Read Up On It for November 1st, 2013

This week’s edition of Read Up On It is a real doozy.

Food really was on everyone’s minds, lips, and computer screens this week. No, we’re not talking about Hallowe’en and its lovely candy explosion (damn you lack of willpower) but more about the seal hunt and Sriracha.

First let’s talk about Sriracha. Call it hot sauce, rooster sauce, cock sauce or just damn tasty, it’s that lovely stuff that comes in bottles with green tops and a rooster as its logo.  Less than two weeks ago, The Huffington Post published a story about the history of the sauce, the company that produces it, Huy Fong Foods, and its owner and creator, David Tran. In fact, this is the time of the year when most of the sauce is made from fresh chiles that are in season at this time in southern California.  But then, earlier on this week, it was reported that the residents of the city of Irwindale where the condiment is produced claimed that the factory was a public nuisance, complaining of itchy eyes and burning throats. The city filed suit asking for a temporary shutdown and some people worried that the cost of Sriracha might spike if the production of the much beloved condiment ceased. However, as of Thursday, a judge ruled that the company can keep producing for now. (Via HuffPo, CBC, LA Times)

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Thankfully, this bottle will soon be replaced, without any production hiccups

But the most interesting story this week has been about the recent boycott on canadian seafood put on by the Humane Society of The United States and a group of chefs listed by Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chefs”. The link? The HSUS states that these chefs “pledge not to purchase all Canadian seafood or seafood from sealing provinces until Canada’s commercial seal slaughter ends.”  And then Anthony Bourdain got involved, tweeting about it by pointing out that “I’m all for protecting seals, but a total ban dooms the indigenous people above arctic circle to death or relocation.” This brought a lot of attention to the story from all sorts of media ( has collated a lot of the coverage, which you can visit here). The HSUS then spoke out against Bourdain, calling his tweets “misinformation” in an interview with Eater Montreal.

Over the week it’s only gotten more interesting, with some chefs abandoning the project, and others being chided by Canadian chefs.  Eater also reported that Michael Smith even went so far as to tweet at Curtis Stone saying he should “grow a pair”. One person on Twitter broached the subject that Stone had been paid to come to PEI for a shellfish festival. Oops.

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  • With the close call for Sriracha, what else could we be losing out on? According to some, we may be at peak wine, or so says Roberto Ferdman in a story at The Atlantic.
  • Vice talks to a young guy from Arkansas, now living in Brooklyn, who is is starting a new column for the magazine all about specialty food items. His first: the pawpaw, a somewhat forgotten fruit that sounds tropical but may be the oldest fruit native to the U.S.
  •  Another producer from the Annapolis Valley, Dan Gould, did not have as much luck with his crop this year.  Gould’s crop of apples was quarantined over a false alarm, and he lost tens of thousands of dollars because of it. He spoke with the CBC.

“I’m an actress and I’m an entertainer. So yes what I’m doing, it’s not particularly nice, but not all art or people expressing themselves, it’s not all going to be nice. At the end of the day I just want to entertain people. And I think even if you hate my blog you’ll still read it, so ha ha.”

 No, I’m not going to read it. Thanks anyway.

-Although this story appeared last week, it is definitely worth posting. The New York Times posted a video looking at the famous story of a woman who spilled hot MacDonald’s coffee on herself. More importantly, they look at how the story – the incident, the fallout, the reporting – has impacted so many parts of our lives, and how sometimes the people in the story became secondary to it all.