Monday, February 28, 2005

Safety of Herbal Medicines

Over-the-counter herbal remedies are popular nationwide. They're especially popular among the Hispanic population along the Texas-Mexico border. These remedies are bound by few government standards and regulations and thus vary widely in quality and effect. The Herbal Safety project at UTEP has gathered and, more importantly, made accessible a large and growing body of information about herbal remedies. Much of the information is in PDF format. The project offers numerous fact sheets, monographs, and other publications. In most cases, the information is not highly technical, but is set down in readily understandable English. Spanish versions of many documents are available; the goal is a totally bilingual site.

Herbal Safety

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Get a Move On

Sponsored and maintained by the American Heart Association, this site
is designed to help individuals learn about the benefits of staying
fit, eating right, and exercising on a regular basis. The site
includes a helpful exercise diary, which helps individuals keep track
of their daily progress. The Fitness Resources area should prove to
be quite a boon to visitors as well. It features a FAQ section on
exercise and heart disease, several factsheets, and information about
women and cardiovascular disease. The "My Fitness" area contains
detailed material on the benefits of daily physical activity and
eating healthy in order to remain fit. For those who wish to spread
the good word about this site and its contents, there is also a place
where one may send a "heart-to-heart" e-card greeting.

Just Move

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Shioking Food Blog

It's all about the food that makes you go "Schiok!!" Amateur chefs and homemakers will love this enthusiastic Food Blog that focuses on the enjoyment of cooking and sharing homemade dishes. The website's interesting title is derived from colloquial Chinese/Malay that essentially means 'an exclamation of enjoyment'. That is the feeling the site's editor wants you to feel when you prepare and finally taste one of these wonderful culinary creations. Visitors will find scores of recipes from international cuisines, as well as cooking tips and a lot of great 'food talk' on everything from French fries to Fondue.


Friday, February 25, 2005

The Art of Cooking for Engineers

Cooking for Engineers isn't about making dinner for engineers, it's about teaching engineers to cook. It's a combination recipe book and blog. The underlying structure is a blog, but so much has been added that to call this site simply a blog would be a major error. As expected on an engineer's site, the recipes are solid, tasty, and very, very well diagrammed. Nothing is too spicy, though. The ingredient and preparation charts work well. Most other recipe sites and cookbooks would benefit from a similar presentation. The articles and additional sections are a mixed bag. Sometimes they're well done and interesting and other times they're just the result of a trip to the market with a camera (such as the Ingredient Dictionary). The recipe comments are typical low-quality blog comments. Stick to the recipes and equipment articles.

Cooking for Engineers

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A Cure for What Ails You - Maybe

UCLA has established an online archive of over 200,000 folk remedies. It's searchable by simple keyword, with a switch allowing you to specify whether you want to do AND or OR searches. You can view between 5 and "all" records at a time -- the default is 10. I did a search for headache and got over 1800 results! Results are presented in a table, with the complaint on one side (in the case of what I was looking at the complaints were "Headaches" or "headaches, head ailments") and on the other side the remedies (a couple of the remedies on the first page of results: "applied - handful of salt on top of head" and "performed - wrap head with paper soaked in vinegar"). I thought by clicking on the name of the complaint I'd get a list of remedies for that particular complaint. Instead I got a list of details for one particular remedy. Information on the remedy includes the region where it was collected, the gender of the informant, the date and place where it was collected, and the citation where the remedy was found. Not all information is available for all remedies. Of course, it should be noted that these are folk remedies and visitors would do well to take a gander at the site's disclaimer.

Online Archive of Folk Remedies

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Homemaker's Blog

Blogs abound these days, and too many spew geek angst. Struggle in a Bungalow Kitchen is a refreshing, simply designed page of insights into the life of a stay-at-home mother as she struggles to "find peace, proficiency, and satisfaction in the kitchen." Fortunately for readers, the author doesn't just talk about cooking, although her fascination with culinary skills, tools, and Julia Child is well documented. Instead, her blog has expanded to include musings on just why people love Ikea, how stores push their credit cards at you, or how an old stove in her child's kindergarten reminds her of her grandmother. There's no political ranting or needless self-advertisement here, just good old-fashioned writing crafted with appropriate links and some wisdom on child-rearing and housekeeping when she finds or fails to find it. Her positive attitude to the challenges involved should strike a chord with any parent.

Struggle in a Bungalow Kitchen

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

For the Love of Cooking

Since time immemorial, people have loved to cook. Whether it be for themselves after a hectic day or for a dinner party of 20, the experience of dining is something that can be both relaxing and energizing at the same time. Fortunately, the All Recipes website, started in 1997 by a group of Web developers with a passion for cooking, has over 26,000 recipes for the consideration of the discerning epicurean. Users may just elect to search for a recipe from the top of the site's homepage, or they may want to browse the recipes by collection, such as desserts, pasta dishes, or soups. The "Ideas" area contains a smaller offering of recent submissions, such as layered seafood dip and garlic and onion burgers. Visitors to the site may also leave feedback on each recipe, along with a brief commentary. The site also contains a recipe calendar linked to upcoming holidays so that visitors may plan their festive meals accordingly. If that weren't enough, the site also includes an area where visitors may sign up to receive various electronic mailings, such as those for persons planning to eat healthier meals or just the latest recipes contributed to the site.

Gourmet chefs, culinary students and every kitchen cook in between will all benefit from a visit to this recipe website. Whether you want to bake a birthday cake for your loved one or cook a five-course meal for a group of friends, the recipe index is up for the task. The large collection of recipes is broken up into easy-to-search categories such as Appetizer, Main dish, Side dish, Dessert, Vegetarian, etc. What's great about is that in addition to its huge archive of recipes, visitors can submit questions and expect to receive great cooking advice from the site's editors. Bon Appetit!

All Recipes

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sustainable Near-organic Winemaking

According to Friends of the Earth there are up to 240 chemical compounds from spray residues detectable in some wines and over a tonne of synthetic chemicals are used to make 8,000 bottles of Burgundy. This reliance on chemical farming has left some viticulture areas of France with less microbial life than in the sand in the Sahara Desert. But despite these alarming statistics only 1% of French vineyards are classified as organic.

But the trend may be about to change, not out of determined environmental concerns but because it makes commercial sense. As usual the innovation is coming from the New World and in particular New Zealand - a country noted for its green attitudes and nuclear-free policies.

The essence of Sustainable Winegrowing is a code of practice that provides a framework for environmentally and economically sustainable viticulture. This involves monitoring pesticide and herbicide use as well as water use and ground cover. Winemakers monitor each other's performance and adherance to the code but what really seems to make the scheme work is that it forces vineyards to seriously think through their consumption of resources.

Nuetron probe technology is used to regulate irrigation and there has been a reduction in water usage of 50%. Montana says that while this translates into a financial saving it is also creating better grapes. The company is also now using chicory, fescues and rye grasses to control non-vine areas with red grapes responding very well to this means of reducing weeds. Montana says the grapes have an improved colour, tannin and acid balance. Oats, mustard, lupins and red clover have also been planted to improve the organic content of the soils - which is already 10% up in four years. And the 40% reduction in herbicides means that long-term the soil will have less agro-chemical resistance.

Montana Wines

Sunday, February 20, 2005

An Orchard a Day

It's too early to pick apples this year, but one might want to visit the Orchard Trail to plan a day trip. The site is for anyone who wants to taste an apple picked right off a tree or who wants to find out how we get applesauce. Cooks and gardeners, too, might find it helpful if they are particular about apples. It is basically a directory of family-run apple orchards in the US and a handful of other countries, including the UK and New Zealand. The pages provide contact information, with links where applicable. Supporting resources include 11 pages of recipes for apple puddings, cakes, and other goodies, along with variety lists for shoppers and connoisseurs. A warning on the advice page: "The listings here may not be always completely accurate. Please call ahead before driving out. Orchards are turning into golf courses and condominiums at an alarming rate, and we can't always keep up with that." Many of us no longer know where the nearest orchard may be, so you might visit this site first if you plan a drive into the country.

Apple Journal

Saturday, February 19, 2005

How to Cook the Internet

Google cooking. What that means is, shortly before supper time, look around for some combination of foods you've got on hand and which seem like they might go together. Then 'google' them (an expression that's becoming quite common, meaning type the food names into the search bar at Google) and browse through the results until you find a recipe that appeals to you. A recent test resulted in Spicy Corn and Tomato Salad (link provided below) but that was partly just because the farmers' market corn was so super sweet. We can especially recommend Google cooking when you need possibilities for somewhat odd combinations, like leftover salmon and swiss chard, though in such a case the result may be more pecunious than tasteful.

Spicy Corn and Tomato Salad

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Edible Schoolyard

A great idea, on so many levels. Basically, the idea is that you eat what you grow (and cook, and serve, and eat). The rationale of the project described in this article is something like this: "We're in the middle of a health epidemic. If we could somehow bring in a curriculum around school lunch, we could begin to change the way kids think about eating." I also think there is an inherent value in what people call 'simple things' like raising a garden or preparing food. A value, because it connects you with these things, makes your interaction with the world clear. But it's just like blogging or any other form of communication. A plant is just another medium, a garden an extension of yourself, and gardening a way to extend your presence. When you eat the bean that you have grown from a seed, it's hard to see yourself as separate from the world.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

French Cookery A La Carte

Creator of the French cookery site A La Carte, Hertzmann has been obsessed with food as long as he can remember, originally about Chinese cookery - its preparation, materials, history, and culture, even collecting English-language Chinese cookbooks and amassing one of the largest such collections in the world, now held at the University of California at Davis. Then he went French and became obsessive about French cookery - its preparation, materials, history, politics, and culture. As he learns more about French cookery, it is shared here, including every article that has appeared on the site. Originally mostly menus with the recipes needed for creating them, the site is now a vast resource for all manner of information on French cookery, still with a menu and recipe index.

A La Carte

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nutrition Reference Tool Online

The US Department of Agriculture has launched an online reference tool for consumers wanting to know more about the nutritional content of foodstuffs than is printed on packaging. The Nutrient Data Laboratory is intended to provide an educational service for consumers anxious to eat a healthy diet. The online Laboratory includes more than 6,000 foods and lists 117 nutrient categories. Users can search by nutrient or by food type.The database is part of the US government’s ongoing campaign to get people eating more healthily. Obesity is of mounting concern, and obesity-related diseases are on the increase.

Nutrient Data Laboratory

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Surfing the Web Recipe Universe

Cooks everywhere are finding a dizzying array of tasty dishes by going online to pick through the growing literature of culinary ideas and recipes. Cookbooks like Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" or Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" are still hard to beat for dependability, but the days of using recipes printed off the Internet until they are dog-eared and butter-stained have arrived. But beware: While the number of worthwhile recipe Web sites is growing, the provenance of many recipes remains suspect and some "recipe" links are no more than veiled marketing hooks. To detangle the jumble of recipes available on the Internet today, cooks can "Google" the name of the recipe and see how six to sixty people do it.

The Food Network feeds the success of its Web site, which contains recipes from its shows. Web measurement service Hitwise, which tracks the habits of 25 million Internet surfers worldwide -- 10 million in the United States -- ranks the Food Network at the top, by far, among U.S. Food and Beverage Web sites. Apart from the klieg-light world of celebrity chefs, Hitwise identifies Epicurious as another top US food site, and deservedly so. The site, known for posting as many as five different versions of Panacotta or seemingly straightforward oatmeal cookies, probably has more word-of-mouth buzz than any other US food site. Other top-ranked sites include, and for the nostalgic,, a popular name since the 1920s. A food site that enjoys a certain underground status in the United States is Chowhound, billed as a site "for those who live to eat," is an act of love by Internet idealists -- it is user driven, non-commercial and includes an Internet radio broadcast for cooks. On its many message boards, it includes s recommendations for where to find great ingredients and tips on how to perform delicate culinary feats like poaching fish.

The Food Network

Monday, February 14, 2005

Essential Foodie Website

Foodies, don't miss out. Based in New York City and edited by Josh Friedland, The Food publishes award-winning original food writing and photography and scours the web for links to culinary news and events, recipes, and gastronomical ephemera. lists The Food Section among the "25 Essential Foodie Websites" in its "Food Web Guide." USA Todayhas selected it as a Hot Site, and Manhattan user's Guide says, "If you haven't discovered it already, chances are you're not a foodie:. The Food Section claims to put many glossy food magazines to shame, with links to food-related points of high- interest archives of older pieces. With the popular Taste of the Town features: such topics as "Cooking by Hand or "Shopping for Exotic Spices"; and "Street Fare" with food on the streets, from Restaurant Sign Detail, and reviews of cafes and gardens in the Upper East Side, New York City.

The Food Section

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Diner a Day Keeps Fast Food Away

Want to scarf down some good, old-fashioned grub as you motor across America? Or maybe you want to buy a diner? Start at By the Way Online, a nostalgic travel site - companion to the By the Way print magazine, by the way - that brings you "Fresh reports from the back roads and Main Streets". Publisher Randy Garbin offers news, commentary, and feature articles based, in part, on his experience of having eaten in at least 508 diners. That's a lot of chow consumed in converted railroad cars and other culinary icons of a largely bygone era. The site also hosts discussion among restaurateurs who share Garbin's passion for diners. In addition to profiles and other state-of-the-eatery fare, Garbin and fellow enthusiasts review books such as "Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse" and "Diners, Bowling Alleys and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in Postwar Consumer Culture". It's easy to imagine realtors, scriptwriters, and vacation planners doing some quick research here, although it's apparent that some towns would prefer to forget diners altogether.

By the Way Online

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Cookies as Good as Grandma's

Few things recall the joys of childhood like the smell of home-baked chocolate chip cookies. If you are longing for cookies 'as good as grandma used to make', you can finally make your own with a little help from this site. Visitors will find a list of cookie recipes to satisfy any and every appetite, including recipes for diet cookies, brownies, as well as old standbys such as oatmeal, chocolate chip and peanut butter. There is also a store where you can buy a wide range of cooking and baking essentials, and even online coupons to use toward the purchase of well-known consumer brands.

Cookie Recipe

Friday, February 11, 2005

Gluttons for Food News

Gluttons for cooking and dining news will find rich fare at the message boards and Q&A sessions of The Daily Gullet, where the primary mission is to foster such discussions. Recently added special features include original feature stories, book and product reviews, food media updates, essays, and editorials just for this e-zine. At the end of each article is a link to discussion of that article for registered users. Hot Topics include "Bread and Circuses: The Low-Carb Debate" with pro and con articles and commentary on the wildly popular Atkins Diet, plus "An ode to Bread." Also find a regional spotlight focusing on regional specialties, like foods of the Southwest, and an article archive that can be text-searched.

The Daily Gullet

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Knuckle Deep in Dough

Visit to tantalize your taste buds with tried-and-true baking recipes created and gathered by professional baker and writer Marcy Goldman. This online magazine showcases new recipes each month, along with helpful advice and tips. Guests to the site will discover a handful of free recipes to try out, but if you're looking for a specific recipe, you'll need to register to gain access to the site archives. A yearly subscription will cost you $35, but you can also subscribe for a month for only $5. While you have to pay for complete access, visitors will be pleased at the wealth of free information available here. Some of the free recipes for the month of January include Omega Bran Muffins, Blueberry Baby Cakes, and Vermont Cheddar Cheese Bread. In addition you can access the Free BB Classics such as Classic Pizza Dough and French Country Bread.

Better Baking

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

World's Greatest Recipe Collection

Produced by CondeNet, this rather prodigious collection of culinary delights contains an archive of over 16,000 recipes. The database may be searched through the use of keywords, or through a number of more elaborate specifications, such as looking for recipes that are kid-friendly, low-fat, or meatless. Visitors can create their own customized online recipe box, view a list of the most popular recipes (as noted by visitors to the site), and look through a list of the newest recipes added to the site. Some of the more compelling new additions include recipes for banana gratins, almond spice cookies, apricot chutney, brandied baked pears, and broccoli and parsnip soup. Perhaps one of the most helpful parts of the site is a collection of technique videos provided for the novice cook. Here visitors can view demonstration videos of such important culinary skills as how to poach eggs properly, how to baste a turkey, and how to boil a lobster. Overall, this site is a good resource for both experienced and beginning cooks looking for both new and traditional recipes.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Julia Child's Smithsonian Kitchen

In 2001, after leaving her Massachusetts home of forty-two years and relocating to California, Julia Child - the renowned cooking artist - gave her kitchen to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center. Designed by her late husband in 1961, the kitchen has become somewhat of an icon after being viewed for seven years by millions of people on three public television series.

An accompaniment to "Bon Appetit! Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian" (an exhibition featuring the reconstruction of Child's kitchen), What's Cooking? documents the nearly year-long process of deconstructing and reconstructing the contents of Child's kitchen, which consisted of more than 1,200 individual items. The site also contains photographs of Child and her 1961 kitchen, diary entries from Smithsonian staff members who interviewed Child and helped with the construction of the exhibit, and resources by and about Julia Child.

Julia Child at the Smithsonian

Monday, February 07, 2005

Brand Name Recipes

To use up those boxes and cans of sundry ingredients piling up in the pantry, head to Back of the Box, offering recipes from U.S. food producers compiled from the backs of boxes, cans and packages and designed to be used with the brand name products listed in the ingredients, like Sirloin Chili made with Land O Lakes butter, or Chicken Nuggets using up those Corn Chex. Recipes cover every snack or meal-time need from appetizers to beverages, one-dish meals to sandwiches, with specialty cooking needs like Crockpot Cooking and Diabetic Recipes, like Tortilla Roll-Ups made with Miracle Whip. Visit Favorites for sure-fire hits, Quick & Easy Recipes for fast food at home, chat in the Forum or go Shopping for cookbooks, tableware, chef's tools and more. Subscribe to an e-newsletter for a Recipe of the Day or weekly site update.

Back of the Box

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Meatless Wonders for the Table

Yes, vegetarians can enjoy a Thanksgiving or Easter feast, and the Veggie Table shows how to stuff yourself silly without meat, from crudités appetizers, through a main course of ratatouille or spanakopita to a "no-fault" pumpkin pie. With cooking tips, vegetarian recipes for comfort food and kids' meals, tips and links on shopping for clothing, cookbooks, herbs and spices; meat substitutes, tofu and yoga, this free resource offers all kinds of info to vegetarians of all kinds and those simply interested in healthy eating, animal rights or the environment. Vegetarians come in many varieties: from semi-vegetarians who eat no red or white meat to raw foodists who eat only raw food. They all have a home here, including Chat Room and forums; recipes updated weekly; shopping links for hard-to-find products; and a free e-newsletter.

Veggie Table

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Who Was Eating What, Where and When

Have you ever wondered what they ate during the building of the pyramids, or how Shakespeare's cook would have tempted his palate? If so, this Web site by Morris County Library in New Jersey is for you. If your primary interest is historical culinary research, you'll appreciate the numerous links to papers such as the "History of US Army Rations" or "How Table Manners Became Polite". Alternatively, you can travel down the timeline of links and sample the flavors of prehistoric African cuisine or the sage fritters from Elizabethan England as you go. You can also, for example, find out about Thomas Jefferson's pasta machine and review the evolution of the ice-cream stand in 1930s America. Best of all are the links to ancient recipes, which have been altered to use modern ingredients and which provide the ideal challenge for a cook with time to spare and a hankering for history.

Timeline Index of Culinary History

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Where the Chefs Hang Out

iChef is an established culinary web site featuring thousands of free recipes and useful cooking information. First launched in 1996, iChef has consistently provided excellent recipes and advice to more than 150,000 monthly visitors to assist them in preparing their family's meals.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Celebrating Betty Crocker, Food Industry Icon

Betty Crocker was the creation of home economist and businesswoman Marjorie Child Husted (1892-1986). In 1926, Husted headed a home service department for the flour and sales firm Washburn-Crosby whose staff answered letters from consumers on various topics in homemaking over the standardized signature "Betty Crocker," the last name being that of a popular, recently retired director, and the first name chosen for its simple friendliness. In 1928 Washburn-Crosby was merged with several other firms to create General Mills, which continued the home service department, renamed as the Betty Crocker Homemaking Service, with Husted as director. She turned Betty Crocker into the personification of General Mills.

Commercial artist Neysa McMein was commissioned to paint a portrait of "Betty Crocker," giving her the look of a friendly American homemaker. This image, which was updated periodically to keep up with changing fashion styles, became a signature label on General Mills products, making Betty Crocker as well known to the public as any real woman.

Husted was the brains behind the Crocker image; she wrote the ad copy and supervised the experimental kitchens set up to test and demonstrate products and recipes. On radio interviews and advertisements hers was the original Betty Crocker voice. Later, when The Betty Crocker School of the Air grew in popularity, use was made of different actresses working from radio stations across the country.

Husted was born Marjorie Child in Minneapolis, where she attended public schools and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1913. She remained at the university to take a degree in education the next year. She first worked as secretary of the Minneapolis Infant Welfare Society, after which during World War I she joined the Red Cross. After the war she was associated with the Women's Cooperative Alliance until 1923, when she became advertising and merchandising supervisor for the Minneapolis Creamette Company. A year later she moved to the Washburn-Crosby Company, as field representative in home economics, and the next year she married K. Wallace Husted.

Her years of successful work as Betty Crocker led to her promotion in 1946 to the job of consultant to the officers and executives of General Mills, and in 1948 she was made consultant in advertising, public relations, and home service. She also served in 1948 as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on food conservation. Honors accorded her for her achievements included the 1949 Advertising Woman of the Year Award from the Advertising Federation of America and the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Women's National Press Club, also in 1949. In April 1950 she left General Mills to form her own consulting firm, Marjorie Child Husted and Associates. She died on December 23, 1986, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although unlike Sara Lee, Betty Crocker was not a real person, a public opinion poll once rated her as the second most famous woman in America after Eleanor Roosevelt.

Marjorie Husted's "Brown Derby Cookbook," published in 1949 is available at RLG's

To purchase the latest version of the Betty Crocker cookbook you might want to visit Amazon:

"Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." (Hippocrates)