California readers: Please vote YES on Proposition 37 and require labeling of GMOs

The number of California bigWOWO readers is more than four times as high as the next four states combined, which means that in terms of readership, this is a California blog (New York is #2. Oregon rates at a distant 10th place among the States!). So I’m going to ask Californians to do something that New Yorkers and Oregonians can’t do for ourselves: Vote YES on Proposition 37, and require labeling for genetically modified food. See this article by Michael Pollan.

Disney uses its name to curtail childhood obesity

Continuing the food discussion, I was so happy to see this: Disney to Restrict Junk-Food Ads. The article begins:

The Walt Disney Company, in an effort to address concerns about entertainment’s role in childhood obesity, plans to announce on Tuesday that all products advertised on its child-focused television channels, radio stations and Web sites must comply with a strict new set of nutritional standards.

In an era where corporations are throwing money to buy influence in ways that harm our children, it is so refreshing to see that a wealthy corporation, for once, is doing the right thing. And make no mistake, the fast food corporations and big businesses ARE targeting our children.

The Chinese origins of ketchup

This one has been going around: The Cosmopolitan Condiment. Check out the article. It looks like the word “ketchup” has a Chinese origin, but I can’t tell from the article whether it’s Chinese or Vietnamese–the written article seems to suggest it was Vietnamese, although the article also says it has a Chinese origin. Prior to the 19th century, ketchup was fish sauce, not tomato sauce. When I think of Vietnamese sauces, I think of Sriracha, which I probably use as often as ketchup. I also think of the actual fish sauce, which is a great addition to vegetables. I also use kecap manis, from either Indonesia or Malaysia.

Americans Eat the World’s Cheapest Food

I’ve been really busy with non-Asian American related activism, which is why I’ve been posting less frequently. It’s hard work. My activism has been food-related, so I thought I’d shoot out a non-Asian blog post about food and the crap we throw at our kids.

Here’s an article: Americans Eat the Cheapest Food in the World. For those of you who have kids, you know that there’s a divergent range of prices of food. You can get expensive organic chicken breast for $8/lb., or you can eat McNuggets off the dollar menu. Most people opt for the dollar menu, hence the explosion of cheap food and all kinds of health problems in the United States. But hey, we’re saving money (and spending it on healthcare later).

Cheap Bites with Eddie Huang

My aunt is a friend of Eddie Huang and asked me to spread the word. Sunday, January 1st, at 8 pm is the world premiere of Eddie’s show Cheap Bites on The Cooking Channel, in which he goes around and samples cheap but good food. My home doesn’t have The Cooking Channel, but if you have it, check it out. It’s awesome that an Asian American is getting his own show. We’ve only got the Food Network at our house, and outside of Iron Chef Chairman Mark Dacascos and Judy Joo from the Next Iron Chef (whom I mentioned in passing on the Clara Shih post), we’ve got no one. Diversity!

White Rice vs. Brown Rice

The NY Times Magazine has a feature this week about food. I’m reading through it, and it’s pretty good. As a Rice Daddy, I’m concerned about the food we eat, the food supply, and the cost of food.

Related to the Asian issues, Michael Pollen, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, fielded a question from an Asian person:

I’m of Asian Descent, and I Don’t Understand Why Everyone Seems to be Saying that White Rice Is Bad for You, When Asians Have been Eating It for Thousands of Years. Do I Really Have to Give Up Rice to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes?

Second Generation Chinese Restaurant Managers

Check out this article in the NY Times: Based on an Old Family Recipe. It’s about second generation children of restaurant owners who go to college, graduate, and then bring their skills in marketing/business/internet to help grow their family restaurants. It’s quite inspiring.

According to one sociologist, restauranteurs today have cachet:

For her 2005 book “Consuming Citizenship,” the sociologist Lisa Sun-Hee Park interviewed children of Korean- and Chinese-American entrepreneurs, including many who sold food. Quite a few of her subjects cringed in embarrassment while recounting their parents’ stories; they spent much of their lives trying to get as far away as possible from jobs they considered demeaning.

Educating Children About Food

I thought some of you might enjoy this. Jamie Oliver, a winner of the 2010 TED Prize, talks about how America can help its young people live longer and healthier through better school cafeteria programs and education about food. His recommendations are interesting: kids should know what they’re eating, and they should be able to cook at least ten healthy recipes by the time they leave school.

I credit Jamie Oliver for starting my own interest in cooking.  He makes it sound fun, and he communicates his passion for food through his words.  I think this is a good prescription not just for schools, but also for parents.  We parents need to do more to raise our children to appreciate and to know food.

No More Ground Beef

(pic from here)I gave up Shark Fin Soup last year.  That was for the sharks.  This year, I’m giving up ground beef.  This is for me, not the cows.  I suggest that everyone else give up ground beef too.  If you’re wondering why, check out this article: Woman’s Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws (watch the video feature too). The story:  Stephanie Smith went to her mom’s house for a hamburger, and because the ground beef patty was contaminated with E Coli, it left her sick and paralyzed ten days later.  Doctors say she’ll never walk again.

Fast Food in China

Fast food is all the rage in China.  A new Kentucky Fried Chicken opens every day. It’s a good day to be a corporate giant in China, a bad day to be a chicken.  (Haha…they’re probably imported, so maybe it’s a bad day to be a chicken in the U.S.)

What I thought was most unexpected about this video was the fact that people in China think fast food is healthy. Healthier than Chinese food?  KFC and Mickey D’s must be doing some serious hard marketing back in the motherland.