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Everything posted by macrosan

  1. That seems to be a huge menu for such a small restaurant. I would be concerned about his ability both to make a profit and to maintain fresh food stocks !!!!
  2. ... actually, I shouldn't laugh because I am one of Basil's customers
  3. At least that's better than being old and poor, Autumn.....or so they tell me Where is Incognico ?
  4. Pied a Terre is on my "I think I want to go but I'm not entirely sure" list so I can't tell you much about it, except that there have been mixed reports here and elsewhere. I have always found this to be the case in London, as in New York. My only (and hugely enjoyed) visit was for a weekday lunch. The menu was the same as the dinner menu, I believe, and does provide extensive table d'hote options.
  5. Yeah, but they do deliver every week There is something of a shortage of kosher butchers in South London. At the last count there were approximately ... umm .... well about ... er .... none So we phone our order in to Norman and he delivers to us, except every now and then we go there to browse what he has on display, and make sure we're selecting what looks specially good. Norman is very inventive, and he keeps coming up with new pre-prepared dishes, like chicken wings in barbecue sauce, or stuffed lamb chops, or sweet and sour ribs. It was on one of those visits that we smelled the cooking salt beef as we went in. Mrs Macro and I ate a sandwich while we were ordering, and took another six home for the family. They were still very good when they were cold, but not at the peak of quality that you get when the beef is freshly cut from the slab. Oh dear, my mouth is watering now, but they only do them on Sundays .... Incidentally, he is now open from 9am to 8pm every Sunday except Jewish holidays. If anyone is thinking of going, do not go on any Sunday from 28th September to 26th October inclusive, becauise those are Jewish holidays.
  6. I enjoyed Gavroche, but found it very very far from quiet. I noted a general high-level buzz when we arrived and by 10pm it had become intrusively noisy. Foliage, Capital and RHR would fulfil your requirements for peace and quiet.
  7. I've had salt beef at Selfrdiges twice in the last four months, and I found it appallingly bad. There is no merit in "authentic" salt beef (whatever that might be taken to mean, since there are five different recipes for every four Jewish mothers). What matters is "Is it delicious?" and on that test my experience is that Selfridges fails. Their beef was tough (unforgiveable) and bland (unacceptable) and phenomenally expensive, I believe. Three weeks ago I discovered by accident that our (kosher) butcher sells hot salt beef sandwiches on Sundays. For £3.50 I got the most divine, perfect, hugely filled salt beef sandwich with pickled cucumbers that I have ever tasted in my life. I went again ten days ago and got an exact repeat performance. Honestly, I have insuffucient superlatives to describe them. Your problem, folks, is that you'll never chance to be anywhere near them, but if you're interested, it's Norman Goldberg in Woodford Avenue, Clayhall (Ilford). From the Gants Hill roundabout, go north along Woodford Avenue, across the Beehive Lane roundabout, and turn right at the next traffic lights. It's worth a long detour
  8. That absoklutely would have to be the case, CountryGirl, if only the government would allow market forces to take their natural and inevitable effect. But politicians like to wield the power that they worked so hard to obtain, so they insist on interfering in matters where they are neither needed nor wanted. Given that in the USA and UK about 65-70% of people don't smoke, and all of those are bound to prefer a smoke-free environment, restaurants (like all other commercial establishments) would gradually represent that ratio in what they offer the market. Of course that takes time, and since politicians generally aren't around too long, they won't wait
  9. This really does surprize me. Even if they ignore humanity of treatment, surely for purely commercial reasons farmers would protect their investment by preventing conditions which make their produce ill. I suspect that much of the treatment referred to in this report is of extreme cases of negligence rather than institutionalized cruelty. This is exactly my reading. That is not to say that exceptional cases of cruelty don't exist, and where they do I am in favor of these being prevented. The AVMA guidelines sound reasonable to me, but I didn't find any mention of whether they have the force of law, nor how they are enforced. Yeah, this is how the thread started, and I'll join the chorus asking for an answer to this. Has anyone tasted both ?
  10. It's precisely because they're one of the most loved restaurants in NYC that they do get so much criticism I think we've come to expect a lot of Babbo, and we're extra disappointed when we don't get it. I'm glad you got that letter, FID, and even more glad you told us. Please do take up their offer and contact them to say you'll give them that chjance they asked for. I sincerely hope that Ms Selzer's first name isn't Alma or some very similarly spelled name
  11. Wow, Jonathan, that sounds like a truly appalling service experience Dare I ask if you paid, and if so how much tip you left ?
  12. The grouse was the best game bird I've had, and I will certainly go to Wilton's again for game. As Tony says, it is certainly over-priced, and I think even too fuddy for him and me. So you understand we are talking serious fuddiness, folks While I was waiting at the bar, I observed the maitre d' fitting a Frenchman (one of a group of six) with a jacket. The m d' tried three on the poor man before he was satisfied with the result. Oh boy, you should have seen the one he liked
  13. I like your post, McDowell. It saddens me that, as you say, these important and difficult discussions sometimes fall into disrepute. I think it may be that some people just enjoy a fight, maybe there is just a lack of mutual confidence and respect between members of eGullet. It also saddens me when a moderator, who has the responsibility and the authority to moderate the discussion, instead chooses to walk away and leave the thread to degenerate into a rabble-rousing polemic. What is good is that this didn't happen to this thread, and I think that's because Sam did fulfil the moderator's role. His style is moderate, even when I don't agree with him. He did misinterpret some of what I said, but allowed me to expound and explain, accepted my explanation, and continued to disagree in a constructive and friendly way. That's called intelligent discourse, I believe. Like you, I'm getting a lot out of this thread. I am learning new facts, I'm learning about other reasonable views. And I'm enjoying the intellectual exercize.
  14. Oh boy, it's such a pleasure to have someone who has real knowledge of the subject, and can even provide source material, unlike a couple of amateurs like Sam and myself Sam, I found your last post surprizingly defenisive, as (I surmise) did Badthings. Your main ripostes to my concerns about the negatives of GM is to say they're no worse than the negatives we already have. While I have said repeatedly that I have reached no conclusion about GM, but I insist on proper research and publication of evidence, you only seem to say that GM has the potential to do wondrous things so let's get going. My sole objection to that approach is very simple. Once we have "got going" we may never be able to stop. That is the scariest characteristic of GM. By the very nature of its design and purpose, it is bound to eliminate its competition, and if my fears are well founded its environemnt, before we find out what has happened. Then it will be too late. Man has never succeeded in turning a wilderness back to fertile land. Badthings rather nicely chides us for creating a narrow dialogue on this public board Sam, we must be boring most everyone (apart from the two of us) to hell and back because no-one but our friend Bt is chiming in. So I'll bow gracefully out of the debate, although I promise to read any further reply Thanks for the interesting discussion.
  15. Human ingenuity has no known limits, and I am inclined to believe that we can genetically engineer pretty much anything that our minds can conceive. I find that both exciting and frightening in equal measure. I also have few misgivings about the likelihood of genetically engineered foods poisoning us. They might well create some long-term genetic change in human make-up, but since we are genetically evolving anyway, I am relatively undisturbed by that prospect. Just as a matter of policy, I would want all genetically engineered food to be subject to the same compliance as pharmaceuticals, through organizations like the FDA; I would also like to see the necessary timescale for clinical testing greatly extended as compared with pharmaceuticals, simply because the likely time for any adverse effect to be recognized would be greater for GM food. I repeat that at this stage of development of the science, I would not expect to encounter food safety problems, but if GM becomes widespread in application, there will be exponentially greater opportunities and incentives for commercial companies to cut corners. When I talk about the safety of GM agriculture, I am thinking of the safety to the ecosystem, not so much the safety of the food. Let me paint a scenario (in which you'll have to excuse my lack of agricultural knowledge). A farmer in Oklahoma plants 10,000 acres of GM corn which is resistant to worms. That means that worms don't eat the seed or the corn, so they lose their food source, so they die off in a couple of years. In the next year, the mice and moles and birds for whom the worms were their main food source migrate to the neighbouring state to find food. Then the predators who fed on the mice and the moles migrate. In time, 10,000 acres of Oklahoma becomes a worm-free, bird-free, animal-free zone. Now the birds have gone, insects on which those birds also fed, for example locusts, discover they have a bird-free zone, and start to inhabit the farm. They feed on every other crop within ten miles except the farmer's GM corn, and those farmers go out of business and leave their land to moulder. A few years after that, the farmer of the GM corn dicovers that his land has become effectively sterile as a result of the lack of worms and insects and animals which used to keep the soil broken up and manured. So he has to use articficial soil nutrients, and much heavy machinery, to keep his crop growing. Now my scenario has no end, because I think the series of causes and effects is infinite. I don't think the scenario is at all extreme, and I think that in principle at least it's more likely than unlikely. Of course my scenario is negative, and of course even within its context some benefit has been created. I just say that we don't know enough to be even reasonably satisifed that GM agriculture will not set us along a path with the potential for serious and irreversible harm. That doesn't mean that I discard GM for ever. I want to see scientific research into these cause and effect scenarios. I want to see provision for continuous monitoring of the effect on the ecosystem of GM crops. I want to see contingency plans in place for occasions where there appears to be a problem. I want to see advance guarantees by the GM companies of how they will compensate if it transpires that their products have caused harm. That programme will cost a huge amount of money. That's OK with me. The GM companies have the money and they need to be made to spend it. The programme will also take a long time, and that too is OK with me. I'd rather get it right later than wrong now.
  16. I greatly enjoyed yesterday's visit to New Tayyab. This was my third visit, and the one I have most enjoyed. I'm going there again with a group of friends soon. If anyone would like to join us please PM me.
  17. Hi Sam In my eagerness to respond to all the challemging questions you raised, I completely forgot to ask you one of my own. While I acknowledge that my own opposition to GM is founded largely on cynicism, I'm interested to know why specifically it is that you support it. Have you read some independent material that I haven't seen which has convinced you of its virtues ? If so, I'd like to read it too. Thanks.
  18. I consider that the "kind of world we live in" issues are negligible in this argument. "Sustainable" to me means the planet contains the necessary resources to sustain it. In other words, if it were the case that GM food production consumes more energy resource than it returns to the ecosystem (and I have no idea whether this is the case) then it is not sustainable. We have every to believe that "natural" farming up to a certain production volume is sustainable, because that is exactly what the ecosystem is designed to do, and it does it naturally without human intervention (ie plants and animals grow in the wild). Measuring the sustainable optimum is primarily a matter of science, coupled of course with a smattering of risk analysis. The politics follows that process, it doesn't precede it. How are we to arrive at any such policy, interim or not? I am also at a loss to understand where "a decision on GM" falls into your model. Well we arrive at a policy by discussing the issues. This is no different from arriving at a policy on international trade, or nuclear arms, or terrorism. Pending a full and clear policy, we still have to make day-to-day decisions without the benefit od that policy. And we have to make a decision on GM (should it be allowed, encouraged, etc) today, before we have a total policy on the superior issue of world food production. Of course there is a fundamental problem. But it is an unavoidable problem. Whatever humanity ever does in respect of food production, it will still create the same problem. No matter how much food we produce, we will be (to use your terminology) "deliberately" limit the food supply. All that your policy will do is to ensure that the accusatiory finger is pointed at our descendants rather than us. Just to restate what I said above, the place where we are right now is the same place we were at a hundred years ago, and the same place we will be in another hundred years, irrespective of the decisions we take on this issue. I accept that there will be many more mouths to feed, but I don't want to increase that "many" to "vastly more", and that is where we depart in approach, I think. I too feel huge sympathy for people who are starving today, and my humanitarian instinct moves me to support your view that the absolute priority is to feed them. Hang the long-term consequences, we will deal with those in the long term. But we are working with limited resources, and the scale of resources we allocate to meeting a short-term humanitarian need might well preclude us ever being able to deal with the long-term consequences. It's the classic war-time dilemma of tactic against strategy. And what I have in this area are not solutions, but very many concerns. All I can say on this is that it is not quite clear to me. I have read much on both sides of the GM argument, and the best that can be said for either side is that there is insufficient science or evidence on either side. This is exactly an example of my point above. The "ifs" are huge ifs, and there is no hard evidence. This may or may not be a gain. There is no evidence of what long-term losses there might be. It's like saying that if a car travels twice as fast, it will get there in half the time, but unfortunately no-one checked if it had any brakes. That sounds to me like an article of faith in science, Sam. I don't accept that science can, or should, do anything. Yeah, you sure have got me on the first part again. I truly wouldn't want to argue with you on that. But there is a line that says "Be cruel to be kind" which also has some grain of truth and rightness to it. And yet again, on the second part of that quote, I just lack your total belief and certainty in what GM foods can do, and what the risks are. I certainly see no inevitability. Europe is quite successfully resisting the onslaught of American GM, and I don't see why it shouldn't succeed. And yet again, I have to repeat that I don't believe that GM foods can "feed the world population" in the sense that you mean. Macrosan, this is a little fatuous. You can't answer those kinds of questions about your viewpoint either. No one can. It's too complicated and we don't have enough information. No it isn't fatuous. I am not the one making sweeping claims about GM without providing the necessary evidence. It is the American companies who are doing that. So I am entitled to ask them relevant questions to support their claims. Of course I can't answer those questions about the status quo --- I am not a huge multinational conglomerate with vast sums of money to spend on research, but they are. Pending answers to relevant concerns, I simply say that the status quo should be maintained. OK, I'll allow a little rhetoric, Sam, but it only takes a few nuclear bombs to destroy all those wonderful things you talk of. And what we should be doing is learning from our past mistakes (or near-mistakes if you wish) and be a little more careful than we were last time. I think that perhaps GM food will prove to be a greater menace to humanity than nuclear bombs. It's just that -- a fear. And all I ask is that my fear be allayed by being given more careful, impartial, unadulterated information than is the case right now. If that takes time to produce, well so be it. We must take that time, because the consequences of haste may be terrible. And if the consequence of my delay is that we delay bringing help to starving people which it turns out we could safely have given then I will have been wrong, and I will retrospectively be seen to have allowed unnecessary suffering. If I am alive when that is found to be the case, I will have my incorrect judgement on my conscience, and that is not something I treat lightly. But the same applies to your side of the argument. All we can ever do is what we believe to be right. And as long as the veal is humanely raised, I will be delighted to discuss the best form of preparation and to share it with you
  19. Well now, Sam, how nice to find someone who can coolly and intelligently discuss an important but fundamentally difficult subject When you come down to it, you and I agree on most of the fundamental facts and principles. There is a hugely important difference of principle between "determining what is the optimum population of the world and matching food supply" and "determining what is the optimum food supply and allowing world population to match". You see the latter determination is nothing but a matter of science, although granted we don't have the facts or research yet to reach a conclusion. Whereas the former determination (of optimum world population) is nothing but a highly suspect political judgement, which could never achieve universal agreement. Of course I recognize that we can't yet formulate an intelligent opinion on optimum food production, but we have to take incremental decisions along that path. A decision on GM is just one of those. What we cannot do is to ignore the fact that interim policy needs to be made, without the benefit of all the facts, and we must acknowledge that some day a final decision will have to be made. This uncertainty is what makes the whole subject difficult to address. Perhaps most of all, it is no good humanity kidding itself that it can produce enough food for a limitless population. That's a child's fairy story, isn't it ? The planet has finite resources until science comes up with a way of creating new raw materials and energy. So even those who advocate "feeding the world" as tenet of faith must be aware that they cannot achieve that unless they put some numbers on it. So to advocate GM (for example) as a means to feed the world is intellectually dishonest. If those advocates are willing to specify how much GM food they are willing or able to manufacture, and then define the number of people in the world that would feed, and finally agree that they would need somehow to limit world population to that figure, then I understand the argument. Alternatively, if they will stipulate what they project as the growth in world population that would result from making food resources freely available, then specify how much resource (land and money and research, etc) they would need to allocate, and then prove that GM is safe and sustainable, and that the commercial and political capability exists to meet that plan, then I understand the argument. But all I hear are vested commercial interests mouthing PR about the humanitarian benefits of their product, and supporters accepting the principles without having sufficient facts. And there is the purely commercial dimension. What is the point of making huge quantities of GM food available to people who can't afford to buy it ? Or is the intention to give it to them free ? Forever ? Do we have any evidence that GM food is cheaper than conventional food ? If it is, then why have food prices for raw food materials not reduced in the USA ? If it is cheaper for the third world to buy right now, do the Monsantos of the world guarantee that it will remain cheaper ? If it is cheaper, by how much ? If the third world cannot afford to buy the first and second world's current food surplusses, then I guess GM would have to be hugely cheaper to enable them to buy that. So I repeat the thesis from my previous posts that the much spouted claim for GM that it will enable us to feed the world is specious. Someone needs to answer all my questions above, but until they do I will assume that the GM lobby is playing on people's emotions to gain support for their commercial venture. If I am right, then exactly what are the benefits of GM ? Where are the overriding needs to take such huge risks, based on incomplete science at best, and irreversibly changing the course of world agriculture ? The human race has inevitable tinkered with the world around it on a few occasions. Development of nuclear bombs was one consequence, and I have yet to meet someone who, with benefit of hindsight, is glad we did that. But even that development was containable, in that the human race can just decide not to make those bombs. It is universally acknowledged that many element of GM development will be totally irreversible. I just say we don't have enough knowledge yet.
  20. I think it adequately refutes FG's chosen policy of wilfully misinterpreting what I said (despite my explanations and denials) and then walking off in a huff As I previously explained, no to most of this. I have re-read my original, then my explanatory post, and I truly can't see how they could be misinterpreted this way. But it must be me so let me try again I do not advocate the deliberate limiting of food production as a means of population control. I stipulate that there is a natural relationship between food supply and population. Food is one of many factors which control population, probably not the most important, and I listed some of them in my previous post. Increasing food supply may or may not increase world population. Given that people like FG are stating that people are dying of hunger, he is certainly saying that increasing the food supply to those people will prevent them dying of hunger and so presumably increase the population. The clearest error in your list is #5. This is exactly the opposite of what I said earlier, and surely you must realize that if you read my post. What I said was : Your "summary", Sam, is clearly an exact reversal of my words, and of course directly misrepresents my view. Now FG maintains that the world should produce as much food as is scientifically possible without regard for either safety or sustainability or both, and I repeat that I consider that to be a foolish and dangerous position to take. Note that this whole discussion started as an aside by FG on the subject of GM food production. I hold to the view that GM development may prove to be as costly and short-sighted as the development of DDT and other pesticides. That might be a risk worth taking if there were significant rewards to be obtained. The major "rewards" claimed by the GM lobby are cheapness (of which there is no actual or even hypothetical evidence) and the ability of the West to feed the poor of the world. I am refuting this latter point. Edit note: I amended the word "misquoting" to "misrepresenting" in the first line, since I wouldn't want to misrepresent what FG did
  21. Twaddle Well at least I'm happy to engage in discussion of an important topic, although I feel we've moved away from Paul's original subject
  22. If you are suggesting that the food supply should be restricted as a means of population control, I think more than some people will find that notion offensive. Nope, I'm not suggesting that restriction of food supply should be used as a policy tool for controlling population. I'm saying that whatever restrictions happen to exist will delimit population. That's just a simple statement of self-evident fact. I'm saying that to promote a hypothetically limitless means of food supply is foolish and misjudged. There are many socially natural delimiters of population, and availability of food is just one of those. Others include genetics, disease, natural disaster, land area, culture and natural resources. Your suppositions that GM food is cheaper, that it can be delivered to those who need food, and that those people will be able to afford it when it arrives are all unproven hypotheses. You say that "The next several billion people are going to be born no matter what" but you have no rationale upon which to base this assumption. As you say, the population in first world countries is broadly stabilising. Well why is that ? Could it be that as a civilisation develops and matures, it instinctively regulates its population size so as to ensure that it can properly feed and maintain its population ? And do you find that notion offensive ? Nevertheless, if that is the case then why do you assume it will not happen in the third world ? Of course a simple reading of my post would have shown you that isn't what I was suggesting I suggested that GM foods aren't cheaper than non-GM foods. That's just the words of someone who is entrenched in his thinking, and doesn't ever want to risk being proven wrong And when you delete that section of your post, I'll delete this section of mine. We are very fortunate indeed that nobody in a position to make such decisions would ever think this way. What is sad is that there are still people who aren't willing to address the difficult questions, and would rather hope that the nasty realities in the world just went away. Anyone "in a position to make such decisions" who isn't concerned with the safety and sustainability of food production is the person we should be fearing.
  23. The fallacy of this argument is the same fallacy that projects the need to cover half the surface of a city with roads to keep traffic moving. The more roads we build, the more people will find that travel by car is cheap, fast and convenient. So more people will buy cars that they will use more often, clogging up the roads and enforciing the need to build yet more roads. It's the same with food. Food availability is a natural delimiter on world population. The more food we provide to the world, the more the population will grow, demanding ever more food. Whilst some may take offense at that idea, the reality is there today, staring us in the face. All the first world countries have food surplusses. They are producing far more food than their own population needs, or enabling other countries to produce the food for them to import. This has been so for the past hundred years, without the existence of GM foods. At the same time, the third world countries almost all suffer from food shortages. Now there are two different ways to define a food shortage --- too little food supply for the existing population, or too great a population for the existing food supply. Whichever definition you prefer, the important question is why do not the countries with food surplusses transfer them to the countries with shortages ? The answer is nothing to do with the cost of food production which is the angle that GM foods purport to address. It is due to the unavailability in third world countries of the means of distribution, and to do with the capitalist demand to maintain order in the worldwide food market. Neither of these problems is addressed by GM food production. In fact, many GM crops have been carefully and wickedly designed with a genetic makeup which disables the crop's ability to self-propagate. This means that the third world country will in perpetuity have to buy new seed from Monsanto and the like, placing them in thrall to those companies forever into the future. On the subject of cost, I would like to see evidence that GM foods, which have been sold in the USA for up to tewnty years (?) have had the claimed effect of reducing food prices. All my instinct says they have not. So why would they suddenly start to do so in the third world ? The whole argument for GM as a means to "feed the world" is specious. What the world needs to do is to decide how much food can safely and sustainably be produced on this planet, and then stop producing more. The population of the world will naturally adjust to that availability.
  24. That's a nicely terse summation of the problem, Paul. Taste is not a sufficient justification for everything that might be done in its name. There must come a point where the taste of the ingredients has to be subordinate to the requirement that food is food. To some extent at least, this must require naturalness, safety, and acceptable production practices. Edit: Awful syntax needed changing
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