Food Snark

The American Bison as a Foodstuff

January 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phineas Upham

There was once a time in American history when the American bison was a staple in the natural world. You could look far and wide and almost constantly find one of these docile beasts roaming the plains. The natives of this country relied on the buffalo for almost every aspect of their daily life. The pelts made winter clothes and coverings that protected them from storms. The bones were sharpened into weapons, or fashioned into tools.

The buffalo is still around today, but massive hunting expeditions from those days made the creature scarce in America. Water buffalo milk is a key component to authentic Italian mozzarella cheese, and these animals are indigenous to those more historical parts of the world.

Natives cut fresh buffalo meat from the animal shortly after the kill was made, and additional meat was stockpiled to be cured. Native women would lay it out, letting the sun cure it over the course of several days. They cut the prime parts of the animal, making sure to get even layers of meat and fat so the jerky that was made would remain juicy and filling. The jerky could be reheated in a boiling pot too, not unlike backpacker food.

Blood soups were also popular, as the natives tried to preserve every aspect of the kill. Buffalo steak was soon in high demand from the incoming European settlers, and numbers dwindled. They preferred their meat on a skewer, sticking chunks of meat through a stick to roast over an open flame.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

Fast food giant McDonald’s problems continues

January 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

America’s favorite fast food restaurant for decades, McDonald’s, has been in the news lately. Unfortunately it is not for good news. Its annual sales are slumping year over year and its stock price is hitting 52-week lows. What’s behind all these negative results?

Many think that the quality of food is in question. It is trying to get rid of menu items loaded with fat and calories and stay relevant with certain other fast food outlets that claim healthier food options. Add to the injury, a recent report from the Consumer Reports list McDonald’s at the bottom of 21 other similar fast food restaurants for taste. In order to compete with other fast food chains McDonald’s increased its menu items. This is causing delays serving customers and lots of preparation mistakes. Industry trade magazine QSR reports that average drive-thru wait time increased by about three minutes at McDonald’s. Supplier problems caused China sales to drop and in Russia several locations have been shut down by the government regulators last year over food safety concerns. Labor unions are fighting with the McDonald’s management demanding higher minimum wage for its hourly workers. All these are causing many loyal customers to ask the fast food giant to go back to its basics.