Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food News Roundup

Hostess files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK (AP) -- The maker of Twinkies, Sno Balls and Wonder Bread is trying to lose the fat.

Hostess Brands is hoping to cut its high costs as it heads back into bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than a decade.

Hostess has enough cash to keep stores stocked with its Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other snacks for now as it battles rising labor costs and increased competition. But longer term, the 87-year-old company has a bigger problem: health-conscious Americans favor yogurt and energy bars over the dessert cakes and white bread they devoured 30 years ago.

Last year, 36 percent of Americans ate white bread in their homes, down from 54 percent in 2000, according to NPD Group. Meanwhile, about 54 percent ate wheat bread, up from 43 percent in 2000. MORE

Romania's "Meatball King" dies

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP (AP) -- Meatballs are not taken lightly in the Balkans. Recipes are prized. Favorite restaurants and chefs are endlessly debated. The merits of regional variations can fuel an argument as sizzling hot as a grill itself.

But only one man in Romania was known as "the Meatball King" - Ion Oita - and his death has left a swath of mourners far beyond the small confines of "The Hunchback," his eatery in northern Bucharest.

Brazilian best-selling author Paulo Coehlo, Romanian soprano Mariana Nicolaesco and President Traian Basescu are among those who have eaten at his nondescript restaurant. All were drawn by its hefty claim to fame: some of the best meatballs in the Balkans.

Co-owner Oita, after years of welcoming politicians, writers and fashionistas through his doors, was found hanged in a restaurant annex Dec. 5 at age 64. Oita allegedly killed himself over the outcome of a court case involving his son, who has used a wheelchair ever since a car accident. His death was top news across Romania. MORE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What can a cookie do? Give someone a happy birthday

Last year, my 7-year-old planned a surprise birthday party for me because she learned that I had never had one.

She secretly plotted with her aunt who helped her shop for decorations and food. And she got her father to rent a social hall and invite my friends. She wanted to make me feel special on my birthday.

This year, my little Girl Scout is working to make a lot more people in our community feel loved on their birthdays. She had the means to throw me a party with all the trimmings -- cake, ice cream, balloons, matching plates and cups, banners and streamers, veggie and fruit trays, games with prizes.

She realizes that not every mom and dad can give their children the kinds of parties she has or the party she gave me. We have talked to her about how our local food pantry gives groceries to the needy.

Her Girl Scout troop's service project is to donate a birthday-party-in-a-box to the local food pantry. We are going to include all the elements of a birthday party -- cake mix, frosting, candles, decorations and games, a gift card for ice cream -- things that people with no money for food would like to give their children but can't -- in boxes we wrap and donate to the town food pantry. Then when volunteers hear of someone with a birthday, they can give them the box.

She is living the Girl Scout Law in part by doing her best to be considerate and caring.

So I want to help her all I can. She has a personal goal to sell 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to earn a Kindle. The troop's goal is 2,500 boxes to pay their way to Washington, D.C., for the Girl Scouts Rock the Mall singalong in celebration of Girl Scouting's 100th birthday.

Girl Scout cookies cost $3.50 a box in our council this year. The top-selling Thin Mints, Samoas (coconut-caramel-chocolate) and Tagalongs (chocolate-peanut butter) are back along with Do Si Dos (peanut butter sandwich), Trefoils (shortbread), Dulce de Leche (caramel chip), and Thank U Berry Munch (cranberry-white chip that tastes like Cap'n Crunchberries cereal.) The new cookie this year is a crisp zesty lemon half-moon covered in powdered sugar called Savannah Smiles in honor of Girl Scouts being founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Georgia, by Juliette Gordon Low.

If you would like to help my thoughtful daughter meet her goals by buying cookies, please contact me at You can specify that your order be donated to the food pantry or to American soldiers stationed elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions For This Blog

I'm always looking to improve this food blog. It can always get better.
In 2012, I hope to accomplish a few changes to it.

1. Add how long it takes me to prepare recipes to my post. (This was a suggestion from an anonymous commenter.)

2. Post at least weekly. If I can do this for three months, I am eligible to be cataloged on Blogher.

3. Apply to be included on Blogher.

4. Update the design.

That's plenty.
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