Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Food Pantries Offering Health Care to Needy

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An out-of-work David Thomas walked into a Milwaukee food pantry just seeking groceries. Thomas learned he was a stroke waiting to happen and got blood pressure medicine along with his bread.

Food pantries have long aimed to help heal hunger. A new project aims to see how well they can help heal high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments, too.

It's part of a growing movement to offer medical care for the poor and uninsured in the places where they regularly gather.

"We're taking a window of opportunity approach," says Bill Solberg, director of community services for Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee, which co-founded the food pantry project. "We know we can see these people once a month."

Despite an increasing number of free medical clinics, treatment is hard for the needy to track down. That's especially true for the nation's top health problems -- high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol -- that require ongoing care even when the person feels no symptoms if they're to avoid heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations.

Clinics require a special trip, a long wait, perhaps a baby sitter, annoyances for the well-to-do but huge obstacles for someone who must take three buses to reach the doctor or who loses a day of pay for the time off.

Consequently, "they only come when they're out of medicines or have symptoms. It's so frustrating," says Dr. Jim Sanders of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

So specialists increasingly are seeking other ways to address glaring disparities in U.S. health care, by taking care directly to where the people who need it most hang out.

Churches nationwide are offering blood pressure screening days and health fairs. Projects in numerous states are teaching barbers and beauticians how to teach their customers about stroke symptoms or to encourage a mammogram while giving a haircut.

Baltimore health officials are debating expanding the concept, with a proposal to offer blood pressure testing in 100 hair salons and barbershops in neighborhoods with high rates of heart disease.

In Milwaukee, Columbia St. Mary's and the medical college aim to provide scientific evidence that "chronic disease management" -- ongoing wellness care -- can significantly improve food pantry users' health in nine months.

The targets: High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking. The plan: Nurses will screen users of three food pantries for those health conditions when they come in for free groceries. Those with problems can get treated on the spot, with ongoing care as needed.

And because four of those conditions are diet-related, patients also will get nutrition education: Cooking classes in the pantry's kitchen and tips to make the often carbohydrate- and salt-heavy food-bank staples a little healthier. Medical students will be sent shopping with patients, helping with things like label-checking for salt.

Sadly, high-carb and high-fat foods tend to be a lot cheaper than fresh produce, and many of these families feed four for a month on $250, Sanders says. "Try to talk them into a head of broccoli. It's going to be an eye-opener."

Thomas, 47, learned his blood pressure was a sky-high 194 over 124 while visiting the project's initial food pantry clinic. A nurse told him he was at high risk for a stroke, and he agreed to treatment. Her warnings really sank in days later, when a meatpacking plant checked his health as part of a job interview, and said he'd be hired only after his hypertension was controlled.

Five days after starting pantry-provided pills, Thomas' blood pressure was dropping fast.
"This clinic is going to bring joy to the whole neighborhood," he said.

The program, which aims to treat 2,500 patients over three years, is funded by a $450,000 grant from a charity, but patients are expected to contribute for medications if at all possible.

Sanders predicts that for $4 or $5, a month's supply of generic hypertension or cholesterol medicine will be adequate for most. The seriously ill will be sent out for more advanced care, and nurses will enroll patients who qualify into Medicaid or other health programs.

"This is definitely an innovative program," says Dr. Jada Bussey-Jones, a preventive health expert at Emory University.

It's not the first time food banks and medical clinics have teamed up, notes Dr. Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association, pointing to a long-standing collaboration in the nation's capitol.

But there's little data showing how well this kind of nurse-led community project works, or that it can be cost-effective, Sanders says.

"The most important principle here is going where the people are," Benjamin says. "There no reason you can't do immunizations there, no reason you can't do nutritional counseling there. ... It makes a lot of sense."

Friday, December 14, 2007


In the debate over foie gras, chefs take out their knives.


In a Newsweek column last May, chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck explained how he would run his food empire from now on: "It's about getting every one of us to eat the right foods," he said, outlining his plans for serving pesticide-free vegetables and free-range chicken, beef and pork. "As for foie gras," Mr. Puck said of the delicacy of buttery rich duck (or goose) liver, "my customers and I can easily live without it."

The classically trained Austrian chef, who earned his fame at Spago and whose products can now be found at both the airport and the frozen-food section, has clearly touched a nerve in, as they say, the celebrity-chef community.

"I think he should stop worrying about cruelty to animals and start worrying about all the customers he's flopping his crap on at airports," says chef Anthony Bourdain, the author of "Kitchen Confidential" and the star of the TV series "No Reservations." Mr. Bourdain elaborates: "He does a lot of business in California. He got squeezed and pressured and phone-called from all angles, and like a good German shopkeeper he folded and sold out the people hiding in the cellar next door. I got no respect."

"A German shopkeeper"? How has a debate over goose liver gotten so nasty? And when did being a chef become so, well, political?

Chefs have always had their opinions. Julia Child's biographer Laura Shapiro writes that, "as she saw it, irradiation didn't pose nearly the threat [to our way of eating] that, say, vegetarianism did." In the 1970s, Paul Bocuse led the way toward simpler dishes with fresh ingredients, launching nouvelle cuisine. And Alice Waters emphasized local and organic foods with her "earth-to-table movement." But the question of whether to serve a dish or not because of humanitarian concerns is a relatively new one.

Banning foie gras has become a rallying cry for animal-rights activists across the country because the delicacy requires the insertion of a feeding tube into the duck's or goose's esophagus for several seconds three times a day toward the end of the bird's life; this force-feeding causes the liver to swell to well over its normal size. California plans on banning foie gras by 2012, and it's already illegal in Chicago. Last month the Humane Society of the U.S. sent the Agriculture Department a petition pushing for a nationwide ban.

But now the delicacy has caused a split among celebrity chefs--some of whom believe their job is preparing food, while others want to use their fame to score political points. In an email, Mr. Puck said his decision was not the result of being bullied. Reflecting on Spago's 25th anniversary, he writes: "I realized that . . . we had built a very successful company . . . and I wanted to use this success as a platform for doing something more socially responsible--something that needed leadership. Removing foie gras is a small part of our larger initiative . . . about values and eating and living WELL." (Mr. Puck's nine-point WELL program stands for "Wolfgang's Eating, Loving and Living.")

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, whose organization worked with Mr. Puck on WELL, says the group did not engage in pressure tactics. But Michael Ginor, co-founder and president of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, disagrees: "There was an awful lot of pressure. I know from Wolfgang Puck's own chefs who are friends."

Some chefs view the criticism of foie gras as a direct assault on their tradition and heritage (it has been eaten since the time of the ancient Egyptians). "The intimidation [animal-rights activists] gave me and my staff--this is a big political problem," says Daniel Boulud, New York's four-star restaurateur and host of the TV show "After Hours" (in which the chef throws a dinner party for friends at a different restaurant each week). "Animals are treated here for the purpose of food--I think the duck has a pretty nice life." Culinary elder statesman Jacques Pépin calls the banning efforts "a sham." (Both men are respectful of Mr. Puck but believe, like Mr. Ginor, that he was pressured into his decision.)

Bill Buford of The New Yorker considers the activism of chefs "a good thing because food itself is and always has been more than just a plate of food. It is also history, identity, family, biology, culture, and, yes, politics." Fair enough. But like other celebrities who campaign to save the rainforests or to stop global warming, chefs may eventually push the limits of their fame. And Mr. Puck's customers may decide they've had enough.

On the other hand, Mr. Buford, the author of the best-selling "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany," couldn't care less about the specifics of this debate: "It's a fat bomb," he says of foie gras, "the swollen testimony of a goose that has lived a luxurious life, offered up as an inflated luxury to the people prepared to pay for it. . . . Who cares? Do you? I don't." Clearly, some others do.

Banana Eggnog Pudding

This is one of the all-time favorite Southern dessert treats, but with a little holiday twist:

4 Eggs, separated
¾ cup Granulated Sugar, divided
½ cup Light Brown Sugar
2 ½ cups Whole Milk
1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Rum Extract, divided
1 tsp Nutmeg, divided
60 Vanilla Wafer Cookies
6 Ripe Bananas, sliced
Dash of Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

To prepare the custard, mix flour, brown sugar, salt, and ½ cup of the white sugar in the top of a double boiler. Blend in the egg yolks and milk. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp of the rum extract and 1/2 tsp of the nutmeg.

Spread 1/4 of the custard in the bottom of a 2 qt casserole or other similar sized ovenproof baking dish. Cover the custard with 1/3 of the wafers, followed by 1/3 of the sliced bananas. Continue to alternate layers, ending with a layer of custard on top.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and the remaining rum extract on high speed to stiff peaks to make a meringue.

Spoon the meringue on top of the custard and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle the remaining nutmeg evenly over the top.

Bake at 350° F until meringue is golden brown. Refrigerate until chilled thoroughly.

Makes 12 Servings.

Mushrooms Provençale

24 large mushroom caps
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, mashed
3 tablespoons minced shallots
Salt and pepper
Pinch of thyme

Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

Remove the stems of the mushrooms.

Blend the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Fill each of the mushrooms with the mixture.

Sprinkle the mushrooms with olive oil.

Arrange the mushrooms in a baking or gratin dish not too close to each other.

Bake the mushrooms in the oven at 400º for 15 minutes.

Serve two mushrooms as a starter or as a side dish.

Serves 12.

Brown Rice Pilaf

1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 med. Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
2 ribs Celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups long grained brown rice
1 qt. Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tsp Black pepper
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Melt butter with oil.

Sauté onion, garlic, celery and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and sauté, stirring constantly, for two minutes.

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

Continue cooking until rice is al dente and liquid is absorbed.

Fluff with a fork, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve.

Makes approx. 10 servings.

Hamming it Up

Here's a simple (but FLAVORFUL) recipe recommendation for your family's Christmas dinner:

Holiday Glazed Ham

1 bone-in cured ham, about 15 pounds
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
½ cup regular prepared mustard
1 Tbsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir in brown sugar, mustard, pepper, cloves, and allspice. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325º F.

Trim the skin from the ham using a sharp knife. Leave approx. 1/8 inch of fat all around. Score the fat in a diamond pattern. Place the ham, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon half of the glaze over the top of the ham. Return to the oven uncovered and bake 30 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over the ham. Bake about 30 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow the ham to rest for approximately 20 minutes before carving. Makes approx. 20 servings.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Banana, Anyone?

The ‘monkey see, monkey do’ mentality among staff leads to mediocrity, drives owners bananas

(Dec. 03) I didn’t invent the hypothetical situation, but let’s just suppose for a second that I did.

Put five monkeys in a cage. Inside that cage, hang one banana on a string and place a ladder under it. Keep a garden hose nearby. Soon one of the monkeys will spot the banana and start to climb the ladder to get it. When he does, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. Now, replace the banana.

After a while another one of the monkeys will probably go for the banana. Again, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

Monkeys are relatively smart, so pretty soon, whenever one of the monkeys attempts to climb the ladder, all the other monkeys will try to prevent him from doing it. When that happens, put away the cold-water hose. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

Now hang a new banana over the ladder.

The new monkey will spot the banana and head for the ladder. To his surprise, all of the other monkeys will spontaneously attack him. After several more futile attempts, all of which will result in further beatings, the new monkey will no longer try for the banana.

Remove another of the original monkeys and again replace it with a new one. Now replace the banana. Again, the new monkey will make a grab for it. Like his predecessor he will be stunned to discover that all the other monkeys attack him. In fact, the previous newcomer will most likely take a particularly enthusiastic role in his replacement’s punishment.

One at a time, gradually replace all of the original monkeys with new ones. Each of the newcomers will go for the banana. Each one will be attacked by the other four. Most of the new monkeys have absolutely no idea why they were not allowed to climb the ladder, or why they are participating in the assault on the newest monkey.

When all of the original monkeys have been replaced, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, not one of those monkeys ever approaches the ladder. Why not? Because as far as they are concerned that’s the way it has always been done around here.

And that is how corporate culture and company policy begins.

A friend sent me that parable, and though the author is unknown to me, the moral is quite clear.

If your best employees keep leaving and only the least valuable remain, you’ve got to start challenging the policies and processes that made you successful in the past.

Carolyn Straub, human resources administrator for Runza National, a Lincoln, Neb.-based regional restaurant chain that is known for its overstuffed sandwiches, agrees. “If you tolerate employees and managers that have accepted mediocrity as the standard level of performance, each go-getter that you bring into your restaurant will be dragged down by the middle or bottom groups,” she says.

“Accepting mediocrity and poor performance accelerates turnover among the good performers and leaves you with only the poor ones. The water in this story symbolizes every time that a manager compromises standards, accepts poor performance, or douses an employee’s ideas, improvement suggestions, or eagerness to go above and beyond.”

I couldn’t agree more. If performance is slipping at your operation, every manager and operator should first look themselves in the mirror before they blame the economy, the competition, the customer, or the “quality of help these days.”

Do you hire people prescreened to fit your culture or do you hire anyone and try to fit your culture to them? Rookie mistake. Maybe you quickly hire average performers and hope that “training” will fix them. But there is no right way to develop the wrong person. Do you make it a privilege to join your team, or are you surprised when once-profitable units underperform?

There is no such thing as a great team in a bad store.

Are your general managers so busy managing numbers that they’re failing to recognize performers, as well as the performance? Remember that brains, like hearts, go where they’re appreciated.

Mediocre managers will not take the time to methodically challenge the process and search out root causes of operational problems. Instead, they blame the monkeys, and determine that it must be the reward that’s wrong. So they decide to exchange the banana for an orange. Sound familiar?

If you want to get better, challenge your policies, procedures and processes daily. Ask: What makes our day difficult? Why do we do it that way? What if we didn’t? What was the origin of the policy? Does it still make sense for us, for our customers? Does the process or policy make it is easy for customers to do business with us? If not, why? Change it. Does it make it easier for our team to do business with us? If not, why? Change it. Does our hiring and training program assure us better performers than the competition? If not, why? Change it.

And if this discussion makes you uncomfortable, you’d best ask yourself one last question: “Which is stronger in our company: our willingness to change or our resistance to it?”

Banana, Anyone?

Jim Sullivan’s newest book and audio-book is called “Multi Unit Leadership: The 7 Stages of Building High-Performing Partnerships & Teams.” You can order it and get his free monthly e-newsletter of best practices at For a podcast of this column go to .

Body Art at Work

Some Managers Look Past Tattoos and Piercings - But Not if They Distract Customers

For 12 years, Ann Kinder has sported a two-inch square tattoo on the inside of her left ankle. Because she regularly wears pants, many of her co-workers are hardly aware of the vibrant design, a peace dove styled in blue, white, green, and orange.

"I have colleagues with tattoos that are more visible," says Ms. Kinder, a communications associate for a nonprofit education agency in Naperville, Ill. But no one can miss the nose ring Kinder added two months ago. "That's something I decided to be a little bolder about," she says, noting that several other women in her office have pierced noses.

Body art, once the province of bikers, longshoremen, marines, and punks, is going more mainstream, showing up in white-collar workplaces. As more young employees – both women and men – opt for ink and piercings, they face decisions about how much decorated skin to bare or not to bare. In the process, they are also quietly forcing their employers to accept them.

More than one-third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 have tattoos, and 40 percent of those between 26 and 40, according to a Pew Research study. For those over age 40, the number drops to 10 percent. In all, an estimated 30 million to 40 million people have tattoos.

As a further sign of growing popularity, reality shows on television, such as "Miami Ink" and "LA Ink," promote body art. Last week 7-Eleven even launched an energy drink called Inked, targeted to a rapidly growing niche market – young, tattooed Americans.

Fields such as entertainment and technology often permit relaxed dress policies. "I have clients who work all over the United States and are allowed to expose their tattoos," says Jamie Yasko-Mangum, a corporate-training consultant for Successful Style & Image in Orlando, Fla.

Other businesses remain conservative. "There are many professions where tattoos are not allowed to be exposed," Ms. Yasko-Mangum says. These can include law offices, banks, restaurants, pharmaceutical firms, and insurance companies. In such places, women with butterflies and flowers decorating a shoulder or men with snakes and flame-breathing dragons encircling a forearm must rely on long sleeves to cover their art.

That's the approach David Kimelberg, general counsel for a venture capital group in Newton, Mass., takes to keep his tattoos a secret. "They do tend to be distracting," he says. "They're unique and colorful. Your attention goes to that if they're exposed."

Despite the secrecy, Mr. Kimelberg, who is also a photographer, found a network of heavily tattooed white-collar professionals. They form the subject of his book, "Inked Inc." Sixty percent of those he photographed are women.

After the book's publication in May, Kimelberg had to reveal himself to his company. To his relief, reaction was "quite positive," he says. "We pitch to start-up companies with pretty young management teams. [Tattoos] create a connection on a personal level. You're not seen as this conservative, stodgy group. They see you as more youthful. They can connect with that."

But many other employers and clients fail to make that connection. Despite the growing popularity of body art, some companies are clamping down. "At first it was like, 'Oh, OK,' " says Brooks Savage, CEO of Executive Staffing Group in Raleigh, N.C. "But it has been taken a little too far. People are starting to tighten policies. I'm taking a stronger and stronger stand on it. I've had managers speak to employees." Some of his criticism is directed to young women whose shirts expose lower-back tattoos when they bend over or reach up.

Susan Potter Norton, an attorney with Allen Norton & Blue in Miami, also finds employers less willing to accept body art. "I've had a number of private-sector employers ask if they can require employees to cover up tattoos or decline to hire them," she says. The answer in Florida is yes.

Marty Kotis, president of Kotis Properties, a real estate development firm in Greensboro, N.C., does not have a strict policy against body art. For employees who do not interact with the public, where a good first impression is important, he takes a laissez-faire approach. His test is: "If it negatively impacts our business, it's not a good thing."

He interviewed one job applicant who wore a large nose ring. "I found it kind of distracting talking to her," Mr. Kotis says. "If a prospective client is sitting there and instead of hearing the pitch about our company is thinking, 'That must have hurt,' or 'Why would she have that?', that would be a concern."

Before Kinder had her nose pierced, she checked with the human resources director, who did not object. Kinder finds that the small ring has had "no negative effect" on her work environment. But a major fitness club where she holds a second job does not allow nose rings. She covers it with a band-aid while she works there.

Michelle Clark, creative director for a public-relations firm in Atlanta, keeps her tattoos concealed at work. "In the summer, I can't go sleeveless," she says. When she attends business meetings, she hides an infinity symbol on her wrist with a big bracelet. She also wears just one pair of earrings to work, despite having seven holes in one ear and three in the other.
"I prefer people to remember me for my work and not to be distracted by my tattoos or piercings," Ms. Clark says. "A friend insists it is her right to show off everything under the sun. She has a lot less respect in our business."

Even so, attitudes are changing, says John Putzier, author of "Weirdos in the Workplace: The New Normal." He describes the process as "more of an evolution than a revolution," adding, "Eventually, what's avant-garde today is more common tomorrow." He defends the right of managers "to regulate, dictate, and prohibit."

Mr. Putzier expects managers to evolve. "As baby boomers retire, Gen X and Gen Y will be doing the hiring," he says. "The standard of decorum for appearance will change and is changing." A shortage of skilled workers will also encourage companies to look beyond externals.
One heavily tattooed professional, Todd Dewett, is an associate professor of management at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Although the stigma is softening, he says, most people still "stereotype anyone with a lot of ink." He adds, "The belief that tattoos will slow you down professionally in some fashion is not irrational." Mr. Dewett is the author of a forthcoming book, "Leadership Redefined."

Yasko-Magnum, the corporate-training consultant, advises those considering a tattoo to reflect on whether their profession will accept it. "When you are in an office, do not expose your tattoos, because you can lose your credibility. I hear people say, 'That's my personal expression.' But when you're working for a company, you have to conform."

She adds that she has seen clients, now in their 30s and 40s, who wish they had never gotten tattoos. That regret sends some professionals to dermatologists for laser tattoo removal.
In the long run, greater workplace acceptance will depend on whether tattooing is simply a trend or a lasting part of American culture, says Bob Kustka, a human resources consultant in Norwell, Mass.

For now, Clark takes a sanguine approach. "You have to take into consideration that not everybody likes what you like," she says. "You have to have some respect for what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable if you expect them to work with you."

Congratulations to Class #47

Class #47 of the Second Helpings Culinary Job Training Program graduated on Friday, November 30, 2007. CONGRATULATIONS to the graduates!

Pictured Above (front row, left to right) Michelle Naidoo, Dana Arend, Bianca Gunn-Thomas, Shateese Williams (back row) Chef Conway, David Williams, John Marsh, Phillip Kittrell, and Ricky Bullock

Friday, November 30, 2007

Indy Chefs' Association Meeting

The next meeting of the ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, December 3, 2007 at:

Ivy Tech Community College
50 West Fall Creek Parkway North Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46208

The educational portion of the meeting will be held in Room 135 of the Tech Center, starting PROMPTLY at 6:00 p.m.

Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. in the NMC Room 405. The hosts for this event will be the students of the Hospitality Program. This will be their “final”

RSVP to Chef Paul Vida at 317-917-5930.

Cost for Active Members and Guests is $10.00. Cost for Junior Members is $5.00

The educational program (starting PROMPTLY at 6:00 p.m.) will be presented by Lisa Trinkler and Albert Uster Imports and titled: “Des Alps Chocolate Methodology".

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There's Teaching, and There's Educating...

One day a group of six year olds were sitting in a classroom, and the teacher was explaining evolution to the children.

The teacher asked a little boy: Tommy do you see the tree outside?


TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?


TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see If you can see the sky.

TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes Later) Yes, I saw the sky.

TEACHER: Did you see God up there?


TEACHER: That's my point. We can't see God because he isn't there. Possibly he just doesn't exist.

A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions. The teacher agreed and the little girl asked the boy: Tommy, do you see the tree outside?


LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?

TOMMY: Yessssss!

LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?

TOMMY: Yessssss!

LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the teacher?


LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?


LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were just taught, she possibly may not even have one!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Effective Child Rearing, Example 1

A young boy had just gotten his driver's permit and inquired of his father, if they could discuss his use of the car.

His father said he'd make a deal with his son. "You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, get your hair cut and we'll talk about the car." The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he'd settle for the offer and they agreed on it.

After about six weeks his father said, "Son, I've been real proud. You brought your grades up and I've observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I'm real disappointed you haven't gotten your hair cut.

"The young man paused a moment then said, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair and there's even a strong argument that Jesus had long hair."

To this his father replied, "Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This Thanksgiving, his plate is full

THE Los Angeles Mission will serve Thanksgiving dinner today (a day-before-the-holiday tradition for decades) to anyone who wants it. More than 3,000 guests are expected, an estimated 500 more than were served last year, says Herb Smith, chief executive and president of the mission. The economy has been rough. But hard times aren't the only reason for the surge, Smith says: "We have the best food on skid row."

The menu for the feast here, like Thanksgiving menus everywhere, has treasured traditions -- dishes and gracious gestures the guests anticipate. The centerpiece of the meal, a big, meaty smoked turkey leg on each and every plate, is a symbol of abundance created by executive chef Chris Cormier four years ago.

"Our guests come here looking for connections, rituals, a diversion from an otherwise gray existence," says Cormier, 47, who was once homeless himself. "We have fresh flowers on every table and serve food we'd be happy to feed our own families."

Cormier first came to the mission because of the food. Of all of the soup kitchens where he'd eaten, this was the place that took pride in what was served, he says. One reason: The kitchen is staffed by students in the mission's chef training program. After coming for the food, Cormier stayed to work his way up through the training program he now runs.

The Los Angeles Mission, founded in 1936, moved into its current facility on 5th Street in 1992. The 394-bed shelter is now one of the nation's largest providers of services to the homeless, offering three hot meals a day as well as vocational training and continuing education. The Thanksgiving tradition, its most visible public event, takes place on 5th Street by the mission between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. It's a block party, with that section of 5th Street closed for the day so that dining tables can be set up in the street.

Because no one stands in line at home to be served Thanksgiving dinner, the mission's guests are served by 450 volunteers who have made this meal part of their Thanksgiving tradition. Guests sit with their friends, other members of the all-too-stable population living near the mission.

On each plate, that smoked turkey leg is accompanied by homemade mashed potatoes with country gravy, candied yams, mixed vegetables, cranberry relish and buttered rolls. There's pumpkin pie for dessert. The pies are donated, but the rest of the recipes have been developed by Cormier, who learned banquet-style cooking from "a couple of guys who used to run kitchens in Las Vegas," he says. "I like to use buttermilk in the potatoes to give them that extra flavor without loading them up with too much fat."

Cormier and his second in command, David Thomas, supervise cooks Carlos Castillo, Harold Reed and Nick Bautista and a rotating support staff. The crew cooks all day today, guaranteeing that everyone gets a hot just-cooked meal. The mission's well-equipped professional kitchen is "controlled chaos" during the event, Cormier says.

"Our friends and neighbors look forward to Chris' food," says Smith. "And not just on Thanksgiving. He makes a mac and cheese with three cheeses for Christmas dinner that people talk about all year. His food brings people to our door and we'll get to know someone. Hopefully, that meal will lead them to want to change their lives.

"Cooking is a bridge to self-sufficiency for the students working under Cormier. He shows them what he wants, then lets them learn by doing the work themselves.

"It was my lifeline back," Cormier says. "It inspired me to dust myself off and carry on.

"With a mother born in Jamaica then raised in Panama, and a father from Louisiana, Cormier's childhood in El Sereno revolved around the dinner table.

"My mother's gumbo was fantastic. She could make chicken wings a gourmet dish," he says. "I'd have cooking competitions with my friends to see who made the best chili or jambalaya." By the early 1980s he was a cook in Redding.

"Then I had my battles with addiction. I thought my life was over. I told people to just take me downtown and leave me," Cormier says.

Still, a man's got to eat. Cormier made the rounds of skid row's soup kitchens, sizing them up. "No matter how bad things get, if you know good food, you go looking for it," he says. "It's no different than music to a musician or a painting to a painter. Food inspires."

Cormier soon joined the mission's kitchen staff, moving on to work in the kitchen at other missions, straightening his life out along the way. He returned to Los Angeles Mission in 1997 and by 1999 was overseeing a revolving group of 30 students in the mission's kitchen.

"The beauty of it is seeing students who don't know anything when they come here and then they are able to go home and make dinner for their mom. Or get a job at a hotel, work at a grocery store deli counter, be a caterer," he says. "I get to teach these kids to go to the next step."

Participants in the mission's chef training program have the opportunity to earn their ServSafe Certificate, an accreditation by the National Restaurant Assn. that says the person knows the food safety rules for operating a commercial kitchen. "When they move on, they are able to get work, to get on with their lives, to return home."

And it starts with sitting down to eat a smoked turkey leg. Since Saturday, Cormier has been supervising revolving crews on the two refrigerator-shaped smokers in the mission's parking lot. His students have taken turns stoking the mesquite fire, spritzing the turkey legs with apple juice and rotating them to make sure every one is cooked perfectly.

Cormier made the smokers out of old transit cabinets, the 6-foot-tall metal storage racks that caterers use to wheel around trays of food. He drilled a line of holes along both sides near the bottom to let in oxygen to keep the mesquite wood burning. Another line of holes along the top and a few in the middle keep the air circulating. Dented metal restaurant trays hold the coals in the bottom of the cabinets. The turkey legs are lined up on wire baking racks that slide in, 5 inches apart, throughout the cabinets. There's just enough room for the smoke to surround each piece of meat.

Dropping a thermometer into one of the "breather" holes, he checks to make sure the smoker stays at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, it takes three hours to cook 65 legs. And four days to cook 3,000 legs.

Today, when Cormier looks down the long tables at his guests, he says, he'll be inspired all over again. "To see someone take joy in what you've created, it's beautiful."

The "Glamorous" Life - Reality Check

Don't Just Be A Chef, Be A Glamorous Chef!

(CBS) Dorothy Hamilton is used to fledgling chefs. In 1984 she founded the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. But even she has been astounded at what's happened in the past five years.

In that short time, she says enrollment has doubled in size. Today there are about 2,000 students taking six month immersion courses at the school.

The story is the same all over the country. Professional cooking schools are expanding and new ones are starting, in part as a tribute to Americans' increasing interest in fine food. But there's another factor, too. Hamilton says the 24-hour Food Network deserves some of the credit.

While early TV chef's like Julia Child helped convince Americans that they could create fine cuisine at home, a later generation of colorful characters such as Emeril Lagasse and the Barefoot Contessa has made cooking seem like a pathway to fun and stardom.

Now many culinary students have stars in their eyes, and who could blame them for dreaming when you watch Guy Fieri? He had worked in the food business for years, already owned four restaurants and then last season he triumphed on a TV competition show.

Now he hosts two Food Network shows himself and is launching a third, but Fieri worries that his success may give some people the wrong impression.

"People that get into it thinking that they're gonna bet all their chips on, on this happening," he told Sunday Morning correspondent Rita Braver. "That's just kind of a long shot."

And it's not just being a TV star that's an enticing long shot, there's also the allure of your own restaurant. Cathal Armstrong is one of those people. He owns Restaurant Eve, one of the top-rated restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area with a six-week wait for Saturday night reservations. He loves his work, but believes there's far too much focus on the glamour of his industry.

"An awful lot of what we do is the same thing all day every day, peeling potatoes and peeling more carrots and cutting more celery, and it's mundane and repetitive," he said. "The kitchen staff arrive between 10:30 and 11 and then they work lunch and dinner service. So they're here until about midnight."

That's more than 12 hours a day, five days a week, at the going rate of about $30,000 a year. So it's no wonder that even as more people want to become chefs, it's harder to recruit good kitchen staffers.

Armstrong says some of the cooking school grads he hired just couldn't keep going. "And have actually dropped out of the restaurant business entirely because of their realization that this isn't the glamorous thing that they expected it would be," he said.

After attending culinary school, Edric Har thought he'd work his way up in the kitchen of a great restaurant, but the pay was too low, the hours too demanding. He now works as a caterer. "While I did love food, and I wanted to be a cook, and that was part of who I was, it wasn't all of who I was," he said.

At the French Culinary Institute, Dorothy Hamilton says that makes perfect sense. Not every one can become a famous chef. "The great thing about our profession is there are hundreds of thousands of jobs every year for cooks," she said. "What you have to have is the right path."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Grandma In Court

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grand motherly, elderly woman to the stand.

He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?" She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs.
You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned! Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women; one of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."

The defense attorney almost started hyperventilating.

The judge banged his gavel and asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, "If either of you jackasses ask her if she knows me, I'll send you to the electric chair."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Talking Turkey, Part 3

It doesn't get any simpler than this. I haven't figured out yet how to make it come out in the shape of a can.


1 lb raw cranberries
3 whole seedless oranges, unpeeled
½ cup granulated sugar

In the bowl of a food processor coarsely grind the cranberries and oranges.

Sweeten to taste with granulated sugar. Serves 8.

And for the finale...

(Makes one 9-inch pie)

3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
5 egg yolks
Kosher salt
1 deep dish, 9-inch frozen pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes and mash with a potato masher and set aside to cool.

Place cooled sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl and beat with stand mixer or hand mixer until smooth. Add evaporated milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and egg yolks and beat until well combined. Add lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt, to taste, and beat until well combined.

Pour batter into pie shell and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the pie filling reaches a temperature of 180 degrees F.

Remove from oven and cool. Keep pie refrigerated after cooling.

Talking Turkey, Part 2

Here's another super easy recipe for an accompaniment to your turkey. Even though it's called "stuffing" I never put it inside the bird. In fact, back home we always called it DRESSING:


8 ounces mild pork sausage
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped and unpeeled
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (Recipe included)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups coarsely crumbled corn bread
2 cups day-old white or wheat bread, cubed
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 to 1 cup low-sodium chicken or turkey broth

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook sausage until brown.

Remove sausage; drain and set aside. Drain fat from skillet.

In the same skillet, sauté apple, celery, garlic and onion in butter until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in poultry seasoning, salt and black pepper.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, apple mixture, corn bread, white bead, and parsley. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, tossing gently.

Transfer to a buttered 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 8.


1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
2 Tbsp. Dried Tarragon
2 Tbsp Rubbed Sage
2 tsp. Dried Marjoram
1 tsp. Dried Thyme
1 1/2 Tbsp. Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Paprika

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store mix in airtight container.

Makes 2/3 cup.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Talking Turkey, Part 1

If you're still undecided about your menu for your family's Thanksgiving Day dinner, here are some suggestions.

Roast Turkey
Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Creole Creamy Succotash
Orange Cranberry Relish
Sweet Potato Pie

Below is my recipe for the juiciest, and EASIEST roast turkey ever.

1 (12 pound) whole turkey, DEFROSTED and giblets removed
¼ cup olive oil
4 carrots, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 lemon, quartered
12 garlic cloves
½ cup Poultry seasoning, divided
¼ cup water
Kosher Salt
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Rinse turkey and pat dry thoroughly.
Season the inside of the turkey liberally with Kosher salt, black pepper, and poultry seasoning.
Combine the celery, onions, garlic, carrots in a large mixing bowl.
Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the lemon and half of the vegetable mixture. Place remaining vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan to act as a base for the turkey.
Rub the outside of the turkey with olive oil and season liberally with the poultry seasoning.
Pour water into the bottom of the roasting pan..
Place in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, then lower temperature to 325 degrees F.
Continue to cook turkey until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F.
Basting the turkey is not necessary, but will promote even browning.
Protect the breast from browning too much before the thigh is done by loosely covering it with a tent of aluminum foil, if necessary.
Remove bird from oven, and allow to stand for about 30 minutes before carving.

FOOD SAFETY NOTE: People who are members of high risk groups or with challenged immune systems should use care. The test for doneness is the TEMPERATURE of the meat, not the color of the skin. Government food safety guidelines recommend cooking the turkey until the thigh meat temperature reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.

Great Music and Great Art For A Greater Cause

Tonic Ball VI

Friday, November 16

8:00 p.m.

It’s on again: Indy’s best night of music and art.

Kick of your holiday season in style at Tonic Ball VI, celebrating the music of The Clash at Radio Radio in Fountain Square… and the music of Madonna next door at the Fountain Square Theatre.

Your $20 ticket gets you into both rooms to enjoy the sound stylings of nearly 30 of the area’s most popular local musical acts!

Radio Radio1119 E. Prospect Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203

Fountain Square Theatre1105 Prospect St Indianapolis, IN 46203

Note: Fountain Square Theatre is an all-ages venue. Under-age tickets may be purchased separately.

Call or email Jennifer Arnold at 632-2662 X. 12, or

Tonic Gallery

Friday, November 16

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Our sister event gets bigger and better every year.

Start your evening in Fountain Square at the Wheeler Arts community, where 70 of Greater Indianapolis’s most talented visual artists will donate their work to raise money for Second Helpings.

It’s free to attend…but come with your checkbook. You’re gonna want to buy art.

Wheeler Arts CommunityHistoric Fountain Square, 1035 Sanders Street #111 Indianapolis, IN 46203

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Brain Time, Body Time, or Butt Time?

by Marcia L. Conner

Different times of day are best for learning different sorts of information. Schedule your time to maximize how much, and how efficiently, you learn.

A long-time client and I recently broke up. Our schedules no longer meshed. The primary contact didn't need my help late or on weekends anymore. He increasingly wanted my assistance [gasp] during the day, the middle of the day. I helped his firm occasionally during daylight, but I wouldn't offer him more of those hours regularly.

Aside from a commitment I needed to explore with my young son then, midday is a lousy time to strategize, learn large lessons, think big thoughts, and in general get things done. Whenever I can, I avoid mental lifting between noon and two, and I encourage my clients to do the same.

After years (longer than an infradian clock yet shorter than a lifetime) wondering the scientific reason coworkers and clients struggled to understand new information after lunch, and why I did some of my best work after hours, I found the reason.

Chronobiology, the science of biological clocks within living organisms, proves different times of day are best for different sorts of activities. If you can organize your time, you'd be well served by using your natural rhythms to work smarter.

To assess these rhythms, chronobiologists measure everything from the speed and accuracy with which people multiply numbers, to how quickly they become exhausted from bicycle pedaling, to how adeptly they recognize patterns, grip objects, lift loads and learn at different times.

From their work, I devised a simple model to describe how your body learns best during the day. Dubbed once the Conner Brains-Body-Butt model, I've used this with teachers and trainers to reorient their approach to curriculum and daily planning. Lately, business people, conference planners, and group facilitators have sought this perspective to gain a competitive edge.
Consider using this model to help allocate your hours to get the most from your time.

Brain Time

When your jobs demands you internalize new information, measure it quickly, and make important decisions, morning should be your first choice. If your job depends on generating ideas and then communicating them, morning also reigns. Even if you're not a morning person you're most likely to grasp new concepts and understand complicated details between 9:00 AM and noon when short-term memory and mental activities peak.

These are the hours when reporters can best synthesize complex stories, executives make their finest presentations, and test-takers are most likely to succeed. These are also the hours when an entrepreneur is most likely to sell a concept; more business contracts are sealed over lunch than at any other time.

This is not only because you're mentally firing most effectively -- those you're talking with are at their sharpest too. This makes the morning the best time for meetings, pitches, or classes where you have weighty topics to convey.

Morning time as brain time is almost universally true, independent of age, time zone, season, or your level of wakefulness. Even when I talk with people who characterize themselves as night owls, and who sleep through the morning, they often can describe vivid dreams they had just prior to waking (the result of heightened mental activity).

Use this time to take in all you can through your eyes and your ears. Schedule your most thought-intensive activities and make important decisions. Structure this time to minimize distractions from random events like incoming phone calls or drop in office hours. This is optimal time for intellectual focus.

Once noontime passes, though, so does your mental brilliance. Your cognitive abilities can vary by as much as twenty percent over the course of the day. Lunchtime begins your slide toward the less grounded part of your day. Thankfully, for those who think, talk, and listen for a living, the remainder of the day holds other sorts of potential.

Body Time

As your mental capabilities fade, your physical abilities improve. In the middle of the day, after your body processes a meal (or when it anticipates eating), you're physically strongest and most flexible. Your hands are also steadiest and you work at your swiftest clip. You body even requires less oxygen to do the same activity you huffed and puffed over earlier.

Go into a meeting and you'll likely crave a siesta or just not grasp what's being said. I've seen meetings where even the presenter had a hard time staying awake, pacing nonstop in an intuitive quest to engage the body.

Studies of swimmers, runners, and rowing crews show afternoon and evening improvements in ability by as much as thirty percent. In the gym you can lift heavier weights; if relocating you can move bigger furniture, and this is the time to try opening that stuck window.

Use the time from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM to work with your hands, move things around, and use your strength and adaptability. Spend this time being active, taking information in through movement and touch.

Butt Time

The afternoon lull arrives around 2:30 PM when you're neither quick to think or smooth to move.

Your ability to concentrate and make decisions is at its daily low, accidents rise to their daytime height, and based on your inner clocks, time actually slows.

This is the ideal time to sit, contemplate, and think laterally rather than deep. Although you may feel too tired to learn any more, biologically, you're primed for rumination and reflection.

Use this time to talk with other people, hear different perspectives and integrate into your thoughts how their responses impact your work. Although this is not the time to convince others, it's well suited to convince yourself. If you do, you'll also remember your plan more accurately because while short-term memory is a whiz in the morning, long-term recall improves later in the day.

Late afternoon arrives with a surprise. Around 4:00 PM you get restless and consequently your speed builds up. Athletically you're near your peak; so is your quickness for addition, multiplication, and even counting on your fingers. Because long-term memory improves with the day, too, ask yourself, "How will I use what I learned today?" and "What implications does this mean to my department?" You're more likely to remember your conclusions tomorrow.


Fortunately, once you pass butt time, some of your mental skills begin to click back in. The three stages repeat their sequence during the evening, nighttime, and early morning hours. This explains why you might feel alert and focused long after everyone else has gone to bed and you sleep restlessly around 3:30 AM.

I know an entrepreneur who when she wants to be creative stays up late, and when she wants to motor through her do-list, gets up early.

During the second brain time, thanks to hormone cycles, your senses are at their peak. Taste, smell, hearing and sight are at their most acute. As your temperature peak around 6:30 PM, your vigilance soars. Navy recruits monitored to determine when they could best detect and respond to a faint signal amid noise, are found to turn in their best performances around this time.

During the second body time, you'll experience the best time to play a musical instrument. With senses tuned, orchestras and folk-guitarists alike record their best performances at night.
During the second butt time, when most people are laying down rather than sitting, your temperature drops and your ability to think clearly and react quickly plunges along with your fire.

The time you require to notice warning signals increases, and your reaction time can fall as much as fifty percent below peak performance. If you're up and around, these are the hours when you're prone to have a driving accident. Your skills at driving will be poorest just before dawn even with the radio on, an early night's sleep behind you, chomping gum, and drinking coffee.

External Influence

You don't live in isolation, though. Your rhythms are internal and influenced by your environment. Your body needs regular signals from the outside world to keep you functioning on schedule. Chronobiologists call signals including social activities, food, and light zeitgebers (time givers). They keep your clocks from getting out of sync with the culture around you. With a change in the season, daylight saving's time, and even the type of food you eat, you're making adjustments each day.

Zeitgerbers are most effective when you're young. Early in your career you might even manipulate them and think it insignificant when you override biological cycles to advance. As you get older your rhythms become less flexible so your goals and habits may need to become more flexible.

Learning Time.

When you have control over your daily schedule, make a list of what you need to do, including time to mull over events, and then look at how these activities might fit together with your body’s natural schedule.

Schedule brain intensive tasks early in the day, activities where you can engage your full self mid-day, and then late afternoon, sit and reflect on how much easier it is to work this way.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Line Six, Sir!

Today, November 11, is Veteran's Day.

The Sentinel's Creed

My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.
-Simon, 1971

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Huddle for Hunger

Next time you go out to eat, you can eat well AND do good:

The Tie Dye Grill, in partnership with Warren Central High School, is acting as a collection site for Food for Warren Townships' Hungry. Bring in some of those extra canned goods you have in your cupboards and help some local people in need.

We will accept all dry and non perishable food items. Let's show them how a community can work together.

Thank You for you help, and for supporting local Business.

Peace & Love

Shayne & Jan Dye
The Tie Dye Grill
1311 N. Shadeland Ave.
Indianapolis, In. 46219

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Star Gazing

Food Network personality Dave Lieberman of Good Deal with Dave Lieberman fame will make an appearance at the Castleton Mall Macy's store Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 6 p.m. With his third book to be released in 2008, Lieberman is no stranger to the kitchen. Just in time for the holidays, he'll offer a cooking demonstration focusing on his style of quick and practical cooking - even for a crowd. Afterwards, join Lieberman for a cookbook signing. RSVP to (800) 835-9718 if you would like to attend. The mall is located at 6020 East 82nd Street in Indianapolis.

Chocolate Has Sweet Effect on Blood Flow

We're going to call this the "Barga Effect":

Chocolate lovers, take heart: A Japanese study finds that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate can improve coronary blood flow.
The study looked at what's known as coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR), an indicator of the ability of the coronary arteries to dilate and allow more blood flow in response to medications.
The two-week trial included 39 healthy adults, average age 29, who ate either 550 milligrams per day of dark chocolate versus white chocolate with no flavonoids.The researchers used Doppler echocardiography to assess CFVR at the start and end of the study. They also measured the participants' blood pressure, blood lipids and two markers of oxidative stress.
Participants who ate dark chocolate showed significantly improved CFVR after two weeks, while those who ate white chocolate showed no change, the study found."Flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake had acute effects in improving coronary function in healthy adults, as compared to non-flavonoid white chocolate, independent of changes in oxidative stress parameters, blood pressure and lipid profile," wrote the researchers from Chiba University.
However, they noted that difficulties in blinding (preventing participants from knowing which kind of chocolate they were eating) may have affected the results.
The study was to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
More information: The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has more about flavonoids.
SOURCE: Nov. 4, 2007, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Jicama Slaw with Chipotle Dressing

Here's the recipe for the slaw to accompany the crab cakes:
(Serves 8)

1 large jicama, peeled and finely shredded
½ Napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, finely shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup canned Chipotle peppers in adobo, mashed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place jicama, cabbage, and carrots in a large bowl.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotles in adobo, and sugar in a medium bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the dressing over the jicama mixture and toss to coat well.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Maryland Crab Cakes

By request, here's the recipe for the crab cakes that Second Helpings served at Friday night's Harvest event:

Maryland Crab Cakes
(Makes 8 servings)

2 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
2 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

Pick through crab and remove any shell pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except crab and mix to combine thoroughly.
Add crab and toss GENTLY to prevent breaking up the lumps.
Divide into eight equal portions and shape into one-inch thick patties. Place on an ungreased parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the crab cakes for 12 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Building Community One Individual At A Time

Join me this Thursday night at the John H. Boner Community Center's 2007 Harvest Celebration

Thursday, November 08, 2007 at Marian, Inc. 1011 East Saint Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN.

More than just a fundraising event, the Center’s Harvest Celebration is a celebration for the entire near Eastside of Indianapolis.

Each contribution from this event directly benefits the Center’s programs and services while bringing our neighbors together for a night of fun and festivities!

For more information, visit the Boner Center's website at

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What are the odds?

Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter, ten men and one woman. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they decided that one would have to leave, because otherwise they were all going to fall.

They were not able to name that person, until the woman gave a very touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because as a woman she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids, or for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.

As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping their hands.......

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Oink-less BLT?

It sounds like a sci-fi nightmare: giant sheets of grayish meat grown on factory racks for human consumption. But it's for real. Using pig stem cells, scientists have been growing lab meat for years, and it could be hitting deli counters sooner than you think.

Early attempts produced less-than-enticing results. Then, in 2001, scientists at New York's Touro College won funding from NASA to improve in vitro farming. Hoping to serve something, well, beefier than kelp on moon bases and Mars colonies, the scientists successfully grew goldfish muscle in a nutrient broth. And, in 2003, a group of hungry artists from the University of Western Australia grew kidney bean-size steaks from biopsied frogs and prenatal sheep cells. Cooked in herbs and flambéed for eight brave dinner guests, the slimy frog steaks came attached to small strips of fabric — the growth scaffolding. Half the tasters spit out their historic dinner. (Perhaps more significant, half didn't.)

Today, scientists funded by companies such as Stegeman, a Dutch sausage giant, are fine-tuning the process. It takes just two weeks to turn pig stem cells, or myoblasts, into muscle fibers. "It's a scalable process," says Jason Matheny of New Harvest, a meat substitute research group. "It would take the same amount of time to make a kilogram or a ton of meat." One technical challenge: Muscle tissue that has never been flexed is a gooey mass, unlike the grained texture of meat from an animal that once lived. The solution is to stretch the tissue mechanically, growing cells on a scaffold that expands and contracts. This would allow factories to tone the flaccid flesh with a controlled workout.

Lab-grown meat isn't an easy sell, but there could be benefits. Designer meat would theoretically be free of hormones, antibiotics, and the threat of mad cow disease or bird flu. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins could be blasted into the mixture (see illustration above) or dispersed through veins. Revolting? You bet, but have you ever visited a sausage factory? Currently costing around $100,000 per kilogram, a choice cut of lab meat makes Kobe beef seem like a bargain. But meat-processing companies hope to start selling affordable factory-grown pork in under a decade. Bon appétit.

Originally posted at:

Gather Your Friends for Indy's Premier Food and Wine Event!

7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday, November 2, 2007
Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian Street

• Taste over 300 wines from around the world• Sample culinary creations by more than a dozen of Indy's top chefs, including chefs from these restaurants and others:

• Adobo Grill• Artist’s Vineyard• D’Vine A Wine Bar•ELEMENTS• Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar• Ivy Tech Culinary School• Just ’Cause Catering• Lulu’s Restaurant & Cocktails• McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant• Melting Pot• OAKLEYS bistro• R bistro• Taste Café & Marketplace

Thanks to our table sponsors:

• AXA Advisors• BOMA• Customer Loyalty Research Center• Mike and Jeannie-Regan Dinius• Capitol Construction• Cathy's Concepts• Marigold • Abrasive Processing & Technologies • Sallie Mae • The Holland Family• Lakeside Building Maintenance• Lewis & Kappes• Mainscape • Baker & Daniels • Hendrick Regional Health • Global Plastics• Bingham McHale• Cindy Kelly & Friends of Second Helpings• Steel Dynamics

• All proceeds benefit Second Helpings.

For ticket information, visit us on the web at:

Monday, October 29, 2007


Today, I got up early, dressed quietly, made a cup of coffee, grabbed my golf clubs, went into the garage and loaded them into the car.

When I drove out of the garage it was raining so hard I could hardly see where I was going. There was also a gale blowing. I drove back to the garage and at that point they announced on the radio that the weather would gradually get worse and they were advising people not to go out unless it was really necessary.

I crept back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife and whispered: "The weather out side is absolutely terrible darling."

She sleepily replied, "Is it? Can you believe my stupid husband has gone golfing in that?"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Indy Chefs' Association Meeting

The November meeting of the American Culinary Federation
Greater Indianapolis Chapter
will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 5, 2007 at:

The Garrison
Ft. Benjamin Harrison
6002 N. Post Road
Indianapolis, IN 46216

The host chef is Chef Jim Roberts

Educational session will include information on Chefs’ Certification

Cost: Active Member or Guest - $10.00
Junior Member or Guest - $ 5.00

RSVP: 317-543-9592

For ACF membership information, Contact the
ACF Greater Indianapolis Chapter
1259 Easton Point Dr.
Greenwood, IN 46142
Or e-mail

Or join online at

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anthony Bourdain on Line Cooking

WHAT MOST people don't get about professional-level cooking is that it is not at all about the best recipe, the most innovative presentation, the most creative marriage of ingredients, flavors and textures; that, presumably, was all arranged long before you sat down to dinner. Line cooking-the real business of preparing the food you eat-is more about consistency, about mindless, unvarying repetition, the same series of tasks performed over and over and over again in exactly the same way.

The last thing a chef wants in a line cook is an innovator, somebody with ideas of his own who is going to mess around with the chef's recipes and presentations. Chef's require blind, near-fanatical loyalty, a strong back and an automaton-like consistency of execution under battlefield conditions...
...Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman-not an artist...Practicing your craft in an expert fashion is noble, honest and satisfying. And I'll generally take a stand-up mercenary who takes pride in his professionalism over an artist any day.

When I hear "artist", I think of someone who doesn't think it necessary to show up at work on time...Personally, I'd prefer to eat food that tastes good and is an honest reflection of it's ingredients, than a 3-foot-tall caprice constructed from lemon grass, lawn trimmings, coconuts and red curry. You could lose an eye trying to eat that. When a job applicant starts telling me how Pacific Rim-job cuisine turns him on and inspires him, I see trouble coming...Show up at work on time six months in a row and we'll talk about red curry paste and lemon grass. Until then, I have four words for you: "Shut the fuck up."

-Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Donations Sought for Food Pantry

The Julian Center operates a food pantry for women and children exiting our shelter. The pantry was started to help women continue to live violence-free lives. We also accept referrals to the food pantry from other social service agencies in Indianapolis.

What kinds of items are needed?

Our clients need the same items you might use in your household. Items commonly requested include:

gift certificates to local groceries for fresh produce, meats, and dairy
boxed pastas
canned pastas
macaroni & cheese
canned fruit
canned tuna/meat
paper products
peanut butter
liquid baby formula
boxed easy meals
spaghetti sauce
baby food
laundry detergent
aluminum foil,
waxed paper
plastic wrap
plastic storage bins
toilet paper
cleaning supplies

Where do I drop off my donation?

The Julian Center's food pantry is located in our Shelter at 2021 North Meridian Street (entrance is off the alley behind our Administration Building at 2011 North Meridian Street). We are currently accepting donations of nonperishable items.

How can I organize a food drive?

If you are interested in coordinating a food drive on behalf of The Julian Center, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 317.941.2212, before finalizing your volunteer efforts. Our staff will gladly provide you with the latest information on needed items and other groups that are planning similar activities.

For more information on donating to The Julian Center, e-mail us by clicking here.

Campus Kitchens Project

It’s inconceivable that hunger exists in the agriculturally plentiful, wealthy United States. Over the past few decades, the country has mobilized resources and support to reduce the tragedy of millions of Americans suffering from severe malnutrition—with some people even bordering on starvation. Yet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that in 2005, 35.1 million Americans, including 12.4 million children, did not know where their next meal was coming from.

Hunger in America does not exist because of a lack of food. Millions of pounds of edible food are discarded daily by supermarkets, food processors, restaurants, institutions and consumers. Rather, hunger in this country exists because of a quagmire of politics, including inertia to organize the distribution of food outside of federally funded, organized programs; lack of education; avoidance to call attention to the surplus food thrown away; and fear of litigation if food recipients become ill from donated products, despite the Good Samaritan law.

Fortunately, projects supported by private and not-for-profit enterprises, in addition to government-sponsored programs, continue to help wipe out hunger in America. One notably effective response to the hunger problem is the Campus Kitchens Project. A grant from the Sodexho Foundation provided the seed money to launch this project in 2001. The program pairs the DC Central Kitchen model and a concept called “Homerun,” created in 1999 by two Wake Forest University students to engage students in cooking and delivering dinners to community members.

The Sodexho Foundation continues to be a major supporter of the Campus Kitchens Project, a 501c3 organization that shares resources and ideas with the parent organization, DC Central Kitchen, but maintains an independent organizational status. Shondra Jenkins, a communications specialist at Sodexho USA, said the Sodexho Foundation provides $2 million a year in financial grants to support Campus Kitchens and food banks through Second Harvest and Habitat for Humanity. Other companies supporting Campus Kitchens include The UPS Foundation, General Mills, Shaw Pittman LLC, First Baptist Church, Chart-wells USA, Roundy’s Foundation, Timberland and Aramark. Twelve Campus Kitchens operate at 11 colleges (five are Sodexho accounts) and one high school. To date, 12,000 volunteers have delivered more than a half-million meals to community members in need.

Northwestern University has one of the most active and fastest-growing Campus Kitchens projects. During its four years in operation, CKNU’s 1,100 volunteers, who are mostly students, along with foodservice staff, professors, university staff, high school students and community members, have given 21,400 hours of their time to provide 167,000 meals to individuals and agencies in the Evanston, Ill., and Greater Chicago communities, said Kelly Collins, the full-time Campus Kitchens coordinator for CKNU. She and student leader volunteers are trained in HACCP and food safety.

“It took us about 18 months to get the program up and running,” said Paul Komelasky, district manager for Sodexho, who is actively encouraging contract-managed and self-op colleges nationwide to participate. “We developed what has become a standard contract between Sodexho, Northwestern University and Campus Kitchens, which includes objectives and liability responsibilities. Now, it takes a college about six months to start up a program.”

One kitchen on campus serves as the site for volunteers to prepare and assemble meals for distribution to community groups. Food for the meals comes from 12 different locations on campus. Food sold in retail locations is also donated. The operation is managed by Campus Kitchens, not the university’s foodservice.

In addition to providing food and nutrition education to the needy, CKNU has graduated nine trainees from the Culinary Job Training program, four students participated in the Campus Kitchens annual leadership program and two students piloted an assistant coordinator leadership program.

CKNU also received two grants to fund nutrition education and feeding programs for kids during the summer months.

Wiping out hunger in America need not be a pipe dream. As projects such as Campus Kitchens prove, this country has a wealth of resources that can be marshaled to assist communities in need. But the commitment to this problem must be long term and continuous. Assuming all is well or that others are taking enough action to eliminate the problem is a dangerous denial of reality.

Donna Boss is the founder of Boss Enterprises, dlb, a communications and marketing firm in New York.

You're invited!

You are Cordially Invited To Attend

The Line Cooking Exercise


Second Helpings
Culinary Training Class #47


WEDNESDAY, October 31, 2007


THURSDAY, November 1, 2007

Space is limited and reservations are required.

Seating times each day are:

11:45 am
12:15 pm
12:45 pm

1121 Southeastern Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202


(317) 632-2664 ext. 10
Or e-mail to

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Ever find yourself in need of some words of inspiration? In my opinion, there are none better:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling

Creole Creamy Succotash

Here's a recipe I created based on a Cajun dish called Corn Maque Choux.

8 oz. Andouille Sausage*
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 ea. Medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 ea. Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 ea. Green Bell Pepper, diced
3 ribs Celery, diced
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 cups Yellow Corn Kernels
2 cups Baby Lima Beans
1 cup Cut Okra
1 cup White Wine
1 Qt Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 tsp Dried Thyme
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Remove the casing from the Andouille sausage and dice the sausage. The diced pieces of sausage should be approximately the size of the lima beans. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottom pan and brown the diced sausage.

Add the onion, red and green peppers, celery, garlic, corn, lima beans, and okra to the pan. Sweat the vegetables until the onions are translucent, but do not allow vegetables to brown.

Add the white wine, Creole seasoning, thyme, and oregano and cook until the wine is reduced by 2/3. Add the heavy cream and cook until the vegetables are tender and the cream is reduced by 1/2.

Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

Serves eight (8) as a side dish, or four (4) as a main dish served over white rice.

* If Andouille is not available, a quality hot smoked sausage may be substituted.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hunger in America

America’s Second Harvest (A2H), the nation’s largest network of emergency food providers, conducted a study in 2005 for the nation’s food bank network. The study was based on completed in-person interviews with 52,878 clients served by the A2H National Network, as well as on completed questionnaires from 31,342 A2H agencies. The study summarized below focuses mainly on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food and other services by members of the A2H Network. Here, emergency food providers are defined to include food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters serving short-term residents.

Below I've selected some of the major results from the study. I think you will find many of these results very interesting.

• The A2H system served an estimated 24 to 27 million unduplicated people annually. This includes 22 to 25 million pantry users, 1.2 to 1.4 million kitchen users, and 0.8 million shelter users (Table 4.2.1).• Approximately 4.5 million different people receive emergency food assistance from the A2H system in any given week.

• 36.4% of the members of households served by the A2H National Network are children under 18 years old.

• 8% of the members of households are children age 0 to 5 years.

• 10% of the members of households are elderly.

• About 40% of clients are non-Hispanic white; 38% are non-Hispanic black, and the rest are from other racial groups. 17% are Hispanic.

• 36% of households include at least one employed adult.

• 68% have incomes below the official federal poverty level.

• 12% are homeless.

• 42% of clients served by the A2H National Network report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel.

• 35% had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage.

• 32% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.

• 35% of client households served by the A2H National Network are receiving Food Stamp Program benefits; however, it is likely that many more are eligible.

• Among households with children ages 0-3 years, 51% participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

• Among households with school-age children, 62% and 51%, respectively, participate in the federal school lunch and school breakfast programs.

• 29% of households served by the A2H National Network report having at least one household member in poor health.

• 92% of adult clients said they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the amount of food they received from their A2H provider; 93% were satisfied with the quality of the food they received.


• 74% of pantries, 65% of kitchens, and 43% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations.

• At the agency level, 69% of agencies with pantry, kitchen, or shelter and 56% of all agencies including those with other programs are faith-based.

• Private nonprofit organizations with no religious affiliation make up a large share of other types of agencies.

• 65% of pantries, 61% of kitchens, and 52% of shelters of the A2H National Network reported that there had been an increase since 2001 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites.


• Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for the agencies, accounting for 74% of the food distributed by pantries, 49% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 42% of the food distributed by shelters.

• Other important sources of food include religious organizations, government, and direct purchases from wholesalers and retailers.

• 69% of pantries, 49% of kitchens, and 46% of shelters receive food from government commodity programs.


• As many as 90% of pantries, 86% of kitchens, and 71% of shelters in the A2H National Network use volunteers.

• Many programs rely entirely on volunteers; 66% of pantry programs and 40% of kitchens have no paid staff at all.

You can see the full results of the study by clickling on this link.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Second Helpings News....

I want to share some great news with you. Last evening, Second Helpings was honored at the 3rd Annual Indiana Entrepreneurial Awards of Distinction (presented by the Kelley School of Business at IU – the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation).

We knew we were a Finalist in the Social Enterprise category and we were thrilled to learn that we are a 2007 Winner! We were among some the best and brightest entrepreneurs within the state of Indiana and it is wonderful to have Second Helpings recognized in this way.

A special thanks goes out to all of you who help make Second Helpings a winner everyday. I know that some of you who read this blog may never have actually been to our facility on Southeastern Avenue here in Indianapolis. If you're reading this and you haven't see our building and the work we do first hand, here's an open invitation to you. Give me a call at (317) 632-2664 extension 19 and tell me you've seen the blog and would like a tour and I'll set you up!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Help the Men of Indianapolis Suit Up!

The Men of Indianapolis need our help! On November 17, 2007 Suit Up! will be hosting a suit drive to benefit men with gaining access to business clothes and professional services. It is our goal to provide gently used men’s clothing, confidence and career development support. Suit Up is a new organization that is taking the initiative to assist men in their effort to gain employment in Indianapolis.

When to donate: Saturday November, 17, 2007 from 9am to 2pm.

Where to donate: Forest Manor Multi Service Center 5603 E. 38th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46218

What to donate: A stylish, classy, suit, blazer or slacks that you would lend to a friend if he was going to an interview – we are looking for suits and jackets that empower men and make them feel confident!

Please bring the item or items on hangers.

Our goal at Suit Up! is to provide men with not only clothing, but with workshops on résumé writing, interviewing skills, and the necessary tools to succeed upon entering the workforce.

Suit Up! understands that if a man doesn’t have a job, he can’t afford a suit. But, without a suit, he can’t get a job! Your suit, shirt and financial contributions will make an immeasurable impact on our ability to reach men who have the ability to succeed, but need the clothes, confidence and career support to do so.

Please tell everyone you know about the Suit Up! Initiative. Donating one suit will help a man Suit Up!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Depression and Black Women....

Nothing funny this time. I just read the piece below by Tamara E. Holmes at the Black Enterprise web site and thought it was worth sharing here:

Mental health advocates are calling on the business community to confront depression among employees; not just in a bid to improve employees' lives but as a way to improve the business' bottom line. Unfortunately, depression disproportionately affects black women.

According to, depression among black women is almost 50% higher than it is among white women. And of black women suffering from depression, only 7% receive treatment. This is compared to 20% of white women.

These statistics have community leaders urging African Americans who think they are depressed to seek help by contacting a mental health professional. Last month, a panel discussion sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Depression is Real Coalition, an alliance of mental health advocates, highlighted the impact of depression on African American women.

Signs of depression include a significant change in one's mood over an extended period of time, typically for more than two weeks, says Altha J. Stewart, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Foundation.

Other signs are lack of energy, changes in appetite, withdrawal from social events, and changes in sleeping patterns.

Depression is a business problem because "employees that are depressed have a higher rate of absenteeism, and they have low productivity, so it indirectly costs corporations," says Angie Burks, a lecturer with Indiana University-Bloomington's Kelley School of Business who has done extensive research on the topic.

Burks cites a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that found that a depressed worker costs employers $4,426 in indirect costs annually. "Companies encourage employees to get mammograms and get blood pressure tests but they don't encourage mental health screening," she says. "If they did it would save [businesses] a lot of money."

Another study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, looked at the effect of depression treatment. After screening workers for depression, researchers found that those who received enhanced therapy and medication to treat the depression were more likely to still be employed after 12 months and worked on average two more hours a week than those who did not receive more pronounced care for depression.

"Depression is not just an emotional or personal health problem," says Philip Wang, M.D., one of the study researchers. "It also impacts people's productivity at work."

While there's no shortage of statistics on depression's impact, many people don't seek treatment because of the stigma associated with it, says Stewart. Though depression is a medical problem, it "is commonly seen as a weakness or character flaw and for some people for whom religion plays a major part in their lives, it's even attributed to a lack of faith or a lack of enough faith," says Stewart.

Employers are also recognizing depression's costs. According to a survey conducted by the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and the human resources professional trade publication Employee Benefit News, employers rated mental illness as the health issue with the biggest effect on indirect company costs.

The American Psychiatric Foundation regularly points out examples of companies that are proactive in helping employees deal with mental health issues in its newsletter Mental HealthWorks, co-published with the American Psychiatric Association. One such company, San Ramon, California-based Chevron Corp., includes in its benefits package a mental health/substance abuse plan that covers 90% of outpatient costs and offers access to therapists for such personal needs as relationship counseling.

Business leaders can play a major role in removing the stigma attached to depression and motivating depressed employees to seek help, Stewart says. "Given that most change of significance starts at the top, management has to be very clear with human resources and with supervisors that we must be proactive in both recognizing the signs of depression and ensuring that those who are suffering with depression have access to appropriate treatment."

Web resources:
Partnership for Workplace Mental Health
American Psychiatric Foundation
Depression is Real Coalition
National Institute of Mental Health