National Bagel Day / National Bagel and Lox Day (February 9th)


Bagel with Lox

(PCM) The origins of National Bagel Day / National Bagel and Lox Day are unclear, as is an explanation for why the latter became the former in recent years . Why would anyone want to pass over lox?

The origins of bagels and lox are less of a mystery.

The bagel is so much a part of the American breakfast experience you’d think it was invented here; but actually this ring-shaped bread is an import of the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, made popular in cities with large immigrant populations like New York or Montreal. From the German word for “bracelet” or “bangle”, bagels are distinctive for their taste (slightly sweet, derived from barley-malt) and texture (chewy on the inside with a toasty, often shiny exterior), but most of all for their hole-in-the-middle, which allows for even baking, easy window displays, and fun-time finger twirling.

Traditional bagels often come with baked-on toppings such as onions, poppy or sesame seeds or salt, though there are many other varieties to choose from, both sweet and savory—and plain is perfectly okay too. Great for snacking or sandwiches as well as a breakfast food, favorite bagel toppings include butter, jelly and/or peanut butter, or really anything that gets your taste buds rolling – including, of course, lox and cream cheese.

Lox, or brined salmon, has ancient roots: coastal cultures, notably native Americans and Scandinavian peoples, have long used sea salt to preserve and season their food. Though similar to smoked salmon (also good on bagels) lox is distinct in that it is never cooked, only salt-cured, thus it has a smoother, cleaner texture.

Lox became associated with European Jewish culture in recent centuries, and was brought to the United States by immigrants who, in typical American fashion, fused it with English cream cheese, Mediterranean capers and tomatoes, and the wholesome hole-some bagel. Though an iconic New York treat, bagels and lox are today enjoyed coast to coast, because why should the Big Apple have all the fun?

And now this delicious dish has its own holiday. Or not… I mean, you could just celebrate the bagel. I guess. But that just seems fishy to me.

The post National Bagel Day / National Bagel and Lox Day (February 9th) also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

My Journey To Health, Sugar Free

sugar-evilI never thought going sugar free would be easy, I have to admit, I never thought it would be this hard either.

I don’t want this column to sound like an ongoing session of whining, and so let’s talk about the legitimate troubles of stopping sugar.

I Think the first one has to be restaurants, and for me that means fast food.  I love McDonald’s and if all of us were honest we would almost all agree.  It’s funny that many people say how bad the food is there.  A few blocks from me there is a Burger King, a Boston Market, a Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell, and an Arby’s as well as a McDonald’s all on the same block.  However it is only McDonald’s that ever seems to have a long waiting line. In the rest you are in and out in a few minutes.  This food is hard to give up.  For now it’s once a week and no soda or dessert is purchased.

Going to the market is hard too.  My supermarket has a great bakery, to be honest it has the best donuts I have ever had and I have congratulated the donut maker several times.  They a make a dessert called a chocolate bomb that should be illegal.  And what is also in the bakery?  All the really good whole grain breads.  I have not touched a morsel of the sugar filled treats but my eyes get bigger whenever I walk through the place.

Then there’s Juice.  I have always loved juice.  Not the things like HI C or Hawaiian Punch but fruit juices like grape, white, grape and apple I also have a weakness for Lemonade, but all of that is gone.  It truly is not much better than sugar and it must be let go.

I have found some alternatives though.  A couple of years ago I fell in love with frozen lemonade.  While going through the frozen food department of the store I noticed frozen strawberries.  I bought a bag as well as a bottle of Simply Lemonade and put both in the blender.  Now that is frozen strawberry lemonade.  I have modified this a bit by putting the frozen strawberries in the blender and some real lemon and a bit of Blue Agave.  This is exactly the same and my understanding is that lemon juice is ok to use.

I have also found that frozen cherries a bit of Blue Agave, milk and two teaspoon of cocoa powder in the blender makes a great shake.  These are satisfying alternatives that I really enjoy.  The shake is very filling to.  I had one by itself last week and did not get hungry for hours.

No, this road has not been easy, but I will not give up. Time will change my tastes as well as allow me to discover new ways to eat and to be satisfied.

The post My Journey To Health, Sugar Free also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Los Angeles Gourmet Chef Tricks Food Writers Into Eating McDonald’s And They Were Lovin’ It


(PCM) Famed Los Angeles chef and former Top Chef Masters contestant Neal Fraser partnered up with McDonald’s in So Cal and together they duped a bunch of food writers into eating a gourmet meal that was created using McDonald’s ingredients.  The writers were “lovin’ it” at first, as they were told to tag images of their food on Instagram with the hashtag #ATasteOfSoCal, however after the big reveal many removed both the hashtag and the images.

The prank was conceived by a Southern California McDonald’s franchise and was given the go-ahead from corporate, as McDonald’s operators were listening and watching the food writers eat their meals through the use of hidden cameras.  The writers were invited to the event that took place at the incredibly fancy The Carondelet House, however despite the fancy setting many began to suspect something was up a few courses into  their meal, as it was not what they were normally used to from Chef Fraser.

While the soup made from McDonald’s guacamole did not go over so well, the writers did appear to enjoy the burger-patty spicy meatballs, bacon-wrapped chicken and the coffee custard with blueberries and maple crumble. While some of the writers were angered over the prank, others took a more light-hearted approach and said that if they went to McDonald’s and got food like this, they would go more often.

The post Los Angeles Gourmet Chef Tricks Food Writers Into Eating McDonald’s And They Were Lovin’ It also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Happy National Chopsticks Day! (February 6th)

chopsticks and celadon green ceramic on wood table background

(PCM) Why is February 6th celebrated as National Chopsticks Day? The internet isn’t forking up an answer, but it seems like a good excuse to grab some kung pao, sushi, or noodles tonight!

The next time you’re enjoying some delicious Asian cuisine, take a moment to appreciate the simple elegance of the chopsticks. These slim, tapered utensils have been in use in China for an estimated 5,000 years, first as a cooking implement and later for cultured eating. Chopsticks spread to other parts of Asia by 500AD, and are now the favored dining implement by a majority of the world’s eaters; their styles and use vary from region to region.

Chopstick table etiquette can be pretty complex; diners are advised not to point at others with their sticks, for example, or to suck on the ends, or insert them upright into their food. Don’t bang on dishes with them, either (you might look like a beggar) or scrape them together (to imply you’ve been given cheap sticks). The do’s and don’ts go on and on: and here you thought just holding them was hard!

The term “chopsticks” is said to come from the Pidgin English of Chinese sailors, for whom “chop chop” meant quickly, quickly! Chopsticks are similarly tied to the Chinese method of quickly cooking bite-sized bits of food (as in stir fry). The modern Chinese word for chopsticks, “kuaizi”, means roughly “quick bamboo fellows”.

Everyday chopsticks are generally made of bamboo, but you may find them crafted from all kinds of materials, from plastic and metal to fine china or bone. Painted or etched chopsticks can make lovely souvenirs or gifts for newlyweds (“quick fellows” can be read as “have boys quickly”!), fellow foodies, or maybe that special someone – last-minute Valentine’s Day idea?

Or you can gift them to yourself, along with a generous helping of something yummy. Chow down! It’s National Chopsticks Day!

The post Happy National Chopsticks Day! (February 6th) also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Subway Announces The End Of Their $5 Footlong Promotion


(PCM) After 10 years of plugging and becoming quite well-known for $5 footlong sandwiches, Subway has revealed that they are bringing the promotion to an end. The fast food chain has been offering the $5 footlong promotion since 2007, but due to a recent decline in sales they will now be offering footlong sandwiches for $6 instead.

While the raise in price by a dollar may not seem like that much to some, for many each and every dollar counts and it could mean the difference of choosing an alternative restaurant to grab lunch.  While Subway, themselves, have not yet commented on the footlong price hike, only making the initial announcement, many speculate that the company has continued to see a decline in sales due to the recent underage sex scandal by former company spokesman Jared Fogle.

Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison and despite the fact that he was only the Subway spokesman from 2000 to 2008, consumers still strongly associate him with the brand. Subway has made great attempt to distance themselves from the Fogle PR scandal, however it seems that there is still a connection. The company has recently begun a brand new ad campaign which they have titled “Founders”.

The post Subway Announces The End Of Their $5 Footlong Promotion also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Gimme A Break! Woman Is Seeking A Lifetime Supply Of Kit Kat Bars


(PCM) A 20-year old college student by the name of Saima Ahmad definitely has an appetite for Kit Kat bars, as she is seeking a lifetime supply of them from the manufacture after purchasing some defective ones. It is unclear whether or not she just purchased from a bad batch, however Ahmad claims that out of the eight Kit Kat bars she purchased, none contained the crispy wafers inside, which happen to be a Kit Kat staple.

Ahmad was so angered at the lack of wafer that she penned a letter to Kit Kat’s parent company Nestle to express her displeasure, as well as, request a lifetime supply of the candy as compensation. Her letter reads as follows:

‘The truth of the matter is; manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers. The specific duty you owe in consistency in your manufacturing process. The failure to take due care in the manufacturing process resulted in a product being defective. As a result I feel as though I have been misled to part with my money and purchase a product that is clearly different from what has been marketed by Nestle. The loss I have suffered is of monetary and emotional significance. I would like a full refund of the defective pack of KitKat I purchased. I have also lost my faith in Nestle. Clearly, if I wanted to purchase a confectionery item that is purely chocolate, I would have purchased a bar of Galaxy. I would therefore like to request a life-long supply of KitKat so that I can act as a means of quality control – it appears you need me more than I need you.’

Ahmad goes on to stress what an important issue this is and hopes she will find support with others who have been disappointed by the company in the past! So far there has been no word from Nestle about a response to Ahmad letter or if she will indeed receive her lifetime supply of chocolate, but hey, a girl can dream!

Gimme A Break! Woman Is Seeking A Lifetime Supply Of Kit Kat Bars was contributed by a Myth

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