Food

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving horror stories from readers

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 1:10 PM

We asked readers to submit their Thanksgiving horror stories to share with the rest of us. As you get ready to cook or eat a big dinner tomorrow, share in these people's pain and humor: 

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My nightmare comes in a simple photo, featuring the dog we had just adopted, a lovely turkey, and what happened when we stepped outside for 5 minutes to admire the lights on our home. Don’t worry, we still have the dog and love him very much. He is not trusted alone with a turkey ever again, though...
— Kristy Kelly

My grandmaw had been looking for a Tupperware container of mashed potatoes all throughout the day while cooking Thanksgiving dinner ­— it was nowhere to be found. Later in the day she was prepping the biscuits and when she turned on the oven to pre-heat we realized something wasn’t right. Next thing we know the oven is on fire! Come to find out it was that Tupperware container of mashed potatoes she had been looking for all day that caught fire. My grandpaw said, “What the hell.. Well why were they in there in the first place?”
Candice Andrews


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Share your Thanksgiving nightmares

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 1:03 PM

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From dried-out turkey to drunk uncles arguing about Obama, we're sure that everyone's got at least one, good, holiday horror story when it comes to Thanksgiving. Perhaps it was a relationship breakup, a bug in the cranberry sauce or an all-out food fight. Whatever happened, we want to hear about it and potentially share it with our readers in an upcoming edition of Creative Loafing

If you have a Thanksgiving nightmare you love telling around this time of year, or something you've never let anyone know — that time you bought mashed potatoes because the ones you made tasted like paste — tell us about it! Why not let others share in your laughter or frustrations?

Send your stories to backtalk@clclt.com with your name by noon on Friday, November 13. We'll pick one random submission to win a $25 gift card to Healthy Home Market ... you know, to help with this year's feast. 

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Eat out more, cook at home less?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 2:28 PM

If you’re lucky, you possess somewhere in that vast, gelatinous lock box countless memories of your family eating around a dinner table every night. Some of your most memorable conversations - or arguments - might have happened in that space. Or, you guys laugh now about the persistent awkward silence, punctuated by the sound of forks scraping plates.

Depending on how much interest you had in the preparation of the meal, your memories probably begin and end at the dinner table. You don’t remember watching mom knead meat into a loaf or mash potatoes.

In a new study, researchers at N.C. State University say apathy or disinterest from family members in the process of cooking (or in the end result) is one of the many reasons home-cooked meals are more strenuous than they’re worth.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Despite what Kraft says, Food Babe scores victory against company

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Vani Hari, aka Charlotte's Food Babe, scored a victory today after Kraft announced it would remove artificial dyes from three mac 'n' cheese products aimed toward children.

The company told the AP the recipe changes had nothing to do with Hari's Change.org petition, which by Thursday had 348,000 signatures.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Alton Brown wows Charlotte crowd with equal parts theatrics, science and good eats

Posted By on Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Apparently, CL had a hard time finding someone to cover events on Saturday - 4/20 - so it came to me (the new guy) to cover "An Evening with Alton Brown" at the Knight Theater in Uptown. Sadly, because nature abhors an unsuffering writer, I felt about two steps away from death, but that didn't stop me. I took some cold meds and bravely went Uptown, only to find that apparently it was either prom or Mez reopened with an even tighter dress code. I couldn't figure out how old the fancy people were, though. Definitely old enough to not have acne but young enough to still have hope in their eyes.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

John Lennon in Charlotte

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:44 AM

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is dieting dead?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 1:28 PM

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  • toettoet

Is dieting dead? No, but fat acceptance is alive and well.

From MSNBC.com:

The pulse of tribal drumming fills the air. Jeannie Troy, 48 and 220 pounds, dances wildly, pogo-ing like a punk rocker at a Green Day concert and shaking her sweaty hair. All around her, women—whose body sizes range from average to well over 300 pounds—grin as they get their groove on.

This is what fitness looks like at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a center in Vermont for women determined to end their weight struggles. As the class breaks up, applause erupts and Troy grabs a towel. Her face is bright red and her extra-large purple T-shirt is blotched with sweat, but she's beaming. "I've finally learned to take to heart that saying 'Dance like nobody's watching,' " she says.

Before coming to Green Mountain, Troy had spent countless days—and dollars—dieting. She isn't alone: At any given time, 53 percent of Americans are trying to slim down. So why, then, are so many women overweight? Many experts believe it's because diets simply don't work for keeping weight off long term. "If we had a 95 percent failure rate with a medication, it would never get approved by the FDA. Yet that's dieting's record," says Michelle May, MD, founder of Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops.

Read the rest of this article, by Marjorie Ingall, here.

So, lemme tell you a little personal story about the fat acceptance crowd …

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Loss of liquor license at Jeff's Bucket Shop means changes, but no closing

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2011 at 3:10 PM

It's billed as a speakeasy, and these days, Jeff's Bucket Shop is feeling like one of those bars from the Prohibition era — no liquor. But the eclectic bar and restaurant on Montford Drive is not closing. Known for it's karaoke, Cheers like atmosphere (the website boasts there are no strangers here) and basement party vibe, the shop has been in business since 2003. Owner Jeff Laria, said the lack of booze is temporary.

"We're working on getting our liquor license back," he said. "There's a contractual problem between me and a partner that we need to get ironed out." Laria wouldn't name his partner and the partner's name isn't listed on the business license.

According to Laria, when the renewal period for liquor licenses rolled around, the dispute was still going on. In North Carolina, all business owners must be listed on the license for a renewal to happen.

"We're still operating, we're just brown-bagging right now," he said. That means, you can bring your own beer and wine into the shop — which you've purchased elsewhere; hard liquor, however, is prohibited. "We're going to start booking the place for parties and that kind of thing."

Without the ability to sell alcohol, Laria said it's been a challenge. Jeff's Bucket Shop has been dry since last Thursday.

"It's definitely crippled our business, but luckily we have a pretty loyal fan base," he said. The business's Facebook page has about 400 friends. "They've continued to support us. But it's definitely been crippling and I emphasis crippling."

Because Laria and his wife, Michaele, are expecting legal actions, they weren't able to give the specifics about what happened with their partner. But Laria said, the shop is still open and operating. "We still do karaoke, Wednesday-Saturday. They can come down and sing their favorite songs. We're still open," he said.

According to Michaele, now is a good time to sample the menu at Jeff's Bucket Shop. "I make really good fried chicken," she said with a laugh. "We've always served food in the evening — not that we're known for our food. It's always been too packed at night, especially on the weekends, to serve food because you can't get through the crowd to sit down. But, I would always do a special at night that ran from 5 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. then it turned into the bar scene. Now, you can eat whenever you like, and we're contemplating opening for lunch."

Michaele Laria said she's disappointed that someone would say the restaurant is closing.

"My husband started it and he had a good vision. We're a team. We look the same, and we act the same, too. The Bucket Shop is not as strong as it was, [losing the liquor license] hurt our business tremendously, but we'll survive. We have a wonderful landlord and a wonderful client base. Our people are singing along still and are very happy. Our employees are very supportive, and while they've had to cut back their hours and be patient, we'll come back. And we'll come back strong, and they will be taken care of. We're a family at the Bucket Shop, and our guests who come through that door are family as well. That's how we operate our business, and family sticks together. We'll get through this."

If you do head out to Jeff's Bucket Shop with your own hooch, there is a cooling fee of $5 for a six pack of beer and a $5 cork fee for the wine.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Pity the shunned seafood

Posted By on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Can you blame people for not wanting to eat seafood these days? In a time when we're learning industrial farming practices may lead directly to tainted food — hello salmonella in tomatoes, cantaloupe, eggs, pork, pistachios, alfalfa, jalapeños; E. coli in spinach, tacos and cookie dough; and botulism in chili products; not to mention the use of antibiotics and hormones — only to learn the federal government may or may not be doing a good job of protecting consumers, it's no wonder people are hesitant to believe claims that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is A-OK.

The Daily Beast recently conducted independent lab tests to determine if Gulf Coast seafood is safe. Here's a peek at what they found:

So is the caution among America’s seafood consumers justified? Seeking a definitive answer to the question, The Daily Beast commissioned an independent lab, one of a handful certified to measure chemical dispersants, to analyze a cross-section of Gulf seafood—red grouper, jumbo shrimp, and crabmeat—for both oil and the dispersants that have prompted almost as much alarm as the petroleum itself. To further sharpen the test, we also performed similar tests on samples of those three types of seafood culled from the Atlantic Ocean.

Yet with all that testing in place—and The Daily Beast’s independent results, which indicate that the process is working—America has turned its collective back on Gulf seafood. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll released last week, 54 percent of Americans are not confident that Gulf seafood is safe to eat.

Read the entire article here.

I'm like a lot of other Americans right now in that I'm not interested in seafood anymore. I was a late convert anyway; I didn't even try seafood until I was in my early 20s, despite the fact that I lived close to the Gulf of Mexico for the first half of my life and that my paternal grandfather was a shrimper. In fact, he may be to blame for my initial distaste for all critters from the sea as he frequently referred to shrimp as the Gulf's cockroaches.

I finally got over it, though, and discovered seafood is delicious; however, with the oil spill and the realization that we're overfishing our oceans — and have been for a long time, I've decided to go seafood-less for the remainder of my life.

I'm not shunning seafood just because of the oil spill, though that's reason enough. I'm off seafood because I've made the conscious decision to eat less meat in general and, when I do, to eat locally-grown meats. And, as far as I know, there's no shrimp in the Catawba River.

Plus, I feel a heckuva lot better about eating beef raised on nearby farms where I can go talk to the farmer — eye to eye — about whether or not he's injecting his herd with antibiotics and growth hormones. I also know that when I buy my groceries from local farmers, I'm directly impacting our local economy in a positive way and reducing the amount of energy it takes to package and ship meats to market. More: If I ever have a problem with what I buy, I know exactly where to take it.

As far as my family in the Gulf Coast, it's time for them to explore different areas of the world and jobs that don't include harvesting sea cockroaches.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Julie & Julia: A tasty treat

Rating: ***1/2

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM

JULIE & JULIA
***1/2
DIRECTED BY
Nora Ephron
STARS Meryl Streep, Amy Adams

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No question about it: Nora Ephron gets a bum rap from both critics and moviegoers, who often disparage her as if she were Hollywood's female equivalent of Michael Bay (and Bay at least has the sizable fanboy demographic in his corner). Certainly, she deserves a lot of heat for foisting such turkeys as Mixed Nuts, Lucky Numbers and that lamentable big-screen Bewitched on our unprotected heads, but geez, let's not forget that she's also the writer of such accomplished pictures as Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally... Of course, it can be argued that all of her best work is well over a decade old, and what has she done for us lately?

Julie & Julia, that's what she's done. Working overtime as writer, director and producer, Ephron has taken a pair of books — My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme, and Julie & Julia, by Julie Powell — and combined them into one irresistible motion picture. It's a film that rises two stories, on one hand focusing on the legendary Julia Child (Meryl Streep) as she begins her journey toward becoming one of America's greatest chefs, and on the other following Julie Powell (Amy Adams) as her idea for a blog — cook all 524 recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days — eventually leads to fame and fortune.

The Julia Child segments of the film are magnificent. As the towering, exuberant Child, Streep delivers another astonishing performance, never lapsing into mere caricature but steadfastly making sure to capture all facets of the woman's personality. Child is a wizard in the kitchen, but she's also revealed to be a best friend to the world around her, sweeping up everyone in her whirlwind of oversized emotions (which tend to be on the cheerful side 90 percent of the time). The movie is so reverential toward Child — and Child herself is easily able to laugh at her own flaws — that when a clip of Dan Aykroyd parodying Child on Saturday Night Live is shown being watched by Julie and her husband (Chris Messina), it actually takes on the stance of a homage rather than a spoof.

The best parts of the Child sequences focus on the marriage between Julia and her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci, reuniting with Streep on the high heels of The Devil Wears Prada). A mild-mannered diplomat, Paul encourages and supports Julia's culinary aspirations and is always happy to remain out of the spotlight even as his wife's fame takes hold. Movies aren't normally where we turn to watch happily married couples in action, but the Julia-Paul relationship is one of the most blissful seen in years, and Streep and Tucci dance through their interpretations with the grace and chemistry of an Astaire-Rogers routine.

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When compared to the Julia Child portions, the Julie Powell chapters aren't nearly as compelling, but they're far from the drag that others have suggested. Admittedly, the more I read about Powell, the more wary I am of her (she seems like little more than a publicity hound with some highly dubious notions on how to advance her career), but at the time when I had screened the movie, I knew next to nothing about her, and it seems unfair to penalize the portrayal after the fact. So within the context of the picture, Julie's tale is charming, and it's aided immeasurably by Adams' typically likable performance in the role.

Two-time Oscar nominee Stephen Goldblatt (Batman Forever) was brought on board to shoot the picture, and while most of the film looks good, it can be assumed that the photography of the food probably took precedence even over the actors. As in Babette's Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman and Big Night (another foodie flick with Tucci), the camera gazes so lovingly on each prepared dish (even the burnt ones!) that it's virtually impossible to exit the theater without wanting to head immediately to a gourmet restaurant. That, then, is one of the beauties of Julie & Julia: While other ambitious movies are content targeting the heart and the mind, this one adds another palatable layer by also going for the stomach.

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