Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bartender Drinks, Drives, Dies; Blames Tiger Woods


Tiger Woods flips his ball as he walks along the ninth green during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Farmingdale, NY.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The family of a bartender in a restaurant owned by Tiger Woods is suing the golfer, somehow blaming him because, after serving himself too many, the employee died in a single-car accident.

Next, a convenience store customer will sue the lad at the checkout who, after properly carding her, bagged and handed over a paid-for six-pack.

The reason for this suit: The clerk supposedly should have known the customer would down the entire six pack in the parking lot then drive over an embankment, causing the car to crash, catch fire, and severely burn the customer.

The latter makes as much sense as the former, right?

Sadly, Woods and his girlfriend, Erica Herman, who is listed as general manager of his Florida restaurant, are being sued – for wrongful death.

These days, you have to think there’s a totally unreasonable possibility that the court will see for the plaintiff – the now-deceased drunk bartender. Regardless of the plaintiff’s stupidity leading to the cause for the suit.

The civil complaint in the Tiger Wood case says restaurant employees – and, by default, the owner – should have kept the off-duty bartender from drinking, or at least drinking ‘too many’, because they knew he had been attending AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. The fact that he did drink too many was attested to by his blood alcohol level of .256 – three times the legal limit.

CNN reported that the wrongful death suit is asking for an unspecified amount of damages.

This is a ridiculous lawsuit. But it exemplifies how victim-friendly juries in the US have become. And the trend is a bad one.

A side story: Thirty or so years ago, I worked in a bar/restaurant owned by a couple of guys whose understanding of the hospitality business came from their prior ownership of a nightclub. It burned down. They opened, just down the road, the place I worked in.

From all appearances, their focus was on seeing that their friends – and they seemed to have a lot of them – had fun… and that the booze kept flowing.

And flow it did: While the restaurant did a so-so business – three-quarters filled once then about half that volume on the ‘second turn’ on most nights except Saturday (which did better), the bar was a genuine cash cow.

The bartenders – there usually were two – were busy, not just serving customers but schmoozingly encouraging customers to buy more. And keeping the table servers happy: Several of us servers had a ‘thing’ going where we’d order, say, three drinks for a table and one for ourselves. It was pretty obvious to the staff that the tabs weren’t checked too closely by management, because the servers were seriously cutting into profits.

Some but not all servers drank from the time they put their first order in through closing time. Then the fun began.

The manager/owners invited ‘friendly’ servers to join them and their friends at the bar, where all carried on drinking, on the house, for a couple of hours or more. My drink of choice was Jack Daniels with a Heineken. On a typical night, after already having sipped through several Heinies while serving, I’d knock off two, three or more of those combos. Then drive home.

In that restaurant’s first three months, at least three staff members crashed their cars on the way home. I was among them.

At that time, my then wife and I rented an apartment in a pricey Connecticut town called home by many well-heeled Wall Street types. The local cops were, shall we say, ‘generous’ in their treatment of gentle drunk drivers. (I looked young, perhaps young enough to be mistaken for one of the well-off’s offspring.) Not only wasn’t I charged – after running down a row of guardrails and impaling my car thereon – I got a front-seat ‘free ride in a cop car’ home. (Cop car front seats then weren’t occupied by a computer and other high-tech gear, as they are today.)

There is no way that would happen anywhere today!

Woods reportedly was drinking with the bartender, Nicholas Immesberger, 24, a couple of night before the night in question, when he left Woods’ establishment three hours after his shift ended. Shortly thereafter, he crashed his Corvette and died.

His family’s suit alleges that the employees and management at Woods’ place promoted drinking by employees. As did those where I worked.

A fellow worker of mine not only crashed her car, she was hospitalized for several weeks. There was no talk – to my knowledge – of suing the restaurant for ‘encouraging’ staffers to drink on the job.

But they did.

US supermarkets are increasingly offering wine bars and other drinking ‘opportunities’ – beyond wine tasting, which, realistically, it would be hard for (most) customers to abuse.

That’s a fact that food sellers and their shoppers need to keep in mind: The former for insurance reasons, the latter because, despite the retailer’s best efforts, some people will over-imbibe. Then drive home.

And shoppers, truth be told, owe it to merchants to behave responsibly where drink and food samples – surely a subject for another posts! – are concerned.



Eggciting News: Eggs Aren’t As Unhealthy As Formerly Reported


Eggs from Lohmann Brown chickens are sorted inside a barn at Meadow Haven Farm, a certified organic family run farm, in Sheffield, Ill., in August 2015. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

Americans love their eggs — more than… well, not ever, but more than since 1973, anyway.

Egg consumption has been trending upward over the past several years, since the government reversed course and said that, contrary to earlier advice, while eggs are relatively high in cholesterol, eating them won’t necessarily put you at risk of having high cholesterol.

Yes, an explanation is in order:

Live Science cited a report by Ying Rong of Huazhong University of Science and Technology and her colleagues published in the British Journal of Medicine, which reviewed 17 different egg studies. They concluded, “Higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.’ They cautioned, though, that, ”The increased risk of coronary heart disease among diabetic patients and reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke associated with higher egg consumption in subgroup analyses warrant further studies.”

The Chinese study is in line with the latest US government thinking, news of which has boosted egg-eating to almost 280 per year.

The last time consumption was this high, The Washington Post reported on February 28, was in 1973.

“This idea that eggs are healthy is really what’s driving this increase in consumption,” Jesse Laflamme, the chief executive of Pete and Gerry’s Organics, a free-range egg producer, told The Post. Laflamme pointed to other factors that have moved consumers to eat more eggs: their low cost compared with meat, the unprocessed nature of organic, free-range eggs, and the feeling of fullness that eating eggs can create.

The greater danger, US nutrition experts now contend, “lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter,” The Post reported.


Credit: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

The Life Science report cited above, was authored by Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.,  a registered dietitian and a frequent national commentator on nutrition topics. She’s also the author of Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations” (LifeLine Press, 2011).

Here’s her explanation for the case for eggs in one’s diet:

Yes, increased blood cholesterol levels can raise the risk of heart disease. Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol. But does eating eggs raise blood cholesterol and cause heart disease? This is where the story gets somewhat complicated, so stay with me, folks, and I’ll try to make sense of all of this.

First, the research

Most epidemiological research — the kind of research that studies large populations over time and analyzes their diets and their health — has found no connection between eating eggs and increases in heart disease. On the other hand, controlled clinical studies — where researchers feed subjects specific amounts of cholesterol and measure the effect on blood — do show a slight increase in blood cholesterol with increases in dietary cholesterol, though how much depends on genetic factors.

Cholesterol is an important component of all human and animal cells and influences hormone biology, among other functions. Since your body naturally has all it needs from producing its own cholesterol, there is no dietary requirement for more cholesterol. But the American diet contains plenty, since we eat a lot of animal products. All animal products contain some cholesterol, but they also contain saturated fat, an even more significant culprit in heart-disease risk.

MJS eggs2.jpg

Credit: Archive —

The major determinant of plasma LDL level is saturated fat,said Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

And while eggs are high in cholesterol (186 milligrams, 184 of them in the yolk), they’re relatively low in saturated fat (1.6 grams in the yolk).

In most people, for every 100 milligrams reduction in dietary cholesterol, one would predict a reduction in LDL levels of 2.2 points on average,said Wanda Howell, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona.

In fact, during my 20 years of counseling people with high cholesterol, just reducing their saturated fat intake to a range of 4 percent to 7 percent of their calories, causes their blood cholesterol levels to plummet — a double benefit.

Interestingly, people in Japan — consumers of some of the largest quantities of eggs in the world (averaging 328 eggs consumed per person per year — have low levels of cholesterol and heart disease compared with other developed countries, especially the United States. Why? In part, its because the Japanese eat a diet low in saturated fat.

Americans do just the opposite. Research has shown that we usually have our eggs alongside foods high in saturated fat, such as bacon, sausage and buttered toast. This meal pattern raises LDL levels and makes the effect of eating eggs worse than it actually is.

So how many eggs can you eat? That depends on a number of factors. The American Heart Association no longer includes limits on the number of egg yolks you can eat, but it recommends that you limit your cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams daily, or 200 milligrams if you have heart disease or if your LDL is greater than 100. You decide where that cholesterol comes from!

Other experts go further and say an egg a day is fine.

The amount that one egg a day raises cholesterol in the blood is extremely small, so small in fact that the increase in risk in heart disease related to this change in serum cholesterol could never be detected in any kind of study,said Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health.Elevations in LDL of this small magnitude could easily be countered by other healthy aspects of eggs.

Based on the research, my recommendation is if you eat a healthful diet, go ahead and eat an egg a day. (My interview on CNN summarizes the key reasons why.) On the other hand, if your cholesterol is high and if you eat the typical American diet — high in saturated fat, devoid of fruits, vegetables and fiber — maybe you shouldn’t be eating an egg a day.

But will taking eggs out of an unhealthy diet make a positive difference? Probably not. I cant tell you how many times during my career Ive heard people say, Ive cut out eggs, but my cholesterol is still high! The impact of a healthy, balanced diet cannot be denied here.

Good for you

Assuming you’re eating a healthy diet, here are some ways you may benefit by eating eggs.

Protein. Eggs are considered the gold standard that other proteins are measured against. Because of the superior amino acid mix, an egg’s six grams of protein are absorbed easily and efficiently used by the body. The egg is also low-calorie (74 calories).

Choline. Yolks are one of the best sources of this essential nutrient. Choline is needed for brain development in a growing fetus and may also be important for brain function in adults.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These two, important, beneficial phytochemicals found in egg yolks (as well as kale and spinach) help prevent eye diseases, especially cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. While eggs contain less lutein and zeaxanthin than greens, these phytochemicals are more absorbable because of the presence of fat in the yolk.

Vitamin D. Eggs are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D, important for the bones and teeth. Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium, which is important for the heart and colon, as well.

To bring this all together, here is a recipe that is a regular meal for me any time of the day — quick, easy, delicious, nutritious!

Eggs Scrambled with Onion, Garlic and Sweet Cherry Tomatoes

Servings: 1
Sauté 1/4 sweet onion and a smashed garlic clove over medium-high heat in 1 teaspoon canola or olive oil until almost soft. Add a handful of chopped tomatoes to the pan (or any other vegetables you happen to have, such as chopped spinach, kale, mushrooms or peppers) and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to very low. In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs. Pour eggs into the pan containing the onion, garlic and tomato — add 1 ounce low-fat cheese, if you wish. Stir continuously until eggs are cooked. Pour over toasted, whole rye bread.

According to the research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans reached the height of their egg consumption at the conclusion of World War II, averaging 404, or more than one a day, in 1945. It bottomed out at 229 in 1992, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.



Walmart, Amazon Go Head-to-Head on Delivery Services


Walmart has been working hard, in recent months, to outpace and outdo Amazon as much as the latter has been disrupting many competitors in moving products  — including edible ones – to consumer’ doorsteps.

More and more, Walmart commercials and print ads tout its ‘no membership’ plan for no- or low-cost delivery service to consumers’ doors. The company also is growing its car-side delivery service – where a phoned- or emailed-in order is ready to be picked up at a designated store-side place. A  phone call from one’s car at that place to the store’s delivery department gets the order heading out the door.

Somewhat surprisingly, the delivery folks reportedly don’t mind performing their duties even in ‘off’ weather, according to a couple of them at a Lynchburg VA Walmart. Perhaps they are, justifiably, incentivized by tips.

Both of those services work remarkably well. The to-your-door service works better, perhaps, than Walmart imagined. But then, this is a smart company, and it may have realized a clever opportunity for customers living closest to Neighborhood Markets, the company’s scaled-down store model focused on food and little else: With the company’s entire product catalog available, much beyond what the Neighborhood Markets offer can be home-delivered, at no cost to the consumer. How? By delivering from the nearest full-service Walmart!

That is speculation on our part, but conceptually, it makes sense as a solution to a potentially serious challenge to Walmart.

This program also enables stores to cut inventory (in, say, pet supplies) and still offer a ‘full range’ of, products via the delivery option. In practice, this means that, for example, my local Walmart has been able – possibly coincidentally, possibly because of delivery issues – to leave shelves without some popular cat litters while still offering them through home delivery.

On another front – new patents – Walmart scored some seriously interesting ones recently. And Now U Know, the produce industry newsletter, reported on May 31 that recently approved patents included one for a navigation device for shopping cards, a wearable, tracking device designed to improve    employee productivity (think shelf stockers). And instore inventory trackers that can track when stock needs to be reordered – or shelves need to be restocked. A bit more esoteric is a patent that could  provide instore drone assistance for price verification and in-store navigation.

One or several of these concepts could be implemented in a store near you in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Amazon is boosting membership fees for Prime service – which most users value most for its free delivery feature. The company also recently expanded Prime to Whole Foods customers in select areas. More recently still, according to International Business Times, the company expanded Prime offerings to twelve states beyond the original test area around Ft. Lauderdale FL. A company news release said the expansion affects 121 Whole Foods stores in Colorado, Idaho, Arkansas, Louisiana, northern Nevada, northern California, Texas, Utah, and Kansas – as well as the Missouri side of Kansas City.

The company says Prime discounts also are now in place at Whole Foods’ Market 365 stores around the country. That Whole Foods sub-brand was launched in 2015, IBT noted.


“Hot” New Habanero Varietal Is Heatless


The shishito — another mild pepper varietal popularized by Noah Robbins.

Just as you’ve never heard anyone say they drink sweet tea just for the sugar, it’s highly unlikely you’ve every heard someone say they eat Habanero peppers just for their wonderful taste. That’s about to change.

A guy who clearly got bit by a ‘crazy-as-a-fox’ bug has found a way to consistently breed the heat out of the Habanero, leaving a “tangy, sweet, melon-like flavor,” Ark Foods CEO Noah Robbins told Munchies.vice. Robbins’ company, which has farms in New York, North Carolina and Florida, specializes in what he calls “interesting” vegetables, such as that mild, tasty Habanero and the shishito pepper, a sweet Asian variety.

Robbins first encountered the heat-free Habanero at a farmers’ market in New York City. The seller didn’t have many available, but Noah was so impressed with the different eating sensation – “you keep expecting heat, but it doesn’t come,” he told Munchies – so he picked up a few to generate enough seeds for some experimenting. It took about three years to come up with the one he now marketing, in a limited way across the country.

He notes on his company’s website that “the newest (and cutest) member” of the Ark Foods family is the cucamelon.

They’re strikingly similar looking to tiny watermelons, with the tangy, fresh taste of a cucumber. Delicious, refreshing, and tart,” the web site says.

Never let it be said that there’s nothing new under the sun!


Putin Bans All GMO Production, Imports

The following news article, reprinted in its entirety, was posted recently on the web site Natural News. This site bills itself as “The world’s top news source on natural health.” It seems to be produced by one man, Mike Adams, who couldn’t have a lot of time for sleeping: He produces a prodigious amount of information, all with a strong bias toward health (of course!) and ‘green’ products to enhance health. Make your own (advised) decisions on whether things he’s ‘pitching’ are things you want to ‘catch’.

Russia has adopted a new law that prohibits all GMO crop cultivation and GMO animal breeding in the Russian Federation, to prevent the release of GMOs into the environment. Furthermore, the new law allows the Russian government to restrict the import of GMO products that may pose a threat to human health or the environment.
In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Russian Parliament that the country should become the world’s largest supplier of organic foods. Later that year, Russia enforced a law that required strict labeling of products that contain GMOs, while the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich announced that Russia would not use genetically modified organisms to increase productivity in agriculture.
“Russia has chosen a different path. We will not use these [GMO] technologies,” he said.
As a result, a bill for a full ban on the cultivation of GMO crops was sent to the State Duma, which has now been fully approved.

Cleanest agricultural products in the world

The new law is a big win for anti-GMO advocates, including the Minister of Agriculture, Alexander Tkachev, and President Putin himself. Putin and Tkachev believe that the new law will aid Russia in becoming the world’s largest supplier of healthy, environmentally friendly and high-quality clean food – especially since the global demand for organic products is rising quickly.
Opponents of the new law are blaming the current Russian agricultural lobbyists of being afraid of competition and the development of new technologies.
As reported by We Are Anonymous, the first draft of the GMO legislation was a topic of heated debate. In an attempt to stop the law, pro-GMO lobbyists published a report claiming GMOs to be healthy and safe.
The study was written by ill-qualified scientists who used articles influenced by Monsanto and other GMO companies for their analysis. The researchers included Alexander Y. Panchin, of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems (IITP) of the Russian Academy of Science, and Alexander Tuzhikov, a research associate at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami specializing in Computer Science, Bioinformatics.
“We performed a statistical re-analysis and review of experimental data presented in some of these studies and found that quite often in contradiction with the authors’ conclusions the data actually provides weak evidence of harm that cannot be differentiated from chance,” Panchin and Tuzhikov wrote in their abstract.
Scientists from the All-National Association for Genetic Safety (OAGB) noted that the methods used for their report did not allow scientists to identify the toxic effects of GMOs; on the contrary, it disguised the toxic effects. Given the flawed nature of their results, Panchin and Tuzhikov’s report didn’t have the effect they were hoping for, which was to halt the non-GMO law.
In a last attempt to block the ban, GMO opponent and president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Fortov, requested a meeting with President Putin to try and convince him of all the benefits GMOs might have. It would seem, however, that the report and the meeting didn’t have much of an effect on Putin’s choice for organic, non-GMO food.

The ultimate GMO-ban

After almost half of the European Union countries opted-out of the decision to start cultivating GMO crops last year, Putin’s ban takes it a step further.
According to some experts, Russia’s ban on the cultivation, breeding and import of GMO crops may have long-term consequences for the global GMO industry. According toCapital Press, the new law could give Russian farmers a leg up with exports to the U.S. and Europe.
As the demand for clean, organic products continues to rise, Russia will be in a prime position to export its products to the world, while the GMO-orientated U.S. market will struggle to get rid of its ‘Frankenfoods.’
To avoid any of these altered foods ending up on your plate, make sure your produce comes from a reliable organic source, or start growing your own. Even if you don’t have a garden, your windowsill or balcony will do just fine.

Sources for this article include:

Cutting Down On Pasta? Don’t! It Could Be Good For You


‘Think pasta is fattening? Think again. A new study reported this month in the journal Nutrition and Diabetics indicated that moderate levels of pasta consumption contributes positively to a good BMI (Body Mass Index) and with “better adhesion to the Mediterranean diet.”

Put another way, pasta consumption balances well with “a diet of a type traditional in Mediterranean countries, characterized especially by a high consumption of vegetables and olive oil and moderate consumption of protein, and thought to confer health benefits; Researchers [have] found that people who eat a Mediterranean diet have lower odds of having a heart attack,” a Wikipedia article says.

George Pounis, the first author of the Italian study – the one cited above – sums up the results this way: “Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.”

Previous research has touted the heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, which is a way of eating rather than a specific meal plan. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, peas and olive oil plus fish and poultry.

However, little was known about how pasta — also a staple in the Mediterranean region — affected health, the researchers behind the new study said. This finding fills that gap, they believe.

“We have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite,” Pounis added in a journal news release.

Many people have shunned spaghetti, noodles and other types of pasta in recent years because of concerns they were fattening. The new study could potentially cause Americans and others to revise their views.

The Italian study covered thousands of people surveyed in several ways over several years.



Mintel: Canadians Getting More ‘Foreign Food’ Curious


A new report from the Mintel marketing intelligence organization says that as immigration continues to drive Canada’s population growth, the established population is increasing seeking to experience cultures beyond their own by sampling ‘foreign’ foods.

Many Canadians had an opportunity to do that multiple times in a single day, as I did, at Expo ’67 in Montreal. Some fine examples of the cuisines of a multitude of countries were there to be enjoyed, and may have something to do with the fact that, long before the recent Mintel survey, Canadians there and elsewhere in that country were able to find restaurants serving specialties from such countries as Italy, France, Greece and China.

Having had the ill fortune of experiencing Chinese food in both Montreal and Vancouver, even though I did so in both places some years ago, I would not encourage anyone who’s experienced that cuisine either in New York City or its homeland to ‘give it a go’ in Canada. (Nor would I recommend ordering lobster in a Montreal restaurant – but that’s a tale (no pun intended) for another day.)

England was for many years generally considered, by other-that-British folk, to offer little appealing in its ‘local’ cuisine (wherever in the country you ate), and many felt it offered little better in ‘foreign’ restaurants.

Since I resided in the Greater London area for six years in the 1970’s-‘80’s, and traveled widely around the country during that time, I have protested mightily that England does, in fact, offer up some amazing good food in various kinds of ‘domestic’ restaurants, from local workingman’s ‘caf’s to top-of-the-line places such as Claridge’s, where my friends and I sat once next to Michael Caine as he and his mother enjoyed lunch.  And London’s ‘foreign’ offerings, from some excellent Greek, Italian, French and Indian restaurants, rival their counterparts in their home countries – and the only one of the above-mentioned I haven’t visited is India.

(Yes, London does have some decent Chinese restaurants, and Thai ones, and no doubt many other types. But I don’t give high marks to many of the former, and haven’t sampled the latter. My best Chinese foods experiences in London were when I was in a party led by a Chinese woman. She not only knew where to go, but also what to order. Thanks, Linda, for introducing me to dim sum!)

I don’t mean to lump Canadians, as many tend to do regarding so-called Millennials, into an amorphous mass, but I’ve never thought of them – either of those ‘groups’, actually – as being particularly curious or adventurous, where food is concerned. Eating seems to almost be an afterthought, something that mixes well with the lively conversations Canadians clearly enjoy when seated around tables conveniently fitted out with food.

As for their recent trend to sample, to a greater or lesser degree, types of food enjoyed by people in far-flung parts of the world, I strongly encourage them to keep it up.

When I was in Kosovo, long before most of the world had heard of what then was an Autonomous Province of Serbia, even though my government-hosted party was being well feted twice a day (for a total of close to four hours, between lunch and dinner, and you don’t want to think about how much wine we were expected to consume!), I still made it a point to venture out and sample some ‘authentic, ethnic’ local food from a street-side vendor. That’s the kind of thing the locals tended to eat, as opposed to the ‘regional specialties’ provided (twice a day, for five days!) to a ‘distinguished group’ of foreign journalists traveling around a relatively small area, visiting vineyards and sampling wine. (It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it!)

I live in a small town in Virginia. There is one pretty-good restaurant here plus an assortment of fast feeders, a pitifully poor example of a Chinese eat-in/take-out place, an almost-as-bad Japanese place, and a few Mexican restaurants.

The chef-owner of the pretty-good place employs an Italian theme, and patterns his creations largely on Italian originals. But he is Moroccan, and confidently introduces something of his beyond-Italian self and training into many of his dishes. My wife and I dine there often, usually scoring at least one meal’s worth of take-home each time.

My cook-at-home options are ingredient-limited: Neither Walmart nor Food Lion, a southeast U.S. chain, enables an adventurous cook, which I sometimes try to be, to stretch much beyond the bare basics, ingredient-wise. For better fare, I need to drive close to 30 miles to an obscure ‘Oriental grocer’ or a Kroger store. The latter is, compared to what’s in my town, Food Heaven. But even there it’s hard to get a decent cut of lamb, or broccoli rabe, or some of the other items so readily available in at least some major U.S. cities.

Young Canadians are probably as or more adventurous than young Americans when it comes to trying to experience other cultures through travel. And I’ve admittedly not made a practice of observing what Canadian tourists eat when I encounter them. (Many for a long time were easily identifiable as Canadian through the Maple Leaf emblems on their backpacks!)

But I honestly can’t recall encountering any obviously-Canadian people in restaurants beyond their own country. Clearly, as tourists, they ate something, somewhere, and it’s more than likely that, as the Canadians I did encounter tended to be backpackers, their eating-out budgets were on a par with mine: Conservative, to say the least! So some of them more than likely sampled cuisines ‘foreign’ to them – and, a decade or two or so, which some of them may have come to long for, when back home. Alas, many of those ‘foreign’ tastes were locally unavailable across the width and breadth of that great country. Could that have helped spark the availability of ‘foreign’ foods for today’s Canadians to sample?

I think it’s great that, according to the Mintel study, three quarters (73 percent) of Canadian consumers like to experience other cultures through food. What’s more, nearly three in five (57 percent) Canadians are more open to trying ethnic foods now than they were a few years ago, as the majority (72 percent) of consumers turn to ethnic-inspired dishes to break the monotony at mealtime.

Ethnic-inspired foods such as Chinese (89 percent), Italian (84 percent) and Latin American/Mexican (82 percent) are the most commonly eaten by Canadians, however some less prominent dishes are also being sought out.

In fact, while just 20 percent of Canadians have tried African-inspired food, half (50 percent) are interested in doing so. Similarly, though just one third (32 percent) of consumers have eaten Southeast Asian food, 44 percent are interested in trying a Southeast Asian dish.

But the sad news is, a sizable minority of consumers are hesitant to create such dishes at home: 61 percent of consumers generally try ethnic-inspired foods at restaurants before preparing them at home. Further, more than one third (36 percent) of consumers agree that making ethnic foods is intimidating, with two in five (38 percent) agreeing that it is difficult finding ingredients to make ethnic inspired dishes.

Consider this, Canadians, Americans and others interested in trying to prepare ‘foreign’ foods you’ve experienced in a restaurant: Those places get their ingredients from somewhere – somewhere not a whole great distance from you.

My area is challenging, in this respect, yet I am able to find a good many of the raw materials I want when I set out to try creating a Thai dish, or an Indian one, for example. (The lamb issue continues to cause me consternation, though!)

And I cheat, when I want Indian food, which my wife finds too spicy: I stock up on prepared – boil-in-the-bag – Indian foods when we go visit her son or mother in North Carolina. These are, while a far cry from what you’d get in a good Indian restaurant – and the nearest one of those is 60 or more miles from here – it helps satisfy my cravings for the magical spice combinations Indians have developed for their dishes.

Anyone who is averse to sampling ‘different’ foods – domestic or foreign – is doing themselves a disservice.