Friday, December 11, 2009

The Illusion of Facts.

Hello. It's been a while since I last posted on here. The things I write about aren't current events as much as it's science. Apples fall from trees just as they did in Newton's time. The same sort of thing is true of food science. So these musings can also serve as a reference. That also means that I don't really need to do one of these every day (unless web traffic increases 100x).

This isn't easy subject matter to be prolific about. I know what I know because I learned it. I sold my textbooks because I'm poor and it becomes difficult to cite things. Many studies are done every year, but then again, you have to pay to get these studies. I had access to these things at Ohio State in a huge database through OSU's great online library system, but I don't now. That hurts the food industry if you ask me. All studies should be put out for easy access. The other thing that hurts the food industry is that you train for it only after you've decided on it as a profession. It's kind of like pro wrestling in that respect. You only go to wrestling school if you want to be a wrestler.

Anyway... There is a lack of background knowledge in the area of food science. The only people that learn food science are academics who will go on to teach and people that go on to work in the food industry. So most industry people just chuckle when a Michael Pollan comes along with his theories about food. To the general public that doesn't have this general knowledge base, however, Pollan looks like the expert.

This is a situation I call the Illusion of Fact. This phenomena happens in many sciences where the general public has been starved of education about an industry. Any voice they hear will resonate and ring true, especially if you need a functional background in some other discipline to understand it. Jenny McCarthy goes on Oprah and talks about how vaccinations cause autism. It doesn't, but when this first came up, doctors ignored the low level rumblings because they seemed silly. Now we have parents refusing to vaccinate in the midst of a major flu outbreak.

I was listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast when he had on people affiliated with the Raw Food movement. At no point did anyone call in or did Adam question what they said, so I'm sure it was understood to be fact by many. They referred to cheese as being horrible for you and attributed what bordered on special powers for eating raw nuts and veggies. At one point one of the people, in talking about the time before he went raw, said that the lettuce was probably the only thing that was keeping him alive. Does anyone else realize how insane that is? He's making it up as he goes along!

Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief for Prevention magazine put out what is truly one of the most jaw-droppingly ignorant articles I think I have ever read. @LizVacc as she's known on twitter, put out an article called, 'The 7 foods experts won't eat'. She listed the bad food, then the 'expert' that knew better than eating that food. See if you can detect a pattern here...

Canned tomatoes
"The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people's body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes.""

This seems somewhat legit until you start to wonder:

Is 50mcg the upper limit (theoretically possible)? If so, how much leaching actually occurs? Is it 50 mcg or is it 50mcg/kg bodyweight? Big difference.

This is from [ ]

'Government and industry researchers have reported that bisphenol A (BPA) is generally not detected in canned beverages and only extremely low levels (generally less than 37 parts per billion) of BPA have been reported to migrate into some canned foods. At these levels, a consumer would have to ingest more than 500 pounds of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Consequently, human exposure to BPA from can coatings is minimal and poses no known health risk.'

Since that site is pro BPA, I'll site another source:
[ ]

'The Consumer Union published its report after tests on 19 canned foods - including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans – found almost all contained “measurable levels of BPA”. The levels of chemical detected ranged from 0.3 parts per billion (ppb) to 191ppb. This highest level was detected in canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake with the lowest finding for this product less than a fifth of that at 35.9 ppb. Progresso Vegetable Soup, made by General Mills, showed a BPA level ranging from 67 to 134 ppb, while Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup had BPA levels between 54.5- 102 ppb, said the study.

A spokesman from General Mills said the BPA levels of up to 134ppb reportedly found in its Progresso Soup were not consistent with the company’s own findings.

However, even if that level was present, it would still be substantially below the advisory level of 600 parts per billion established by the European Union as a level of safe consumption for all ages – and below current U.S. guidelines that establish the daily upper limit of safe exposure as 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight,” he added. “A level of 60 or 90 parts per billion, if present in a product, is and would be safe.”'

I know this is true from how they phrased it. You see, all @LizVacc reported on was an out of context number - 50mcg, but that isn't how toxicity is displayed. Tox levels for any food additive is always listed as units per kilogram of bodyweight. The reason for this is because of lab testing on rats and they need to convert the number into a human equivalent. So when the biased bisphenol-a site said that you would need to ingest 500 lbs of it every day for a lifetime, I knew they weren't lying.

I did find something amusing when looking that up...

Check out this section of a story done by the Virginian-Pilot and reposted by [ ]

'the best option is to look for tomato products in glass jars, such as those made by Bionaturae, or in aseptic packaging, such as Pomi brand.'

Now compare that with what Liz Vaccariello wrote:

'Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe's and Pomi.'

Plagiarize much, Editor in Chief?

More examples:

Nonorganic potatoes (her wording, not mine)

'The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board'

Really? You mean to tell me that the Chairman of the National Organics Standards Board is advocating for organic potatoes? You just blew my mind. Hey, I wonder if salt is good for me, maybe I'll ask the head of Morton Salt.

The Illusion of Fact.

Question what you are being told and why they are telling you. Use reason and logic. Autism is caused by vaccines and food dye? Wouldn't there by way more people with autism? I mean, everyone has had either an M&M or a shot?

I blame the food industry, and IFT, and our educational system. The industry should have seen this coming and should have reached out to educate. The Institute of Food Technologists could do more to educate our public so they don't turn to food hysterics and junk science. We eat every day, several times a day. Why isn't basic food science taught as real world examples of physics, agriculture, chemistry, and biology?

I have promised and I will do a thorough fact checking of Food Inc. I put it off because I know it's going to be a ton of work (not debunking, but a ton of writing because there is so much to debunk). I might break it down to a couple of fact checks per post. I dread doing it like I used to dread track conditioning in high school. I got so much anxiety that I would feel physically ill. I hated running and no amount of running gave me more stamina. I was a shot put and discus thrower, too, so running was extra pointless for me. Oh well, another story for a different blog all together.

Look for me on Twitter - @samvance

Comment on here as well. I get the comments in my gmail and approve them so I don't have crazies leave crazy comments. Plus it forces me to read the comments. Let me know if you like it and tell your friends/colleagues.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Issue 2 of getting a job at KFC.

Hello world. It's been a while and now I'm back to deliver another passionate missive about the food industry as well as a thing or two about the restaurant industry.

I have no theme today, so it will be a hodgepodge of short topics. Be sure to comment if you have one and please spread the word. I know that some of you have read every post but just think of how many that haven't read one.

Visited the Boston Market at 9430 Fields Ertel Rd in Mason, OH yesterday. As a long time KFC employee, I'm disappointed to say that they not only have their act together, but they are running a better restaurant than KFC. This couldn't have been better evidenced than the $1 meal online coupon promotion they have out thru the 2nd of November. Lines formed to the door and nobody panicked...they were ready. Their hotwells were filled with hot food that looked appetizing and not all mashed to hell. Behind the employees were whole chickens roasting slowly in a series of rotisserie ovens. One cashier took every order, one person scooped sides, and one person added chicken and finished out the order. The manager kept the birds flying out of the oven and I'm sure there was one more prep person out of site, working the side dish prep in the back. It was fast, it was efficient, it was delicious. You have the choice of a quarter white meat chicken or 3 pieces of dark, one side, and cornbread.

This online coupon was a response to KFC's do-over of the failed Oprah Coupon several months back. The redo was less spectacular. This time you got one free piece of grilled chicken, which I later heard was a choice of either a leg or wing. A wing, really? Aren't you trying to win over some business, KFC? I'm sure there were some product outages all across the nation.

KFC has strayed a little bit from the things that made us such a strong growing chain in the late 90's - early 2000's. It should be all about the chicken, first of all. Focus on getting the basics right. That means more rounds of smaller batches being cooked. It means focusing on Original, Extra Crispy, Grilled, and Crispy Strips. I would cut out the new Original Strips as well as Popcorn chicken. Original Strips are a great idea, but carry over too much flavor of the trans fat free fry oil, which breaks down faster than hydrogenated shortening. So those strip will pick up the slightest bitter compunds released as the oil ages. Popcorn is popular but very labor intensive. It doesn't hold well, it fries too fast so the cook has to stop what he/she is doing and babysit it while it cooks, and it uses a lot of flour. The sides would be limited to Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Beans, BBQ Baked Beans, Mac n' Cheese, and Cole Slaw. Bread choices would remain as biscuits and cornbread muffins. I would also lower prices and structure the labor so that the manager is free to...manage and not be a highly paid worker. The manager needs to be free to hop station to station to help out in quick spurts, monitor quality, and check food safety. Locations with management that does this will have lower food costs and lower waste. You also empower your employees by not bailing them out every time they seem to be lagging behind.

If KFC wants anymore ideas, they can email me with a job offer and salary.

Speaking of job offers, I am still trying to get my meat hooks on a great food industry career position. One of the reasons I started this blog was to stay sharp and current with the industry. I have a degree in this field and I can do anything from R&D to Management to Sales. I know that it can take time to find the right position but I will be out of college for 2 years this December. So if any of you industry leaders that quietly read this blog need anyone good...don't pass me up.

The job ads are as frustrating as the silence that follows my application. I saw one looking for a 3rd shift production supervisor in a remote part of the state. In the requirements, they ask for 5 years of manufacturing experience. Here is how my brain works: why would someone with 5 years of experience still be on 3rd shift? Aren't you immediately disregarding fresh talent while attracting candidates for supervisor that couldn't get promoted past 3rd shift? Food companies do this all the time in job ads. I saw one for sales and they wanted 10 years of experience and a working relationship with several grocers. Are you dead serious? If I'm being interviewed for a sales job and they ask where I see myself in just 5 years, the answer sure as hell isn't going to be, 'right here in the same position'.

Part of this problem stems from a lack of a formal training program. The large entities with such a program skim graduates with 3.0 GPA's and higher. My GPA was lower, but it had nothing to do with my area of expertise. It had everything to do with what we call, 'General Education Credits'. I had a few of those classes I had to repeat, which crucified my GPA. In food science classes that pertained to my degree it was nearly all A's and B's. Unfortunately, my resume won't even get considered by many companies because of GPA.

In the last couple months, I had a president of a food company personally refer me to someone in their HR dept for a management position that he believed needed to be filled and I was also referred by a sales exec for his food company that needed to replace an outgoing sales position and got paid for his referrals. I have heard back from neither.

I have finally gotten around to checking out Ohio's Issue 2. I didn't judge, because I hadn't done any research into it. I just pulled up some info from both sides and read. The pro side of the argument advocated for livestock raising standards, traceability programs, and the general well being of our protein supply. The against side claimed a hijacking of Ohio's constitution by big business and included several food hysteric's buzzwords such as, 'Sustainability' and 'Organic' and 'Factory Farms'.

I followed the hyperbole and deducted that the food hysterics have grown even more paranoid.

The truth:
Both sides want standards set in the raising of livestock. There are some bad seeds out there that give real herdsman a bad name. Whether it's hogs, steer, dairy cattle, or sheep, 99% plus of them care for their animals and their general well being.

The HSUS are not advocates, but rather, activists. Big difference. As activists they have an emotional attachment to the animals but lack the experience and education to make decisions on their behalf. The standards you would get from the HSUS side would go beyond overkill. Many animals are social and stick close together, while HSUS standards may result in in requiring more acreage per head than the animal will ever freely use.

If issue 2 is voted down then something may or may not happen. HSUS will try to get the regulation they, as activists, feel is necessary passed into law. If they don't succeed then things will stay the same except for any programs that the producers may put through to raise standards for animal care. If HSUS is successful in passing their own legislation, you could see a mass exodus of agriculture into neighboring states where it can be more profitable.

If Issues 2 passes, will we see a massive de-regulation of agribusiness? No. It's in the farmers best interest to keep standards at a level that keeps those bad seeds in check and presents a socially responsible attitude to the consumers. I think I'll vote Yes on Issue 2, and so should you.

If you like what you read or think other will, please pass the link to this blog along in emails, facebook status', and Tweets. Thanks.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Center for Misleading Lists in the Public Food Hysteria.

About 40 years ago, a couple things happened. First, people were convinced that end times were near as people were predicting major food shortages and famine. Second, people were becoming concerned with the environment.

Both things weren't at all baseless. India had a booming population as was Africa's. It was the work of Norman Borlaug and the green revolution that saved the day, and an estimated 1 - 2 billion people. Since the industrial revolution just 70 years prior, smog and industrial pollutants were also a genuine concern.

About this time, many watchdog groups were formed, as was the EPA. While the intent of most of these groups was to curb environmental abuses and encourage responsible regulation, most have now become institutions full of people that must justify their own existence. It was a perfect storm of junk science, political power, and a generally undereducated public that lead to groups such as The Center for Science in the Public Interest to take hold and grow.

In car sales, there is a saying; 'The person that talks the most, wins'. This could be their strategy as well.

'You don't know about this? Well, let me tell you all about it.'

By the time they are done pumping you full of 'information', they have one more voice in a grossly misinformed game of telephone.

'We don't know enough about irradiated meat, more studies are needed.'
'Did you hear about the studies done on irradiated meat?'
'Studies show irradiated meat to be bad.'
'Everyone knows that irradiated meat is bad.'

They make lists that I hate using very narrow criteria or flawed logic. They condemn certain foods that are high in calories as being bad for you, yet they never list the vitamin and mineral content or protein, just calories and sodium. Of course, nobody is going to publicly say that more calories and more sodium are good for you, so they get a pass. It takes too long to explain that calories and sodium aren't intrinsically bad or good. Both things are necessary, too much can lead to long term health issues, and one or two meals a week that are high in either aren't going to kill you. What looks better on Yahoo's front page? Of course, we now get flooded with these web stories of the worst foods, all based on calories alone. It's nonsense.

Here is
The Center for Science in the Public Interest's latest list, based on food illness:
The 10 most dangerous foods.
1. Leafy Greens
2. Eggs
3. Tuna
4. Oysters
5. Potatoes
6. Cheese
7. Ice Cream
8. Tomatoes
9. Sprouts
10. Berries

These numbers are based on CDC reporting data from people believed to have been victims of food poisoning. There are several problems here that you'll hear nobody else address.

1. The data.
Did they only pull CDC's numbers that were a result of major outbreaks, or was this also when someone thought they had bad fish? Witness testimony isn't exactly reliable, either. Most people get what my animal science instructor called 'the 24 hour Montezuma's' and blame the last thing they ate. It seems logical until you realize that our digestive tracts take 8 - 12 hours or more to completely digest and excrete food. Diarrhea can't be caused by something you just ate. Also, people can be biased against certain foods or even certain restaurants where they may have gotten bad service.

2. Specific ingredients.
Only data from major outbreaks can be traced back to a specific food. An individual with the help of a whole team of doctors couldn't derive the poison food culprit unless they had a sample of every food they ate in the previous 2 days. For instance, I had chicken(no meat on this list...interesting), cheese, potatoes, and ranch dressing(contains eggs) today. According to this list, I died 4 hours ago.

3. An unloaded gun never killed anyone.
Preparation is a critical control point in safe food preparation. I'll use spinach as an example. Yes, deer, rabbits, and migrant farm workers without access to toilets have probably peed on at least some of the spinach. That spinach is not doomed to be contaminated when you pick it up at the store, however. The spinach is washed and rinsed in at least 2 steps, sealed in airtight packaging, stored in a temperature controlled warehouse, shipped in refrigerated trucks, shelved in a cold environment, and brought home for you to cross contaminate with the raw chicken you were just cutting. Good job. Even if the spinach was contaminated in the field, the wash/rinse steps should eliminate any pathogens. Dole cannot be responsible for your food prep techniques or your temperature abuse.

A fair list:
Instead of looking at food that went wrong, it is probably better to look at food that have the highest concentrations of micro organisms to begin with. Then we can build a list based on the worst case scenario of food safety and sanitation.

1. Sprouts.
Sorry hippies, but at around 7 - 9 log Colony forming units(cfu)/g(gram)/cc(cubic centimeter), sprouts are the most germ riddled produce out there. What makes this the most dangerous is the fact that there isn't much processing that can be done due to their fragility.
2. Greens

3. Berries

4. Onions

5. Potatoes

- a note about eggs. In the stories I read about this list, eggs are placed in there rather nonchalantly, as if we can all agree that eggs are nasty.

'What about salmonella?'

Assuming you eat cooked eggs, this shouldn't be an issue. Now, let's assume you are making a dressing or a meringue, now what? Salmonella occurs in eggs at a rate of about 1 in 20,000. Chances are, you'll be fine.

A final note about calories/sodium.

Sodium works opposite potassium to regulate inter and extracellular fluids. Too much sodium is as bad as no sodium. Yes, pay attention, but do not shoot for zero.

Calories should be looked at as a currency of the foods we eat. The amount of calories in our banks depends on the weight, musculature, and physical activity we are trying to support. If you weight train, run for distance, or have a high metabolism, then you will need more calories. For instance, Michael Phelps consumed 12,000 calories a day while at the height of his olympic training. On the other hand, a 185 lb man with normal musculature, living an inactive lifestyle, need only consume 2,220 calories per day.

Use calories like money. Go ahead pend 2,000 on those cheese fries(Outback's are fantastic), just short yourself some calories for the next couple days or so to stay within budget. Too many calories consumed - you blew your budget and you'll gain. Too few calories consumed - you are a tight wad and you'll lose weight.

Do not, I repeat, do not try to get to zero with calories. That will lead to eating disorders, body dimorphic disorder, and eventually organ failure.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hooters - The C Student Of Restaurant Chains.

Oh, Hooters. The concept is pretty solid, use something guys love to sell them other things that they love. Hot girls in tight outfits and nice cleavage bringing you beer and wings while you watch sports.

This concept was red hot in the late 80's/early 90's. The news would often have a piece on how the community disapproves of the Hooter girls and woman's groups cried misogynist, saying the women were being objectified. What we see now is a place trying to cling to it's former glory while slipping in many key areas that leave the chain vulnerable to food safety, quality, and service issues. Hooters can make an A, but prefers to rest on it's laurels.

First off, let's get the uniforms out of the way. I hear an argument for the uniform, citing it's tackiness as a part of the concept. If tacky is what you aim for, why not hire sloppy, dejected Wal-Mart patrons and put them in high heels? No, you put them in the uniform because it was pretty hot and racy at the time and it turned heads and garnered press coverage. The trouble now is that our culture has caught up with Hooters in terms of sleaze. High school sophomores now wear more offensive outfits during the summer than what you see in Hooters. The Hooters uniform was a solid 8 or 9 on the skank meter, but through the passage of time, that same outfit is a 4 at best.

My solution goes in one of a couple different ways. First is to stop trying to be racy. Listen Hooters, men can now get porn instantly on their computer or text to their phones. We are no longer seeing anything special and we're desensitized to it. So one solution would be wearing Hooters t-shirts or polos and nice shorts. This would not only reduce the obvious fire hazard, but it will make the waitresses, 'the girls next door' you claim they are. The other solution would be to play to the sports theme. Make Hooters jerseys for football basketball, baseball, and hockey. Hell, you could even do a UFC style design. Make the color scheme highly customizable to the area. In Columbus, the 'OO' in Hooters could be OSU themed block O's and the colors could be scarlet and gray. In Cincinnati, the colors could be red/black.

OK, enough of the Project Runway crap.

Operations in the back of the house leave much to be desired. We have issues that make the food less appealing, less tasty, and less safe.

The food prep and plating is done in plain sight of the bar. I have no problem with this, but you really need your A-game to avoid looking dirty. That goes for both the employees and the actual kitchen. I see employees frequently wear their own personal hats that are cocked to the side, pants sagging, and a non work shirt. It isn't cool, and you can give a laid back vibe through chatter with the bar patrons without looking like total douche-bags.

The kitchen is rarely clean. Flour, sauce, shortening, and crumbs make their way all over the prep surfaces. Cross contamination is commonplace in any Hooters I have ever visited and sat at the bar. One time, I was in the Hooters on Dublin-Granville Rd in Columbus and saw a guy carrying raw wings in a tub. The cook lifted the tub to shoulder height and carried it over the prep table as juices from the wings dripped over people's plates. I have seen cooks wearing vinyl food prep gloves, but sweating to the point that the sweat from their arm ran down to the elbow or wrist and dripped onto the prep table. I've seen cooks working with just one glove because the other one had flour on it and they didn't stop and wash their hands. Then, I have seen flagrant cross contamination when people with floured arms and gloved hands takes off their gloves and handles plates of food with their sweaty hands and the arms were still full of flour. I've seen the cook with the sag in his pants stop, pull up his pants, text on his phone, and continue plating someone's food without ever taking off his gloves and washing his hands. I've also seen managers helping out, but without proper hair restraints which, by this point in the story, seems kinda unimportant.

It isn't just the way in which the employees interact with the food that causes food safety issues, but how the food is situated and prepped. The sauces that Hooters uses is poured into stainless steel round inset pans, ladled into mixing bowls with the chicken/shrimp, tossed together, then poured out onto the plate. The sauces are not refrigerated while being used, which isn't a big deal in and of itself because the sauce has a high enough acidity and low enough free water to keep out most micro organisms. The problem is the sauce that languishes in the mixing bowl with the breading from the wings, juices from the meat, and oil from the fryer. This is a potential breeding ground for a massive amount of M.O. All it takes is one under cooked shrimp or errant droplet of sweat and the bacteria will spread like wildfire.

The toppings and pickles used are not refrigerated either. Sandwich toppings are stored in pans, that are set in ice baths. This is ok for short periods, but is far from acceptable as a means to control the temperature. First off, the ice melts because it's 88 degrees in that kitchen area. Second, the ice water only cools the submerged part of the pan, and not very well. Many times I see plastic pans used for the lettuce/onions/tomatoes. Plastic is not a good conductor of heat, therefore not as much cold gets to the product.

Then there are the quality issues...

The food isn't that bad, but the cooks aren't doing it any favors. Wings routinely sit in the fry basket, above the fryer for several minutes, or they'll do the move where they re-fry it for 10 seconds to heat it up... just long enough for the shortening to soak through the breading. The other extreme is when they don't give the wings any time to drain off excess shortening and it gets tossed with, and emulsified into, the sauce. When the wings are sauced, they have the remains of whatever was tossed before, as we already discussed. When you get your wings, you have all of these tag along crumbs going for the ride. It makes the food seems heavy and oily. Also, stop acting like it's a big deal to not get fixins, beans or a pickle on my sandwich plate. The juice from the pickle soaks into the bun and it's all a waste anyway, all because the hooter girl didn't assert herself and makes sure the food is as ordered before bringing it over.

The service isn't great, but it's slightly better than the sanitation. Servers at Hooters are encouraged to entertain and mingle which my brain hears and converts to flirting. It's great if you are the one getting all the attention, but chances are, you're not. The people they are hanging out with are regulars that they probably give free fries to or refill a beer without charging. Meanwhile, new customers get to sit and wait till the girls are done before they get to order. This can lead to long waits to just order a drink. Plus, the girl just wasted all her spunk and mojo on the 48 yr old construction foreman that reminds her of daddy that ran off when she was 10 and thus, is very short with you.

So what to do...? I already put in my 2 cents on the uniforms, but here is the rest.

Cook staff:
Gloves are mandatory while handling raw food.
When going from raw to cooked/ready to eat, hands must be washed and dried thoroughly.
Hats. Hooters logo. Bill must be forward facing.
Any personnel working in the kitchen must wear a hat.
No sagging pants.
Hooters shirt only.
No cigarette behind the ear (yes, I really saw this).
Apron must be changed when soiled.
No cell use while handling food.

There must be some degree of separation between the breading area/fryline and where cooked food is plated.
The kitchen must be cleaned, swept, and mopped after every rush.
Coldwells for fixins and maybe a closed off system for the sauce(squeeze bottle, pump) is mandatory.
Bowls must be swapped out for clean every 15 minutes, no exceptions.
All fryers must have timers with buttons programmed to add 30 seconds of drain time after the initial product timer goes off.
Fryed product must either be used immediately or transported to a 160 degree holding cabinet and marked with the appropriate hold time

Hooter girls must check food before taking it to the customer. Incorrect orders that reach the customer are complimentary.
No boyfriend/girlfriends hanging out without purchasing food.
Hooter girls have 1 minute to greet a sitting customer and 2 minutes after that to bring their drink order.
At least 2 call backs are required after the entree is served.
All customers deserve an equal amount of service and attention.

Implementing these changes would at least make Hooters relevant and an A student.

If anyone else wants me to tell them how to run their business... I'll listen to any reasonable job offers.

You're welcome.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cross Pollanation

Let's say that you were on a strict allowance. Instead of getting a certain amount per week, however, you get a daily allowance.

Let's say you are allowed $100 a day, every day. Now if you spend less than that, you will have saved money, but you will go into debt if you spend more. This means that you owe someone money. You must now underspend by that amount over a certain period of time to pay that debt.

This is how the relationship we have with calories works. Food and drink is the delivery method for those calories. In that scenario, imagine that you start overspending by a lot... what do you do? Do you ban quarters because they account for 25% of every dollar? Do you ban pennies because they are so ubiquitous that they must be to blame for the debt you face? No. Those solutions would be ridiculous.

Why then, do we do this with food? If someone consistently over-consumes by 500 calories a day, is a ban or tax on pop the solution? Isn't the problem, too many calories? This issue ties in with what the conservatives call, personal responsibility. Food Hysterics like journalist, Michael Pollan seem concerned with what is being done to the American people. People like him think that old white men in suits are conspiring to get us to eat more. He recently wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times linking health care reform with the food industry. I linked the title of this blog to that article and will be referencing it throughout this post.

"That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry."

Exercise and eating the proper number of calories will bring health costs down, not stopping the food industry from making food. How can the food industry stop people from overeating? Has anyone thought about how insane this sounds? Here is some more conspiracy talk...

"There’s lots of money to be made selling fast food and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry."

Fast food causes disease? I can only assume he can be referring to type 2 diabetes and heart disease linked, in part, to high cholesterol. Fat. However, he doesn't qualify that statement by associating any amount to the fast food. The way he makes the statement, it's as if any fast food will lead to disease. He is a professor of journalism, so perhaps it isn't a mistake that he wrote it this way. Perhaps he wants people to stop eating anything he calls fast food and has twisted the science on this until it becomes a lie. Fast food does not cause disease, too many calories and calories from fat, and cholesterol can lead to some diseases. He does more calculus with the english language here...

"Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are."

He places in your mind the notion that all diseases not linked to smoking are linked to diet. Of course, he only lists smoking as a 'for instance', but the way he structures his sentence starts off by conceding a little, then placing only one non-diet related disease, then going from many to most. All the reader is left with is disease = diet, except for smoking. I don't think I'm being hard on Michael Pollan, and I don't think he wrote in this way as an accident. Keep in mind that he teaches writing for a living.

"To put it more bluntly, the government is putting itself in the uncomfortable position of subsidizing both the costs of treating Type 2 diabetes and the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup."

This is the old HFCS myth, a favorite of foodies, Whole Foods Liberals, Food Hysterics, etc, etc, etc. Whatever you want to call them. They blame HFCS for obesity as well as diabetes. One study in 2007 hypothesized that pop with HFCS contained more potentially reactive carbonyls than simple sugar did. This study has been challenged, however, and you never close the case on an issue with one study.

"AGRIBUSINESS dominates the agriculture committees of Congress, and has swatted away most efforts at reform."

Of course agribusiness is going to be active in the Agriculture committees. This was, quite possibly, the dumbest sentence I have ever read. The ag talk continues...

"But what happens when the health insurance industry realizes that our system of farm subsidies makes junk food cheap, and fresh produce dear, and thus contributes to obesity and Type 2 diabetes?"

What a huge leap in logic...right off the intellectual cliff. Farm subsidies prop up the prices of things like corn and soybeans, which make them more expensive to the food industry. Does Pollan think that the food industry is included in the farm bill?

"...and in time the industry would come to see that the development of regional food systems, which make fresh produce more available and reduce dependence on heavily processed food..."

Perhaps the most important sentence, because it reveals where all of these food hysteric mantras are coming from. Ready?

Misinformation, panic, and ignorance breed more of the same. Good people are misled into thinking we have this huge problem and start investing much time and resources into solving it. The problem is that their solutions are based on myth and non-problems and non-science. They can't turn off what they've started, because what they've started has become it's own institution. Now there are people getting paid based on these assumptions.

I'll list some ideas and how they all come together.
Local food.
Minimally processed.

The only thing I listed that has any sense to it is the idea of sourcing foodstuffs locally. This will cut pollution associated with transporting food across the country. Aside from that, the Hysterics claim that locally grown is healthier, the same claim made for organic. Both of these things generally involve small scale operations. Hmm, watch a pattern emerge, here. Minimally processed or food that hasn't been processed at some factory because it has to be bad, right? Vegetarian, because cows have feelings too, and meat has to be bad because the big corporate giant processes the meat and owns the farms... right? Just say no to GMO's, because the big businesses develop those so they can make big money and we'll probably grow an extra eyeball.....right? Hello? Don't you get it?

It all starts to revolve around this idea of a huge evil corporations. If a report came out tomorrow about how organic food contains high traces of fecal material and e. coli, would these Food Hysterics be up in arms? I guess it depends on the size of the company growing the organic food.

Michael Pollan and those like him are all victims of a vicious cycle that starts with misinformation and a hatred of corporations, and ends with a need to justify their existence. In that justification, they mislead others and their numbers grow. The public sees this as a consensus of public opinion and starts to ignore facts. Facts are important. Facts, as it turns out, are not democratic. I don't care if 5.5 billion people feel the way Michael Pollan does, if the facts are not on his side, he is still wrong. In the meantime, the web grows and the Food Hysterics Cross Pollanate with one another.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

#foodfact - a Twitter food reference for @foodchat and beyond.

For those that wish to follow all things food, @foodchat is a great place to start on Twitter. Every Tuesday night from 8pm-10pm Eastern, #agchat engages people in the issues of farming and commercial ag. Every 3rd of those Tuesday evenings are dedicated to food by tagging #foodchat on the end of your statements. Keep both of these as saved searches in Twitter to see what the latest musings are. Twitter has started to become a faster source of news than the rest of the internet. Where people used to see what searches were popular on Yahoo! and Google, they now can simply look at the top trending topics. Twitter, love it or loathe it, has become an invaluable marketing and public relations tool. Every Thursday is #foodfact Thursday on Twitter for followers of #foodchat. I thought I would put my food facts in blog form...

The perfect diet beverage, Unsweetened Iced Tea has zero calories, is chock full of antioxidants, and has a little caffeine as well. I suggest using Lipton's Cold Brew, which is available in both pint and 2 quart pitcher sized pouches.

Eggs are the perfect protein, containing every essential amino acid. This is important, because our body doesn't stockpile amino acids and won't synthesize new proteins unless all required amino acids are available. So if you eat a combination of foods that is missing one or two, then you get zero protein benefit. In developing countries, this leads to a protein deficiency called,

One gram of protein = 3kcal. One gram of fat = 9kcal.

The most efficient forms of protein are as follows; 1. milk proteins (Caseins) 2. eggs, 3. beef, 4. soy, 5. chicken

Spam stands for SPiced hAM and consists of the ham and picnic shoulder cuts of pork.

The original flavor of Twinkies was banana. This all changed during WWII when bananas were hard to come by due to fighting in the Pacific theater.

Mountain Dew was originally intended to be a dry whiskey mixer when they discovered that it was pretty good when mixed with club soda.

Daily recommended amounts for proteins are actually overestimated by a third, counting on some of that protein being passed through the body as waste.

3500 calories = 1 pound. Therefore, someone who cuts 500 calories a day from their diets will lose about 1 pound a week until their weight corresponds to the number of calories they consume. For instance, a 200lb man needs about 2400 calories a day to maintain that weight. A 120lb woman needs 1320calories to stay at 120lbs. This all changes though, with increases in activity. If you run, lift weights, compete in sports, then you need considerably more calories.

An egg has 6-8 grams of protein while a glass of milk has 8, and a slice of bread has 4. A can of tuna has half the daily recommended allowance of protein and only 110 calories.

Clostridium Botulinum spores are very hardy. samples taken from a honey bee that was encased in tree sap contained these spores and they were successfully reactivated. The bee was estimated to be 40,000 years old. These are the same spores that can form during improper hoime canning. It takes temperatures of 251 degrees for more than 19 minutes to kill them. which is why the FDA standard for canning in food plants is 251 for 20 minutes.

Speaking of honey, it has the odd quality of never spoiling. If you have honey, it is still good.

All of this food talk has made me hungry. I think I'll have me some steak and eggs.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Science, our fair weather friend.

Remember the guys over the last few years that had been on death row for years for crimes they didn't commit, only to be found innocent through DNA testing?

Remember a couple years back when people wanted to teach creationism in schools because Evolution was 'only' a theory? What did you say to that? You said, 'look at the science'.

Remember back when people were claiming that climate change was a farce? What did you say to that? You said, 'look at the science'.
When someone tells you that your meat has fecal matter on it, that high-fructose corn syrup is the cause of obesity, that processed foods cause cancer, that organic is obviously better...what do you say? You say, 'ok'.

What? What about science? What about testing hypothesis, running experiments, publishing studies in peer reviewed journals, replicating and verifying results? Why are you not giving science the same credit for food that you give for climate change and evolution? Do you not like the answer you get?

An example:
Let's say that we want to examine whether high-fructose corn syrup(hfcs) is a bigger contributor to obesity than cane sugar. Ok. We would probably need to select two groups; one that drinks a beverage containing hfcs with their meals for a given time, and a second that drinks a sugar beverage with each of the same meals that the first group received. So now our variable, hfcs and cane sugar, are isolated. We monitor the weight of each group at the beginning and end of the experiment(which lasts for more than a few days). Would doing that experiment help put your minds at ease?

Well, that experiment was done, and found that neither was any worse for you. They were both sugar. Calories lead to obesity, not an ingredient.

'Yeah, but those studies are rigged by the big corporations.' It's a big world out there and I'd bet that some companies would risk their integrity by fudging a study, but that is what peer review journals are for. Someone can read what was done, reproduce the experiment, and compare the results. Also, much of the research in food science is done by Master's and PHD students. I've worked among these people, and trust me, there is no corporate entity watching over them.

Today, I read a blog by Mrs. Dawn Ellis-Lopez that asserts that certain things are unhealthy and should be kept from your kids, while at the same time, admitting that there aren't studies to support her claims.

"While good public studies are hard to come by (follow the money to explain that one), there are a number of people who believe they have plenty of good reasons not to trust aspartame, Splenda, or saccharin."

She then goes on to dispatch some sage(organically grown) like wisdom to all of us...
"The verdict: Step away from the soda pop. No matter how tasty you think it is, it doesn't love you back."

Now I'm not saying pop is a health drink by any means, but it isn't a poison. Like all things, pop should be consumed in moderation. Facts? Citrus pop like Mountain Dew and Vault contain about 180 calories per can. Pepsi and Coke are not too far off from that. They contain very low sodium and no fat, but the excess carbs will be stored as fat if you consume too many calories.

This is taken directly from the site she uses to cite as evidence that saccharin is bad:

Studies in laboratory rats during the early 1970s linked saccharin with the development of bladder cancer. For this reason, Congress mandated that further studies of saccharin be performed and required that all food containing saccharin bear the following warning label: "Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals." Subsequent studies in rats showed an increased incidence of urinary bladder cancer at high doses of saccharin consumption, especially in male rats. However, mechanistic studies (studies that examine how a substance works in the body) have shown that these results apply only to rats. Human epidemiology studies (studies of patterns, causes, and control of diseases in groups of people) have shown no consistent evidence that saccharin is associated with bladder cancer incidence.

Because the bladder tumors seen in rats are due to a mechanism not relevant to humans, and because there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans, saccharin was delisted in 2000 from the U.S. National Toxicology Program's Report on Carcinogens , where it had been listed since 1981 as a substance reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (a substance known to cause cancer). More information about the delisting of saccharin is available at on the Internet. The delisting led to legislation, which was signed into law on December 21, 2000, repealing the warning label requirement for products containing saccharin."


The sites she lists for Splenda and Aspartame are biased sites that are anti-sweetener.

For those interested, Cargill and Coca-Cola have teamed up to develop a natural sweetener based on Stevia that they call Truvia. Coca-Cola is expected to debut a version of Diet Coke or Coke Zero containing this in the near future.

She makes a mind numbing statement about kid's drinks like Kool-Aid:

"white sugar is treated with chlorine, and that creates an addictive response since the body doesn't recognize it as real food."

No. Sorry. Not even remotely true. Number one, our water is treated with chlorine...anybody out there water addicts? What about pools? Anybody have prune hands because you can't get out of the pool? Here is her Coup De Grace to the section on kid's drinks:

"The verdict: Just don't do it. Don't do it to yourself or to your kids."

How many parents robbed their kids of the occasional Hawaiian Punch or Kool-Aid because they listened to this lady and freaked out? Why do we do this when it comes to food? Is it guilt? Are we guilty about what we have, our abundance, our gluttony, our expanding waistlines that we have to believe that there are evil forces afoot that poisoned us.

It's come to this, an all or nothing society, feast or famine, good vs evil. At some point it stopped being about the choices we make. We like to dog the Republicans for a lot of things, but they get at least one thing right, personal responsibility. I have a large midsection, but it isn't Coke's fault, it's mine. I know how many calories are in whatever and I overspent. Too many calories over an extended period of time = a lot of extra weight and fat. I know exactly how to take all the weight off, yet I don't do it. It isn't the corporation's job to police what I consume, it's mine. They can't possibly know what else I eat and drink during the day, so how can they be responsible if I over do it?

This need to have an enemy has lead to a willful ignorance of science and facts about food. It leads people to believe the words of an uneducated writer over the scientists. It leads to documentaries that food scientists scoff at while the rest of the world excepts it as fact. Facts cannot be made up, they can only be discovered. Facts are not conservative or liberal or Republican or Democratic. Facts are a cold splash of water in our disillusioned faces, waking us up and in the case of food, calibrating our paranoia. Facts are important, but they are meaningless if we remain ignorant to them. That's a fact.

The blog Referenced in mine belongs to Dawn Ellis-Lopez and can be found here:

I will provide you some other useful links as well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

An educated foodie's plea to a naive world.

It's been a while since I last blogged on here, so I figure it's time to do something. Assoon as I get a hold of a copy, I will be watching Food Inc. and fact checking the whole movie. I've seen parts of the movie through clips and I've also watched/heard several Michael Pollan and Robert Kenner interviews about the movie. From what I gather, I might need to break the fact checking into several parts as it will most likely take a while to go through everything.

I think I might do a hodgepodge of various food musings for this post...

Pepsico is trying to buy out some of it's larger independent bottlers, a move that will save Pepsico around $300 million by 2012 through supply chain integration. This is sort of vertical integration, except that these entities were alread a part of Pepsi a decade ago. It would be like Pillsbury buying it's flour supplier if that supplier only supplied flour to Pillsbury in the first place.

Has anyone gotten to know a food scientist lately? Many of you probably live near a place that manufactures food products, so you have access. Some of you reading this either go to school or live near one and many of those colleges have a food science program. I ask because regardless of whether they are a liberal or conservative, their knowledge of food is the same. Science is apolitical. Facts are facts. If you are curious about how many eggs have salmonella on them or whether or not the pesticide residues on an apple will harm you, they can help. Just for the record, the answers are: 1 in 20,000 and not if the residues are under the gov established limits.

"Fortifying processed foods with missing nutrients is surely better than leaving them out, but food science can add back only the small handful of nutrients that food science recognizes as important today" - 'In Defense of Food', Michael Pollan.

Just a quick example of a fortified food... Enriched flour. The process of making the flour destroys some of four nutrients, so to make up for it, we add ten. So. we lose parts of four, but we add ten. I'll give another example... Pasteurized and homogenized milk. The pasteurization process sees the milk heated to 161 degrees F for about 16 seconds. In that time, a statistically insignificant amount of some enzymes and vitamins can be destroyed. To make up for it, we tend to add vitamins A and D. Mr. Pollan did not take a course in Dairy Processing and get an A. Oddly enough, Mr. Pollan is granted credibility for writing about food in a sort of New York Post page 6 he said-she said manner.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hit & Miss: My love/hate relationship with the Kenwood Kroger Fresh Fare.

Aside from discussing food issues, I'll also be reviewing local chain restaurants. I don't mess with the independently owned or the trendy, because there are already a litany of people reviewing them. It's nice to know what the new Cuban place is like or where local Cincy celebs are hanging out, but most of us just want to know where the fastest, nicest, cleanest Wendy's is located.

I was thinking my first establishment would be the Newport Hooter's or the Montgomery Rd. Red Lobster, but I've had a number of experiences at the Kenwood Towne Center's Kroger Fresh Fare that warrant a review.

Kroger is one of the nation's largest grocer's with stores under the Kroger, King Sooper's, Ralph's, and Fred Meyer brands. In recent years, Kroger has updated the look of it's stores and added concepts like Kroger Marketplace, that adds homegoods and usually contains a jewelery store, and a Starbuck's. Fresh Fare gives Kroger a Whole Foods treatment, complete with Boar's Head meats, Murray's Cheeses, fresh seafood, fresh meat, sushi, a Starbucks, a large wine/beer section, sandwich/burrito making stations, pizza by the slice, and a hot food bar to package your own take home meal.

First, the good.

The wine selection is extensive, ranging from dry - sweet, cheap - expensive, humble - pretentious. The wine section even has regular tastings and is staffed by a sommelier. The beer section starts where the wine stops and is just as good. Tons of local and microbrews as well as the mainstream domestic and foreign beers. I like this section because I personally suggested that they carry Strongbow Cider, and a week later, it was stocked. That really makes a difference to know that an establishment listens and acts on customer suggestions.

Also, the customer service is pretty good there. I was at the checkout with pop that I thought was on sale. It turns out they had forgotten to change the prices on this particular brand. Did they let me have it at the cheaper price? No. They let me have it for free. They were also very good at correcting an error in ringing up peppers I bought without weighing them. The cashier made it seem like I had a pound each of Thai Chili, habanero, and jalapeno, when I didn't even have a half pound combined. I got reimbursed and they seemed to be genuinely sorry.

...and now the bad.
The food bar. This is the area where customers may get a plastic container and fill it with hot or cold food to take home or even to eat at the store in a cafe area. Great idea, Kroger, keep the customer in the store as long as possible. On one side is the cold bar, which has lettuce wedges, carrots, shredded cheese, alfalfa sprouts, edemame, and other crap I never eat. On the other side is the hot bar. Don't get me wrong, this is a great idea, but it's the execution where they fall flat. They have great food on here like Cincinnati style chili, chicken breasts covered in a balsamic reduction , macaroni & cheese, fries, some italian dishes, beans, corn, mashed potatoes, etc.

The main problem with this hot mess is that it's poorly kept. Not once have I gone in and seen glistening, steaming food in clean pans with clean stainless steel surfaces.
Instead, I see this:

...and this:
Dry chicken, spilled corn, clumpy macaroni, dried chili crust caked onto the side of the pan. Come on, Kroger, you're better than this. Also, they served spaghetti noodles with the chili so one could make there own 3 way. They problem with this is that you either dry out the noodles in the pan or you soak them till they're so soft that they can't hold their shape. Wet noodles make for horrific 3 ways. Wait a minute, did I just say that?

Anyway, nobody seemed too concerned with the state of things, and whats worse is the fact that nobody was embarrassed by it. I used to be a buffet attendant back when I started working for KFC..way back when they had buffets. Here is the proof:

Not only did I have the responsibility to keep the food full, but it had to look presentable. That means changing pans every 15-20 minutes, carefully stirring the corn or macaroni to keep it looking great. One of my bosses, franchise exec Keith Chambers, called it massaging the food. People walked in and that was their first impression of the restaurant. If I showed a lack of pride, they might assume we didn't care or were too busy and just turned around and left.

Hopefully, this isn't just about me trashing Kroger. Hopefully, something positive comes out of this review as well as the reviews I do in the future. I love grocery stores. I love walking around and seeing what they think is important and how the colors and sections are arranged. I hope Executives in the division that oversees this will see this and implement some changes. And Kroger execs...I'm happy to help.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You say calories, I say hypocrisy.

Food hysterics like to point out how high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, and fried meats make us so obese as a nation. Nobody debates them on this. We don't blame people that overeat on these products or the simple fact that they overeat on anything. Instead, we nod and accept as fact that something else controls our lives. Then many of us go home and pray for an all powerful wizard in the sky to control our lives and 'give us the strength' to lose the weight.

A small rant to follow this large admission.

I'm pretty fat. That is accurate and yet it isn't what people really mean when they say fat. When people say fat, they really mean heavy. We don't gain fat and lose weight, we gain weight and lose weight. Fat is independent of weight. I'm lazy, stubborn, and lack willpower. I know what the fix is, but I never put the plan in motion. I regret that because I know a lot about food and nutrition so I look like a hypocrite when I distill advice. Just know that my heaviness is noted and it doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about. Now on to the rant...

Companies absolutely want you to buy their products. These products can spend years in R&D and companies try hard to come up with things that people will like. I think we can all agree on that, but what we can't agree on is this notion that the companies want to hurt you or make you fat. McDonald's wants you to try their Angus Third Pounder, they may even want you to eat them regularly, but they don't want you to eat them every day or eat every meal at McDonald's. They'd much rather have more patrons that came in at different times than have the same people come in at the same time every day. Their goal is to be busy from open to close. By having regulars that eat every day, they get into a rhythm. That means they get really busy a few times a day and they're slow the rest of the day. They'd much rather be steady to busy the entire day. Pepsico want me to drink Mountain Dew, but they don't want me getting half me calories from it.

What I'm talking about is personal responsibility and moderation. Food hysterics need a villain, and since they're trying to convert you into food hysterics, they won't risk insulting you by telling you to ease up. You don't have to become a vegan or go on some crazy diet to lose weight, it's all a matter of calories.

One of my professors at OSU lost a lot of weight from one year to the next. He taught a nutrition class and used himself as an example. Did he spend hours in the gym? No. Did he only eat raw organic foods? No. He simply took in less calories than his body needed and he got more active by walking more.


No crazy diets, no crazy workouts, just less calories and more activity. It's like this: 3,500 calories = 1 pound. Therefore, losing 1 pound/week would require someone to reduce calorie intake by 500 calories a day. If you aren't that big, then 500 calories is too many to shave. In that case, you can work out to tone and build lean muscle and raise your metabolism/ burn calories.

Enter Tyler...

Tyler is a guy that lost 100 pounds in a year. He went from a size 48 pant to a size 38. He went from 4xlt shirts to just xl. He worked out, he limited his caloric intake, and he even did it without denying himself. He ate bacon cheeseburgers every week. While he didn't eat that every day, he treated calories like cash. He had so many calories to spend in a day/week. Some days he would be frugal with his calories, other day he would splurge, you know, live a little.

Tyler had sleep apnea, back pain, and high blood pressure that all disappeared when the excess weight came of and it didn't have anything to do with the amount of HFCS or enriched flour he was the calories.

First things first.

Hello to all you internuts. See what I did there? I took the word internet and combined it with nuts. That's good stuff.

I'm going to be venting about what I call 'Food Hysteria' in the first several posts of this new blog. Food hysteria is defined by myself to be an over-reaction to concerns over food safety or nutrition due to myths, misinformation, and hyperbole.

Food hysterics give canned responses to any comment or debate about the food industry. They readily use terms like Frankenfoods and consider food companies to be evil entities that plot against the public while trying to maximize profits.

I have a simple test I administer to people in order to judge their viewpoints on food as well as their Edible Intelligence. I simply state that I know what hot dogs are made of and offer to tell them. The reaction is never an inquisitive, 'oh?', but rather a disgusted, 'No no no, don't tell me'.

This is a major problem and a reason why food hysteria exists. People assume that the ingredients for hot dogs are revolting, because they grew up being told that hot dogs were the lips and assholes of cows...and nobody corrected them. That is what I hope to accomplish here. Behind the hysteria lies hype and behind that hype lies a motive. It will be my task to take the hype, counter it with fact, and ultimately, expose the motive behind the hysteria.

And by the way... Really? Lips and assholes? We eat billions of hot dogs as a country and there wouldn't be enough lips and assholes to make even a small fraction of what would be needed to match our consumption. The truth: Hot Dogs were cheap sausages that were originally made from a hodgepodge of ingredients. Things like heart, liver, trim, and fat were common in the wieners of a century ago. Through mass production and gains in food safety regulation, these ingredients are impractical. The meat trim used is actual beef/pork/chicken/turkey and not the organs/variety meats once used.

Anyway, I think this is a good start. Hopefully, this will give you readers an idea of what's to come.