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    Monday, 30 July 2007

    If it is fine wines and grand meals that you live for, then it’s all about Food and Wine Magazine. This magazine has dedicated itself to the person who can’t eat his or her meal without the taste of a high-quality wine. Here you can find the most excellent unheard of restaurants across America. There’re recipes in abundance and the latest in the most recent grape. Food and Wine Magazine also has plentiful auctions to benefit charities and group trips to benefit the select palate. If your pastime is wine or if your leisure pursuit is food, or if you authentically enjoy both, then Food and Wine Magazine will become your magazine of choice.

    Support of Top Chef

    One of the most accepted reality shows on television is Top Chef. The show, with its competitive cooking competitions to find America’s next Top Chef, has become #1 in the ratings and is being sponsored by Food and Wine Magazine. This reality show has brought cooking skills to the front position of the public. For the past 25-years Food and Wine Magazine has held a Food and Wine Fest in Aspen, Colorado. Securing tickets to this festival is now becoming rare as many people keep their tickets within their families. The festival is one of the most well-liked food and wine events of the year. The hottest chefs are highlighted at the festival, as well as America’s newest Top Chef.

    Food and Wine Magazine now reviews the latest videos of the country’s most popular chefs preparing definite recipes and recommends the best of these videos. The top ten recipes of the month are also reviewed, as well as the top ten wine selections of the month. Wineries are very often reviewed with their picks of the recipes which would most benefit from their wines. All up to date wine, cocktail and food fests are always listed in Food and Wine Magazine. Of course there are many highlights of the latest meal preparation appliances and the prospect in kitchens. There’re also many articles written on what you already have in your kitchen and how that priceless appliance or utensil has been used for over a century. Food and Wine Magazine relays the latest cooking techniques and short-cuts to cooking your most wanted meals and all the latest in seasonal amusement. If you want to understand why certain wine glasses are better than others for a fastidious wine, then Food and Wine Magazine has your answer. For the cooking minded or if you would like to become gastronomic minded, then Food and Wine Magazine is your response.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 23 July 2007

    Food appeals to all our senses. Earlier, we discussed how the eyes play a big part in the way that food tastes. Probably the number one sound sensation is sizzle. What about the sense of smell? This is a huge factor in how people respond to your food. For instance, when you have guests for Thanksgiving, the minute that you open the door they are enveloped in the sense of roasting turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pies. They can't wait for dinner. But some people have a highly developed sense of smell, they can tell if their food is even slightly off. There are times that even someone with a really bad head cold can tell that the food is off. This is one reason that it is so important that everything that you prepare is fresh. Meat, poultry and especially fish can have a really bad odor. Make sure of your use-by-date.

    Our fourth sense is touch. This is represented by the texture of food. Texture is more important than most people realize. Care for a soft soggy cracker? How about a nice limp pickle? Some people love the flavor of banana bread, but won't eat a plain banana, because of the soft texture. Texture can be defined by a number of characteristics, including viscosity, smoothness, softness, hardness, rigidity and elasticity. In addition to, and perhaps even beyond, a product's texture, is the mouth feel, measured in terms of dryness, lubricity, smoothness, sandiness or fluffiness.

    Most people think taste is the most important sense when it comes to food. But before most people have even tasted your food, they have made up their minds about how they are going to like it.

    There are five primary taste sensations.

    Salty
    Sour
    Sweet
    Bitter
    Umami

    Umami is the only one that you may not be familiar with. Umami is a Japanese word for savory or meaty. It describes the flavor of meat, cheese and mushrooms. High levels of glutamic acid can even trigger cravings. Why can't you eat just one potato chip? It's not the salt. It's actually the umami in the potato that makes them addictive. When the potato slices are fried, they lose eater content, which concentrates the glutamic acid in each mouthful.

    How do you know you're tasting it?
    Foods high in protein are best for sensing umami. For example, Parmesan cheese is high in protein and aged, which means the moisture escapes and the glutamate concentrates. Umami is part of the Japanese culture.

    The flavor also comes in vegetarian form. It's the "meaty" taste especially present in juicy beefsteak tomatoes (the riper the better), sugar snap peas, grapefruit, tofu and shiitake mushrooms. Piles of umami toppings on pizza

    Posted by: AT 12:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 19 July 2007

    Meals on Wheels is the most recognized name brand of senior nutrition programs. Meals on Wheels is the name for programs that deliver meals to homebound individuals who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals, and it is often used to generically refer to home-delivered meals programs, not all of which are actually named "Meals on Wheels".

    Meals on Wheels originated in Great Britain during the Blitz, when many people lost their homes and therefore the ability to cook their own food. Meals are delivered at lunchtime every Monday through Friday, including all holidays that fall on weekdays.

    Volunteers can deliver meals once a week or once a month, or whenever it is convenient. Most of the volunteers are corporate, civic and community volunteers delivered meals every weekday.

    These "Platter Angels" prepare, package, and deliver food to the elderly and disabled throughout their community. While Meals on Wheels programs are delivered to the home, seniors may also find congregate meal programs at local senior centers, churches, or community centers.

    Meals on Wheels provides a source of daily social contact for people who would otherwise be alone. Meals On Wheels has been serving the nutritional needs of frail elderly and homebound residents in our communities since 1958.

    For more information visit: http://www.mowaa.org/

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 01:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 17 July 2007
    As a hardworking business professional, I find that it is very difficult to get in a good meal on some of my busier days. What with meetings, bosses, clients and the occasional mainframe meltdown, I don’t have to eat well or healthy. That is why I decided to start trying prepared meals, like many of my coworkers suggested to me. A prepared meal is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a delicious and healthy meal prepared for you in advance and shipped to your door as often as you need it. You could have one big delivery at the beginning of the week or a shipment at your doorstep every morning.

    A prepared meal is really the best way to eat healthy, not just for people, who work too much like me, but also people who are on diets or people who spend too much money on food they don’t need. The hard workers like me love to come home to a ready to eat meal and since the time of day doesn’t matter with prepared meals, you can eat it whenever you want to. People who are on a strict diet to lose or gain weight can benefit from this as well. If you would like to lose weight, then you get the daily deliveries and only eat what is received. If you want to gain weight because you are training as an athlete, you can have meals sent every week and eat as much as you want. Over spenders can sometimes buy hundreds of dollars of junk food and other things they don’t need. A prepared meal can put a stop to that, as you no longer have to go to the grocery store to shop.

    Prepared meals can cater to anyone of any lifestyle. You could be a vegetarian and still find that these meals will satisfy you. Someone with strict dietary laws like halal or kosher will also find meals that suit their needs. Calories and other nutritional information are available for anyone who may be interested in knowing what they are eating.

    As you can see, a prepared meal can be a lifesaver for almost anyone who doesn’t have time, can’t or won’t cook food for themselves. It also can cater to any form of eating plan you may be on. All you have to do is take a little time and search for it.

    If you would like more information on a prepared meal, check out http://www.squidoo.com/preparedmeal/  


    Posted by: AT 12:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 13 July 2007

    One of the toughest kind of speeches to make is an after-dinner speech since everyone will be feeling sleepy after their meal. And worse, they may not even give you their full attention. There are many things that can go wrong and as an after-dinner keynote speaker, there are a couple of things you have to observe in order to be successful or at the very least, to sit down without feeling embarassed.

    1. Find an appropriate topic

    As a speaker, you have to find a topic that ALL your audience can relate to. And this applies to all kind of speeches, particulatly after-dinner speeches. There are many things that are against you. At most dinners, tables are rounded. That means to say that a percentage of your audience has their back facing you. Circular tables also facilitate small talks which gives them another reason not to listen to you. Your audience's attention span is also not at its highest. Many of them may still be enjoying their desserts. You have waiters and waitresses walking around to clear the dishes, which can be both distracting for your audience and you! As you can see, there are many reasons for them not to listen to you. You do not need to give them another one.

    So spend at least 30% of your time researching your audience. Find out more about the organization. Find out more about your audience - what do they do, what are some of their concerns, what are the taboo topics. The organizer would be a great resource for you to understand the audience. Sometimes they may even propose some topics that you can talk about. It also helps to be aware of the current trends in the world because very likely, your audience knows about it as well, and they would be able to relate when you talk about it.

    Let me give you a specific example. Last night I attended a dinner that was commemorating the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. The audience were made up of various Asian ethnic communities that come together to promote understanding and acceptance of the different Asian cultures and heritage. I thought their vision was commendable and the keynote speaker could emphasize on the importance of collaboration and acceptance (since that was what drove them to set up this association)

    However one of the speakers took the entire 15 minutes his tribulations in Vietnam and how he was invited to be part of the association. Quite frankly, the entire speech was about HIM, and not about the audience. That's a major turn-off. What he could have done is to explain the increasing importance of the association and how each and everyone of them can benefit from being part of this association. Notice how the focus changes. It is more audience-centric and there is a take home message. What I got our of the speaker's speech was "Wow... he was imprisioned for three years in Vietnam..."

    2. Own the space!

    Right after the war survivor was yet another keynote speaker. He started off well with a story about how people would always ask about his nationality. That created some laughs and he was off for a good start. And then the entire speech went crashing. At the end of his speech, I felt extremely embarrassed for him.

    Firstly, no one except for the three tables in front (out of courtesy) were listening to him. Everyone else was busy chattering away, walking in and out of the restaurants to make phone calls. It doesn't help that he stood behind the podium. It doesn't help that he was reading from his script with his eyes down most of the time. It doesn't help that he was inaudible. It doesn't help that he failed to salvage the situation. Amidst of the chaos, he gave his speech, oblivious to the fact that he is losing everyone. And the organizer has to go around shushing everyone. How embarassing and unnecessary!

    One advice for him: You got to own the space!

    When you come up on stage, you got to consciously tell yourself that you are in charge. You own the space! Every inch of the room belongs to you. Every single one of your audience is obliged to drop everything that they are doing and listen to you. Even the waiters and waitresses will stop in their steps and listen to you. Every thing that you do or not do commands the listening of your audience. In other words, nothing else matters except you. That's how powerful a speaker can be if he effectively manages the "energy" of the room. One way to do that is through a visualization exercise before your speech. Imagine yourself walking confidently up on stage. Hear the reverberating sound of your foot steps as you walked up on the stage. Feel the anticipation of your audience as you walked towards to the podium... Make use of all your five senses to create the best speech you can ever made. You can even add a standing ovation at the end of your speech! And guess what, you have almost won the entire game even before you start!

    And among all other things, avoid standing behind the podium and project your voice to the back of the room. Make sure that everyone can see and hear you. Only that will they be able to feel your speech and be inspired by your message!

    The next time you listen to an after-dinner speech or give one yourself, watch how these two principles manifest itself. Good luck!

    By Eric Feng 

    Posted by: AT 10:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 10 July 2007
    The Arawak, Carib, and Taino Indians were the first inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. These first inhabitants occupied the present day islands of British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica. Their daily diet consisted of vegetables and fruits such as papaw, yams, guavas, and cassava. The Taino started the process of cooking meat and fish in large clay pots.

    The Arawaks are the first people known to make a grate of thin green wood strips on which they slowly cooked meat, allowing it to be enhanced by the flavor of the wood. This grate was called a barbacoa, and the word we know today as barbeque is taken from this early Indian cooking method.

    The Carib Indians added more spice to their food with hot pepper sauces, and also added lemon and lime juice to their meat and fish recipes. The Caribs are said to have made the first pepper pot stew. No recipes exist since every time the Indians made the dish, they would always add new ingredients. The Carib had a big impact on early Caribbean history, and the Caribbean sea was named after this tribe.

    Then the Caribbean became a crossroads for the world . . .

    Once the Europeans brought Africans slaves into the region, the slaves diet consisted mostly of food the slave owners did not want to eat. So the slaves had to be inventive, and they blended their traditional African foods with staples found on the islands. The Africans introduced okra, callaloo, fish cakes, saltfish, ackee, pudding and souse, mangos, and the list goes on.

    Most present day Caribbean island locals eat a present diet that is reflective of the main ingredients of original early African dishes, and includes cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, bananas and corn meal.

    African men were hunters in their homeland, and often away from home for long periods of time. They would cook spicy pork over hot coals, and this tradition was refined by the early slaves in Jamaica. The technique is known today as “jerk“ cooking , and the secret involves a slow meat cooking process. Jamaica is famous for jerk chicken and pork, and you’ll find jerk all over the island.

    After slavery was abolished, the Europeans went to India and China for labor, and more cooking styles were introduced. Much of the Indian cooking culture remains alive and well in the Caribbean of today with the introduction of curried meats and curry powder. Indians call it kari podi, and we have come to know this pungent flavor as curry.

    The Chinese introduced rice, which is always a staple in home cooked island meals. The Chinese also introduced mustard, and the early Portuguese sailors introduced the popular codfish.

    Most visitors to the Caribbean have no idea that the fruit trees and fruits so familiar to the islands were introduced by the early Spanish explorers. The fruit trees and fruits brought from Spain include orange, lime, ginger, plantains, figs, date palms, sugar cane, grapes, tamarinds and coconuts.

    Even the Polynesian islands play an important role in Caribbean cooking. Most of us remember the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty”, but do not know that particular ship carried breadfruit, which was loaded on board from the islands of Tahiti and Timor. In the movie the crew took over the ship, forced the captain into a small boat to fend on his own, and they threw the breadfruit, which they considered “strange fruit” overboard. Another ship was more successful in bringing breadfruit from Polynesia to Jamaica and the St Vincent and the Grenadines. Breadfruit is a staple diet in the current day Caribbean

    America is responsible for introducing beans, corn, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and chili pepper to the Caribbean. In fact these particular foods had never been seen in Asia, Europe or Africa, so America actually introduced these foods the rest of the world via the Caribbean.

    So it's no wonder Caribbean cooking is so rich and creative with the flavors of Africa, India, and China, along with Spanish, Danish, Portuguese, French and British influences. Food served in the Caribbean islands have been influenced by the cultures of the world, but each island adds its own special flavor and cooking technique.

    Linda Thompkins is a Caribbean travel consultant and owner of Travel 2 the Caribbean online agency. Linda and her husband reside in Indianapolis, Indiana and have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean.

    Travel 2 the Caribbean has been in business for seven years and offers secure online booking, and travel agent booking.

    http://www.travel2thecaribbean.com  

    Posted by: AT 11:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 09 July 2007

    Before you begin your cooking journey with your kids, here are a few tips to get your kids at ease in the kitchen. These tips can help your kids become safe and dependable cooks for any meal. Once they become acclimated with the kitchen they will love to help and be involved the every aspect of meal preparation.

    Everyday kids love to be artistic. They love to feel a sense of achievement. Entrust complete tasks to each child prior to you starting the cooking process so each person knows what they will be responsible for. This will make the cooking procedure flow effortlessly. If the child is old enough, do not be tempted to disparage or take over. Give calm reminders or teaching to help them continue learning.

    Organize: Just as you would arrange yourself before you cook, you will want to do the same thing with your kids. Being organized will help make cooking a dinner fun and unforgettable occurrence. In addition, the kitchen will be less messy and easier to cleanup.

    Patience: Cooking meals with your kids may lead to aggravation, but remember to be patient. This is an education process that might take time to develop.

    It might take extra time to prepare the meal, but the payback will far out weight the time it takes to cleanup.

    Preparation: Before you begin cooking dinner make the following preparations with your child to ensure safely.
    • Wear an apron;
    • Teach them to tie back long hair so it doesn’t get in the food;
    • Roll-up long sleeves. This will keep the sleeves from getting into the food;
    • Wash hands with soap and water. Keep on washing especially after handling food like poultry;
    • Have hot-pads ready for hot foods. Things taken out of the microwave can be tremendously hot;
    • Get out all the ingredients for every recipe. Let the kids assist so they know where to find the ordinary ingredients. Plus it helps the next time they need to get the same ingredient out;
    • Get all your kitchen appliances, cookware, bowls and utensils out;
    • If your child is not tall enough to reach the counter, get a stool or chair for them to stand on;
    • Instruct them what to do in case of an emergency, such as if they burn themselves, or if the food catches on fire. Also have a first aid kit and/or a fire extinguisher on hand; and
    • Teach them how to handle sharp items like knives and scissors.

    Clean: You don’t want to have a huge mess when you are done, so teach your kids to clean as they go. Put the dirty pots, pans and bowls in the dishwasher. You could have a child chosen as the washer. Put away all the ingredients and equipment you have used to help clear space so you have an open and clean area to continue the cooking process.

    Cooking with your kids can be a great experience. Have fun and enjoy the reminiscences being made.

    www.cookingwithkids.com

    Posted by: AT 11:31 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 05 July 2007

    Depending on whether you like to cook or not, cooking can be a lot of fun. It can be very simple or depending on what you are cooking, can be very difficult. For many, it can be a great joy to have someone compliments all the effort and love you put in to the meal. Italian cooking is very fun and the basics of it can be learned by any beginner. For someone who is just learning to cook, the simplest things like cooking pasta can be a challenge, but by trial and error, most people can get the hang of cooking many simple meals and it can be a lot of fun. Italian cooking is not only fairly simple, but the food is delicious as well.

    If you like pasta meals, then you will love Italian cooking because pasta is one of the main ingredients of most recipes. We live in a push-button world and it's all about ease. You can buy dried pasta in any size shape or form in a bag, or in a gourmet grocery store there is a section which could be located around the cheese area that carries fresh pasta already made in any style, shape or form. All you do is cook it in boiling water. I told you Italian dinner cooking is easy. All you would have to do is make the sauce. This you can also buy prepared if you want. You can also buy pasta in the frozen food section that’s already prepared and all you do is boil it or reheat it in the microwave or oven. There’re machines now that you can mix up the dough and run it through a pasta machine which will make it into the pasta shape. Homemade pasta is mouth-watering and easy to make. Italian cooking can be as simple or it can be as hard as you want to make it.

    Another preferred Italian cooking meal is pizza. You can find pizza parlors all over the world. Moreover pasta made meals; pizza is probably one of the next best choices. Other than hamburgers, it’s most likely one of the most desired family meals. You can do so many unusual things with pizza. Italian cooking allows for many variations of preparing it. You can either make the dough fresh at home or you can buy it in cans and all you do is roll it out or press it into your pan. You can also buy just the pizza dough previously formed at a pizza shop, and you take it home to add your own sauce and toppings. Whichever way you prepare the dough, you can make your own sauce and add whatever toppings you would like. If you are a vegan, you don't have to use meat on it. Italian cooking is probably a favorite way of cooking for a vegetarian, since you can still get protein from cheese without using meat.

    Above and beyond, pizza and spaghetti, macaroni and cheese is a favorite Italian meal in most families. Most children love macaroni and cheese and it can be cooked with many different cheeses. You can either make it homemade or you can buy it in the small package and you just cook the macaroni and add the sauce. You can now even buy it so all you do is heat it in the microwave. You can add pepperoni or ham to it to give it that added heighten for children. I told you Italian meal can be easy, but more significantly it is tasty to eat.

    Posted by: AT 12:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 03 July 2007

    The main meal of the day for the mainstream of families is dinner, and ensuring that dinner provides your family abundance of options, variety, and flavor can be no easy job. For those that are interested in ensuring dinner recipes are fresh and flavorful, here are some suggestions.

    One of the top ways to make sure your meals are fresh and pleasing is to make sure you know who you are cooking for. While every parent gets the concluding word over their kids' meals, it does not hurt to hold a casual poll on what each person's preferred meals are. The results may astonish you. Making sure that you have at least one favorite mixed into an entire meal can be the variation between happiness and displeased eaters at a dinner table.
    Another great idea to make sure your meals are delicious and fresh is to put some time into meal planning. Planning the meals for the upcoming week is a great way to make sure you purchase all the required ingredients, know ahead of time what you are cooking for dinner once you get home from a long, and sidestepping a trip to the local fast food restaurant due to the fact that you were not sure what to prepare for dinner.

    In addition to meal planning, for appetizing dinner recipes check out the many web sites online. There are hundreds of websites online that provide to those looking for rewarding dinner recipes. No matter what your favorite, you can find figuratively thousands of dinner recipes. Looking for a new twist on chicken meals, there are probably endless amounts. The same goes for pork, fish and beef dinners as well.

    For those families that are searching for a reduced calorie, salt, or carb diet choosing dinner recipes can be more burdensome to find than conventional recipes, but much simpler to find than formerly thought. A lot of families hold on to specific dietary food. For example if you would like to lose a few pounds, you may want to seek advice from the diet that you are on to find dinner recipes that fit well for your family. If you have a diabetic in your family, you are bound to find many breathtaking recipes that are healthy for the entire family, but fit the particular requirements for the diabetic family element. If you have or are trying to prevent a health condition such as heart disease which is widespread in a lot of families, a reduced salt and fat diet may be in store for you and your family.

    Today’s dinner recipes fit more or less every diet and lifestyle and are simpler than ever to take back with the help of computers and the internet. You can easily share and compare information such as calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates for each dinner recipe you are planning to make with others and find other people on the web that you can exchange dinner recipes with on a regular basis.

    Whether you are looking to diminish time and money, make sure your family loses weight or create meals that fit a specific diet, finding dinner recipes is easier than ever before.

    Posted by: AT 11:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 02 July 2007
    It is summertime and the living should be easier – at least in the kitchen. Our environment gives us everything we need to create simple, delicious, healthy meals. It is up to us to slow down long enough to enjoy the reward. With extended day light hours, and no need to plague our children about homework, dinner time can take on a whole new quality.

    Change things up a bit this summer and have fun with these straightforward dinner ideas. Even the pickiest eaters will be won over.

    Monet in the Kitchen:
    Allow the vibrant colors of summer fruits to become your palette. Take hold of a large white plate or attractive tray and arrange slices of watermelon, kiwi, peaches, mango, grapes, cherries, apples and strawberries. This good-looking arrangement can become your table’s centerpiece. Add a small number of bowls of various yogurts around the table and your hungry family can dip to their enjoyment. Warm a loaf of crisp French bread, wrap it in a celebratory cloth and add it to the table. Arrange some sliced cheeses and smoked or roasted turkey slices, and you’ve got an easy does it, display that is good enough to eat.

    Contribution is Key:
    Less controlled summer days give kids the chance to join in meal preparation. When kids cut the carrots chances are they will eat the carrots. You might even assign your older kids a specific night to select and prepare the menu (with you as their backup chef). Offer them a few ideas such as “breakfast for dinner”. The new communal networking site for moms, MomJunction.com, recently posted an easy, tried and true Mac and cheese recipe:

    Picnics Indoors:
    Even if it’s raining outside think “picnic.” Who said a picnic needs to only be in the great outdoors? Pitch a small tent in the living room or use paper plates in the dining room. The idea is simplicity and a cheerful advance to mealtime. Buy precooked meals from Send a Meal. You can often find organic, barbecued, or even oven roasted chickens for a low price. Bring together a large salad from the salad bar or buy a Caesar salad in a bag. Lastly, pick up a bottle of vanilla frozen yogurt and some chocolate chip cookies. When you get home all you will need to do heat your meal, add it to the Caesar salad and scoop some frozen yogurt between 2 cookies, wrap them in cellophane and freeze for dessert.

    Collaborate:
    Produce a weekly summer potluck dinner gathering with neighbors. Bring back to those beach days where everyone contributed to a joint family dinner; enlist your neighbors to join you in creating the ultimate summer easy potluck, one night a week. Your kids will love the helpful feel where gathering together is what counts.
    Posted by: AT 11:21 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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