SMORGASBORD: Sustainable fish ... 'Downton' cuisine ... Bake-Off timeMcDonald’s says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices. The blue “ecolabel” from the Marine Stewardship Council.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
McDonald’s says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices.
The blue “ecolabel” from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.
Major retail chains including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods already use the council’s label. The nonprofit group is paid a royalty fee from companies that use its label. For McDonald’s, that means the fee would be based on sales of its fish offerings, such as the Filet-O-Fish and the Fish McBites that will be launched as a limited-time offer next month.
The move reflects the growing concerns among consumers about the sources of their seafood. Major supermarket chains also have moved recently to try to make their seafood selections more sustainable.
The Marine Stewardship Council has about 300 fisheries in its program, representing between 12 to 14 percent of the world’s fisheries.
McDonald’s Corp. gets all its fish in the U.S. from a single Alaskan Pollock fishery, Coughlin said. The chain’s restaurants in Europe already use the council’s label.
“Downton Abbey” is in its third season on PBS. And the sparks already are flying at tea. At pre-dinner cocktails. At dinner. In the bedrooms. In the kitchen. Upstairs. Downstairs.
And especially when Martha Levinson (aka Shirley MacLaine) rolls up to the country estate, where her daughter, Cora, lives with husband Robert, head of the Crawley clan.
Robert’s mum Lady Violet (aka Maggie Smith) to Cora: “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her, I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”
Cousin Matthew Crawley: “But isn’t she American?”
The Brit melodrama has spawned countless spoofs. So, it’s no surprise a cookbook, liberally seasoned with the Crawleys and their cadre of servants, would surface.
“The Unofficial Downtown Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding” (Adams Media, $21.95), by Emily Ansara Baines, promises more than “150 recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs.”
Noted on its cover: “This book is unofficial and unauthorized. It is not authorized, approved, licensed or endorsed by Carnival Film & Television Ltd., its writers or producers, or any of its licensees.”
Fans of the show will enjoy the name dropping and references to the first two seasons, from Mrs. Patmore’s Dropped Roasted Chicken to the Upstairs Anchovy-Onion Tarts. “It’s likely that Lady Mary would stay away from this particular hors d’oeuvre as it would give her bad breath — and then the charming Pamuk might never want to kiss her,” writes Ansara Baines, whose credits include “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook” and stints in New York and Los Angeles working as a professional baker and caterer.
Bubble and squeak’s there; so are Lancashire hot pot and Bakewell tarts. The author peppered the book with “Times Gone By” and “Etiquette Lessons” sidebars.
While the book has it charms, seasoned cooks and those with a knowledge of English cookery may look askance at a few recipes — shepherd’s pie topped with pastry, not mashed potatoes? And with the Edwardian era fading and Crawley wealth diminishing, the excesses of French food offered seem a bit much for rural landed gentry.
Many people of fond of recipes from the Pillsbury Bake-Off, and no doubt, many dream of competing for the million-dollar grand prize.
But things have changed this year. Here’s how: The contest has been streamlined for its 46th edition — fewer categories, fewer ingredients and, for the first time, America will vote to determine all 100 finalists.
You can find out more about the contest, now open, at bake-off.com. It takes place Nov. 10-12 in Las Vegas.
‘The United States of Bacon’
In the TV food show arena, bacon is the new black.
California chef Todd Fisher, an unapologetic bacon buff, has declared that bacon has moved off the breakfast table and on to the unlikeliest of places: in cocktails, desserts and more traditional entrees like pizza. The growing variety of outrageous bacon creations in restaurants around the country in recent years has landed him in hog heaven.
Now, Fisher is getting a chance to indulge his love for all things bacon in “The United States of Bacon,” a new series on Discovery’s Destination America that airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays.
In the show, Fisher travels around the country to visit restaurants where bacon has become a prominent ingredient. Many of the inventions are not for the squeamish: the sight of someone eating a bacon-wrapped pork “wing” made from tenderloin may cause more health-conscious viewers to hyperventilate.
In the show’s premiere, Fisher rolled into Milwaukee hangout AJ Bombers and chomped into the Barrie Burger, a local specialty: a chunky peanut butter and bacon cheeseburger. The restaurant also has a Bloody Mary accented with bacon.
“I’m a true baconholic, so this is a dream for me,” Fisher said. “I’ve had this obsessive love for bacon for the past year and a half, smoking my own bacon, curing my own bacon. I’ve gone from being a true fan of bacon to being obsessive.”
Among the stops on his bacon tour are Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Detroit and Portland, Ore.
Speaking with a chef’s expertise, Fisher said that bacon “cuts through all of the flavor receptors of the palate. It’s sour, sweet, stringy, meaty and robust. It’s so versatile. There’s a real flexibility to it that allows it to traverse all styles of food from dessert to bacon and eggs to crunchy sandwiches.”
But what has impressed him most while filming the show is the inventiveness behind some of the bacon-driven creations.
“I had a pizza that had bacon and truffles,” he said. “I’ve publicly said I would never mix those two — each one is a powerful flavor. I had a bacon cheddar apple pie at the Comet Cafe in Milwaukee — that was incredible, with bacon baked into the pie crust and bacon in the apple.”
Of course, there are limits. Fisher said there was one concoction from a food truck in Los Angeles for which a handful of Cheddar cheese was dropped on a griddle and melted, then topped with bacon, green onions, chipotle, green sauce, then chili, all wrapped in a tortilla.
“That was a bit much,” he said. “Some of these meals can cause a heart attack — there is an indulgence. I know how to handle it. I take two or three bites, and that’s enough.”