From Asahi shimbun (with Google translate) June 26, 2008:

Marubeni, organic fertilizer as the "vegetable plant" to sell the world's first

Marubeni Corp., Kanagawa Prefecture venture partners, vegetables, organic fertilizer to cultivate indoor only "vegetable factory" to embark on business sales. The first time in the world. Food prices are rising, while the lack of attention to food safety and increasingly suffer from the use of idle facilities and local governments, you want to own restaurants to procure food for sale are anticipated.

Trays of nutrient solution in hydroponic cultivation, a type of "factory" to dozens of locations in the country but the large amount of nutrient solution and it was necessary to use chemical fertilizers. The new plant development, venture companies in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, "Verde" is a fabrication, and水ごけspecial clay soil mixtures to use. Water and fertilizer to maintain a strong force for a small amount of organic fertilizer to cultivate.

Sat 1 percent of normal weight for several buildings in shelf-over set up a stage, so much culture. Besides growth from garden-grown quickly. Fluorescent and LED (light-emitting diode) illumination of a 24-hour guard and nurture. Lettuce, garden-grown twice a year, about a month once the harvest and the annual harvest of the garden-grown to more than a dozen times.

Marubeni is a growing shelf of land, and adjust the level of carbon dioxide and other equipment, needed a set to grow sales. About 100 sq.m. If you have the plant cost 50 million
yen. From the cost of open culture, Marubeni is "a lot of harvest on the safety of high crop prices from 5 percent higher if the plant cost as little as five years in recovery".

Atsugi city set up a factory test plant in the "cake shops for fruit cultivation," and a pastry shop, "using the old school house, for winter tourists who want to offer locally produced
vegetables" Local governments have been from the tour. Marubeni own future is owned by the management is considering a large vegetable plant. (Norihiko Saitou)

Our Daily Bread

During the ag-food conference in Belgium last month, there was a showing of a movie "Our Daily Bread."

It's all about industrial and high-tech food making process, with no narrations or conversations. They just show it to you. A little disturbing, and very provoking.

Below are a few images downloadable from the movie website.

I wasn't sure what the below image was about when I saw the movie... ..but when I downloaded this image, the file name was "UNSER TÄGLICH BROT Spargel."


Spargel, the white asparagus!!!

Since the movie contains explicit images of animal slaughtering, we joked about conference participants changing their mind about the reception dinner choice... which, to our surprise, they served stuff like foie gras, which did not seem to be the best thing to serve at a conference on sustainable agri-food systems...
Two-thirds or more of the human calorie and protein intake that comes from grains and oilseeds (directly in most of the world or among Western vegetarians, largely via animal products for others in this country) will continue to be served up by a dirty, cruel, unfair, broken system.

Essential for providing vitamins, minerals, and other compounds, a highly varied diet is important, and home gardens around the world help provide such a diet. But with a world population now approaching seven billion people and most good cropland already in use, only rice, wheat, corn, beans, and other grain crops are productive and durable enough to provide the dietary foundation of calories and protein.

Grains made up about the same portion of the ancient Greek diet as they do of ours. We've been stuck with grains for 10,000 years, and our dependence won't be broken any time soon.

The United States emulate Argentina and a handful of other countries by raising cattle that are totally grass-fed instead of grain-fed and thereby consuming less corn and soybean meal. But most of the world is utterly dependent on grains. The desperate people we saw on the evening news earlier this year, filling the streets in dozens of countries, were calling for bread or rice, not cucumbers and pomegranates.

Meanwhile small-holder peasant farmers around the world may be wont to experience a whole new and alien emotion...smuggness

Read more about how you're doomed
If you're like me and you find reading about the food industry as compelling as trying out a new recipe or stuffing nice things in your mouth then this website may be of interest. Oligopoly Watch has a food and beverage section which details happenings in different food sectors including articles on the beer and organics industry

Plus an interesting graph on the industry structure of organics in the USA....

Terrorist bread and sandwiches that kill, Beirut restauranteur cashing in on conflict

Egg piracy explained...How to make a fake egg, Chinese style....

Northern Thai farmers ask the military to defend the border against cheap Chinese garlic, at least its real garlic

Five most horrendous ways to get drunk...although pruno doesn't sound so bad to me

Fun Times at the Potato Club

On the Sukhumvit Soi, next to Emporium, Sukhumvit Soi 24 I think it is, there is a izakaya which is not particularly tasty but exceedingly cheap. It's on the right hand side of the Soi, near the beginning of the street and on the 3rd floor of an extremely eccentric building...If you climb the odd staircase and pass by the Hong Kong-style hotpot joint you'll know you're on the right track.....follow the potato heads


Inside you'll find a large booze selection and laminated menu with usual izakaya suspects....


great wall adornments and decor....
tuff guy

and games where you can gamble on the size of your the "beef game", roll the dice and let fate decide if you get above or below the standard times

The food photos below attest more to the skill of Hock and his N95 than the actual quality of the food

p club


For example this sushi roll is far nastier than it looks
nasty roll

Of course the main indulgence here is not the cripsy rice cakes, but the lashings of cheap sake and beer to be had alongside. Food is really rather incidental here.
tuna rice triangle

grill egplant

(makeshift food lighting enhancements)

Which was confirmed when I woke up on Sunday morning after a night at the Potato and remember that I had gotten drunk enough and so enamoured with the sake enough to have purchased their signature potato sake set. I recall making statements along the lines of "this sake set speaks to something deep inside my soul"
potato sake set


Schweaty Balls

High Tea in Amsterdam

I spent a half day in Amsterdam to catch up with my elementary school classmate and his wife. Since I don't know Amsterdam other than the cat boat on the canal and Van Gogh museum that I visited almost ten years ago, I let my friend pick a place for lunch.
.. and he took me to Intercontinental Hotel for its high tea.


He said, it's close to the canal and has a very "Amsterdam" view,,, and it's one of the few places in Holland that serves something somewhat refined. Hmm. He and his wife have been in Amsterdam for a little over a year now, and they have noticed that the majority of the Dutch didn't care if food was good or not.

So, here we are, on a cushy couch on a cushy carpet. Many of the tea servers were 20-something good looking young men, and I wonder if it's one of the attractions of this place. For some reason, they started us off with chocolate, which made me quickly full, then several different cakes, sandwiches, scones followed, while we had five or so refills of different kinds of tea.

While we just had tea, some tables were indulging in champagnes and strawberries. That was quite decadent.

Here's a plate that broke the feeling of decadence.
...did we forget to pack those in Japanese mom's obento's?

I guess it's the Dutch people's love of deep fried snacks, that they have vending machines selling deep fried foods... but I did not expect these fried foods to show up on the table at a high tea at Intercontinental Hotel.

The tea was finished off with a chocolate fountain, which you can dip your cream puffs. I was so full of sweets that I couldn't indulge in it, but my friend, who works for his family business of confectionery company, has the amazing capacity to eat all the sweet stuff.

After all, I am not sure if it was worth a huge bill of 133 euros for three people... but at least I can blog it.


Finally, I am posting my first blogpost in Stomachs on Legs after Maytel has invited me more than once in the past several months :-)
Well, I had been puzzled how Blogger is linked to Gmail and how I log into one and how the other is logged out, etc. Very confusing. I am not tech-savvy. So maybe it's just me.

I had a wonderful conference in southern Belgium in May, and I traveled around a bit in the area after the conference. After spending the weekend in Brussels, I headed out to my potter friend's place in Essen, Germany, and had a relaxing week.

I have always visited Europe in a bitter, cold winter, but this time was different! Germany was filled with seasonal treat of Spargel, or white asparagus. The evening before I left, we indulged in Spargel, simply boiled with a drop of butter, and enjoyed with hams, supposedly one of the simplest preparations. That was at Japanese and Italian couple's house, though these two people have lived in Germany for almost ten years, so I believe them for its authenticity. And it was good!

After I came back to Thailand and had a chat with my American/Honduranian friend who has also been to Germany at the same time, she had a dry comment: why are Germans so excited about such boring food?
What's wrong with white asparagus? I am all for seasonal treat!

During my stay, I have gone through Cologne several times taking trains between Essen and Brussels, Koblenz, etc. and even spent a half day hopping around museums. Sorry I missed a chance to see you kinakojam in Cologne! I guess my plans were rather spontaneous. Next time!
Burger King in London has released a $200 dollar burger

Critics charge that the burger is gross, outrageous and with food prices soaring and hunger crisis threatening the lives of millions it is the wrong burger, with the wrong message at the wrong time. Maybe so, or with burger profit proceeds going to charity, is it better than the hunger cafes of Mumbai?

The golden Honda pulled over to the curb alongside the restaurant. A window rolled down. A 100-rupee note, worth about $2.30, popped out, courtesy of a woman in a head scarf who would identify herself only as Mrs. Abbas. Then, as quietly as it came, the car sped away.

Inside the Mahim Darbar restaurant, seven men sprang to their feet: gaunt, beleaguered men with pocked faces, men who appeared to have had their share of dashed hopes. But this was the moment they had been pining for. Mrs. Abbas had, in a quintessentially Mumbai way, bought them lunch.

The world is filled with eating houses of every kind. There are hamburger joints and caviar joints; there are places you drive through and places where you sit down; there is the New York steakhouse and the Paris bistro. But the world may be unfamiliar with a Mumbai variation on the theme: the hunger café.

It takes a city as frenetic, transactional and compassionate as Mumbai to erect eateries for the malnourished. They are not soup kitchens, for denizens of this city have little time to pour other people soup. In a city that never stops selling stocks and shooting movies, they prefer drive-by benevolence.

On a stretch of road in the Mahim neighborhood, the hunger cafés have stood for decades. Mumbai's broken, drifting men squat in neat rows in front of each establishment, waiting patiently. Vats full of food simmer behind them. What separates them from the food is the 25-cent-per-plate cost - a gulf harder to bridge than one might assume. But every so often, a car pulls up, donates, and the men dine....Consider an alternative way to feed these men. You could raise money in schools and temples; you could buy the food and serve it in the quiet of a shelter. You could at least let the men sit inside the restaurant, not on the edge of the sidewalk.

But in India, that may not work. Among the swelling middle class, the anonymous, checkbook-style charity has yet to catch on. Indians have shown scant enthusiasm for giving to abstract causes. Indian giving is feudal giving: giving to those below you in your household chain of command.

Source: International Herald Tribune June 16, 2008

What is better stuffing your face for the poor with $200 burgers or reducing your own consumption and redistributing the savings?

The first seems gross, but maybe pragmatic, the second ideal but possibly implausible?

Any way you look at it, it seems to me a sad state of affairs that Burger King is now the benevolent middle man pushing gross consumption in the name of charity.

Daily Bread

This has been circulating on buzzfeeds and I couldn't help but re-blog it

Wonder Bread

For those of you that also adhere to Pastafarianism, you might like to purchase a Holy Toast Stamper and to trick your Catholic friends into thinking that their bread has been touched by the hand of god


Pastafarianism and the Flying Spaghetti Monster

After marvelling at the stupidity of Christians and their use of bananas and peanut butter to prove the existence of god. You tube quickly whisked me off to related videos on Pastafarianism and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I can't believe I haven't blogged on this yet. Of course it is a huge phenomenon around the world, gaining in believers. I read that people in the UK have been urged to fill out Pastafariamism on their census forms to ensure that it becomes an official religion

Perhaps I'll start to do the same. To gain greater insight into this growing faith, watch the below vids

Spaghetti Monster Sightings

Canberra, Australia



Of course we all know that the Spaghetti Monster reigns supreme over the spaghetti harvest of Switzerland

But now it seems apparent that rather than just a small lesser known deity of pasta, the worldwide popularity of pasta has led to the Spaghetti Monster towards domination as a global religion

What can I say...I'm a believer

Atheist retorts with a goat and pasta sauce

Item 3: Cupcake Transporter

I don't know about you but for years I've been searching for the perfect vessel for transporting cupcakes


Item 4: To Do Tatoo


And this looks kinda handy....OMG, this blog is reaching new lows

Item 5: Herb Saver


When herbs hit USD$100 per bunch you might like to invest in one of these babies

Item 6: Banana Hanger


Store your bananas, naturally, hanging as god meant them to hang

Item 7: Over-stuffed sandwich maker


Finally, there is nothing ironic to be said about the overstuffed sandwich maker, I sincerely want one

Useless Kitchen Equipment

I spent the best part of an hour procrastinating on Amazon's kitchen section, hunting down useless but mildly appealing kitchen equipment

So for lack of better things to blog about at present I will begin a new series on stupid kitchen equipment

Item 1:

Cake-Sicle Pan


I like things on sticks, but I don't see why you can't just jam a stick into a muffin and call it a muffin-sicle...

Item 2

Hello Kitty Toaster


This being Bangkok I'm surprised I haven't seen one of these earlier.

Prussian-German Belly Fuel

Driving from Munich to Salzburg the other week, we stopped at a gas station to pay tolls. A faded sign promised RRrrrrrreally huge sausages (above). In the area where one paid for tickets and gas, a big glass cabinet displayed a few lonely tins of leberwurst paté. The restaurant went a few steps better, with its steam trays of nameless vegetables, and bread rolls with boiled eggs for breakfast, and the type of melancholic capuccinos served by highway gas stations the world over.

When diesel doesn't provide enough get up & go......fuel up on ham noodles.

A blousey, bosomy lady and her moustached husband ate standing up at an outside banquette, partaking of the wiener schnitzel with fries, as chalked on the sign above. The sky was acid blue and hints of the Austrian alps glinted on the horizon.

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