NY Food Chain http://nyfoodchain.com Covering New York City through the prism of food. Wed, 28 Apr 2010 03:04:18 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.6 en hourly 1 The green Brooklyn http://nyfoodchain.com/2010/04/06/the-green-brooklyn/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2010/04/06/the-green-brooklyn/#comments Tue, 06 Apr 2010 15:40:35 +0000 Bessie King http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2387

photo by Homer Ulanday

BY BESSIE KING

The biggest borough in New York City also happens to be the greenest. With parks, community organizations and a variety of businesses, it leads in citywide efforts to better the quality of life and protect the environment.

Brooklyn is conveniently located on the westernmost part of Long Island, right between Manhattan and the suburbs, with access to three main city bridges and an array of highways. It offers cheaper rents than Manhattan, with market reports showing commercial space fees starting at $29 per square foot in downtown Brooklyn compared to $40 in downtown Manhattan. It has a younger population with 22-55 year-olds, and high percentages of children under 14, that are more involved with green living than older generations and support green businesses.

But the notion of being green is still developing. So what exactly is a green business and how do you start one so that green lifestyle followers support it?

At the simplest level, green businesses use recycled products to build or decorate their locales. They also avoid wasting energy and water; they recycle and many times donate food or funds to charities. They also use products and resources from local vendors or fair-trade suppliers.

And according to Green America, a non-profit organization advocating for social justice, a green enterprise helps solve social and environmental issues by adopting principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for people and the environment. The Web site Business.gov offers guides to start green businesses based on these ideas, too. It advises entrepreneurs to “find a niche market, get certified as environmentally sound,” and “practice what you preach.”

In 2007 Jennie Dundas and her best friend Alexis Miesen decided to try this approach. Miesen wanted to sell ice cream in Park Slope, after noticing there were few ice cream shops there. Dundas liked the prospect, but was equally interested in being environmentally conscious. With little knowledge, they began their research and their business plan.

“You basically ask yourself with every decision, ‘is this the greenest decision I could make?’” Dundas said. “I think this is the wave of the future, once there’s enough of us doing this there’s not going to be a chance to go back.”

Dundas and Miesen invested time and money to start their shop in the borough they both lived, worked in, and loved. Unfortunately, despite good karma and a plethora of non-profit organizations that rally for greener options, there’s still no set model that businesses can follow. The women relied on Brooklyn non-profits to get information about recycled building products, estimates for energy efficiency and contacts to local farmers. Gathering the tools was a community process since opening green businesses is still a “trend” rather than a “norm” as Dundas said.

By August 2007 the two women had a designer, construction crew and suppliers. They learned that going green not only takes research, but also lots of money. Their recycled glass counter, for example, cost between $90-$200 per square foot. High prices expanded to the food supplies too. Their organic heavy cream, from locally raised, grass-only fed cows, costs $18 per gallon, triple the cost that mass food suppliers retail heavy cream for. After a $200,000 investment, their ice cream shop, Blue Marble Ice Cream, was opened in October of 2007.

Picture 3Two years later the business is going, with cones starting at $2.50, rivaling Ben and Jerry’s $3.25 price. Additionally, the businesswomen opened a second location in Brooklyn, in Boerum Hill.  However, Dundas said that the moral benefits of being eco-friendly take a toll on the monetary gains. In order to maintain the two businesses, the partners must dig into their profits. Although the second shop was easier and cheaper to start because it already had some green elements, they said that operating a green business became a mission rather than a way to get rich.

“We’re educating people, especially children, with our trash and recycling barrels. They learn about protecting the environment at school but they need to see the principles implemented in their community. Green lifestyles are possible and we’re proud we can run our business like we do,” Dundas said.

Although Brooklyn has more people like Dindas and Meisen around to start businesses, other boroughs are also capitalizing on this movement.

“Brooklyn tends to be less expensive across all property types relative to Manhattan,” said Jonathan J. Miller, president and CEO at Miller Samuel Inc. a real estate appraisal firm. “While the green phenomenon is a trend in Brooklyn it’s not unique to Brooklyn. What began as a marketing gimmick has evolved into a baseline amenity fueled by rising demand of green-aware consumers.”

In Brooklyn, its community seems to have made it a priority.

“Its nickname is the ‘People’s Republic of Brooklyn’ because it’s a progressive borough; it’s the most progressive borough of all boroughs. That general consciousness is focused on the environment right now because people realize we need to help in small or large ways and they want to be responsible,” said Nancy Romer. She has lived in Brooklyn for 36 years and helps lead the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a group advocating for more sustainable organic food options and green businesses in the borough.

And Brooklyn may just continue being a different and innovative place.
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“I grew up in a city of neighborhoods that were created by immigrants so we would buy the specialty foods they made… people were welcoming and grew food in their gardens or would raise animals and have rotisserie spits in their back yard,” said Annie Hauck-Lawson, associate professor of foods and nutrition at Brooklyn College and co-author of New York based food book, Gastropolis. “We are such a diverse and creative community that will stay true to its roots and keep living from the earth and welcoming people.”

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Tripe Tacos: From one stomach to yours http://nyfoodchain.com/2010/01/08/tripe-tacos-from-one-stomach-to-yours/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2010/01/08/tripe-tacos-from-one-stomach-to-yours/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 20:19:08 +0000 Chasen Marshall http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2364

By CHASEN MARSHALL

It’s hard to turn down an authentic looking and smelling taco. Beef and chicken – just keep ‘em coming! Nearly anything in a tortilla with a few key toppings is probably digestible. What about goat and pork stomach lining? Hmm, second thoughts.

A delicacy in most cultures, tripe is the edible offal from the stomach of various farm animals. In Italy it’s topped with Parmesan and pan-fried. In some Chinese restaurants it’s served in a soup. At Tehuitzingo Deli & Grocery in Hell’s Kitchen, it’s fried and topped with a secret seasoning and served on a flour tortilla with diced onions and cilantro.

Tehuitzingo is a small hole-in-the-wall joint festooned with a Mexican flag on the awning out front, and a green, white and red color palate throughout. Inside, a cooler full of Mexican cerveza, and a window at the rear of the store, manned by a small dark-skinned woman wearing an apron bode well for the ambiance, at least.

Tripa and sangre, as they appear on the menu, are pork tripe and goat tripe – to be clear: the lining of the primary digestive organ of a pig and a goat. The visual difference between the two couldn’t be more different. The goat meat was dark and resembled charred ground beef, whereas the pork was lighter in color and looked like half-cooked calamari. Both had a salty taste (though it may have been the seasoning) and were difficult to stomach at first (mainly because of the idea that it was going from one stomach to another). After the initial shock, it tasted like most any well-dressed Mexican taco that can be found at a small stand south of the border.

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Finding the fountain of youth in your grocery store http://nyfoodchain.com/2010/01/08/finding-the-fountain-of-youth-in-your-grocery-store/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2010/01/08/finding-the-fountain-of-youth-in-your-grocery-store/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 19:14:32 +0000 Chasen Marshall http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2362

By CHASEN MARSHALL

Looking for a real-life alternative to the fountain of youth? Nutritionists recommend eating.

But not just anything will do. While coffee and energy drinks may provide a temporary heightened state of liveliness, they provide little to no nutritional value to the body.

“Food can create energy or it can destroy it,” said Ronna Corlin, a nutrition coach from Hartsdale, N.Y. “It’s important to eat foods that will help you age with vitality.”

The search for the fictional fountain of youth is a never-ending process. Some find it in athletics, others through artificial enhancement. Some swear by skin creams. But regardless of age, gender or background, a popular food talking point with this subject among nutritionists, health-conscious consumers and the media is so-called superfoods, those foods that offer the greatest health benefits. Common superfoods include blueberries, cinnamon, cruciferous veggies, garlic, ginger, nuts and watermelon.

“The key is to eat foods from their natural state, foods that are alive,” Corlin said. “Foods from the wild that ran freely, fell from a tree or grew from the ground.”

New foods are constantly being unveiled for their nutritional value, whether it is an international fruit that makes its way to the U.S. market (like acai from Brazil) or a food that food scientists realize has a greater positive effect than previously believed (pomegranate). The most recent superfood to enter the discussion is the goji berry, or wolfberry, which is native to southeastern Europe and Asia. The packaging for a goji berry product at Whole Foods in New York City says fruit is said to be “rich in age-defying antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.”

“My nutritionist just recommend them to me, today actually,” said Giovanna Braga, who had a large bag of raw goji berries in her grocery cart. “She told me I needed an iron supplement and said that these were supposed to be great. So I’m curious to see how they are.”

According to one food expert, superfoods aren’t the answer. If a person is truly in search of changing life through food, it needs to come from a well-balanced diet, incorporating all the key foods.

“People like to buy into the hype about acai as the next superfood or pomegranate, but that’s all marketing,” said Stefanie Bryn Sacks, a culinary nutritionist from the New York area. “Mostly people just need to be educated about healthy food choices, a balanced diet, instead of a few key foods.”

And it does help to consult the experts on this subject. There are an array of books and resources online, but as with anything one puts into their body, people should do their research. While most healthy foods are universal, what works for some groups won’t work for others.

“The elderly usually don’t have enough intake and then they have absorption issues, so we will recommend supplements,” said Jennifer Fix a dietitian at the UCI Medical Center in Irvine, Calif. “Their appetite isn’t what it used to be, so we have to find alternative sources for nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and folate.”

Consumers like to believe the hype that surrounds the foods they hear about on talk shows, blogs or from their friends. But healthy living does require some research and a greater approach than one or two key foods.

“It’s a much bigger picture than most people think, there is no magic bullet that will make everything better,” Corlin acknowledged. “It’s about finding balance in one’s life, which seems simplistic, but most who take that approach experience a shift.”

According to Corlin, figuring out what works often requires listening to the least likely of sources.

“People have tuned out listening to their own bodies,” she said. “Your body is going to tell you a whole lot more about yourself than the experts.”

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The McGriddle – an extreme American breakfast sandwich http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/30/the-mcgriddle-%e2%80%93-an-extreme-american-breakfast-sandwich/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/30/the-mcgriddle-%e2%80%93-an-extreme-american-breakfast-sandwich/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:21:49 +0000 Joel Meares http://rw1wald.cujschool.org/?p=2275
A modern breakfast burger for the caveman in all of us: eggs, sausage and a pancake. Meet Mickeydee's McGriddle.

A modern breakfast burger for the caveman in all of us: Eggs, sausage and a pancake. Meet Mickeydee's McGriddle. (Photo: Joel Meares)

By JOEL MEARES

What is it?

The McGriddle, introduced by McDonald’s in 2003, shows that a dish doesn’t need to feature tongue, bat or bug to be Survivor-level weird. A close cousin to the more sophisticated McMuffin, the McGriddle sandwich is bookended by two soft and soggy pancake-like buns and comes in three varieties: Bacon, Egg & Cheese (420 calories); Sausage, Egg & Cheese (560 calories) and plain old Sausage (410 calories). Those dark tablet-looking bruises in the griddlecakes are bursts of maple syrup.

Where do you get it?

Anywhere you see the famous golden arches, before breakfast hours finish.

Where does it come from?

Where else but America? Although, you can now find McGriddles in McDonald’s restaurants in Germany, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Guatemala and Singapore.

How much is it?

The prices vary store to store but a single sandwich will set you back a little over $3. But when Kyle Griffin, 23, went to buy a single McGriddle at his local Harlem Mickey D’s, he discovered it was actually cheaper to buy two. The store was offering two Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles for just $3 – the cheapest way to down 1,120 calories this side of the Hudson. Griffin scarfed two and says he felt sick the rest of the day.

Who eats it?

Griffin and everyone else who likes to mix the sweetness of syrupy hot cakes with the saltiness of squidgy yellow Mickey D’s eggs. One famous eater is Morgan Spurlock, who pointed out in his anti-McDonald’s documentary, “Supersize Me,” that the company launched the McGriddle at the same time it kicked off a healthy eating campaign. At least one of the initiatives was a success. Months after the McGriddle launched, the fast food chain’s sales rose 11 percent in the USA, with the company attributing some of that success to the new breakfast sandwich.

Tastes like: A perfectly good English breakfast dunked in a vat of syrup.

How do you cook it?

You don’t have to – leave that to the pimply teenager out back. All you have to do is peel away the greasy paper wrapping, open your mouth and pray you make it through this alive.

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Care for some brains? http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/30/care-for-some-brains/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/30/care-for-some-brains/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:18:34 +0000 Sonya Rehman http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2281

By SONYA REHMAN

“Katakat” (pronounced “Ka-ta-kat”) is a popular offal Pakistani dish served at Kabab King Diner in Jackson Heights, Queens. It’s a tantalizing, spicy mutton dish that is an assortment of kidney, brain and lamb chops, and the meaning behind the name, Katakat, is an interesting one.

As the offal is sliced and diced swiftly, the sounds that the knife makes as it hits the cutting board makes loud and clear “kut, kut, tuk, tuk, kut-a-kut” sounds.

Spiced with coriander, red chili powder, salt and green chilies, and fried in oil with onions, ginger and garlic, Katakat resembles a plate of fine mince once prepared and ready to eat.

Served with soft naan bread and fresh salad, Katakat remains a favorite Eastern delicacy among locals and foreigners alike.

Address:

Kabab King Diner
7301 37th Road.
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

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Quail prosciutto for cooking in Chinatown http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/30/quail-prosciutto-for-cooking-in-chinatown/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/30/quail-prosciutto-for-cooking-in-chinatown/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2009 20:42:20 +0000 Caroline Shin http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2294

By CAROLINE SHIN

IMG_5074

A whole cured quail hangs from a ledge at the Bayard Street Meat Market.

The Bayard Street Meat Market has been selling whole dry-cured quail, a prosciutto of sorts, for as long as Michael Huang can remember.

Now the manager of his parents’ store, Huang, 21, came to the U.S. from China when he was 9 years old. He sells about 50 of these quails weekly for $7 apiece to Chinese immigrants, his main consumer market. Why is the quail cured? “So it doesn’t go bad quickly and you don’t waste it.” He said his supplier does the dry curing.

Huang said Chinese people value the quail for “health” and “medical” reasons. Chinese cooks at the restaurant or at home serve the quail in soup, but they don’t actually eat the bird because its protein has already simmered into the broth. They also fry or steam it in soy sauce.

But, Huang says, “I don’t eat quail. I’m almost ABC.” As an almost “American-born-Chinese” person, he does not know how to cook it nor does he eat it nowadays.

While Arthur Schwartz, cookbook writer and former food critic of the Daily News, says that food is one of the mainstays of an immigrant culture, one can also wonder which dishes get lost between generations.

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Pasta with… Flying Fish Roe or Sea Urchin http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/29/pasta-with%e2%80%a6-flying-fish-roe-or-sea-urchin/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/29/pasta-with%e2%80%a6-flying-fish-roe-or-sea-urchin/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2009 00:14:57 +0000 Caroline Shin http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2318

By CAROLINE SHIN

Basta Pasta bustles at the open kitchen and dining room.

Basta Pasta bustles at the open kitchen and dining room.

Toshi Suzuki opened up a replica of his Tokyo-based Italian restaurant, Basta Pasta, about 20 years ago on 17th Street and 5th Avenue. His international response to Japan’s recession at the time, Basta Pasta is now a bustling eatery, busy with chefs at the open kitchen and guests at the dining space cum gallery.

Tall, down-to-business with a pencil mustache, Suzuki, 51, sells two curious dishes: spaghetti with tobiko or flying fish roe and linguine with fresh sea urchin. “The fish roe pasta is the only Japanese-Italian dish we have,” Suzuki said. “Everything else is Italian.” That includes the sea urchin pasta, which is considered a delicacy in Italy.

Italian cuisine is very popular in Japan. Katsuya Nishimori, 50, an artist-turned-florist, came to the U.S. after college 27 years ago, and dines at Basta Pasta regularly. He said, “There are many Italian restaurants in Japan. We love Italian food.”

Spaghetti con uova di pesce or flying fish roe is a signature Japanese-Italian dish at Basta Pasta.

Spaghetti con uova di pesce or flying fish roe is a signature Japanese-Italian dish at Basta Pasta.

The tobiko spaghetti blends both cultures in a delicious colorful dish. Clumps of tiny bright orange bubbles of tobiko sit atop a swirl of spaghetti with tomato sauce, shiso or perilla and shredded basil. The taste is subtly fishy and the texture, complicated. The tobiko lends a soft crunchiness to the smooth pasta, and, by the end, it mixes in with the soupy finish at the bottom of the plate. He sells about 200 units of the $15 dish per month. (His most popular dish, spaghetti churned in a parmesan cheese wheel and topped with parma prosciutto at the table sells 600 units at $16 every month.)

In comparison, Suzuki sells about 400 dishes of the sea urchin pasta monthly at $19. “People know it and love it,” he said. “It’s very popular in Italy and Japan.”

Linguine ai ricci di mare or linguini with sea urchin is an Italian delicacy.

Linguine ai ricci di mare or linguini with sea urchin is an Italian delicacy.

Kyriaki Vlachopoulou, 38, who works at the Greek Consulate, sat at the bar—just two seats from Nishimori—on a recent evening. “I’m the biggest fan of the sea urchin pasta,” she said. “I only get the uni pasta.” The bartender, aware of Vlachopoulou’s three-year commitment to the dish, laughed in agreement. Several thin salmon-colored slabs of sea urchin rest atop linguine sautéed with tomato sauce and Serrano peppers. The light brininess of the sea urchin melds with the savory pasta with each forkful. “It goes down smoothly,” said a contented Vlachopoulou after finishing a plate of the notable dish. “It’s full-flavored. But it’s not very fishy.”

Customer loyalty such as that of Vlachopoulou and Nishimori has helped Suzuki focus on his New York Basta Pasta. He commuted back and forth between the sister restaurants until seven years ago when he closed the Tokyo location. “The market here still is better,” he said.

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New York’s veteran waiters aren’t going anywhere http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/28/new-yorks-veteran-waiters-arent-going-anywhere/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/28/new-yorks-veteran-waiters-arent-going-anywhere/#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2009 17:41:21 +0000 Joel Meares http://rw1wald.cujschool.org/?p=2291
Tommy Rowles has been working at the Carlyle's Bemelman's Bar for 51 years. (Photo: Joel Meares)

Tommy Rowles has been working at the Carlyle's Bemelman's Bar for 51 years. (Photo: Joel Meares)

By JOEL MEARES

Tommy Rowles has been shaking martinis at the Carlyle Hotel’s swish Bemelmans’ Bar for 51 years. He was 17 and fresh from Dublin when he first got the job.

“I came in to go to the bathroom and there was this Irish bartender here,” says Rowles, standing at the bar on a quiet November morning. “He said, ‘Are you looking for a job?’ Then he asked, ‘Do you own a pair of black socks?’”

Rowles told the man to mind his own business – he wanted to work in an Irish pub, not a ritzy hotel – but he was soon swayed. Just weeks later, he was serving his first drink in the bar named for “Madeline” creator Ludwig Bemelmans.

New York is famed for its old-time waiters, bartenders and deli workers; raspy raconteurs like Rowles who have taken tips for decades at places like Bemelmans’, Peter Luger’s and Katz’s. They’re as familiar as the towering pastrami on rye at the Carnegie Deli: always there, always smiling and always with a special in mind. Some are as famous as the celebrities they serve. This June, Vanity Fair profiled Elaine Kaufman, of Elaine’s on the Upper East Side.

While many of these familiar faces say they’ll never retire, others are hanging up their aprons. Bartender Hoy Wong, who worked at the Algonquin Hotel past his 90th birthday, retired this year, and the veteran waiters at the Café des Artistes lost their jobs when the restaurant shut its doors in September. But there are those, like Rowles, who are defying the clock and keeping the spirit of the long-serving New York server alive.

New York Times writer William Grimes, who recently released the book “Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York,” says the city’s dining and drinking scene has been transformed by this changing of the guard. Flair is being replaced by expertise as diner legends retire.

“The younger generation of waiters is required to be much more knowledgeable about what’s on the menu and the ingredients that are in each dish and be intimately familiar with the wine list,” says Grimes. “There’s almost a requirement that waiters be foodies. I think that in the old days the personal touch of the waiter was much more important than technical knowledge. People went to a particular restaurant because they knew their waiter and cultivated a relationship with him and trusted their dining fate to his capable hands.”

Carnegie Deli’s Jack Sirota might have had the New York food scene’s most famous personal touch. The 77-year-old began working night shifts at the Seventh Avenue deli in 1959, the same year he married his wife, Renee. Grimes says delis like Carnegie are legendary for waiters who gave “not just instruction on the menu, but on how to live your life.” Sirota did just that.

Through his 44 years at Carnegie, where he later switched to lunches, Sirota kept customers smiling with stories, advice like “you can’t go wrong with pastrami,” starred as himself in Woody Allen’s “Broadway Danny Rose” and wrote a chapter of a book about the deli, “How to Feed Friends and Influence People.”

Sirota officially retires this year, though he has been on sick leave since 2003 when he fell from a footstool in his kitchen. He was later told he had an enlarged heart and never returned to work. Over the phone from his home in Lakewood, N.J., he says he misses the buzz of the busy diner and its regular customers.

“I loved being around people and I had a good time,” he says. “My philosophy was, every day is Christmas; every day was good.”

Sirota’s customers miss him too. “Bert and Ruth,” who ate at the Carnegie seven nights a week when they lived in Manhattan, were delighted to run into Sirota at a bakery in Lakewood this year. And he hasn’t lost the waiter’s wit that made him a hit on the floor. To a doctor who’d just put a stint in a blocked artery, he said: “I bet you took out the pastrami!”

If gregariousness was Sirota’s secret to success, Rowles’ says his is discretion.

“They tell you that everything that’s done in Vegas stays in Vegas and it doesn’t,” he says, looking as though he might be hiding a million secrets in his flash red Carlyle jacket. “Everything that happens here stays in the Carlyle. People know that if they screw up, they’re not going to see it in the paper in the morning.”

Rowles works the lunchtime shift Tuesdays to Fridays and drives in from Pearl River, N.Y. He says he had a regular crew of men who drank at his bar during the day, but “I’ve buried them all in the last three years.”

His favorite customer was one of his earliest. On his first day of work, the then 17-year-old Rowles served Harry S. Truman. The former president became a regular, drinking bourbon with the young Irish bartender most nights before heading off to visit his grandchildren on the Upper East Side. “He was really nice,” says Rowles, “an American hero.”

Rose Donaghey, an 89-year-old Ulster native still carrying burgers at the east Bronx’s Wicked Wolf restaurant, treats all her customers equally. She says it’s the secret to a 50-year career as a waitress in the city. “I didn’t care, rich or poor, I treated everybody the same,” she said over the phone from her home in the Bronx. “It didn’t matter who they were, I made them feel at home.”

Wicked Wolf owner Kathy Gallagher, whom Donaghey had worked with for 14 years at another restaurant, Charlie’s Inn, roped her in to the job. She works just two days a week – Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  – and her son drives her to and from the restaurant.

“It’s great therapy,” she says. “If I’m at home, I would be playing games, on the television, going to church, things like that.”

When she began at the Wicked Wolf last year, newspapers across the city covered the story of New York’s oldest waitress. Ellen Degeneres even approached her and offered her a first-class ticket to L.A. to appear on her talk show. Donaghey turned her down. “I didn’t want to fly seven hours,” she says.

Like Rowles and others among the city’s old-timers, Donaghey has no plans to retire and she won’t become a modern “foodie” waiter, either. She says her parents, who were farmers in Ireland, never stopped working.

“It’s in my genes,” she says. “We can’t relax, all my family worked to the very end. If they told me they didn’t need me, I would stop working, but that’s never been a question.”

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Food, age and pregnancy http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/23/food-age-and-pregnancy/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/23/food-age-and-pregnancy/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 18:57:48 +0000 Bessie King http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=1749

By BESSIE KING

Click on the screen to sort through the photos at your desired speed.

It is known that with age pregnancy becomes more delicate. Traditionally women had children in their 20s, but more are waiting until their 30s and 40s to  become pregnant. Because of this, medical care has improved and pregnancies for older women are less risky.

However, after giving birth, a woman still needs to be healthy. Losing the baby weight is one of the first steps to getting back into a healthier lifestyle and older moms may find it harder to shed pounds. Research has been done in the U.S. about the relation between pregnancy weight gain and birth weight, as well as the median age where weight gain is most common.

A 2008 study by doctors Alison M. Stuebe, Emily Oken, and Matthew W. Gillman, from Boston, Mass., showed that women between 25-30 years of age had the highest risk or retaining weight and becoming overweight after their first pregnancy. A newer study supported by the National Science Council in Taiwan and published in the British Journal of Nutrition this August, also found that women aged  21-39 had higher body weight one year after birth.

But there are different factors that may affect weight gain and weight retention. Doctor Sally Ann Lederman, whose research focuses on pregnancy and lactation, said that although age and metabolism play a role in pregnancies a woman’s lifestyle is equally important.

“You have to consider previous weight management problems, health choices and whether it is a woman’s first pregnancy or not,” said Lederman. “Ultimately it isn’t dictated by your biology, it’s dictated by your lifestyle, the effects postpartum and the choices you’ve made through your life.”

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Snack on grasshoppers http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/23/snack-on-grasshoppers/ http://nyfoodchain.com/2009/12/23/snack-on-grasshoppers/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 18:47:50 +0000 Bessie King http://nyfoodchain.com/?p=2251

By BESSIE KING

Although they are annoying to gardeners, grasshoppers are actually liked by some people. Liked enough to eat and savor.

This critter, like other bugs, is considered a snack in countries like Mexico, the Middle East and Thailand. So much so that food businesses offer them as average bar food.  And in New York, the place where oddities collide, finding grasshoppers to eat is not difficult either. Although you always have the possibility to raise you own, bodegas and ingredient stores in Chinatown sell already killed and cleaned grasshoppers. Saving you the hassle of growing, manually decapitating without crushing, and boiling the bug to cook.

Once you get your grasshoppers, which will look red rather than brown because they have been boiled, you can marinade them in limejuice and spices or your favorite seasoning. In a warm frying pan with little or no oil, since the grasshoppers will have some liquid from the marinade, they can be fried. Let the fried grasshoppers cool and when ready start munching. To avoid the hassle of finding and cooking this bug altogether you could also head to Toloache, a modern Mexican restaurant owned by chef Julian Medina.

A native of Mexico City, Medina grew up eating grasshoppers, or “chapulines” in Spanish, as snacks. When he opened his business he added something familiar to the menu. “It’s really taken off at the restaurant and people come in and order it a lot,” said Jennifer Neugeboren, press representative for Toloache. You can also find businesses that sell chocolate covered grasshoppers, for those with a sweet tooth, or ethnic restaurants that ground, jelly, roast, and dip grasshoppers in honey.

Regardless of how they are cooked grasshoppers are a very good source of protein. In some places, like rural Africa, they are an integral part of a meal to add fats, minerals and vitamins to people’s diets. So, don’t rule this dish out of your diet just yet.

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