Monday, August 5, 2013

Havenstar. Pink Slime.

To my Canadian friends, I hope you are enjoying Civic Holiday today.

An author friend, Glenda Larke, sent me a hard back copy of her newly reissued book Havenstar which was a gift because I had done some proof reading of her electronic version of this same book. She Havenstar Coverhad written some nice words in it for me and then, much to my surprise and excitement, I was also mentioned in the dedications. I was so excited. That has never happened to me before. Havenstar was Glenda’s first book and shortly after it was published, the publisher went belly up so the book went out of print fast. I was very lucky that a friend in the UK had kindly sent me a paperback and it soon became a favourite book. Don’t get me wrong I love all of Glenda’s books, but something about Havenstar resonates with me and with many others too apparently, Glenda has written that she wished she knew what it was so she could do it again. If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend it highly enough, it is available both electronically at Smashwords (believe it will also be available at Amazon) and in both paperback and hardback at Amazon and other places where books are sold. I understand some of her other books will soon be available as ebooks.

In 2011 I wrote about pink slime for the first time which is what Jamie Oliver, British chef, calls meat products which are basically inedible but which are ‘washed’ in ammonium hydroxide and used to make burger meat. I read, over the weekend, that now MacDonald’s who were one of the biggest users of this product, have decided to not do so any more although they swear it is nothing to do with Jamie Oliver who has been ceaselessly campaigning against this for several years now. This is the article I read:

Hamburger chef Jamie Oliver has just won a battle against one of Jamie and MacDonaldsthe largest fast food chains in the world. After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are, the franchise announced it will change its recipe.
According to Oliver, the fatty parts of beef are “washed” in ammonium hydroxide and used in the filling of the burger. Before this process, according to the presenter, the food is deemed unfit for human consumption.
According to the chef and presenter, Jamie Oliver, who has undertaken a war against the fast food industry: “Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.”
Besides the low quality of the meat, the ammonium hydroxide is harmful to health. Oliver calls it “the pink slime process.”
“Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” asked the chef, who wages a war against the fast food industry.
In one of his initiatives, Oliver demonstrates to children how nuggets are made. After selecting the best parts of the chicken, the remains (fat, skin and internal organs) are processed for these fried foods.
The company, Arcos Dorados, the franchise manager in Latin America, said such a procedure is not practiced in the region. The same applies to the product in Ireland and the UK, where they use meat from local suppliers.
In the United States, Burger King and Taco Bell had already abandoned the use of ammonia in their products. The food industry uses ammonium hydroxide as an anti-microbial agent in meats, which has allowed McDonald’s to use otherwise “inedible meat.”
Even more disturbing is that because ammonium hydroxide is considered part of the “component in a production procedure” by the USDA, consumers may not know when the chemical is in their food.
On the official website of McDonald’s, the company claims that their meat is cheap because, while serving many people every day, they are able to buy from their suppliers at a lower price, and offer the best quality products.
In addition, the franchise denied that the decision to change the recipe is related to Jamie Oliver’s campaign. On the site, McDonald’s has admitted that they have abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

I’m not sure why, I have never eaten one of these, but this cake really appealed to my taste buds and it would appear to be very easy to make. It was in an email from Food and Wine so thought I would share it. Because I am trying to lose weight, I won’t be making it any time soon, but I will put it aside to be made at a later date.

Ligurian Olive Oil Cake

Contributed by Anne Quatrano
SERVINGS: one 10-inch cake

Ligurian olive oil is ideal in this lovely, light cake, because it’s more delicate and buttery than many other Italian oils.Ligurian Olive Oil Cake
  1. 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  2. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
  7. 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  8. 1 cup sugar
  9. Finely grated zest of 2 lemons or tangerines
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the 1 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the olive oil and milk.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar and citrus zest until pale and thickened, about 3 minutes. Alternately beat in the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and the side pulls away from the pan. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool before serving.
Make Ahead The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Have a great day


  1. Happy Civic Holiday!

    Great review of Havenstar! I'll have to pick it up.

    I keep trying to tell folks that they are poisoning our food and getting away with it, maybe soon some will listen. Yuck!

    1. Thanks Yolanda. It really is a great book. I have read it several times.

      Jamie Oliver has been doing a great job fighting the fast food industry and working to improve food given to kids in schools.

  2. That is so gross! Thank goodness I'm a vegan.

    1. I don't eat at McDonalds, or any other burger joint come to that.

  3. Now I am even more grateful I'm not a fast food junkie. Can you imagine what that stuff does to a body?

    1. I'd rather not quite frankly, but it does make me wonder if this has contributed to so much obesity.

  4. That is DISGUSTING! I'm glad I'm not a McDonald's fan. I'm also glad Jamie Oliver exposed them.

    1. Supermarkets have been guilty of doing the same thing. Its better to buy some beef and get the butcher to grind it.

  5. That cake sounds great, but very rich.
    When I hear what gets done to food by the food industry, I sometimes feel very ill.

    1. True, it does make you feel ill doesn't it?

  6. I've enjoyed Glenda's book but haven't read this one. IT was through you that I met Glenda to begin with. I'm glad she's reissuing this book via self publishing and thrilled to see she acknowledges your work and encouragement! How exciting.

    I'm going to have her back on the blog with this one.

    As for McDonalds and other fastfood burger joints, it is disgusting. I rarely eat anything from Mc D's. Unfortunately, that burger is not limited to just fast food joints. I read several things that talk about the process being used in supermarkets and even using a food glue to make a very cheap bits of meat reform into higher quality cuts. Yah. Nasty. And then people wonder why allergies to foods have dramatically increased the past few years.

    I'm a strong proponent of food labeling. I want to know what I'm buying and feeding my family and myself. Dan and I are raising much more of our own food or buying from local farmers/ranchers who will tell you exactly what they're feeding their livestock and what medicines they use as well. That's all good in my book.


    1. Great book. Will enjoy seeing her on your blog.

      When I first learnt about this pink slime stuff I made some fairly extensive enquiries in Ontario and was assured that it isn't done here, thank goodness.