Honey Garlic Spareribs

Ingredients

3 lb back spareribs
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine or white wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp Asian chili sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock or water

Method

  1. Trim spareribs and cut into racks of three ribs each. Place in roasting pan and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine honey, rice wine, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sugar, hoisin and chili sauce and pour over ribs. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  4. Stir stock into marinade and bake ribs uncovered for 1 hour or until tender, turning every 20 minutes and brushing with marinade.
  5. If marinade becomes too dry, add more stock or water; if it is too thin, reduce on stove over medium-high heat (the sauce should be thick but pourable).
  6. Place ribs on platter. Pour sauce over ribs and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Home for Dinner

The Spam Story: How the Luncheon Meat Became a Hit in Asia and Beyond

Bernice Chan and Alkira Reinfrank wrote . . . . . . . . .

Once in a while chef Jordy Navarra opens a can of Spam and shaves off thin slices of the processed meat before frying them crispy, then laying the slices on top of a bed of rice. The dish takes him back to his childhood.

“All of us sort of grew up on it,” the 34-year-old Filipino says. “It’s something I remember fondly. It’s comforting, one of those few things that my mom would prepare for me. And in that sense I enjoyed it, just because it came from her.”

Generations of Filipinos love eating Spam regularly, typically sliced or diced then stir-fried and served on a bed of steamed rice, sometimes with a fried egg. But how did this all-American canned meat make it halfway around the world?

An American staple for more than 80 years, Spam’s success story is one of ingenuity and resourcefulness. The luncheon meat is now devoured in 44 countries worldwide but it first came to life in 1937 in the small town of Austin, Minnesota.

To drum up interest in the canned meat, its inventor, US company Hormel Foods, launched a contest to name it. Actor Ken Daigneau, who was also the brother of Hormel Foods’ vice-president, won the contest – and US$100 – for coining the name Spam. The meaning behind the name has never been revealed.

Hitting shelves across America during the final years of the Great Depression, Spam quickly won over stretched homemakers because it was cheap, did not need to be refrigerated, had a long shelf life, and was extremely versatile: it could be fried, baked, boiled or braised. However, it wasn’t until World War II that sales boomed and Spam became a worldwide hit.

In 1941, when America joined the campaign, more than 50,000 tons of Spam was shipped abroad to feed allied troops. Not only was it the cornerstone of soldiers’ diets, they also used the grease from Spam to oil their guns and waterproof their boots.

From England to Asia-Pacific, wherever the troops went, so too went Spam, seeping into local cultures. The famous Monty Python sketch about Spam was such a hit, mentioning the word Spam more than 130 times, that it inspired the name of unsolicited emails – “spam mail”.

“Everywhere the soldiers went, they shared a lot of things with local populations because in most places they went, the local population was starving [like in South Korea and Japan],” says consumer behaviour researcher Ayalla Ruvio, an assistant professor in the department of marketing at Michigan State University.

“They shared everything – their clothes, their food – and they shared their Spam. When the troops left, they left their Spam with the local population [who] then adopted it favourably.”

Spam’s versatility allowed people from different countries to adapt it to their own tastes and cooking methods. It became a huge hit across Asia-Pacific and in Hawaii following the war, and is still enjoyed widely today.

“Spam became iconic in Asia because it was a taste of America without being in America,” Ruvio says. “It’s like drinking Coke. While you can’t afford to travel to America, you can eat and drink America or enjoy a little piece of America in your life.”

The processed food that contains six ingredients – pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate – comes in 15 varieties, though there are many more imitations. The official Spam website states that 12.8 cans of Spam are consumed every second.

South Korea is the second-largest consumer of Spam, after America, the site says. Koreans eat it in stews, fry it in egg batter and even gift it as a Lunar New Year present. In Japan, Spam is used in onigiri (rice balls), and is served alongside eggs.

In the Philippines it was the main source of meat for American soldiers stationed there during World War II. It is believed Spam was introduced to Filipinos as a kind of reward, and once the population had a taste of it, the processed meat disrupted the local food culture.

“Every day before lunch and before dinner, my grandmother would go to the market and buy fresh fish, fresh meat,” says chef Navarra. “But the convenience of Spam as an option changed things. It’s not the normal meal you usually have.”

He has heard of Spam being sliced and deep-fried like French fries, or even cooked in hotpot. But when it comes to his own restaurant, Manila’s Toyo Eatery, which promotes indigenous ingredients in his dishes, Navarra indicates that Spam will not be appearing on his menu any time soon.

“I don’t think we’re at a stage where we would do that, though I have seen some of my staff bring it in for their meals. But I guess never say never, right? It’s fun to play around with,” he says.

Though the US market remains the biggest consumer of Spam, in the decades following World War II Spam developed a stigma for being a poor man’s food – an attitude that persists. However, this negative perception never seemed to reach the shores of Hawaii.

Spam is a staple in the island state, where locals eat a staggering seven million cans each year in snacks such as musubi, where a slice of Spam is placed on top of a block of unseasoned rice and wrapped with nori.

Musubi is not just found in supermarkets and fast-food restaurants, but also in service stations, under warmers.

Chef Chung Chow describes Spam musubi as a “poor man’s sushi”, like a thick sandwich that’s easy to eat on the go. He was born in Hong Kong, but his family emigrated to Hawaii before he was a year old.

These days he is chef and co-owner of Noreetuh, a mid-priced gourmet Hawaiian restaurant in New York. On the menu are a few dishes featuring Spam, including spiced Spam musubi seasoned with pickled jalapeño and soy mayo, and kimchi fried rice with Spam and a fried egg.

We have a modern Hawaiian restaurant, that’s who we are, and Spam is a very important thing to the culture of Hawaii,” Chow says. “It’s one of those things that you grew up with eating as a child and into adult life. So you can find it in supermarkets, fast food places, takeout places, and you eat it at home.”

The 44-year-old says that when eaten at home in Hawaii, Spam is typically sliced and sautéed until it is golden brown on both sides, then seasoned with a touch of soy sauce on steamed rice.

“If you want to get a little fancy, sometimes we would dice up the Spam and put it in pan-fried rice, and add some frozen peas to give it some colour,” Chow says.

“Spam is inherently pork, and in terms of the pasta dish the Spam is the pork base. So I always wanted to elevate Spam in a way where people can enjoy it without thinking too much about what it is, originally. So by elevating it, adding truffles and Parmesan cream, all of that goes well with pork as a flavour profile.”

However, having Spam on the menu in a casual gourmet restaurant in the Big Apple might be off-putting for some.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the bestseller, because Spam has a negative reputation, a stigma around it. You have to come with an open mind … We do attract a good amount of Asian clientele, and by definition Spam is already in their diet and cuisine.”

“It’s amazing that this food became popular to begin with just because of the war,” Ruvio says. “Not many things become popular because of war, but this one did.

“The emotional bond that you built with this brand is what carried the brand for so long. When you have a product that answers real needs, then it will become popular. And that’s what happened with Spam.”

Source: SCMP

Review Supports Red Meat in Diet

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

There’s a lurking dread in the back of the minds of many people who love steak, burgers and bacon — the fear that what they enjoy eating might not be doing their health any favors.

But a major new review argues that folks can set those fears aside.

Cutting back on consumption of red meat or processed meat will not significantly reduce a person’s risk of heart disease or cancer, the evidence review concluded.

“Based on the research, we cannot say with any certainty that eating red meat or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease,” said senior researcher Bradley Johnston. He’s an associate professor of community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

As you can imagine, leading cancer and heart associations didn’t warm to the new findings.

The study’s conclusions were reached in part because the researchers considered people’s values and preferences as they crafted their recommendations, said Marji McCullough, a nutritional epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.

It’s no surprise that people who enjoy red meat would rather keep eating it, she said.

“It’s kind of like saying ‘we know helmets can save lives, but some people still prefer the feeling of the wind in their hair.’ And let’s face it, most people will be OK, they won’t crash,” McCullough said. “But everyone agrees you should wear a helmet, because public health recommendations are based on their effects on the population.”

However, using the evidence collected by the review, an international panel of experts have issued new dietary guidelines saying that most adults can keep eating as much red and processed meat as they like — a recommendation that’s contrary to nearly all other existing guidelines.

But study author Johnston defended the conclusions. “This is not ‘just another study’ on red and processed meat,” he said, “but a series of five high-quality systematic reviews to inform dietary recommendations.”

As a result, the expert panel’s recommendation on red meat is “far more transparent, robust and reliable” than other guidelines, Johnston said.

The full package of five evidence reviews and the expert panel’s recommendation was published online Oct. 1 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the journal of the American College of Physicians.

Current estimates indicate that adults in North America and Europe eat red meat and processed meat about three to four times a week, researchers said in background notes.

Many studies continue to report that red and processed meat is bad for you. For example, a Harvard-led study published June 12 in the BMJ concluded that people who increase their red meat intake by just half a serving a day boost their risk of dying over the next eight years by 10%.

But Johnston and his colleagues wondered if pooling the evidence obtained from high-quality studies and clinical trials might paint a different picture.

It did, as it turns out.

Among 12 clinical trials enrolling about 54,000 individuals, the researchers did not find any statistically significant or important association between meat consumption and the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

The researchers also pooled evidence from observational studies following millions of participants, and did find a very small reduction in risk among those who consumed three fewer servings of red or processed meat per week. However, they concluded the association was very uncertain.

These findings led a 14-member panel of experts from seven countries to conclude that adults could continue to eat red and processed meat as they now do.

The review focused solely on health considerations, and did not consider ethical or environmental reasons for abstaining from meat, the researchers noted.

Other research recently has shown that red meat consumption increases a person’s carbon footprint, contributing to global warming.

“We sought to clarify the evidence on health outcomes only, while noting that we are sympathetic to animal welfare and environmental concerns,” said Johnston, lead author of the new guidelines. “Indeed, a number of the guideline panel members have eliminated or reduced their personal red and processed meat intake for animal welfare or environmental reasons.”

The new research runs counter to a 2015 World Health Organization evidence review, which concluded that processed meat is a proven carcinogen and red meat is a probable carcinogen, based on the evidence for colorectal cancer, McCullough said.

“Therefore, the American Cancer Society continues to recommend limiting consumption of processed meat, as well as red meat, in order to save lives from cancer,” McCullough said.

“They’re not saying meat is less risky,” McCullough said. “They’re saying the risk that everyone agrees on is acceptable for individuals.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) also maintains its dim view of red and processed meat.

There’s strong evidence that you can improve your heart health by cutting down on saturated fat, said Alice Lichtenstein, an AHA expert and professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Boston.

“Major sources of saturated fat include meat and full-fat dairy,” Lichtenstein said. “Focusing on a single food or category of foods is overly simplistic and serves to misinform the public.”

One flaw of the new evidence review is that, while it included studies with vegetarian participants, it did not compare the health of those who eat meat against those who don’t, said Dr. Neal Barnard, founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a group that advocates for plant-based diets.

It’s true that people who eat meat less than once a week have about the same health risks as people who eat more meat, Barnard said.

But it’s also true that both those groups are much less healthy than people who cut meat completely out of their diets, he said.

“The headlines are going to say ‘burger lovers rejoice, you can eat all the meat you want,’ and that’s a completely irresponsible message,” Barnard said. “The correct message is that little changes give you little results. Big changes give you big results. You can choose what you want to do,” he added.

“It’s the equivalent of doing a review of the benefit of cutting down on cigarettes as opposed to quitting smoking,” Barnard concluded.

Source: HealthDay


Read also at SCMP:

Is eating red meat bad for you? Debate over new research reveals divisions among nutritionists . . . . .

Using Walking Patterns to Diagnose Specific Dementia Type

For the first time, scientists at Newcastle University have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia have unique walking patterns that signal subtle differences between the two conditions.

The research, published today in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, shows that people with Lewy body dementia change their walking steps more – varying step time and length – and are asymmetric when they move, in comparison to those with Alzheimer’s disease.

It is a first significant step towards establishing gait as a clinical biomarker for various subtypes of the disease and could lead to improved treatment plans for patients.

Useful diagnostic tool

Dr Ríona McArdle, Post-Doctoral Researcher at Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences, led the Alzheimer’s Society-funded research.

She said: “The way we walk can reflect changes in thinking and memory that highlight problems in our brain, such as dementia.

“Correctly identifying what type of dementia someone has is important for clinicians and researchers as it allows patients to be given the most appropriate treatment for their needs as soon as possible.

“The results from this study are exciting as they suggest that walking could be a useful tool to add to the diagnostic toolbox for dementia.

“It is a key development as a more accurate diagnosis means that we know that people are getting the right treatment, care and management for the dementia they have.”

Current diagnosis of the two types of dementia is made through identifying different symptoms and, when required, a brain scan.

For the study, researchers analysed the walk of 110 people, including 29 older adults whose cognition was intact, 36 with Alzheimer’s disease and 45 with Lewy body dementia.

The participants took part in a simple walking test at the Gait Lab of the Clinical Ageing Research Unit, an NIHR-funded research initiative jointly run by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

Participants moved along a walkway – a mat with thousands of sensors inside – which captured their footsteps as they walked across it at their normal speed and this revealed their walking patterns.

People with Lewy body dementia had a unique walking pattern in that they changed how long it took to take a step or the length of their steps more frequently than someone with Alzheimer’s disease, whose walking patterns rarely changed.

When a person has Lewy body dementia, their steps are more irregular and this is associated with increased falls risk. Their walking is more asymmetric in step time and stride length, meaning their left and right footsteps look different to each other.

Scientists found that analysing both step length variability and step time asymmetry could accurately identify 60% of all dementia subtypes – which has never been shown before.

Further work will aim to identify how these characteristics enhance current diagnostic procedures, and assess their feasibility as a screening method. It is hoped that this tool will be available on the NHS within five years.

Pioneering study

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “In this well conducted study we can see for the first time that the way we walk may provide clues which could help us distinguish between Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

“This research – funded by the Alzheimer’s Society – is pioneering for dementia. It shows promise in helping to establish a novel approach to accurately diagnose different types of dementia.

“We know that research will beat dementia, and provide invaluable support for the 850,000 people living with the condition in the UK today. It’s now vital that we continue to support promising research of this kind.

“We look forward to seeing larger, longer studies to validate this approach and shed light on the relationship between a person’s gait and dementia diagnosis.”

Dementia describes different brain disorders that triggers loss of brain function and these conditions are usually progressive and eventually severe.

It is estimated by the Alzheimer’s Society that people living with dementia in the UK will rise to more than one million by 2025.

Source: Newcastle University


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