Category Archives: Food

Anheuser Busch Acquired By InBev

Well, one of the last icons of St. Louis business has succumbed to globalization. Anheuser Busch agreed to be acquired by Brazilian-Belgian conglomerate InBev, ending a brief takeover struggle of the ailing brewer. I am sure there is much wailing and gnashing of the teeth in St. Louis, Busch is a major employer and presence in the community. Mostly people are probably worrying about their jobs, since InBev is apparently known for slashing budgets at the brewers it acquires.

I wonder what will happen now, and what will get cut in the $1.5 billion in “synergies” that are expected from the merger. Most likely thing to go – Busch Gardens and Seaworld, Busch’s theme parks in Florida.

Sad News

I got a shocker this evening at paddling; the Mermaid Tavern, home to Guam’s only microbrewery, burned down last night. That’s just terrible news, I’m really bummed out about this. Apparently it started last night after closing, some sort of electrical fire.

I was just thinking of stopping by the Mermaid on Sunday. I’ve spent many a good evening at the Mermaid, regrettably not since I stopped drinking. I hope they recover quickly since I’ve started having the occasional beer – and they have the best beer on the island.

Lazy Food

A couple days ago I was strolling through the Payless Supermarket in Hagåtña when I stumbled across this in the freezer:

Uncrustables - Laziest Food Ever

These are frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. How lazy does a person have to be to buy pre-made pb & j sandwiches?

Even the crust is removed

An Paean To Jerky

Slate has an entertaining little piece about the great American snack meat and it’s uniquely rugged connotations. Seems it is the snack for rugged outdoorsy types, hunters and Marlboro men in the great American West. And I must admit, I’ve always wondered what pemmican, a quintessential trapper and native American food, tastes like.

In its purest form, jerky is produced more or less like other dried-meat products around the world: Tibetan dried mutton, South African biltong, Spanish mojama, even Italian prosciutto and bresaola. Meat—often salted, sometimes marinated—is left to cure in the open air. Contemporary jerky-makers might use a very slow oven or a dehydrator to hurry things up; they might also smoke the meat to add flavor. Although it can take a serious head-jerk to bite off a hunk of particularly tough jerky, the word is actually derived from charqui, the Spanish adaptation of the Quechuan word ch’arki, which referred to dried meat during the Incan empire. By cutting meat into thin strips and allowing it to air-dry, Native Americans in the Northern and Southern hemispheres could quickly turn lean meat into a stable, light source of protein—an early power bar.

I never quite understood the fascination that Japanese tourists seem to have with large bags of jerky. Seriously they must buy immense quantities of the stuff because all the shops stock large bags of the stuff here. I have this mental image of all these people sitting around Tokyo masticating away on duty free beef jerky.

Beef JerkySince I started hiking regularly, my beef jerky consumption has increased markedly. I rarely ate the chewy bits of protein before, even after months on the Atkin’s diet. Frankly it just wore out my jaw chewing those strips of salted leather. But jerky is pretty darn convenient as trail food. A couple pieces of jerky and a handful of almonds and I got a quick (and light) trail lunch. I’ve found my particular favorite brands are Jack Links and Tillamook Country Smokers. Both companies make a more palatable type jerky that is a little moister and more chewy. Not bad at all. Certainly better than those nauseous Slim Jims that hang out at the gas station counters. Those things are simply vile. The Slate article mentions some gourmet jerky purveyors like American Grass Fed Beef and Gary West. Maybe I should try the jerky of the month club?

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Funny, that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I read this story about the crisis in banana cultivation.

Seems all bananas grown today are the same variety, the Cavendish. And the Cavendish is threatened by a nasty fungus. This is a danger because the modern banana is seedless and is reproduced asexual, limiting genetic diversity needed to combat this fungus. The kicker is the entire genetic diversity of bananas is limited because wild varieties are nearly extinct.

Yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today…

Earth Week: A Couple More Ideas

Guam EPA Earth Week 2006 - Logo from CJ Santiago of GW High School

I went shopping at Payless tonight and I started thinking about how all the food on Guam is shipped from the far corners of the earth and so little agriculture takes place on the island. Then via the wonderful food blog Chez Pim, I came across an intriguing idea. The Eat Local Challenge. Jen from Life Begins at 30 is hyping up the month of May as Eat Local Month. The idea? Eat only food grown within a 100 mile radius of my home for a whole month. That will not only be easier on the environment, it cuts out the vast majority of refined foods, fast food and junk food that so many Americans gorge themselves upon. Unfortunately I think my diet would be fairly meager if I attempted this challenge. According to Local Harvest, the only locally produced food on Guam is the tilapia fishery down in Inarajan; and I don’t really like tilapia. Still it deserves some looking into.

Speaking about fish, another thing I read came across tonight was sustainable fisheries. I suggest reading the report released by the Pew Oceans Commission a few years ago for a good understanding of the state of the world’s oceans. Fisheries are in a precarious situation across the planet and if the ocean is to remain a viable source of food and livelihood for the world’s population then changes need to be made to manage fish stocks more effectively. Four things maintain a sustainable fishery:

  • Adequate fish populations – ascertaining if there are enough fish in the ocean to harvest
  • Eliminating by-catch – reducing the capture of unwanted and discarded fish, turtles and dolphins
  • Reduce pollution of the marine environment – mercury, dioxin, and effluent from shore and fish farming operations pollute the oceans
  • Preserve habitat – bottom trawling and drift nets despoil vast areas of marine habitat, indiscriminately removing all fish and their refuges

Guess it all comes down to creating a comprehensive plan for ocean conservancy. Just like wildlife and game animals are managed on land, fish stocks and their habitat needs to be effectively conserved for the future.

Poached Fish

As in, I poached this story from Jimbo. Sorry buddy, this is just a great story that I need to jump on as well.

Sarpa salpaHere’s a fish to look out for, all you hippies; Sarpa salpa, a reef fish found in the Mediterranean ocean, caused two tourists to slip into intense psychedelic hallucinations, a condition known as ichthyoallyeinotoxism. The two men started freaking out minutes after eating the fish. Seems rabbitfish are known to cause hallucinogenic effects in the Indo-Pacific, and eating the heads and certain body parts of these herbivorous can induce massive hallucinations within minutes.

Indoles, a chemical similar to LSD, is the suspected culprit of the bad trips. It is produced in algae and phytoplankton. Sarpa salpa, like other rabbitfish, is an algae eater.

The effects of eating ichthyoallyeinotoxic fishes, such as certain mullet, goatfish, tangs, damsels and rabbitfish, are believed to be similar to LSD, and may include vivid and terrifying auditory and visual hallucinations. This has given rise to the collective common name for ichthyoallyeinotoxic fishes of “dream fish”.

Man, I gotta eat more manahak.