Family shopping for veggies

New Jersey students ages 18 to 49 enrolled at least half-time in a college, university, community college, business, technical, trade, or vocational school may be eligible for food assistance through New Jersey’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

Get more information or apply for SNAP

This provision will be in effect now for the duration of the Federal Public Health Emergency. 

Climate change is the likeliest reason that China embraced wheat flour

woman carries sheaf of wheat

In ancient China, millet was the common grain crop grown for flour. But dry farming technology discovered in the Sui Dynasty (A.D. 581-618) made wheat a viable crop and by the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), wheat had replaced millet as China’s largest crop. There was enough time in the growing cycle to harvest wheat if millet crops failed and experimentation with wheat flour when it became available, proved it to be an almost endlessly versatile cooking ingredient. It is used in China to make noodles, breads, desserts and dumplings, which became foundational staples of the Chinese diet. read more

Chef Mama Wei cooks Mu Shu Pork

Mama Wei's mu shu pork
Chef Mama Wei’s Mu Shu Pork via @lalwei

Ari put together this 23 second video of me cooking Mu Shu Pork. Made me look like I know what I’m doing.

On the topic of Philly’s Cheesesteaks – and a list of best places to buy

Corleones cheesteak
Foto: Corleone’s

So, I collected this list of Philly cheesesteak restaurant reviews in 2016 from a Facebook thread, but didn’t record whose thread. I need to share it, for the couple of real gems in the list and because Ari and Jorge Ivan are in Philly today, contemplating cheesesteaks. If you’ve got a favorite spot to add, share it!

Here’s what I concluded after reading through the comments:

  • Pats, Geno’s and Tony Luke’s are tourist places. Steve’s is another non-traditional spot but it gets banging reviews.
  • The consensus among Philly natives is that Papi stores make the best cheesesteaks – and they only cost $5-10
  • If you pay more than $10 for a cheesesteak you’re getting ripped off

This is my favorite comment 🙂 :

Vernon King: Foh dh. Who n the hell will pay beam dub on chessesteak with sesame seed long roll. When u could go to the Papi store & Get it for $4.00 or $4.50. I can buy new pair of J`s or Some Polo shirt. No State/City can make better chessesteak than ppl who was born/raised n Philadelphia,Pennsylvania hand down.

And the rest, for your reading pleasure:

  • Belly busters have the best cheese steaks I have ever had!
  • Got a place down here in Miami Springs called A Little Bit of Philly. The owner Pat is from Philly. And it’s the best philly cheese steak around, and only $8. Authentic down to the Amoroso bread. But no cheese wiz. But I’m ok with that. Lol
  • Hassan Dioubaté:  My girl’s from Philly. She brought me to Jim’s (not the South St one). The shit was soooooo damn good. I’ll be back!
  • The nostalgia of going to Philadelphia and having a classic cheese steak from Pats or Steve’s makes it worth it! Thats just my opinion.
  • Nick Tremarki:  Nothing beats Chinks.
  • Erick Naranjo:  chubby’s steaks on Henry Ave the best ???
  • Shantel Vails:  Cheesesteaks from Max’s are the best!!
  • Jordan Alexander Wallace:  Atlas on 52nd and Market out in West Philly.
  • Melanie Ways:  Don’t miss Tony Luke’s! In Camden, check out Donkeys on Haddon Ave. I fell in love with Tony Luke’s pork sandwich. My husband discovered their cold sub is excellent as well. The secret is the bread!
  • Jeffrey Graham:  Maybe you don’t REALLY understand how passionate we are about OUR cheese steak here in Philly Jean Claude Mendez. We love our grease running down your knuckles, meat falling out of the sandwich on a good soft Philly baked Italian roll, belly filling cheese steak. It’s very insulting when you hear or see a variant that no where near how we do it and then jack up the price that NO real Philadelphian will EVER pay. It’s not called Philly pride for nothing.
  • But have at it if that’s your flow.
  • Shantae Pretty BrownSkin:  Maxx’s is where it’s at!!! Inexpensive for an awsome big meaty cheese steak
  • Jake Royal:  I live right outside of Philly . pat and Geno’s way overated. The suburbs of Philly make the best cheese steaks. But if anyone is planning a trip to Philly try. Lorenzo’s. Or Sam’s. They are really good
  • Crystal Strand:  Paganos, Max’s , delassandro’s, Steve prince, ischia bibles… There are too many to chose from, but I guarantee whichever one you chose you won’t be disappointed Nikki Balseca Valentine
  • Victoria Tori Parsons:  Poppy stores. Bomb ass cheese steaks for 4 bucks. Grab a drink and a bag of chips, full for under 10. I’m good
  • Eddie Alcantar:  Personally Jim’s is one if my favorites. One of the best cheesesteaks I’ve ever had
  • Layd Kayd:  Pat’s or north 11thst…yesss
  • Kev Walshie:  This video just made me want a $6 steak from Carmen’s
  • I have had probably 20 different steaks in the city and totally agree with Pagano’s and even Jim’s. If you want a custom steak for a slick deal with amazing flavor go to Shank’s on the pier, get their mushroom and aged prov all the time when I am down there.
  • Arthur Brown IV:  Maaaaan go to a Papi store
  • Josh Priar:  Jim’s on 4th and South… hands down the best. I’ll take 2 wiz with and 2 cans of lager
  • Elissha Franklin:  Ariel Manzano They are just tourist attraction. And they don’t know any better.. Every Neighborhood has at least one popular Steak shop.. Along with many small mom and pop shops you can get a good steak from.. Some of the steak shops has been Mentioned, Max’s, Steve’s, Dalessandros just to name a few.. But they’re also in the hood. So if your not a philly native and or affiliates with someone that will take you. Most likely you won’t know about it, or venture on your own..I’m from south philly and I go to Ishkabibles which is on south street. Very popular and Tourist friendly. So to speak… I’m just keeping it honest.. If you’re ever in philly look me up. And I will show you a steak good time
  • Dan Hafner:  Kharrima Stevens-Jackson It’s at 18th and Locust
  • Ebin A. Draper:  BELLYBUSTER’S IN OXFORD, PA! We don’t do Steakums & Cheez Whiz!!! REAL TALK!
  • Jake Royal:  Belly busters have the best cheese steaks I have ever had!
  • Leslie Stars:  Byblos on 18th & Chestnut in Philly has a filet mignon cheesesteak for $15 and its out of this world.
  • Jackie Leinheiser:  Or you go to the one pound cheesesteak place on Kensington and Lehigh at 2 Am and get a two footer for 11 bucks lol
  • Sheed Sturgis:  Or paganos on ogontz ave they pack ya steak heavy
  • Jackie Leinheiser:  Pats, Geno’s and Tony Luke’s are all tourist places that act like we actually order our cheesesteaks “wit” or “wit out” when we actually just say “mayo, ketchup, salt, pepper & fried onions”
  • Brian Weissman:  Jackie Ann, I really hope you ain’t from Philly and if you are I hope you get evicted from my city because what you just said ain’t no cheesesteak, you just ordered a pile of dogshit on a roll. STEVES PRINCE WIT WIZ! FOH.
  • Michael Tomassetti:  Jim’s Steaks 62nd & Noble. And nobody drinks that Swill you have a Yuengling with it.
  • For my money though I’d rather shoot up Swanson to John’s or grab a couple roast beef combos at Old Nicks up on Jackson.
  • Josh Priar:  Best spot in Philly is Jim’s. Tony Luke’s is for people in MTL when they can’t get over the bridge. And idgaf if youre putting mayo ketchup or some of you actually do mustard….. you’re eating the wrong sàndwich
  • Joe Shook:  Genos and Pats are tourist steak places. Steves Prince all the way.
  • Rah Diezel:  I think I’m bout to go there now. There or Dwight’s. I swear they’re putting crack in that bbq sauce. That shyt is addictive.
  • Latasha Parker:  Ya prices way too high you need to cut it ?????? …#PhillyNative P.S. Every true Philly native knows that the best cheesesteaks come from the Papi stores!
  • read more

    Homemade Pineapple Cough Syrup

    source: pexels.com

    All Natural Pineapple Cough Syrup

    Yield: about a cup so make more if you think you may need it. This is very good stuff: good for you and good for treating your cough.


    2 thick slices of fresh pineapple, peel removed, but core intact (about two good cups)
    1 Tbsp honey
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit or reduce for children)
    a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced or rough chopped
    juice of 1 lemon


    Chop the pineapple roughly into chunks, including the core, which is both edible and extremely healthy. Blend everything up in a blender or food processor until smooth.

    Use as is, or push the mixture through a mesh strainer to get a smoother syrup. Keep in the refrigerator and take as needed.

    Via Sue Moran

    Kimi’s Super Duper Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage

    In 2016 we were able to get most of the produce needed for spaghetti sauce from our own garden plot. Well, let’s be honest – from Ivan’s garden – since he does most of the work to make it work. And believe me, it takes plenty of work to make this kind of abundance happen, beginning with setting up the community garden, which Ivan helped with.

    Herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, we had it all in 2016. 2017 was pretty much a bust for growers though, all across our region in northern New Jersey. Rain persisted for weeks into the early summer and then it stayed cold for a while! Tomatoes don’t like cold and apparently, a lot of other veggies don’t either.

    Thanks to Jim, whose Matarazzo Farm stands supplied us with what our garden wouldn’t produce, we were still able to enjoy spaghetti sauce this year made from farm-grown ingredients. Here’s Jim at the Ramsey Farmers Market taking a break to enjoy a visit from a 4-legged friend.

    Jim Matarazzo with 4-legged friend
    Jim Matarazzo getting a visit from a 4-legged friend

    I’m sharing Kimi’s Super Duper Spaghetti Sauce with Italian Sausage recipe with you today. If you make it be sure and let me know how it goes for you. The sauce takes a while to make, but it’s full of tasty and healthy ingredients – and it freezes really well. If you can’t get farm fresh tomatoes, buy the most pungent smelling ones you can find in a store.

    Commissary Kitchen, a prison cookbook by a Mobb Deep rapper

    mobb deep, prison chef
    Source: Teddy Wolff/Infamous Books

    A new cookbook is on the market about which its prison chef author Prodigy Johnson of the rap group Mobb Deep writes, “This book won’t make you a better cook, but it might make you a better person.”

    Knowing what to eat and how to make it is evidently such an important part of prison life that there’s an entire cottage industry of cookbooks written on the subject. Inmate survival guides often have a section on food and how to use the commissary to augment prison diets. Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, which will be published this month, is written by Prodigy and journalist Kathy Iandoli.

    In the book, Prodigy describes how his lifelong battle with sickle cell made him hyper-conscious of what he ate while incarcerated.

    “I couldn’t afford to get sick in prison,” he writes. “My sickle cell is no joke, so I couldn’t eat poorly or not exercise. And everything in jail is designed to do the exact opposite.” This is just a hint of what sets Commissary Kitchen apart from other books in the genre — it’s about Prodigy’s experience of prison as much, if not more than, about the food itself… read more

    For healthy and non-GMO foods, vote for House and Senate candidates like Josh Gottheimer

    Josh Gottheimer v Garrett in NJ's 5th CD
    Source: foodpolicyaction.com

    In November, vote for the House and Senate candidates who believe in good, healthy and GMO-free food. Food Policy Action compares the food positions of 12 sets of candidates.

    Here’s the scoop on Rep. Scott Garrett vs. Josh Gottheimer – New Jersey’s 5th District Congressional candidates:

    Josh Gottheimer supports a strong federal safety net for seniors and food insecure families with children. He also supports fair wages and working conditions for food and farm workers. Incumbent Scott Garrett has voted repeatedly to cut hunger reduction and nutrition programs like SNAP; and he opposed measures that would reduce the misuse of antibiotics in food.

    What if industrialized food has made us fat and we’ll be slender if we eat wholesome foods?

    Cake v. salad
    Source: HealthCastle.com

    Paul Tappenden believe that food choices – not gluttony or a predisposition to being fat – are why so many Americans are overweight these days. And he offers some pretty good ideas on simple changes we can build into our eating habits that will significantly change our fat quotient.


    Why are there so many over weight people in America? I have many well intentioned friends who are 30 to 40 pounds over-weight. For the most part they don’t want to be that way, and in many cases they put themselves on diets to no avail. They are not vast over eaters, yet the pounds keep creeping on

    What saddens me most is that they don’t need to be that way. You see, it isn’t about calories or gluttony, it is about food choices. The disturbing fact is that the majority of industrialized foods are filled with toxins that disrupt our endocrine systems causing weight gain, chronic disease, infertility and cancer.

    Even so called lite and diet foods contain these toxins, ensuring that no matter how fastidiously one diets, the results will be temporary at best.

    If you think this situation will improve any time soon think again. There are entire industries built on the fact that you will be sick and obese.

    So long as you eat pre-made, packaged foods, you are adding to your health and weight problems. In order to give these “foods” long shelf life and to make them palatable, companies add chemical preservatives, flavor enhancers, artificial colors and flavorings, conditioners and, to make up for the lack of nutrients, synthetic vitamins (most of which are useless at best),

    The ingredients in these cheap foods are sub-standard and often toxic in their own right.


    For simplicity sake I’m dividing fats into good fats and bad fats. Canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil and the vast majority of oils used in industrial food preparation are bad for you, and when they are hydrogenated, as in the case with butter substitutes, Crisco etc they are even worse

    The fats you should eat are butter, egg yolks (yes folks, they are both good for you and your heart), olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and even lard. Of course, these should be obtained from good organic sources, to avoid any added toxins.


    There are even good and bad sugars. High Fructose corn syrup and refined white sugar are among the worst. Organic, unfiltered honey and coconut palm sugar are both low glycemic and filled with nutrients.

    Most sugar substitutes are as bad for you as the sugars. In fact it has been demonstrated that Aspartame causes you to gain weight, so what good is it?


    Starch turns into sugar in your system. Sugar feed diabetes and cancer, So limit the amount of starch you consume. Even whole grains can be problematic.


    The other big concern is the presence of GMO’s (mostly concealed from the consumer by law). The industry claims are that GMO’s are safe. However, even if they were (which overwhelming evidence disproves), they come heavily dosed with highly toxic pesticides, that also disrupt hormones and may cause cancer.


    Limit the amount of meat you eat. Rather than eat a pound of industrial beef, eat half a pound of organic, grass fed beef. It will give you all the goodness without, growth hormones, antibiotics and GMOs (all of which make you fat). Meats also acidify the body, making it a good breeding ground for cancer cells.

    The bottom line is to eat organic, fresh whole foods. If you are over weight, you will begin to see those pounds drop away and your health improve.

    Hat tip to José German-Gomez for directing my attention to Paul’s post.

    Michelin enters the Singapore street food scene, causing both fame and disruption

    Chan in the kitchen
    Source: Michelin Guide Singapore via YouTube

    52 year old chef Chan Hon Meng has been a street hawker all his life. Before his Singapore food stand opens each day, customers are already queued up to buy his delicious dishes, which costs $2 Singapore – or USD$1.87 – the lowest price Michelin-starred meals anywhere in the world.

    When Michelin invited Chan to receive recognition for the excellent quality of his food, the Malaysian-born chef didn’t quite believe that the invitation was real. But a few weeks later in July 2016, he beamed from ear to ear as the company spokesman welcomed him on stage and awarded Chan’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle restaurant a single, coveted star.

    Producing quality, tasty food at prices low-wage workers can afford is a balancing act, and one which requires long hours and in Chan’s case, has called for personal sacrifice too. Although his suppliers have raised prices several times over the past two years, Chan has not raised his. The downside to international recognition is that although demand has caused Mr. Chan’s workdays to escalate to the 17 hour range, at the end of each day he must turn away a long line of hungry customers because provisions have run out. And, now Chan worries about how to qualify for a Michelin star again next year.

    The Passaic River Garden is open and the community is invited to enjoy

    Passaic River Garden-2A team of members from the North Jersey Clergy Fellowship CDC, Everlasting Life Foundation Ministry, Tierra Madres, Muture Sisters and the Bergen Community College NAACP have been working with Ivan Wei and next-door neighbors the Rodriguez family to create the Passaic River Garden at 108 E. Holsman Street in Paterson.

    Cleanups have been done, some raised beds are made and planted, and the community is welcome to come by and enjoy sitting or helping in the garden and learning about urban growing. Soon, we’ll set up collection times for vegetable scraps to be brought by and donated to our compost area and we’ll invite the community to celebrate the garden’s creation with us.

    This community garden features milkweed to feed and protect butterflies supplied by Monarch Watch, vegetables and raspberry bushes planted in square 4’x4′ raised beds and in 8’x2′ beds specially designed for vertical growing along an existing fence. We are completing the grapevine arbor which will provide both edible fruit and a pleasantly shaded spot for sitting under. And, we have water donated by the Rodriguez family as well as a 250 gallon tank for backup.

    We thank City Green and the Passaic County Freeholders for helping to fund the garden and members of St. Augustine Presbyterian Church of Paterson for their continuing enthusiastic support and encouragement.

    Here are some before and during construction fotos. Later today we’ll post more: our sign hung on site, planted boxes and pix of how the arbor and benches are coming along.

    If you have questions or would like to help or support the garden in any way please contact Ivan Wei 201-688-0036 or email Tierra Madres.

    Garden planting

    Blessing of the Garden

    Removing tree from fence