Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yes, it takes 3 hours, but it's worth the effort

I made this "7 Cup Pudding" (my boyfriend's grandmother's recipe) for Thanksgiving. I love bread pudding, but was wary if the recipe would work out since I didn't have a steamer or a double broiler so I had to fashion a makeshift one with a Pyrex bowl and a large pot. I didn't have a trivet so I ended up putting a chopstick at the bottom of the pot so the bowl wouldn't touch the water.

Even though I had to steam the pudding for 3 hours, the result was delicious - creamy, buttery, and sweet. A friend who tasted it said it made her feel "safe." That's how comfort food should be.

7 Cup Pudding

1 cup each of:
butter (1 cup = two sticks)
raisins - I bought nice fancy ones from Whole Foods and I think it really made the difference
apple (cut into small chunks)
fresh bread crumbs (slices torn into small pieces)

Mix together and put in bowl. Cover with tin foil or some kind of lid and steam 3 hours in steamer or pot. Stir occasionally to mix in the melted butter. Serve with cream, corn syrup, ice cream or custard.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dunkin' Don't Make Sense

The first time it happened, up at a Dunkin' Donuts in Harlem, I thought it was just a fluke. Now that it has happened again, in Brooklyn, I just don't understand how this is supposed to make the franchise money.

I go into Dunkin' Donuts to order a sausage, egg and cheese croissant sandwich with a SMALL coffee. HOWEVER, when I went to pay, it costs MORE than if I order the Combo of the sausage, egg and cheese croissant sandwich with a MEDIUM coffee. And, no, you can't have a small coffee with the sandwich at the combo price. You have to get the medium coffee. You have to get more coffee than you wanted to drink just so you will save fifty cents.

The thought of waste and increasing my carbon footprint gnawed on my conscience, but I went ahead and got the medium coffee anyway. I just thought how ridiculous it all was and part of me wanted to stick it to Dunkin' Donuts and their stupidity. Why couldn't I just get a small coffee and have it be the same price? I would be saving Dunkin' Donuts the extra coffee, and in turn, money.

If anyone can explain to me how this is at all beneficial (perhaps someone who works for Dunkin' Donuts?), I would greatly appreciate it. I just can't wrap my head around the mathematics of it all. And I'm good at math.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Milk Update (Finally!) after contacting the USDA (who directed me to contact the FDA), I got the following reply 2 and a half weeks later:

the regulations related to milk can be found on this site:
use the search term to find milk requirements.
So I went to the aforementioned website and didn't find anything regarding pus or somatic cells, but after doing a little more digging on Google, I found someone else who had the same question on Google Answers.

You can go to the link to read the full answer, but I've included some interesting parts:

Somatic Cells

Cells from the body that compose the tissues, organs, and parts of that
individual other than the germ (sex) cells.

The Somatic Cell Count and Milk Quality

"The somatic cell count (SCC) is commonly used as a measure of milk quality. Somatic cells are simply animal body cells present at low levels in normal milk. High levels of these cells in milk indicate abnormal, reduced-quality milk that is caused by an intramammary bacterial infection (mastitis). The majority of the cells in a somatic cell count are leukocytes (white blood cells), and some are cells from the udder secretory tissue (epithelial cells). The epithelial cells are part of the normal body function and are shed and renewed in normal body processes. The white blood cells serve as a defense mechanism to fight disease (infection), and assist in repairing damaged tissue. Milk markets routinely rely on somatic cell counts to help ensure a quality product. SCC levels are monitored to assure compliance with state and federal milk quality standards. Today, most markets pay a premium for low SCC, good-quality milk."

Milk Ordinance

Table 1. Chemical, Physical, Bacteriological, and Temperature Standards

Cooled to 10°C (50°F) or less within four (4) hours or less, of the commencement of the first milking, and to 7°C (45°F) or less within two (2) hours after the completion of milking. Provided, that the blend temperature after the first milking and subsequent milkings does not exceed 10°C (50°F).
Bacterial Limits...........
Individual producer milk not to exceed 100,000 per mL prior to commingling with other producer milk. Not to exceed 300,000 per mL as commingled milk prior to pasteurization.
No positive results on drug residue detection methods as referenced in Section 6 - Laboratory
Somatic Cell Count*...
Individual producer milk not to exceed 750,000 per mL.
Cooled to 7°C (45°F) or less and maintained thereat.
Bacterial Limits**......
20,000 per mL, or gm.***
Not to exceed 10 per mL. Provided, that in the case of bulk milk transport tank shipments, shall not exceed 100 per mL.
Less than 350 milliunits/L for fluid products and other milk products by the Fluorometer or Charm ALP or equivalent.
No positive results on drug residue detection methods as referenced in Section 6 - Laboratory Techniques which have been found to be acceptable for use with pasteurized and heat-treated milk and milk products

******I recommend going to the above site to see the full Milk Ordinance table*******


A Somatic Cell Count (mostly white blood cells) is not tested in pasteurized milk because it is tested "at the farm gate". Milk will never be 100% free of somatic cells because they are a normal part of lactation. However, taking a Somatic Cell Count is important because a high count will effect the quality of the product (off flavor,color, and smell plus a reduced shelf life). A dairy farmer's raw milk collection cannot exceed a somatic cell count of 750,000 per mL at the farm gate. Cell count is determined by the health of the animals and the milk from one cow with mastitis (udder infection) will have a very high cell count, however, that cell count will be diluted when added to the rest of the herd's milk. The farm's milk is added to a truckload of milk from other farms which will dilute the cell count per mL further, and then that truckload is added to all the other truckloads at the dairy processing plant, diluting the cell count even further. Therefore, by the time the milk is bottled up, the milk will contain a somatic cell count of no more than 750,000 per mL and likely a lot less. Pasteurization is used to lower bacterial levels and not to reduce the somatic cell count.

So there you have it, ladies and gents. Milk, all milk and not just chocolate milk, has blood in it.