Infinity Goods blog

A blog for God’s People

Archive for September, 2007

1796 Best Seller Offers Fresh Glimpse of American Life Then, Now

Posted by infinitygoods on September 13, 2007

I’ve been doing a lot of research about American history lately, particularly the overland journey to the Wild West. In looking for information, I found a fantastic book. It is the first American cookbook, written and published in the United States of America using American ingredients and methods in 1796!

It is chock full of information and tidbits about life in a new country. Of course it has recipes. Some are strange for the 21st century, but most are mouth watering just reading them. But most interesting are the author’s views and opinions, not about food, but about life in general. She reminds me of the millions of bloggers today who write about their lives. Some naysayers think it’s nothing but a silly fad, but I believe it has the potential to teach future generations, hundreds of years from now, what and how our society thinks and behaves.

In reading “American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, an American Orphan” (yes, that is part of the title), I am finding how very much alike our society today is to our ancestors’ at a time when our country was new.

Simmons writes, “The world and the fashion thereof, is so variable, that old people cannot accommodate themselves to the various changes and fashions which daily occur.” Daily occur — did you read that? Just like today we have new developments like iPhones and blogs, in 1796 they too had daily changes. Just like today the younger and older generations are set in their own ways, so were they in 1796. Even 200 plus years ago, people were lamenting the good old days Simmons tells us, “They will adhere to the fashion of their day, and will not surrender their attachment to the good old way — while the young and gay (happy), bend and conform readily to the taste of the times, and fancy of the hour.

These very comments could have been made today.

And just like today, there were plenty of backstabbing, jealous people too. In an advertisement for the book, Amelia Simmons had to place a notice that while the book was prepared for publication someone changed some of the ingredients “with a design to impose on her (the author), and injure the fate of the book.” She adds the corrections to the advertisement and future editions.

She also has opinions on orphans and female character. All this in a cookbook using plenty of ingredients which at the time were not familiar in England and Europe, such as corn cobs, turkey and cranberry sauce.

Historians say she was also the first to use the new words “cooky” and “slaw,” and that her book was so popular she had to write expanded second and third editions in 1800 and 1831. Future cookbooks even copied her ways of “American Mode of Cooking” and borrowed her recipes.

Mary Tolford Wilson, in an essay for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, writes, “Amelia Simmons still holds her place as the mother of American cookery books. And no later work, however completely it may reflect the mores of this country, has quite the freshness of this first glimpse caught in the small mirror held up by an American Orphan.”

Now that’s true American innovation!

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Posted in Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, American History, American Orphan, Cookbooks, Cooking, culture, Early American History, Institute of Early American History, life, Mary Tolford Wilson | Leave a Comment »

Infidels Crucified by Muslims

Posted by infinitygoods on September 11, 2007

Since the time of Mohammed, Muslims have crucified Christians and Jews, who are called “infidels.” We should not forget thousands of innocent people were murdered on Sept. 11, 2001, and we should not forget who did it.

(Click on the thumbnail below. “Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabachthani,” by Tad Cronn. Created after 9/11 and banned in several online galleries.)

Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabachthani?

Posted in America, Christianity, George Bush, Iraq, Islam, Judaism, News, politics, religion, terrorism, USA, war on terror, WOT | Leave a Comment »

Pay It Forward With A Letter

Posted by infinitygoods on September 10, 2007

They claim the art of letter writing has been lost due to e-mails and instant messaging, and I suppose they claimed the same at the time when telephones and telegrams were a novelty. But I would argue that the advances of communications have elevated letter writing to a more important and higher art form.

Now instead of writing a letter just to relay information, we are writing to let the receiver know that we care. There might be no fresh news at all because that would be reserved for the 21st century methods. But more important than fresh news is letting someone know that we are thinking about them, that we care enough to take time out of our busy schedules to find special stationery or cards to send their way.

I know it makes my day when I open my own mailbox and find, amidst all the annoying bills and junk mail, a brightly colored envelope with pretty stickers and collectible stamps. I can tell who the letter is from, just by the creative style or the familiar stationery used.

It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day. Even a postcard will let them know that someone remembered them, that someone thinks they are special or that someone loves them. So, as I will be writing several letters this week to some dear friends and relatives, I urge you to do the same. Even if you see them on a regular basis they will be all the more pleasantly surprised to find a letter from you.

Posted in Cards, Caring, E-Mail, Friendship, IM, Letter Writing, life, Mail, Pay It Forward | Leave a Comment »

Popcorn Lung Yet Another Example of Big Business Greed

Posted by infinitygoods on September 7, 2007

With all the news about diacetyl causing swift and severe lung problems which can result in death, I see yet another example where big business turns a blind eye to medical and scientific research in favor of greed, wanting ever more money even at the expense of human life.

It turns out the manufacturers of diacetyl and other food flavors have had workers becoming sick and dying since 1985. Many of these workers need lung transplants. The factory owners were too greedy to even provide their employees with masks to prevent breathing in the vapors. Did they stop producing the butter flavor to protect their employees or consumers? Of course not. It would mean less profit if they had to switch to a more expenssive real ingredient rather than their man-made garbage unfit even for rats, who also die when they smell diacetyl for as few as 4-6 hours.

A few popcorn manufacturers are now deciding to stop using diacetyl because of the public outcry. Now that they’ve been caught red-handed they are worried about what negative consumer opinions will do to their profits.

And our government agencies who should be protecting both consumers and workers have done nothing in the last 22 years either. Government is nothing but a big money-generating business too afraid to lose funds from powerful special-interest groups.

Even when Cecile Rose, M.D., MPH, a global leader in lung, allergy and immune diseases with the National Jewish Research Center and associate professor of pulmonary medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in July alerted the Food and Drug Administration, the CCD, the EPA, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of a case of a consumer, not a worker, becoming sick with “popcorn lung” they did nothing. They did not bother to investigate. They did not even bother to ask her for more information.

The Pump Handle, a public health blog, made the issue public by publishing Dr. Rose’s letter. It is run by David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, who is associate chairman of the Department of Environmental and Occupational health at George Washington University.

Dr. Michaels told WebMD that “the key issue is, are there susceptible populations — children, asthmatics, people with existing lung disease — who are more at risk?… Dr. Rose is a leading lung expert who knows that diacetyl vapors cause lung disease. But will the average pediatrician who sees a child with what seems to be worsening asthma be looking for microwave popcorn exposure?”

The whole affair is sickening and revolting. It also confirms my belief that as we find more and more food products manipulated with man-made chemicals but lacking in nutritional content, we need to become all the more vigilant about how we choose the food we put on our family’s table. We must look for foods which are all natural, organic or even Kosher even if we are not Jewish. Our well-being and our very lives are going to depend on it.

Please see the following interesting documents:

ConAgra letter dated 11/29/2004 to the EPA regarding the need for study of Microwave Popcorn Emissions Released During Cooking and Bag Opening.

Cecile Rose, M.D., MPH, letter dated 07/19/2007 to the FDA regarding the case of a consumer with symptoms of “Popcorn Lung.”

Posted in butter flavoring, CCD, Cecile Rose, consumers, David Michaels, diacetyl, diet, EPA, FDA, Food, Food and Drug Administration, food flavoring, food products, government agencies, greed, Kosher, lung problems, man-made chemicals, manufacturers, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, natural foods, nutrition, organic foods, OSHA, popcorn, popcorn lung, profit, The Pump Handle, WebMD, workers | Leave a Comment »

Pavarotti Remembered In His Own Words

Posted by infinitygoods on September 6, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti, 71, died at 5 a.m. this morning, Italian time. His latest recording of sacred songs is scheduled for release in early 2008.

He earned the title of “King of the High C’s” when he hit nine high C’s in quick succession at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1972 during performances of “Ah! Mes Amis” in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment.”

In his own words, here are a few memories and thoughts of his life.

“When I was born, my mother was under 20, my grandmother 38, my great grandmother 56. They had many sisters. I have three daughters with my first wife and one with my wife, Nicoletta. I have had many secretaries in the past, around 10 to 15, all women. I was born with women all around. This is perhaps why you see me so happy. They protect me so that when I am on stage, I only have to think about my singing.”

“Our family had very little, but I couldn’t imagine one could have any more,” Pavarotti said. He was the son of a baker.

“In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror.”

“Whenever I went to visit him (Arrigo Pola, his music teacher whom he continued to visit right up to Pola’s death), I took a lesson. He was a very significant teacher for me. I give him the impression that I still need him — and it was true. Not that I need to study with him, but that I need him to hear me and tell me, yes, it’s good like that or not like that. In fact, I’m doing exactly what I did the first day I met my teacher. Nothing has changed, not one comma.”

“You should ask one of my colleagues if I am lazy. I make them work like pigs.”

“I always want to be serious, a professional person. And if you ask me what I want to do now, it is the same thing. My goal is to be remembered as a very serious professional singer who has begun his career in the world of the opera; sings, let’s say, 25 years in the opera house; and for the last 15 years of his life, goes a little outside the world of opera to meet other people — especially with the television, who is a great sister in publicizing everything, including music.”

Speaking of his yo-yo dieting with a reported high of 396 pounds (180 kilograms) in 1978, “Maybe this time I’ll really do it and keep it up.”

“In act II of Tosca, sitting on a little classic baroque chair during rehearsal, I told the stage director that I couldn’t sit there, it will explode. He said ‘no, don’t worry I will reinforce it with iron.’ During rehearsal Tosca sang close to me while I was sitting on the chair. She put her hand on my leg, it was fine. On the night of the performance, she was more exuberant, and sat on me. They are still looking for the chair. And that was the premiere.”

“For many years I always dream that I am in my dressing room, in underpants and the orchestra begins to play. And I wake with a jump. Once in the Paris opera, I prepared for an 8 p.m. start, but at 7 p.m., the opera began … and I was in my underpants. It was an incredible night.”

“I’m a very lucky man. I’m not selling anything but music.”

“I take it day by day, I never make plans. I do what is demanded of me. … If it comes to me and I like it, I go. I have been singing for 41 years, and for the last 10, I have

been making music outside opera. Now I’m able to take it to people who never knew this music existed. We had a concert in China and millions got to watch it. We cannot do that in an opera house. Some people are afraid of opera music. But once they know, they are not afraid anymore.”

“The word commercial is exactly what we want. We’ve reached 1.5 billion people with opera (with the Three Tenors concerts). If you want to use the word commercial, or something more derogatory, we don’t care. Use whatever you want.”

“First of all, I never sang for legend. I sang for the composer first of all. Secondly, if there is a legend, the Three Tenors concerts make the legend more.”

“When I go on stage by myself, I try to be good. When I go on stage with the tenors, I try to be better!”

“Some say the word ‘pop’ is a derogatory word to say ‘not important’ — I do not accept that. If the word ‘classic’ is the word to say ‘boring,’ I do not accept. There is good and bad music.”

“I want to give something back to the younger generation. Teaching I think is the most difficult thing; teaching is more difficult than singing. Why? Because you have to transfer a thought from your brain to the brain of the other person and the throat of the other person. I want to teach people who really are good.”

“I won’t give the twins anything more than I gave my three daughters. Of course, back then, my career was in full swing. This time I will have more time to devote to my children.” (A baby boy died during childbirth, the girl, Alice survived.)

“Alice was born during the making of this record (Ti Adoro). She has inspired me so much. I dedicate this record to her.”

“Now I only need God’s help — and it really seems to me that he is giving it to me.”

“I cannot live being thought not a good person.”

“I was a fortunate and happy man. After that, this blow arrived (pancreatic cancer). And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness.”

Pavarotti recordings can be found here.

Posted in Cancer, celebrities, Classical Music, culture, Italy, King of the High Cs, life, Luciano Pavarotti, Music, News, Obituary, Opera, Pop Music, Three Tenors, Ti Adoro | 2 Comments »

Climate Change Tug-of-War Involves World’s Government, Church Leaders, Activists

Posted by infinitygoods on September 5, 2007

If you’ve been reading the news this week you probably noticed all the commotion about global warming, which more and more politicians have been more accurately renaming climate change. This week the world leaders were playing tug-of-war with each other’s views.

China has refused to accept mandatory limits on its carbon emissions. Instead it has portrayed its Communist policy of only allowing one child per couple as helpful in the struggle against climate change by eliminating 300 million births — which, according to Su Wei, Foreign Ministry official heading the delegation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Viena, “means we averted 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005.”

The United States’ Harlan Watson, chief U.S. negotiator, was blaming its inability to curb emissions on population growth — not due to births, but rather due to immigrant influx.

Chris Rapley, head of the Science Museum in London, promotes family planning to avoid unwanted births and slow population growth. “Population has not been taken seriously enough in the climate debate,” he says.

News reports claim birth control, including abortion, is not likely to be favored at UN discussions because of opposition by the Catholic Church.

Even Pope Benedict XVI spoke on green issues this weekend to youths in Loreto, Italy, advising “before it’s too late, we need to make courageous choices that will re-create a strong alliance between man and earth. We need a decisive ‘yes’ to care for Creation and a strong commitment to reverse those trends that risk making the situation of decay irreversible.”

The Pope’s ecological message was put into action by distributing biodegradable plates, recycling bags, and even a hand-cranked cell phone recharger to the festival’s youths on “Save Creation Day,” and trees were planted to make up for the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the festival especially after forest fires in Italy and Greece.

At a Greenpeace festival in England this weekend, a Benedictine monk, Anthony Sutch, went so far as to hear the confessions of “eco-sinners” in green vestments made from recycled curtains and a confessional with recycled doors. He told the Times, “the Church is aware of green issues and of how aware we have to be of how we treat the environment.”

Besides the Catholic Church, “climate change, biotechnology, trade justice and pollution are all now being debated at a far higher level by the world’s major religions,” according to Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, Martin Palmer.

The environment and religion “is a no-brainer” according to Claire Foster, environmental policy adviser to the Church of England, “but we are all only now realising it.”

Meanwhile, a weeklong protest at England’s Heathrow Airport blamed climate change on the carbon emissions of airplanes. About 500 protesters brandished signs reading, “You Fly. They die,” while riot police brandished their batons.

Better not tell them that the Vatican is starting its own charter airline with Mistral Air to promote worldwide pilgrimages.

Posted in climate, culture, Earth, life, politics, religion, science, UN, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Cooking for children

Posted by infinitygoods on September 4, 2007

In the previous post, I mentioned Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Bam spices, which gave me an idea for today’s blog.

Our son is very much interested in science and experiments.  He enjoys experimenting in the kitchen too as an easy way to try out mixing, chemical reactions and such.  A couple of months ago he asked to get some cookbooks for some more serious cooking so off to the library we went to look in the children’s section.  While the majority of the books at our branch seemed to only have recipes like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, root beer floats or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, Chef Emeril’s had real recipes.  Now I think even a child doesn’t need a cookbook to learn how to make a PBJ sandwich.  All they need is a parent to show them.

So we took Chef Emeril’s “There’s a Chef in My Soup” cookbook and went home for hands-on cooking lessons.  As a parent I was impressed by the introductory sections, especially the one titled “A Good Cook is a Safe Cook!”  We read it together and discussed the safety procedures.  We looked at all the tools of the trade and our son read every word of the lessons on blanching, working butter into flour, cooking with eggs, etc. as if it were the most exciting action-adventure.

With the preliminaries taken care of we decided on which recipe to make first — 1-2-3 Lasagna.  Chef Emeril managed to turn lasagna into child’s play and yet present to the dinner table a scrumptious dish which will remain one of our family traditions.

In the last couple of months our son has bookmarked so many recipes I’ve told him he’d be better off bookmarking the few exceptions he doesn’t want to try.  We have made many more recipes and equal numbers of favorites.  We picked up Lagasse’s other two children’s cookbooks, “There’s a Chef in My Family” and “There’s a Chef in My World” and have come to the conclusion that his recipes are explained simply for any beginner cook, not just children.  The results are consistantly delicious and while the steps are simple, the results are sophisticated for even an experienced cook, or as Chef Emeril says “kicked up a notch.”  Children and adults will both enjoy the process as well as the results.  It is an excellent opportunity for family bonding and might even be a godsend for working parents coming home tired from work as their children will soon be able to assist them in quickly putting a delicious meal on the table.  Our family highly recommends these three cookbooks which are available here on our website at infinitygoods.com.

Posted in Chef Emeril, Chef Emeril Lagasse, Children, Cookbook, Cooking, Family, Food, Recipe | Leave a Comment »

Refreshing Tomato Chicken Salad for Labor Day Weekend

Posted by infinitygoods on September 1, 2007

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

It’s the last long weekend of the summer and for many of us in the United States it means a great barbecue with family and friends or even a potluck.  Where we live right now it has been far too hot this last week with the weather people predicting no relief in sight, so no barbecue for us this year.  The news and even commercials have been telling us to not use our appliances until after 7 p.m. to prevent power grid outages.  Usually in the middle of the night when it’s cool we can open windows, but with this heat wave we’ve been forced to keep our air conditioning on 24/7.  The front page of the paper showed a local business’ room-thermometer’s needle hitting the maximum reading of 120 degrees Farenheit, or 50 degrees Centigrade!

With all this heat I was inspired yesterday to make something which required no cooking whatsoever.  It tasted great, and after lots of compliments I thought I would share it with you.  It will be a hit at your Labor Day potluck or your family’s table.  I thought about what was in my refrigerator and came up with this spur-of-the-moment recipe, and it was refreshing and quick — ready in about 10 minutes flat.  You can’t beat that!

Get yourself a serving bowl and a cutting board.  I grabbed four small tomatoes on the vine and sliced them.  They’re only about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.  I love the grape-sized tomatoes too.  If you prefer, you could use about four handfuls of those and leave whole, or if you’re patient, cut in halves.  One great big tomato will do too, but then you’ll need to dice it.  Add about an equal amount of mozzarella cheese, diced.  If you don’t have any on hand, a feta or Baby Bell or provolone should work well, too.  Whichever cheese you choose, pick one that’s not too hard like a comte or too soft like a triple cream brie.

I always have sun-dried tomatoes at the ready.  They add some really nice flavor which you adjust from mild to strong simply by the amount you use.  This time I used about 10, which I minced.  I had a beautiful roasted chicken on hand, so I put in a whole breast, also diced.  Here, instead of the roasted chicken you could substitute tuna, salmon, crab or sardines.  They would all taste great too, so just use what you happen to have and love.

Add some dried spices like Chef Emeril’s Bam or 21-Spice No Salt Seasoning found in a small, convenient bottle so you won’t loose too much flavor over time.  No worries if you don’t have any, just add your favorite spices to taste like thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, some onion and garlic powder.  Add fresh sweet basil leaves.  We love basil so I put in lots, fresh from our yard.  Mint leaves would work very nicely, too.

Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.  Toss the whole salad and it’s ready!  Try it. I know you’ll love it and it’s real healthy.  Any leftovers can be turned into a great sandwich, too.

Enjoy!  Bon appetit!

Posted in Barbecue, Chef Emeril, Chicken, Heat Wave, Labor Day Weekend, Mozzarella, Potluck, Recipe, Salads, Sandwich, Tomato | Leave a Comment »