THE SPIRIT ROOM
Sipping and swigging went hand in hand at the Westin Hotel last Thursday, where a landmark tasting and debate "on the merits of scotch vs. bourbon whiskey" took place. The event occupied a huge reception hall filled with hooting whiskey aficionados from both camps. Representing bourbon in all its Kentucky glory was Frederick Booker Noe III, whose stately name underscores his status as whiskey royalty: He's the great-grandson of legendary spiritmeister Jim Beam. Making a case for scotch (and fresh off a plane from Glasgow) was the amorous, kilt-wearing master blender Richard Paterson, who compared sipping his beverage of choice to seducing a beautiful woman. Besides such lyrical anthropomorphizing, the debate had a great deal to offer even the most virginal of whiskey drinkers. Among the bourbons available for tasting was Booker's, a 126.6-proof rarity whose bouquet alone could slap a person silly. Another notable potable was the 62-year-old bottle of scotch uncorked by Paterson and held up for all to see and raucously applaud. A sampling of generic,deep-fried hors d'oeuvres followed the "spirited" debate.
GET FRESH WITH VEGGIES
Vegetables and fruits weren't always on offer year-round. It used to be that certain crops were confined to their proper seasons: tomatoes and strawberries in summer, spinach in winter. These days, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes are staples of any grocery store produce aisle, helped along in their abnormal, hyperseasonal existence by heated greenhouses, plastic tunnel technology, pesticides, and hybridization, among other practices too awful to mention in a family newspaper. Beyond the creepiness of gorgeous, waxy tomatoes in January (much like the creepiness of a gorgeous, waxy Heather Locklear spanking her own eerily tight 41-year-old ass on Scrubs last week . . . but we digress), off-season vegetables don't provide much in the way of nutrition. A study done last year at the Kagawa Nutrition University in Japan found that some untimely veggies just aren't that good for us. Vitamin C content was found to be reduced by one-fifth to one-eighth in off-season spinach, compared to its peak-season vitamin levels. Worse, off-season tomatoes and broccoli were found to have only half the vitamin C of their peak-season counterparts. Carotene (vitamin A) doesn't stand up out-of-season, either. It was reduced by a quarter in off-season broccoli and by more than half in carrots. The study did conclude that some off-season produce—such as sweet pepper, celery, and kiwi—was fairly nutritionally stable, but unless you care to dine on celery for the rest of the year, buying local, fresh, and seasonal is looking better and better.
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