Lucky Dip – Wednesday. July 13th, 2011

Should obese children be taken away from their parents and put into foster care? Uh, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to spend the money directed to foster care on teaching the family about health and nutrition and/or getting them appropriate help for other issues that may be the cause of the child’s obesity? Enough with the nanny state, already. [Globe and Mail]

This appears to be a US-only promotion, but let’s see what effect healthier kids’ meals at restaurants achieves when (almost) all the restaurants are doing it. [Bon Appetit]

Sorry vegetarians, if you’re flying on a Canadian airline, you’re outta luck when it comes to meals. [Toronto Star]

Okay, so vegetarian cheese is never going to star on a high-end cheese plate – but some of it is good enough for grilled cheese sandwiches or to top a pizza. [Globe and Mail]

Not exactly food related – but I so want to do this. A UK man wore a colander on his head for his driver’s licence photo, insisting that he is a pastafarian and that it’s religious headgear. Awesome. [BBC News]

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Why We All Need to Wise Up

Ocean Wise celebrated its 5 year anniversary this month by announcing a number of new restaurant partners across the country. Readers who haven’t heard of the Ocean Wise program need not feel out of the loop – it’s only been a year since a handful of Toronto restaurants signed on, and while this anniversary celebration included some of the newest Toronto-area restaurants to join, the total still numbers under a dozen.

Created as a conservation program by the Vancouver Aquarium, it makes sense that the majority of restaurants involved in the sustainable seafood program are in British Columbia. While Torontonians have been on the sustainability bandwagon for a few years now, that same diligence seems not to apply to fish, an item that regularly hits our plates without any concern as to how it got there or where it came from.

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Toronto’s Terre Madre Day

Over the past few years, Slow Food activists have taken part in a bi-annual event in Torino, Italy called Terra Madre. First held in 2004, the event brings together food activists from around the world in a giant conference and marketplace where people can exchange ideas and information. There are conferences, symposiums, dinners and markets, all with a focus on sharing ideas about how to promote sustainable food. Terra Madre takes place during the even-numbered years (2006, 2008… another coming up in 2010), and this year, Slow Food decided that it would be a good idea for individual convivia to hold local events – both as a great way to support local food producers, and because, well, not everyone can afford to get on a plane to Italy.

Organized and paid for by Slow Food Toronto (monies raised at the Picnic at the Brickworks allowed them to pay participating farmers and producers to take part, a rarity in the world of markets and trade shows where the producers usually have to pay to participate), this year’s Terra Madre Day took place at the FoodShare warehouse.

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What’s On the Table – In Pictures

Okay, so I know you readers are divided on the topic of event recaps. Some of you hate them, preferring an event preview instead so you can actually buy a ticket and go – and for the most part, I agree. Who wants to hear about all the fun they missed? But others of you love the food pr0n, the piles of photos of gorgeously executed food and drink, particularity at events with higher ticket prices that might not be affordable to most.

Here’s our take on this – since the fancy events are usually charity fund-raisers we have no problem running a photo-essay after the fact, because it raises more awareness of the issues and the charity (even though the event is over, I’m sure The Stop would be happy to accept any donations our readers might want to make). And it also helps to promote the many wonderful restaurants that donated their time and product to such a worthy cause.

So if you hate the recaps, look away, and we’ll use the same images when we write the event preview article next year! But if you want to see the tasty treats offered to What’s on the Table guests, click on through and enjoy.

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Bowled Over

Last Wednesday evening, the line-up outside the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art stretched as far north as Bloor Street. People had come prepared; many had snacks, drinks and umbrellas to shield them from the warm May sunshine, because to be first in line meant having the dedication to wait for hours to get in. But being first in line also meant having first choice when selecting a bowl, as well as getting to the variety of soups from the participating local chefs before they all ran out. And they would run out.

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Wise Up – A New Way to Choose Sustainable Fish

We hear more and more news stories about how fish stocks are dwindling world-wide. Consumers are told to search out sustainable fish, but most of us don’t really know what that means. Even if we are conscious of the problem and make an effort – carrying one of those wallet cards, for instance, or grilling our fishmongers as to the origins of their wares – it’s still tough to know exactly where our fish dinner is coming from. And when it comes to restaurants, it’s even tougher.

Restaurants have small profit margins, and the temptation for a chef to serve something cheap and cheerful is often high. The fish we love to eat the most are the ones that are most at risk, and restaurants play an important role in teaching and encouraging customers about choosing sustainable options.

Ocean Wise is a programme created by the Vancouver Aquarium to do just that. Working directly with restaurants and markets, Ocean Wise is a non-profit association dedicated to the education of consumers which allows them to make sustainable choices. The Ocean Wise logo next to a menu item or in a shop is an assurance that the item is a good choice for keeping ocean life healthy and abundant for generations to come.

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