Where’s The Cook?

Published on: 19:57PM Jun 15, 2016

Switchboard operator. Bowling alley pin setter. Mule skinner. Advancing technology just keeps eliminating jobs.

Now we learn that our special talent as gravy connoisseurs may soon become obsolete. We earned our gravy certificate at a farm table where everything was fried in a cast iron skillet and gravy accompanied every meal. Yes, gravy making is becoming a lost art, and so, too, it appears is cooking.

For the last year, retail sales at US eating and drinking establishments have outrun those of grocery stores, upending a longstanding pattern in which the bulk of American spending on food occurred at the supermarket.


Bog Butter

An Irishman has unearthed a gargantuan lump of butter that’s thousands of years old. As buried treasures go, it’s not like finding a Viking coin or something of similar value. But it is rather remarkable, and still edible, say those who know about bog butter, as it’s called.

The discoverer works as a turf cutter, one who harvests “turf” or peat from a bog to burn for warmth during the winter. That’s when he discovered the 22-pound chunk of butter that researchers at the Cavan Muesum estimated to be more than 2,000 years old.

The Washington Post reports people have stumbled upon bog butter for at least two centuries. The butter was probably buried as a method of preservation, though some believe it was an offering to the Gods.


Profit Tracker: Losing Ground

Cattle feeding profits declined $180 per head last week, yet closeouts remained $32 in the black. The retreat in margins was the result of a $2 per cwt lower cash cattle market and an increase in the cost of feeder cattle prices calculated into the analysis, according to Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. USDA’s 5-area cash price was $127.30. The total cost of finishing cattle last week was $1,739, compared to $1,582 the previous week and $2,301 last year.


BSE: No news is good news

We haven’t heard much lately about BSE, CJD or other prion diseases categorized as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and that generally is a good thing.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the related human disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) have fallen out of the headlines because interventions, here and abroad, have worked, and the diseases have become extremely rare.

Last week, the FDA announced the termination of its Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee and its removal from the Agency's list of standing advisory committees.