Banana trade is bananas, but you can go Fair Trade

First came the proposed merger of Fyffe and Chiquita brands last March, which fell through in October and now Brazil’s Cutrale and Safra have partnered to buy Chiquita and headquarter the company in Brazil, closing the company’s North Carolina Office. Fortune says, fruit is big business.

bananasGuardian authors Rebecca Smithers and Dominic Rushe write:

According to Banana Link, a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for a fair and sustainable banana trade, the big fruit companies are relocating to countries in search of cheaper labour and weaker social and environmental legislation. Many workers in countries such as West Africa, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador do not receive a living wage and face appalling working conditions including 10- to 12-hour working days and exposure to harmful chemicals. read more

Gotta believe somebody

Le Creuset Demi Tea Kettle
I bought a nice little Le Creuset enamel-outside tea kettle second hand and when I washed it up, I spotted a little rust where the body meets the spout – and in the bottom of the spout. I googled on getting rid of rust and came across a delightful post. The technique suggested is for good advice for removing rust from a cast iron pot (which mine isn’t, exactly), but the poster’s counsel on how to choose a method out of all those offered in the thread, is absolutely wonderful! See for yourself: read more

Thanksgiving 2014 community giving & celebrations

North Jersey


FP Youth Outcry’s Break Bread With You and PACTS (delivering 3500 home-cooked meals in the Greater Newark area)


Ken & Corey’s coat drive

Ken McDaniels & Corey L. Teague
Ken & Corey's coat drive
Ken McDaniels says: The need is greater this year than any other year I’ve seen. Just walking the streets of Paterson and seeing so many kids who don’t have a winter coat is gut wrenching. Let’s show love and be a blessing.

Paterson turkey drive

On Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 10:30am-11:30am, 4th and Inches Foundation will be hosting The Rickey Edwards Turkey Drive at NJCDC, 32 Spruce St. Paterson, NJ. To drop off before November 22 contact Director Emanuel Capers 973-572-5223 or email read more

Meet the Kitchen Knife Laser Beam app!

laser beamNo more kitchen knives for smart phone users – now, there’s an app for that! iPhone and Android users can download the Laser Beam app and slice or dice tomatoes and just about any other vegetable with it.

The downside:

  • You will need a special cutting board that the laser can’t penetrate. Otherwise, you’ll end up with bits of plastic or wood fused to your veggies and fruits – and they’re no good for your teeth. The board will be expensive but in deference to national security rules, vendors cannot yet tell you how much it will cost.
  • Courts have already ruled that to get into government buildings, smart phone users must now prove they DO NOT have this app installed. Can’t prove it but need to get in to a court appointment or something? No problem: you can always relinquish your phone. Unfortunately, you can’t get it back.
  • Smart phone users within laser beam reach of any aircraft that experiences flight difficulties will be arrested, and will remain indefinitely detained while their NSA phone records, EZPass toll history and cellphone use for the preceding 90 days is exhaustively investigated.
  • read more

    Does this guy look like a budding farmer or what?

    Ivan Wei with late fall crop

    Here’s Ivan Wei with a late summer crop of veggies from our community garden plot. He’s holding Swiss Chard, tomatoes, basil (for rooting indoors), a few hot peppers and broccoli. Yummmmm! His Swiss Chard is off the hook, I’m going to cook it up right now with some chicken sausage and mushrooms.

    Ivan Wei with late fall crop

    English Muffin with butter & jam

    fork split english muffinI want to make sure all my friends know that English Muffins must get split with a fork (or another tined object) but never a knife. The point is to preserve the nooks and crannies which after all, is an important aspect of every good American’s civic duty.
    English Muffin with butter & jam
    Then you toast the muffin. English Muffins must always be well toasted. Apply jam, butter or cream cheese and munch happily away. My sainted mother passed these traditions along to me when I was a girl, and now you know too. Enjoy! read more

    Early Lessons In Justice and Economics – at Foodtown

    When I was a pretty young kid growing up in Englewood, New Jersey, Foodtown supermarket was the store that my mom used one day to teach me about a few important life issues. Mom always kept a shopping list going in the kitchen. One of the times her list had gotten pretty long and we were out running other errands in town, Mom stopped by the Foodtown which was located about a mile from our home and asked me to run in and purchase a couple of items for her. “I forgot there was a grocery store so near our home, Mom. We always shop somewhere else. Why don’t you park and we can go buy all of the items on your list?” I wanted to know. read more

    EPA needs to monitor pesticides better

    Apparently, the US has been asleep at the helm for years when we should have been much more closely monitoring the alarming and increasing use of herbicides and pesticides in our crops, fields and yards. Atrazine, a chemical widely banned across Europe since 2004, is finally coming under the scrutiny of our own government, and it’s about time.

    The Huffington Post tell us,

    Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. An estimated 76 million pounds of the chemical are sprayed on corn and other fields in the U.S. each year, sometimes ending up in rivers, streams, and drinking water supplies. It has been the focus of intense scientific debate over its potential to cause cancer, birth defects, and hormonal and reproductive problems. As the Huffington Post Investigative Fund reported in a series of articles last fall, the EPA failed to warn the public that the weed-killer had been found at levels above federal safety limits in drinking water in at least four states. Some water utilities are suing Syngenta to have it pay their costs of filtering the chemical. read more

    Environmental vigilance pays – money

    In the race to compete in a global economic recovery, the U.S. may have a secret weapon against rivals like China and even economies closer to ours, such as Canada. China may be graduating more engineers and scientists; Canada may have a better health care system; but the U.S. has an unlikely secret weapon that has put American companies and workers in a position to race ahead of the pack for years to come — the Environmental Protection Agency.

    While some in Congress, and any number of business leaders, have moaned about environmental regulations, especially the EPA’s nascent efforts to curb carbon emissions, the truth is that thoughtful protection of the environment saves money and lives, which makes America more competitive. By sharp contrast, the Washington D.C. based International Fund for China’s Environment estimates that China must spend at least 2 percent of its GDP annually — over $100 billion — to clean up decades of pollution which now threaten food production, public health, and worker productivity. Without this investment, China will lose far more. read more

    Kimi’s chopped liver (chicken)

    Use 2 lbs chicken liver, olive oil plus 3 T schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), 2 medium onions chopped roughly and extra 1/2 onion finely minced for after, 3 boiled eggs, 3 scallions and 1/4 large bunch cilantro, plenty of sea salt and pepper and 1/2 t Chinese hot pepper sauce (the grandmother type, with oil and visible seeds) and 1/8 c. dry red wine [a splash].

    I used the big pan so the liver could spread out plenty and I did not press liver down to squeeze out juice; I seared it both sides and then reduced flame to a pretty steady lowish-medium. read more

    Eat and support mental health care

    On October 28 present this coupon at Blue Moon Mexican Café in Englewood and 20% of your bill will be donated to Advance Housing, Inc. I’m an Advance Housing board member so I totally think you should treat all of your family members and work colleagues to a meal at Blue Moon in Englewood on the 28th!

    Valid only in the Englewood location
    Good for any food and drink
    Anytime from 11:30am-11:00pm on October 29, 2009
    Blue Moon Mexican Café
    21 E. Palisades Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631
    201 541-0600 read more

    1-9 Restaurant Closed July ’09

    On the way to visit our friend Yin Hoong at the crafts show in Point Pleasant Beach where she was exhibiting yesterday, my family drove past the 1-9 Restaurant in Avenel (in the Edison area). Noticing that the parking lot was empty, we pulled in to see why and found a court order notice posted on the door calling for the place to be turned over to its landlord immediately. The door was locked and the restaurant vacant.

    This dimsum spot (lately known as A-K Restaurant) has served my family excellent dishes – and a good sampling of it – on the several occasions we’ve visited and we feel sorry to see it go. read more

    Shanghai Park (now Hong Fu) review

    The kids and I were near Highland Park tonight at dinner time so we headed over to Hong Fu (formerly Shanghai Park) to find out if their food is as good as people say. We were between ping pong sessions and only had time for a quick bite so we ordered two dishes and some rice, which turned out to be the exact right quantity of food to fill us up but not slow us down. Kind of amazing considering these boys are in their late teens and can eat like soldiers on campaign.

    This is the second meal I’ve had out recently that I would have liked to capture some fotos of. Aside from being tasty the dishes were pretty too. I should get used to packing my camera more often. read more

    Sinbad Restaurant, Secaucus – good plus

    My boys are performing right now as part of the Nets’ pregame entertainment with their Chinese Lion Dance troupe, but they don’t like to stay on for the game itself. Aside from the fact that last year when the troupe performed the Nets players treated the troupe very shabbily, clasping their hands securely behind their backs as they jogged past the all-kids troupe members so the kids couldn’t make an attempt to high-five the players or grasp their hands, my sons and I were completely united in our distaste for the game itself. The kids don’t care to sit through another game and I personally, would have to be offered quite a pretty penny to ever consider watching even part of a game again [last time they performed I sat through half the game]. read more

    Bla bla. So?

    How about the name of this food truck?

    Bla Bla So Truck

    Amersterdam Avenue, New York City 080229 around 11:00 pm.