What to do after the Olympics? Start cooking
U.S. rower Bryan Volpenhein, who won gold in the Athens Olympics and will compete in Beijing, is also a winner in the kitchen. After the 2004 games, he attended culinary school in Seattle and worked in several restaurants there. Volpenhein, 31, got interested in cooking as a teenager by watching shows about the world's great chefs on TV. His favorite cookbooks are Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef: The Craft of Cooking and Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand. When he retires from competition, the Cincinnati native hopes to become a chef. Recently, he talked with Time magazine about the similarities between rowing and cooking. "You're always striving for that perfect stroke, that repetition, each one being as good as the last," he says. "Same thing with cooking. You can't say, 'Oh, I don't feel well, so I'm going to put out a crappy plate.' "
Got your 'cane food?
The speed with which Edouard whipped up over the weekend in the Gulf of Mexico is a reminder to get a hurricane preparedness kit together. Edouard didn't take the time to spin around and meander from the Atlantic Ocean into the gulf as so many storms have.
The most active portion of the hurricane season is just beginning for Floridians. For tips on what to put in your kit, go to www.tampabay.com/weather. One recommendation: Survey the pantry now to see what storm-worthy food you already have. That would include peanut butter, tuna fish, canned chicken, soup, crackers, granola bars and fruit cups.
Another trans fat ban
It will be interesting to see how the logistics of California's trans-fat ban play out. All foods containing trans fat must be off the shelves by 2011. New York City's trans fat ban, which began July 1, has seemed to lack teeth, with the citations issued being essentially warnings thus far.
No doubt, the ban will shorten the shelf life of some food products, but the payoff could be big. Trans fats lower HDL (good) cholesterol and increase LDL (bad) cholesterol; increase rigidity and clogging of arteries; cause insulin resistance; and contribute to Type 2 diabetes. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that eliminating trans fats could prevent between 6 and 19 percent of heart attacks and related deaths each year.
Rachael feeds dogs
We swear we don't live to pick on Rachael Ray, but it's just so darned easy. All right, there was the terrorist-scarf fashion-faux-pas Dunkin' Donuts commercial recently. But then last week it was announced that she's launching a charity-driven line of dog foods based on recipes she has created for her pit bull, Isaboo. Called "Nutrish," proceeds from the line go to Rachael's Rescue, which she founded to help at-risk animals. A noble gesture, for sure, but it just opens herself up to all kinds of dog food jokes. Can you teach a dog new tricks? Like saying "yum-o"?
Pizza Hut goes natural
Tampa Bay area residents are among the first to have the chance to try Pizza Hut's new pizza made from all-natural ingredients, including the multigrain crust. "The Natural" debuted last week in two test markets, Tampa/St. Pete and Dallas/Fort Worth, and will be available through Aug. 23.
The box is made of mostly recycled material. A medium one-topping pizza is $9.99. The Natural Rustica pizza is $11.99.
Find inspiration in this trio of new vegetarian cookbooks:
• Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy by the editors of Vegetarian Times magazine (Wiley, 2008): This collection of speedy vegetarian and vegan recipes covers all the bases, from breakfast and brunch dishes to desserts, drinks and kid-friendly food.
• You Won't Believe It's Vegan by Lacey Sher and Gail Doherty (Da Capo, 2008): Well, with recipes such as raw cashew aioli and tofu hot wings, you probably will believe it. But that doesn't mean you won't like it. Sher and Doherty offer some inventive and appealing takes on vegan cooking. Raw-food recipes, too.
• Get it Ripe by Jae Steele (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008): As much vegan primer as cookbook, Get it Ripe is a great starter book for anyone stumbling through those first months of life without dairy and meat. The author offers plenty of nutritional, prep and shopping information.
All the beef served at Bern's Steak House is U.S.D.A. certified prime, except filet mignons and chateaubriands. A review that ran on July 23 was incorrect on this point.
Compiled from Times staff, wires