After the sickening spectacle of the die-off of thousands of helpless swine in China, the United States government in its wisdom has decided that we will import chicken from them as well as the pork that will inevitably be brought into this country through their merger with Smithfield. The thing is, China does not have any apparent laws about their food industry; every once in awhile there is a scandal, like the pigs and dumping them into rivers to rot and pollute drinking water, and China scrambles to do something about it. I suppose you could say this is better than America, where we had a system of inspection and standards that is now being dismantled by Republican elected officials. At least China is putting a system into place by trial and error, whereas America is literally failing its own citizens for the money that is being given to elected representatives who are bought and paid for by big industrial entities who want nothing more than to make money.
Meanwhile, as I create an outline for a book that I would like to write about cookery, I find myself hesitating to write about non-organic shopping. We are on our own if Republicans have their way, which they call letting the market police itself. So if your child is permanently brain-damaged by listeria or salmonella bacteria in salad greens, well, you probably won't buy that brand again, right? So they'll go out of business, and they are sincerely sorry about your child. But inspecting or testing salad greens? No, we have to be rid of the Food and Drug Administration: remember Ronald Reagan's "joke" about the government being the problem, not the solution? Want to see that in practice?
I am more convinced than ever that we have to look out for ourselves and our families NOW, and not wait until we know for sure that China's food products are poisoning Americans like they have been poisoning Chinese citizens--to say nothing of their lead paint in children's toys, a recurring violation of standards.
I am now home in Tucson after my month-long trip to Costa Rica. Our return trip took us to Mexico City en route to Tucson, and I have to say that it was a sad experience overall to see it. Mexico is a great nation, and the lingering after-effects of earthquake damage there are very disheartening. We stayed overnight at the New York Hotel, which I can now say was an ironic experience, although I was very annoyed at the time.
Apparently the earthquake damage has to repaired as fast as humanly possible, and to that end there seem to be no regulations about construction. I had a bad night just before we left Costa Rica--it was a sick dog--and I was looking forward to a good night's sleep the first night out in Mexico City. But I didn't get it, because a construction crew was hammering and drilling all night next to a hotel full of people (besides us, that is) and it was literally impossible to sleep all night. So the only thing that I really wanted in Mexico City was the thing I didn’t get. I expressed my irritation to the desk clerk at checkout, but he shrugged it off. There are rules about noise in the United States, though, and I appreciate even my neighbors' consideration when they stop their party music at about ten o'clock when they celebrate every now and then.
Our hotel restaurant had the most delicious green chicken enchiladas on their menu, and I was certainly hoping to get some outstanding Mexican food when in Mexico City. I did, too--it was superb. Unfortunately coffee in Mexico falls short of that of Costa Rica, because they make it weaker. I like the robust flavor of strong coffee, so now that I am back I am French-pressing coffee that I grind myself. One of the strengths of Tucson's supermarkets is that we can get outstanding coffee from all over the world at our local Fry's Supermarket or Safeway. That doesn't take into consideration the coffee that is available in the health-oriented stores like Sprouts. I have also found coffee at the Costco near my house off of Campbell/Kino Parkway that is unique, not to be found in other stores. So I have no fear for my own coffee quality, fortunately. I also extend honorable mention to Super Target, which has a wonderful grocery department that you can stroll through for hours, above and beyond their coffee selection.
But in order to make the best coffee, you should have a grinder if you don't have one already, so that you can grind beans instead of buying ground coffee. There are many brands and models to choose from, and I recommend the simplest one you can find. I may also get a hand-powered "vintage" type of grinder, because whole beans are your guarantee of the best flavor you can possibly extract. Also, use filtered or bottled water--even distilled water, which I like to use myself. You can try Starbucks' Blonde Roast if you like mild coffee and "dark roast" coffee if you tend to like Espresso once in awhile. I like Latin American coffee beans already, and the Costa Rican coffee that I bought down there give me something to look for now that I have a bit more expertise in names and origin.