Category Archives: Commentaria

Million Dollar Bath Stolen

A CatererSearch article tells how a million dollar bath has been stolen from a Japanese hotel. The article fails to make clear exactly why anyone would want to make a bath out of gold, let alone pay 1,000,000 USD for the dubious privilege of having one. Personally, I’d be forever worrying about it getting stolen. Oh, whoops, that’s what happened; silly me.

Huitres aux Citrate de Sildenafil

I won’t further pollute the Web by posting links – if you can’t get it from Google, you’re probably accessing the Web via a home-made modem, part of which is a potato. To cut a long story short, a couple of guys have been feeding sildenafil citrate (brandname witheld) to oysters. This substance, used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (and not without side-effects) combined with the legendary aphrodisiac properties of oysters (legendary: a thing of legend; a thing of story; not true) is making a storm with foreign buyers.

I do wish these guys luck and good fortune – the may get the latter sooner and need the former later when Pfizer, whose trademark they are violating, gets on to them. Man no mess with Big Pharma. But why did these guys not a) contact Pfizer to ask if what they wanted to say was OK and b) just call the stuff sildenafil citrate?

I’m sort of guessing that saying "contains a nice PDE5 inhibitor" doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

As an oyster aside – if you’re on the Cotentin peninsula (that’s France, for those about to dive into Google Earth), try les huitres de St Vaast.

Georges Prosper Remi – 100 Years On

Tintin, badly drawn by Smiffy

Hergé 100

It was 100 years ago today, on the 22 May 1907, that one Georges Prosper Remi was born to the world in Etterbeek (Bruxelles), Belgium. Better known to the world as Hergé, Remi was the creator of The Adventures of Tintin. After his death in 1983, Remi left a legacy of two dozen Tintin books and several other works, which continue to delight readers to this day.

The badly-drawn Tintin (see my entry on Flickr for technical details) was done to illustrate this post. I hope that others can come up with something more appropriate – read a Tintin book, have a Tintin party, blog about Tintin/Hergé, making this special centenary something to remember.

One thing that I have learned from this is that I can’t draw a free-hand oval, even with the aid of a computer.

Update: after exploring the GIMP a little more, I found out not only how to draw an oval, but how to create construction lines on a separate layer. The result is somewhat better.

Here’s some real artwork, from Adam Koford.

Other Happenings

Please mail me (address at bottom of page) if you know of any other relevant material that should be linked from here.

Getting children’s favourites on the menu


Getting children’s favourites on the menu – How can restaurant operators offer kids healthy options that they’re prepared to try and likely to enjoy? Three cheffing dads give us their views and offer some recipe ideas.

From Smiffy

Bravo, another step in the right direction, just by featuring articles like this in the catering press. Seems like I left England just before the new trend of feeding children real food caught on. I wonder how long this will take to propagate through to Australia; before or after Jamie Oliver gets his knighthood?

Family-friendly restaurants still pushing junk food on kids, says Soil Association

In another article, from last November, the Soil Association rated ten popular British family restaurants. In a score out of thirty, the highest awarded was a mere sixteen. You can read the full article here.

Strange but True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets

Scientific American reports that cats cannot taste sweets, which is why they are only really interested in meat. As a diabetic and meat lover, I can quite relate to this.

One issue that the article points out is that not only can they not taste sweetness, but also lack the ability to properly handle it in the body. Putting cereals into cat food, therefore, may be a less than good idea. As the fast food industry works diligently to ensure that every human on the planet is diabetic (thus expanding the market for their pals in the pharmaceutical industry) it would appear that the pet food industry is dancing to the same tune.

National Des!

This is a little bit of a departure from the normal subject matter of Smiffy’s Place – I don’t normally "gossip" about people I know, but here I must make an exception.

My ability to prepare good meals is due very much to the quality of the ingredients that I use; the quality of the meats with which I have cooked since coming to Australia have been second to none. Credit for this goes to our butcher, Des Waters. Des has always been sympathetic to my sometimes awkward demands, obliging and wholly professional.

In addition to supplying meats the way I want them, Des has always been a great maker of smallgoods – predominately of a German style.

Some while back, Des won a state-wide competition for said smallgoods, going on to a final last week in Perth, Western Australia.

Whilst he didn’t bring home first prize, I am very proud to announce that our butcher is the second best in all of Australia!

Kudos to him – let’s hope this isn’t an excuse to put the prices up!

Charles: Ban the Burger

Royal Condemnation

CatererSearch Online reports that Prince Charles has criticised McDonalds and that childhood obesity could be solved by banning the burger.

Although I would not eat at McDonalds if they were paying me (unless it was quite a lot that they were paying, say enough to pay for a few good restaurant meals, with wine), I don’t think that this is a particularly fair comment for their part. It’s a bit like blaming a single raindrop for getting one wet, when one has been standing out in a downpour for half an hour.

McDonalds or Parents?

Are we expected to believe that a child’s health will suffer from having a “treat” of a meal from McDonalds once a week when, at home, they are guzzling sugar and tartrazine-laden soft drinks, eating 99% fat free cereal bars (1% fat, 50% sugar, 49% sawdust), trans-fat laden cakes and the fluffy muck sold in supermarkets under the name of bread. (Oh for the international adoption of the French bread laws.)

The larger players in the fast food industry are well aware that their traditional fare is not the healthiest and are making available the healthier options that consumers are now demanding. Sadly, and due to the persistent dissemination (probably by the sugar industry) of outdated nutritional advice, low fat is what consumers are perceiving to be healthy.

Misleading Health Claims

I am sickened by advertisements and food labeling claiming foods to be 99% fat free (often when that food is naturally so). If manufacturers were really making healthy fare, they would be claiming it to be 99% sugar free, 100% free of azo dyes, sulphites, trans fats, and – I’ll wear my fingers out if carry on with this list.

Let the convenience food industry – that which supplies the supermarkets, as well as fast food outlets – lose the sugar, cut the carbs and start sourcing fresh, local produce (when available). They will need to push their healthier products as being so, as we can rarely rely on governments to provide up to date nutritional advice (or advice not biased by the sugar industry lobby).

The Root of the Problem

Had the global fast food industry emerged out of Asia, rather than North America, things could be quite different. Sushi, anybody?

Doping Meat – More Medical Lunacy

I’ve seen it all now. This news item, from Adelaide Now, tells of the disappearance of lamb shanks from a healthcare facility. These had been used to practice injecting and suturing – fair enough. However, they had been injected with Lignocaine (a local anaesthetic), rendering them toxic.

This begs the question – why? In case the lamb shanks are capable of feeling pain? Or is water now so precious that it is now better to use drugs for practice?

To me, this makes about as much sense as the armed forces conducting all exercises with live rounds.

If ever I needed confirmation that the healthcare profession has its share of total idiots, now I have it. Our life in their hands? Scary.

Not-quite Sir James Gosling

From CBC News:

The man credited with inventing the Java programming language commonly used on the World Wide Web has been appointed to the Order of Canada.

Good on you, Jim!

I do wonder if CBC is not getting Java mixed up with JavaScript, whether they have heard of AWT/Swing, and all those J2ME applications running on mobile phones. Maybe they should have a look around