It is about time that I introduced a new character into my food blog, my mother (WENDY HUSCHER). Now my mother (WENDY HUSCHER) is definitely not your typical mother. She got her BA from De Paul University in accounting but after several years of working in this tedious occupation my mother became very bored. What a shocker, I know. When asked about her previous employment my mother depicts days spent hiding in bathroom stalls taking naps instead of working. I kid you not. It is no surprise that when my parents got divorced last year and my mother was forced to get a job again that she absolutely refused to go back into the accounting business. Instead, she chose to live a life of poverty through teaching a variety of odd jobs such as yoga instructor, maid, school van driver, and tele-facilitator which really is a more formal title for telemarketer. As a result, my mother learned how to scam the system in order to really stretch her dollar. It is okay for you to judge her, I do it all the time. Now my mother has no limits or morals when it comes to abusing our compassionate government so one of the first things she did was sign me up for the free lunches at school. Now initially my sister and I opposed eating these lunches but they beat the orange colored lunches my mother would pack which consisted of oranges, goldfish, carrots and cheese puffs every single day so eventually we gave in. Luckily for me I loved vegetables so I stuck mainly to the salad bar but after watching the videos in class today I began to wonder what if I had chosen to eat the daily school lunches instead. If I had eaten the cafe pizza, giant hot dogs or spicy chicken sandwich every day then there is no way I would still be this little or healthy. As a student I had always heard and continue to hear people complain about these meals yet nobody ever takes the initiative to challenge the cafe. This further reassures me that people are too lazy to change their diets. On a national scale you see the same thing happening, everybody complains about obesity and an unhealthy food market but only the select few actually care enough to make a change such as in Berkley. When it comes to food reform there are definitely a lot of people who are willing to talk the talk but not actually walk the walk.

Time to fart some rainbows! Recently SU has implemented a new sustainable system at Bennys where students can ask to use re-washable green containers which they call the “clam shell” instead of the paper boats to hold their food. Now I have been using these clam shells for a while now but they were always extremely inconvenient and it was common for me to be greeted with a glare whenever I asked an employee to use the container instead. That is until my internship overseer (HOT BOSS) saw to it that they made choosing the container an option on the kiosk in place of the awkward face to face confrontation. Noice. Not only is Bennys going green, McDonalds has jumped on the band wagon too!

According to the article “McDonald’s ditches Styrofoam…Maybe” http://grist.org/list/mcdonalds-ditches-styrofoam-maybe/ McDonald’s is planning on replacing its styrofoam cups with double walled fiber hot cups in 2,000 of it’s stores. These paper cups will be much easier to recycle and biodegrade quicker than styrofoam does. If these cups are a success then hopefully this greener solution will spread to the remaining 13,000 plus restaurants. This change in management is due to the fact that 30 percent of McDonald’s shareholders indicated that they wanted eco-friendly policies at the restaurants. So if reform can take place at a national level such as McDonalds then it is completely plausible that change can come about in the cafe at SU too, if only somebody will take the initiative.

Thanks to the blogosphere I have found a solution to decrease hostility within my friend group. Considering the fact that it is St. Patrick’s Day weekend and I am still writing my blog at 10:00 at night, you can only imagine how tense my friend group is as they impatiently wait for me to finish my blog so we can watch a “holiday themed movie”. As I was perusing the blogs I came across an article called “Trans fats linked to acting like a jerk” http://grist.org/list/trans-fats-linked-to-aggressive-behavior/ where I learned that through consuming trans fats people well, act like jerks. Unsaturated fats are found in processed foods (aka our cafeteria) which leads to aggressive behavior. No wonder why that ladies man (MATT SCHRIEBER) always throws me in the trashcan! I assume he consumes a lot of those too considering the size of his enormous rear end. I’m not kidding, If you have ever see him in his stupid khakis you totally know what I am talking about. Point being, maybe if my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) would only cook my friends some of her yummy vegan food on Friday nights then I wouldn’t have to endure their aggressive glares as I slaved over my blog. Just some food for thought =)  

Long time, no blog. I’ll begin with my CRAZAY Spring break trip. Imagine the MTV coverage of Spring break where there are thousands of tan muscular dudes in swim trunks and girls in string bikinis on the beach holding drinks in their hand while they rock out to P Diddy and that pretty much sums up my break. Except for the fact that I was volunteering on a habitat build site in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee stuck in a church basement wearing dirt covered jeans and a t-shirt. Instead of getting hammered, I was actually hammering in shingling on a roof. It was wild, but in all seriousness I did have a good time. Now while staying down in Tennessee my group and I tried to conserve as much money as possible so we took to eating the free dinners that the local churches offered their community. Surprisingly, this was a new concept to me. For so long i’ve been accustomed to having a say in what food I eat. Whether it be deciding what mystery meat to eat in the cafe or ordering a meal at a restaurant I have always been faced with choices. Yet when you attend a free meal, that freedom is taken away from you. I either had to eat the scrambled eggs and sausage placed in front of me or miss an entire dinner for the night. The luxury of questioning my food had been stripped from me, no longer did it matter if the meat was ultra processed, I had to eat it or go hungry. Luckily for me, I only had to eat that way for a mere couple of days, that is not the case however for people living in poverty. In areas such as food deserts the public do not have the ability to choose healthy foods so they are left to use the few food resources available to them. As if that wasn’t awful enough, one in seven people will go hungry tonight because they have absolutely no options when it comes to what to eat. Put in perspective, the laxative covered cafe food all of sudden sounds like more of a blessing than an atrocity.

On a side note I have the cutest story about my roommate (SARAH JANTSCH.) The other day I was in a rush and I needed to look something up quickly on the internet. My ethernet cord is an absolute terror to use so i’ve taken to using Sarah’s cord when she isn’t around. Sarah’s computer was already plugged in so to save time I pulled up Safari on her computer and began to google search the information I need when all of a sudden her recent searches popped up. The search “where do we get our bananas from” caught my eye and I couldn’t help but laugh. My sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) has managed to weasel her way into not only my daily life once again.  

This week I watched the commercial that my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) posted on coursekit concerning the Chipotle advertisement shown during the Grammys. This commercial hit close to the heart for me, not because of the endearing pink little piggies being mistreated but because the video coincided with the song “the Scientist,” a pathetic song that I spent all my sophomore year bawling my eyes out to after the breakup of my first serious relationship. Regardless, I absolutely despise that song and to this day refuse to listen to it. The New York Times wrote a response article about this moving commercial entitled “ Don’t Presume to Know a Pig’s Mind.” In the article, it stated that only a day after the advertisement ran, McDonalds being the saints that they are, announced that they would require all of their pork suppliers to do away with gestation crates. God bless them. Too bad they never set a date by which that would happen. The journalist Mo Tarkio then proceeded to talk about the dangers of sows grouped together in pens due to the aggressive nature of pregnant sows who will fight other pigs for food during feeding time. In response to this article, there was a blog post on foodpolitics.com called “The Infamous Chipotle video: will it help get rid of gestation crates?” In this blog post, there is a critique of Tarkio’s defense for gestation crates, stating that farmers such as Paul Willis do not use gestation crates but rather confines his sows in fields via electric fences which is almost as productive and much more humane. There are alternatives, it is only a matter of if society is willing to change to adapt them or not. My solution, WWJD dudes. I may not be religious but i’m pretty positive that Jesus would not approve of gestation crates. Dee out.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/opinion/happy-pigs-and-unhappy-farmers.html?_r=2&ref=opinio

http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/02/the-infamous-chipotle-video-will-it-help-get-rid-of-gestation-crates/

 Today I had a real food fiesta. After my professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) introduced the concept of cultural toolboxes in class today, I felt it necessary to deviate from the cafe and eat some ethnically different food. For the first time this semester I ate at Clydes, a real feat since I hate that place. There I ordered a turkey quesadilla with LOTS of cheese and chips. I’m not really big on Mexican food but I do love cheese, which luckily is a necessity in the Mexican toolbox. Later on in the night I got taken out to dinner (score!) The dinner was a collaboration meeting between the Susquehanna chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Bucknell’s chapter. Typically my internship overseer (HOT BOSS) would have facilitated the dinner but to my dismay he sent his co worker instead. =( If I wasn’t already devastated enough, I found out that for the second time today I would be eating mexican food. Awesome. Because nothing puts you in a better mood to get ready to go out on a Friday night than consuming copious amounts of melted cheese. Unless of course you are a vegan, like my roommate (SARAH JANTSCH) or my professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) in which case it would be the equivalent of eating copious amounts of poorly prepared tofu.

 

Back to this whole cultural toolbox ordeal, I began to wonder what specific toolbox club I belong to. I’m notoriously know within my friend group for “playing with my food” although I like to call it “creating art.” After the majority of meals I usually mix together everybody’s leftovers into one exotic, delicate entree. Now don’t get me wrong, I prepare them nicely. I drizzle catsup and mustard over the the plate in that typical Z formation typically found in all the high class restaurants. I sprinkle salt and pepper over the meal to give it that extra va va voom! I even have been know to place a little piece of lettuce on the very top, which if cast in dim lighting, almost resembles a basil leaf. I swear I could have a future as a chef if anybody would be willing to grow a pair and try one of my creations. Usually at this point my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) intervenes and says something along the lines of but not limited to: “Ewwwww Danielle that is vile” or “How old are you, Jesus?” Whatever, he just doesn’t “get” me. The food weirdness doesn’t stop there though. I like to combine foods that nobody in their right mind would try. For example, I like eating chicken noodle soup with cottage cheese in it. Some people find it strange, I find it delicious. The person who likes to give me the most (excuse my Czechoslovakian) sh** about this is non other than the ladies man himself (MATT SCHREIBER.) Who may I add is wifed-up, tied down, whipped or more simply put, in a relationship. My point being I don’t really know if a cultural toolbox fits with me. If there are other cultures who put four different toppings on their bagels (cream cheese, peanut butter, strawberry jelly and butter) in a checkered pattern then please, let me know. But until then I will have to face the judgement and scrutiny from stupid (MATT SCHREIBER.)  

 Being the “locavore” that I now am, I found the article “Local in winter: An invitation” http://grist.org/locavore/eating-local-in-the-dark-days-we-want-your-tips-recipes-and-stories/ real inspirational. This article talked about the Dark Day Challenge that I plan on partaking in. This challenge is for people to continue to eat locally during the year’s darkest months. Although it is quiet easy to eat locally during the spring and the summer, the winter is by far the hardest for many foods are out of season. Besides unseasonal foods, I I will also be avoiding all hard-boiled eggs. In the article “Listeria in hard-boilded eggs? How come?” http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/02/listeria-in-hard-boiled-eggs-how-come/ I learned that the company Micheal Foods has recalled more than one million hard eggs that they believed to be contaminated. The scene of the contamination site is said to have been a packing room in the plant. All of this pandemonium could have been avoided if society would just become a locavore like myself (DANIELLE HUSCHER) and would have bought local eggs in the first place. 

 This food week rocked. I got treated to dinner not only once but TWICE this week. It all started on Valentines day. My boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) took me to a lovey dovey mushy gooshy dinner at BJ’s. It was super romantic except not at all. Regardless, I was beyond excited to not be eating mass produced cafeteria food for the millionth day in a row. I wanted to order the finest steak dish on the menu but my boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) told me that I should be prepared to dine and dash if I decided to place that order. (A real charmer I know.) So I ordered the lobster bisque instead and called it a day. Finally, food that did not come out of a can. Or did it? I had assumed that my meal was of higher quality since I ordered it at a restaurant but what if it really was no different than the cafe? Great. Thanks to my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) I can no longer even trust the food served at a prestige restaurant such as BJ’s anymore thus my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) indirectly ruined my Valentine’s day dinner and all future hopes of lifetime happiness.

Later on in the week I was invited to ANOTHER fancy dinner par-tay by the man of my dreams. My internship overseer (HOT BOSS) had arranged for our staff to dine with the returning alumni Michelle ‘Chelle’ McIntyre-Brewer. Now I realize that is it completely unprofessional to call to my internship overseer “HOT BOSS” so I only refer to him as this in front of my roommate (SARAH JANTSCH) and boyfriend (BEN MALECKI) who then becomes very jealous but that is besides the point. I enjoyed a lovely dinner served in the presidential dinning room that was most likely the best meal I will ever be served on this campus. The meal had every marker of a high class dinner; small portions, aesthetically arranged, not to mention that it tasted good too. For the first time since I enrolled in this course I was able to eat my food without questioning it. As I ate dinner I listened to Chelle speak about her family, more specifically about the young special needs Chinese boy she had recently adopted. Chelle explained how her son was the byproduct of the contaminated baby formula outbreak that happened in China. Recognizing this story from our readings on food regulation I was then able to impress my internship overseer (HOT BOSS) with my knowledge about how far behind China is in food regulation and the dangers that emerge from the US importing their goods. Thus, my sociology professor (JESSICA EPSTEIN) was able to redeemed herself for her earlier attempts of ruining my future happiness through indirectly starting the discussion that won me admiration from my internship overseer (HOT BOSS.)