Should Prisoners Earn Butcher's Licenses? PETA Says No

Categories: Dish-cussion

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flickr photosharing
PETA says prisoners have no business training to become butchers.

"If some inmates are already comfortable with death, they may do well in positions such as mortuary embalmer or funeral director. If, on the other hand, you wish to steer them away from death and teach them to respect life, please consider programs that would train them in vegetable gardening, nursing, or flower arranging."

That's an excerpt from a letter issued by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) directed to Sen. David J. Tomassoni, who last week issued a bill proposing to allow prisoners at Northeast Regional Corrections Center to obtain butcher's licenses. PETA is calling for the senator to revoke or revise the bill, saying that butchering is a "violent profession."

See also:
Ladies in lettuce bikinis brave subzero temps for PETA


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Yes, Starbucks Barista, Please Talk to Me About Race

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Mecca Bos
My medium Starbucks light roast sans a "Race Together" message. Will my cup look different on March 20?

The Hennepin Avenue Starbucks in Uptown is, on a normal day, a pleasant cross section of the more-diverse-than-it-gets-credit-for neighborhood. Groups of Somali men engage in lively, caffeine- and politics-fueled banter; students are glued to their MacBooks; and office types rush around the way office types will.

So when Starbucks launches its new campaign to engage customers in conversation about race, will the otherwise antiseptically corporate vibe of the shop suddenly transform into an Enlightenment era salon full of civilized discourse?

See also:
Starbucks in the crosshairs of gun control debate


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Why It Took Me a Decade to Enjoy Tweezer Food

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Alma Guzman

Whatever you want to call it -- haute cuisine, molecular gastronomy, progressive food, tweezer food, frou frou food -- like porn, it's a little hard to define but we know it when we see it. Some people have an instant and ingrained reaction when they see any hint of it: "None for me, please."

Others are more like myself: Bring it on. But I wasn't always that way.

See also:
Spoon and Stable Does Fine Dining, But Not How You Might Expect


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The Missing Women of Mpls. St. Paul Magazine's Cover Photo

Categories: Dish-cussion

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flickr Photosharing

By now it's an all too familiar sight. You spy a "Best Restaurants" story on the cover of Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, piled on the countertop mail hill between the light bill and Chinese restaurant coupons. The photo shows 15 chefs, all men, right down to the Minnesota-fashionable plaid shirts and hoodies. They chat in comfortable, man-spread repose.

You could almost miss it, but once again: Females forgotten.

See also:
The Twin Cities' Most Humble Chefs

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10 Reasons Minneapolis Should Have a Dog Cafe

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Nanette Castro

Last week, downtown Los Angeles hosted the city's very first dog cafe. The cafe opened as a pop-up from January 22-25, serving a simple menu of coffee, tea, and the overwhelming inner peace one can only achieve while holding a puppy in a tiny sweatshirt. Organizers hope to turn it into a full-time dog cafe once they reach their funding goals.

So should the Twin Cities follow suit? Is that even a question?

See also:
Dog Mayor of Cormorant, Minn. Was Pretty Chill About Losing "Dog of the Year" Bid


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Five Twin Cities Restaurants Have Closed So Far This Year. Here's Why.

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Jackie via Flickr
Surfing's fun, but so is keeping a business afloat. We hope we don't see more restaurants shutter in 2015.

Last year's boom of 100 or so new restaurants was exciting indeed, but any time one talks of boom, the next talk is of bubble, and then bust.

With each passing day of the new year, we seem to hear news of another closing. Only three weeks into 2015, already five spots have shuttered. A little obit for each, in passing order:

See also:
10 Restaurants That Bit the Dust in 2014


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Is It Time to Do Away With Tipping? Maybe.

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Dave Dugdale
Since minimum wage is on the rise for all employees, maybe its time to give tipping the axe.

At worst, restaurateurs say the recent minimum wage hike, minus a tip credit, will be their demise. At best, they say it's going to hurt.

The issue continues to be a touchy one in the legislature, because organized labor is keeping a watchful eye on any sleights of hand when it comes to touching the wage increase. The Minnesota Restaurant Association is backing restaurant owners on this one, but Governor Dayton says he's not budging, at least not for now, in spite of input from his Bachelor Farmer-owning sons.

So what does that mean for restaurateurs? They may have to start getting creative.


See also:
Governor Dayton will not change minimum wage law for tipped employees -- yet

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Is Culinary School Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Carissa Glarner
Is a culinary school education becoming a thing of the past?
It's always been my contention that culinary school is mostly unnecessary. Though I can understand the urge -- how can one possibly understand all that equipment, all that jargon, all that technique, without going? -- the answer is simply, you don't need it. You never understand it all, you never learn it all, you never master it all. And that is the beauty of food. The moment one chapter has closed, another begins. You never learn it all, not in 10 lifetimes.

The culinary industry can be an intimidating one to enter. The first time I read Kitchen Confidential I was convinced I would never work in a restaurant, though I desperately wanted to. Tales of miscreant cooks bagging chicks on flour sacks, screaming younger cooks out of the kitchen for minor infractions, and chopping lines of coke on the prep table terrified me.

But most of those tales are made for TV (even though some of it happens, sometimes) and any serious restaurant has zero tolerance for the above behaviors (except maybe the shouting part).

So rather than knocking on the back door of a half dozen of the best restaurants in town, and telling them you'll do anything, including (especially) dishes in order to learn, culinary school can perhaps seem like a more painless way to get your foot in the door.

See also:
Nick O'Leary of Coup d'Etat: "These Kids Come Out of Culinary School Worthless"


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#Grapegate: 5 Dishes the New York Times Could Have Chosen

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Christian Schnettelker

My Minnesota grandma's ubiquitous holiday salad was what was colloquially referred to as an "ambrosia."

Your grandma probably had one, too: Jello whipped together with Cool Whip, Maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, mini-marshmallows, and pecans. As a kid, the nuts made me look at the thing with an accusatory eye each time it hit the table, for every single holiday, in my great-grandmother's beveled crystal bowl. But dutiful kid that I was, I'd still take a dollop of the sugar bomb, fish out the marshmallows, and cast aside the nuts.

Maybe the now-infamous "Minnesota Grape Salad" was someone's grandma's iteration of an ambrosia?

Maybe. But still...

See also:
#Grapegate: Top Tweets From the Great Grape Salad Controvery of 2014


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#Grapegate: Top Tweets From the Great Grape Salad Controvery of 2014

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Maccheek on Wikipedia
The tastiest of controversies
For those of you who don't spend all day on social media, yesterday the New York Times ran a post entitled "The United States of Thanksgiving," in which NYT food writers "scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states."

For Minnesota, they chose grape salad, which led hundreds to beg the question on Twitter and Facebook: What the fuck is a grape salad?

See also:
Where to Get Thanksgiving To-Go in the Twin Cities


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