30 June 2008

Caged Eggs vs. Free-Range Eggs

In the past, I have indeed noticed a difference in free-range eggs, but it was subjective. I didn't do any tests. I knew a family with a dozen or so chickens and I ate their eggs all the time. The first thing I noticed is that the yolks were more orange than yellow. The second thing was that I could swear the eggs tasted better. Eggs don't have strong flavor, but I was positive that these were better.

I'm no longer acquainted with the family anymore so now I buy eggs just like the commoners. Recently I bought some free-range eggs ($3.50) from a Brown County woman selling them at Findlay Market. I was curious to see if I could discern differences from the factory eggs I usually get.

Once again, the yolks were deeper in color. The eggs also cooked differently (fried and scrambled). "Fluffier" is the only way I can describe it. I did not notice any difference in taste but as I said, eggs aren't exactly palate-punchers.

So now we have the matter of nutritional content in caged vs. free-range eggs. Apparently this is not a hotbed area of research but I did find a couple relevant studies.

Last year, Mother Earth News asked an independent lab to analyze eggs from 14 free-range flocks around the country. The results are here and reveal two things: first, the nutritional profile of free-range eggs is significantly different from caged eggs; and second, even among the free-range flocks there is variation in certain areas. For example, although the free-range eggs were lower in saturated fat on average, a couple of the flocks actually tested higher than caged eggs.

Different flocks have different diets and this is the likely explanation for the inter-flock variation in nutritional components. This Penn State study investigated the role that different diets have on egg nutrition.

So the data shows that free-range eggs are more nutritious overall. But given the inter-flock variation, the only way to get a specific idea of how much better they are is to visit the farm and see the chickens. Then you can make a fully informed 'better health' vs. 'higher cost' decision.

Too much work? You can do what I do and just go by the orange yolk.

26 June 2008

Things I've Seen in the Past Week

I saw a woman going for her morning walk down Linn St. wearing a hat with a small umbrella attached to the top to serve as a parasol.

I saw a UC student riding a pink bicycle on Clifton Ave.

I saw two fauns sitting in front of a tombstone at Spring Grove.

I saw a turtle in the middle of the road. My first thought was to relocate it so it doesn't get run over (which I did). My second thought was to make turtle soup (which I did not).

I saw a line of about a hundred people waiting outside the Salvation Army building downtown.

25 June 2008

Oh, While You're Dealing with Higher Food & Gas Prices...

From the Dayton Business Journal:

...residents should prepare for a pricey winter, particularly if we have a hot summer. The Evansville, Ind.-based energy holding and delivery company warned that natural gas prices for this winter will be much greater than in past years.

...the demand for natural gas, once used primarily to heat homes, is increasing as electric companies turn from oil and coal to gas for energy production.

"A lot depends on what happens this summer: electric demands for air conditioning or hurricanes throwing off oil drilling in the Gulf (of Mexico) will increase the natural gas demand,"

Whereas customers paid between 20 cents and 30 cents per therm of natural gas in the 1990s, they're currently paying $1.30...

One relevant factor everyone knows but no one talks about: office buildings maintaining their heating & cooling temperatures. It has long baffled me that offices (at least large ones) never change their thermostats. I worked in D.C. one year and I can tell you one of the worst offenders has got to be the Federal Government. The Capitol is like 80 degrees in the winter and 60 in the summer. It's ridiculous.

We now know office comfort isn't free; we are actually paying for office HVAC costs with a higher residential bill. The more energy that offices use, the more we pay for it at home. If your office is an icebox in the summer and a sauna in the winter, you might want to bring it up at the next happy hour team-building diversity training workshop or whatever they're called these days.

24 June 2008

Cincinnati History Moment: North Bend, Losantiville, Columbia

Something of a segue from the previous post...

At first Columbia grew faster than Losantiville or North Bend... Columbia, however had a fatal flaw-- it lay on such low ground that it flooded regularly.

Symmes harbored grand visions for North Bend. He believed its closeness to the Great Miami would enable it to control the trade of the rich farmland of the interior, which Symmes considered the "Egypt on the Miami." Like Columbia, natural limitations checked North Bend's potential. The hilly character of the town prevented easy expansion.

Losantiville, the middle village, had certain advantages over the others. As in Columbia and North Bend, the riverfront offered the hope for controlling the trade of the Ohio. Losantiville, however, was like a giant amphitheater. The flatland along the river stretched back 800 feet to approximately where Third Street is today. Losantiville also sat immediately across from the mouth of the Licking River, an important artery flowing out from the more developed territory of Kentucky. It was this strategic location that persuaded the government in late 1789 to erect Fort Washington at Losantiville.

On January 2, 1790, General Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, arrived to inspect Fort Washington. Although he approved of the fort and the village, he did not like the name Losantiville*. He soon changed it to Cincinnati in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary War officers to which he belonged.

*Losantiville was coined by surveyor John Filson. It was a combination of Latin and French word pieces, os meant "mouth," anti meant "across from," ville meant "town," and the L meant either the French "Le" or was the first letter of the Licking River. So "Losantiville" meant "town opposite the mouth of the Licking River."

22 June 2008

Cincinnati History Moment: John Cleves Symmes

From Cincinnati: The Queen City published by the Cincinnati Historical Society:

John Cleves Symmes (1742-1814)

John Cleves Symmes was born in Southold, Long Island. An ambitious person, he quickly rose through the ranks of colonial society. He served with the New Jersey militia in the Revolutionary War, as associate judge of the Supreme Court of New Jersey and as a member of the Continental Congress.

In 1788 Symmes was appointed a judge for the Northwest Territory and began negotiations to buy one million acres of land between the Great and Little Miami rivers north from the Ohio River. In his haste to settle the purchase, Symmes often sold land before establishing legal claim. Most of his personal property was eventually sold to satisfy suits filed over disputed titles. He died penniless and disillusioned.

At the time Symmes was here there was no such thing as "Cincinnati." The first settlement was called Columbia (now Columbia-Tusculum) and the second which would eventually be renamed Cincinnati was then called "Losantiville." When Symmes came down the Ohio River he landed near the mouth of the Great Miami and established the settlement of North Bend.

17 June 2008

Will City Link Trash West End?

A few weeks ago my neighbors, with whom I share a driveway, moved out. They cleaned out their place and left the trash and unneeded items in the driveway for trash pickup. I was surprised that much of what they discarded seemed perfectly usable (toaster, hair dryer, plastic storage unit with pull-out drawers, to name a few). I snagged a couple of small wastebaskets.

One morning, a man showed up and went through everything. I recognized him as someone I'd seen a few times before in the neighborhood going through garbage. He opened up all the bags-- including kitchen garbage-- and emptied it all over the driveway looking for stuff he could use. He spread trash all over the driveway. It was a dirty, filthy, smelly mess. I cleaned up a little and the landlord cleaned up most of it.

Then someone else came and did the same thing again, requiring yet another cleanup. I believe there was even a third man who came before these two, but he picked up some things without making a mess. Finally garbage day came and everything was hauled off.

What this incident made me wonder was this: what effect would the City Link development have on neighborhood trash? Would it exacerbate problems like this? Are we going to see trash splayed all over the sidewalks, streets and driveways every time someone moves in or out?

On one hand, concentrating the homeless and destitute in the West End might very well exacerbate the problem. On the other hand, if City Link is effective, it should diminish the problem. Perhaps the state of trash in the West End will be a key indicator of City Link's efficaciousness.

13 June 2008

Cincinnati History Moment: Price Hill Incline

From Yesterday's Cincinnati:

The Price Hill Incline, a continuation of West Eighth Street up Price Hill, was one year old in 1875. It rose 350 feet high with a double track 800 feet long. The incline was built by William Price with funds supplied by his father, Gen. Reese Price.

Unlike most of the inclines of the era, alcohol was not served at the top, giving the hill the name Buttermilk Mountain. A number of saloons, including First Choice, Next Chance, and Last Chance, reminded travelers that they were about to scale the heights to abstemious Buttermilk Mountain.

The incline's tracks are still there and can be seen from the scenic overlook next to the Primavista restaurant.

10 June 2008

Cincinnati History Moment: Diary of Joseph J. Mersman

I'm basically on a summer blog hiatus but I'll try and post something interesting every now and then, like these excerpts from Joseph J. Mersman's diary in 1848. He worked in the whiskey business and resided at Mrs. Jenkin's boardinghouse on west Third Street.

Monday March 6th 1848
The morning dawned with a transplendant brilliancy upon "Porkopolis." every thing look gay and animated throughout the City. Business kept pace with the lively scene and Compelled me to move about the whole day in a very lively measure in order to do justice to it. The Evening allthoug beautiful I passed with the rest of the Gentleman [also staying in the boarding house] in Mrs. Howe's room, enjoying with her for the last time a Social game of Old Maid. Mrs. H starts to Morrow for Burlington, O. taking her children along. I did not go out at all. Went to bed at 11. No Expence.

Monday March 20th 1848
Last night the first Thunder Storm of this year broke loose. It was a very Serious one, and fatal to two human being. A man and his wife were struck and killed instantly while walking togather near Mill Creek. The rain Continued to pour down till 10 or 11 oclock this Morning. Commerce is decidedly dull this Morning-- only about 15 bbls Whiskey sold and now it is already 12.

The afternoon was beautifully pleasant and the ornament of Creation "Woman," contributed largely towards the beauty and joyousness of the whole [i.e. it was nice to see all the babes]. The Evening I passed with Mr. Baker. We Walked about enjoying the pure and balmy air until 9, then visited the Library rooms [Young Men's Mercantile Library Association] to look over some new french books lately received...

10 oclock I left Baker and went home... Delametre invited me to go with him to a person noted for keeping good Ale. I could not possibly refuse it-- the Ale really was excellent. it was served out in the old Scoth fashion "Pewter Tanckards." We Smok'd at home till 1/2 past 11. then retired Weary and tired. Exp 15c.