Home cooking – the happiest meal of all

Cooking pot (what a surprise)

In response to a city council vote to ban toys from Happy Meals, an op-ed in the San Francisco Examiner in early November argued that it’s no biggie. The piece came from Karen Wells, vice president of nutrition and menu strategy for McDonald’s USA. She argues that the boxed meals–consisting mostly of processed foods with fairly high fat, sodium, and sugar content–are a treat, not a threat.

I’m glad that someone views our fast food nation this way. As I noted in another post, Americans spend just 27 minutes a day preparing food, according to Michael Pollan’s research. He writes that this amounts to half the time we spent in the 1960s. By one count, McDonald’s has sold more than 20 billion of these meals since it first introduced the concept in 1979, averaging more than 640 million per year. Continue reading

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Are schools focusing on healthier food options?

This guest post is contributed by Cindy Cullen, who writes on the topic of culinary art college. She welcomes your comments by email.

Obesity and disease are more evident now than ever before; the numbers are rising as the days go by, and health is no longer something we can take for granted. Unless we take steps to preserve it and nurture it from childhood, we risk falling prey to illness and poor health as we grow older. We all know that the key to holistic health and wellbeing are diet and exercise – watch what you eat and work out five days a week. However, we fail to encourage our children to adopt this way of life, and because of this, we fail at providing them with a healthy life. Continue reading

Is it Thanksgiving yet? How about now??

Picture this: You’re a kid again. The unexpected is scary, and you await the expected with baited breath. The more you plan that future trip or visit or birthday party, the more exciting it becomes.

That’s a little how I’ve felt as my family members planned out Thanksgiving menu. We have agreed on a wholesome meal, I think, with all sorts of stuff we can buy at the farmers market. (Wee! The farmers market!)

I thought I would share a little of that fun with the blogosphere. Here is what we plan to cook and eat.

For your added enjoyment, this menu is laced with a link scavenger hunt and even a recipe built in. All that’s left is the anticipation.

Snacking before the meal

Smoky black bean dip
Walnuts and raisins

First course

Squash soup

Salad with nuts, seeds, and all manner of veggie goodness Continue reading

Through unity, we find strength

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In August, a group of Gallaudet University alumni, staff members, and supporters traveled to Port-au-Prince to work with deaf and hard of hearing survivors of the earthquake. I traveled with them, as a reporter for the university. During the week-long effort, from August 5 to 12, the group helped to address problems facing deaf people and their families in a tent community in Port-au-Prince, and made connections with others who wanted to forge a better future for people with disabilities in Haiti. Continue reading