Thursday, May 29, 2008

Come with me to India


An Invitation from Mike Pardus


As some of you might know, Bob and I frequently organize interesting culinary adventures for ourselves and friends. Most of the time it's just him and me and a few other food geeks getting together for a weekend of debauchery and conversation. However, recently I've been invited by another geek to go on a REAL adventure - a culinary tour of Kerala, India - mother load of the spice trade. Unfortunately, Robert can't get away from the farm, but the rest of us will be touring the southwestern coast of India from August 10-19th.

There are a few spots left to round out the group - maxes out at 20 people. Cost is $1769 USD for the land portion - you book your own air. This is a "friend of a friend" kind of thing that I was turned onto by someone who helped me organize a trip to Vietnam in '05.

So, if you've got 10 days to kill and want to do something really wild, check it out at:

Love Joy Pardon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Unfortunate Names for Restaurants

Some restaurant names are so weird that I wonder how anyone could even think of walking into them, let alone order food. I don't know, perhaps I'm overly sensitive to the sound of certain words and their literal and implied meanings. Or maybe I just think too much about the wrong things. Perhaps I should lighten up and not invest so much of my exiguous intellectual capital in thinking and the meanings of words. Maybe I should get a life. Nah...

Here's a very short list of names of restaurants that make me wince. Please feel free to add to the list.

WD~50
The name may be a combination of the chef Willie Dufresne's initials and the street number of the restaurant but it's much too close to WD 40 a fabulous highly inedible, petroleum based anti-corrosive spray lubricant. I've used so much WD 40 over the years that when I see or think the name the smell becomes palpable. There's no way I'm going to sit at WD~50 and not be thinking of the sickly sweetish aroma of WD 40.

Swallow

Is a relatively new restaurant in Philadelphia that is currently receiving some very nice press. I wish then the best of luck but I doubt that my inner 14 year old would be able to sit through a meal in a restaurant with a name that evokes, Ahem, the peristaltic contractions of the esophagus.

Buca di Beppo

Buca is Italian for hole and Beppo is a nickmane for Giuseppe (Joseph). So Buca di Beppo is literally "Joe's hole."

Frankly, I am unmoved to know that buca also refers to basement.

The Rich Get Hungrier - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

"The global food problem is not being caused by a falling trend in world production, or for that matter in food output per person It is the result of accelerating demand."

And overproduction of ethanol.



The Rich Get Hungrier - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ars Reductio ad Absurdum: A-Right?

As anyone who has ever cooked for more than one person knows, there are few things that are more infuriating than spending so much time prepping a meal, that you end up rushing to get it cooked, trash the kitchen, then hating your life when it takes more time to clean up than prepare.

Honestly, unless you model yourself after an executive chef and hire a few line cooks and a pot washer to do all the heavy work while you write menus and issue orders, cooking real food from scratch will always be more work than ordering take out. But there are several rules that will, with regular application, make the job a whole lot less stressful and may even improve your cooking.

The night or morning before you are going to cook, visualize the whole process up to the finished plate

This is a trick I picked up in my early 20’s after reading about a basketball coach who taught his players to close their eyes the night before a game and picture themselves getting ready for the game, walking onto the court and so on. He advised them to imagine it all down to the smallest detail and most importantly to imagine themselves as being happy and relaxed. At first I used the technique in college to help me with my running and studies and found that it worked brilliantly. Later, after I became a chef I used it to help me construct dishes and menus when I began to find that the pressure of working in a noisy kitchen was beginning to put a damper on my ability to create and cook efficiently.

Break up tasks into chunks and finish all of one chunk before you move onto another

I sometimes refer to this as the “Henry Ford” approach in recognition of his alleged invention of the production line. If you are preparing mushrooms, don’t wash one, pat it dry, cut off the stem and cut the cap. Wash all of the mushrooms, dry them all, cut off all the stems, then cut them all up. By doing all of one step before moving onto another, you limit the number of tools you need on hand at any given moment to one, reduce the number of hand positions required, and you minimize the distance that your body has to move while you are doing the job so that in the end, you can focus on working fast and deftly.

Make it simpler, not more complicated

It’s easier and arguably more beautiful to take a half of a chicken breast, flatten it gently with a mallet, dust it with flour, season it with salt and pepper and sauté it in clarified butter than it is to whack the thing up into strips, and stir-fry it in a wobbly wok. And if you take the trouble to find really high quality chicken like the kind that I get where I work, you won’t want to do anything that will obscure it’s identity or intrinsic flavor.

It is a useful intellectual and, I would argue, practical exercise to occasionally walk the path implied by the (usually negatively critical) term from classical philosophy and go reductio ad absurdum when planning a meal. Instead of thinking about what you can add to make it better, think about what you can leave out (heat or salt for example). The same applies to cooking tools. Try boning a raw chicken with your fingers (it’s easier than you think) or cook an entire meal using only one knife, or one pot.

And if all of that seems too daunting, well then, try visualizing someone else doing the cooking.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Symphonia Vegetale

Smoke a bone before you watch this one. I'm kidding about the bone thing -burning bone smells bloody awful anyway- of course. but you may want smack yourself on the head with a 5 pound mallet before you click "Play."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Apple Ocarina

Not Quite Junk

The newest challenge to my "I show you mine: You show me your's" kitchen junk drawer throwdown comes from FiatLux.


My unsolicited assessment:

This only qualifies as a kitchen junk drawer in the sense that it's loaded with junk. But it has far too many kitchen tools in it, and what's worse, is that it is too well-organized: the nested measures, the basket full of like-sized tools, the knives all pointing northward. Clearly the drawer's creators realize that the best way to avoid large increases in entropy is to expend a bit of energy to maintain order (WTF am I trying to say?)

On the bright side:

The only thing that does not belong in a kitchen drawer (and so counts as a point towards making this a true kitchen junk drawer) is the bulb syringe, which I believe is used in animal breeding.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Junk


Keys that know no locks, cheap screwdrivers (no one ever puts good tools in kitchen junk drawers) batteries, booklets that should have been tossed or burned years ago and a femur pen. And, unless you factor in the symbolic value of the nylon spinal cord, not a trace of anything that has anything to do food or cooking. These drawers, by the family of Val and Phil, are classic species of the genre of kitchen junk drawer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Early Return

Don Luis in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico is the first reader to send me a picture of his kitchen drawer. This, I aver, is a classic of the genre. Note the deceptively careless arrangement of things that have no obvious common purpose other than to get something done. Each thing looks like it's owner both expects to use it tomorrow or never again. Unlike the drawers in my kitchen, some things are clearly used in food preparation (e.g. three thermometers) while most have other uses (e.g. two rolls of teflon pipe tape).

Pure poetry in stasis.

Thanks Lou!

I show you mine: You show me your's

Everyone has at least one drawer in their kitchen that is full of crap that has little or nothing to do with the kitchen's reason-to- be. As it turns out, I have 6 drawers that are filled with stuff that has no apparent use in food preparation. Here are some photos of four of the jammedest (sic). 

If you would like to send me photos of your junk drawer I will post them. Just make sure to tell me if you would like your name posted along with the picture (s) for attribution. Otherwise I will not post any information (other than what is already in the picture) that will identify you or your location.

I'm sure I'm posting this for a reason other than wanting to arouse prurient interest in one and another's drawers. No one with a fully functioning central nervous system needs to have their curiosity piqued about what other's usually try to conceal. But perhaps this post is for the rest of us?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Fishstick Insurrection

Give Me Insurrection or Give Me Indigestion

By Dr. Sanscravat*

Modern students may not believe this, but there was a time when school lunches were neither as healthy nor varied nor aesthetically-pleasing as the feasts routinely served in today’s cafeterias.

For one thing, there were no choices—you got whatever was on the menu that day. And there was only one thing on the menu. Fresh food was unknown. If there was fruit, it was canned fruit cocktail; if one was especially fortunate, the little dish might include one half of a marachino cherry. Spaghetti was the most (and the only) ethnic dish—‘though it is extremely unlikely that any Italian would even recognize the overcooked pasta floating in a reddish watery “sauce.”

Water must have been the staff’s favorite ingredient, for the side salad’s dressing was a broken emulsion of water, cottonseed oil and salt—mostly water. To be fair, it was the ideal match for chopped iceberg lettuce and a single slice of pale gray tomato.

When there are no flavors, no one flavor can overwhelm any other.

Every week we would pore over the mimeographed menu for the following week, in the vain hope that something good would appear. Alas, the sweet smell of those purple-lettered pages was more appetizing than the meals they listed. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but those mimeos might have been more nutritious than the entrees as well. They were certainly more appetizing.

What I find utterly incomprehensible is that we regularly plunked down our thirty cents, and took what they gave us. We could have brought our own lunches: peanut butter and jelly; baloney and American cheese; SOMETHING.

But we didn’t.

Practically no one did.

Maybe it was the extra effort in carrying lunch to school, maybe it just seemed uncool; who knows why we did what we did? We just ate the stuff they served without complaining.

Almost without complaining.

When I was in high school—when John Kennedy was president—the cafeteria staff often inflicted fish sticks on their captive, but unwilling, customers. This was usually on Fridays, since the pope had not yet freed the Catholic children from meatless Fridays. Nonetheless, Catholics, Jews, Protestants were in complete agreement on one point of theology. Had there been any Buddhists, Jains, Mohammedans, or Taoists in the student body, I’m sure that they would have agreed with the basic tenet: fish sticks were an abomination in the sight of any self-respecting deity.

Finally, in self-defense, The Great Fish Stick Revolt was incited. This was not something we did lightly (the “cafeteria ladies”—as they were then known —were terrifying), but it was our patriotic duty to say, “no thanks” to the forces of gastronomic tyranny.

Pursuit of religious freedom was only part of the events that began to unfold. The freedom to pursue happiness (something that did not seem to be written into the official charter of the school) was a notion that was just beginning to form in our adolescent minds. A natural abhorrence for what we recognized as cruel and unusual punishment entered into the decision we were about to make as well.

When in the course of human events—specifically, on a certain fateful Friday morning in 1962—hundreds of students stepped proudly onto their school buses, carrying their lunch. Among them were students who had never before been seen with brown bag in hand. All through morning classes, a murmur of insurrection could be detected by anyone who was prepared to recognize it.

The authorities did not seem to notice.

At 11:30, the bell rang, a bell we would later identify as The Liberty Bell, the bell that sent hundreds of students scurrying to their lockers and down the hall to the cafeteria. As always, we lined up along the cinderblock wall, like cattle, and filed into the stainless steel feeding chute that led to the lunch-room.

On this day, something about the routine was changed. At first, the change was too subtle to be recognized, but as the line of plastic trays snaked past the steam tables, even the most oblivious of culinary oppressors could not fail to notice. Student after student put cartons of milk and dessert on their trays.

Nothing else.

Comprehension transformed the normally impassive faces of the cafeteria ladies. The change occurred slowly at first, but gathered intensity as the line of students flowed by. White polyester uniforms are not especially attractive, and the sudden appearance of comprehension on the faces below the hairnets did little to improve the overall aspect.

As far as I know, this was the official beginning of what would later be thought of as the decade of protest, or simply, "the sixties" (at least in our little corner of the suburbs). We had developed a taste for justice and realized, for the first time, the power strength-in-numbers—and that, as baby boomers, the numbers might be on our side. Needless to say, the hair-netted powers that be retaliated; for many days thereafter, the left-over fish sticks were served, again and again—each time becoming slightly smaller, harder, and greasier—until they were no more.

*Dr. Sanscravat is a nom de plume of Gary Allen, one of my friends from the "food, cooking and eating is the context in which everything makes the most sense" plane of existence." That's him down there on the right.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Genius Sublime

Forget Stradivarius and the Steinwegs, heita3 is our planet's preeminent craftsman of fine musical instruments. Now if only he could play...

Food Art



These pictures were posted without attribution here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why the Anti Foie Gras Movement will Fail

The news this week that the Chicago City Council voted to repeal a ban on the sale of foie gras is yet another indication that the campaign by animal rights activists to abolish the industry will not succeed because, I believe, the socio-political and emotional foundation of the argument against the industry is fundamentally flawed. The animal rights organizations behind the campaign to destroy the tiny American foie gras industry assume that the public will become senseless with class envy, and take their side once they understand that foie gras is a "luxury liver product targeted at the rich." They also wrongly assume that some critical number of celebrities will side with them and influence ordinary Americans to take on their cause.*

But what the people in charge of policy at organizations like PETA (People for the the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and HUSUS (The Humane Society of the United States) don't seem to understand, is that those who will be most affected by the destruction of the industry are blue-collar farmers and chefs who, unlike many who can afford to work for non-profits, do not have enviable work schedules and incomes. Neither are the customers who dine on foie gras the objects of class hatred that the animal rights people would like to believe. Most Americans are aspirational by nature, and rather than despise those who can afford to put down 2o dollars for a 4 ounce serving of terrine de foie gras, fully expect that they will do the same thing at some point.

Another problem that the anti-foie gras people have is that their opponent is the smaller dog in the fight -and the public almost always sides with the underdog. To wit

Revenue (only)

  • Foie Gras Sales US 17, 000,000 (2003)

While it is obvious from these numbers that the two principal enemies of foie gras have combined incomes that are almost ten times greater than the duck farmers who produce it, when you consider how the monies involved are used, it becomes painfully obvious that the foie gras producers are at a tremendous disadvantage in this fight. For example, according to one source, 69% of the income of HUSUS is used for "program expenses." That's approximately 82 million -tax free- dollars, or 5 times the total dollars from sales of foie gras to spend on various campaigns to promote animal rights and fight the foie gras industry -and we have not even counted in what PETA and other groups spend.

I have no idea how much the two companies that produce domestic foie gras spend defending themselves from the campaign of disinformation, physical attacks and litigation that is paid for or inspired by these two powerful special interests, but I cannot imagine that it is any more than a fraction of what is spent by the opposition.

Now about the celebrity endorsement thing. True, many, many people seem to lose their critical thinking skills when a celebrity enters their orbit, opens its mouth and speaks. But for most of us the affect, if any, is temporary because we understand that when a celebrity like Wolfgang Puck (who announced last year that he would no longer serve foie gras) makes a political statement he is often talking because he hopes to a) attract attention to himself b) attract attention to his business c) get someone off his back. In other words, by "enlisting" the help of celebrities in their cause, animal rights activists may overestimate the power of people like Wolfgang Puck to influence the debate, because we understand that their motives typically owe more to self-interest and preservation than selflessness.

Finally, the anti-foie gras opposition, whose most visible and vocal members include many who lead what might be called "alternative life styles," are not nearly as attractive and sympathetic to the American public as are the more mainstream, hard working farmers and chefs who produce and serve the nation's duck liver. If the anti-foie gras folks hope to prevail in their struggle to abolish the industry, they are going to have to rethink their strategy and alter their image and become more appealing to ordinary Americans. Otherwise, they lose.


Note: For the purpose of economy of space, I chose to cite only a few elements of the strategy that is used in the campaign by animal rights activists to take down the foie gras industry.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Raw Deal on Raw Milk


This is not a joke

Vermont law makers recently passed a bill doubling the limit on the sale of raw milk from 25 quarts to 50 quarts per day; and lifted the groundless ban on advertising. At $5 to $7 a gallon, 50 quarts per day is still just a small step in significantly affecting the viability of Vermont farms however, it is a leg-up. [Source]


But it sure sounds like one to me. Fifty quarts a day is next to nothing. Why doesn't Vermont simply make it legal for dairies that pass inspection to sell raw milk and let the public decide how much milk it wants to buy?

Foie gras protest draws 80


About 80 protesters upset about the repeal of Chicago's foie gras ban are holding a candlelight vigil outside City Hall Friday night.

Besides candles, the demonstrators also are holding up signs with photos of ducks that were overfed to produce foie gras. One grisly photo showed a duck with a beak that allegedly was broken when a feeding tube was jammed down its throat.

The signs read: "Delicacy of despair" and "Too cruel to swallow."

But not many people are around to notice the protest, which began hours after City Hall closed for the week.

Clout Street - local political coverage | Chicago Tribune | Blog

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Breaking News: Chicago Foie Gras Ban Repealed

City Council reverses foie gras ban

Posted by Dan Mihalopoulos at 2:05 p.m.

With Mayor Richard Daley running the vote, the Chicago City Council on Wednesday repealed its controversial ban on foie gras.

Over the shouted objections of Ald. Joe Moore (49th), the ban's sponsor, the council used a parliamentary manuever to put the ordinance on the floor for a vote.

The council voted 37-6 to repeal the two-year-old ban, which critics argued had made Chicago--and the City Council--a national laughingstock.

Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th), a restaurant owner,forced the vote on the measure that prohibits restaurants in the city from serving the delicacy made from the engorged livers of ducks or geese.

Moore, whose pleas for a debate were ignored by Daley, warned fellow aldermen "tomorrow it could happen to you."

Terrific Interview with Grant Achatz


I'm too busy with other things right now (e.g. researching the design for a bread oven for the farm) to comment on the transcript of this intriguing interview with Chef Grant Achatz other than to suggest that if you take cooking seriously enough to consider some of its existential elements, you ought to read it.

The interviewer, Anne McBride, works at the Institute for Culinary Education in NYC and is also teaching while pursuing a doctorate at New York University's food studies program. I met Ms. McBride recently during a trip to NYC's Little India in Jackson Heights, Queens. Ms. McBride is, I believe, a student of Krishnendu Ray
a good friend and former colleague of mine at the Culinary Institute of America.


The Institute of Culinary Education: Getting into the Kitchen

If this doesn't give you nightmares (you are not asleep)


Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo portraits in watermelon.

See the related article on food carving in today's NYT. Or not.

Indians bristle at U.S. criticism on food prices - International Herald Tribune

Apparently many people in India are ticked off by Presidented Bush's recent comments blaming the rise of the middle classes there and in other rapidly developing nations for the recent rise in food prices and are suggesting that he STFU (my interpretation) and get busy finding a way to reduce demand for food and fuel in the US. Humpf, imagine the nerve of those people.

Indians bristle at U.S. criticism on food prices - International Herald Tribune

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dirty Dog will Make You Sick: Dog Farmers Upset


In response to several cases of staph and salmonella infections that were thought to have been contracted when some humans ate dog meat, health officials in Seoul, South Korea want to have dogs reclassified as "livestock" so their husbandry and processing into meat -which is actually banned in S. Korea- can be regulated.

This has apparently ticked off both dog-as-pet lovers who don't want to see dog eating legitimized and dog farmers who think that having to conform to the health regulations will raise their costs.

I'm not kidding, I read it in The Wall Street Journal.

The Other Grey Meat

In a Guardian article titled The ultimate ethical meal Caroline Davies reports that some folks in Great Britain are eating themselves stupid on gray squirrel which, she says, tastes like a cross between duck and lamb (Too bad they don't look like crosses between ducks and sheep. Now that'd be amusing.) Having eaten gray squirrel myself, I agree with her partial description of their flavor. However, if she wrote the article to encourage people to eat gray squirrel in an effort to reduce Britain's population of this American import she may be disappointed. Most people quail at the thought of eating rodents.

But then on the other hand, perhaps if a gifted British chef does a bang up job on presenting dishes of gray squirrel to the public they will go for it. As these photos of cooked rat and guinea pig show, presentation is very critical to a diner's acceptance of food proffered

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dan Barber vs Harold McGee Throwdown

Two notable food experts express widely divergent opinions on the nutritional benefits of organic and conventionally produced produce and meat. In the same week and in the same newspaper. What's an eater to think? For the little that it is worth I, personally don't give kadota fig which, if any, is more nutritious. I will always pick the food that is the best looking and tasting, and to hell with nutrition.

Dan Barber:

"Organic fruits and vegetables contain 40 percent more nutrients than their chemical-fed counterparts. And animals raised on pasture provide us with meat and dairy products containing more beta carotene and at least three times as much C.L.A. (conjugated linoleic acid, shown in animal studies to reduce the risk of cancer) than those raised on grain."
Change We Can Stomach - New York Times


Harold McGee:
"conventional produce appears to contain consistently higher levels of protein and beta carotene."

"There are plenty of good reasons to eat organic produce and yak cheese and grass-fed beef. In the end, neither exaggerated virtues nor skeptical grains of salt will make them any more delicious. Forget the fatty acids. I just want to get a taste of that wild Himalayan milk."

Let's Take a Closer Look at That Study on Yak Cheese NYT

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Protest at restaurant that does not serve foie-gras?

All too often the truths of any contended issue never see the light of day until the battle is over.
I think this might just be the case in the fight between anti- foie gras activists from Vancouver and a restaurateur who claims that she is a) not currently selling foie gras and that when she does b) she serves liver from geese from Pateria de Sousa which have not been force fed.

Anywho (sic)...one thing I am sure of is that we can look forward to a big up-tick in anti-foie, animal rights activity as the weather warms up in the Northern Hemisphere. I suppose if I were a nastier character than I aspire to be, I would at this point make a bigoted and physiologically uninformed comment about vegans who are unwilling to walk picket lines in the winter months because they lack adequate nutrition and who, if they truly cared so much about ducks and geese, ought to consider eating Ritalin and buying down jackets so they could harass restaurateurs 24/7/365. But that kind of stuff, while amusing to write, is not especially helpful.

Paté flap ensnares eatery


Update! (5/20/08)

Valerie Barbour, the owner the restaurant (Basque in Vancouver) serving foie gras from geese that were not force fed, has caved under pressure from anti-foie gras activists who sought to stop her from serving foie-gras from force fed geese.

Sorry, but I'm not making this up. Truth is that these anti-foie people will not stop until all meat is illegal. Mark my word.



Oops, I almost forgot. Happy Mother's Day! Please make sure that you all honor the spirit of the intentions that motivated the merchants and retail entities that created this excellent day and spend lots of money on food, flowers and gifts for anyone who bears the title of "Mother."

Me, I'm sending flowers to the grave site of one of the greatest mothers of all,

Mother Frank Zappa

Friday, May 9, 2008

Brief Musing on Xenophobia and Food Choices

This piece got me wondering about how often one group's objection to a particular food or food producing practice is influenced as much by that groups' feelings and attitudes about the people producing the food, as it is about the food itself. In the article the author makes the point that South Korean students protesting the recently resumed importation of American beef because it allegedly contains BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or mad cow disease) are also expressing their dislike/ distrust of Americans in general.

I've long believed that the big scare over MSG in the late 1980's that resulted in what amounted to a national boycott of Chinese restaurants in the US was as much an expression of xenophobia as it was any genuine (if misplaced) concerns over the alleged negative health affects of mono sodium glutamate. And how much of the typical "foodies" rejection of bland, genetically altered and chemically treated factory-farmed produce and meat is a rejection of the food itself and how much is an indictment of the people who produce it?

South Korean internet geeks trigger panic over US 'tainted beef' imports - Times Online

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hunger Art

If A Hunger Artist has been quiet it's because I've been cooling my heels in London and have, until now, been too busy trying to make sense of this place to post.

Today I ran across a painting by Max Beckman at the Tate Modern (which is housed in an old power station but could easily be mistaken for a gigantic crematorium) that seems to have gotten so deep into my skin that I will probably be only a little bit surprised if something horrible and bone-cracking hatches out sometime between now and the next sunrise.

The painting, titled Prunier after the Parisian restaurant of the same name, shows three people eating mess of lobster as if they are eating the last meal of their lives. And they very-well might be doing just that. Beckman, a German, painted this while he was living in Holland where he had fled to avoid having to live under the govenment of Hitler. But then the Nazis took Holland, and by the time Beckman painted this in 1944, food rationing had taken it's toll and most people were very hungry indeed.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Don't Eat Cow Tonsils!

This story is a bit dated, but irresistible nonetheless. If you click the link to the story (above) check out the home page of the parent site: Health Inspections.com -it's a keeper! Lots of fascinating news about dirty restaurants, salmonella outbreaks, disgusting food preparation practices. A real side-slapper!

Frozen Cow Heads Recalled For Risk Of Mad Cow Disease
A Kansas company is recalling 400,000 pounds of frozen cattle heads because the tonsils were not removed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall saying that federal guidelines require the tonsils to be removed because of mad cow disease. If a cow is infected with the disease, tonsil tissue would contain the infection. So the government does not allow a cow's tonsils to be used as human food.