Happy New Year

Big things coming this year…


Michele Bachmann loves Federal Pork

Literally.  The so-called small government conservative has no problem asking the USDA to buy pork and canned hams to support Big Agriculture in Minnesota.  Of course she has also received many donations from executives at Cargill, Swift, and Hormel Foods, all beneficiaries of Federal welfare programs.  As with her family farm subsidies and work for the IRS, her condemnation of big government apparently ends at her front door.

Illinois Food Police Hate Ice Cream

When Kris Swanberg was laid off from her job as a Chicago public school teacher, she began making small batch artisanal ice cream,  which is now on sale at Whole Foods and local farmer’s markets.  Unfortunately she has attracted the attention of the State, which says she must buy a $40K pasteurizer or use premade mix instead of her ultra fresh ingredients such as local strawberries.  Back to the unemployment line!  How dare you try to make a living in Chicagoland?

Thanks to Karen Decoster at Lewrockwell.com

How to make Nocino

Nocino is an Italian liqueur made from green walnuts.  It is fairly simple to make, delicious, and an excellent way to use unripe walnuts if you are lucky enough to have your own tree.  Here is a basic recipe, it can be modified by adding spices, herbs, fruit, etc.  I use 100 proof vodka in this recipe, but other recipes use grain alcohol, grappa, or another neutral spirit.

Green Walnuts on the Tree

First you will need to gather some walnuts, about 12-15 good sized walnuts will do for a half gallon jar.  The walnuts should still be soft enough to cut through easily with a paring knife.  Cut the walnuts into quarters, and pack into a half gallon glass jar.

You can now add any aromatics you might want, cinnamon sticks, orange or lemon zest, and vanilla beans or extract are traditional.  If you prefer a more intense flavor, try bitter herbs such as wormwood or mugwort.  Be creative, the dominant flavor will be the walnuts, so don’t worry about trying some unusual combinations.  For my latest batch I added mugwort for bitterness, lemon verbena for a citrus note, and a split vanilla bean for some sweetness.  Many recipes add sugar during the aging process,  I prefer to wait and add simple syrup to taste after the nocino is finished.

Now add the liquor of your choice, cap the jar tightly, and shake well.  Let the jar sit in the sun for at least three months.  In Italy it is traditional to pick the walnuts on June 21st, and let the nocino sit for 6 months, to be enjoyed on Christmas Eve.

Now we play the waiting game

I found the taste to be reminiscent of Jagermeister, but far less cloying.  I sipped it straight, over ice, and used it in cocktails.  Use it in place of any bitter liqueur such as campari or aperol, it also complements whiskey very well.  Here is a cocktail I particularly enjoyed.

Root of All Evil

1 1/2 oz whiskey

1/2 oz nocino

2 oz root beer

Shake whiskey with nocino and ice vigorously in cocktail shaker.

Pour over crushed ice in rocks glass.

Top with root beer.

Garnish with orange slice.


Feds put Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam on endangered species list

Watch out Tony, the FDA has you in their sights!

New “voluntary guidelines” drafted by Congress could lead to bans on advertising cereal, peanut butter, and even milk to those under 17.  The FDA, FTC, CDC, and Dept. of Agriculture have developed minimum nutrition levels that food must meet to be advertised to children,  according to the Association of National Advertisers that could include 88 of the 100 most advertised foods.  Says Dan Jaffe:

“It would make it impossible to advertise some waters … most cereals, yogurts, soups and peanut butter,”

The FDA of course, thinks anyone concerned

about the new guidelines is just cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

“Frankly, these folks might want to switch to decaf,”
“This is a report to Congress, not a rulemaking proceeding, so there’s no proposed government regulation,”

Because we all know that Congress would never go outside of its original intent, why this is just a report, nothing to see here.

Meanwhile “industry leaders” aka rent-seekers, have already signed on to the “suggestion” that they not market candy to children.

“It’s true we’re proposing companies not market candy directly to children. We also recognize and applaud companies like Mars, Hershey and Cadbury Adams that already voluntarily have stopped advertising to kids.

Of course the fact that these companies control a vast majority of the industry, can absorb any revenue loss tied to the new rules, and benefit greatly from federal sugar subsidies has nothing to do with their noble decision.  For smalller companies and those seeking to enter the market being unable to advertise to those most likely to buy their products may be a problem.

Federal Fish Fascism

New Federal regulations are crippling small fishing businesses in New England.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has set hard catch limits on groundfish such as cod and haddock, the backbone of the New England fishing industry for centuries.  In the past fishermen were limited by number of days at sea, new regulations instead set strict limits to pounds of fish each boat can bring in per year.  One fishermen had his allotment set at 15,000 pounds after catching 73,000 pounds in 2009, nearly an 80% decrease.

Don’t worry though, says bureaucrat Maggie Mooney-Seus, it’s for their own good.

“We are going to prevent the stocks from deteriorating,” Mooney-Seus said. “Every measure put in place over the last several years is helping to rebuild the stock. If you talk to fishermen they are saying, ‘I’m seeing more fish out there than I’ve ever seen before.’ ”

Maybe fisherman are seeing the fish and waving at them, but the fishermen themselves seem to have this crazy idea to actually catch fish, sell them, and make a living.  Several fishermen in the story have sold their boats or are close to being forced to do so, ending generations-old family businesses.  As one Rhode Island fisherman who has already sold his boat said.

“It’s a death knell. It’s the beginning of the end for small fishermen,”

The cities of New Bedford and Gloucester sued the NOAA in federal court to overturn the laws, with predictable results.  The Feds said their new laws were just fine, even while admitting the rules would have a:

“negative short-term economic effect on the fishery.”

Only a federal judge could describe crippling small businesses so casually, hey it’s just peoples jobs, right?


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