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Posts Tagged ‘Food Culture’

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Food and family (and lots of fun)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

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Food is an integral part of life. It not only sustains us, but is often part of our celebrations and milestones. This past weekend my family celebrated my grandmother’s birthday and held a family reunion in North Carolina. Approximately 80 of her 100+ children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were in attendance. As you might imagine, feeding all those people was quite a challenge. Fortunately, we have several chefs in the family – nonetheless, what transpired was awfully impressive.

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This is the BBQ that was used. What is most impressive about this rig is not necessarily the size or scale, but that my cousin Eric built the entire thing in his shop. Wow. Dinner was to feature a whole hog (Claudette), three whole briskets, 16 chickens, and two bushels of corn.

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Chef Eric throwing the dry-rubbed briskets on the BBQ next to Claudette.

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Eric loading the side stack smoker/roaster the corn and chickens.

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Meanwhile, the National Anthem is sung (by my cousin Mark) before a game of kickball.

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Chef Chad slicing brisket and breaking down chickens – we’re getting close to chow time…

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Dinner is served.

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Now, does that look like a proud grandmother or what? The family comes together and sings happy birthday to grandma. This was truly a wonderful event.

Cheers,
Larry

Hold on to your hats folks, this is not good news…

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Kulkarni et al., Popul Health Metr. 2011

Over the years, the life expectancy of an adult in the US has increased dramatically. It is almost a law of nature that with advances in medicine, nutrition, and public health (vaccinations, etc.) life expectancy increases over time. A decrease in life expectancy is a sign of something going seriously wrong.

The figure above is from a recently published paper titled, “Falling behind: life expectancy in US counties from 2000 to 2007 in an international context.” It shows changes in life expectancy for women from 1987 to 2007. You will note from the figure legend that the red on this map depicts counties in which the change was less than zero. That means that the life expectancy of women in those counties has decreased over the past two decades.

This comes on the heels of a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation titled, “F as in fat: How obesity threatens America’s future.” Here are a few tidbits:

  • Colorado is the only state with an obesity rate below 20% (coming in at 19.8%)
  • A state at 19.8% obesity would have had the highest rate in 1995
  • No state has had a decline in the rate of obesity
  • Over the past 15 years, rates of obesity have doubled in seven states and rates of diabetes have doubled in 10 states

We are experiencing a crisis – and we need to make some changes. There will be no single solution, rather we will have to change our behaviors, policies, environments, practices, etc.

What are you going to change today?

Happy Independence Day

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, in the US. I, like many others, attended a BBQ where we ate burgers and hot dogs, drank a few beers, and finished the meal with some homemade pie. This got me thinking about what it means to be independent and to have food independence.

One form of independence is being able to raise one’s own food. Our friends made a delicious pie from cherries and rhubarb that they had grown in their own backyard.

Another form of independence involves having freedom of choice. We were able and chose to drink local beer and bison-beef hot dogs.

A third form of independence involves having a feeling of control over one’s diet and food choices. In this way, I avoided the burger and hotdog buns and loaded up on veggies and coleslaw, which left me feeling satisfied with my food choices afterward.

So, what do you think folks? What does food independence mean to you?

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