More green tea benefits: It may fight oral cancer

Green tea health benefits.
Green tea health benefits.
Penn State researchers find green tea has potential value in fighting oral cancer. Photo by Nathan Cooke. Used with permission under Creative Commons license.

Researchers at Penn State say they have found another point to add to the growing list of green tea benefits, this time potential anti-cancer effect. Their research shows that a compound in green tea targets mouth cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. Read more at MicrobeWorld.org.

According to a news release from the researchers:

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3-gallate — EGCG — a compound found in green tea, killed oral cancer cells without harming normal cells, but researchers did not understand the reasons for its ability to target the cancer cells, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science and co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health. The current study shows that EGCG may trigger a process in the mitochondria that leads to cell death.

“EGCG is doing something to damage the mitochondria and that mitochondrial damage sets up a cycle causing more damage and it spirals out, until the cell undergoes programmed cell death,” said Lambert. “It looks like EGCG causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, which damages the mitochondria, and the mitochondria responds by making more reactive oxygen species.”

(Source: Penn State News Office)

Forecasters rarely use “historic” to describe pending storm

The storm on its way to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast has the makings of a major snow and weather event. The National Weather Service rarely uses language like this, which was included in the forecast Sunday afternoon:

"...CRIPPLING AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC BLIZZARD TO IMPACT THE AREA
FROM LATE MONDAY INTO TUESDAY..."

Here’s some detail from NYNJPAWEATHER.com, a private forecaster who has been helpful and reliable during past major weather events. While the amount of the snowfall in the New York City area could be anywhere from a few inches up to two feet, the bigger concern has to do with wind and “thunder snow.” Also, surrounding areas look like they will get well more than a foot of snow. If the storm duration is greater than 24 hours, as the current forecast indicates, there will be much disruption, especially on Tuesday.

Click on any area on the map below for details of the projected storm impact.

No more British chocolate bars in USA?

The New York Times reports that Hershey’s is enforcing geographic licensing restrictions that forbid some British-made versions of candies like Kit Kats from sale in the United States.

As a result of a settlement with the Hershey’s Company, Let’s Buy British Imports, or L.B.B., agreed this week to stop importing all Cadbury’s chocolate made overseas. The company also agreed to halt imports on KitKat bars made in Britain; Toffee Crisps, which, because of their orange packaging, and yellow-lined brown script, too closely resemble Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Yorkie chocolate bars, which infringe on the York peppermint patty; and Ms. Perry’s beloved Maltesers.

The British chocolates are richer because they contain more milk than sugar and different stabilizers from the additives used in the United States that give the products a longer shelf life.

Enter Entrepreneur Barbie

Barbie Entrepreneur Doll
Barbie Entrepreneur Doll
Barbie Entrepreneur Doll

Uproar over a misogynistic Barbie childrens book that portrayed girls as inept at writing software or even operating a desktop computer overshadowed the recent introduction of Entrepreneur Barbie, who is “ready for the next big pitch” right out of the box, according to manufacturer Mattel on its website.

“Barbie Entrepreneur doll wears a sophisticated dress in signature pink that features modern color blocking and a sleek silhouette. Luxe details, like a glam necklace, cool clutch and elegant hairstyle, are smart, professional touches,” says Mattel. “Her “smartphone,” tablet and briefcase are the tools of her trade and always by her side!”

Adds UnMarketing, the doll “now comes with gut-wrenching self-doubt and receivables collection issues!”

#GoodRiddanceDay: Start 2015 with a clean slate

Here’s a fun idea from Times Square Alliance that is also good for the environment and probably your mental health, too, as a way of starting 2015 with a clean slate. Good Riddance Day is a designated time to close the chapter on 2014 so that 2015 starts fresh. Everyone has thoughts or issues they want to leave behind, right?

Times Square is the site of New York's Good Riddance Day, a time to seal the books on 2014.
Times Square is the site of New York’s Good Riddance Day, a time to seal the books on 2014.

The official event is Sunday, December 28 at noon in Times Square in New York City, but you can mark the occasion from anywhere. From the business group’s website:

Have a picture of a significant other who’s proven less significant, a mortgage document that’s now history, or a medical bill that signifies a triumphant defeat?  Shred-it and forget it!

Good Riddance Day is inspired by a Latin American tradition in which New Year’s revelers stuffed dolls with objects representing bad memories before setting them on fire.  There will be no bonfire in Times Square, but we invite you to shed and shred your forgettable memories from 2014 for a fresh start in 2015.

Can’t make it to Times Square?   Submit your unwanted memories here or tweet at @TimesSquareNYC using #GoodRiddanceDay and we’ll help you forget it by shredding it.

Cleverly sponsored by a shredding company, this seems like a tradition worth adopting.

Spatchcock: It’s not just for chickens anymore

spatchcock turkey from Flickr via Wylio
© 2013 Brett Spangler, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Half the fun of cooking poultry using the “spatchcock” method is being able to say that funny word. But it’s also a truly awesome method to cook chickens, and, as Mark Bittman has advocated since 2002, can be used to cut turkey roasting time from several hours to less than one. That can transform Thanksgiving as we know it.

Spatchcocking is simply a technique in which a chicken or turkey is butterflied by removing the back bone, so it can lay flat on a grill or roasting pan. Eliminating the bird’s cavity eliminates the biggest challenge when roasting a turkey or chicken, because it enables the heat to be more carefully controlled and not wasted on the vacant space. (Stuffing a turkey reduces the variability, too, but extends cooking time and also creates some food safety issues if the temperature isn’t monitored carefully.)

Here are a couple of resources to learn about spatchcocking turkey and how to do it:

From the Quartz.com article comes this interesting graph from Google, showing the frequency of searches for the term “spatchcock” over time:

A weekend of discovery at food blogger conference

Blogger Mike Wangbickler in action at IFBC 2014.
Blogger and wine pro Mike Wangbickler delights upon learning of a new gluten-free oat crisp from Raincoast Crisps.

This weekend is the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle. It’s hard to think of a more food-obsessed city, so this will be a weekend of discovery. New commercial products, inventive chef creations, and a chance to explore the food scene of the Northwest. Here are a couple of images from the first few hours.

In addition to tasting plenty of interesting food (it’s ok for you to be jealous,) there’s real work here, and real learning. One excellent session earlier today focused on food photography, specifically how to break out of the cliche pictures that so many of us take.

One of Seattle’s top chefs, Thierry Rautureau (thechefinthehat.com) of Loulay restaurant, demonstrated how to make a simple fresh tomato soup with just a few ingredients pureed in a blender. He suggests freezing the puree in bags, then defrost and puree again with olive oil right before serving.

An emerging theme of the conference is the promotion of vegetables to center stage instead of side dish. Food writer Karen Page told the bloggers that people around the world – and especially in industrialized countries like the United States – are catching on to the idea that vegetables hold the flavors that makes dishes exciting. Chef Thierry favors brining vegetables to add spice to Thanksgiving dinner, or lightly pickling celery sticks to make the crunchy bites a bit more interesting.

Advice from the French chef: Don’t freeze squash. “Zucchini is  great vegetable to shred and put it right on a grill, but if you freeze it, you have a mushy blah thing,” says Rautureau.

Beef slider
Duck confit sliders were passed around at the start of a cooking demo by Seattle Chef Thierry Rautureau.
Fresh cold tomato soup
Chef Thierry Rautureau demonstrated making fresh tomato soup.
Chef Thierry Rautureau
French-born Chef Thierry Rautureau led a colorful cooking demo at IFBC 2014.