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Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Things are really looking up!!!  I made my first walk around the block since the last time of broken pinky toe.   It took almost and hour (it felt like more) but I made it!!!!  Of course Lou had to stop to visit all his friends and stop and play with his “girl” Riley.   It was a long journey and I almost thought I could not make it.

I decided to go with Doctor #1.   I will see him on the 14th for my broken pinky toe which is a week shy of month 7.  I am guessing he will release me to return to work.  I have been receiving lots of calls from co-workers and it seems they are missing me.   I am going to enjoy my last couple of weeks at home.  I hope they all survive without me.

Yesterday I had a little set-back.  There was a BIG SPIDER and I jumped to get away from it and twisted my leg. Could not make my walk around the block yesterday but today it is feeling much better.

Not certain I can handle this going back to work thing.   What about my afternoon naps and spending time with my little wolf – LUPO.  Speaking of Lou I have some great videos to share with you.  If you have been reading my blog you know that when I fell down the stairs I was holding my new puppy.  He has been my constant companion through this whole ordeal.   He has since fallen in love with Riley.   I am certain that Lou will miss his afternoon visits to Riley!!!!


a) This article will be dealing only with the issue of Abraham serving milk and meat together and its relationship to our understanding of kosher laws.

b) This article is a little long, however, when one thinks of the billions, not millions, but billions of dollars wasted each year, not each decade, but each year enforcing a misinterpretation of a single sentence in the Old Testament, I think it is worth a few extra minutes of reading time to carefully examine the issues involved.

c) I am not: “a Christian” or: “a Karaite” or: “whatever”. My ideas are based on those of Maurice Nicole, who wrote several books, about 60 years ago, outlining his belief in: “a secret language” of metaphors which existed in ancient times. While I agree with the basic thrust of Dr. Nicoles’ ideas, my interpretations of the individual metaphors is different than his (Basically he based his work on Greek texts and I have based mine on Hebrew texts).

d) It is my belief that the authors of the New Testament were trying to convince the Jews that Jesus was the messiah. Whether one agrees with them or not is irrelevant for the purposes of this article. The relevant point here is that in their arguments these authors would have used language, imagery and symbols that were well known 2,000 years ago amongst the Hebrews, otherwise they would have had no chance what so ever of convincing them that their ideas were correct. Their ideas were radical enough in themselves to create resistance: Why would they complicate matters even further by introducing metaphors that no one had ever heard of before? Yet, even amongst the Christians themselves there were misunderstandings and the Christian belief that: “Jesus declared all foods to be clean” is in my opinion incorrect because Simon/Peter in the Book of Acts clearly states that, even after the death of Jesus, he was still keeping a kosher diet. Basically, what Jesus said was that “bad fruit” is a metaphor for: “false teachings”. Thus, in his comments about: “what goes in the mouth and what comes out” he was trying to explain that when we: “digest false teachings” this does not affect the “purity” of our beliefs (the term: “un-clean” is a mistranslation from the Hebrew), if we eventually reject these teachings and remove them from our: “body of knowledge”. If, however, we incorporate these false beliefs into our body of knowledge and then begin to teach these false beliefs to others, then, of course, the purity of our status as teachers of the word of God has been blemished.

e) It is my opinion that by studying the Hebrew language of the Old Testament we can get a better idea of the meanings used in the New Testament and, vice versa: by studying the language used in the New Testament we can get a better appreciation for the language and metaphors used in the Old Testament.

To begin this article I would just like to remind the readers that although Paul of Tarsus was the founder of the Roman Catholic Church, at one time he studied under the renown Rabbi Gamaliel and this same Paul of Tarsus described himself as a Pharisee. Likewise, although Ronald Reagan was a republican and went on to become President of the United States, when he was a younger man he was a democrat and a passionate supported of President Roosevelt. Never the less, even though he underwent a radical change in beliefs, I don’t think anyone is seriously going to argue that, “upon his conversion”, Ronald Reagan forgot how to speak English!

In the New Testament Paul of Tarsus tells his students that “the meat of his teachings” was too difficult for them, therefore he was going to provide them with the easier to understand (to digest) “spiritual milk”. In Hebrew the word for: “meat” forms the root of the word for: “preaching” and for: “gospels”. In addition to this, the word used for: “a female’s breast” forms the root of the word used in the New Testament for: “spirits” (usually in the New Testament these are described as “evil spirits”, but the spirits don’t all have to be evil spirits in the same way that not all angels are fallen angels).

Before actually dealing with the story of Abraham serving milk, butter and meat together and God actually eating this “forbidden” food, I believe it is necessary to discuss in detail all the various elements that come into play in the story. The key, I believe to understanding all the metaphors used in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the phrase: “The Tree of Knowledge….”. Since Adam and Eve only eat the fruit of this tree we can then draw the conclusion that: “fruit” is a metaphor for: “knowledge”. When we “grasp this key”, we can then go on to conclude that: “eating” must be a metaphor for: “learning”. This is, of course, reinforced by the centuries old saying of the rabbis: “the Torah is the Bread of Life”.

Although I personally don’t agree with them, the rabbis also say: The Books of the Law (the Torah) are the Tree of Life. The important point, however, is that if: “fruit” represents: “knowledge” then: “a tree” must represent: “a source of knowledge” (i.e. a book). In Hebrew the word for: garden” forms the root of the word for: “archive” thus when we think of: “Adam working in the garden full of trees”, we can begin to appreciate that “Adam was working in an archive full of books”. Thus: “work” becomes a metaphor for: “study”. The crucial element in this story, however, is that we are clearly told that the animals were placed in the garden to help Adam work. Furthermore, one of those animals can talk! It is my belief that: “animals” in both the Old and New Testaments are metaphors for: “different types of religious scholars”. Hence, in the New Testament, Jesus tells a woman the bread was for the children, not for the dogs (remember: the rabbis said: “the Torah is the bread of life”). Then the woman says that even the dogs can eat the crumbs that fall under the table (In modern times, must rabbis agree that: “a kitchen table” is a symbol for: “an altar”).

Additionally, Jacob compared his son: “Dan” to: “a snake” and the name Dan means: “judge”. Jesus is described as: “the word of God” and in ancient Israel: “the word of God” meant: “the laws of God”. Thus when Jesus compares his death to: “the bronze snake” that Moses raised up to heal the Israelites, there should be no doubt he is referring to: “the law”. Also Jesus told his disciples that they should be: “as cunning as snakes….”. The important point here is that in Hebrew the word for: “cunning” and: “naked” are the same, which we see reflected in the English language by the term: “naked cunning” and we must recall that when Jesus was crucified he was naked.

Another, extremely important metaphor to deal with in relation to the story of Abraham serving milk and meat together is the idea of: “cooking”. When Joseph comes to Egypt he is part of a spice caravan and he is sold to Pontiphar who, in Hebrew, is: “a cook” (the English translations which say he was: “Captain of the Guards” are incorrect). Since Pontiphar was a cook and Joseph came with a spice caravan we can then easily appreciate why Pontiphar liked Joseph so much.

Therefore, we should recall that Paul of Tarsus compared: “meat” to” “difficult to understand religious preachings”. Also we should note that in ancient times there was no refrigeration and spices served a duo purpose of helping to preserve meat and making meat more appetizing. What we can then see is that Joseph also has a duo role as: “the favorite son of Jacob” and “a spice”, and in these roles he provided “religious insights” to the preachings of Pontiphar.

You would think, since there was no television, that cooking made up a major part of the ancient’s day time activities and thus the Old and New Testaments would discuss this activity more often. Surprisingly then, the only other times cooking is discussed in detail is when Jacob cooks for his brother Esau and Rebecca cooks for her husband Isaac. The “key ingredient” in both these stories is the removal of the birthrights of Esau thru guile and deception (or, if you prefer: “Jacob and his mother behaved in a very cunning manner to circumvent the law”). What we begin to appreciate then is that if: “various types of food” (i.e. fruit, meat, milk, bread, etc. etc.) represent: “various forms of religious teachings”, then: “a cook” played a very, very influential role in society. In other words: A cook shaped the thoughts of people by making more appetizing and more digestible: “the food of knowledge” which entered their mouths.

This then brings us to probably the most misunderstood sentence in the entire Old Testament: “Thou shall not cook a kid (baby goat) in its mother’s milk”. In order to appreciate what’s going on here, first one must understand that in Judaism there is a system of study called: “the Gemara” which insists that every letter in the Torah has a numerical value and the combinations of these letters reveals “deeper meanings”. In addition to this, with the advent of computers, people have been developing codes whereby they insist that the Old Testament reveals names and places to those who set up the letters in the proper sequence and these: “embedded codes” can even predict future events. Therefore, if one accepts these two systems, then it is absolutely crucial that the word: “cook” is the correct word and that it was not substituted for: “served together”, because if: “cook” is not the correct word that both the Gemara and the Biblical codes would then be thrown hopelessly out of whack.

In the same way, if the Old Testament (i.e. God) says: a young goat” then he doesn’t mean: “a young cow” and when God says: “its mother’s milk”, he doesn’t mean” “another mother’s milk” or: “another species of animal’s milk”. Other wise God would have just written: “thou shall not cook young animals in milk”.

When we discussed Paul of Tarsus earlier we mentioned his comparison to: “milk” and: “spiritual teachings” and we already have discussed the connection in Hebrew between the word for: “a female breast” and the word for: “spirit”. Therefore, what I would then like to focus on here is the image of: “the goat”.

In the Old Testament, basically, there are two stories surrounding goats. There first is about Esau: the older brother of Jacob who, thanks to goat’s meat and goat’s hair, loses his father’s blessing. The absolutely crucial element of this story is that Esau is described as: “a hunter” and we are specifically told that Isaac:

a) Loved the meat of Esau

b) Loved the taste of goats meat (because Rebecca could have told Jacob to bring her two young lambs or too young calves, but she specifically requested goats.

The second story has to do with Judah and Tamar and the union which brought into existence the twins: Peres and Zerah.

As an aside, in addition to dealing with goats, both stories mention the color red, although in the 2nd story the color is actually scarlet. The word: “scarlet” in Hebrew is written in the exact same way as the word for: “second” and Esau, the boy covered in red hair and Zerah, the boy with the scarlet string tied to his hand, both finish up in second place (but I am sure Madonna’s authority on the Cabala explained all that to her before convincing her to place the red thread around her wrist). Also, in relation to the color red, I believe that it is important to note that Herod the Great, who tried to kill the baby Jesus, is a descendant of Esau and was not really a Jew. Furthermore, when Pope John Paul II said that: “Israel is the older brother” of the Roman Catholic Church he had it backwards. Esau is the older brother, and the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are covered in red cloth from head to toe, which is the exact definition the Old Testament gives of Esau. Finally, Herod the Great was made: “King of the Jews” thru appointment by the Roman Emperor, he was not selected by a Jewish seer or prophet as was King Saul and King David and then acclaimed by the people. It was also a Roman Emperor who made the Christianity of Paul of Tarsus the official religion of the empire; the people had no choice in the decision.

Returning to the story of Judah and Tamar, again the important element is deception. Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute in order to trick Judah into making her pregnant. Interestingly here, the Old Testament word used for: “prostitute” comes from the root of the Hebrew word for: “holy”. Unfortunately, Judah had left home without his American Express card, so they made a deal whereby Judah would give her a young goat in exchange for sex. What’s significant here is that we are clearly told that Judah was on the way to have his sheep sheared, so the question must be: Why did Tamar request a goat? Won’t it have been easier and more logical to have requested a lamb?

The most famous goat in the Old Testament is, of course, the scapegoat. This animal is selected to take away the sins of Israel and it is sent “to wander in the desert”. Significantly, when the Children of Israel refused to follow Moses into the Promised Land they too were sent “to wander in the desert”. In the New Testament there is the image of the “sheep being separated from the goats”. If Jesus is: “the lamb of God” and: “the word of God”, what then is being implied is that “a young goat” (i.e. a kid) is: “not the word of God”. Since we have shown clearly that: “meat” represents: “the preachings of men”, then what we are being told is that: “different types of meat” represent: “different types of preachings” and some meats are: “not pure” (the word: “un-clean” is a mistranslation).

In addition to this, it is forbidden to eat any meat, pure or not, with the blood still in it. What most people believe God says is that: “the life is in the blood”, but this too is a mistranslation from the Hebrew. What is written is that: “the soul is in the blood”. Hence, what we are really being told is that it is permissible “to eat” (to learn) meat (preachings) about certain religious subjects, except those dealing with the nature of the soul. This idea is reinforced in the New Testament when Jesus points out that all criticism will be accepted, except those criticisms against the Holy spirit.

In conclusion, we have shown that in the prohibition against cooking a kid in its mother’s milk, “cooking” is specifically mentioned, therefore serving goat’s meat together with goat’s milk is permissible as long as the meat is not cooked in the milk. We have also shown that it is the mother’s milk that is specifically mentioned and that mother’s milk is a metaphor for: “spiritual teachings”. We have also shown that “a goat” represents: “deceptive and false teachings”. This should be obvious since Isaac: “loved goat’s meat” and Isaac was: “blind”. Finally, we have shown that “a cook” has the ability to make “meat” more appetizing and more digestible (i.e. the preachings are: “easier to swallow”).

Since Abraham served beef, and not goat, the whole argument is irrelevant. Since Abraham did not cook the beef in the milk, again, the whole argument is irrelevant. Finally, since he served the beef together with the milk and God ate it, and we assume that: “God knows” a little bit more about: “the laws of God” than the rabbis do, then: eating beef and milk together must be okay, right?

Therefore, the prohibition of cooking a kid in its mother’s milk has nothing what so ever to do with eating a cheeseburger in Mc Donalds! What this law means is that it is forbidden to take deceptive religious teachings (goat’s meat) and disguising them in easy to comprehend spiritual terms (mother’s milk) using the fire of God (the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the tongues of fire etc. etc.) and make these deceptive teachings much more appetizing to men (cooking them). That the rabbis have taken this simple concept and, somehow, have decided that: “eating beef from Argentina together with goat’s cheese from Holland is against Biblical law” is absolutely astounding !

Closing comment: In addition to Esau, the Old Testament describes two other hunters: Nimrod: the descendant of the slave Ham and Ishmael: also a descendant of Ham and the son of the Egyptian slave Hagar. Esau too is described as: “the slave of his brother”. The uniting thread here is that Nimrod built the Tower of Babel using: “bricks instead of stone” and the Egyptians compelled the Israelites to build with: “bricks made with straw”. Thus Esau is a hunter who is associated with: “goat’s meat” (and goat’s hair) and Nimrod and Ishmael are hunters associated with: “bricks”. What unites the 3 men together is that: “goat’s meat” represent: “men’s false preachings about the law” and “brick’s” represent: “man made laws”.

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  1. Kosher foods
  2. What is Kosher Food, Kosher Rules, Products, Definition, What Does …

Unless you’re on of the lucky few who happen to live in a magical place that’s eighty degrees year round, the sun shines every day and the sounds of the ocean lull you to sleep every night the word winter probably brings to mind cold, white washed days bundled up inside eating warm, rib sticking meals to fight off the chills. Come spring, however, people spend more time outside, away from the kitchen, with their families and friends. Spring means light, flavorful dishes that are easy to make, don’t take a lot of time and leave one feeling fresh for a night of lounging in the backyard or around a bonfire.

The light not quite sweet, not quite savory flavors of spring bring back reminders of fresh cut grass and gentle breezes coming in through open windows, and our food should reflect this wonderful bliss in all of its glory.

Breakfast in the spring time should be light enough to keep one going through the hustle and bustle of the day, whether that be work, school or tidying up the house after a long winter. So put those heavy breakfasts aside and instead settle down with some fluffy oatmeal pancakes with fresh garnished with fresh strawberries on top. Another fantasticly light solution to those morning hunger pains is a few eggs, cooked to your own liking, garnished with fresh spinach or kale. This is also the perfect season for quick on the go breakfasts that can be prepared the night before and eaten over the week! Muffins can be a healthy, energetic morning kickoff for those with an early start to the workday, or for the kids as they make their way to the bus for school.

Keeping with the healthy trend that accompanies spring, this is the perfect time to prepare a fresh garden salad at home for the family or for work. Gone are the days of winter when lunch is typically a quick run for fast food in and out of the cold as fast as possible. Fresh garden vegetables with a simple dressing made with dill, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and a bit of honey with some oil for a light, healthy meal or mid-afternoon snack. You can substitute all kinds of ingredients in the dressings to suit your palette, such as ginger or raspberries if you want something more tangy. Of course if you still find yourself craving after just a salad spring offers the opportunity to hit the outside and fire up the grill for a flaky fish or juicy chicken breast marinated in an acid, such as lemon or lime juice, and an herb. These two things compliment each other very well, while the acid gives the meat a unique tang and makes it tender, the herbs give it that spring taste that everyone loves.

Dinner is the time when most people have issues in getting that signature spring taste into their meals, while keeping it heavy enough to satisfy everyone’s hunger. Luckily spring is the season for replacement foods! You can still make your spaghetti or meatloaf, but try substituting Spaghetti squash for the noodles, or eggplant for the beef. Seafood is also a fantastic option for dinner. Making a quick crab stew with onion and celery is a fantastic meal you can prepare early in the day and store away, allowing the flavors to develop making it taste even better once dinner rolls around. Burgers are, of course, a spring and summer staple, letting everyone add toppings to make their perfect creation. Caramelized onions, every cheese under the sun, and plenty of crispy greens with all the spices and condiments one can imagine, with veggie burgers allowing vegetarians and vegans to join in on the outdoors fun as well.

Drinks and dessert are a must have. Light, fluffy cheesecakes and whipped desserts dominate the spring months, leaving the mouth off on a fresh note that isn’t too heavy and doesn’t leave you feeling too full afterwards. The possibility for drinks is endless, cooling yourself off after work or a day full of outside activities with lemonade is almost cliche, but still so perfect. You can put a twist on it as well, making drinks from any fruit you please, watermelon is especially thirst quenching and simple to make using just fresh watermelon, some natural sugar and a bit of mint! An adult spin can even be put on them with a little bit of your favorite liquor.

Late night, when you’re settling down to a good book or a movie with your loved ones and friends, what’s better than a light snack to top off the day? Unsalted, un-buttered popcorn drizzled with a little bit of caramel or butterscotch makes for a deliciously sticky concoction that isn’t likely to make it past the first half of a movie.

The potential for fresh herbs, tangy dressings and flaky meats hot off the grill simply is unlimited. Whatever you might crave, spring offers it up and with the healthiest, tastiest spins available.

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  1. How to Lighten Up Your Favorite Meals : Recipes Made Healthy …
  2. 10 Easy Ways to Lighten Up Your Life for Spring – Wellness and …

When offered dessert, how many times have you said “Well, I really shouldn’t but…”  then proceeded to indulge on the richest most decadent dessert imaginable-down to the last bite?  Indulgent desserts are guilty pleasures for many of us so here is the ‘not-so-skinny’ on the top 10 most indulgent desserts.

1. Molten lava cake

Serving:                450 calories                         32g fat                  38g carbohydrates

Did someone say chocolaty creamy pleasure?  Yes please!  This dessert is an individual size chocolate cake with a smooth chocolate filling which flows out as the fork sinks in.  For extra excitement, try pairing it with berries and cream.

2. Mississippi mud cake

Serving:                                524 calories                         30g fat                  61g carbohydrates

This southern dessert is not your typical chocolate cake.  Mississippi mud cake is a heavy, moist, gooey and fantastic cake with layers of marshmallow cream.  There is much praise to be given to the inspiring muddy banks of the Mississippi River!

3. Tiramisu

Serving:                                310 calories                         15g fat                  39 carbohydrates

A delectable delight; with a medley of mascarpone cheese, liquor, cocoa, cream, espresso and lady fingers this Italian dessert is to die for.  Molto excellente!

4. Peanut butter torte

Serving:                                300 calories                         14g fat                  62 carbohydrates

Peanut butter torte is a layered and iced cake which has a menagerie of indulgent ingredients-chocolate, peanut butter and sugary sweet icing.  One version of the recipe is covered in crushed Butterfingers.  It’s mmm, mmm good.

5. Chocolate Mousse

Serving:                                361 calories                         26g fat                  27g carbohydrates

Unlike the hair product sold on store shelves, chocolate mousse is rich, creamy and oh, so wonderful for your taste buds.

6. Berry cobbler

Serving:                                500 calories                         13g fat                  94 carbohydrates

This unassuming dessert is packed full of the bad stuff.  However, it is also full of good ingredients which take away a smidgen of guilt from indulging in the pleasure of berry cobbler.  Eaten al la mode, the guilt factor will quickly return but the pleasure will double.

7. Lemon meringue

Serving:                                360 calories                         15g fat                  50 carbohydrates

Perfectly tart and sweet with a thick middle and light fluffy top, lemon meringue is definitely an indulgent dessert that has wooed many.

8. Cheesecake

Serving:                                260 calories                         20g fat                  20g carbohydrates

Ah, here it is!  Cheesecake which comes in every flavor under the sun has made many businesses very profitable.  Raspberry, white chocolate, mango praline; you name it, cheesecake has it.  With every pleasing bite and a crust that melts in your mouth, cheesecake can never go wrong.  Right?

9. Coffee cake

Serving:                                260 calories                         10g fat                  35 carbohydrates

This is a heavy cake that has flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar with crunchy crumbles covering it.  Coffee cake paired with a cup of java is hard to resist after dinner-or breakfast, or lunch…..

10.  Marbled brownies

Serving:                                170 calories                         9g fat                    20g carbohydrates

The caloric content for one of these brownies is not quite indulgent dessert material but who eats just one?  Beware this heavenly blend of chocolate and cream cheese can create serious addictions.

Keep in mind it is okay to have the indulgent dessert you have been eyeing all evening and to eat it too.  You know what you’re getting yourself into so don’t make excuses.  Being bad has never been this tasty!

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  1. 19 of the Most Indulgent Desserts to Make on National Dessert Day
  2. Best Cakes, Pies, Cupcakes and Super Indulgent Desserts by …

If you’ve read up on how to make beer yourself, you only have part of the story. There are a few hard-learned lessons that I wish someone had told me earlier in my brewing career. Here is a sampling of my favorite ideas that should make any home brewer’s life a little easier.

– Go Glass
No doubt about it, using a glass carboy is the way to go for fermentation. There are just so many upsides to glass versus plastic: it doesn’t scratch easily, it’s easy to clean, it lasts forever and you can see through it. Save the plastic bucket for when you bottle and when you soak items in sanitizer.

– Get A Carboy Handle
Ok, there is a downside to glass: it is slippery – and heavy – when wet. A simple carboy handle eliminates the danger forever. You’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

– Start A Siphon The Easy Way
Stop sucking on your siphon hose! I know that it’s an excuse to gargle with 100-proof vodka, but there are simply better ways to get the beer moving without the risk of contamination. I take my siphon hose, attach the straight plastic tube from my bottle filler, and then fill the whole thing with water from the faucet. When it comes out the other end, I use the plastic hose clamp that comes with most siphon hoses and clamp that end. I then quickly insert the bottle filler tube in the other hose end, making a complete loop. I usually hang the loop from some kind of hook until I’m ready for the siphon. By keeping the plastic hose clamp fully closed, and then pulling the ends apart, I can attach the remaining hose end to the racking tube without losing any water. When you are ready to start the flow, release the clamp and let the water run into any empty vessel until beer comes out. Practice it a few times with water to get the hang of it. It beats all other methods hands-down.

– Get A Bottle Washer
This beautifully simple piece of engineering costs between $10-15, but is worth its weight in gold. It screws onto your laundry tub faucet (typical hose fitting) and saves gallons of hot water. Rinse out you carboy and your bottles with more pressure, plus save energy – what’s not to like?

– Sanitize Your Strainer The Easy Way
Sanitizing solutions (bleach) will corrode metal mesh strainers that you likely use to filter out hop and grain residue. The easy way is to boil the strainer along with the beer ingredients. Just fashion a paper clip to hook into the strainer handle and for the other end to hook on to the edge of your brew kettle. Problem solved.

– Get Lots Of Mesh Bags
You’ve likely seen these at homebrew supply shops: little mesh bags with a drawstring at the top. I use these for adjunct grains before the boil and for hops during the boil. These handy and inexpensive bags virtually eliminate the tedious process of straining out chunks from your brew.

– Add A Little Something
Once you get the mesh bags, adding in hop pellets and adjunct grains will result in a beer with more complex character, and for very little extra work. Crushing a half-pound of crystal malt and putting it in your kettle before the boil adds a nice body to the finished product. And don’t get me started on the heavenly aroma your beer will have when you use hop leaf or hop pellets . . .

– Check Out The Dollar Store
Nobody said you have to buy everything at a homebrew supply store. I’ve bought turkey basters (cheaper than a glass wine thief), metal strainers, funnels and thermometers for less money at big box stores, and yes, even dollar stores.

– Grow Your Own
Growing your own barley is probably out of the question. Growing your own hops is not. With the recent run-up in the price of hops, buying a hops rhizome will set you back less than it might cost for the hops needed in two recipes. I have two Cascade vines that produce a lot of hops with pretty much zero care. Check out supply houses, all of which tend to ship in the Spring. You’ll be surprised at how cheap they are. Best of all, you can cut your rhizome back in a year or two and get another plant for free! Did I mention that I like free?

If these tips make for happier brewing, then mission accomplished on my part. After all, the goal of this hobby is to have fun. All I ask in return is a toast to me if your beer turns out better after following these tips. Don’t worry; I’ll hear it.

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  1. Ten Top Tips for Home Brewing Beer – BeerSmith
  2. 20 Tips for New Brewers – Brew Your Own

Green Tea

Famed for its health and medical benefits, green tea has found its popularity rise in recent years thanks to a healthier outlook from the public in general. Whereas before it may have been seen as something only socialites would drink to try and “stand out” from the crowd, now green tea is drank everywhere from restaurants to fast food outlets. But where did it originate from, and what has made this more popular than others?

There are different claims as to how old green tea, or the drinking of green tea, really is. Since there are variations in the tea, with many South Asian countries having their own type, no-one can really state for certain how long this tea has been consumed. However, records show that it’s been drank for at least 5,000 years in both India and China, although you can find variations in Thailand and Japan as well.

Indeed, in 1191, there was even a book written on how beneficial green tea can be by none other than the famous Zen Buddhist, Eisai. Not only did he describe how good green tea was for your body and internal organs, but also how it could ease various bodily ailments such as indigestion and fatigue. This knowledge has carried itself through the centuries, so that even today these are major reasons for people to drink green tea.

Depending on which country the green tea comes from, there are various ways to brew it. However, as a guide, the following is pretty much standard practice:

For each individual cup, use one teaspoon of green tea. This equates to approximately 2.25 grams of tea should be used, with a measuring of six ounces in water.
Use water that is extremely hot, but NOT boiled, as this will ruin the flavour completely. For best results, aim for a temperature between 82 88 degrees centigrade.
Let the tea steep for between two to three minutes, for optimum flavour, before pouring into measured cups.

Although many people would say that tea is tea and that green tea is no different, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The taste can vary from country to country; even green tea from different provinces in the same country can taste different from other provinces. Therefore, depending on your taste, you may find that you prefer one country or region’s tea to another.

For example, the most commonly known green tea is that from China, and this can vary wildly in taste dependent on the province. The most famous green tea, Xi Hu Longjing, is found in the province of Zhejiang, and is pan-fried. Due to this method, it has a slightly richer taste than other variations from nearby locations.

Then there is Gunpowder tea, which is also founding Zhejiang but is of a lower quality. This tea is “only” 1500 years old at most in its origin; the name comes from the way it is rolled into small pellets before being brewed. The lower grade leaf tends to not lend itself to as nice a flavour as Xi Hu, but it is still a very popular cup.

In fact, with China being such a proponent of green tea, it’s not surprising that there are over twenty variations from six different provinces, all with their own little variation in taste. Whilst you have the range from lower quality to higher, such as the two afore-mentioned Zhejiang teas, you can also find teas that are somewhere in between. Hyson, which is mainly from the Anhui province but can be found elsewhere, offers a more mellow tasting tea, usually from the leaves being harvested earlier.

It’s not just China that green tea is associated with these days, though. Now, Japan, Thailand and India all have their own variations. Japan, perhaps more so than other countries, is now finding itself popular for importers of green tea, who don’t wish to manoeuvre through the minefield that can be trying to get through customs and costs with the Chinese government.

Although Japanese green tea is thought to be less palatable than its Chinese counterpart, that would be to dismiss some extremely appetising teas. Some of the best Japanese green tea, as found in the Kyoto district, can more than hold its own with the Chinese variation. For instance, Matcha is a powdery green tea of very high quality, and is so popular that it is actually used in the Japanese “tea ceremony”, which many Westerners will recognise from various Hollywood films that portray a server in traditional garb serving tea whilst in a sitting position. A proper ceremony can last up to four hours.

Another popular type is the Kabusecha green tea, which is more delicate in flavour due to the leaves being left to grow in the shade whilst they are being harvested. Although not quite as widespread or popular as Chinese green tea, Japanese tea is still found in over ten different provinces of Japan, and is becoming just as popular as their neighbour’s version.

If you wish to try other teas from different countries, you may wish to look to the ones from Darjeeling or Ceylon in India, which use similar methods to the Chinese and Japanese tea brewers but infuse it with slightly different herbs to create a more varied flavour, or from Vietnam, Indonesia or even Brazil, which lends a South American slant to this ever-growing drink.

Image Credit


  1. Tea Buyer's Guide and Steeping Tips – EatingWell
  2. The Hacker's Guide to Tea – Lifehacker

Since discovering the coffee tree more than a thousand years ago, coffee berries and beans have stimulated the minds of men. With a rich enticing brew of evolutionary process. Transcending its religious roots to become the world’s second most valued economic commodity.

The fact that coffee commenced from humble beginnings, survived the darkest of ages, and emerged as worldwide leader, second only to oil, is testament to those who promoted and denied it. And while there is no scientific proof as to its exactness, the fragmented historical accounts and oftentimes mythical route of coffee reveal a tale as intriguing as any present day murder mystery novel.

Caffeine may have been responsible for primitive man’s sudden awareness and subsequent evolution. in his book, Coffee; The Dark History, Antony Wild theorizes,

“Coffee has always been associated with speed of cognition and expression, and the sudden dawn of self-awareness in the Genesis story concerning the forbidden fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge’ is something that could have been prompted by a psychoactive substance such as caffeine.”

Native lore dictates that sometime between 575-850 BCE, various African tribes chewed coffee berries as stimulants while other tribes formed round edible eats of ripe crushed coffee berries mixed with butter to heighten aggression and increase stamina during long journeys and battle. Wine was made out of the fermented berry pulp and was sometimes roasted to make a sweet, woody liquid.

Stories suggests the rich aromatic smell and taste of coffee was first discovered sometime between AD 300-800 by an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi. Kaldi’s goats became very active after eating the red berries of a local shrub and kept Kaldi awake most of the night. Kaldi later ate the berries himself and felt elated.

Upon suggestion from his wife, Kaldi took some berries to a local monastery where they were rejected as the tools of Satan and thrown into a fire. However, after smelling the delicious aroma of burning coffee beans, the monks raked the beans from the fire and crushed them to extinguish the embers. The chief monk ordered the grains to be placed in the water to preserve their goodness. The liquid extract was later consumed and allowed the monks longer hours of prayer.

Not coincidental, a third legend boasts about a Muslim dervish who, when left to die from starvation after being condemned by his enemies, received an intuitive message to eat the berries of the coffee tree. The dervish obediently soaked the berries, drank the elixir and was revived. Thus coffee became synonymous with faith, spiritual practices, and religious ecstasy.

Coffee was given various names and was originally scribed as a medicinal cure in an encyclopedia of substances by Arabian philosopher and astronomer, Rhazes (AD 850-922). Eleventh century Islamic philosopher and physician, Avicenna of Bukham (980-1037 BCE), called coffee “bunchum” and claimed bunchum “fortifies the members, cleans the skin, and dries up the humidities that are under it, and gives an excellent smell to all the body.”

The story of how the coffee trade first evolved is as elusive as how coffee beans were originally found. The groundwork for international coffee trade remained largely undocumented up to 1550; however, recent genetic research suggests the first coffee beans of trade originated from Harar, east of the Kaffa province. Yemen imported plants from Harar. Yemeni traders cultivated the beans and were the first to actively trade the new beverage.

With the help of the Turkish-Ottomam Empire, which was at the center of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds and contained 29 provinces that stretched from the Atlantic coast of Morocco in the west to the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf in the east, and from the edge of Austria, Hungary and parts of Ukraine in the north to Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen in the south, Yemen exported to the rest of the Arabian world through the port of Mocha.

In order to secure their monopoly on coffee production, the Yemenis boiled or sun dried their green coffee beans to prevent germination and ensure no coffee tree grew outside Africa and Arabia. According to legend, however, in the 1600’s all this changed and agricultural expansion occurred when Baba Buden of India left Mecca with seven fertile seeds strapped to his belly. Baba sprouted the fertile beans in a cave in South India and later planted them in the jungle.

Religious Muslim law forbade the consumption of alcohol yet initially accepted the energizing properties of coffee. Coffee revived dervishes, kept worshipers awake and, consequently, filtered slowly into the streets and taverns of daily Muslim living. Lemonade vendors served it alongside cold drinks.

The first official coffee house opened in Constantinople, the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, in 1475. As coffee continued to increase in popularity, so too did religious debate among the conservative orthodox imams at the theological court in Mecca. Was coffee an intoxicating beverage that went against the laws of the Qu’ran? Because coffee was consumed as a woody wine or stimulating brew, and because the Qu’ran prohibited of any form of intoxication, coffee required special ruling.

On 20 June 1511, lord Kha’ir Bey, inspector of markets, spotted a number of men drinking what appeared to him to be alcohol in buildings resembling taverns outside the mosque. Because coffee altered the state of the body, mind, soul, Bey placed a ban on the consumption of coffee in the city of Mecca. Unfortunately Bey underestimated coffee’s popularity and was ordered to rescind the ban by the Mameluke Sultan of Cairo.

Coffee met with the approval of the Court Physician to Suleiman in 1522 which further secured its medicinal position in society. After the Ottomans took Cairo in 1517, coffee spread throughout the newly united territories. So too did coffee houses. However, after a series of prohibitions, coffee was once again banned in Mecca. Coffee houses were smashed in 1535 and coffee house customers were imprisoned.

Coffee became an intellectual and literary obsession during the sixteenth century and permitted night time activities that expanded beyond religious reach. Ancient Islamic traditions were challenged and broken as entertainment and hospitality moved from people’s homes to public coffee houses.

Strangers and men of different stations in life shared beverages, conversations and debates. Contentions increased between coffee lovers and antagonists. At the same time coffee was adopted as the drink of Islam it also served to undermine the power and authority of religious and secular groups.

By 1566 there were six hundred establishments selling coffee within the Ottoman Empire. Coffee houses evolved to include gambling, games, music, dancing, business, trade, and politics, as well as the smoking of opium, hash and tobacco. Coffee houses were an integral part of the imperial system and contributed to various professions and businesses including future trade and prostitution.

In 1570, as men crowded into coffee houses and out of mosques, religious leaders argued that coffee was an intoxicant and coffee houses were dens of iniquity. Ironically, while coffee taverns remained open, in spite of the fact that they were forbidden under Islamic law, and street merchants continued to sell coffee alongside lemonade, coffee houses were banned and forced underground.

Offenders against the ban were severely beaten upon first offense and murdered for subsequent offenses. Thankfully, by 1580, the consumption of coffee was so widespread that there was no alternative but to turn a blind eye and revoke the ban. Coffee continued to rise and fall with each subsequent ban until the late 1800’s when attitudes towards coffee softened.

Coffee spread rapidly between 1880 and 1886 largely due to the Emperor Menilek who himself drank coffee, and Abuna Matewos who helped dispel the belief of the clergy that coffee was strictly a Muslim drink.

North American historians can not seem to agree on whether or not coffee was first imported to Canada or the United States. Although it is not certain, some say Captain John Smith brought coffee with him in 1607 when he founded the colony of Virginia at Jamestown.

However, respectable American historian of coffee, William H. Ukers concedes the first mention of coffee in the New World occurred in 1668. Records indicate coffee replaced New York’s prized breakfast beer in 1688 and became America’s patriotic national drink as a result of the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

Coffee trickled slowly into Europe in 1615 and was sold primarily in small quantities for medicinal purposes. However, as in Mecca, religious controversy rose in Italy when clerics suggested it was the drink of the devil.

Yet despite appeals to ban the Muslim drink, Pope Clement VIII intervened with an open mind and tasted the beverage himself. Clement VIII enjoyed the beverage so much he baptized coffee as a true Christian drink. Coffee received the green light for consumption for the rest of the non Muslim world. The first coffee house opened in Venice Italy in 1645.

Jacob, a Lebanese Jew opened the first coffee house in Oxford England in 1651. Cirques Jobson opened the second in 1652 and Arthur Tillyard opened the third in 1655. Tillyard charged an entry fee of one penny. Coffee cost two pence. Tillyard’s coffee house founded the Royal Society which gained the patronage of Charles II in 1662 and was to become the most illustrious scientific institution of its time.

The first coffee house in London England opened in 1652 by Pasqua Rosee. Rosee was Daniel Edwards’ servant who served coffee each morning to Edwards’ guests. Because the interest in Rosee’s drink caused great curiosity in Edwards’ social group and increased his list of guests, Edwards financed Rosee’s coffee house.

Based on the new London Directories of 1739, there were 551 coffee houses in England. Of the 144 coffee houses in London England, half of the buildings in the area where Pasqua Rosee had first set up were coffee houses.

One of the world’s largest insurance companies started as a coffee house in 1688. Edward Lloyd, of Lloyd’s of London, opened a coffee house primarily for seafarers and merchants. Lloyd created a list of each ship’s inventory and their insurance needs. Lloyd’s list of inventory and insurance needs attracted underwriters who sold insurance to merchants through Lloyd’s coffee house.

Like Lloyd’s of London several other coffee houses transformed into more lucrative businesses. One such coffee house was Johnathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley, whose customers were primarily stockbrokers. Johnathan’s Coffee House later became the London Stock Exchange.

Coffee houses in England grew in part because of medical claims made by doctors of its healing properties. And because coffee was slightly cheaper than beer, coffee houses gained popularity at the expense of taverns. Unhappy at their loss of business, tavern owners launched aggressive attacks against coffee house owners claiming coffee was not suitable for well-mannered Christian men. Women followed suit.

The Women’s Petition Against Coffee of 1674 claimed coffee houses kept women’s husbands away from home during crisis. It also claimed coffee robbed men of their sexual virility. Women observed their drunken husbands leaving the taverns and entering the coffee houses in attempts to become sober. Men countered with “Men’s Answers to the Women’s Petition” telling women they should be thankful for coffee as it was in fact an aphrodisiac.

On 23 December 1675 King Charles II issued a proclamation for the suppression of coffee houses that spoke of evil and dangerous effects. Not only did Charles order all licenses to sell coffee be withdrawn, he withdrew the licenses of vendors selling chocolate, sherbet and tea. The public retaliated in outcry and after eleven days of its inception, the ban was lifted.
In a twist of irony, after women started drinking coffee another law was made which allowed women to divorce husbands who failed to procure them with coffee.

It was then that rulers decided to impose a levy and profit from coffee. As a result coffee was made legal thus opening the floodgate of acceptance, rapid succession, and flow for international consumption of coffee.

Coffee came into European fashion after the Ambassador of the Turkish Ottoman Empire to the court of Louis XIV in Paris offered it to all Parisian High Society who came to visit him. The catalytic influence of the Parisian High Society resulted in Vienna’s first coffee house in 1683.

While legend tells us coffee was introduced to India through Babu Buden in the 1600’s, the earliest reliable report dates the presence of coffee in India in 1695. And in 1616 it appears the Dutch obtained a coffee plant from Mocha to take back to Holland. Seeds from this plant were sent to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in 1658 but failed to produce due to lack of effective farming. The Dutch established successful coffee plantations in Java in 1699 which quickly rivaled the Mocha trade. By 1731 the Dutch stopped buying coffee from Mocha and restarted plantations in Ceylon.

The British ceased control of Ceylon in 1796 and cleared more land for coffee plantations. For a brief period in time, Ceylon became the world’s largest coffee producer. All this changed when an outbreak of leaf rust in 1869 weakened the coffee trees throughout India, and by 1879 the productivity of the plants were no longer economically viable.

Meanwhile, the Dutch focused their efforts on their coffee plantations in Java, Sumatra and Celebes and met with incredible success. Amsterdam became a trading center for Dutch coffee. By 1822 the Dutch ruled the coffee market producing 100,000 tons of the world’s total consumption of 225,000 tons. However, by the turn of the century, the Dutch market was surpassed by Brazil’s slave coffee economy.

While it’s not certain how King Louis XIV received a young coffee tree in the early 1700’s, it is a fact he created the first greenhouse in which the coffee tree grew. In 1723 Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, a naval officer of the king, requested a clipping from the king’s coffee tree but was denied. De clieu stole a seedling from the King’s Royal Botanical Garden and set sail for Martinique, a French colony in the Caribbean. The fact that the seedling made it to foreign soil and thrived is nothing short of miraculous.

On his return to Martinique, a jealous passenger attempted to steal de Clieu’s coffee seedling and tore off a branch. Later, the ship de Clieu traveled on was attacked and almost captured by pirates. A violent storm followed as did hot dry heat. De Clieu shared his rationed water with his seedling. Finally, De Clieu returned to Martinique where he successfully transplanted his seedling on his own estate.

Two years later, de Clieu reaped the first harvest which he distributed to doctors and intellectuals on the island. Coffee was quickly adopted by the locals. By 1726 coffee plantations had spread across the face of Martinique and into neighboring islands. Coffee production was so successful in the Caribbean that King Louis XIV made de Clieu governor of the Antilles.

The rest of the story of the world’s largest coffee empire is ambiguous. One story claims the governor of Guinea’s wife concealed a coffee cutting in a bouquet of flowers which she gave to her lover Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Mello Palheta who was sent to Guinea to resolve a border dispute between the French and Dutch.

Another story claims a coffee seed was imported into Surinam in 1719 and reached Brazil in 1723 though records indicated the first coffee tree planted in Brazil occurred in 1767. Regardless of how coffee came to be in Brazil it is important to note that when rust disease struck the Eastern coffee world Brazil emerged the world’s greatest coffee empire and continues to hold that title today despite its inferior tasting robusta coffee bean.

Over the past 200 years more efficient methods of coffee production have been discovered and new variations of coffee produced. As industries progressed, so too did coffee houses. And to meet the demands of shortened labor breaks, instant coffee was created.

Today over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year. Coffee has given birth to various cultures and has created a wealth of business. Coffee has transcended religious beliefs and is consumed world wide by men, women and children in virtually every establishment.

From its humble beginnings coffee was favored for its stimulating properties and continues to be the stimulant we rely on to help get us through the day and night. Who would have thought such an evolutionary process could sprout from one little coffee bean.

Image Credit


  1. Humble Origins – Facebook
  2. Great Coffee On Campus: National University of Singapore | Cheap …

Here in Australia I would say most people would equate American food with such things as burgers (most specifically the Big Mac)and French fries (kinda funny really when they’re supposedly French by origin), fried chicken (particularly KFC), hot dogs with mustard, milkshakes, coffee and donuts.

I must say I enjoy all these things from time to time – though I’m not a big coffee drinker – the only way I like coffee is in cafe late or cappuccino form and not too strong. I only drink coffee when we’re out at a cafe or coffee lounge – and I really resent being served bitter brew. Personally I believe that, considering what big business coffee-making has become even in Australia in the past decade or two, those who are making a lot of money from it should jolly well take it seriously and ensure they’re serving coffee that even the fussiest coffee connoisseur would be satisfied with. After all, the average cup of coffee costs roughly $4 (or more) these days.

We love chicken here in Australia. I can remember when I was a kid, chicken was something you only had as a Sunday roast maybe a couple of times a year if you were lucky – and it was even regarded as exclusive Christmas fare. These days it’s common for people to eat chicken in one form or another several times a week – and it’s just so convenient to pick up a barbecue chicken from the supermarket. But I have to say that nothing really compares with Kentucky Fried chicken – that delicious crunchy coating with the unique combination of spices – which is even yummier when you have the leftovers next day. It’s great value too – much better value than a McDonalds meal, which can work out awfully expensive for a family these days. When you get a family meal at KFC you get a great feast of chicken and all the extras to go with it. Their mashed potato and gravy is yummo too – while their coleslaw is about as good as you can get commercially. KFC was actually the first of the American fast food chains that I remember coming to a nearby town in Tasmania, where I grew up. We would only have it occasionally and my mother just loved it. We still have it in memory of her on occasions like her birthday or the anniversary of her death.

I also have to say that there are no donuts as good as the ones I remember from the agricultural shows (equivalent of American county fairs) when I was growing up. They used to advertise them as “hot American donuts” and call people to come and watch them being made. They were the type that actually have a hole in the middle (not all donuts do), were coated in cinnamon sugar and were SO soft and squishy and decadent – they would just melt in your mouth. Mmmmm! I have had them at shows in recent years – but this year I was so disappointed when my husband bought some donuts as we left the show hurriedly in a downpour – and they were disgusting – tough and tasteless – not at all like they should have been.

In recent years the Krispy Kremes donut chain has come to Australia and whenever people from our city flew to Sydney they would bring back a box or two of these culinary delights. Now we have our own outlet here in Canberra though and last year when my daughter spent 10 weeks in hospital we went through a few boxes because the newly-opened business was nearby. I have to say that the plain glazed donuts are absolutely sumptuous – I actually far prefer them to the fancy iced ones.

Americans may be surprised to know that some of their traditional fare isn’t common here in Australia and indeed we would not have even tasted some things you would take for granted that everybody would be familiar with. I would just love to try Fried Green tomatoes – and pumpkin pie is a treat many Aussies would never have tasted. Pumpkin is something we mainly eat as a vegetable – roasted, steamed or boiled – and in soup. I have tasted pumpkin pie made by an expatriate American and it really was delightful.

Bagels aren’t such common fare here as they are in America either. I wouldn’t remember when I last had a bagel (though the genuine thing is certainly very nice – I say genuine because sometimes so-called bagels are just glorified bread rolls). When we do have them they are just plain and filled with maybe sliced meat and salad or other fillings. We don’t have them in all kinds of flavours as Americans seem to – and they are certainly not common breakfast fare here as they apparently are in America.

We do love beef steak here in Australia – but we don’t often have enormous steaks like Americans do – except at some cafes or restaurants that are known for serving up massive offerings which take up a whole dinner plate. Few of us would have ever tasted buffalo steaks either.

I have an American e-pal who describes in detail all the elements of special meals on festive occasions – and sends photos of the great feasts. I must say I always wish I could be there. If there’s one thing Americans know how to do it’s eat comfort food. Australians are very experienced at it too. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as we don’t get too carried away too often. Right now it’s nearly evening here in Australia and I haven’t had much to eat since breakfast (which being Saturday was actually “brunch”) – so I’d be very happy to have anything from the menu outlined above!

Image Credit


  1. My Top 5 Favorite American Foods | Divas Can Cook
  2. Top 10 America's Favorite Foods |

Living in Southsea I have plenty of restaurants on my doorstep, but one of my sons decided he’d had enough of the place and was offered a job in Bristol, so off he went. Having given him three weeks to settle in, I thought it was about time I went for a visit. It’s a city I was until now totally unfamiliar with, but it seems to have a lot to offer. After a good walk and a visit to the museum, we were feeling peckish and ready for a sit down. My son suggested Wagamama, having been once before, and I’m usually ready to try a new place. Southsea has nothing in the way of Japanese restaurants and I can’t vouch for the authenticity of Wagamama, but at least it was a different experience for me.

I wasn’t convinced at first that sitting on a wooden bench would be a relaxing way of eating a meal after traipsing round Bristol for two hours, but I was actually surprised that it was quite comfortable, as long as elbows on the table were allowed. I should say, however, that I am not much over five foot tall, whereas my son is about six foot three and didn’t find it quite so easy on his back. We arrived not long after four o’clock when the place was not busy and were able to put our jackets and bags on the bench next to us, but it occurred to me that if you were part of a group or went at the busiest time, you might not find anywhere to put your things.

Menus were brought as soon as we were seated, and I liked the sound of the apple and lime juice. My son was disappointed that the sake is served chilled; he insisted that it should be warm. He ordered an Asahi Beer instead. The waiter offered us sparkling water as an accompaniment, but we said plain tap water would be quite enough, thank you. The drinks were brought very quickly. My juice had a layer of pulp at the top so I gave it a good stir with the straw, but the pulp soon insisted on rising again. The juice was delicious, very refreshing with the twist of lime, but I was left at the end with a considerable amount of undrinkable fruit pulp.

Rather than starters, Wagamama offers side dishes as accompaniments to main meals, and these range from miso soup at 1.35 through freshly steamed green soya beans at 3.50 to deep-fried black tiger prawns at 5.90. Since I usually find a main course is more than enough, we decided just to go for one main dish each. My son was immediately attracted by the teriyaki steak soba (noodles) with chillies, beansprouts, onions, mangetout and bok choi from the special menu for the day. I was torn between the salmon ramen, a grilled fillet of salmon on top of noodles in a pork and chicken spiced miso soup with seasonal vegetables, and the ginger chicken udon noodles with bean sprouts, onions, chilli, egg and mangetout. Seeing how large the bowls of miso soup were, I decided on the ginger chicken udon.

Numbers signifying our choices were scribbled on the paper mats by our waiter, who tried in vain to persuade us to add a side dish to our main meal. There was then a wait of about twenty-five minutes, as all food is freshly cooked at Wagamama. This does mean that one dish may be served before another, and in fact my ginger chicken udon arrived a good couple of minutes before the teriyaki steak. I can see that this might cause a problem if a group of people were dining together would the first one have finished by the time the last one was being served? With two people, it doesn’t matter a great deal. We weren’t in any hurry, and I would rather wait and have well cooked food than be served in five minutes with something heated up in a microwave.

We both enjoyed our meals and had nothing to complain about, but my plump udon noodles proved too much and I wasn’t able to finish them. The pickled ginger had a gorgeous taste, the chicken was very tender and the vegetables very fresh, not overcooked. My son ate every last mouthful of his, and he is easily put off if something is not quite right. I should perhaps mention that only chopsticks are available; these are disposable, and I found it quite hard to separate mine.

We had considered sampling the desserts, which are craftily listed on the paper place mats so that you cannot avoid reading the details. The white chocolate and ginger cheesecake, tamarind and chilli pavlova, and mango with lime zest and lychee sorbet all sounded very tempting, but we both really just fancied a coffee and decided we’d cross the road for a browse around Borders and take a book into Starbucks (not the best choice, as it turned out). Another time I’ll leave some room for that pavlova, I think. I noticed also that green tea is served free of charge.

The bill came to 25.25 altogether, to which we added a tip. I felt that the food was excellent value considering the quality, but I would say that 2.85 for the apple and lime juice was not cheap for a drink that became undrinkable towards the end.

I would give full marks for both cleanliness and service. The waiter (or server) did try to tempt us to order extra drinks and side dishes, but he was extremely polite, prompt and efficient, making a point of standing by the door as we left to thank us and say goodbye.

There are half a dozen main courses specially for children at Wagamama; one is a fish dish, one vegetarian, and the rest are based around chicken. Vanilla ice cream or fruit lollies are on the kids’ dessert menu, and they can have fresh orange or apple juice, or a mixture of both.

Wagamama is not a restaurant with a great deal of atmosphere – there is no music, and I did become very aware at one point of the noise of clattering glasses as they were washed. I’m not sure I would be quite so keen on going at the busiest times when complete strangers could be nudging each other and wondering where to put their belongings. Having a private conversation could be difficult. I know that it would not be everyone’s idea of the perfect restaurant, but I hope I do have a chance to go back one day, ideally at a similar quiet time. I’m still thinking about that tamarind and chilli pavlova with raspberry sauce…

63 Queens Road

Tel. 0117 922 1188

Opening hours: Monday Saturday Noon 11pm; Sunday Noon 10pm

Disabled facilities are available.

Image Credit


  1. Wagamama
  2. Franchise CHOPSTIX NOODLE BAR – Chinese Fast Food Chains …

The history of coffee is a complicated one indeed. It was discovered around the year 500 AD somewhere in the middle east, no one is exactly sure where. There are many legends on the origin of coffee, one claiming the exiled Arab Sheik saved himself from starvation by turning the berries on a coffee shrub into soup. However, there is still no evidence to this day on the true origins of coffee.

I found that around 700 AD Africans drank coffee with animal-fat balls for energy and relaxed at the end of the day with a wine made from berries off coffee shrubs. This is also about the time when coffee made it’s debut in Arabia, most likely by Arab tradesmen. By the end of the 9th century Qaha, meaning that which prevents sleep, was being made by boiling coffee beans in water. Coffee drinks soon became known as Arabian Wine, as Muslims are not allowed to drink wine but used coffee as a happy substitute. Coffee is known to have been used in Mosques, during times of prayer, at the Holy Temple at Mecca and before the tomb of the Prophet. Oddly enough, it was not until people used coffee for food, wine and medicinal purposes that it was discovered you could create a delicious drink by roasting the beans. By the end of the 13th century Muslims were drinking coffee constantly. Wherever Islam went coffee followed not far behind.

Between 1250 and 1600 coffee was being cultivated from the Yemen area of Africa when extensive planting began. At this time the Arabs guarded coffee jealously. They were desperately trying to prevent coffee from traveling to other countries. They refused to allow coffee beans out of the country without first being sun-dried or boiled to kill the seed-germ. It is said that coffee did not sprout outside of Africa or Arabia until the 1600s. It was this reason that Yemen served as the world’s primary source for coffee.

We all know that at some point in history coffee made it’s grand escape, so where did it go to first? In about 1473 coffee was introduced to Turkey. Two years later a man named Kiv Han created the world’s first coffee house in Constantinople (now known as Istanbul). In the year 1511 Khair Beg, the governor of Mecca tired to ban coffee saying that it’s influence would foster opposition to his rule. The ban ultimately led to his execution by order of the sultan. The sultan then declared coffee as being sacred. Around the year 1600 Italian priests asked Pope Clement VIII to make coffee forbidden to Christians. They said coffee was part of the infidel threat to their country. After taking his first sip, the pope found the drink delicious and deemed it an acceptable Christian beverage. By the mid 16th century coffee was available in Egypt, Syria, Persia, and Turkey. Coffee shops could be found in the cities of Medina, Cairo, Baghdad, Alexandria, Damas, and Istanbul. At about the same time King Solomon the Magnificent’s Turkish warriors introduced coffee to the Balkans, Central Europe, Spain and North Africa. Attempts to ban coffee during this period occurred frequently, but with little effect.

It is thought that Captain John Smith brought coffee to North America around the year 1607 when he helped found the colony of Virginia. By the end of the 1660s coffee had succeeded in replacing beer as the ritual drink with breakfast in New York City. There were coffee houses everywhere including New York of course, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. These American coffee houses though, not only served coffee, but ale, wine, beer, and chocolate as well. They also had rooms for rent. The Green Dragon coffee house in Boston became popular with the British officers at first and would later become the meeting place of John Adams, and the others plotting the revolutionary war!

It wasn’t until the year 1615 when Europe’s first shipment of green coffee beans was received in Venice and later in 1683 the first coffee house there was established- Caffe Florian. However, the British were the first Europeans to drink coffee commercially. Their first coffee house was built in Oxford in 1650 opened by a Turkish Jew named Jacob. In 1652 coffee houses began to pop up all over London. Within just a few years there were hundreds of them all over the place! In 1656 the Grand Vizir of the Ottoman Empire succeeded in closing the coffee houses of Turkey.

Later in 1669, the Ambassador of the Turkish Ottoman Empire brought coffee to the court of King LouisXIV, and offered it to all who visited him. He even convinced the king to have a taste, unfortunately the king preferred hot chocolate! Then in 1674 The Women’s Petition Against Coffee was set up. The women complained that the men were not to be found in times of domestic crises the were too busy in the coffee shops drinking coffee and talking all night long. They circulated a petition protesting ” the grand inconveniences accruing to their sex from the excessive use of the dying and enfeebling liquor.” On year later in 1675, King Charles the second tried to suppress the coffee houses claiming they were “hotbeds of revolution”. His proclamation was later revoked after a huge public outcry- the ban lasted only 11 days.

It wasn’t until the end of the 16th century that coffee really spread throughout Europe. In 1683 coffee found it’s way to Vienna just after they had been besieged in war with the Turks. Polish Army Officer Franz Georg Kolschtzky claimed all the stocks of coffee left by then fleeing Turkish troops for himself. Later he opened the first Central European coffee house in Vienna. This is where he created the method of filtering the grounds, adding a sweetener and adding milk to coffee hence creating Viennese Coffee.

In 1690 the Dutch were the first to smuggle a coffee plant out of Arabia, becoming the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially. They established the East India coffee trade by taking the coffee plan to what is now known as Sri Lanka ( then called Ceylon ). As a result Amsterdam, then became the trading center for coffee.

By the 17th century the popularity of coffee became such that the city of London had more coffee houses back then, than they do today! To find a coffee shop in those days, one would simply sniff the air for the aroma of roasting coffee beans, or simply search for a wooden sign shaped like a Turkish coffee pot. Now even though Venice and Marseilles had coffee during the first half of this century there was no trade of the product there. Here’s a little bit of information for you, it was in the English coffee houses where it became customary to tip your servers. Yes, people who wanted good service and better seating arrangements would put money in a tin labeled ” To Insure Prompt Service” or what is now called the tip jar.

Jonathan’s Coffee House in London was where stockbrokers usually met. Later it became known as the London Stock Exchange. Also, ship owners and marine insurance brokers visited Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House. It too moved up in the world and became the center of world insurance and the headquarters of Lloyds of London.

In 1714 the mayor of Amsterdam sent a young coffee tree to King Louis XIV as a present. This plant was given to the royal botanist to place in the King’s Royal Botanical Garden. It would be that very plant’s seedling descendants that would wind up producing the whole Western coffee industry! Naval officer Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu was in Paris on leave and requested some of the King’s tree clippings to take back to Martinique with him. No, he wasn’t exactly handed over clippings of the tree but permission wasn’t denied either. He was determined to get them! So under light of the moon he raided the King’s Garden and managed to steal a seedling from the greenhouse. On the way back to Martinique he encountered a number of setbacks, including a branch being torn from the seedling, the ship being attacked, and a heavy storm. Upon his arrival he planted the tree on his own estate, where under armed guard it yielded an approximate total of 18 million trees by the end of 1777!
By 1715 the French had introduced coffee into the New World. British coffee consumption began to decline as import duties for coffee increased. The British East India Company concentrated on importing tea as the market began to grow.

In 1727, the Brazilian emperor sent Lt. Col. Fancisco de Melo Palheta to French Guiana to mediate the border dispute between the French and Dutch. The Colonel succeeded in settling the dispute. He also initiated an affair with the governor’s wife! In the end, it paid off, at the governor’s dinner, she presented him with a bouquet of flowers containing hidden cuttings of fertile coffee seeds. That is how the world’s greatest coffee empire sprouted, and created the great coffee plantations of Latin America.

We all know the name Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed his “Kafee – Kantate” or Coffee Cantata in 1732. Partly as an ode to coffee the other part was taking a stab at the movement in Germany prohibiting women from consuming coffee claiming it made them sterile. The cantata includes the aria “Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have coffee…”

As is written in American history tea was still the favored drink in the colonies until the year 1773 when the people of Boston revolted against King George’s high tea tax. Everyone knows the story, the people of Boston raided the English merchant ships in the harbor and threw their cargo of tea overboard. This act became known as the infamous “Boston Tea Party”. This is also when Americans switched from tea to coffee ,because it was their patriotic duty.
In 1775, Prussia’s Frederick The Great attempted to block imports of green coffee as Persia’s funding lowered. He urged his subjects to drink been instead of coffee and called the increase in coffee consumption disgusting. He even hired men to walk to streets sniffing for the outlawed aroma of home roasted coffee beans. A public outcry a short time later swayed his decision.
In the 1780s the first coffee brewers to feature a place for the filter ( Mr. Biggin coffee pots ) began to surface and became very popular. To make coffee one would place a sock filled with coffee grounds across the mouth of the brewer and pour hot water over the grounds. The coffee was then dispensed from a spout on the side of the pot. The quality of the coffee depended on the sized of the grounds – too course and the coffee was weak, too fine – and the water wouldn’t go through the filter. A major problem with the brewer was the taste of the cloth filter – no matter if it was cotton, burlap, or an old sock – would always be in the taste of the coffee!

By the year of 1800 Brazil’s harvests would turn coffee into a drink not only for the upscale and high class, but a drink for all! In 1818 the American’s created what was known as Cowboy Coffee by pouring the beans into a pot with water, and boiling them. When they were done being boiled they would strain the coffee before consuming it. At this same time a Parisian metal smith named Laurens invented the first coffee percolator.

People were always inventing new and improved ways of making coffee and in the year 1882 Louis Bernard Rabaut invented the world’s first espresso machine. He found a way to force hot water through the ground using steam instead of simply letting it drip through. In 1889 an Illinois farmer named Hanson Goodrich patented an American percolator coffee pot. Claims have been made that he was not the true inventor that it was James Mason who created it in 1865. In the 1890s the plunger filter ,or what is now called the French Press coffee brewer, was invented. It works by having the coffee grounds in a filter compartment that is lowered into the hot water and then pulled up again by a rod when the brewing is complete. The idea behind this is that the grounds could be removed before the coffee becomes bitter. French Press brewers are still quite popular today. There are some claims that an Italian named Calimani invented the French Press brewer in 1933.

In 1905 an Italian named Desiderio Pavoni, bought a patent from Luigi Bezzera and formed the first company ( La Pavoni ) to market a commercial espresso machine. Pavoni hired famous designers to design his machines for him.
Now we enter present day coffee. It started as just a simple plant, but by the 20th century it developed into both instant and decaf! Decaffeinated coffee came to be in the year 1903. A German coffee importer by the name of Ludwig Roselius gave a batch of ruined beans to researchers. They were not the first to try but the first to perfect the process of removing caffeine from coffee beans without completely destroying the flavor. Mr. Roselius marketed the coffee under the brand name ” Sanka “. Sanka was later introduced to the U.S. in 1923.

Satori Kato, a Japanese – American chemist from Chicago invented the first soluble coffee, however, George Constant Washington, a chemist living in Guatemala invented the first mass produced instant coffee. In 1906 he began experiments and began marketing his products, Red E Coffee, in 1909. In 1938 after being asked by Brazil to solve the problems of their coffee surpluses, Nestle created freeze dried coffee. Nescafe was developed and first introduced to Switzerland. It wasn’t until after 1956, after the invention of the TV, that instant coffee really became a hit. There wasn’t enough time in a commercial break to really brew a pot of coffee or tea, but there was just enough time to fix a quick cup of the instant stuff! No need to really say it but Nestle and General Foods saw this as their big chance to market and advertise their individual instant coffees and they took it. This was also about the same time when tea companies started to fight back with coffee and introduced the creation of the tea bag. The government took control of the British tea trade during the second World War causing the introduction of rations which continued until 1952. After the war was over though, people never really picked up the tea habit again, the stuck with coffee.

In 1946 Achilles Gaggia of Italy perfected the modern day espresso machine. He created a spring lever system enabling the use of a higher pressure. He brought his revolutionary machine to London sometime in the 1950s and opened up his very own mocha bar – the first modern day coffee bar.

Due to the economic importance of coffee exports, many of Latin America’s countries made arrangements prior to WW2 to allocate export quotas so that each country would get their fair share of the market. The first coffee quota agreement was made in 1940, but it was not until 1962 that the idea was accepted by the entire world.

In 1971 Starbuck’s opened its first location in Seattle’s Pikes Place market. It was in 1972 that Vincent Marotta invented the first automatic coffee maker for home use, prior to this in 1963 the Bunn corporation introduced the automatic drip coffee maker for use in restaurants.

During the five-year period when this agreement was in effect, 41 exporting countries and 25 importing countries agreed to its terms. Are-negotiation of the agreement was made in 1968, 1976 and 1983. Participating nations did not sign a new pact in 1989 causing world coffee prices to plunge. There were a series of crop failures, most notably in Brazil in the early 1990s which meant that coffee prices increased dramatically. Only recently have prices begun to drop again.

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  1. History of coffee
  2. National Coffee Association USA > About Coffee > History of Coffee