👓 Nobody Is Moving Our Cheese: American Surplus Reaches Record High | NPR

Read Nobody Is Moving Our Cheese: American Surplus Reaches Record High by Samantha Raphelson (NPR)

It's a stinky time for the American cheese industry.

While Americans consumed nearly 37 pounds per capita in 2017, it was not enough to reduce the country's 1.4 billion-pound cheese surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The glut, which at 900,000 cubic yards is the largest in U.S. history, means that there is enough cheese sitting in cold storage to wrap around the U.S. Capitol.

The stockpile started to build several years ago, in large part because the pace of milk production began to exceed the rates of consumption, says Andrew Novakovic, professor of agricultural economics at Cornell University.

🎧 Rachael Ray on Communicating Through the Medium of Food | Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda (ART19)

Listened to Rachael Ray on Communicating Through the Medium of Food from Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda (ART19)

Rachael Ray knows how to relate over food. When she cooks, she's always thinking about her audience and how to communicate a message through the medium of food. Her energy and talent have led her to create a billion dollar lifestyle empire, built around the concept of fun, healthy, and joyous experiences with food. In this episode of Clear+Vivid, Rachael Ray and Alan Alda cook up some pasta together and enjoy a lively conversation around the dinner table!

Clear+Vvid with Alan Alda coverart

This interview gives me a lot more respect for Rachel Ray and what she’s doing. On the surface she might appear to be too bright and too bubbly, but underneath she’s doing what all of the more serious-seeming foodies on television are doing (albeit perhaps even more successfully)–she’s just targeting a far different audience. But also now that I know this, I’m secretly wishing she would be doing some programming targeted directly at me.

I’ve been aware of Alan Alda’s work in the areas of science communication for a while, but his podcast and the subtle questions he’s asking are giving me greater respect for what he’s doing as well. We need several thousand more of him. We also need better curricula to improve these issues among scientists themselves. I remember needing to take at least three credits of writing intensive courses in college (far too few, but at least it was something), but it would be nice if all scientists and engineers were forced to have more basic training in communication at the lower levels.

👓 I Lived Like Reese Witherspoon for a Week and All I Got Was This Ham | Vulture

Read I Lived Like Reese Witherspoon for a Week and All I Got Was This Ham by Rachel Handler (Vulture)
A New York Jewess goes south for the holidays.

A great send up of Reece Witherspoon’s book. Such great satire, I wish Rachel was writing on more than just culture and film.

🎧 Welcome to Farm to Taber! Episode 1: Kestrels & Peanuts | Farm to Taber

Listened to Welcome to Farm to Taber! Episode 1: Kestrels & Peanuts by Dr. Sarah Taber from Farm to Taber

Hi everyone! We're excited for Season One! There's a lot happening in agriculture that connects to major issues in labor, manufacturing, and sustainability.

An interesting first episode. I like that she lays out some of her background and where she’s coming from right up front. I do wish she’d given a bit more detail on it however.

🔖 Farm to Taber Podcast

Bookmarked Farm to Taber Podcast (SoundCloud)
Farm to Taber is a show about the inner guts of the food system, and what it takes to make work sustainably. Wherever that takes us—science, history, tech, culture, policy, marketing, psychology, design, and more— Farm to Taber goes there.

👓 The Cube Rule of Food Identification

Read The Cube Rule of Food Identification (cuberule.com)
The grand unified theory of food identification

The way this article abstracts food is very similar to the ways mathematicians think about objects and concepts of mathematics.

👓 Pareto’s principle of home baking | Ross’s Micro Blog

Liked Pareto’s principle of home baking by rosswintle (latest.rosswintle.uk)
Pareto’s principle of home baking: 80% of the bread gets eaten in the first 20 minutes after it comes out of the oven. The last 20% takes 4 days to eat.

I find this to be pretty true in my experience.

Ordering In-N-Out by Chapter and Verse: Hot Cocoa Edition

In a very rare move in January 2018, In-N-Out  added a new item to their sparse menu: hot cocoa. As part of their roll out and for marketing purposes, they serve free hot cocoa on rainy days to children under 12 years old. 

A few years back, I had written about the bible verses that In-N-Out “hides” on their product packaging. I remember hearing about the hot cocoa addition to the menu when it was initially released, but had forgotten about the bible verses until I had the occasion to visit on a recent rainy day.

So to complete the enlarged canon, here are the details for the bible verse found on In-N-Out’s hot cocoa cup.

Products and Bible Verses (continued)

  • Hot Cocoa:

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

    John  13:34
    In-N-Out Hot Cocoa Cup with a reference to bible verse  John 13:34


This certainly seems an appropriate verse to put on a product that they give away on rainy days. And who doesn’t love commandments involving hot cocoa?! I do notice that the verse isn’t hidden underneath the cup, like it is on the soda cups, but instead it’s front and center in relatively larger bold font on the side of the cup.

If one takes my prior call to replace the deity references with the product, then we’ll know that everyone who loves one another is a disciple of hot cocoa. They’re also likely to avoid improper microwave use too.

Acquired Cutting board (Oneida)
16 in L x 9-1/2 in W, 1/2 in thick, Red, polypropylene(52072)
Manufactured in Canada

I’ve got three other cutting boards like this. They’re a nice size, sturdy, and have some nice slip resistance. Who couldn’t resist another for $5.99?

Also picked up some wrapping paper for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

🔖 Current Pricing for Our Grass-Fed Beef | Coyote Creek Farm

Bookmarked Current Pricing for Our Grass-Fed Beef (Coyote Creek Farm)

Our steers are raised and grazed on 100% USDA certified organic pasture.

Our grass-fed beef price for this year is $3.70 per pound (same price as last year) hanging weight for the beef, your total cost with slaughter and processing is explained below. All figures are approximate since we won’t know the exact weights until time of processing.

Slaughter is $50.00 and cut and wrap is $.75 per pound based on hanging weight. The wrapping is in cryovac, which will keep your beef for up to two years.

Assume 1,000 lbs. on the hoof for figuring purposes, it may weight up to 1,200 lbs. or as little as 900 lbs.

55% of live weight on rail = 550 lbs. x $3.70 = $2035 + (.75 x 550) $412 = $2447 + $50 = $2,497

Cut and wrapped meat = 75% x 550 = 412 lbs. (plus soup bones & sausage) (sausage is optional)

$2,497 / 412 lbs. = $6.06 (This average will run from $6.50 to $6.75) per pound for your organic pasture grazed, grass-fed beef. This is about the price of one pound of ground grass-fed beef at a Farmer’s Market or at Whole Foods Market. This is clearly the most economical way to feed your family with all the health benefits of grass-fed beef.

For half a beef the cost is just that, one half of the above cost of a whole beef.

We like to dry age our beef in the cold storage from 14-21 days, so add this time to the slaughter date to determine your pickup date. We deliver your steer to the locker plant and you pick it up, unless other arrangements are made with us in advance.

Taking a peek at this for comparison to the cow party earlier today.

👓 What are beef cheeks? | Gourmet Traveller

Read What are beef cheeks? (Gourmet Traveller)
What exactly are beef 'cheeks'? Gourmet Traveller breaks down what beef cheeks are, how to cook them, and what to pair them with when you introduce them into your kitchen.

Got some of these at the cow party and suspected they’d be pretty good. Didn’t know that most used them to make barbacoa, so I know what I’ll be doing with them now!

Spoils from a cow party

A few months back, I got roped into joining in on a co-op purchase of a whole cow that was estimated to come in at around 600 pounds. It was grass fed, organically raised, and was to be humanely butchered, packaged, and frozen. I made an initial $200 deposit, and this morning I paid the $290.50 balance at what was billed as a “Cow Party”.

Thirteen of the “partners” got together at 11:30am to draw lots to form a line to take turns choosing individual cuts from the cow. Though it was just one entire cow, the butcher threw in some additional tongues, testicles, and other additional offal for us to select from as well.

Here’s what was included in my 18 turns:
1.2 lb New York steak, bone in
1.0 lb New York steak, bone in
1.2 New York steak, bone in
1.4 lb Ribeye, bone in
0.5 lb top sirloin steak
0.5 lb top sirloin steak
2.4 lb bottom round roast
2.5 lb beef tritip large
0.4 lb top sirloin steak
1.9 lb beef short ribs
1.1 lb stew beef
1.1 lb stew beef
1.1 lb stew beef
1.2 lb beef cheek
1.4 lb beef oxtails
0.9 lb beef oxtails
1.4 lb beef testicles
1.3 lb beef fat

Everyone also went home with an additional box of ground beef. Mine contained 16 packages of 1lb each of ground meat as well as 2.2lbs of beef ground with heart and 0.9lbs of beef ground with liver.

This comes out to 41.6 pounds of meat in all and price of roughly $11.78 per pound.

Sadly I missed out on some nice shoulder cuts, some tongue, and I had tried to get some tripe instead of the testicles, but alas, there were apparently other menudo fans in our group.

My freezer is chock full of some serious meat for a while. Most of the cuts are fairly straightforward and I’ve already got a good idea of what I’m going to do with them. I will have to take a peek at what I ought to do for the Rocky Mountain Oysters. I’m leaning toward turning them into some delicious tacos, but I’ll take any suggestions from those who’ve done other variations before.

I do want to make an inventory of the price per pound for individual cuts versus typical markets to see how the pricing works out, as I suspect that some likely did better than others within the “lottery” system this set up. The tough part will be finding local markets that purvey this high a quality of meat for a reasonable comparison.

👓 Why Most of America Is Terrible at Making Biscuits | The Atlantic

Read Why Most of America Is Terrible at Making Biscuits (The Atlantic)
There’s a scientific reason no one outside the South can nail them.

Anyone who follows Jeremy CherfasEat This Podcast (or specifically his excellent microcast series Our Daily Bread) would have seen this one coming from a mile away. One can get some reasonably flaky and tender biscuits (and not hockey pucks as she describes) with all purpose flour using harder wheat, but having the alternate version certainly makes a nice difference. Of course this would use a more laminated/pastry sort of method than the sort of cloudlike fluffiness that one typically gets in the South with a more generic mixing method that is usually employed.

👓 Mama Lu’s in Monterey Park Busted For Selling Bootleg Dumplings | Eater LA

Read Monterey Park restaurant busted for selling rogue dumplings made off site (Eater LA)
Plus Hippo’s new happy hour, and Melisse’s dinner deal

👓 Old School Knife Sharpening Meet Peripatetic Knife Sharpener Julio Toruno | Pasadena Now

Read Old School Knife Sharpening Meet Peripatetic Knife Sharpener Julio Toruno by Christopher Nyerges (pasadenanow.com)
Julio Toruno is intimately involved with knives everyday. But he’s not a survivalist, a knife collector, nor a cutlery dealer. He doesn’t live in a remote compound, and he’s never heard of all the TV survivor actors. Toruno is a quiet man who’s found his peace through the art of knife-sharpening. Many times a week, he sets up temporary shop from the back of his truck, mostly at farmer’s markets, and not far from Sierra Madre. “Have stone, will sharpen,” seems to be his motto.