Speak pipe



With faux sugars, real suspicion latest article from LA Times

Author Dr. Janet Starr Hull


In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick. She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore. It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications. The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her. She was in so much pain, and so
sick.she just knew she was dying. She put her house, bank accounts,life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter's name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of. She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida(basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.On March 19 I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and she said they didn't find anything on the test, but they believe she had MS.I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda? She told me that she did. As a matter
of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment. I told her not to open it, and to stop drinking the diet soda!I e-mailed her the article my friend, a lawyer, had sent.My sister called me within 32 hours after our phone conversation andtold me she had stopped drinking the diet soda AND she could walk! The muscle spasms went away. She said she didn't feel 100% but shesure felt a lot better. She told me she was going to her doctor with this article and would call me when she got home.Well, she called me, and said her doctor was amazed! He is going to
call all of his MS patients to find out if they consumed artificial sweeteners of any kind.In a nutshell, she was being poisoned by the Aspartame in the diet soda...and literally dying a slow and miserable death. When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill,and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning! She is well on her
way to a complete recovery.And she is walking! No wheelchair! This article saved her life.
If it says 'SUGAR FREE' on the label; DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! I have spent several days lecturing at the WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE on 'ASPARTAME,' marketed as 'NutraSweet,' 'Equal,' and 'Spoonful.'

In the keynote address by the EPA, it was announced that in the United

States in 2001 there is an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic

lupus. It was difficult to determine exactly what toxin was causing

this to be rampant.

I stood up and said that I was there to lecture on exactly that subject.

I will explain why Aspartame is so dangerous: When the temperature of

this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME

converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes

metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of

fire ants. The methanol toxicity mimics, among other condit ions,

multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus. Many people were being

diagnosed in error. Although multiple sclerosis is not a death

sentence, Methanol toxicity is!

Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis,

especially with Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi drinkers. The victim usually

does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit. He or she continues

its use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a

life-threatening condition.

We have seen patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once

taken off diet sodas.

In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the

symptoms disappear. We've seen many cases where vision loss returned

and hearing loss improved markedly.

This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia.

During a lecture, I said, 'If you are using ASPARTAME (NutraSweet,

Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms,

spasms, shooting, pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo,

dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, unexplainable depression,

anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss you

probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!'

People were jumping up during the lecture saying, 'I have some of

these symptoms. Is it reversible?'

Yes! Yes! Yes! STOP drinking diet sodas and be alert for Aspartame on

food labels! Many products are fortified with it! This is a serious


Dr. Espart (one of my speakers) remarked that so many people seem to

be symptomatic for MS and during his recent visit to a hospice, a

nurse stated that six of her friends, who were heavy Diet Coke

addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence!

Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple

SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you

crave carbohydrates. It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight!

These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat

cells, particularly in the hips and thighs. Formaldehyde is an

absolute toxin andis used primarily to preserve 'tissue specimens.'

Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT

store it IN our body!

Dr. H. J. Roberts stated in his lectures that once free of the 'diet

products' and with no significant increase in exercise; his patients

lost an average of 19 pounds over a trial period.

Aspartame is especially dangerous for diabetics.

We found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient

with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame.

The Aspartame drives the bloodsugar out of control. Thus diabetics

may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and

phenylalanine are NEUROTOXIC when taken without the other amino acids

necessary for a good balance.

Treating diabetes is all about BALANCE. Especially with diabetics, the

Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrierand it then deteriorates the

neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage,

seizures, depression, manic depression, panic attacks, uncontrollable

anger and rage.

Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in non-diabetics as


Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children

diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their

behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet. So

called 'behavior modification prescription drugs' (Ritalin and others)

are no longer needed. Truth be told, they were never NEEDED in the

first place! Most of these children were being 'poisoned' on a daily

basis with the very foods that were 'better for them than sugar.'

It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of

diet Coke and diet Pepsi consumed by men and women fighting in the

Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War


Dr. Roberts warns that it can cause birth defects, i.e. mental

retardation, if taken at the time of conception and during early


Children are especially at risk for neurological disorders and should

NEVER be given artificial sweeteners. There are many different case

histories to relate of children suffering grand mal seizures and other

neurological disturbances talking about a plague of neurological

diseases directly caused by the use of this deadly poison.'

Herein lies the problem:

There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was included 100

different products and strong objection was made concerning its use.

Since this initial hearing, there have been two subsequent hearings,

and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have

very deep pockets.

Sadly, MONSANTO'S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED!

There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this

deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced.

Everybody wants a 'piece of the Aspartame pie.' I assure you that

MONSANTO, the creator of Aspartame, knows how deadly it is.

And isn't it ironic that MONSANTO funds, among others, the American

Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association and the

Conference of the American College of Physicians?

This has been recently exposed in the New York Times.

These [organizations] cannot criticize any additives or convey their

link to MONSANTO because they take money from the food industry and

are required to endorse their products.

Senator Howard Metzenbaum wrote and presented a bill that would

require label warnings on products containing Aspartame, especially

regarding pregnant women, children and infants. The bill would also

institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems

existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in

brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioral symptoms.

The bill was killed.

It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are

responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on

an unsuspecting and uninformed public. Well, you're Informed now! YOU


Please print this out and/or e-mail to your family and friends.

They have a right to know too

Recent Entries

Older articles

Norway Study Connects Aspartame with Brain Destruction.

FDA report on Searle's submission for NutraSweet approval 1977.

Dr. Woodrow C. Monte’s Methanol Research – University Of Arizona

MIT: Health and Safety Concerns - Testimony before Congress Nov 3, l987.

Fibromyalgia mystery: If MSG and sweeteners stop, so do symptoms.

Washington Post: Safety of sugar subsutitute

Aspartame exposure in the work place exacerbates Multiple Sclerosis.

Letter from Senator Howard Metzenbaum of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources to Senator Orrin Hatch

Black Truffles -The Pungent Smell Of Success Wafts Over Alba's Truffles

Black Truffles -The Pungent Smell Of Success Wafts Over Alba's Truffles

Others in Italy Try and Fail

To Steal Auction Action; Gubbio Digs for White Gold


November 9, 2007 WSJ

ALBA, Italy -- For 60 years, this medieval town east of the Italian Alps has been the uncontested capital of the white truffle, a pungent-smelling tuber that is one of the world's most expensive delicacies.

Alba's market, set in a square at the center of town, is the white-truffle equivalent of the Big Board -- the best place for buyer and seller to connect. And on fall weekends, the market's center, known as "the Ring," is teeming with customers from as far away as Tokyo who haggle over a few grams of the precious fungus. A dry summer this year has increased its scarcity and pushed prices as high as $850 for 100 grams -- sometimes twice that for a prized specimen. Beluga caviar, by comparison, at around $720 for 100 grams, seems cheap.

WSJ's Gabriel Kahn reports on the lucrative market for white truffles, an expensive delicacy found only at certain times in Italy and a sliver of the former Yugoslavia.

Alba always gets the best prices. Last year, the city sponsored a televised charity auction for a 1.5 kilogram white truffle that was bought by a Hong Kong real-estate tycoon for $160,000. Another auction is set for Sunday.

"We have the best, biggest and most professional truffle market in the world," boasts Mauro Carbone, director of Alba's National Center for Truffle Studies. "No one else can come close."

Truffles have also become the economic juggernaut of this town of 30,000. About $1.5 million worth of truffles were sold in October, the peak season. All that truffle-trading led to more than $35 million in hotel and restaurant revenues.

Movie about black truffles

But Alba's preeminence has planted spores of envy. Other parts of Italy, having gotten a whiff of Alba's success, now want to win back some of the lucrative market for themselves.

"We have always been the serfs of Alba," says Maurizio Bazano, head of the truffle-hunters' association in Italy's northwestern Liguria region. He complains that top-notch white truffles from Liguria are shipped up to Alba, where they are sold as "tartufi bianchi d'Alba," robbing his region of fame, and a small fortune.

"That's simply the nature of the market," replies Alba's Mr. Carbone.

Halfway down the Italian peninsula, in the remote medieval town of Gubbio, local officials have been struggling in vain for years to grow their own brand of truffle tourism.

It's not for lack of supply. The pristine woods around Gubbio are fertile ground for white truffles, and 2,400 of the area's 57,000 inhabitants are licensed truffle hunters.

The problem? "We have more truffles, but Alba has the better market," says Ermanno Rosi, an agronomist who runs the local government's truffle department.

Gubbio worked with Italy's national research institute to try to map the DNA of its local truffle to prove that it was genetically unique. That might have qualified it for a prestigious European Union label conferring on Gubbio a special label for its truffles. But after six years of research, scientists never reached conclusive evidence.

So Gubbio launched another plan to create a detailed map of its best truffle-producing woods by crossing forestry records, private property deeds and plant-life studies. Truffles grow near the roots of certain trees, often just below the surface. And truffle hunters need trained dogs to sniff them out. The map was aimed at helping tourists nose around the best trees.

But that also hit a snag. Local truffle hunters wouldn't let slip where they dig up their bounty for fear of tipping off rivals. "There is intense jealousy," says Mr. Rosi, the agronomist. "They won't tell us a thing!"

Also struggling is a plan to get everyone in Gubbio involved in the local truffle business -- from hunters to wholesalers and restaurants -- by introducing a special "Gubbio white truffle" label. It turns out there is a vibrant black market in white truffles, so few buyers and sellers want to come forward for fear of attracting the tax man.

Gubbio's truffle merchants have enjoyed some moments in the spotlight. Last year, when a hunter came across a prime half-kilo white truffle in central Italy, word quickly spread. Emanuele Musini, who runs a company that exports white truffles, got tipped off by a phone call, and told one of his drivers to race to the site of the find and offer a premium price: €4,000, or about $5,800. Before the truffle reached his office, he had already sold it for €8,000 to a wealthy German who was planning a banquet.

From Gubbio, the truffle then traveled to Rome, where it made a brief appearance on Italy's national morning news show, before boarding a plane for Germany. "You have to move fast. Truffles lose 3% of their weight a day," says Mr. Musini, "and at these prices that's a disaster."

But most often, prize truffles wind up in Alba, where there is a cadre of ready buyers.

Over the years, Alba has labored to professionalize the truffle trade to keep demand -- and prices -- high. The city has a top-flight truffle-research center. It publishes weekly average prices on its Web site http://www.tuber.it and offers comparisons with historical prices. A panel of experts inspects each white truffle before it goes on sale at the market to certify authenticity and quality. Alba even has a customer-complaint window which can issue refunds to truffle buyers who claim they've been wronged.

In the "Ring" at the Alba market, Tohomisa Kida, a Tokyo native who works for an ad agency in London, was poking his nose into rows of small white truffles. Nearby, Turin retiree Vito Ruisi sniffed a dozen tubers before haggling down the price of one 15-gram piece -- enough to season a dinner for one -- to €40 and sealing the deal.

The tuber magnatum pico is found only in Italy and in a sliver of neighboring Slovenia and Croatia, and it grows for just a few months of the year. It is much rarer, more aromatic and many times the price of its more common cousin, the black truffle.

Despite soaring prices, top chefs around the world covet the white truffle. And the world's fanciest restaurants use the white truffle in the simplest fashion, shaved over risotto or pasta.

"It's like eating an extinct animal," says Fernando Stovell, chef at the Cuckoo Club, a private eating club in London.

Alba didn't win its truffle title overnight. In the 1940s and '50s, a local hotel owner began sending the largest truffle he could find each year to celebrities. Among the recipients: Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock and President Truman, who got the largest white truffle in memory, 2.5 kilos.

The publicity stunts helped put Alba on the map. But locals have also devoted time and resources to discovering the secrets of the white truffle. The city's National Center for Truffle Studies recently cordoned off 16 stretches of woods to conduct experiments on how temperature, rainfall and other factors affect truffle growth. Alba also has a "dog university" where people can get their puppies trained in the art of truffle hunting.

Isabella Gianicolo, one of the center's researchers who wrote her university thesis on truffles, was in her office recently, studying a Web site with recent prices paid for truffles at the Alba market. Prices have exceeded €600 for 100 grams, approaching the €700 record set in 2003. But speculation among buyers is currently so high, she says, that even if white truffle supplies were suddenly to increase, prices would hold. "It's a free market," she shrugs.


London where Indian Cuisine Reaches for the Stars


NY Times

DID the Indian restaurant, with its flock wallpaper and piped sitars and tablas, its biryanis and vindaloos, save British cuisine? It was in the '60s that Indian restaurants began to proliferate, and four decades later, in 2001, Robin Cook, the foreign minister, hailed chicken tikka masala as a true national dish of Britain. Previously, there was only fancy French food out of the reach of most, and the bland boiled nursery yuck that generations of Britons had had little choice but to swill, and tell themselves they liked.

India gave Britain chutney, mustard, pepper, curry and mulligatawny soup. It gave Britain flavor. It even gave us Jamie Oliver's trademark “pukka.”

I remember discovering biryanis as a teenager. They were an incredible value. Your rice and meat came mixed together, with a vegetable curry on the side — two meals in one, in effect. And so good. So profoundly did those meals enter my psyche that even today I only have to hear sitar music and it brings on a Pavlovian salivation, with olfactory hallucinations of cumin.

Britain is now as cuisine-obsessed as anywhere. Chefs are big stars. Food has become a facet of fashionable style in England. So where does this leave the traditional Indian restaurant, with its menu of rich, variously colored curries that come in mild, medium and hot, usually with a film of oil swimming on top, and its clientele that swells after 11 p.m. when the pubs close?

Whatever beneficent effect Indian cuisine had on the British palate has doubled back. There's a new generation of high-end Indian restaurants that argue with plausibility that their cooking is just as sophisticated as any others, and why shouldn't they too receive Michelin stars, as four in London have, including three of the five below.

To investigate this new Indian cuisine, I set off with a couple of old friends to where it all started — a traditional hole-in-the-wall.


Hot Stuff has been winning rapturous praise for nearly two decades, since the Dawood family opened it in 1988. It sits in a row of little shops on a side street in Lambeth, south of the river (where “My Beautiful Laundrette” was filmed). It's tiny — two rows of plastic tables and chairs, a kitchen at the back with hip-hop keeping the cooks lively, and a front window decorated with frosted glass flames. The air is thick with cumin and garam masala, the blend of spices endemic to Indian cuisine.

Personally, I love a place that looks worse than it is — somewhere special in disguise. Run by Raj Dawood, son of the original owners, Hot Stuff was recently included in a Times of London Magazine survey as not only one of the best cheap restaurants in London, but one of the city's best Indian restaurants in any price range.

“We do home-style cooking just like my mum did at home,” Mr. Dawood said. If he grew up with food like this, he was a lucky kid.

First, little dishes of tamarind, tomato and lime chutneys arrived, along with a bowl of papadum, the Indian restaurant's answer to chips and salsa. Various starters followed: excellent king prawns in garlic and chili, on a small dollop of tomato and onion sauce; jeera chicken wings cooked in ginger and cumin, whose flesh melted off the bone, served in a tamarind and date sauce sweetened with blocks of raw cane sugar; soft potato and spinach bhajis.

Oil can be the bane of Indian meals. So can sweetness. As Mr. Dawood puts it, curries are meant to be savory not sweet, but today many Indian restaurants add fruit and nuts to satisfy the British sweet tooth. The main dishes here are clean, dry, free of the ubiquitous film of oil.

We had three: lamb dopiaza, a staple of Indian restaurants, made fierce with black peppercorns, along with sweet peppers; kehrala chicken, another standard, but with not too much sauce, so you could pick out the individual flavors of the ginger, coconut and curry leaves; and king prawn masala, made with black tiger prawns, rich with onion, tomato and coriander. On the side, a dish of butternut squash with spinach, in which the bitter and sweet elements went well together; and a “Bad Boy,” a huge thin nan bread folding off the edge of its oversize plate.

Clean, bursting with aromatic flavor, at £15 a head, or $29 at $1.99 to the pound, this meal would be hard to beat.


Amazingly, this Michelin-starred “Indian grill” in the heart of international Sloaneland, between Knightsbridge and Belgravia, somehow did manage to beat Hot Stuff — admittedly at three times the price.

Amaya is a whole new concept in Indian. As the proprietors explain on the menu, they don't do either starters or main courses. All dishes are small, something like Indian tapas — though the gorgeous presentation is more reminiscent of sushi.

The design is more Manhattan than London, with black tables and leather chairs, dark floorboards and a glass-countered kitchen at the side, where you can see the chefs in action. Bowls filled with floating candles abound. The lavishness of a traditional Indian restaurant has been transmuted into an elegant chic.

We started with interesting nonalcoholic drinks: mango lassi with mint (a traditional yogurt drink), and lime juice flavored with the exotic spice vetiver. Four little pots of spices and chutneys arrived in a neat row — the aesthetic here favors tidy rows — to enable you, as my companion Alice put it, to customize your own curry. Except the food here is beyond curry.

Amaya is all about grilling. First we had rock oysters on the half shell, flash-grilled without oil on a tawa, a hot iron skillet, served in a yellow coconut sauce — maybe the best hot oysters I've ever had — and scallops, also on half shells, in a green herb sauce. Both were superb, and made me wonder why I'd never had seafood cooked with these cogent spices before.

Next, sweet corn and sweet potato kebabs, skewered and fired in the clay tandoori oven — something like mini-tamales, resting on a square of banana leaf. The sequence of small dishes offered many opportunities for attractive presentation.

Chunks of monkfish followed — fish tikka — cooked with fenugreek and leaf turmeric in the tandoor. The nuances of the spices were noticeably more delicate than in a traditional Indian place. King prawns arrived dark and spicy with chili paste, followed by grouper on bamboo sticks cooked on the sigri, a charcoal grill, and wrapped in pandanus leaf. We next tried the black peppercorn chicken tikka, succulent, tender, spicy, with a dab of peanut sauce on the side to counterbalance the fierce dry flavor of the black pepper, and chicken chops, flayed chicken wings smoky with charcoal.

The whole meal was delicate, subtle, aromatic — something like the best barbecue you ever had. With its friendly and highly informative staff, Amaya was well worth the high ticket.


The brainchild of the chef Atul Kochhar, Tamarind was one of the first Indian restaurants in London to win a Michelin star, in 2001 (which it has retained despite Mr. Kochhar's moving on). It has a welcome station at the door, beyond which stairs take you down to the spacious yet intimate dining room, decorated with distressed mirrors and tended by a large staff in black tunics. A half-silvered two-way mirror allows you to catch shadowy glimpses of the chefs' gestures in the kitchen.

The meal began with an amuse-bouche of vegetable soup in an espresso cup, then a plate of chutneys — green apple; tart, dark berry; and tomato and cardamom — with a basket of papadum. Our first courses were wonderful grilled scallops on a bed of tomato, black pepper and cumin, and a rather tart tamarind salad of firm plums, kumquats and green leaves.

The main dishes were tandoori grilled monkfish with a little dish of mint and yogurt sauce on the side — tender and just a little chewy, with a hint of earthy smokiness from the tandoor — and perfectly grilled sea bass fillets over a bed of crispy spinach, flavored with coconut and garlic. On the side, sautéed mixed vegetables — French beans, spinach, baby corn, asparagus, cauliflower, peas — and mushrooms in creamy tomato sauce with cumin, ginger and chili was a traditional Indian sauce to be sure, but subtle and compelling.

For dessert, a mango crème brûlée and big chunks of tandoor-grilled pineapple that had first been marinated in saffron, which subdued its sweetness, and appealingly caramelized at the corners, served with rose petal ice cream. Finally, petits fours of frozen mint leaves dipped in white chocolate, and chestnut pieces coated in strong dark chocolate, closed an excellent and not too heavy meal. We left with none of that old feeling of heaving oneself from an Indian table laden with unparalleled doses of grease.


Michelin stars are big business. Chefs jostle and hustle and strive for them, are made and broken by them. Vineet Bhatia won one at Zaika the same year Tamarind did, and after moving on to his own place, Rasoi, he has finally gained one there too after some mixed responses. Meanwhile, Zaika actually lost its star a year ago, but for many it remains a restaurant justifying its prices.

It occupies a large old bank in Kensington, with giant stone-mullioned windows and an eye-catching modern iron chandelier somewhat like a tractor tire — or, as my poet friend Hamish accompanying me suggested, a massive air filter.

Again an amuse-bouche arrived in an espresso cup: this time, wild mushroom broth, slightly spicy with cumin and green chili, with a lid on which a tiny chicken pakora perched — deep-fried with a mint and coriander sauce. Highly promising.

Having ordered the tasting menu (six courses for £38), we started with scallops — two seared wonderfully with sesame and onion seeds, and two poached with lime leaves, served with spicy mashed potato. Then came three chunks of sublime tandoori salmon, half-roasted, half-smoked in the tandoor (a little like bradan rost but much more succulent), after marinating in mustard and honey. A trio of chicken tikkas fired in three kinds of marinade followed — green herb, masala cheese and peppercorns, and pomegranate seeds, the last two strong and delicate at once.

Next came an ingenious combination: foie gras served on a mushroom and truffle nan bread, with mango chutney. The whole was rich and smooth, and argued convincingly that French and Indian cuisine can be happily married. Innovative and exquisite, it got me thinking that two things have elevated Indian cuisine: the pulling back on sauces so just the spices remain, and the huge expansion of varieties of protein.

Then came that uplifting moment beloved of diners in fancy restaurants, when there are suddenly three people at your table, because in the theater of food presentation the main players are about to enter. Particularly good were the coconut shrimp in orange sauce with lime leaves, and the rare masala duck breast over black lentils with celeriac and parsnip mash. Duck with garam masala spices? The meeting of the Périgord and the Ganges was again inspired.


Fancy restaurants are always part theater, but some are more so. At Benares, Mr. Kochhar's new venture — with his being a TV star and the tabs at a level to preclude all but bankers and soccer players — the theatrical element is high. Perhaps that helped it win its first Michelin star this year.

A stone-clad foyer leads up a grand stairway to the restaurant itself, awash with pools with flowers floating on them. I have to admit I couldn't suppress a nostalgic twinge for the plastic seats of Hot Stuff as I was encouraged into my leather banquette.

The menu opened with a gush of prose about the holy city of Benares, a place of particular spirituality, but isn't there something just a little off about allying any kind of spirituality with such brazen conspicuous consumption? I must be a Puritan at heart.

The John Dory over Jerusalem artichokes was exceptional, and the starter of soft-shell crab with crispy fried squid and passion fruit over slices of blue Peruvian potato was imaginative, tender, stunning. This was by any account a great meal.

Yet by the time I left, I couldn't help feeling just a little fleeced. The mostly young staff was overattentive and underinformed, and seemed to have half an eye on the door not to miss a celebrity's entrance. And the bill was monstrous (over £200 for two). While the chicken tikka masala that we were urged to try may have been as good as the dish gets, it was still the old chicken submerged in a bowl of sauce.

And come to think of it, something else was missing, too. Something that has been missing from all these meals: the music, the resonant tablas and whining sitars inseparable from Indian food. I hadn't heard it all week.

Did I miss it? Well, if I did, I could always go down to the local curry house. At one-fifth, or even one-tenth of these prices, it'll be there a good while yet, I suspect.


Prices are per person, without wine or tip.

Hot Stuff, 19 Wilcox Road, SW8; (44-20) 7720-1480; www.eathotstuff.com; £10 to £15, about $20 to $30 at $1.99 to the pound. B.Y.O.B.

Amaya, 15 Halkin Arcade, Motcomb Street, SW1; (44-20) 7823-1166; www.realindianfood.com; £30 to £50.

Tamarind, 20 Queen Street, W1; (44-20) 7629-3561; www.tamarindrestaurant.com; £35 to £50.

Zaika, 1 Kensington High Street, W8; (44-20) 7795-6533; www.zaika-restaurant.co.uk; £35 to £50.

Benares, 12a Berkeley Square House, W1; (44-20) 7629-8886; www.benaresrestaurant.com; £50 to £75.

Indian Recipies-most diversified kitchen in the whole world

Lamb Pasanda


























USA Specjalności regionalne

Wołowina cieszy się szczególnym powodzeniem na środkowym zachodzie i w Teksasie, ryby i owoce morza - na Florydzie, w Luizjanie, nad zatoką Chesapeake i na północnym zachodzie nad Pacyfikiem. Stałą pozycją w tamtejszym menu są skorupiaki, np. wysoko ceniony dungeness crab (delikatniejszy i bardziej soczysty od zwykłego kraba) czy żyjący tylko w wodach Chesapeake krab o miękkiej skorupie, ostro przyprawiany i zjadany w całości. Nową Anglię warto odwiedzić dla homarów z Maine i małży, podawanych jako osobne danie bądź w zupie zwanej chowder.

Kuchnia kajuńska, która narodziła się na mokradłach Luizjany, opiera się głównie na czerwonej fasoli i ryżu, urozmaiconych rakami czy zębaczami, zawsze pikantnie przyprawionymi.

Potraw murzyńskiej kuchni Południa, zwanej soul food, właściwie nie spotyka się poza stanami południowymi. Słynne grits (kasza na gorąco z masłem) podawane na śniadanie nie jest jednak najbardziej reprezentacyjnym daniem. Do smażonego kurczaka, pieczonej wołowiny i hogjaw (świńskiego ryja) dodaje się często kapustę, specjalny rodzaj grochu, smażone bakłażany i ketmię jadalną (główny składnik kajuńskiego gumbo). Chitterlings (lub chitlins) to wyborne podroby wieprzowe. Daniom mięsnym towarzyszy zwykle chleb kukurydziany maczany w gęstym sosie. Z rybami jada się hush puppies - smażone kuleczki z kukurydzy z drobno siekaną cebulą.

Zupełnie odmienna jest kuchnia kalifornijska kładąca nacisk na zdrowie i estetykę, mająca wiele współnego z francuską nouvelle cuisine. Opiera się na teorii, że jeść należy tylko to, czego się naprawdę potrzebuje i co jest przyswajalne przez organizm. Warzywa zbiera się zanim całkowicie dojrzeją i gotuje na parze, by zachować zarówno witaminy, jak i naturalny smak. Owoce morza pochodzą z hodowli ostryg i od drobnych rybaków, a mięso, którego w ogóle je się niewiele, kupowane jest w gospodarstwach ekologicznych. Główne cechy tej kuchni to nieduże, ale bardzo estetycznie podane porcje i bardzo, bardzo wysokie ceny - pełna kolacja z winem kosztuje co najmniej 50 $ od osoby (w restauracji z obsługą).

Odmianą kuchni kalifornijskiej jest tzw. styl Santa Fe, zwany też New Mexican, również zwracający uwagę na absolutną świeżość i oryginalność składników. Ostre przyprawy przypominają o związkach pustynnego południowego zachodu z Hiszpanią i Meksykiem.

Z kolei kuchnia meksykańska tak się rozpowszechniła, szczególnie w południowej Kalifornii, że wydaje się być całkowicie rodzimym stylem kulinarnym. W Teksasie jej nieco mniej pikantną odmianą jest Tex-Mex, znana najbardziej z chili con carne z wołowiną i fasolą. Ceny Tex-Mex są przystępne, nawet pełny obiad z kilkoma drinkami rzadko kosztuje więcej niż 10 $ (nie dotyczy ekskluzywnych lokali).

Kuchnie innych narodów
Kuchnia meksykańska w USA różni się nieco od tego, co spotyka się w Meksyku. Wykorzystuje więcej świeżego mięsa i jarzyn, ale podstawowe składniki są te same: dużo ryżu i fasoli (często najpierw gotowanej, tłuczonej, a potem smażonej), rozmaite odmiany tortillas, czyli cieniutkich naleśników. W tortillas można zawijać inne składniki (burrito) i jeść ręką, lub składać, wypełniać farszem i smażyć (taco), a także zwijać, faszerować i piec w sosie (enchilada), czy wreszcie najpierw smażyć, a potem podawać z innymi potrawami na wierzchu (tostada). Do posiłków zazwyczaj serwuje się nachos (paluszki z ciasta) i gorący sos salsa. Wegetarianom poleca się chile relleno - panierowaną zieloną paprykę z serem.

Kuchni lokalnych nie sposób zliczyć. W wielu regionach rolniczych - zwłaszcza w Nevadzie - czynnych jest sporo restauracji baskijskich; w Pensylwanii własne tradycje kultywują amisze i ludność pochodzenia niemieckiego, a w Nowej Anglii funkcjonują restauracje portugalskie pamiętające jeszcze czasy połowów wielorybów.

Knajpki chińskie są wszędzie, a jedzenie jest w nich często równie tanie jak w barach meksykańskich. Restauracje japońskie, usytuowane głównie na wybrzeżach i w dużych miastach, należą do modniejszych i droższych.

Popularna jest też kuchnia włoska - pizza to danie wszechobecne w Ameryce, a inne potrawy z Włoch także zdobywają sobie coraz więcej zwolenników. Nie brak restauracji francuskich, zawsze drogich i odwiedzanych głównie przez biznesmenów, stąd rzadko spotykanych poza dużymi miastami.

W wielkich ośrodkach można skosztować dań kuchni tajskiej, koreańskiej czy indonezyjskiej, zazwyczaj tańszych niż francuskie. Restauracji hinduskich jest za to niewiele, z wyjątkiem Nowego Jorku i większych miast na wschodnim wybrzeżu i w Środkowym Zachodzie . Coraz więcej niezbyt drogich lokali hinduskich pojawia się także na południu Stanów.

Pośród takiej różnorodności kuchni narodowych można znaleźć polskie bary i restauracje, szczególnie w takich miastach jak Chicago Milwaukee czy Nowy Jork. Niestety, kuchnia polska nie cieszy się na razie szczególnym zainteresowaniem ze względu na sporą zawartość kalorii i stosunkowo małą wartość odżywczą. Może jednak jest to przede wszystkim wina braku odpowiedniej reklamy.