food problems

” Are These 5 Foods Trying To Kill You? “

The perils of fugu, cassava and bitter almonds


Furibond on Flickr
The deadly fugu, also known as pufferfish. Sorta cute, really..

We all know that eating anything that is wrapped in bacon or craziness like this macaroni and cheese sandwich (!) is going to kill you. Eventually. As will a hundred or so trips to KFC. The real KFC, that is. But then there are those foods that will immediately remove you from the gene pool with the flick of a fork. Here are 5 foods that, when consumed improperly, will likely send you to the grave. Captain Obvious warning: DON’T EAT THESE FOODS.

  1. Fugu
    Widely known as the fish that nearly killed Homer Simpson, one pufferfish has enough tetrodotoxin in its liver, ovaries, intestines and skin to kill 30 people. Ingesting very small amounts of tetrodotoxin can cause a pleasant tingling sensation, but tetrodotoxin poisoning causes dizziness, weakness and nausea. Victims usually remain conscious while the tetrodotoxin causes the paralysis of the muscles of the lungs and heart. None of this has stopped the edible flesh of the pufferfish (also known as fugu) from becoming a delicacy in Japan. Even though chefs who prepare fugu are highly trained and licensed to serve it, deaths have still occurred. Thirty-one fugu-related deaths were reported in Tokyo between 1996 and 2005.
  2. Bitter Almonds
    Don’t worry, that box of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds is safe. (The roasted almonds you are used to munching on are sweet almonds, which are safe for humans to eat.) However, bitter almonds, which are used to make products like almond extract and amaretto, contain hydrogen cyanide. Eating just a handful of raw bitter almonds could lead to dizziness, difficulty breathing and even death. The only way to remove the cyanide in the almonds is to crush, soak and wash them in water.
  3. Ackee
    If you’re looking for something a little more exciting than jerk chicken on your next Jamaican vacation, you might want to try ackee, which is the official fruit of the country. Consuming the wrinkly yellow fruit can lead to vomiting, seizures, coma or death if the hypoglycin found in under-ripe or overripe seeds contaminates the edible flesh of the fruit.
  4. Cassava
    Primarily used in the production of tapioca in the United States, cassava (sometimes known as yucca) is a tuberous root vegetable that also produces toxic hydrogen cyanide. If cassava is not prepared properly, cyanide poisoning can occur — leading to asphyxiation. The cyanide in sweet cassava is only located in the skin, so it is safe to eat once the skin has been peeled and the tuber boiled. However, bitter cassava requires that you soak it in water before boiling it to make it safe to eat.
  5. Potatoes (that have turned green)
    Potatoes? Yes, potatoes produce a toxin called solanine as a natural repellant from insects. In small amounts, solanine is perfectly safe for humans. But when potatoes turn green, it is a sign that the levels of solanine in your potatoes are unsafe. Consuming too much solanine can lead to nausea, diarrhea and in extreme cases numbness, hallucinations, paralysis and death. So if your potatoes turn green? Don’t eat them, dummy.

” Are Rare Steaks Really Better? A Butcher’s View “


I found this interesting story on “Huffpost”

Are Rare Steaks Really Better?: A Butcher’s View

Plus: A guide to different cuts’ ideal doneness

by Tom Mylan  June 19, 2012

In the game of food dork one-upsmanship, the rarer you order your steak, the more of a real gastronome you are—it means you like your meat good and a little dangerous, like it was meant to be. I always took this carnal orthodoxy as gospel; I mean, people who order their steak well-done deserve their own circle of hell. But…as much it pains my old, snobby self, I’ve started to prefer some of my steaks a little more towards the medium end of the spectrum than I’m completely comfortable with.

But why? Aren’t rare steaks juicier and more tender? Well, not necessarily. I started doing some experimenting—I’m no scientist, but even a knuckle-dragging son of a construction worker like me can learn a thing or two—and it turns out in some cases, cooking your meat a little more can make for better texture and flavor. Blame fat, collagen, and chemistry.

Ribeyes, for example, are downright gross when cooked black-and-bleu. I know there are probably a lot of old French guys rotating in their graves right now, but hold on—ultra-rare ribeyes are gross because all that luscious fat that rims the meat, the best part of the steak, doesn’t really render when barely cooked, making it weird and pasty.

In contrast, the prime ribs of my Reno, NV youth were slow roasted………. Read more HERE

” It’s safer to make a salad on a toilet seat than it is to make one on a cutting board “


“In most cases, it’s safer to make a salad on a toilet seat than it is to make one on a cutting board,” says Dr. Charles Gerba (a.k.a. Dr. Germ), a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “People disinfect their toilet seats all the time, but they don’t realize that they really need to pay attention in the kitchen too.” Since 1973, he’s been studying the hidden bacteria lurking in American homes, and his findings should influence your behavior when it comes to storing a toothbrush (in the medicine cabinet) and how to flush a toilet (lid down). Here, Dr. Germ identifies the top five dirtiest spots in the kitchen and gives advice on how to banish nasty germs.
By Alessandra Bulow, Food & Wine


1. Sponges and Dishcloths

“We did a survey collecting 1,000 sponges and dishcloths in kitchens, and about 10 percent had salmonella. They get wet and stay moist, so bacteria grow like crazy. The most E. coli and other fecal-based bacteria in the average home are on a sponge or cleaning cloth.”

DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Replace dishcloths every week and throw the sponge into the dishwasher or microwave it on high for 30 seconds.”

2. Sink

“There’s more E. coli in a kitchen sink than in a toilet after you flush it. The sink is a great place for E. coli to live and grow since it’s wet and moist. Bacteria feed on the food that people put down the drain and what’s left on dishes in the sink. That’s probably why dogs drink out of the toilet — because there’s less E. coli in it,” says Dr. Germ.

DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Clean the sink basin with a disinfectant product made for the kitchen. Vinegar and lemon juice can clean some bacteria, but they can’t clean really bad pathogens, so the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t recommend using them as an alternative.”

3. Cutting Board

“In most cases, it’s safer to make a salad on a toilet seat than it is to make one on a cutting board. There’re 200 times more fecal bacteria from raw meat on the average cutting board in a home than a toilet seat. Most people just rinse their cutting board, but poultry and raw meat can leave behind salmonella and campylobacter.” The latter bacteria, which can come from eating raw meat, is one of the most common causes of food-borne illness, according to the FDA.

DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Use one cutting board for meats and another one for vegetables, so you don’t get cross-contamination. Boards can be cleaned with a kitchen disinfectant or put it in a dishwasher.” As to whether you should buy a wood or plastic cutting board: “We used to always recommend using plastic cutting boards, but wood seems to have antimicrobial resins, so it’s a toss-up.”

4. Bottom Shelf of the Refrigerator

“When we looked at refrigerators, the bottom shelf tends to have the most bacteria, because moisture and condensation drip down from the upper shelves. People often put produce on a bottom shelf and defrost a meat product above it.”

DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Wipe down the bottom shelf every two or three weeks with a disinfectant cleaner that’s made for the kitchen. To avoid cross-contamination, put raw meat on the bottom shelf and tuck raw produce into a drawer away from everything else.”

5. Kitchen Countertops

“Kitchen countertops tend to be the dirtiest near the sink area because people wipe them down with sponges and cleaning cloths that have E. coli and other bacteria. The sponges and cloths just spread the germs all over the countertops.”

DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Use a disinfectant kitchen cleaner and finish off by drying the countertop with a disposable paper towel. Paper towels are great because they absorb a lot of the moisture and bacteria and you can just throw them away.”


WOWWW ! No ” good eat’n ” here :-(

Worst Meal Ever: 21 Tales of Disastrous Dinners

Excerpt’s from Zagat:

A Funky Asian Disaster

As a food writer it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I’ve never been a fan of, well…stinky ingredients. (I’m just being honest.) I mean I’m not the kind of person who’s going to sit there and pretend I snack on durian and fermented fish paste just because it sounds cool. One night I was eating dinner at a hot spot known for its inventive Asian fare. The dishes sounded really good on the menu so we ordered close to an entire menu’s worth of the goods. Basically, if you want to stink worse than a batch of hard-boiled eggs dipped in vinegar, you should eat here. I watched in shock as my dining companions ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the “deliciousness” of the meal, which had actually made me physically nauseated. Also the desserts were some of the worst things I’ve ever put in my mouth and included flavor combos that while inventive, did not work in the slightest. One dish tasted like spiced gravel doused with orange marmalade. I’ll say no more, but I can tell you that I won’t be returning to this joint ever again.

-Kelly Dobkin is an editor for the Zagat Blog

20 more dinner diaster’s HERE 

” Dirty Dozen: EWG Reveals List Of Pesticide-Heavy Fruits And Veggies “

An Apple A Day……..

Excerpt from the HUFFPOST :

….. And while the list is comprehensive, the ranking doesn’t capture all information:
For example, though apples were ranked as the most contaminated overall,
imported nectarines had the unique distinction of having a full 100 percent
rate of positive pesticide test results, above any other product. Bell peppers
and grapes were both commonly contaminated with 15 different pesticides
in a single sample — the highest overall diversity of contamination.

Still, even the researchers who conducted the pesticide exposure studies
don’t recommend giving up the “Dirty Dozen” outright.

Read more HERE 

” Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, Cafeteria Workers Win Right To Eat Free Expired Food “

Excerpt from an article in the Huff Post :

“Under the agreement, food items that are past their expiration date
or reheated in a way that they can no longer be served to students
may still be eaten for free by the cafeteria workers.”

This raises so many questions for me ! How about you ?
What’s wrong in a country where this can even be considered an issue ?

To read the full article, click HERE



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” Why are chefs so poorly compensated? “

Wow folks, this discussion is really heating up !

Arno Wilson says :

Hi Patrick, maybe I come across a bit severe. But this is my feeling. Cooking food throughout history has been a low level activity and whilst everybody since we can tell has always enjoyed a “good feed” it remains a fact that the kitchen has been relegated “out the back” downstairs” or otherwise “out of sight”. As much as people these modern times try to glorify cooking it remains an act of applying heat to dead things – usually animals or other creatures. It is the art of transforming dead animal flesh and in some cases organs into something else that appeals to the modern sense of beauty.
I am a chef myself and have worked in many different arenas of food production. I have been Executive chef, Head chef, and all other positions in Australian kitchens. I have acted as a restaurant consultant and am versed in management techniques and financial aspects. In the course of my work I see many chefs I now run a chefs agency finding work for other chefs. Many chefs are pretty clueless and some are downright dumb. A smattering are excellent and could be successful in any occupation. A small number are outstanding individuals with admirable skills and ability and intelligence. I am sorry but the average run of the mill chef that crosses my radar is more commonly described in less flattering terms.
If you have any specific questions I would be happy to answer them.

Follow / participate in  the discussion  Here:

Pizza declared a vegetable by congress ?

In what kind of a twisted world do we live when this debate actually takes place in a
so called first world country ?
Not in Cuba, not in Bangladesh, not in some god forsaken wannabe country.
No, it is happening right here in America !

Excerpt from ” Time NewsFeed ” :

Okay, so Congress never actually declared pizza a vegetable during
last year’s legislative battle over school lunches.
But they might as well have:
by declaring that an eighth of a cup of tomato paste is worth as much nutritionally
as a half a cup of vegetable
the new rules opened a loophole that has given pizza vegetable-like status in
school lunchrooms nationwide.
Now, however,  a Congressman from Colorado is fighting back.

Read more:

” The 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World “ # 1

# 1. Balut

From: Philippines.

What the hell is it?

Behold, for our journey of horror reaches its destination. Balut are duck eggs that have been incubated until the fetus is all feathery and beaky, and then boiled alive. The bones give the eggs a uniquely crunchy texture.
They are enjoyed in Cambodia, Philippines and the fifth and seventh levels of hell. They are typically sold by street vendors at night, out of buckets of warm sand. You can spot the vendors because of their glowing red eyes, and the faint, otherworldly sound of children screaming.

Wait, it gets worse …

… Because you’re never going to look at an egg the same way. Tell yourself that every time you crack open an egg from now on you won’t be half expecting a leathery wad of bird to come flopping out into the skillet.
Yes, balut is upsetting on about a half-dozen levels. Sure, all meat eaters know on some level that the delicious chop on your plate used to belong to something cute and fluffy, which gambolled in the sun during the brief spring of its life. Most of the time, it’ perfectly possible not to give a shit. But, when you’re biting into something that hasn’t even had a chance to see its mother’ face … well, it’ different.

Danger of this turning up in America:

Actually, marketed properly, these eggs could be a damn good motivator. When you’ve looked death in the face at breakfast time, what the hell else can the day throw at you?

Excerpts from an article by
Tim Cameron on