For People with an APPETITE for LIFE!

Welcome to THE MAIN INGREDIENT a place where Food News, Food Politics, Food Culture, Food Fashion & Food Humour meet. Each week you can preview topical foodie matter from my 'Gourmet Lifestyle' radio show called (wait for it) THE MAIN INGREDIENT. Food for the belly & the brain, I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me. Regards Kel

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Need Atmosphere? Use a Wine Glass!


This weeks innovative invention: The new wine light. You´ve rushed home from work, Dinner is in the oven, Nibbly bits ready to go, the table is set, but it all just looks a bit drab and dreary...... well all you need is a couple of wine glasses and 'Gorgeous Helen'..... And No, Gorgeous Helen is not the latest interior decorator from Sweden, but the newest product by Anke and Katrin from the designers cooperative Dekoop in Hamburg. These innovative little mood enhancers were officially presented for the first time at the Tendence Design Fair in Frankfurt earlier this year. Gorgeous little lamp shades that fit right on top of your favorite wine glasses. Made out of fragile parchment, each set contains 3 different shades with cute and whimsical designs that are printed in a faint white. All you need to do is take them out of the package, stick a tea light into a wine glass and then pop the shades on top and your set to go.....no nasty cords and plugs in sight! you can find them at www.charlesandmarie.com

Diet Drinks Make You Fat!


Over the years i’ve constantly reassured myself that drinking low or zero calorie soft drinks has put me miles ahead on the old daily calorie counter. You know how it goes…… ¨I can have that scoop of ice cream as long as I have a diet drink with it.¨ However, according to a recent study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, just the opposite may be true! Drinking soft drinks actually causes your body to absorb MORE sugar. Turns out that artificial sweeteners trigger the same taste receptors in the small intestine that glucose does, releasing hormones that absorb sugar into the bloodstream. So next time you reach for those choccie biscuits, or packet of crisps, it might be a good idea to wash them down with a nice glass of milk or a juice instead. That is if the ‘E’ numbers in the snack don’t get ya first!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Deep End Dining


This is bizarre! And I have absolutely no idea why this bunch of loonies did this other than to raise money for charity BUT….. Up to 500 wannabe mermen and mermaids joined in to help break the world record for the largest sub-aqua dinner party recently, and incase you don’t know what that is its Dinner served UNDERWATER! Yep, they all dressed in their absolute best and sat down to a three course meal in an outdoor swimming pool at the Park Club in Acton West London. The Guinness Book of Records is set to confirm exactly how many guests actually dined undewater on what sounds like an extremely limited menu. Smoked salmon, vegetables and toffee apple. Whoopee! Although I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was for the diners to remove their aqua lung mouth pieces, fork in the food and then replace the breathing equipment while pressing a button to purge away the water all the while dressed in dinner jackets and ball gowns. What a stress free dinner that would be. In case you’re wondering, the food was served to sittings of about 20 people every 20 minutes and was prepared in jelly to stop it from disintegrating in the water. BUT WHY?

Something Fishy Going On?


Do you like a little Pilchard every now and then? Do you even know what a Pilchard is? Well apparently if you invite the average shopper to taste test a pilchard the response is likely to be a swift: "No thank you". However change their name from PILCHARDS to CORNISH SARDINES and they will fly out of that refrigerated fish display, eagerly snapped up by health- conscious customers keen to enjoy the benefits of eating oily fish. Marks & Spencer has just proven this by gaining a massive sales boom in fresh pilchards just by giving them the new name. How fickle are we? Elsewhere in the industry fishmongers and restaurants are trying the same trick by replacing traditional names such as Rat-tails and Witch with the less off-putting Grenadier and Torbay Sole. So Slimehead has become Orange Roughy, and Patagonian Toothfish sells better as Chilean Sea Bass. Not a bad idea really as traditional fishy favourites are facing dangerously low stocks due to over fishing. Just to keep you in the know….. Rockfish is now sold as Pacific Red Snapper, Dogfish has become Rock Salmon and there are rumours that Megrim will be renamed as Cornish Sole…. Sneaky huh?

Monday, September 24, 2007

New World Burrito Eating Champ


The competitive eating circuit is alive and well with ‘EATER X’ munching his way through 10 3/4 burritos in a dozen minutes last Saturday to win what was billed as the world burrito-eating championship. Not bad for a day trader and aspiring pizza chef who loves Mexican food and admits his only preparation for the big event was eating candy for a day to help clear his system. (Huh?) Over 100 spectators watched outside the Costa Vida restaurant in Maine as over a dozen competitive eaters gulped down the 18 ounce burritos stuffed with rice, pork, cheese and a mild sauce. Interesting to note that the burrito record holder Eric "Badlands" Booker was not around to defend his title. Apparently Badlands has retired fro the competitive eating circuit, however world lobster eating champ Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas turned up to finish second by downing 10 "Big Kahunas."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bye Bye 'LOWFAT'..... Hello 'NATURAL'


The number of 'natural' foods appearing on supermarket shelves is on the rise according to market analysts Mintel. 'Additive and preservative free' foods have become the number one health claim for the food industry back in 2006, surpassing 'low fat' for the very first time. Market analysts predict that the demand for low fat foods is not going to go away, but the trend for additive-free foods also looks set to continue. Of course the recent report on a link between artificial preservatives and behavioural problems in children is set to increase the demand for natural foods even further. David Jago, director of Mintel's Global New Products Database says: "Manufacturers are tapping into the nation's growing desire for a more natural lifestyle as consumers take a greater interest in what really goes INTO their food."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kids in the Kitchen


Would you like to have a budding chef in the family? It’s never too early to get them started and develop their passion for food and a new game from Orchard Toys in the UK will do just that. ‘Crazy Chefs’ is a food themed game where the goal is to complete the dish on your card. You have to match up all of the ingredients and kitchen tools needed to create your dish by flipping tiles on the board. Once you’ve everything you need for your dish it’s onto the business of spinning the spinner to get a plate for service. An inspiring idea for would be little chefs. You can find ‘Crazy Chef’ at www.orchardtoys.com. I just wish I’d found this during the long summer break when I REALLY needed it!

POWDER is the new FOAM

Just as we seem to be getting over ‘espumas’ those frothy foams that have adorned everything from canapes to desserts thanks to our very own Spanish gastronomic guru Ferran Adria more than a decade ago, Spains new wave chefs have found a new diversion..... Powders! At Mugaritz located just outside the global gastro-hotspot that is San Sebastian, Andoni Luis is dishing up a dessert that recreates the meeting of ocean and shoreline with the ‘rocks’ made from cocoa, the ‘sand’ made from a star-anise-flavored shortbread powder, and the ocean bravely represented by agar-agar jelly spiked with mint oil. Meanwhile over at Arzak located inside San Sebastian, Elena Arzak serves Galician beef with a potato glaze and rendered chorizo drippings in a paste of chorizo. Not to be outdone at restaurante Martin Berasategui in Lasarte-Oria, chef Martin is garnishing baby vegetables with a powder made from Iberico ham and Idiazabal cheese.

Scarlett Loves Pub Grub!

Nice to see it happens to the beautiful people as well. Producers on the set of Scarlett Johanssons latest movie ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ have been struggling to contain her curves on celluloid. The movie features Star Wars actress Natalie Portman as King Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn and Scarlett as her sister Mary. Scarlett looks sensational in the movie, but her weight was a huge problem, going up and down like a yo-yo making her just a tad TOO voluptuous for their liking and resulting in a number of scenes having to be reshot due to the extra pounds piled on by her sweet tooth and a love of British pubs. Filming took place in Cambridgeshire this past summer where Scarlett developed a passion for the local establishments, regularly tucking into their pub-grub delicacies. Let’s hope her new addiction to British pub fare doesn’t affect the 22 year olds current title as the sexiest woman in Hollywood.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hells Kitchen Blamed for Wild Mushroom Shortage

The papers have been FULL of Hells Kitchen this past week, mainly because of comedian Jim Davies being booted out by show producers for being homophobic. (Good on 'em) However as the uproar died down, Hells Kitchen has hit the headlines yet again, this time for putting species of wild mushroom in danger. On the show earlier in the week millions of ITV1 viewers saw chef Marco Pierre White sing the praises of wild mushrooms when he cooked them with Dover Sole, and now rangers on a country estate have warned that people are attempting to cash in by picking "car boot loads" of the expensive fungi in the English countryside with the idea of selling them off to foodies in the cities. The power of television huh? A celeb chef says "OOOH these mushrooms are delicious, they grow wild you know" and hundreds of people charge to the countryside to set up impromptu mushroom picking services. That said, you have to admit that the huge rise of the reality TV cooking show lately has brought on a consumer demand for more unusual ingredients. At least people are becoming more willing to break out of their kitchen comfort zones and experiment!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Goodbye Cruel Waiter!

OH MY GOD! At Last the answer to rude and inefficient restaurant waiters. Although I have to admit this may be taking the difficulty in finding good service staff just a tad to the extreme. A new restaurant ‘Baggers’ in Nuremberg in Germany has replaced front of house staff with a fully automated ordering and table service system. Gone is the apron wearing, pen and notebook wielding waiter or waitress of old as each table at ‘Baggers’ has been connected by metal rails to the kitchen. Dishes like "organic beef in buttermilk" and "sausage en croute" glide along the rails to customers, propelled by gravity. Owner Michael Mack has cleverly installed the restaurant kitchen directly beneath the roof of the restaurant. Meals are ordered by restaurant patrons via a touch-screen system that is placed at each table, and the entire restaurant is networked via a computer system. The orders are then registered upstairs in the kitchen and a computer in the cellar keeps track of supply stocks. The system also calculates the likely delivery times for drinks and meals at every table and keeps customers informed. WOW! A bit sterile for my liking, as much as I hate bad restaurant service, who do you argue with if the soup is cold? Then again, restaurant proprietors would probably be more than impressed with the billions of euros in personnel costs that Mack says his patented invention can save. Never again would they have to deal with those frightening words from the head waiter..... “Sorry I can’t make it in to work tonight”. I’d love to experience this restaurant first hand, and find out just how nervous the diners feel as specially made hotpots slide down the 15-foot steel spirals, using nothing but the forces of gravity, before coming to a slow stop on rails slanted upwards at their tables. I bet they are selling a hell of a lot of pre-dinner drinks! Ah well, at least for the time being the chefs and kitchen staff still have a job. But what about clearing? Perhaps the customers are supposed to clear their own table on the way out?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Dreaded 'E' Numbers

If you are in the UK you can't have got away from the HUGE hoo hah over the past few weeks about chemicals and colorings added to snack foods being harmful to kids. This is just a quickie, but it's interesting to see today two of the biggest confectionary giants Cadbury and Mars have VOLUTARILY promised to remove artificial additives from sweets including Starburst, Skittles, M&Ms, Maynards wine gums and Trident gum after the public backlash from the latest findings. The findings basically say that kids without a history of hyperactive behaviour become unruly, loud and impulsive after consuming junk foods with the seven suspect E-number additives in them. The ingredients in question are the colours tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129), and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211).

It’s a good thing though because this so called ‘voluntary’ decision by Cadbury and Mars to remove harmful additives from some of their products, will now put pressure on the UK Government's Food Standards Agency to support a TOTAL ban on the chemicals. So we'll have to wait to see what happens next. All of this has me feeling a bit pathetic really, I actually used to believe (just a few short years ago) that anything that we purchased over the counter must be safe, otherwise the Government wouldn’t allow the company to produce the product or sell it to the public in the first place………. How na├»ve was that???

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cockroach Cuisine


While everyone in the UK and the rest of Europe worries about poisoning their kids with dangerous chemicals in snack foods, American kids are being ENCOURAGED to eat cockroaches! These hideous bugs are being used as a means for kids to skip to the front of the line at the Titan roller coaster in Texas with any kid that dares to chew and swallow one of the wingless 3-inch hissing Madagascar variety of the species being awarded a Flash Pass for the evening that allows them to bypass the line on other thrill rides. YAHOO! Meanwhile it seems the only ones NOT worrying about what they eat are the cockys themselves. Can you believe it? These six-legged critters can live without food for an entire month! EVEN IF YOU CUT OFF THEIR HEADS they can still run around the house for about a week before dying of thirst because their brain is not in their heads….. A Cockroaches brain is scattered throughout its body. Its true! I did a show on the art of insect eating last year and its AMAZING the lengths these disgusting creatures will go to, just to exist! By the way, in defense of WHY this story has ended up on my blog. Cockroaches are considered a delicious delicacy in many Asian and African cultures. Honest!

Female Chefs Too Complicated?

How VERY dare they! An article yesterday in the Daily Mail saying female chefs are harder to understand than male chefs. Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith have come under fire recently for writing cookery instructions that apparently bamboozle most of us and the conclusion is that female celebrity chefs are harder to understand in print than their male counterparts. The article goes on to state that by contrast some of Gordon Ramsay's recipes are so simple they can be followed by a seven-year-old and budding chefs need a reading age of just 11 to follow the instructions of Nigel Slater. Now you might wonder how they’ve come up with all of this, and the verdict comes from a Government study in which experts looked at 35 recipes published by FIVE popular chefs and assessed their literacy standards layout, writing style and readability. It found that 5.2million adults in the UK would be unable to follow Nigella's cooking methods as she uses longer sentences and tends to write in a "chatty" style, mixing in personal observations with her instructions. I hate it when they do that! Good old Delia Smith gets it in the neck as well with her culinary teaching also being criticised for having too many stages and using measurements confusing for anyone with poor numeracy skills. The study suggests that male celeb chefs use a more direct approach and their recipes are easier to grasp. WOOHOO! Ramsey of course welcomes the findings: "As we all know, I am renowned for my direct approach to cooking and certainly don't like to hold back". Well that was to be expected wasn't it? Actually ive been watching 'Nigella Express' this past week. Her new tv show designed to make us want to COOK fast food rather than go out and just buy it ready made. She keeps saying "add a teaspoon" of this and "just about a teaspoon " of that, and I swear the amounts she's adding look more like tablespoons if not soup ladels on occassions. Perhaps its not that we're too complicated at all? Maybe its just our measuring skills....... Just how big IS seven inches anyway?

BEER SPA ANYONE?

Girls if you're looking for some way to get the other half to book a spa holiday, here’s some instant incentive. There are now a number of BEER spas throughout Austria and Germany that claim to promote health, wellness and the chance for the boys to bathe in their favourite drink. Now apart from marrying a Sheila who’s dad owns a brewery, that’d have to be up there on the ‘To Do’ list of many of the men I know! The spas not only offer a tub of their brew to soak in, (boy that Jaccuzzi would get a hell of a head on it wouldn’t it?) but beer therapies as well. And its not as expensive as you might expect. Treatments start from around 55 euro. And the best bit? They even let you drink the stuff while you are laying in it!

So if you feel so inclined and want to start planning your next ‘Beauty Brewski Weekend’ heres a few links to get you started:

http://www.bierschwimmbad.com/

http://www.chodovar.cz/

http://www.moorhof.com/

http://www.klosterbrauerei.com/

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kitchen Testosterone


So what do we think of Raymond Blancs new BBC Two series ‘The Restaurant’? Quite an ambitious project with 9 couples battling it out to create and run a successful venue and certainly huge motivation for the couples who will be in big business if they manage to get it right. So far the show seems to highlight not only the many highs of running your own restaurant but also the harsh realities that can ultimately lead to failure. Keep in mind that of the 1,000 plus new venues that open every year in the UK alone, 900 of them close, so the successes can be few and far between. Apparently just prior to the launch of his show Blanc hit out at todays ‘Macho’ chefs warning that under new employment laws kitchen bullies could end up in jail. He says the reasoning behind ‘The Restaurant’ is to give viewers new respect for the restaurant industry and hopefully provide a refreshing change from the current glut of fiery chefs who appear to glorify violence and aggression in their TV kitchens. As I Mentioned last week, Marco Pierre White seems to have a very different take on the Gordon Ramsey approach to Hells Kitchen on the new UK series. In fact Raymond Blanc himself wondered just how Marco would handle the heat asking the question - “When Marco takes over Hell's Kitchen, will he promote food craft, careful man-management, or just this unfortunate aspect of behaviour, which involves the degradation of people?” So far Marco seems to be managing to rule HK with just the right mixture of testosterone and camaraderie to make poor old Gordons style of kitchen tyranny look totally unnecessary. However you must admit Ramseys shock tactics are always entertaining. Meanwhile it will be interesting to see which of ‘The Restaurant’s couples are still standing in a few weeks time. The UK’s 27,000 restaurants are about to become 27,001!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Avocado Lovers Rejoice!

This is great news for avocado lovers. New research suggests that the avocado is your best bet to fight cancer cells. Researchers from Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Centre have found that extracts from 'Hass' avocados kill or stop the growth of pre-cancerous cells that lead to oral cancer. This is the first time that the avocado has had the sole attention of scientists with regard to cancer research and there are high hopes that this new discovery will lead to advances in the treatment of other cancers. With more than 500 varieties of avocado grown worldwide it's not particularly difficult to get your hands on one nowadays. However it’s the ‘HASS’ avocado that seems to be the star performer if you want to fight oral cancer. (Just this last week we’ve seen alarming new stories on the steady rise of oral cancer in the UK) The Hass avocado is one of the varieties that is most readily available and frequently used in salads or sandwiches. Don’t forget Avocados are full of vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, fibre and unsaturated fats. They are also naturally sodium-free, contain no trans fats and are low in saturated fat, making them a healthy addition to any diet. I remember back in the 80’s we were scared of the avocado because of its high fat content. But those days are now gone, the fats are good ones, so if you are not already doing so, add an avocado or two to your shopping list and you could be doing your mouth a favour!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rueda Wines at Risk

An invasion of mouse-like rodents is laying waste to a broad swath of farmland in central Spain. Local farmers are trying everything from burning fields to running around trying to hit the creatures with giant rolling pins, but so far the rodents don't seem too bothered. Officials estimate that up to 750 million of the animals have infested an area of 1,000 square miles. Damage to crops is estimated at $40 million. The regional government of Castilla y Leon has approved the use of poison and the burning of fields in 621 municipalities, hoping to eradicate the plague. However the pesky rodents are working their way northeastward, into the wine-growing region of Rueda, where some of Spain's leading wines are produced.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

SPAM SINGLES!


You've gotta be kidding me?

FOOD TV

More TV cooking show scandals this week. Did anyone notice how
prominent WAITROSE SUPERMARKET seemed to be on Nigella Lawson's new cookery show ‘NIGELLA EXPRESS’? The show started this week on BBC2 and if the papers are anything to judge by, it looks like the old ‘product placement ’ perks are not so easy to get away with these days. Nigella has found herself in hot water after accusations that she appears to be blatantly plugging Waitrose supermarkets. In the first episode she appeared to be using the store and its products on 3 different occasions. In one scene Nigella was filmed taking a packet of Waitrose pork chops from the store shelves, while another showed her fridge at home full of the supermarket's goods. Yet another showed her travelling by taxi..... Her destination? You guessed it! BBC guidelines ban product placement and studio reps are saying nigella has NO financial link with waitrose. And what about that interview the other day where she said she ALWAYS carries a tube of mustard in her handbag? She’s MAD if she doesn’t get that sponsored!

And while we’re talking about TV Chefs:

Marco Pierre White got the new British series of Hell's Kitchen off to a sizzling start this week. Of course most of us have followed Gordon Ramsey in the US version of the same show. What's interesting is comparing the two chefs, and how they go about presenting the same show concept. Although Ramsey is excellent entertainment value and obviously knows his game, Marco handles the kitchen very differently. Not an F word in sight, which is quite refreshing actually. Although I was disappointed that they have gone the celeb route for the UK series. So painful having to watch people who obviously don’t have a clue about food, getting master classes from one of the greats. Such a waste. I did however LOVE Carol Thatcher for asking Marco to sign Gordons book. The woman must have ovaries of IRON!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fat Kids Getting Fatter

Many newspaper headlines screaming Jamies name in vain today, BBC radio broadcasts also featuring the news that the healthy school meals initiative pioneered by television chef Jamie Oliver is failing, that is according to the Liberal Democrats. To rub salt where salt no longer dares to go, childrens minister Ed Balls says half the kids in the UK risk becoming obese by 2050 if something is not done about it. What I’d like to know is where is Jamie Oliver in all of this? I’ve already covered here on The Main Ingredient the fact that Jamies plan for healthy school meals were being labelled a big fat flop back in early July, and I still stick by my guns....... How do they expect kids to suddenly turn over a new lettuce leaf and willingly eat salads for lunch, when at home they get chicken nuggets, crisps and stodgy spag bol? David Laws, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on children says the new standards for healthier school meals have been introduced too quickly, too drastically and with too little education of both parents and pupils. I rest my case! Hardly Jamie Olivers fault then?

Whatever Happened to my Waist?

Just can't seem to get away from discussions about the fact that we're all getting older and fatter. Remember the hourglass figure? Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe...... She had what was officially termed an hourglass figure didn’t she?

Well it seems the hourglass figure has fallen victim to the ‘sands of time’ and the effects of too many packets of crisps. Nowadays bust and hips are bigger than ever, but you have to admit the sight of the old waspish waist is one that’s very few and far between. Data shows that over the past half century the average British woman's waist has expanded by 6.8 inches to 34.4 inches. Since 1951, the average bust has increased by 2in to 39in and hips by a further 2in to 41in. So on average that’s around 10lb heavier. And don’t LAUGH boys!!! YOURE not of the hook either. The survey of 9,000 British men and women discovered that MEN have gone through a similar expansion. British males are now an average of seven inches fatter around the waist (shame it has to go on the waist) and 18lb heavier than they were during the post-war years. Britain is still ahead of the good old USA though. British women are an average of 3lb lighter and 0.4inches slimmer than their U.S. counterparts and British men are 12lb lighter and 1.1in thinner than the average American.
So womens waists have grown nearly 7 inches in the UK in the past 50 years…… Hmmmm!

Martha Wants My Man!

The UK’s gorgeous Nigella Lawson has accused Americas queen of ‘Good Things’ Martha Stewart of fancying her HUSBAND. Ooh Wah! Nigela says old Martha has a bit of a “soft spot” for her multi-millionaire art collector hubby Charles Saatchi. To add salt to the wound Martha dismissed Nigela publicly in a recent interview by supposedly forgetting her name and referring to her as “whats-her-name who married the Saatchi”. Meanwhile curvacious Nigella is not to be trifled with (boy do I love the fact that she has hips) hitting back with: “Even though she’s so great and successful she has to disparage someone else. It’s not necessary, but everyone has insecurities.” Interesting to note that Nigella has also fessed up to loving takeaways and greasy spoon cafes, just as her new TV show ‘Nigella Express’ took to our screens on BBC2 this week. A show that is supposed to motivate us TOWARD making fast food at home and AWAY from fast food restaurants. She’s also been heard saying she always carries MUSTARD in her bag. Now THERE’S a sponsorship opportunity if ever I saw one! Colmans anyone?

Are YOU the next Celebrity Chef?

Well I suppose it was only a matter of time. Food IS fashion and with the MULTITUDE of TV cookery shows now on offer, of course the next step is for the unsung heroes of the home kitchen to be able to share their own culinary adventures with the rest of the world. A company in Vancouver have come up with a virtual recipe sharing site, where foodies can share their successes and their failures without the embarrassment of having all of the NON foodies on YouTube watching and laughing. http://www.makemysupper.com/ gives adventurous cooks the chance to give TV chefs a run for their money, by letting them broadcast their own cooking show. Record yourself making your favourite recipes, upload your videos, and find out if you have what it takes to become a celebrity chef. Who knows you could be the next Delia Smith! You know a TV Chef once told me that Delia wears nipple clamps when cooking. An unappetising thought no?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

McDonalds Go Upmarket!


I did hear rumours about 2 years ago that McDonalds were planning on revamping their image in the states, but I thought it would be decades before we saw it happening in Europe. However I must say the 600 million euros ($828 million) that they intend to plow into redesigning 1,280 European McDonalds restaurants is pretty impressive. As the golden arches go upscale it seems they are targeting young adults and professionals rather than the happy families that have been the staple for many a year. Bolted down plastic tables and chairs are being replaced with designer chairs and dark leather upholstery. Internet access and rental iPods are also starting to appear in some outlets and it looks like the new image is paying off. So far for the first half of this year, European sales are up 15 percent within Europes 6,400 McDonalds restaurants, totalling a massive 4.1 billion dollars. (Its McDonalds, so I’ll stick to dollars) Back in the USA this year sales have only seen a 6 percent increase totalling $3.9 billion even though they have a whopping 13,800 McDonalds outlets, compared to only 6,400 here in Europe



While we’re at it, a British couple from Sussex are ‘Still lovin it’ after 17 years of McDonalds cuisine. And I’m not just talking the occasional Big Mac here. We’re talking the same meal EVERY DAY for the past 17 years. Lee and Mary Humphries nip down to their nearest McDonalds outlet at 11am sharp every morning for a double hamburger each. I’m pleased to note that the 84 year old couple are health conscious though, they share one portion of fries between them. They’ve spent approximately 20,000 pounds at McDonalds over the years and even moved house a few years ago so that they’d be conveniently located to their favourite branch. Ahhh..... ‘Still lovin it’ after 17 years. How’s that for fast food devotion?