Saturday, December 27, 2008

They'll Never Get a Jury to Convict...

CNN - A man angry that a family was talking during a movie threw popcorn at the son and then shot the father in the arm, according to police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James Joseph Cialella, 29, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons violations, a police report said.

Cialella told the family sitting in front of him in the theater on Christmas Day to be quiet, police said.

An argument ensued while others at the Riverview Movie Theatre watched "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Cialella then approached the family from the left side of the aisle and shot the father, who was not identified, as he was standing between Cialella and his family, according to the police report.

The victim was taken to Jefferson Hospital with a gunshot wound to his left arm, police said.

Cialella was carrying a Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun clipped inside his sweatpants, police said. He was arrested and taken into custody.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Congratulations to Class 52!

Congratulations to Class 52 of the Second Helpings Culinary Job Training Program, who graduated on December 19, 2008.

(Front Row, Left to Right) Heather A. Holiday, Torie A. Smith, Ronald R. Richardson, Carla R. Slaughter, Robin J. Murry
(Back row) Chef Conway, Douglas D. Smith, Michael A. Strong, James R. White, Jr., Lawrence Dove, and Damon T. Malone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Gift For a Teacher

LITTLETON - "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy." This line is from one of the most famous newspaper editorials ever written, and it was inspired by a child.

Children have the ability to inspire the best in all of us. The students at Normandy Elementary School in Littleton have taken their love for a teacher to a new level, inspiring their parents, educators and members of the community.

Two students who happen to be sisters, started "The True Gift Fund" to help fourth grade teacher Jewely Del Duca.

Del Duca is fighting stage 4 colon cancer. She is 35 years old.

While undergoing chemotherapy she has remained in the classroom. Del Duca says her students keep her mind off cancer and provide her with encouragement and support.

This experience has provided students many other important lessons too. Del Duca is hoping to qualify for HIPEC treatment (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) which involves a surgical procedure where a heated form of chemotherapy is delivered to the abdominal cavity.

Three times, Del Duca's insurance company denied her request for the expensive treatment.

Her story appeared on 9NEWS and CNN and the insurance company reconsidered.

Unfortunately, Del Duca is still waiting for consensus from doctors to get the treatment. In the meantime, her family and friends are raising money to cover the medical costs.

Del Duca's battle has had a significant impact on Jenna and Jocie Bradford. Jenna, who is in the sixth grade, remembers Mrs. Del Duca as her favorite teacher. Jocie is in Del Duca's class this year.

When Jenna started to think about Christmas this year she came up with an idea.

"I thought it would be better to instead of getting Christmas presents this year, that we donate all the money to Mrs. Del Duca," said Jenna.

In addition, she decided to ask every student at Normandy to consider giving up one gift and donate to the fund.

Jocie liked the idea too, although she was a wee bit concerned about giving up every present.

"I thought it was a good idea, but then I was like, there's going to be no presents. Then I started thinking of Santa and my grandma and grandpa and I knew that they would get me presents. And I was OK with that, because my room is just a cluttered mess," she said.

Del Duca was astounded by the children's selflessness. To give up Christmas presents is a big deal.

"To give it up for another human being is such a mark of empathy," added Del Duca.

The students have a Christmas tree just outside the front office with a message about the True Gift Fund. Everyone who donates is given a frog ornament, because Mrs. Del Duca collects stuffed frogs.

So far, the fund is up to $6,000, with a goal of $25,000.

Del Duca says she cried the first time she saw the tree. It reminded her how important the students are in her fight to survive.

"It definitely boosts my energy to so this. The fight, I know I'm not in it by myself, I know that my friends and family want me to fight and they're fighting with me," she said.

You can help too. You can contribute by writing a check to The Jewely Del Duca Fund at any Bellco Credit Union.

(Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' Causes Stir at School

WILMINGTON, N.C. - "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" caused a stir at a New Hanover County school.

A parent complained about the song's religious reference and got it pulled from her child's kindergarten Christmas show at Murrayville Elementary School.

The song was pulled “because it had the word Christmas in it,” said Rick Holliday, assistant school superintendent.

A Jewish mother, who didn't want her name published, objected to what she called "religious overtones" in the song. So the principal agreed to pull it from the program.

School administrators said they were then flooded with complaints from other angry parents.

“I would say it's not a very religious song. It's about Santa Claus,” parent Anne Vanslyke said.

School board members, administrators and attorneys listened closely to the song's lyrics and decided the song was secular.

“Rudolph is a secular song. It was about a flying reindeer, not a religious symbol,” Holliday said.

Many parents shouted out with glee when they heard the song was back in the program.

“I think it's great that they let the kids sing because all the kids love that song,” Vanslyke said.

Any student who objects to singing a Christmas song or attending a program can decline participation and will not be penalized, according to school administrators.

“We do try to be cognizant of everyone's feelings,” Holliday said.

School administrations also decided that for future concerts, religious songs can be included, as long as other faiths are represented as well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Giving For The Holidays

From Today's Correspondence:

We know that the economy is hurting many people this holiday season, but if you are able, we have made donating a little more convenient for you this year.

The Tie Dye Grill is proud to be a drop off site for the following items.

We have partnered with WRTV6 and the Warren Township trustee to be a drop off for Toys for Tots. Please drop by and bring a new unwrapped gift for a needy child in our community. There are many, many families that need help this year.

We also have a box for Veterans needing Scarves, socks, hats, gloves for the VA Hospital. This is sponsored by Travis Watts, ( Kevin's son) and the fifth graders at Bookview Elementary. This is Travis's brainchild, as they are HIS heroes, so please keep those warm who have kept us safe... The Veteran Box will be here until Dec. 14, only a few days left.

Please help us help those in need this holiday season!

Happy Holidays!
Shayne & Jan Dye
The Tie Dye Grill
1311 N. Shadeland Ave.
Indianapolis, In. 46219
Ph. 317-353-9393
Fax 317-353-6070

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Helping the "Help-Resistant"

By Martha Beck

( -- Margaret's twin girls were halfway through high school when she started thinking about returning to school herself. "I've always wanted to finish my degree," she told me. "Maybe get a master's, even. I'd like to teach."

"Cool!" I said. Margaret had been complaining of boredom, and I knew she'd thrive in an academic environment.

"But," she told me, her voice tightening, "there are problems. Jeff and the girls are used to me being home, cleaning, cooking..."

"Have you talked to them about it?"

"No, because there's more," said Margaret. "We only have two cars. Jeff drives one, and sometimes the girls need the other one in the evenings."

"Well, you can take classes when they're in school."

"But sometimes they drive to school. Then I don't have a car until afternoon."

"Then take the bus. Or have the kids take the bus. Or have Jeff drop them off. Or sign up for distance learning."

I was getting into quite a lather of life-coachy problem solving, but Margaret would have none of it. Every time I lobbed a suggestion, she'd smack it back at me like a tennis pro. After a 10- or 15-minute rally, I finally realized that the real issue wasn't Margaret's continuing education. It was something I call "help resistance." Are the people in your life sucking you dry?

There may be infinite reasons Margaret and others like her ask for help and then reject it; some people may be deeply ambivalent, others biologically anxious, or a few unconsciously combative.

Whatever their motivation, people who resist help can frustrate you half to death, batting back every solution they request with the surreal persistence of Venus and Serena combined. The next time you encounter someone who resists help, I recommend stopping the fruitless verbal rally and addressing the real problem directly.

One of my personal mottoes is "Love it, leave it, or lead it." When faced with a problem, I allow myself these three options -- and only these three.

"Love it" means peacefully accept whatever's happening. If that's not possible, I may be able to "leave it," simply walk away from the whole dilemma. The third option, "lead it," requires that I recognize and use whatever power I have (even if I feel helpless). If I can't devise a solution on my own, I must "lead" my helpers by asking clear, purposeful questions and taking good advice when I get it.

I've found that the "three Ls" are invaluable when you find yourself trading volleys with someone who doesn't want to change.

Loving it: The Pollyanna response

If someone you like goes into a spate of help resistance, try loving your way out. Say something like this: "Well, that's quite a conundrum, but I know you'll figure it out. You're so smart and resourceful. Go for it!"

This response will frustrate most help resisters, who often want sympathy and concern, not cheerleading. They might plead with you, saying: "But I'm really worried! I don't know what to do!" If this happens, just keep reiterating your support, like Pollyanna at a pep rally: "Yes, and I'm absolutely positive you'll do the right thing. Hooray for you!" How to set personal boundaries

Knowing how to "love it" is like having a killer forehand. Every time a floundering friend or family member serves gloom and doom, you bounce it back with adulatory optimism. Eventually, your opponent will tire and leave the court.

Leaving it: The guy response

If you have no interest in maintaining cordial relations with people who resist help, there's a quick way to get them to leave you alone -- forever. I also call this the Guy Response, because men (who aren't cursed with the so-called "tend and befriend" hormones that make us females offer sweaters and sandwiches to people who are actively burglarizing our homes) often do it naturally.

To use the Guy Response, listen as the person describes the problem, then say: "Wow, sounds like you're screwed. Have you seen my car keys?"

If the friend keeps trying to get your attention ("Are you listening to me? I've got a problem here!"), you can say, "I think I left them in the car. I'm going to check." Then leave.

There's a variation on this response, which I enjoy using on help resisters who bemoan First World problems like a delay in scheduling liposuction, or the inability to get people to weedwack their yards for less than minimum wage.

While staring at the person with an expression of shock and awe, say, "Oh my God, that's horrible." (You can find suitable facial expressions by going to YouTube and searching for the terms "dramatic chipmunk" and "dramatic lemur." Seriously -- check them out.) Then go look for your keys.

These "leave it" reactions are extremely effective, and can be quite enjoyable if you don't mind being crossed off a few holiday greeting-card lists. Wherever you want to avoid that side effect, try the more complex and thoughtful "lead it" strategy.

Leading it: The constructive response

When someone you really love goes into help-resistance mode, it may be time for you to lead the situation. In this case, that means asking for the information you need to be genuinely helpful. Say something like this:

"I can tell you need some kind of support from me, but I'm not exactly sure what it looks like. Do you want me to help you brainstorm solutions? Should I just be a neutral backboard, so you can bounce ideas off me? Or do you just need someone to understand how frustrated you're feeling? Tell me what you need. I'm here for you 100 percent." How to have the hard talks

If you say this sincerely, even many people who habitually resist help will stop mindlessly backhanding your ideas and think through their real desires. This creates an atmosphere of honesty and relaxation, where real problem solving is most likely to occur -- and it also improves your relationship. In tennis scoring, I believe they call it "love."

Every now and again, I get into a mental match with a particularly resistant and annoying help resister: me. I hear my own voice, talking either to myself or a frustrated friend: "I need to work out, but I can't exercise in the morning because I always get injured when I do. By noon it's too hot, and I hate exercising indoors. And at night I'm just exhausted."

I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for my friends and family, given that it makes me want to knock myself unconscious with my own racket. Fortunately, the same approaches that work on others work splendidly when I'm the source of the problem.

The fastest way to bring change to a resistant situation is to accept it. Don't believe me? Try this: Think of a subject where you feel ambivalent (you want a baby but worry about your career; you're environmentally sensitive but can't imagine surrendering your Humvee; you're strictly vegan except that you so adore veal binges). Whatever your issue, write it down. Now, decide to do one thing or the other. Now! Right now!

You probably noticed that pressure spikes your anxiety, anger, rage, panic... in a word, your resistance. The best case is that it shoves you into quick decisions that don't really resolve your ambivalence. So let's try another approach. Let's say that for the next hour, you'll simply accept that you're not sure what to do. That's okay. Uncertainty won't kill you. For one hour, let it be.

If you do this mindfully, you'll feel a sense of relief, a space opening around the difficult issue. This enhances creativity -- so, paradoxically, accepting indecisiveness actually frees your mind to devise effective solutions. That's where the other two strategies come in.

Perhaps you feel obligated to do something you deeply don't want to do, such as watching political debates or contacting your PTA group leader. You may be resisting all suggestions because what you really want to do is simply "leave it." Quit the hated job. Don't return the e-mail. Just say nothing.

This is a daring solution, but think: Is "leaving" the problem really scarier than coming up with reasons not to leave the problem? If your answer is "yes," you may have reached a true impasse. Strangely enough, it's when you feel really helpless that you must pick up your authority and "lead" the situation.

You not only can but must lead situations where you genuinely need help. No one except you can say exactly what's stopping you, exactly where you're blocked by confusion or ignorance. Take charge not by demanding and then ignoring the help that's offered but by figuring out as clearly as you can just what you need, then requesting assistance from people who, in your judgment, are likely to be able to provide it. Even if they can't help you, they can usually refer you to someone else who can.

When Margaret did this, she understood her real problem wasn't the logistical difficulty of returning to school but her own anxiety about doing something new. Once she admitted that, she chose the hero's solution: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Of course, she did need her family's assistance. She asked them if they'd share housework and driving. They exceeded her expectations, offering all sorts of suggestions, which Margaret gratefully accepted. Game, set, and match to Team Margaret.

Moving forward

If you follow the three Ls whenever you encounter help resistance, you'll find yourself playing a lot less verbal tennis. Excuse-making, whining, and pointless reiteration will disappear from your life. Not only will people who ask for help (but ignore it) cease seeking you out but you'll find yourself more capable of either peacefully accepting periods of indecision or getting the effective assistance that moves you forward quickly and decisively.

All the energy that once went into complaining, suggesting, and complaining some more (back and forth and back and forth and back and frigging forth) will align to propel you toward adventures and achievements.

I'm absolutely sure you can do this -- you with that clever mind, that resourceful nature, that winning smile. So get going, kiddo!

What's that? You're not sure of yourself? You have doubts? Things are more complicated than that?

Wow, I had no idea. I guess you're screwed. Have you seen my car keys?

By Martha Beck from "O, The Oprah Magazine," December 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Tis the Season...

(CNN) -- Three violent deaths in two stores marred the opening of the Christmas shopping season Friday.

In the first, a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in a rush of thousands of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island, New York, store at 5 a.m., police said.

In the second, unrelated incident, two men were shot dead in a Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, California, after they argued in the store, police said.

The toy company and authorities said the California shootings had nothing to do with shopping on Black Friday, which is historically one of the year's busiest shopping days.

The Wal-Mart worker, whom authorities did not identify, was 34 and lived in Queens, said Nassau County police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming. "This was utter chaos as these men tried to open the door this morning," Fleming said.

Video showed as many as a dozen people knocked to the floor in the stampede of people trying to get into the store, Fleming said. The employee was "stepped on by hundreds of people" as other workers attempted to fight their way through the crowd, Fleming said.

"Several minutes" passed before others were able to clear space around the man and attempt to render aid. Police arrived, and "as they were giving first aid, those police officers were also jostled and pushed," he said. "Shoppers ... were on a full-out run into the store," he said.

The crowd had begun forming outside the store by 9 p.m. Thursday, Fleming said. By 5 a.m. Friday, when the doors were unlocked, there were 2,000 or so shoppers, many of whom "surged forward," breaking the doors, he said.

The man was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Others in the crowd sustained minor injuries such as sprained ankles, Fleming said.

A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, but "the baby is going to be OK," Fleming said. She was to be released later in the day, he said.

The California shootings occurred about 11:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), authorities said.
By the time police arrived, two men were dead from gunshot wounds, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said. He said authorities are not seeking any other suspects.

Gutierrez said that the men did not appear to be store employees and that the dispute appeared unrelated to shopping.

"There was a confrontation inside of the store. But over a toy? I don't think that is accurate," he said.

Two handguns were found near the men's bodies, Gutierrez said.

In a written statement, Toys "R" Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh said the shooting appeared unrelated to the heavy shopping day.

"Our understanding is that this act seems to have been the result of a personal dispute between the individuals involved," she said.

She said company officials were "outraged" by the shooting and were working with authorities to find out what happened.

Gutierrez said no one else in the store was injured. The store remained closed Friday afternoon but was expected to open as usual Saturday.

He said authorities would not release the men's names until their families have been notified.

Daniel Watson said he was at home with his children when his wife called from the Toys "R" Us store, where she and her mother were shopping.

"All I could hear was gunshots in the back," he said. "She said, 'They're in here shooting.' I told her to run and hide, stay down and hide."

He said his wife did just that, ducking under a clothes rack until the threat was over. Watson said neither woman was hurt.

Asked about the possibility of criminal charges in the Wal-Mart death, Fleming said he would not rule it out but noted that charges would be "very difficult," as it would be "almost impossible" to identify people in the crowd from the video, and those in the front of the crowd were pushed by those behind them.

Hundreds of people may have lined up in an orderly fashion but got caught up in the rush, he said.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kelly Cheeseman issued a statement saying, "We are saddened to report that a gentleman who was working for a temporary agency on our behalf died at the store and a few other customers were injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time."

The company is investigating the incident, the statement said.

Officers patrolling the shopping center overnight had had concerns about the size of the crowd, Fleming said, and had tried to get those in line better organized. Wal-Mart security officers were also present overnight, but he said he did not know how many.

"I don't know what it's worth to Wal-Mart or to any of these stores that run these sales events," Fleming said, "but it has become common knowledge that large crowds do gather on the Friday after Thanksgiving in response to these sales and in an effort to do their holiday shopping at the cheapest prices.

"I think it is incumbent upon the commercial establishments to recognize that this has the potential to occur at any store. Today, it happened to be Wal-Mart. It could have been any other store where hundreds and hundreds of people gather."

Asked whether the security had been adequate, Fleming said, "In light of the outcome, in hindsight, the answer is obviously no. ... This crowd was out of control."

Flexible Vegetarians Come Out of the Closet

Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner is a flexitarian, which is defined as a vegetarian who is flexible enough to eat some meat, poultry or fish.

She discusses the diet in her new book "The Flexitarian Diet." She says it's a "win-win" because people get the health benefits of vegetarianism without the limitations, although some disagree.

Read her story and some of here dietary recommendations here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Childhood Hunger Grows

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year's sharp economic downturn, the Agriculture Department reported Monday.

The department's annual report on food security showed that during 2007 the number of children who suffered a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat was more than 50 percent above the 430,000 in 2006 and the largest figure since 716,000 in 1998.

Overall, the 36.2 million adults and children who struggled with hunger during the year was up slightly from 35.5 million in 2006. That was 12.2 percent of Americans who didn't have the money or assistance to get enough food to maintain active, healthy lives.

Almost a third of those, 11.9 million adults and children, went hungry at some point. That figure has grown by more than 40 percent since 2000. The government says these people suffered a substantial disruption in their food supply at some point and classifies them as having "very low food security." Until the government rewrote its definitions two years ago, this group was described as having "food insecurity with hunger."

The findings should increase pressure to meet President-elect Barack Obama's campaign pledge to expand food aid and end childhood hunger by 2015, said James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, an anti-hunger group.

He predicted the 2008 numbers will show even more hunger because of the sharp economic downturn this year.

"There's every reason to think the increases in the number of hungry people will be very, very large based on the increased demand we're seeing this year at food stamp agencies, emergency kitchens, Women, Infants and Children clinics, really across the entire social service support structure," said James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, an anti-hunger group.

Weill said the figures show that economic growth during the first seven years of the Bush administration didn't reach the poorest and hungriest people. "The people in the deepest poverty are suffering the most," Weill said.

The number of adults and children with "low food security" -- those who avoided substantial food disruptions but still struggled to eat -- fell slightly since 2000, from 24.7 million to 24.3 million. The government said these people have several ways of coping -- eating less varied diets, obtaining food from emergency kitchens or community food charities, or participating in federal aid programs like food stamps, the school lunch program or the Women, Infants and Children program.

Among other findings:

• The families with the highest rates of food insecurity were headed by single mothers (30.2 percent), black households (22.2 percent), Hispanic households (20.1 percent), and households with incomes below the official poverty line (37.7 percent).

• States with families reporting the highest prevalence of food insecurity during 2005-2007 were Mississippi (17.4 percent), New Mexico (15 percent), Texas (14.8 percent) and Arkansas (14.4 percent).

• The highest growth in food insecurity over the last 9 years came in Alaska and Iowa, both of which saw a 3.7 percent increase in families who struggled to eat adequately or had substantial food disruptions.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nonprofit Eatery Can't Bring Home Bacon

By Kathy Stephenson The Salt Lake Tribune -- The Salt Lake Tribune, November 9, 2008

For nearly a year, Salt Lake City's One World Cafe - founded on the altruistic goal of letting customers set their own meal price - has been on a crash course with business reality.

In mid-October, employee paychecks bounced and the longtime manager was fired. Bo Dean's dismissal angered the rest of the staff enough that they walked out in protest.

Founder Denise Cerreta was forced to call a temporary staffing agency so she could serve customers.

Inexperience seems to be the main problem for the nonprofit cafe at 41 S. 300 East.

"As the restaurant grew, I didn't have the expertise at running a kitchen," acknowledged Cerreta during a media teleconference call on Friday. "We needed more structure and a more professional kitchen."

A recent review of the business showed the restaurant was overstaffed and management of employee time was poor. It never even had an employee time clock. The restaurant also had failed to keep concise records of food costs and fixed costs. All told, mismanagement cost the restaurant $8,000 to $10,000 a month, Cerreta said.

"There just wasn't a system in place so that it would work as a professional establishment," added Steve Lyman, a longtime restaurant manager from Squatters, Red Rock and Bambara, who is volunteering his time to help get One World in order.

During the past week, the restaurant has implemented new kitchen procedures and hired a new executive chef and sous chef.

"We were financially shaky, but we will be fine," Cerreta said. "We are in no danger of us closing."

Following tradition wasn't what Cerreta wanted when she founded The One World "Everybody Eats" Cafe five years ago.

She envisioned a restaurant with no menus or set prices. Cerreta, and later her chefs, would make entrees, soups, salads and desserts from organic meats and locally grown produce. Diners filled their plates with only the food they wanted and paid what they thought the meal was worth or what they could afford.

The idea was unique and quickly gained national attention. Cerreta turned the business into the nonprofit One World Everybody Eats Foundation with its own board of directors. She traveled the country speaking about the concept and helped people start similar community kitchens in other cities.

But this summer, while Cerreta was in Seattle, One World's revenues began declining. Meal donations, which once averaged $10, had fallen to $7.

At one point, the bank account was so depleted that employee paychecks bounced.

"Mine didn't clear for 3 1/2 months," said Dean, who had worked at the restaurant since its inception. He had been asked to create a more professional operation in recent months, but when the board decided he wasn't up to the task, they fired him.

Dean believes Cerreta's constant absence from the restaurant and lack of communication exacerbated the financial problems.

To expand the "One World" concept, Cerreta was out of town much of the time, he said. She also has pulled trained chefs away from day-to-day restaurant operations to help with the expansion.

"It's hard to implement changes when I was the only one around," said Dean, who heard that he had been fired from a fellow employee - not Cerreta or the board.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Nun and the Taxi Driver

From today's correspondence:

A cabbie picks up a Nun.

She gets into the cab, and notices that the VERY handsome cab driver won't stop staring at her.

She asks him why he is staring.

He replies: 'I have a question to ask you but I don't want to offend you.

She answers, 'My son, you cannot offend me. When you're as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I'm sure that there's nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive.'

'Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me.'

She responds, 'Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic.'

The cab driver is very excited and says, 'Yes, I'm single and Catholic!'

'OK' the nun says. 'Pull into the next alley.'

The nun fulfills his fantasy, with a kiss that would make a hooker blush, But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying.

'My dear child,' says the nun, 'why are you crying?'

'Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must confess, I'm married and I'm Jewish.'

The nun says, 'That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween party.'

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Too Few Understand Diabetes' Dangers

By Kathleen Doheny

TUESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- While millions of Americans are at risk for developing diabetes, too few perceive the threat it can pose to their health, according to a new survey.

In fact, most respondents feared shark bites, plane crashes or cancer more, even though they are more likely to get diabetes, according to the pollsters.

"We undertook the survey because we are trying to better understand why people aren't taking diabetes as seriously as we need people to take this disease," said Ann Albright, director of the division of diabetes translation for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), which sponsored the survey.

While 49 percent of the more than 2,400 U.S. adults polled said they most feared cancer as a potential health problem, just 3 percent said they worried about diabetes. In fact, each disease has about the same number of expected new cases each year, more than a million annually.

Overall, one in 10 U.S. adults, or 10 percent, have been diagnosed with diabetes at some point in their lives, compared to 6 percent who have experienced cancer, the ADA says.

"Our point is not that people shouldn't be concerned about cancer," Albright said. "We are trying to help people put things in a more accurate perspective."

After cancer, respondents next feared heart disease, mentioned by 12 percent, and nervous system disorders, noted by 11 percent.

The online poll was conducted by Harris Interactive in August 2008.

Other answers in the survey also suggest that people's fears are not realistic. When asked to pick from a potential list of accidents, plane crashes topped the list, noted by 16 percent of respondents. That was followed by lighting strikes, feared by 5 percent, vehicle accidents, 3 percent, and fire, 2 percent.

Asked to note their concerns with animal or insect contact, 13 percent noted snake bites and 8 percent spider bites. Four percent mentioned shark attacks.

About 70 confirmed shark attacks occur globally each year, experts estimate, and in 2007, 491 people died in plane crashes.

In contrast, 233,619 Americans died in 2005 from causes related to diabetes, the ADA noted.

The survey results suggest people need to assess their diabetes risk and take it more seriously, Albright said. Keeping to a healthy weight, or shedding excess pounds, is one big step to reducing the odds for diabetes. In fact, losing just 5 percent or 10 percent of body weight can help, she said.

The results suggest that people need to increase their awareness of diabetes risk, added Dr. David M. Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He reviewed the poll results but was not involved in the survey.

People "should be more concerned about getting it," Nathan said. The good news is they can sometimes prevent it with lifestyle change and, if they are diagnosed, keep diabetes under control.

Amparo Gonzalez, president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, agreed.

"The finding that only 3 percent of people surveyed feared being diagnosed with diabetes is surprising," Gonzalez said. Like Nathan, she emphasized that the disease is often preventable if lifestyle changes are made in time.

To learn more about your diabetes risk, visit the American Diabetes Association.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Copyright Law Applies to Recipes Too

by Heather McPherson

October 27, 2008

I must confess. I stole something from a very nice Quaker fellow. My oatmeal cookie recipe is the one my mother used and her mother used. And it was taken from the paper canister of Quaker oatmeal.

Baking those cookies isn't the problem -- publishing the Quaker Oatmeal Cookie recipe in this newspaper or a cookbook and claiming it as my own is where you can stir up trouble.

Home cooks spread recipes around the world in a chain-letter fervor. But what happens when you take that recipe of unknown or known origin and retitle it Jean's Best Ever Oatmeal Cookies?

Copyright law is clear as corn syrup and as muddy as fudge, all at the same time. And it's public record for all to read at

The chemistry of baking, for example, revolves around known edible equations. It's when you put your thumbprint on the language of the recipe that ownership can begin to take shape -- for example, describing an accepted procedure for combining wet and dry ingredients in your distinctive voice and tone.

"A recipe infringes on another's copyright if and only if it copies some of the creative content of the recipe," says Siva Vaidhyanathan of the University of Virginia Department of Media Studies. "In other words, a simple list of ingredients, measures and amounts, and the order of steps, is not copyrightable. Facts and ideas are never copyrightable. Only the arrangement, order, illustrations and other creative expressions are protectable under copyright.

"So the bottom line is that recipes are very hard to protect. And that's probably best."

Indeed, who would want to slap Aunt Betty's hand for sharing those oatmeal cookies in her church cookbook that is raising funds to build a community playground?

What about cookbooks?

There isn't big money at stake in small-circulation books, says Orlando attorney Ava K. Doppelt, who specializes in intellectual property law. But there have been legal cases between large publishing houses where entire chapters were lifted from previously published cookbooks.

"Cookbooks as a whole are very easy to protect, says Vaidhyanathan, who wrote Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity ( New York University Press, 2001). "They have a specific order, creative text and descriptions, and photographs or other illustrations. So copying pages from cookbooks would clearly infringe. But the recipes themselves are not the same thing."

There are occasions when fair use and one-time use come into play, says Doppelt. This newspaper, for example, is routinely granted permission to reprint published recipes in the Cooking & Eating section because publicity sells cookbooks and drives people to restaurants. When those recipes are used, credit is clearly given to the chef or cookbook author that shared the work.

Stating the source offers no clear legal protection. However, it's a good place to be, some legal experts say, should someone cry foul.

"Granting credit has nothing to do with copyright," says Vaidhyanathan. "Copying materials legally requires permission, but not necessarily credit. However, not everything written down is copyrightable. For instance, the phone book is pure information with no creative expression. So it's not protectable under copyright."

Food-industry standards

While U.S. copyright law does address recipes, within the food industry, trade groups encourage writers to engage in ethical practices as well.

The guidelines of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, for example, stress giving proper attribution to recipes. IACP advises using the words "adapted from," "based on" or "inspired by," depending on how much a recipe has been revised. But having good ethical standards is not a legal defense. It's just the right thing to do.

Recipe copyright infringement is taken seriously by the producers of high-profile cooking contests as well. For amateur cooks who participate in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, the recipes they submit as their own had better be their own. Bake-Off officials perform exhaustive "originality" searches on the 100 finalists, says contest publicist Peg Ilkka. Contestants whose recipes do not have at least several significant differences are disqualified.

For the rest of the story, read on here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

That Comes with a Side of Blarney

'Spitfire' Waitress Going Strong at 88

NEW YORK (AP) -- She's petite, white-haired and 88 years old. And if you ask Rosie the waitress what's in the meat loaf, she's likely to tell you, "It's made of old socks."

Order clams and she'll say, in her delightful Northern Ireland brogue, "I'd rather be shot than eat clams."

Rose Donaghey is a bit of a legend in the East Bronx, so well-liked and well-known that she can attract business to a new restaurant -- as she's doing these days at the Wicked Wolf.

The restaurant's manager, Kathy Gallagher, hired Donaghey 14 years ago at Charlie's Inn, a German-Irish hangout that was the traditional ending point for the local St. Patrick's Day parade.

"She was, what, 70-something then, and when she asked me about a job I thought she meant for her daughter -- or granddaughter," Gallagher said. "My mother-in-law said, `Just give her a chance."'

Charlie's closed last year, and Donaghey figured that was the end of her career.

"I felt lost," she said.

Then the Wicked Wolf hired Gallagher. Two months ago, she called Donaghey.

Gallagher says Donaghey's success is built on "her personality and her charm -- she's a little bit of a spitfire. ... She can take orders, come out and serve people, and then talk to them and keep them entertained. I know they're coming in to see her."

Attorney James Newman comes in only when Donaghey is working -- Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"Any time you joke with her, she jokes back," he said this week. "She always tries to order for you. You ask for a burger well done and she says, `I'll have it cremated."'

Donaghey can't rush around any more, and other waitresses enter her orders into the computer. She brought a Budweiser instead of a Bud Light to one table, but turned it into a joke: "I'd blame the bartender," she whispered.

Rose McElroy, born in 1920 in County Tyrone, married James Donaghey in 1947. They came to America in 1949.

Her sister had a bar in Queens. "I arrived on a Friday and she put me to work on the Saturday," Donaghey said.

"My first customer was a lady who came in off the beach with all these kids and said, `I'm so tired. I need a screwdriver,"' Donaghey said. "Well, I didn't know what a screwdriver was except for the tool you'd use, so I went in the back and asked the boss for a screwdriver. `It's a drink,' he told me."

Things went better after that. She had four children and part-time jobs: a Fifth Avenue tea house; a Jewish deli in the Bronx.

Donaghey was retired when her husband died in 1994. The funeral lunch was held at Charlie's Inn, and Donaghey apparently thought the place could use her help.

Donaghey says she doesn't have to work. There's Social Security, and her three surviving children would help out if needed. She won't say what she gets paid, but Gallagher thinks she knows where the extra income goes: into the church basket. Donaghey takes in a Mass every day, in person or on TV.

"The world might have changed but I never change," she said.

Asked what it takes to be a great waitress, Donaghey said, "Be pleasant, and let them take their pick of tables." Later she thought of something else.

"I guess it's the blarney," she said.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Food Jobs" Dishes on Career Options

Book explains jobs for food enthusiasts

Chewing-gum taster. Fortune cookie message writer. Spa chef.

These are just some of the jobs in the food industry author Irena Chalmers dishes about in her latest tome, "Food Jobs" (Beaufort Books, Sept. 1, 2008).

Author, publisher, producer and teacher at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Chalmers offers advice for those looking to embark on a new career and those with a passion for the food industry who want to get started in the business.

The book offers details on choosing a professional school, the types of jobs available (vinegar taster, mushroom grower and caviar producer are just a few of the jobs out there) and where and how to find these jobs.

Chalmers shares her musings on the food industry and provides real-life wisdom from celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, Todd English and Anthony Bourdain, among others.

The paperback, which sells for $19.95, is available from online booksellers and her Web site,

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Chef Jeff Project

Chef Jeff Henderson is changing lives with food.

His new show The Chef Jeff Project, premieres this Sunday at 10pm/9c on the Food Network.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Congratulations To Class 51!

Congratulations to Class 51 of the Second Helpings Culinary Job Training Program who graduated on Friday, October 3, 2008

Pictured are (Front row, Left to Right) Linda Morgan, Daniel Montalvo, Marcie Mann, Oneka Randall, (Back row) Chef Conway, Marco Barnes, Earl Dunigan, Christopher Johnson, and Anthony Murray.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Eastside Cafe Opens

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Community leaders on the near east side are hoping a new business brings another step toward revitalization.

Thursday morning, a cafe inside the John H. Boner Community Center officially opens its doors. It may not sound like a big deal, but many say this is helping an area that needs a lot of attention.

"It's just been really positive to see the communities work together to help change the community," said Jeff Reuter, owner of the J.S. Reutz Cafe.

Fresh fruit, a meatloaf lunch special, and a crowd to boot welcome the J.S. Reutz Cafe. Although it opened on Monday, Thursday is the official grand opening. Located inside the John H. Boner Community Center, it's a place where workers and near east side residents can grab a bite to eat.

"I feel that really to change the entire east side, we have to start somewhere, and this is a good opportunity, and it can really, I feel, change the entire east side," said Reuter.

Reuter lives on the near east side, and worked with the East 10th Street Civic Association to choose his cafe spot for on-going re-vitalization efforts. He's also employing three people who came to the Boner Center for help.

"The way to make change happen is to make change happen," Reuter said.
Along with the cafe, the Boner Center is also working to buy an apartment building across the street and provide housing for people who want to own their home, but they just don't know how to do it.

The Civic Association also planted a garden two years ago on East 10th and Rural as a way to spruce up the community.

It's been a lot of work for people who admit it's frustrating at times, but at the end of the day, very much worth it.

"I won't mislead you and say that there are not days that all of us working here on the near east side, and specifically in community development, do not have those moments if you will. I think the experiences that make the difference would be us here today with the celebration of this opening of the J.S. Reutz Cafe," said Tammi Hughes with the Civic Association.

The cafe officially opens at 10 a.m. The Boner Center helps in a variety of ways by helping people find jobs and job training, and places to live.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gather your Friends - It's HARVEST Time!!

Indy's Premier Food and Wine Event will be held on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian Street.

Tickets are $75 in advance or $100 at the door. Tickets for designated drivers are $30.00. There will also be a special AFTER PARTY featuring desserts, dessert wines, ports, and lots more. Tickets are $25.00

You may purchase your tickets online, or at The Best Chocolate In Town located at 880 Mass. Ave Indianapolis, IN 46204!

There are also special Harvest room rates at the Residence Inn.

Find out more at 632.6224 ext. 12.

You must be 21 to enter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PETA Writes to Ben and Jerry

September 23, 2008

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.

Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.

Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.

Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.

And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.

The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tips On Finding Your True Career Calling

By Brian Tracy, Author of "21 Ways To Get The Job You Really Want"

In my courses on time management, I point out that the very worst use of time in life is to spend months and years at a job for which you are completely unsuited. Over time, people who are not following their true career callings begin to feel helpless.

Your aim is to become everything you are capable of becoming. Your job is to develop yourself to the point where every day is a source of joy and satisfaction. Your goal is to continually hold up a mirror to yourself and refuse to work at a job that doesn't allow you to utilize your natural talents and skills, while challenging you to work harder and advance in your career goals.

Success comes from being excellent at what you do. The market only pays excellent rewards for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance. But excellence is a journey, not a destination. The market is always changing and what constitutes excellence today will be different tomorrow. So stay on top of the changes in your industry!

All really successful and happy people know that they are very good at what they do. If you are doing what you really enjoy, if you are following your true career calling, you will know because of your attitude toward excellence.

When you have found your dream career, nothing but the best will do. You will go any distance, pay any price, overcome any obstacle to develop yourself to the point where you are really good at your occupation.

When you find your dream career, you will have a continuous desire to learn more about it. You will be determined to join the top 10% of people in your field. You will be willing to pay any price that is necessary to rise to the top. You will be willing to start a little earlier, work a little harder, and stay a little later.

You will take additional courses on the evenings and weekends. You will see technology as an opportunity to do your job better. You will be interested in the various learning programs that you can install on your computer that can help you learn better and faster. You will be hungry for new knowledge in your quest to move upward in your chosen field.

But the fact is that you are where you are and who you are because you have chosen to be there. Nobody can help you or change your situation for you.

The one thing I tell people over and over again is that they must become very good at doing what they are doing if they want to move up. And if they don't have the inner desire to be very good at their jobs, it means they are probably in the wrong jobs.

If you're still not sure about your true career calling, ask the people who are closest to you. Ask them, "What do you think I would be the very best at doing with my life?"

Remember, you have within you talents and abilities so vast that you could never use them all if you lived to be a thousand. You have the natural skills and talents that can enable you to overcome any obstacle and achieve any career goals you set for yourself. There are no limits on what you can be, have, or do if you can find your true career calling.

Brian Tracy is the most listened to audio author on personal and business success in the world today. His fast-moving talks and seminars on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness and business strategy are loaded with powerful, proven ideas and strategies that people can immediately apply to get better results in every area.

For more info go to: "21 Ways To Get The Job You Really Want".

Monday, September 15, 2008

Should You Attend a Cooking Academy?

When a new culinary school springs up (and there are currently about 750 in the U.S. alone), hundreds of prospective students flock to the campus, hoping they will become the next celebrity chef. But are these aspiring chefs making a wise career move or would they be better off forgoing school and getting a kitchen job in a real-world restaurant? Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one and depends on the chef's level of experience.

The Novice Chef

With the surging popularity of restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs, high school students are enrolling in culinary schools at record rates. In fact, 38 percent of San Francisco's California Cooking Academy (CCA) applicants in 2004 were recent high school graduates, up from 22 percent in 1997.


Most schools offer programs that range from a few weeks to several years and cover all aspects of the culinary arts: baking and pastry arts, hospitality and restaurant management, and wine studies. These schools also provide students with internships in culinary hot spots and the opportunity to operate all aspects of their on-campus restaurants. Needless to say, attending one of these cooking academies can be a valuable experience for a budding chef.

Students lacking either kitchen experience or culinary expertise will get the most out of classes from the second tier of cooking academies. Why the second tier? These often require little prior experience and cover all the fundamentals.

If and when students decide to attend one of these schools, they should steer clear of the common misconception that once you have a diploma, your restaurant career will take off. Therein lies the greatest disadvantage of any academy: unrealistic expectations.


Many novices don't stop to think about the commitment necessary to succeed in the food-service industry. Even with training, it takes decades for a chef to master his craft. Plus, students who only have school experience will have trouble understanding how strenuous the day-to-day operations of a restaurant can be. Many chefs work 17 to 18 hours per day, 6 to 7 days per week, and finish each night doing the dishes, according to John Foley, a restaurant expert in Northern California and's restaurant advisor.

A second big disadvantage is cost. The CCA, for example, charges about $45,000 for just 15 months of instruction, and that's just for an associate's degree. In fact, a prospective student at a first-tier academy can expect tuition prices to be similar to that of a top university.

In some cases, students may amass a mountain of debt from a school that does not have a good reputation. Many cooking schools are built to make money and operate like a business, says Dan Watts, a former purchasing agent with the CCA. Students, he says, should realize that quality often takes a backseat to quantity in such schools, degrading the cooking academy into merely a diploma factory. Moreover, with the arrival of more schools and higher enrollment across the country, the weight a cooking academy diploma once held has been somewhat devalued.

To learn of a school's reputation, students should ask restaurant professionals if they would hire a graduate from the school they are considering, trying to find a consensus. There's also plenty of useful information on the Internet.

The Experienced Chef

A prospective student with an abundance of cooking experience can benefit from a first-tier school, where they will be able to sharpen kitchen skills as well as learn the financial side of the restaurant business.


Experienced chefs are more likely to be accepted into a top school such as the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which, in turn, may help them get a job at a top-tier restaurant. Part of the reason the CIA has maintained its reputation despite the proliferation of cooking academies is its nonprofit status. The school, with campuses in both New York and California, continuously reinvests its profits, building elite facilities and hiring only the best instructors. Also, the CIA and other comparable institutions offer their students the ability to pursue a bachelor's degree as well as an associate's degree.

With years of experience hiring and firing staff, John Foley swears by the graduates he's hired from the CIA. In 1991, Foley hired a Wisconsin dairy farmer turned CIA graduate to be his new chef. "He taught me so much about food, the procedures, the workings of a line, and how to serve 450 people on any given night," he says.

Foley, however, isn't nearly as confident in the CCA graduates he's dealt with. Ten years after that very successful hire, Foley interviewed a CCA graduate and asked, "Where did you learn to cook?" The interviewee answered, "I went to school at the CCA." Foley sighed and said, "Yes, but where did you learn to cook?" The difference in the quality of schools, according to Foley, is that the first-tier schools like the CIA give students incomparable instruction along with a realistic picture of the restaurant business.

While experienced chefs may already have excellent kitchen skills, they may not have the necessary business know-how. Schools such as the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College teach students how to start a small business. Classes focus on the financial side (accounting, marketing, purchasing) as well as management (human resources, supervision).


There are few downsides to attending a top-tier school, but the financial burden can be significant. In addition, there's always the trade-off of spending a year or so in school versus continuing to gain valuable experience in the real world. Poor instruction is also a risk, though the more elite schools are almost always staffed by experienced and capable instructors.

Attending a cooking academy can be a smart career move for both the experienced and the novice if the student is realistic about the hard work that follows graduation.

A student's dedication will make or break the journey; a cooking academy degree won't.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Treating the Troops

Last weeek I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Brenda Woodall and Annie Hendricks, two lovely women who are dedicated to honoring those who serve our country and comunities, and who never have to utter that silly platitude about how much they "support the troops".

Members of Operation Treat the Troops send homemade cookies and other items to soldiers overseas and they've been doing it since Operation Desert Storm. They fit perfectly MY definition of heroes...ordinary people doing things that make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others. Having spent 22 years in uniform, I can attest personally to the powerful effect that a package or letter from "back home" has on the morale of young (and not so young) men and women separated from their families and possibly in harm's way.

Below is an excerpt from an e-mail I received from Annie, telling about some of Treat the Troops' activities:

Treat the Troops is a charity that has been sending homemade cookies to our troops at war since Desert Storm. We do this to send them a little bit of comfort from home and to remind them they are not forgotten or alone. Each volunteer (crumb) is responsible for raising the funds for supplies and postage for each solider they adopt.

Brenda Woodall and I have adopted an ER Unit that is located in Al Asad, Iraq. There are 4 women and 18 men running the ER Unit. Not only do they help our soliders but they tend to the local Iraqi citizens. We have heard of our cookies cheering up an Iraqi boy who had to spend his 16th birthday in the hospital to encouraging a solider who was missing his home.

Right now we are selling a cookbook Heavenbound, The Roadtrip of Denny Woodall to raise funds for postage. Denny Woodall is Brenda Woodall's son and my brother. He was tragically killed last October on I-65 South in Columbus. A driver impaired by drugs smashed into the back of his 1967 VW Beetle and he hit a tree. The driver left my brother on the side of the road to die and kept driving. He left enough of his car behind that they later found the other driver in Scottsburg.

Denny's dream was to be a chef and own his own restaurant so to honor his dream we have created this cookbook. There are 300 recipes from breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and appetizers. They are easy and delicious recipes that come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Each book cost $16.00 including shipping and handling. To order a book send your name, address, and check to:

Treat the Troops
c/o Brenda Woodall
7942 Bolin Drive
Nineveh, Indiana, 46164

Make checks out to Treat the Troops. All proceeds go to postage due to Second Helpings being so generous in flooding us with supplies for cookies, candy, and personal items for the troops.

We appreciate everyone's help, support, and time in reminding our troops they are not alone or forgotten. Attached is a picture of some of the boys from the ER Unit.
God's peace,

Annie Hendricks
To learn more about this wonderful program, to join in, or to get their wonderful cookbook (I bought 20) please visit their website at:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So You Want To Open A Restaurant?

Love Food? Think Twice Before Jumping In


WHEN Linda Lipsky taught a course called “So You Want to Open a Restaurant” at Temple University in Philadelphia, she deliberately made the business sound like a minefield. She warned her students that it is possible to lose their homes, their life savings, and even the rights to their own names. Her goal, she said, was “to get two-thirds of them to quit.”

In fact, two of every three new restaurants, delis and food shops close within three years of opening, according to federal government statistics, the same failure rate for small businesses in general. “It’s very easy to fail if you know what you’re doing, and even easier if you don’t,” said Ms. Lipsky, president of Linda Lipsky Restaurant Consultants, a firm based outside Philadelphia that has advised restaurant owners and chains for 20 years.

While restaurants have long been a dream for the hospitality-minded, the industry has never had such a high profile, thanks to the Food Network and celebrity chefs whose restaurants have become launching pads to marketing empires.

The allure is easy to understand, said Peter Rainsford, the vice president for academic affairs at the Culinary Institute of America and co-author of “The Restaurant Startup Guide.”

“So many people love to cook, they like food, and they think, boy, I’ll have a job where I’ll do what I love,” Mr. Rainsford said. “They don’t realize how hard a job it is, both financially and physically.”

Charlita Anderson learned, but it was a painful and expensive education. Ms. Anderson, 47, went to law school at Cleveland State University, and has worked in the legal field for 20 years, most recently as a judicial magistrate in suburban Cleveland, hearing cases involving juvenile crimes and traffic violations. But she always longed to run a restaurant that would feature her mother’s recipe for gumbo, a family favorite.

So in 2002, she opened Pepper Red’s Blues Café in Lorain, Ohio, a Cajun restaurant and nightclub. She did everything at the cafe, from making gumbo to scrubbing the floors and singing torch songs, while still putting in a full day as a magistrate.

Today her restaurant is no longer in business and she is back to her previous career, where she has paid off the debt she incurred during her 15-month foray into the hospitality business.

Ms. Lipsky has repeatedly seen restaurant novices make the same costly mistake: vastly underestimating the money it will take just to break even. She counsels them to have enough money to cover every aspect of a business for the first six months, including food, salaries, benefits, kitchen equipment, rent and utilities.

Indeed, Barry Sorkin and his four partners were well aware that the odds were tough for Smoque, a Texas-style barbecue joint they opened a year and a half ago on the northwest side of Chicago. But they were determined to beat those odds, with both research and financing.

The partners — Mr. Sorkin; two former co-workers at a technology firm; his uncle, who works in the building materials business; and a lawyer — were all barbecue fanatics who frequently met to grill in each others’ backyards. They spent more than a year analyzing the business.

Mr. Sorkin quit his job in 2005, and visited restaurants all over the country, including North Carolina and Memphis. (His wife supported the family while he traveled, before the restaurant opened and he started taking a modest salary.)

After tasting samples, the partners settled on Texas barbecue, known as “low and slow” because it is cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period than other styles. It was a variation they felt had been overlooked by Chicago’s numerous rib spots.

Mr. Sorkin, who has a degree in journalism, wrote a detailed business plan that ran for more than 40 pages, comparing his concept to the menus of his potential competitors. It featured a heartfelt essay, “Our View on ’Q,” that set out the group’s philosophy on barbecue; a version of it is posted at the restaurant’s Web site,

Along with a simple menu of ribs, brisket, chicken and side dishes like macaroni and cheese and twice-cooked fries, the plan also included an extensive analysis of the expenses the restaurant expected in its first three years.

Determining that the North Side of Chicago lacked sufficient rib outlets, the group zeroed in on a storefront on North Pulaski Road, about 15 minutes north of the Loop and 10 minutes from Mr. Sorkin’s house.

Two members of the group pledged their homes to secure a $440,000 Small Business Administration loan to get the restaurant off the ground.

In the months just before and after Smoque opened, Mr. Sorkin and one of the partners spent 120 to 130 hours a week tying up loose ends. “I seriously thought we were going to die of exhaustion,” he said.

Since Smoque opened, Mr. Sorkin has scaled back to a relatively relaxed 90 hours a week. Now, he is at work by 7 a.m., for a day that starts with stocking wood in a smoker, accepting an order from a meat deliveryman, checking the previous night’s receipts and supervising as kitchen assistants chop peppers and prepare peach cobbler. He is on his feet all day, and rarely gets home to see his two toddlers before their bedtime. He can only occasionally catch a beer in a bar near his house.

But he is not complaining, because Smoque has served many more customers — thousands more — than the business plan forecast.

“My old job was challenging, even interesting at times, but I never got the same buzz from knowing that someone got their e-mail fixed,” Mr. Sorkin said. “I love barbecue. I love to feed people barbecue, and I love to watch them enjoy it.”

Ms. Anderson began in a far less ambitious way, relying on her family’s encouragement far more than on financial planning, a step that Ms. Lipsky said often proves fatal.

Her suburban Cleveland cafe was named after her late uncle, whose nickname was Pepper, and her father, dubbed Red. The cafe was the culmination of her lifelong dream to gain more exposure for her mother’s gumbo, a recipe handed down from generations of cooks in Louisiana and Mississippi.

“People who have tasted that gumbo say it’s the best this side of New Orleans,” she said. “It’s a big deal in our family.”

Still working as a magistrate, she began to shop for a location in downtown Lorain, a working-class town, in 2002. Ms. Anderson chose a former Woolworth’s store about 40 miles from Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie, on the hope that long-rumored casino hotels would soon be built.

Ms. Anderson also felt that local residents, who had few options to hear live music, would patronize a club in their collective backyard rather than drive into the city.

Even an economic slowdown that gripped the area after Sept. 11, 2001, did not deter her, because, she figured, “people have to eat, they want to be entertained.”

She had a truly secret recipe in her mother’s gumbo. Her mother, Claudia Anderson, who had never shared her methods with her daughter growing up, required that she learn the gumbo recipe by heart and make two batches from scratch, without help, before she would agree to let her offer it on the menu, which also featured Southern classics like red beans and rice, cornbread and crawfish.

Meanwhile, family members, including her husband, son and a flock of relatives, volunteered to work there, meaning she had to hire only one employee, a waitress.

But before the cafe opened, unexpected costs appeared. To pass inspection, the restaurant needed doors that pushed outward so customers could easily exit. The two doors each cost $1,000. Toilets for the restrooms arrived with no seats.

“The tiny little things you don’t even expect, they’re going to pop up at any time,” Ms. Anderson said. She was responsible for every detail. “I went from a highfalutin position to scrubbing the floors,” Ms. Anderson said.

The summer after the restaurant opened in May 2002 was promising. Acting as the hostess, Ms. Anderson rushed every evening from the courtroom to the cafe, where she tied a custom-designed apron over her business clothes to seat the guests.

Ms. Anderson, who is not a trained musician, learned to sing blues songs and regularly took a turn on the bandstand. “It was the most fun I ever had, notwithstanding the stress,” she said.

But the joy did not last long. The hotels did not open, and by fall, the crowds that she anticipated would fill the restaurant every night had thinned. The friends she expected would be her regulars were often missing. “People will encourage you,” she said, “but they won’t show up every night.”

Ms. Anderson, who had borrowed $17,000 in a small business loan, fell deeper into debt.

Despite a bump during the 2002 holiday season, her business dried up over the first winter and did not rebound to her first-year level the following summer. Ms. Anderson did not have enough money coming in to cover the rent, $1,000 a month, and she could no longer afford to keep on her employee. In September 2003 she decided to close, a move that left her depressed and embarrassed.

“How could someone with a law degree and as smart as you blow it this big?” Ms. Anderson said she asked herself. But she ultimately decided that it was better to be realistic. “You have to appreciate that this might not work,” she said. “If it doesn’t, get out.”

Ms. Anderson’s experience is far more typical than Mr. Sorkin’s, said Mr. Rainsford. He should know. For five years, when he was a professor at Cornell University’s hospitality school, Mr. Rainsford ran a restaurant called O’Malley’s on a lake just outside Ithaca, N.Y.

Mr. Rainsford and his wife soon discovered that the restaurant was not a sideline to his job, but a full-time undertaking for the entire family, especially during the summer. Eventually tiring of the disruption to their routine, and with their children losing interest, the Rainsfords sold O’Malley’s to a young couple for a small profit.

The experience has helped him give advice to students at the culinary institute, where about half are traditional undergraduates and the rest are older students, many of whom have changed careers or want to enhance skills they have picked up on the fly.

Many of those students have a romantic vision of life in the food business, he said, fed by the success stories of people like Ina Garten, known as the Barefoot Contessa, who was a White House budget analyst before buying the shop in the Hamptons that started her food career.

Back in Ohio, former customers still rave about Ms. Anderson’s gumbo. She often passes the cafe, now reopened under new ownership and with a new name, on her way home from court.

Each time she passes, she said, she is tempted to give the restaurant business another try. “But then I just keep driving, and I say to myself, don’t look, don’t look, don’t look.”

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wine Spectator Drinks a Hearty Glass of Blush

The magazine praises a Milan restaurant that doesn't exist. Wine critic and author Robin Goldstein cooked up the hoax.

By Jerry Hirsch
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 22, 2008

Milan's Osteria L'Intrepido restaurant won Wine Spectator magazine's award of excellence this year despite a wine list that features a 1993 Amarone Classico Gioe S. Sofia, which the magazine once likened to "paint thinner and nail varnish."

Even worse: Osteria L'Intrepido doesn't exist.

To the magazine's chagrin, the restaurant is a Web-based fiction devised by wine critic and author Robin Goldstein, who said he wanted to expose the lack of any foundation for many food and wine awards.

To pull off the hoax, Goldstein created a bogus website for the restaurant and submitted an application for the award that included a copy of the restaurant’s menu (which he describes as "a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes") and a high-priced "reserve wine list" well-stocked with dogs like the 1993 Amarone.

The application also included what Goldstein suggests was the key qualification: a $250 entry fee.

"I am interested in what's behind all the ratings and reviews we read. . . . The level of scrutiny is not sufficient," said Goldstein, who revealed the prank while presenting a paper at an American Assn. of Wine Economists meeting in Portland,Ore., last weekend.

In response, Wine Spectator Executive Editor Thomas Matthews listed in a posting on the New York-based magazine's website its "significant efforts to verify the facts":

"a. We called the restaurant multiple times; each time, we reached an answering machine and a message from a person purporting to be from the restaurant claiming that it was closed at the moment.

"b. Googling the restaurant turned up an actual address and located it on a map of Milan.

"c. The restaurant sent us a link to a website that listed its menu."

Wine Spectator even found discussion about the restaurant from purported diners on the foodie website Chowhound.

In a telephone interview, Matthews denounced Goldstein's actions as a "publicity-seeking scam."

He also denied that the award of excellence was designed to generate revenue for the magazine. "This is a program that recognizes the efforts restaurants put into their wine lists," he said.

Matthews said the magazine did not attempt to visit the phony Milan restaurant; it never visits about 200 of the establishments that get its award each year. But he said the awards had contributed to the growing popularity of wine since they were started by the magazine in 1981.

Getting the award, however, isn't exactly like winning an Olympic medal. This year, nearly 4,500 restaurants spent $250 each to apply or reapply for the Wine Spectator award, and all but 319 won the award of excellence or some greater kudos, Matthews said.

That translates to more than $1 million in revenue.

Tom Pirko, a beverage industry consultant who lives in Santa Barbara County's wine country, said the hoax would dent the magazine's credibility.

"This gets down to what the Wine Spectator is all about. It's not exactly Wine for Dummies; it's more Wine for the Gullible," Pirko said. "This gives the appearance of paying for advertising disguised as a contest."

Restaurants that win the award receive a plaque they can mount for diners to see and a listing as a wine-friendly establishment on the magazine's website. They typically use the award as a form of marketing and advertising, Pirko said.

Goldstein said he came up with the idea while doing research for an academic paper about the standards for wine awards. He is coauthor of "The Wine Trials," a book that looks at how 500 blind tasters from around the country evaluated 6,000 wines ranging in price from $1.50 to $150 a bottle.

He contends that people think wine tastes better when they know it is expensive, citing as evidence taste tests that show two-thirds of people preferred a $12 Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, a Washington state sparkling wine, to a $150 Dom Perignon Champagne.

When he crafted the bogus wine list for Osteria L'Intrepido (Italian for "The Fearless Restaurant") Goldstein also included a 1985 Barbaresco Asij Ceretto, which Wine Spectator described as "earthy, swampy, gamy, harsh and tannic."

"While Osteria L'Intrepido may be the first to win an award of excellence for an imaginary restaurant," Goldstein said, "it's unlikely that it was the first submission that didn't accurately reflect the restaurant."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Julia Child and the CIA (No, Not THAT CIA!)

Documents: Julia Child part of WWII-era spy ring

By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers

Famed chef Julia Child shared a secret with Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and Chicago White Sox catcher Moe Berg at a time when the Nazis threatened the world. They served in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services, an early version of the CIA created in World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The secret comes out Thursday, all of the names and previously classified files identifying nearly 24,000 spies who formed the first centralized intelligence effort by the United States. The National Archives, which this week released a list of the names found in the records, will make available for the first time all 750,000 pages identifying the vast spy network of military and civilian operatives.

They were soldiers, actors, historians, lawyers, athletes, professors, reporters. But for several years during World War II, they were known simply as the OSS. They studied military plans, created propaganda, infiltrated enemy ranks and stirred resistance among foreign troops.

Among the more than 35,000 OSS personnel files are applications, commendations and handwritten notes identifying young recruits who, like Child, Goldberg and Berg, earned greater acclaim in other fields — Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a historian and special assistant to President Kennedy; Sterling Hayden, a film and television actor whose work included a role in "The Godfather"; and Thomas Braden, an author whose "Eight Is Enough" book inspired the 1970s television series.

Other notables identified in the files include John Hemingway, son of author Ernest Hemingway; Quentin and Kermit Roosevelt, sons of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Miles Copeland, father of Stewart Copeland, drummer for the band The Police.

The release of the OSS personnel files uncloaks one of the last secrets from the short-lived wartime intelligence agency, which for the most part later was folded into the CIA after President Truman disbanded it in 1945.

"I think it's terrific," said Elizabeth McIntosh, 93, a former OSS agent now living in Woodbridge, Va. "They've finally, after all these years, they've gotten the names out. All of these people had been told never to mention they were with the OSS."

The CIA had resisted releasing OSS records for decades. But former CIA Director William Casey, himself an OSS veteran, cleared the way for transfer of millions of OSS documents to the National Archives when he took over the agency in 1981. The personnel files are the latest to be made public.

Information about OSS involvement was so guarded that relatives often couldn't confirm a family member's work with the group.

Walter Mess, who handled covert OSS operations in Poland and North Africa, said he kept quiet for more than 50 years, only recently telling his wife of 62 years about his OSS activity.

"I was told to keep my mouth shut," said Mess, now 93 and living in Falls Church, Va.

The files will offer new information even for those most familiar with the agency. Charles Pinck, president of the OSS Society created by former OSS agents and their relatives, said the nearly 24,000 employees included in the archives far exceeds previous estimates of 13,000.

The newly released documents will clarify these and other issues, said William Cunliffe, an archivist who has worked extensively with the OSS records at the National Archives.

"We're saying the OSS was a lot bigger than they were saying," Cunliffe said.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bad Cop - No Donut!

August 8 - CHICAGO - Over the years, cops have ripped off drug dealers, shaken down drivers and pocketed mob bribes. But Chicago Police Officer Barbara Nevers allegedly aimed lower.

Nevers, 55, was suspended for 15 months and ordered into counseling for allegedly using her gun and badge to demand free coffee and pastries from six Starbucks stores on the North Side between 2001 and 2004.

Employees told the Chicago Police Board that Starbucks had an unofficial policy of giving a free tall cup of drip coffee to cops and firefighters in uniform. But Nevers -- a desk officer for most of her 14-year career because of a neck injury she suffered in the police academy -- would usually come into Starbucks in plain clothes. She regularly flashed her gun, and sometimes her badge, to get free coffee at Starbucks near her home, including stores at 3358 N. Broadway, 2525 1/2 N. Clark, 617 W. Diversey, 1000 W. Diversey, 1700 W. Diversey and 1157 W. Wrightwood, employees said.

"She was vehement about getting the free pastries," testified Cara Carothers, who managed the store at 1700 W. Diversey. "This woman is aggressive." Nevers' attorney Tom Needham told the board "My client took advantage of a custom. She's not the only police officer that's been offered coffee." But a city attorney said it's against police policy for officers to accept such freebies.

Nevers claimed she always put a $2 tip in the jar whenever she got a free cup of joe and denied ever flashing her gun or asking for free pastries for herself. "I said, 'If you have any broken pastries or ones that you toss out, I will take them because I feed the birds,' " Nevers told the board.

In June, five members of the police board found her guilty of retail theft, using her position for official gain, unnecessary display of a weapon, mistreatment of a person and other offenses. They voted for Nevers' 15-month suspension and counseling. Two board members dissented, saying they would have imposed a stricter punishment, records show.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Quelle Horreur! Europeans Skipping Vacations!!!

Money Woes Force Europeans to Skip Vacations

PARIS, France (AP) -- It's the Paris version of the "staycation": Marc des Bouillons lounged in a beach chair with a book, surrounded by women in bikinis, ice cream stands, a DJ spinning summer tunes and kids running amok.

Sounds like vacation, but it was just an evening after work at a makeshift beach on the banks of the Seine. It's a pale substitute for a real beach holiday, but it's the best many Parisians can do in these troubled economic times.

The European summer vacation just isn't what it used to be. With economies stagnating and inflation in the euro zone about 4 percent, people are cutting the length of their trips, vacationing close by and in some cases just staying home.

Des Bouillons, a 43-year-old accountant, is forgoing one of France's sacrosanct rituals: The great August lull in which the country shuts down for the entire month, turning cities into ghost towns as the masses hit the beaches or country retreats.

Not only is des Bouillons staying in Paris, he intends to (quelle horreur!) work through August so he can go away off-season once prices drop. "I have to be careful about my budget," des Bouillons said.

Across the continent, Europeans are sharing des Bouillons' pain.

The deepening economic malaise has made many wary of splurging on expensive breaks. And would-be travelers have been hit by soaring costs in Europe for food, road trips and air travel -- in short, just about everything needed for a successful vacation. Gasoline, for example, is the equivalent of $8 a gallon in France, and the fuel surcharge on a round-trip, long-haul Air France flight is as much as $418.

In Italy, even gelato, the typical vacation treat, is taking a hit. Rome vendor Giuseppe De Angelis says many customers have asked for smaller servings or family discounts since soaring milk and fruit costs forced him to raise prices by a $1.50 a cone.

In Spain, another country that traditionally shuts down in August, travel agency Marsans has been luring customers by giving away flat-screen TVs with travel packages costing more than $2,320.

Some European leaders have shown restraint so as not to shock their countrymen with scenes of living it up during the economic downturn. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown opted for a quiet trip to the countryside. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, nicknamed the "bling-bling president" for his penchant for borrowing private jets and yachts, took an ordinary airline flight to wife Carla's Mediterranean villa.

France's main hospitality and catering union said in a report last week that hotel occupancy was holding steady. But it said there was a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in customers at cafes and restaurants.

Another survey indicated that more French people were skipping vacations altogether.

A poll by the IFOP agency for L'Humanite newspaper said 42 percent of French people planned to stay home this summer, 3 points higher than last year and 10 points more than in 2005, suggesting that the decline this year may be part of a longer-term trend.

Britons are also altering their habits. A survey for the Times of London reported that 58 percent of Britons were changing their vacation plans because of the economic downturn. Just less than 19 percent said they were canceling their plans completely, and 34 percent of the respondents said they canceled plans to travel abroad in favor of a cheaper trip within Britain.

"We have found that more customers than ever before want to jump in a car with the family and avoid the hassle and increased costs of an overseas break," said Richard Carrick, chief executive of Hoseasons, a British travel company.

Germany seems to be an exception. Its tourism industry remains stable, although experts are keeping an eye on the international economy. German plane travel, tour operations and hotel reservations continued in an upward trend in the early summer months, according to industry reports.

Meanwhile, some European travelers have taken advantage of the weak dollar and headed to the United States.

In the Netherlands as of early July, trips within Europe and to Asia were slightly down, but bookings to the United States were up 49 percent from a year ago, said AVNR, a travel agencies industry group. The theory is that even if plane tickets are more expensive, people can stock up on cheap consumer goods once they arrive in the United States.

Although the economic downturn has put a crimp in Europeans' style, continental vacations are even tougher on visitors from North America.

Kayla Bowman, a 23-year-old from Vancouver, Canada, in Germany on the last leg of her round-the-world trip, says her journey has become increasingly tough as her currency weakens.

"It's pretty much doubling the cost of everything," said Bowman, who was saving money by couch-surfing, buying food at grocery stores and looking for work at bars or restaurants. Her dad bailed her out financially a few times, too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fish = Brain Food?

Fatty fish may help prevent memory loss: study

Mon Aug 4, 2008 5:16pm EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Eating tuna and other fatty fish may help prevent memory loss in addition to reducing the risk of stroke, Finnish researchers said on Monday.

People who ate baked or broiled -- but not fried -- fish high in omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be less likely to have "silent" brain lesions that can cause memory loss and dementia and are linked to a higher risk of stroke, said Jyrki Virtanen of the University of Kuopio in Finland.

"Previous findings have shown that fish and fish oil can help prevent stroke, but this is one of the only studies that looks at fish's effect on silent brain (lesions) in healthy, older people,", Virtanen, who led the study, said in a statement.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and in other foods such as walnuts. They have been shown to provide an anti-inflammatory effect and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

The Finnish team studied 3,660 people aged 65 and older who underwent brains scans five years apart to detect the silent brain lesions, or infarcts, found in about 20 percent of otherwise healthy elderly people

The researchers found that men and women who ate omega-3-rich fish three times or more per week had a nearly 26 percent lower risk of having silent brain lesions.

Eating just one serving per week led to a 13 percent reduced risk, compared to people whose diets did not include this type of fish, the researchers reported in the journal Neurology.

Fried fish for some reason did not appear to have the same benefits, the researchers added.

"While eating tuna and other types of fish seems to help protect against memory loss and stroke, these results were not found in people who regularly ate fried fish," Virtanen said.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Toby Reynolds)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Shelter Program Teaches Women Classic Cuisine

Chefs at Village Kitchen start from scratch

The women -- some just out of prison, others recently homeless -- have been given a chance to succeed, learning the techniques of fine cuisine at a Los Angeles cafe operated by a homeless center.

By Scott Gold Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

July 25, 2008 - Not long after Felicia Cuellar started working at The Village Kitchen, she began to suspect that the purple potatoes she'd been roasting had been dyed. The red carrots, too. Aren't carrots supposed to be orange?

Indeed, most everything she knew about food she'd learned from the drive-thru. She didn't know the proper way to hold a knife, much less how to distribute butter in batches of scone batter to keep them from spreading out like pancakes in the oven.

From her first day, however, Cuellar was an expert on the scale. She was so good, she barely needed one. Whatever the recipe called for -- 11 ounces of flour, 14 ounces of powdered sugar -- she'd squint one eye, size up her target, plop it on the scale and, more often than not, come pretty darn close. That's because back home in Lancaster, she'd used the same kind of scale for years. "To weigh dope," she said.

If you like your sandwich with a nice story on the side, think about stopping in at the new storefront cafe at 1667 Beverly Blvd., just northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The cafe is the latest project of the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children. Over the last 25 years, the organization has provided thousands with food, clothes, housing and counseling, all under the steady hand of Sister Julia Mary Farley, its founder and a saintly sort in local social work circles.

Good Shepherd occupies nearly an entire block in a stretch of town otherwise peppered with cheap motels, union halls and lavanderías. Its latest addition is a $13-million building with 21 transitional apartments -- and this tiny cafe. The cafe is staffed by 10 women, nine of them mothers, all of them recently homeless, imprisoned or both. There are former addicts, dealers, thieves and old-fashioned down-on-their-luckers -- some of whom have eaten out of garbage cans -- being trained in classic cuisine and, on the best days, learning to love themselves again.

"This is the answer," said B.J. Daniels, 51, a single mother who grew up in Long Beach and had a stable life until a transportation company furloughed her job three years ago amid budget cuts.

Daniels stayed with relatives as long as she could, and then, out of options, landed at Good Shepherd. This summer, she signed up for a work program at The Village Kitchen, undergoing 80 hours of wage-free training. Now fully employed, she hopes to introduce some of her family recipes, including seafood gumbo, to the menu.

"This is an expression of our pride," she said. "People will see that we treat them with care. I think that will make it prosper." The idea, said Pasquale Vericella, owner of Il Cielo restaurant in Beverly Hills and a longtime Good Shepherd board member, was to use the cafe as a teaching tool to give the women "a craft and a sense of belonging."

But even the best ideas come with red tape and permitting snarls, so the cafe has been nearly 10 years in the making. It didn't get any easier once Executive Chef Jaime Turrey, a former Bay Area chef, was hired last fall. During much of the training and menu design, Turrey, 32, had only a shopping cart and a broom closet to store his equipment -- and many of his cooking tools, including muffin pans and his best knives, were taken from his own wedding registry.

Many of the women, meanwhile, had no understanding of cuisine. What they did know about food -- making "prison tamales" with crushed tortilla chips wrapped in newspaper, for instance -- wasn't much help. Everything is made from scratch -- a point of pride but also debate; Turrey spent an hour last week demonstrating that fresh mayonnaise is yellow-tinged, not bright white like at the grocery store. Math was another problem; hand-written equations ("11 1/4 oz X 2 = 22 1/2 oz") are scribbled all over the kitchen.

"I'm not training them for this job. I'm training them for their next job," Turrey said. "I don't want them to learn to pop something in the oven. I want them to be able to go to a nice restaurant and meet the expectations of that job from Day One. If the manager says, 'Blanche me some haricot vert' -- French green beans -- "they will know what that means. These women are ready for anything."

By now, Turrey is mentor, brother, counselor. On a recent morning, one chef needed to send a postcard to the father of her child; the father had recently been jailed. Turrey made four calls to locate free postcards. As soon as he hung up, another chef brought over a batch of dough and asked him to test the consistency. He gave it a pinch and approved. The kitchen was humming. There were meatballs sizzling in a sauté pan, red and purple potatoes in roasting pans, and beets cooling in a huge bucket of ice. Chefs emerged from the walk-in freezer carrying cheese bread doughs and fresh tomato sauce, their breath still steaming from the cold.

"You would never know," Cuellar said as she patted roasted walnuts into the frosting of a carrot cake. "What?" asked Kimberly Ferguson, 43, another chef. "You know," Cuellar said without looking up. "That we're convicts and stuff."

Theirs is not a tale of unadulterated salvation. It would be too simple to suggest that working at the cafe has marked a clean break for everyone. There are women here who merely fell victim to a sorry economy. But there are also women who ripped copper wiring out of strangers' houses and sold it to buy drugs -- not all that long ago, either.

There are gambling addicts who, when they appear to be contentedly shearing stalks of cilantro, are quietly fending off urges to make a run for a casino. Some don't regret what they did, only that they got caught. Some aren't convinced they won't do it again.

Cuellar, 32, has a kind, easy smile and is a mother of three girls. She spends much of her time fretting because her oldest daughter just started dating boys. It's easy to forget when she's showing off pictures of her kids that she had her first taste of methamphetamine when she was in the third grade; a relative stirred it into her milk, and they stayed up all night making beaded earrings together. By 12, she was snorting it; by 16 she was smoking it. Cuellar began dealing to support her own drug use, then to make money -- gobs of it, which she spent as fast as it came in. She sold drugs to friends, to neighbors. She stopped paying cash at fast-food restaurants, just handed over a few crystals of meth instead. She sold to gangs, including white-power skinheads who presumably didn't think much of her Mexican-Native American heritage. "Just business," she said.

After she helped savagely beat a man who had robbed her -- mostly to make sure that no one would think she was "weak," she said -- she was convicted of assault and sent to Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla for two years. She was recently released to a transitional treatment center in Los Angeles, where she was approached about becoming a Village Kitchen chef. A life like hers, she pointed out, doesn't get cleansed by baking a batch of muffins. But there is a sense here of new beginnings. Cuellar used to dream of building a massive house -- with no kitchen. No need for one of those. Now she's broke -- the government seized her assets -- and she's pretty much OK with that. She's hoping to work at a hotel restaurant back in the Antelope Valley.

"I feel . . . I don't know . . . free or something," she said. "I never thought in a million years I would like this. But I do. It's cool. It's really cool." She turned back to her carrot cake. "This," she said, "is going to be beautiful."