The Kitchen Think: High Strung for a Reason


I’m a little high strung today… guess I spent too much time reading the paper and the internet. Of course, it all has to do with food.

So-called Pink Slime but it looks like Pink Soft Serve

• Is the beef on your child’s school lunch menu “Pink Slime?” The USDA has given the OK for school districts to buy ammonia-treated beef for the national school-lunch program. Pink Slime is basically meat that butchers have rejected… you know, like connective tissue and other bits, usually from the outer areas of the carcass. Back in the day, it was used in dog food. I’m not kidding. It’s called Pink Slime because when it’s treated with ammonia to kill bacteria (like E.coli), it changes the hue and texture of the meat and it ends up looking like… yep, Pink Slime.

The levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria (like Salmonella and E.coli) particularly on chicken and ground turkey are increasing. What can you do to keep from getting sick? Avoid cross contamination and make sure you cook your food thoroughly until it has reached a safe minimum internal temperature that will kill Salmonella and E.coli.

• Colas get their distinctive color from a chemical called 4-MI. Now California has added 4-MI to its list of known carcinogens, so any product that contains this chemical has to have a cancer-warning label. To avoid any labeling issue, soda manufacturers have now switched to a new 4-MI formula. It has less 4-MI, so they skirt the cancer-label issue, but the chemical is still in the soda… it hasn’t been removed. Incredible.

• Campbell’s Soup has agreed to stop using BPA (bisphenol A) in its can linings. BPA is used to make hard, clear plastic and it has been linked to human heart disease, early-onset puberty, behavioral problems, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer. Oh, and BPA has been found in the urine of 93% of Americans tested—who knew??

• The FDA has sent a warning letter to Breathable Foods, the makers of those AeroShot caffeine inhalers. The FDA says the company has made false or misleading statements about the product which is marketed as a dietary supplement. Have you seen those lipstick-sized canisters? The fear is kids might get hold of it and take hit after hit… a cheap and really dangerous high (like drinking 6 or 7 caffeine-infused energy drinks).


• Finally, at you can order a custom decorated crock-pot. You can choose from a variety of designs or send in photographs to decorate it as you like. One website is pushing this as an easier way to cook for your dog… I’m not kidding. Sorry, Mackie, that won’t be happening for you anytime soon.





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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: