Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Now They Come For Our Food

April 29th, 2010

A few elections ago then Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton said of the electricity market: It’s too important to be left to the private sector. A few people I knew agreed with this, to which I always answered, just hope Howard Hampton never notices how you buy your food:food the last time some one decided food was too important for the private sector, the Russian people were relegated to 50 years of cabbage soup and black bread. Well don’t look now but…

Michael Ignatieff, who, of course has cake, has proposed a National Food Policy. The Government of Canada would get in the farmers market and local food game. Fourty-million dollars here for a national healthy start (breakfast for brats) program, eighty-million dollars there for a buy local fund and pretty soon your talking real money. Then there’s this:

Reward farmers for environmentally sustainable initiatives such as setting aside land for wildlife habitats or carbon sequestration (emphasis theirs… and mine)

The Liberal government will spend untold millions, hundreds of millions more like, to pay farmers to not grow food. This plan talks of spending $170M, but has hundreds of millions more not factored in. Government food programs in action: more money out the door, less food in.

Then there’s the City of Toronto. I have spent considerable energy on this blog highlighting the folly of the City of Toronto and it’s elected representatives. So it is with some shock I report, they are on to a good idea. Yesterday’s Sun reports the City is considering allowing people to keep chickens in their backyard. Frankly as long as there’s no health hazard – and there isn’t – why it’s the City of anybody’s business if you keep chickens I have no idea. None the less if the chicken lobby gets it’s way, soon you’ll be able to have a couple of chickens producing fresh eggs in a coop on your very own property in Toronto. A few years down the road when the eggs stop coming it’s Ann Boleyn meets Colonel Sanders and dinner has never been so fresh.

Alas, this is the City of Toronto, the people who could screw up letting street vendors sell food. All chickens would have to be registered. That’s right, a chicken registry which, surprisingly, isn’t in Michael Ignatieff’s plan. Presumably the chicken registry is not in case some chicken goes wild and it’s owner needs to be identified, but so that City Hall can tax your free eggs. No doubt you’ll need their permission before putting Betsy in the deep fryer.

Sad to say this scheme also falls under a food plan, in this case the “urban food strategy” that Toronto Public Health is putting together.

The politicians have noticed: look for less food, less selection and higher prices in the food market in coming years.

Economic Fundamentalism, Food , , , , , , , , ,

I Don’t Want My Fried Chicken Grilled

March 24th, 2008

I try to eat healthy, I do. But sometimes I just want junk food – sometimes I want a piece of chicken that’s been dipped, battered and fried. And when that day comes, I love Kentucky Fried Chicken.

You have to wonder, do the people at KFC really believe customers will come to eat grilled chicken?

Kentucky Fried Chicken customers will be greeted eventually by lighted “Now Grilling” signs, starting in coming weeks in select U.S. cities.

Storefront signs will be altered to promote the new product – called Kentucky Grilled Chicken.

Louisville-based KFC, a subsidiary of Yum Brands Inc., hopes grilled chicken will lure back health-conscious consumers who dropped fried chicken from their diets, or cut back on indulging.

Health conscious consumers are not coming to KFC regardless of what the sign says. And sometimes, even us health conscious guys want a bucket of grease.


John Tory’s Election Troubles

September 24th, 2007

I’m puttering around work with a hangover, swearing up and down that I’m off booze for good – never again – this time I mean it – when I hear John Tory is talking about a trial of selling beer and wine in corner stores. Normally, that would cause me to sit and write a nice, John Tory friendly article with a title like…

Finally a Policy Idea I Can Raise a Glass Too.

But no, today I don’t care as I’m “off booze for good – never again – this time I mean it” and it occurs to me if John Tory is having as much trouble connecting with the rest of the electorate as he is me, then he’s in real trouble.

Hangovers and a bad case of the zactly’s aside, here’s how that article cited above might have went:

Finally a Policy Idea I Can Raise a Glass Too.

Back in mid-august we were entertaining our young nephew, who lives in Ottawa. His parents were on their way down to pick him up after a few day stay at our house, and I had no beer in the house. So we were puttering around Friday night, not expecting his parents until after 11:00, and I decided to pick up some beer, in case they were thirsty after their long drive. It was 9:15 on a Friday night, and I was out of luck. Both the Hespeler beer and liquor stores were closed. 9:15 on a Friday night in the middle of the summer.

Thus was born a beer and liquor store abolitionist.

So when John Tory announced yesterday that he would look at selling beer and wine in corner stores he made me sit up and take notice.

Now granted, nothing drastic from our man Tory. Just a few trial locations, study the question: as if Quebec, Alberta and B.C., the U.S.A. and Europe are not test location enough. Really, the data exists, the idea works. But from baby steps like this comes full fledged working policy, so I’ll take what I can get.

And don’t give me any of that “minors will have an easier time getting alcohol,” argument. When I was growing up the beer and liquor stores were the one place you could get alcohol, but try and get into a privately operated bar, and no dice. The same still holds true, and it holds true for a reason. There is no repercussions, either to the unionized employee or the store itself, if somebody sells to a minor in a government run store. But a private operation has much to lose, including their licence, their employees face dismissal for transgressions. There is no reason to believe the same will not hold true at convenience stores.

And please John, tell me you also mean grocery stores: for the environments sake if no other reason. I’m forever making an extra trip instead of grabbing a bottle/few cans of Guinness at the grocery store.

All that said, John Tory is looking for a trial location for his project, I have a little village in mind that needs a place were beer can be had after 9:00 on a Friday night.

Food, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, John 'Red Green' Tory, John Tory, Ontario Election, pimply minions of bureaucracy


May 15th, 2007
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Those who read regularly will recognize Opus, the little penguin of comic fame who sometimes dots these pages. While sometimes overtly left wing and political, other times Opus is positively libertarian. Example, this week:

click on image for full size

On second thought, never mind all that philosophizing – it was just funny.

Food, Funny., Hotties, opus, pus

Freedom Fries: Hold the Salt

May 9th, 2007
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The next environmental war is coming to your grocery store, that’s pretty clear. In Dalton, Ban It!, McGuinty’s Ontario, Papa Government doesn’t wait long from idea to banning anything. Plastic garbage bags are on the radar, thus they are outta here.

But what of our health? It’s been a while since anyone has banned anything in the name of our health, in the name of saving health care. Fear not, we have found the new enemy of health care: salt:

Cutting the average Canadian’s salt intake in half would dramatically reduce the toll – human and economic – that hypertension or high blood pressure exacts in this country, a new study suggests.

Such a move would result in one million fewer people developing hypertension and a substantial increase in the number of people with hypertension who keep their blood pressure in check, according to the modelling study, published Tuesday in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

The ensuing reduction in scope of the country’s hypertension problem would save $430 million a year in direct costs

No word how much the public health system would save if they allowed Canadians to buy their own health care, but not to worry. It is governments way that when a program is failing, they make it mandatory. When it is still failing, they take away various rights and freedoms, deeming a) it’s for the peoples good and b) it’s for the programs good.

Therefore, look for the banning/regulating of salt in the very near future. Because salt is bad for you, and so, apparently, is freedom.

Food, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Visiting Parliament

April 24th, 2007
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I have family in Ottawa, and go there once or twice a year. Last week, however, was the first time I was there while Parliament was sitting. This gave me a chance to sit in the visitors gallery for question period. If your a political junkie like me, put it on your “must do” list, it was a great experience.

First off, a big thank you to my MP Gary Goodyear and his staff. For question period you can just arrive and stand in line to sit in the end gallery, or, you can contact your MP’s office and let them know when you will be in Ottawa. They can provide you with a pass to sit in the gallery opposite your MP, thus you can watch your representative in action. This is what I did.

I was met at the door by Jennifer Dodd, Gary Goodyear’s assistant, and escorted around the line-up to security. After a brief security check, I was back in Jennifer’s hands, who then took me to a more private elevator to the gallery level. At this stage I had to hand in my cell phone and camera, then got passed on to a security guy, who helped me find a seat, and everything else I needed.

I got there before question period, but it doesn’t mean nothing was happening as debate on a Liberal motion to pull our troops out of Afghanistan was on-going. There where only a few dozen MPs present, most of them working away on laptops, reading briefings &tc.

The real action starts with question period, which is rollicking, fun and entertaining. It also has a rhythm to it, a give and take back and forth that adds to the entertainment. If you’ve ever watched it on TV you know the feeling that the MPs act like children, but it’s not true. All that annoying background yelling you hear on TV is part of the flow of question period, and very much adds to it’s flavour. As I said before, it should be on every political junkies to do list, just to get a feel for what it’s really like.

But of course, what’s Parliament without the Parliamentarians? This also provides a chance to get fairly close to the politicians and gather better impressions than you get off TV. Here’s my take on people I saw (and remember, I was able to view the Conservative/NDP side of the house, not the Liberal side.

Stephen Harper does look sullen. He’s a sloucher, and he looks entirely displeased to be there.

Peter MacKay, on the other hand, is tall and handsome. I always thought he looked like a fish, but he doesn’t. Further he’s very well dressed and carries himself with poise and confidence. In short, he looks like a successful guy.

Jack Layton looks arrogant and smug; possibly more so in person than on TV.

Rona Ambrose is not the Conservative hottie, that distinction goes to Josée Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages.

The star of the day was Environment Minister John Baird, who presented his Kyoto report to Senate that morning and was getting grilled. He was quick and sharp, and got the best laugh of the day as well (From Hansard):

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member said, “when Canadians see the cost of Kyoto they will scream”.

Let us look at what one of the former Liberal ministers of the environment, Sheila Copps, said. She said, “On the environment, the Liberals are not on solid ground”. She also said, “People like Ralph Goodale and Anne McLellan were viciously against Kyoto”.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker:

I would urge all hon. members, and particularly the Minister of the Environment, to avoid using members’ names. The person may have said that but the member knows that you cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly. I think the member meant the hon. member for Wascana and he should use those kinds of terms in addressing the House.

Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, it was a difficult day for the Minister of the Environment, who appeared before the Senate committee with only one thing in mind: spreading fear among Canadians.

Except that when he brought out an incomplete report based on partial information, he instead discredited himself before the members of the committee, and before all Canadians. When he was asked for specific figures to justify at least one of his dire predictions, he had nothing to say.

Now that he has had a few hours to read his report, can he give us some explanations or figures that justify at least one of his outlandish conclusions.

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, not only are we justifying the conclusions of the report, we had a number of Canada’s leading economists from outside of government validate it.

I would encourage the member opposite to listen to members of his own caucus. This is what one of his caucus members said two months ago, “We’re so far behind now that catch-up is impossible without shutting the country down”.

I cannot say who said this but I did see it on a website called

That last line had everyone in the house laughing – well maybe not on the Liberal side, I couldn’t see them. Baird is young and good, and looked like was enjoying himself. Look for more from him in the future.

As an aside, I lunched at the Parliament Pub directly across the street from the Parliament Building and while it had good food, it is noteworthy because it has a great, fun menu:

Senators Soup of the day
Like our Senators this soup is the result of a decision by the Head chef

Johnny Crouton Caesar Salad
Shaved asiago, bacon, garlic croutons and home made tangy
caesar for a King or …a friendly dictator and good
for your legacy.

Dennis Mills Danforth Greek Salad
Cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta
cheese and roasted garlic vinaigrette. Like Mills, this salad is a
of ingenuity and taste sprinkled with a hint of assertiveness.

Bill Graham’s Roasted Portobello Mushrooms
and New Potato Salad

with roasted red pepper coulis.Roasted and baked just like
Canada’s Foreign Policy on the Middle East

Stephen Harper’s Mixed Baby Greens
Pesto Dijon vinaigrette and roma tomatoes. Let’s focus on
green” here. Hey Stephen you still have to apologize to the
Maritimers – when you do we will name this item “mixed and
polished greens”

David Pratt’s Bunker Buster Tandoori Chicken
Mixed greens to camouflage the oncoming assault of the
palette, honey Dijon vinaigrette to lure the diners to the plate
riata that will blow your mind. This salad will target your
hunger and take it out permanently.

The Jack Layton Coalition of the Unwilling Chicken Caesar Wrap
Roasted chicken, romaine lettuce, asiago cheese, bacon and
Caesar dressing in a flour tortilla. This is the most politically
correct sandwich available……anywhere… the world.

Peter MacKay’s Philly Melt Sandwich
Sliced roast beef, mixed mushrooms, caramelized onion and
Swiss cheese. Served on toasted baguette with horseradish
pommeray aioli. – it looks good, it tastes good, it is good…and
it melts on its own when David Orchard is around.

Bloc Quebecois Smoked Chicken Quesidilla
b.b.q. sauce, guacamole, asiago, corn, and side sour cream .A
distinct sandwich with its own notwithstanding clause that’s
good for your overall constitution.

Paul Martin Roma Tomato Bruschetta
Served cold on toasted baguette with shaved asiago. Like Paul,
this is in a class all by itself.

John Godfrey’s Guantonimo Bay BLT WRAP
Roma tomato, bacon, mixed greens, asiago cheese, Dijon
mustard and avocado aioli imprisoned in a tomato tortilla wrap.
John Godfrey, the Liberal MP from Toronto known for his
passionate defense of the Al-quaida “non-combatants” who are
being “unfairly” held in US military prisons in Cuba.
We suggest he send them some of these sandwiches.

Stan Dromisky’s Roasted Vegetable Wrap“THE STAN”
Liberal red pepper, mixed with Kyoto Protocol themed zucchini,
eggplant, portobello mushrooms and red Tory onions, with a
collegial spot of Bloc Quebecois brie cheese, mixed greens and
roasted pepper sauce in a spinach tortilla wrap. Like Stan, this
is a meal for a team player who is always loyal to your
gastronomic desires.

Canadian Alliance Smoked Salmon Sandwich
Marinated capers and red onion, dill cream cheese and lightly
toasted dark rye bread. This Salmon is like theCanadian Alliance
– a fish out of water that got smoked in the
last election

Don Boudria’s Voodoo Chicken Sandwich
Mango and chili roasted chicken breast and provolone cheese.
Served on toasted baguette with avocado aioli. A true grit
sandwich with a loyal following. Like Don, this is a sandwich
you can always count on when the chips are down.

Stockwell ‘s Pasta of the Day

… with mixed green or ceasar salad. Served steaming hot…Amen.

Myron Thompson’s Quiche of the Day
with mixed green or ceasar salad…because REAL men
do eat quiche.
Pizzas are served with a choice of Caesar or garden Salad.

Bevilacqua’s Pesto Pizza
Roast chicken; sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese. Aaaaah
Maurizio. Smooth, tasty, palatable. A pizza that both Martinites
and Chretienites can stomach.

Parliament Pizza
Liberal portions of Tomato sauce, mixed with an Alliance of
prosciuitto and mixed mushrooms, red Tory onions, asiago and
mozzarella that’s as cheesey as the Bloc Quebecois.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Fresh basil, zucchini, red pepper, red onion, eggplant and goat
cheese. In honour of Hedy Fry, Art Eggleton, Alfonso
Gagliano and some of the other “bright lights” in the Liberal
government who have delusions of adequacy.

Scott Brison Crème Brulée
John Manley’s Cheesecake
Deb Grey’s Chocolate Torte
Carolyn Bennett’s Lemon Tarte

Food, Hotties, Ottawa, Parliament