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FREE Summer outdoor movies return to Mount Airy

Lillian Bijl (left) and Tara Bucci, Mt Airy USA interns, are going around the neighborhood stapling up posters for the popular “Moonlight Movies” series this summer. Starting with an outdoor showing of “Frozen” at 8:30 pm on June 20th  in the park adjacent to the Lovett Library at Germantown and  Sedgwick Avenues , the series continues on Fridays there, and on Saturdays next to the Trolley Car Diner. At Lovett, moviegoers may patronize “Dining under the Stars” food trucks or bring their own picnic dinners. Mount Airy USA, Trolley Car Diner, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Valley Green Bank  and a certain big box store sponsor the  popular series of mostly G and PG rated films through August 16th. For more information, visit http://gomtairy.com/events/moonlight-movies-in-mt.-airy.html.

Complete list of movies:

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Eating energy bars made from crickets

Weavers Way Food Coop has introduced a new line of energy bars  - ones made with crickets.

On Tuesday, staff members at the Chestnut Hill store sampled Chapul’s Thai Cricket Bar.

Jon Roesser and Lara Cantu- Hertzler appeared pleased with the bar’s coconut-ty, gingery taste. Roesser noted that cricket flour was listed as the fourth ingredient and figured (correctly) that it served as the bar’s protein source.  Cantu-Herztler was a little queasy about eating insects but thought it was a good idea.

Rick Neth hadn’t seen the product before but reported that in his native Cambodia, insects are sometimes eaten in certain regions.  Farm raised crickets might be baked, used in stuffed, roasted peanuts, or fire-roasted.

On its website, the Chapul company is asking people to join the other 80% of the world’s population who, it says, regularly consume protein-rich insects as part of their diet, and effect a revolution against traditional land-and-water intensive, polluting agriculture.

At the conclusion of the accompanying video, staffer Joe Stanton is mulling over a mouthful.

Watch video interview here.


McDonald's high school worker aims higher

mcdonalds worker

Danielle Taylor of Germantown, a 12th grader home schooled through Agora Cyber Charter School, works 30 hours a week at the Chestnut Hill McDonald’s. She’s paid at the rate of $7.25 an hour which she thinks is OK for someone, like herself, in high school. She gets no benefits; after a year’s work she may be entitled to a raise of 25 cents an hour. Her goal is to attend college, major in business and technology – and it sounds like she wants to stay out of the fast food industry.

Danielle was interviewed on Thursday December 5th, a day when fast food workers in 100 cities across the nation staged walkouts in support of the right to unionize and demands for a more livable wage.

Watch video interview here


Empty Bowl Dinner fights hunger and homelessness

Diners get to pick out a hand made bowl

Twenty five percent of Philadelphians live below the poverty level. This somber statistic was delivered last night to hundreds of diners, along with delicious soups and breads donated by dozens of restaurants and caterers, at the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s 15th annual “Empty Bowl Dinner”  held at the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Through a large network of religious congregations and volunteers, the Network (“NPIHN”) provides emergency and transitional housing and support services to families facing homelessness, like the Baez family, now “alumni”, who recounted their continuing personal struggle to support themselves and stay together as a family.

Watch video here.

The Baez family found shelter with the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network


Ploughing new ground at urban farm

moldboard plow at HGC farm - 2

Scott Blunk employs a moldboard plow to break new ground at the Henry Got Crops Farm in Roxborough, Philadelphia. Blunk, who worked for the John Deere company at one time, explains that this plow is based on an early Deere design and was known as “self cleaning” because it cuts out slices of turf  and then dumps them  upside down off of the share  or blade. (See Wikipedia for an expanded technical explanation) The newly plowed area, part of the CSA farm’s expansion, will get planted this fall with a cover crop to add nitrogen and nutrients before eventually coming into production the year after next.  IS THERE A PLAN FOR WHAT’S GOING IN HERE? “No. I’d like to plant marijuana. Maybe that’ll be approved by the spring of 2015, whadda you think?” Watch video here.

moldboard plow at HGC farm - 4


Herr's potato chip factory tour

Potato chip tourThe story goes that in 1853, a restaurant patron at a New York resort who complained of a soggy french fry gave rise to the invention of the potato chip. Tori Messaros, a college biology major on summer break, gives five hour long tours a day of the Herr’s Snack Factory in Nottingham, Pennsylvania near the Maryland border. And she is just one of many guides- tours start every 20 minutes 9 to 4 daily except Friday. For Messaros, it’s a family affair: her mother runs the tour center. Large glass windows in corridors above the production floor offer real time views of the different production stages. Our tour started with tortilla chips and then moved on to potato chips. Except for a handful of workers in the box packing area, the factory rooms otherwise appeared eerily empty with only one or two workers making the rounds or attending to a machine. The machines operate around the clock with three shifts of workers a day. Leftover corn kernel and potato peels get recycled to the Herr’s farm and potato starch from the slicing process gets sold. The time it takes a potato to enter the chute, get washed, peeled, sliced, rewashed, fried, seasoned and packaged, takes six minutes, Messaros says. But it took only a couple of minutes for our group to devour just off-the-line hot chips and pick up two small complementary bags of chips before being dropped off in- where else -the factory gift shop!

Watch video interview and Vined tour here

Information about potato chip production

 


For the love of books and cupcakes

brunettes sell cupcakes + books

Claudia Stemler (right) and Laura Belmonte (left) are cramming bookshelves wherever they can into their“ brunettes’ bookshopbakery” – in a low swinging door and into upright support columns. They hope customers will buy  cupcakes and books and talk books while the pair is baking away in their new shop in the Market on the Fareway (formerly the “Chestnut Hill Farmers Market”)  Prices for the “gently used” books are $5 for hardbacks and $4 for trade paperbacks. Since people have been donating books, the brunettes are not yet accepting trade-ins. Additionally, they are cooking up plans for book-of-the-month picks and a book club. watch video here


Combines yoga, hula hooping

hula catch

Vanessa Hazzard-Tillman teaches hula hooping in East Falls, entertains at parties and at the Public Eye: Artists Animals July 4th Vegan Potluck picnic in Harper’s Meadow in Chestnut Hill, she showed off some of her stuff.  A former clown and currently involved with the vibrant Philadelphia circus arts community, Hazzard-Tillman is also a massage therapist and yoga instructor.

She especially likes to combine yoga and hooping. While being distracted by her young son, Phoenix, she nevertheless managed to twirl a hoop smoothly around one rotating foot in the air while switching from one yoga pose lying on the ground on her side to an inverted pose.

Hooping is good for muscle toning, she explains while demonstrating some “off-body” exercises that can be easier than “on-body” exercises.

Hazzard-Tillman often studies online videos and is now training to do fire hooping.

The circus community likes to give back, she says, introducing one of her ambitions. In addition to being President of the United States and a rock star according to her online profile, she hopes to successfully audition with a troupe that instructs youngsters in circus arts in one of the refugee camps in northern Thailand. The two-month program in which the children learn juggling, clowning, poi spinning, silks and hooping culminates with the refugee children mounting their own performance.

Hazzard-Tillman makes her own hoops out of black polyethylene tubing, covers them fun tape like Batman or Hello Kitty themed patterns and also sells them online through Amazon and her own website nirvanalandessentials.com where she also sells jewelry, gemstones and African soap.

Her business card also lists her profession as “Reiki Master/Teacher.” Had my interview with her continued further, I definitely would have asked how she manages to juggle it all!

Watch video here.

See other photos here.