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one...two...tree last won the day on June 24 2012

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  1. It’s curious because Filipinos are the second largest Asian population in the US. In a few cities, like Las Vegas, Philippine restaurants are starting to pop up, though. But before we dive into the restaurant scene in Sin City, first let's address this basic question: What exactly is Filipino food? It’s hard to define, says Cathy Ferrer, a manager with Max’s Restaurant, "Cuisine of the Philippines." “When you say Filipino food, it’s actually a fusion of many cultures and many countries,” Ferrer says. Philippine food has Chinese, Malaysian, Spanish and American influences — all cultures that have shaped the Philippines. Filipinos eat a lot of rice, pork, chicken and, of course, fish — the Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, after all. All the food is spiced the Philippine way: “Tons and tons of garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, onions,” says Ferrer Ferrer helped open the new Max’s in Las Vegas a few months ago. The chain restaurant also has locations in California, Hawaii and New Jersey and has been serving food in the Philippines since 1945. In Las Vegas, my hosts served me soft Pancit noodles and garlic fried rice and pork — cooked Philippine Adobo style, braised in soy and vinegar. And, of course, we had to have Max’s famous fried chicken. “We love crispy stuff,” Ferrer says. “Deep fried stuff.” It all tasted good, a bit heavy, but good. The restaurant was appealing. The servers were friendly. So what’s the problem here? Why aren’t more Americans eating Filipino food? Ferrer had one theory. “We have a term that we call turo-turo: all food is already in a serving dish, and you just point to what you want,” she says. Turo-turo, which means “point-point” in Tagalog, is buffet style. Max’s did away with that. Here’s another problem, as I see it: the food didn’t taste all that different from basic Chinese food. So why switch? Ferrer says her country’s food actually has quite a few surprises. She says she ordered me the “safest food” as a sampler. “They gave you the ‘white guy menu,'" says Brock Radke, food editor at Las Vegas Weekly Magazine. “That happens a lot at ethnic restaurants.” Radke has tried a fair amount of Philippine food and has good things to say about it. He thinks it hasn’t quite caught on in the US because it's considered rustic, homey food. "Every time I ask someone, 'What's the best Filipino restaurant in Las Vegas?' most people tell me, 'There really isn't one ... my mom's house,'" Radke says. He also thinks non-Filipinos might be intimidated, scared off by the food. For example, in the Philippines, fish, sometimes big fish, are served with the head intact. It’s done that way in the US sometimes. To be fair, many other cultures serve fish this way, too. Radke told me about a bowl of sinagang he recently had at Max’s. “It’s kind of a sour stew, with really giant chunks of food in it, like whole shrimp and big pieces of bok choy. It’s like they didn’t bother to cut it up. It’s kind of clumsily assembled, but I say that with affection. It’s kind of fun to eat, also.” I had the same soup. Staring at the shrimp, and it’s many, many legs, well, it was a bit off-putting. “I think the average suburban Las Vegan would probably be terrified to see a whole shrimp in their soup,” Radke says. For the record, Radke liked the soup, as did I. So how exactly does an eclectic cuisine gain acceptance? How did sushi catch on? Thirty years ago, who would’ve thought Americans would develop a love affair with raw fish wrapped in seaweed? What will it take for Filipino food to get to that point? “It’s hard to say,” Radke says. “There are a lot of Filipino chefs in Las Vegas. Maybe somebody will, kind of, go the extra mile to put it into some kind of a package that’s a little more friendly and approachable for people.” http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-02-06/why-it-so-hard-find-good-filipino-restaurant
  2. I'm just curious about whether couples who've been married a few years or more still put a lot of emphasis on gift giving during the holiday season, or if their focus is more on their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces?
  3. A deep recession -- or worse -- is in the holiday forecast, but belt-tightening doesn't have to ruin the festive mood. Here's one painless way to cut expenses while giving the planet a much-needed break: Resolve not to buy any new clothes -- not even a tight new belt! -- for anyone for a whole year, starting now. Don't worry about disappointing family or friends. Christmas after Christmas, polls show that clothing, the most popular present among givers, is also ranked as the "most disappointing gift" by those on the receiving end. We've already stockpiled enough clothes to last us for years. The average annual shopping haul swelled from $1,550 per household in 2002 to $1,760 last year. That spending spree was prompted in part by what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says was a 30 percent drop in real apparel prices over the past decade. With cheap imports allowing a dollar to buy more, the physical bulk of garb purchased by the average household has risen 18 percent in just five years. In America, even in hard times, anyone can be a power shopper. Our national cheap-clothing policy means you can fill your closets to bursting, even if you're not a major-party nominee on a $150,000 budget. And with a constant need to free up closet space for new purchases, the average American discards 68 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year, the Environmental Protection Agency says. Although 10 million tons of unwanted duds per year puts pressure on U.S. landfills, it's the origin of the clothes that does the greatest harm. Production of synthetic fabric consumes petroleum, blows out greenhouse gases and spews wastewater bearing organic solvents, heavy metals and poisonous dyes and fiber treatments. Conventional cotton clothing also comes at great cost. Grown on less than 2 percent of U.S. farmland, the cotton crop accounts for one of every four pounds of pesticides sprayed, Agriculture Department figures show. Things are worse in the global south, where cotton accounts for half of pesticide use. To curb the soil erosion for which cotton land is infamous, no-till methods have been introduced on a large scale. But they require heavier spraying of herbicides. The United States brings in more clothes than the next highest nine importers combined. And by allowing our spinning, weaving and sewing jobs to go to Asia and Latin America, we've exported a big pollution problem as well. Dye effluents often carry toxic metals, among them copper, cobalt, chromium, nickel, zinc, lead, antimony, silver, cadmium and mercury. Bleaching the cloth for a single shirt generates as much as 15 gallons of chlorine-polluted wastewater. Chemicals used in the industry, including anti-wrinkle compounds, can be carcinogenic. In 2002, Italian and American researchers found that risks of nasal, bladder and gastrointestinal cancers among spinners, weavers and dyers were elevated 28 to 126 percent. "Green" apparel makers are riding to the rescue but getting lost in a stampede. According to the nonprofit trade association Organic Exchange, the global market for organic cotton clothes grew by $1.4 billion -- 700 percent -- from 2001 to 2007. But in the same period Americans alone increased spending on conventional clothes by $29 billion. Like it or not, virtuous-clothing companies are adding to the bulk jamming the nation's collective closet, not replacing it. Yes, I know. If Americans started buying just enough new clothes to fit our basic needs, we might deliver a coup de grace to the already crippled retail economy (and thrift-store racks would be stripped bare). But wouldn't it be great to emerge at the other end of the coming hard times with a new, more rational economy, one that isn't addicted to selling mountains of stuff that people don't need or even want? To paraphrase a retail giant's slogan, we could save money, live better and spend less time on the consumption treadmill simply by not buying so many clothes. That would make for a real holiday bargain. Stan Cox is a plant breeder and writer in Salina, Kansas. His book, Sick Planet: Corporate Food and Medicine, was just published by Pluto Press. <h5 style="margin: 30px 0px 20px;">http://www.alternet.org/story/109065/the_average_household_spent_%241%2C760_on_clothes_in_2007_--_here%27s_one_way_to_cut_back/ </h5>
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