Buzzard's Beat

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Food, History and Kansas - A Hat Trick

(Photo courtesy of Great Plains Foodways Connection's website)

My homepage is set to (I bleed purple) and yesterday when I opened up my browser, one of the recent headlines was highlighting this new website called Great Plains Foodways Connection.  Intrigued....

Upon further investigation, I discovered that GPFC's mission is to 'explore, conserve and celebrate Kansas food heritage and its contributions to the American culinary tapestry through research and education." Food and history (think --> chuckwagons), two things I absolutely love.  Sweet.

GPFC also "explores the powerful but often subtle ways in which food has shaped, and shapes, our lives socially, economically, politically, mentally, nutritionally, and morally. Because food is a pervasive social phenomenon, it cannot be approached by any one discipline.” Food shapes lives - oh you bet.

 In a nutshell, they have a blog about food's history, they advertise food events like the Anderson County CornFest (my home county!!), they enable networking among foodies and of course, they have a recipe page. They even have historic cook books! Yeah!

Check it out -- I meant to spend 10 minutes perusing and ended up exploring for over an hour! 

Until next time,

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hit Me Baby One More Time!

Whoops! Wrong popstar, sorry Britney.

Anyways, you thought you'd heard the last of the meat dress saga with Lady Gaga but you were wrong. A recent story on TNT Magazine's website stated that the dress will be made into BEEF JERKY!  I highly doubt anyone will be eating that jerky but at least it's not being wasted...right???  If you forgot what it looked like, here ya go.
(Photo taken from TNT Magazine's website)

The dress's designer said Gaga  liked wearing the dress because "it smelled smelled like meat."  Gaga also said that the dress was a statement for gay's rights because "Equality is the prime rib of America, but because I'm gay, I don't get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer."

Well said Ms. Gaga -- thanks for supporting the meat industry!

Until next time,

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

‘Farm Grown’ Soup?!

Yesterday, while watching the Chiefs dominate the 49er’s, a Campbell’s soup commercial highlighted their ‘farm grown ingredients’. Wow – I can buy soup that contains farm grown ingredients?!?! Where do I shop to do that? Answer: at any grocery store in any state because ALL vegetables, fruits, grains and meat products are farm grown.

I’m sure Campbell’s thought that ‘farm grown’ indicated ‘family farm grown’ but even that definition can be severely misconstrued. Ninety-eight percent of American farms are family owned and operated. Period. From the 40 acre small family farm to the 6,000 head family owned feedlot – 98% are family farms.

I think it’s important to highlight farm facts when addressing the public and non-producers. Supporting local farmers by purchasing produce at farmer’s markets is a great way to support your community. Buying soup from a company that suggests that “not all vegetables are created equal” is misguided support. ALL FOOD IS GROWN ON A FARM. Don’t pay more for a gimmick – spend your money on wholesome and healthy food.
That being said, I really love Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup and can’t wait until a good frost so I can pop open a can for lunch.

Until next time,

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Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Not Nice to Call Them Frankenfish.....

In the front, traditional farm raised salmon.  The rear fish is GMO salmon from AquaBounty.
Photo courtesy of 

I'm sure that everyone, at some point, has heard about GMO's (genetically modified organisms).  Whether it be in the coffee shop, at school or in the news GMO's have been, and will continue to be, a hot topic.  Especially since the FDA is considering approving the sale of GMO salmon for consumption.  If accepted, the salmon, produced by AquaBounty, would be the first genetically modified animal in the food supply. Obviously, this is a hot topic for both foodies, producers, policymakers and consumers (which includes all of the aformentioned).

You may have your own opinion on this matter but do you truly know what GMO's are, let alone GMO salmon? Let's delve further into the topic.

What is a GMO?  A GMO is an organism in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.  The process of making GMO's is often called 'modern biotechnology' or gene technology'.

Why are GMO's produced? Simple - they present a significant advantage over conventional products to the producer, consumer or often times, both parties. Some common GMO's are soy, corn, cotton and canola. 

What are those advantages? In the crop industry, GMO's are more insect resistant, herbicide tolerant and have increased virus resistance.  They stay healthier which in turn, increases yields.

Are GMO's safe? All GMO's currently used in the food supply are safe. Specific systems have been set up for the rigorous evaluation of GM organisms and GM foods relative to both human health and the environment. Similar evaluations are generally not performed for traditional foods. Hence there is a significant difference in the evaluation process prior to marketing for these two groups of food.  GM foods are tested more rigorously than traditional foods.

As with all technological advances in the food industry there are risks such as, allerginicity and nutritional effects.  However, scientists perform extensive testing to ensure that the effects of those risks stay in the lab in order to be altered and bred out of the organism.  Again, GMO's are tested more rigorously than traditional food.

So, back to the GMO salmon.  These "AquAdvantage® Salmon" grow into full-sized fish in half the time that it would take a regular salmon.  Let me elaborate, simply.  Faster growing fish = more fish = more meat for a hungry world.

However, the FDA didn't use my economic knowledge to make their decision and concluded that there presently isn't sufficient evidence to accept or deny the fish into the food supply.  Many consumers don't want GMO food forced upon them.  However, I feel that the answer to this dilemma would be a label for GMO salmon (voluntary not mandated) thus allowing the producer to be aware of what he/she is purchasing and providing yet another option at the grocery store.  But that's just my opinion - and you know what they say about opinions.....

To learn more about GMO's click HERE! (World Health Organization - where I got my facts)

Until next time,

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Possibility of Impending Doom (PID)

I'm all for sensational journalism (see title), in regards to getting readers' attention.  That's the whole point right?  Reel them in with an outrageous title and maybe a picture.  I think it's even more interesting when that particular comment or picture doesn't accurately describe what the piece is about.  For example - look at this picture on the front cover of the KSU Collegian:

This picture would spark thoughts that cows are a biohazard - obviously that is a FALSE OBSERVATION.  However, it definitely grabbed my attention (especially since it was on the front page) and got me to read the whole story, "Vet Students Prepare for Outbreaks", which was another misrepresentation of the story.  The story was actually about 4 KSU vet students (one of which was my old roommate, Michelle Colgan) that spent their summers learning about and preparing for "emergency management and public health, including proper use of protective gear, setting up decontamination sites for mock crime scenes, doing blood draws and performing necropsies, or post-mortem examinations."  These practices would be necessary if bioterrorism were ever to occur in Kansas or if a disease like foot-and-mouth were ever to break.  The headline implies that there is a biohazardous outbreak looming on the horizon and that vet students are scampering around in havoc preparing for the possibility of impending doom aka PID (that title had a point), when in all acuality the students are just learning precautionary measures.

I commend the author of that article for successfully demanding the attention of anyone who picked up a Collegian today.  Well done - however, I sincerely hope that non-ag types took the time to read more than just the headline....

Until next time,

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MeatDress Extravaganza!

Lady GaGa has started a firestorm with her meat dress from the VMA's.  A link on a friend's facebook page sparked the comment "Was it a skirt steak?"  Haha.  But seriously, I was scanning today for a card for best friend Becca when I saw these hilarious images splashed across my screen. - I'm hungry enough to eat a meat dress

The madness continues!

**Disclaimer:  Blog author did not develop these cards or images.  They were found on and are not reflective of the author's opinions. However, I DO love to eat meat.
Until next time,

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Help Me Get to Fiji! PLEASE!

Hello all -- it's time for another Fiji post.  Recently, I went to KC, MO and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with BFF's Martha and Melissa. It was hard to decide on one thing since the menu is seriously 21 pages filled with scrumptious goodies.  However, I did decide and after devouring my chicken littles (fried chicken) and mashed potatoes (I can't help it, I'm addicted) we all ordered our dessert (as if I'd drive 2 hours and not order cheesecake). In addition to the Oreo variety I ordered for myself, I also ordered a piece of cherry cheesecake to take home with me to my loving fiance (it's his favorite).  I know, I know, I'm so freakin' nice it ain't even funny.

After fiance scarfed down his piece when I arrived home, I asked him if his expensive dessert could count as a cake to be put towards the honeymoon in Fiji drama. He replied NO. Not cool.  I told Melissa about this crock of you know what and she gave me the splendid idea to post it on my blog and start a petition. 

This is where YOU come in!  Fiance agreed that if  50 people commented that "Yes, the piece of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake should count as one cake", then he would allow it.

Please help me by posting below that you agree - you can just say 'yes' or you can write a long message but please please help me get to this gorgeous venue for my honeymoon!

Thanks in advance for your commenting! I'm counting on you!

Until next time,

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Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Gaga for Meat Dress

Lady Gaga is becoming more and more popular in my book.  Last night at the MTV Video Music Awards, the pop star donned a meat dress to accept one of her eight awards for the night.  You can read her explanation here.

I think she might be beating Cher out for most outrageous award show outfit.  Anywho, I'm tempted to go buy some Lady GaGa CD's - if she spends her income buying meat then I'm all for that!

Until next time,

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Friday, September 10, 2010

AgChat and Awareness

(The caption on this picture was a hot topic on AgChat this week. Adaptation of the producer population to new technologies)

This week I participated in my first AgChat session. I chose a great night for my first because last night was about how to translate science from the lab to the farm and from the farm to plate.  I was thrilled because I work everyday at translating science from jargon into terms that people actually want to read and learn.

At one point during the AgChat convo, in response to the question "Is ag sometimes a little too sterile and matter-of-fact with our explanations to non-farmers?", I tweeted "Familiarize yourself with the person you are talking to.  Get to know their point of view before you start spouting facts. Agvocating is about listening too" (this tweet was heavily abbreviated).  The point of my response was that when talking to non-producers it shouldn't be a one-sided conversation.  Spouting facts to closed ears is pointless - if you respect your conversation partner's opinions and ideas, they will be more likely to return the favor.  Care about what other have to say - it's awesome to know the ins and outs of the agricultural industry but if no one is listening, it's hard to convey the message.

Just some thoughts.

Until next time,

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meat Hits the Fashion World

I am pretty thrilled with Hollywood celebrities right now - last week Angelina Jolie was quoted in an article saying “I joke that a big juicy steak is my beauty secret. But seriously, I love red meat. I was a vegan for a long time, and it nearly killed me. I found I was not getting enough nutrition.”

This week pop star Lady GaGa was featured on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan magazine wearing a meat bikini --

Thanks for promoting meat ladies! I bet PETA is having a fit!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Falsehoods Can Cause Loss of Credibility

Remember those "Real Milk/Cheese comes from Happy Cows" commercials from California?  They were memorable, funny and made consumers pay attention.  Here is a funny one about 'French' bulls:

At the time, I thought they were a great idea.  Have you wondered why you haven't seen them around lately?  Maybe it's because they made consumers think that all dairy cows are raised on huge, green grassy pastures (which is the case in some dairy's but not all).  Bernard Rollin, University Distinguished Professor and  professor of philosophy, biomedical sciences and animal sciences at Colorado State University (and very, very cool guy), gives his opinion on the commercials: "recall the California "happy cows on pasture" ads. Being caught in falsehoods is a sure way to lose credibility."

It looks like California dairy farmers paid attention to Bernie's well educated opinion.  If you go to the Real California Milk website this is what their homepage looks like:

I think this is an exceptional change to their marketing scheme, especially with the hullabaloo about 'factory' vs. family farming.  It allows non-producers to know the facts immediately upon arrival at the site. 

They also have improved their commerical advertising and this is an example of a current California dairy farmer YouTube video:

Congrats to California on a successful transition to a new and improved marketing plan that is sure to give non-producers a real example of the California dairy industry.

Until next time,

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grad School Dietetics

Everyday life is hectic - work, errands, social life etc. is exhausting.  Add grad school to that equation and voila! you've got Buzzard's life.  How do I stay energized during my 12 hour work days (sans the 30 minutes I spent writing this post)? I eat MEAT!  Beef, pork, chicken and sometimes (on the rarest occasions) fish.

Don't get me wrong - I like other types of food.  In the veggie category I really love green beans (yes, just one type of vegetable fits my fancy).  I adore potatoes and eat lots of forms of corn (creamed, on the cob, frozen, popped) so I have my starches covered.  I'm a huge fan of peaches, pears, strawberries, apples, bananas and lots of other fruits and who doesn't love bread and pasta?  Basically, I've got all the food groups covered but my favorite is meat. 

Look at all the comparisons between meat and its subordinates ;) 
  • It would take 6X as much peanut butter to get the same amount of protein as you would from one 3 oz piece of beef - eating meat is so efficient!
  • Half the daily protein you need in your diet comes from only 3 oz of beef - again with efficiency!
  • You'd have to eat 8 stalks of celery to get the same amount of iron from 1 - 3 oz portion of brown sugar cured ham - blah, celery.
  • One baked chicken drumstick as 2.5x less sodium than one serving (1.5 cups) of spinach - I'm not Popeye so hand me the chicken!
  • Beef and chicken have almost no carbohydrates. Of the few cuts of pork that do contain carbs, each cut has less than 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
  • There are 5 cuts of chicken that have fewer calories from fat than 1 ear of sweet corn.
  • There are 29 cuts of beef that are classified as 'lean' - including the sirloin, tenderloin and T-bone steaks - all the more reason to eat steak on those not-so-special occasions!
  • One sweet potato contains more calories than one 3 oz serving of roasted pork tenderloin.
Pair any of these healthy meat options with a glass of milk, some whole grain (and heart healthy) pasta and some sliced peaches and you've got yourself a tasty dinner!

Until next time,

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