First Lady Picks First Woman Chef
Laura Bush has chosen a woman to be the new White House Executive Chef. Cristeta Comerford, a naturalized citizen from the Philippines, was promoted to the position of executive chef from within the staff of former Executive Chef Walter Scheib III, who as her mentor, was thrilled to see his protege step into his place.
While Women Chefs and Restauranteurs might smugly take some credit for the appointment of the first female White House chef, since they sent a letter to the First Lady, asking that she hire a female chef to serve as a role model to women in the culinary arts, none of the women suggested by the organization were interested in the position, which pays much less than top chefs can make working in the private sector.
But, hey–as far as I am concerned–it is still a reason to celebrate. Besides, the new chef lives with her family in my old neighborhood–Columbia, Maryland, so I feel like I am celebrating the success of one of my neighbors.
Vat-Grown Meat A Closer Possibility
Remember that little article I linked to in my “Meat Comes From Animals: Deal With it Or Eat Vegetables” rant that was about growing meat from cloned cells in a laboratory?
Well, the same researchers are in the news again, because of a paper they recently published in the journal, Tissue Engineering (sounds like scintillating reading, doesn’t it?), and this time, the story isn’t just being reported by a few outlets. It is being picked up here, there, and everywhere, with reporters putting the spin on whether or not this will pose an ethical dilimma for vegetarians.
If no animal died to produce it, is it still a bad thing to eat meat?
While the idea of vat-growing meat doesn’t gross me out like it does some people, I noticed that what they are talking about growing at this time are only processed meats like chicken nuggets and hamburgers.
I don’t eat chicken nuggets now, and I am not likely to start, just because they are grown in a lab without harming any chickens. This is mainly because I am pretty sure that most modern chicken nuggets didn’t start out as chicken either. Maybe the things they sell at McDonald’s and the frozen foods aisles came from alien pods from outer space, but I really don’t think they taste like chicken.
On the other hand, the researchers point out that vat-grown meat will be guaranteed to be free of disease, something which segues nicely into my final news flash.
Note: No animals were harmed in the writing of this post.
More Mad Cow Madness
Maybe I will eat vat-grown hamburgers after all, so long as they do it my way: hold the pickles, lettuce and BSE.
Bloomburg reported a few dismaying facts yesterday gathered from the US Department of Agriculture: “U.S. government inspectors cited meatpackers more than 1,000 times over a 17-month period for violating rules concerning the removal of tissue associated with mad cow disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Some 1,036 “non-compliance” reports covering the January 2004-May 2005 period were released, the USDA said. The reports document instances of meatpackers failing to properly remove “specified risk materials” or SRMs– brains, spinal cord tissue and other tissues that scientists say harbor the disease.”
Okay, Maybe dismaying isn’t a strong enough word here. How about I use “horrifying” instead?
Oh, but there is no need for alarm. We are assured by Lisa Wallenda Picard, a spokesperson for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service that “no specified risk materials got into the food supply.”
Right. I am so sure. This comes from the same USDA that has been a poster child for potentially lethal beaurocratic incompetence.
Why exactly, I ask, should we trust anything that the USDA has to say on the issue of BSE? The entire situation has been bungled from the beginning, and the USDA rules appear to be made more for the cattle industry’s benefit than to actually ensure the safety of the US food supply.
This issue is enough to keep me committed to eating food grown locally by people I know and trust.
And, on this uplifting note, thus ends our first installment of Food in the News.
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