Pros and Cons of Copper Cookware

So you see the famous cooks on television and you wonder why almost all of them use copper cookware.  Is copper cookware only for the stars, or is it fit for regular cooks, too?  Even if you think you’ve made up your mind, you should read these pros and cons of copper cookware. The superior heat distribution and conductivity of the copper cookware make it the leading candidate among cookware options.  Ever wondered why it’s copper electricians use?  Copper conducts electricity and heat like no other metal.  When used in cookware, the copper material reduces heating time and overall cook time for your meal, while cooking evenly. The copper surfaces of the pots and saucepans are a breeze to clean.  Even though you cannot put them in the dishwasher, you’ll have no complaints for the clean up time involved. Finally, copper cookware has a classic, ever-popular look.  You will want to display your copper cookware for all to see.  Everyone will be convinced that you must be a professional cook when they see your cookware. 

There are downsides to copper cookware, however.  Copper is the most expensive type of cookware.  For many people, it’s simply out of their price range.  It’s also extremely heavy, the heaviest of cookware.  These are two major downsides to copper sets. But the most striking downside of all is that what you buy isn’t necessarily the same product that you’ll have in months or years.  Even though copper cookware is so heavy, it is easily dented.  Scratches too will mar your once perfect pots.  And if you cook acidic meals frequently, the inner lining of the pot will tarnish as the metal is leached into your meal.  This effect can even be toxic.  In this case, you must find an expert for specialized polishing and repair. In many ways, copper can be the best cookware, superior to the other choices in many ways.  Before you make your purchase decision, it’s important to keep in mind both the pros and the cons of this material.  For some, it can be a very good decision, for others, it would be a poor choice and one they would regret.

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Use a Wok for Authentic Asian Cooking at Home

Do you want to cook those great Asian meals at home?  Do you want to cook healthier?  If you say yes to either of these questions, a wok is just the tool you need for your kitchen.  Having a wok will allow you to make plenty of great tasting food that is at the same time surprisingly healthy and exciting.

The wok is designed to be used with a high heat for a short duration.  There is a relatively small area which is directly under the heat source and sloped sides.  Cooks toss the meal contents from the bottom area to the sides and back again to avoid burning, while at the same time cooking in the flavor they add.  The shorter cook time saves you time on the one hand, but surprisingly reduces overall fat content in the food, making it a much healthier meal.

The wok is the perfect way to encourage yourself to eat vegetables you know you should eat, but rarely do.  After all, how many recipes for broccoli are really enticing?  And if they are, they are probably drizzled in that cheese you know you shouldn’t have.  But adding broccoli and other vegetables to your stir fry can be the perfect way to include them in your diet.  If you have a great sauce, those extra vegetables will seem all the more acceptable to you.

Finally, unless you are going to head down to one of the Mongolian stir fry restaurants every time the urge hits, you need to learn how, and have the proper tools, to make your own delicious Asian meal.  The wok is the only way to go here.  Trying to cook a delicious Asian meal in a saucepan simply won’t do.

Once you realize the benefits of a wok, you really can’t afford not to try using one yourself.  You will be a happier, healthier cook once you give it a shot.


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Obama’s White House Seder: staffers bid farewell to a Passover tradition

Three aides unable to get home for the holiday hosted the future president at a hotel ceremony in 2008. It became a yearly ritual, leading to the first White House Seder

Saturday 19 April 2008, had been a beautiful day, but there were no windows in a conference room at the Sheraton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where the conference table was set for the Seder dinner, the ritual feast that marks the Jewish festival of Passover.

This particular Seder would gain great significance, however, as a tradition that would pass from this Harrisburg hotel room to the White House, where it would become the first ever celebrated there. On Thursday, the same celebrants who began the tradition, back when they were young staffers on the campaign trail for then senator Barack Obama, will sit down again together for Passover with the president for the ninth and final time.

The idea came about when 22-year-old national advance staffer Herbie Ziskend, 23-year-old ground logistics coordinator Eric Lesser, and 31-year-old new media director and videographer Arun Chaudhary realised that they wouldnt be able to make it home from the campaign for Passover, and instead decided to hold a Seder for themselves in Harrisburg.

The setting wasnt perfect. Its not the worlds most light hotel to begin with; frumpy carpets, slightly mildewed, and we were in the basement, Chaudhary remembered. With no disrespect to the hardworking people at the Harrisburg Sheraton, Ziskend said, it was literally the most ordinary hotel Ive ever been to.

On the table were the traditional ceremonial ingredients of a seder dinner: Kiddush cups and Manischewitz wine, matzo and gefilte fish, and Haggadas the books from which, at Passover, Jews retell the story of the exodus from slavery in Egypt all requisitioned by Lessers cousin, who was a student at the University of Pennsylvania.

The rituals also involve a symbolic lamb shank bone, but the hotels kitchen didnt have one, so Lesser improvised by stripping the meat off a chicken drumstick.

The Sheraton was playing host to a cheerleading competition at the time, and the first sign that the junior senator from Illinois was near was a Beatlemania-like scream which went up from the hallway. Then, several secret service agents bounded in and looked over the room one of them, Chaudhary remembered, even checked inside the soup tureen. Then, Obama opened the door and said: Is this where the Seder is?

Even by the standards of the hard-fought 2008 primary, Saturday 19 April had been a long and exhausting day. The previous evening, Obama had spoken in Philadelphia to his largest crowd to that point in the campaign, but the primary was a morass. Clinton was going to win the state, and the staff could feel it; and as if that wasnt enough, Obama was dealing with the fallout of the Rev Jeremiah Wright story.

Michelle Obama lights candles during a Seder at the White House in 2012. Photograph: Pete Souza/The White House

Obama had spent the day on a whistle-stop rail tour from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, making half a dozen stops along the way. Ziskend, who worked in advance logistics, had been racing at 80mph ahead of the train to get to each location before the senator arrived, to hand out signs to volunteers and rope off the area for the local press.

It was past 9pm by the time the group sat down together, but the Seder ritual offered a bounty of much-needed respite. For the senator and all of us it was a pause, Ziskend said. And the Seder is supposed to be a pause.

Part of the Passover tradition includes an invocation to recline; rituals of rest and reflection are key to the celebration. And so we paused from this historical campaign, we paused from how tired we were, paused from the ups and downs of travelling. We knew deep down that our lives were about to change and the senators life would change the most and this was a chance to reflect, Ziskend said.

The conversation did not avoid politics entirely. Passover is a political holiday, Chaudhary said. Its about oppression, tyranny, resistance, community. It wasnt lost on any of those around the table that they were retelling the ancient story of a peoples escape from slavery at a Seder with the man who would become the countrys first African American president. I think theres no way to engage with this holiday without it being quite political. But that being said, I dont think we go farther than that.

One thing, [when] we did the reading out of the Haggadah, it just wasnt fair, Chaudhary said with a chuckle. The rest of us were just civilians and then you get to Obama, one of the greatest orators in his generation when hes doing Pharaohs voice, it was hard not to feel a bit shown up.

At the end of the Seder, tradition calls for a toast of next year in Jerusalem, but in Harrisburg, Obama toasted to next year in the White House.

After the election, the Seder night became a cherished tradition of the Obama administration, allowing a rare moment of tranquility away from the stresses of politics. When we did the first one, we all kind of knew this was our 40 years in the desert, but the desert was the Sheraton Harrisburg, Ziskend said. We knew he was going to win, and we knew that our lives were going to change in a dramatic way the most for the senator. This was [his] last break and [his] last rest.

In 2009, the Seder became the first ever held in the White House. Only a dozen people were there in Harrisburg, including Ziskend, Lesser, Chaudhary, Jen Psaki now White House communications director adviser Valerie Jarrett, Obamas body man Reggie Love and a few others; it has remained a small, family affair, with no press or dignitaries allowed.

It stays remarkably the same, Ziskend said. This will be the ninth year that weve done this, and it really is the same tradition the same jokes are told, the same rituals, the same funny stories come up. In a lot of ways it looks like any other Passover that youd see in the US.

In 2008 in Harrisburg, Lesser said, it was bare bones. That was part of the specialness there was no plan, no seating chart, just everyone gathered after a very long campaign day. In the White House, the Seder is more formal it takes place in the ornate family dining room, and celebrants eat off the Truman dishware, to celebrate the president who first recognised the state of Israel. One year they used a Seder plate donated by Sarah Netanyahu.

A White House chef cooks food based on family recipes given by attendees, such as Ziskends grandmothers matzo ball soup, and Lessers mothers carrot souffl.

Other than that, the Seder is, Ziskend said, much like any other. Politics is always there, he said, but no more than around the table with all of our families. Obama has made one addition to the traditional ceremony the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Another part of the Passover tradition is to fill a cup of wine for the prophet Elijah, though Ziskend joked: The difference is, you know Elijah isnt coming because he wouldnt get through the secret service! One time, Chaudhary said, Susan Sher chief of staff to the first lady had her macaroons impounded by the organisation.

Ziskend, Lesser and Chaudhary all worked in the White House after the election Ziskend as a special assistant in the vice-presidents office; Lesser as a special assistant to Obama aide David Axelrod; and Chaudhary as official White House videographer but have all since left. Ziskend is now director of public policy for the tech investment firm Revolution LLC, and Lesser is a Massachusetts state senator. Chaudhary has been back in the midst of the Pennsylvania primary, as creative director for the Bernie Sanders campaign. But they all will return for Seder night on Thursday the event is being held on the sixth night of Passover rather than the traditional first night to accommodate the presidents recent trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia.

In this turbulent election, and in the final year of this tradition, emotions may well run high. When you gather with a group of people for almost a decade, its an emotional thing when it comes to an end, Ziskend said. I dont know whats going to happen next year … but [at the end of the Seder], well say: Next year in Jerusalem.

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‘He can’t cook’: NFL draft prospect dinged over culinary skills | Fox News

Eli Apple can play football, but one scout wonders if he can cook. (Associated Press)

College footballs departing stars have been poked, prodded and pestered by NFL teams in the lead-up to tonights annual draft, but an unnamed scout found a new red flag with one potential first-round pick: He cant cook.

Having already excelled at the 40-yard dash, the 225-pound bench press, a grueling interview and a host of other tests that followed his illustrious career at Ohio State, cornerback Eli Apple learned his lack of culinary know-how could hurt his chances of being a top choice.

“I worry about him because of off-the-field issues, an anonymous scout told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can’t cook. Just a baby. He’s not first round for me. He scares me to death.”

The anecdote took to new heights the absurdity of the draft process. Players are given intelligence tests, asked deeply personal questions and told the length of their hands could doom them to football failure. To be fair, owners preparing to invest millions of dollars and coaches and general managers whose own careers are gauged by wins and losses have a right to some answers.

But Apple, whose mom tweeted is the son of a retired chef, swears he can cook. And he can do more to help a team on the gridiron than at the dining room table.

I can cook on the field, the New Jersey-raised Buckeye told the Detroit Free Press.

Apple, 20, played two seasons at Ohio State. He was named the defensive MVP of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl after leading his team to a 4428 win over Notre Dame.

Rumor, innuendo and plain bad luck can have a real effect on a players draft status, which in turn affects how much they earn in their first NFL contract. Last year, a pregnant ex-girlfriend of former Louisiana State University lineman Lael Collins, projected as a top-10 pick, was murdered in the days before the draft. Even though police never called him a suspect, the fact that they interviewed him was enough to discourage all 32 teams from taking a chance on him.

Although the murders of Brittney Mills and her unborn baby remain unsolved, Collins was cleared after the draft. He signed a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys for a fraction of what he would have earned, and was a solid contributor as a rookie.

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Cooking up a storm: The rise of African superfoods

(CNN)An apple a day keeps the doctor away — but is that enough to keep us fit and strong?

From kale to quinoa to goji berries, more and more of us are constantly on the lookout for ways to eat ourselves healthy.
But as the search for the so-called “superfoods” intensifies, many health food fanatics are now increasingly turning to nutrient-packed products originating from Africa.


    “I process some of these indigenous crops, herbs and spices into something that we already know,” says Baatuolkuu, who is constantly researching the medicinal properties of her ingredients and incorporating them into her recipes. “I’m looking at these vegetables that we have one way of eating and I am reprocessing them into another way.”
    Baatuolkuu has found success supplying her line of health-conscious juices, syrups and marinades to the hospitality industry — her biggest client, she says, is a local bar that has started incorporating her syrups in to cocktails.
    Looking ahead, Baatuolkuu hopes to soon introduce other fruits and vegetables like the baobab to her line.

    Moringa and baobab

    Rising in popularity, African superfoods are not just staying inside the continent’s borders. Shrewd business minds are taking them out of Africa and putting them in supermarkets across the world. Across the North Atlantic, former Peace Corps volunteer Lisa Curtis has established her business, Kuli Kuli, named after a popular Hausa snack.
    Several years ago, while in Niger volunteering, she began to suffer from the effects of malnutrition and soon learned first-hand about the medicinal properties of the local plant, moringa. Following her return to the U.S., the plucky entrepreneur decided to set up a business to offer moringa products at home, while providing a financial avenue for women back in West Africa.

    3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
    1/2 stick butter
    3/4 cup wholemeal plain biscuits
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup baobab fruit powder
    1 tablespoon Amarula cream
    Juice of half a lemon
    9-inch springform pan


    1. Melt the butter over a low heat. Crush the biscuits to crumbs and add to melted butter. Once blended, press the mixture into the base of springform pan.
    2. Mix cream cheese, sugar, baobab powder and Amarula cream until consistency is smooth. Squeeze in lemon juice and combine.
    3. Spoon the mixture onto the pressed breadcrumbs and spread evenly across the dish.
    4. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. (Optional finish with a thinly layer of passion fruit)

    For more of Riley’s recipes, go here.

    Meanwhile over in the UK, Malcolm Riley, a Zambia-born chef is introducing his beloved homeland’s tastes and traditions to far flung foodies by bringing baobab to British shores. In 2008, he founded his line of African-inspired health products, The African Chef.
    Riley says: “The African Chef ethos stems from using fruits such as the baobab fruit … which has twice as many antioxidants as goji berries, blueberries or pomegranates, and it is a sustainable resource. There is also moringa, which is very rich in protein — about 24 antioxidants in it. It’s fantastic for helping malnourished children across Africa.
    “And then you’ve got Shea butter which we are also trying to pioneer as an edible food. And I’m also trying to pioneer pumpkin leaves, both cooked and dried, (where) you’ve got very low sodium, a good amount of iron and B-vitamins.”
    As well as offering up some of his country’s delicious products, Riley’s passion also extends to a desire to help people back in Zambia, while “trying to create something that had the potential to double their income.”
    “Baobab is a phenomenal resource for the African continent,” he says.

    Mapping local delicacies

    It’s this wealth of food, and the tantalizing tastes, that prompted British/Ghanaian filmmaker Tuleka Prah to start documenting popular plates across the continent and offer them up to the world through her online series, “My African Food Map.”
    It’s a job most would dream of — eating your way across Africa. The 33-year-old food lover decided to embark on her self-funded culinary adventure after wanting to cook a dish her Ghanaian father used to serve up — kontomire, a coco yam leaf-based stew or soup.
    Looking online, she was confronted with unappetizing lumps of green mush.
    “I thought it’s a good thing I know what this tastes like,” she says. “I used to take a lot of photos of my food — like everybody does — but then I thought why don’t I try and find (a way) to archive these recipes properly with good pictures to try and transport the flavor of the food to someone who doesn’t know what it is but might want to try it.”
    Starting in Ghana, where she had family to stay with, Prah then went to Kenya before traveling down to South Africa. As she heads to each gastronomic destination, she talks to local food enthusiasts searching for the most favored dishes which she then highlights through recipe videos she produces herself.
    While Prah’s mission is to make beloved African dishes accessible to foodies around the world, local market sellers also provide her with the products’ medicinal attributes which she confirms before adding them to her blog.
    “They are trying to sell it to me so they would say ‘Do you know this is good for you?’ or ‘This vegetable is good if you have hypertension’ and this market seller is giving me health advice!” she laughs. “Then I’d ask the host (I was staying with), or taxi driver more about it and follow up with research online.”
    She adds: “(The medicinal aspects) are also more sort of passed down information through generations and then I try corroborate it with other research methods.”
    Check out the gallery above to see some of the African dishes photographed by Prah.

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    Greenhouse in the sky: inside Europe’s biggest urban farm

    A disused office in The Hague has been revamped as a sprawling rooftop greenhouse, with a fish farm operating on the floor below. Are we entering a new age of urban agriculture?

    At the top of an empty 1950s office block that once belonged to the Dutch telecommunications powerhouse Philips, above an abandoned reception desk and six floors of vacant office space, is a shock of green. Here, on a concrete building in The Hague, is a modern experiment: Europes largest urban farm.

    Tomatoes, vegetables and trendy microgreens are sprouting in a sprawling 1,200 sq m rooftop greenhouse. Below, on the fishy-smelling sixth floor, is a huge fish farm.

    The rather post-apocalyptically named UF002 De Schilde launches next month (the UF refers to UrbanFarmers, the company behind the farm). The eventual hope is to serve 900 local families, plus restaurants and a cooking school, with 500 tilapia a week and 50 tonnes of rooftop veg a year. Theyve just harvested their first cucumber.

    UrbanFarmers greenhouse is an example of cities reconnecting with food, says Jan Willem van der Schans. Photograph: space & matter

    Mark Durno, the 31-year-old Scot in charge of the operation, believes commercial urban farms serve a need: people want high-quality food from a transparent, local source. In the next five or even 15 years, this will be a niche of the niche, admits Durno. But it links into the circular economy: we have empty rooftops and empty industrial buildings. In The Hague, 15% of buildings are empty. Lets fill them with produce.

    There is some serious interest in rooftop farms as the future of commercial urban agriculture. In the US, advocates such as the Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier call it a way of feeding the world in the 21st century. There are urban farms in Berlin and London, where former air raid shelters grow food to supply markets and a home delivery service. The New York City project Five Borough Farm promotes urban agriculture, and the city is home to an estimated 700 urban farms and gardens on 50 acres although the trust is keener to discuss how it is about much more than just growing food than any rip-roaring profitable success.

    De Schilde, a brick-and-glass flanked seven-storey building, was built as a television and telephone factory for Philips in the 1950s by the modernist architect Dirk Roosenburg. It has about 12,400 sq m of total floor space, largely abandoned but too solid and expensive to knock down. In the Netherlands, 18% of offices are empty, due to the two last economic crises and cuts in the size of government. Dr Hilde Remy of Delft University of Technology has predicted office vacancy in the Netherlands will soon reach 25%, the highest in Europe. According to Cushman & Wakefields global office forecast 2015-16, the European average will be about 10%.

    A farmer surveys her produce in New York, where there are an estimated 700 urban farming areas. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Modern technology has helped make urban farming a viable prospect. At UrbanFarmers, the shimmery tilapia swim in 28 tanks. Baby fish, farmed in nearby Eindhoven, come in on one side, fed by an automated system; across the room are tanks for the bigger fish, which will be killed by electrical stunning. In another vat of water, bacteria convert waste ammonia from fish excrement into nitrates to fertilise the plants on the roof above. Meanwhile, the plants which are grown without soil purify the fish water. This closed system, known as aquaponics, has been used for centuries.

    With industrialisation, that connection between agriculture and the city was taken away, says Jan Willem van der Schans, a researcher in urban food systems at the Landbouw Economisch Instituut (LEI). Food can be grown anywhere and sent anywhere else. UrbanFarmers is an example of cities reconnecting with food. Consumers feel alienated from global food chains, want food from a transparent source, and they see that quality can be better if it grows close to home.

    Van der Schans wonders, however, if urban farms can find commercial success. UrbanFarmers has to come up with products that you cant buy in supermarkets, something special that has a higher nutritional value, otherwise I think they will have a hard time, he says. They really have to pick those vegetables that have a special quality if you harvest them immediately, like soft tomatoes like coeur de boeuf that should fall apart if you carry them 10 metres. In New York, the growers on the rooftops came up with these varieties.

    People visit the Edible Garden at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

    One of the first customers is Patrick Buyze, chef and co-owner of Mochi restaurant in The Hague. It was a bit of a fantasy to grow food in the city, on a skyscraper, he says. So many of our deliveries have been shipped thousands of miles. This farm isnt biodynamic or full-moon harvested, but the taste is fantastic and they are willing to try growing what you like.

    Joris Wijsmuller, head of sustainability at The Hague city council, is another fan. In 2013, the council launched a competition for sustainable food companies to find new uses for the former Philips building. UrbanFarmers BV was the winner, getting free council support and a chance to rent the space, once it had raised private funding and a European loan via The Hagues Fund for Location and Economy (FRED).

    Its sometimes said that children who live in the city believe tomatoes grow in the supermarket or fish are born in the freezer, he says. The municipality hopes the whole building will be a sort of gathering place for education, research and innovation.

    But Annechien ten Have-Mellema, a pig farmer and former board member of the Dutch farmers union LTO, recalls that there wasnt so much enthusiasm in 2009 when she and the architect Winy Maas proposed a farm for 400 pigs in The Hagues city centre. They argued the pigs could sit nicely alongside the Prada shop and luxury car dealerships. I thought it was an important idea, to link the city and rural food production, she says. But there was too much opposition.

    It remains an open question whether urban farming is something more than a temporary fad. Durno, not surprisingly, thinks more cities should adopt the idea. I think there is also a future for urban farming in the Middle East and Singapore. Qatar imports 90% of its food although our challenges are heat, light and wind, and there it is cooling.

    Durno points to UrbanFarmers first farm, in Basel, which the company says breaks even. The Hague outlet will open for business next month, and its new American operation, UrbanFarmers USA, hopes the first of 10 farms could open in 2017.

    Jan-Eelco Jansma, a researcher in urban-rural relations at Wageningen University, belives the urban farming movement has legs: There are examples of viable commercial urban farms, but also growth in allotment gardens in the Netherlands and across Europe which are not interested in being commercial but have a huge, indirect effect on mental health and liveability in cities, he says. Almere is a real frontrunner: half of its new, 4,000-hectare city quarter Oosterwold will be urban farming.

    I always refer to the debates about parks in the city in the past. I think in 100 years, urban agriculture will be as normal as the city parks we have today.

    Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook and join the discussion

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    This chef is much bigger than her ‘Lemonade’ cameo, though that was pretty great too.

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