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Archive for September Friday, 2009

Chocolate Patriotism

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Kraft Foods wants to gobble up Cadbury. An alliance of Nestlé and Hershey is rumoured to be considering a rival bid. Shareholders slather like children in the sweetie shop. Should we care that an iconic British company, maker of Dairy Milk, Crunchie, Flake and that budget stick of sweetness, the Fudge bar, looks set to fall into foreign hands?

When gourmets speak of food culture the image is of artisans and rural crafts, of home-baking and unpasteurised cheeses. But Britain’s food culture — like it or not — has long been industrialised and our living heritage includes our classic chocolate bars. Every childhood has pocket-money memories of Flakes stuck in ice-creams and hoarded squares of Dairy Milk. Many an adult has a secret treat in the corner shop. It’s an energy boost with a certain comforting nostalgia.

So the news of a foreign takeover gives me a surge of chocolate patriotism. For while Kraft gave the world the dubious delights of the processed cheese slice, we Brits became world leaders in chocolate bars.The great chocolate-lover Roald Dahl saw the invention in the Thirties of all the confectionary classics, including Crunchie. That decade was, he said, the equivalent of the Italian Renaissance or the golden age of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. As a schoolboy at Repton, Dahl was part of a tasting panel for a Cadbury’s factory. The excitement of unwrapping the foil for unknown treasure is said to be part of the inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Great British chocolate bar can also claim some eco-cred. One of Cadbury’s brands, Green & Blacks, has made organic chocolate widely available. Last month the company put Fairtrade cocoa and sugar in Dairy Milk. More obscurely they have committed to using free-range eggs in Creme Eggs. Cadbury’s origins, like those of other chocolate companies such as Fry’s and Rowntree, go back to Quakers who were excluded from professions and went into industry. Their empires were built on the good treatment of their workforce and supplying delight at an affordable price.

Tastes change, and some sneer at “chavvy chocolate” such as Cadbury’s Milk Tray. The classic chocolate bar and chocolate box is not the same sort of taste as a posh bar of 70 per cent cocoa solids or truffles from Fortnum’s. But national tastes remain deep rooted. So as my eye sweeps across a counter of colourfully wrapped chocolate, it hurts to imagine their ownership going to a country that produces the likes of the oily Hershey bar.

taken from The Times online edition.

video from the BBC here : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8242008.stm (not to difficult ton understand)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7990080.stm –> une vidéo très sympa sur les chocolats de Pâques chez Cadbury. Cela me rappelle un peu “Charlie Et La Chocolaterie”.

The Four-Day Workweek Is Winning Fans

Friday, September 18th, 2009

more about it here

As early as age 10, kids feel pressure to have a “perfect body”

Friday, September 18th, 2009

© John-Francis Bourke/Corbis

According to a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, children as young as 10- and 11-years-old already have notions about the ideal body. An analysis of more than 4,000 students from Nova Scotia revealed that young girls’ happiness with their body image is directly linked to how thin they are. Boys, on the other hand, were happiest when they were neither too lean, nor too heavy.

 

Given that dissatisfaction with body image is strongly linked with an increased risk for eating disorders, the researchers were particularly concerned to find that the perception of perfection began at such a young age. Overall, 7.3% of the girls included in the study reported that they didn’t like they way they looked, but that increased proportionately as girls’ weight, measured by body mass index (BMI), went up. For girls with normal body weight, 5.7% reported being unhappy with their bodies, among those who were overweight, 10.4% did, and among girls who were categorized as obese, 13.1% were unhappy with how they looked. For girls, the researchers noted, every one unit increase in BMI measurement indicated about an 8% increase in body dissatisfaction.

What’s more, among the girls, but not the boys, those who had lower levels of educational achievement or lived in more rural areas were more likely to report feeling unhappy with their bodies.

Among boys, reported dissatisfaction was slightly higher than for girls, 7.8% compared with 7.3%, but unlike with the girls, their level of contentment did not fall in direct association with increasing body weight. Instead, boys were unhappy if they perceived themselves as too skinny or as overweight. Yet, similarly to the girls, as BMI increased to overweight or obese, there was also a trend of increasing dissatisfaction among the boys. For boys of normal weight, 7.6% reported not liking how they look, of those who were overweight, 8.4% did, and of those considered obese, 8.1% did.

Previous studies have shown that early, school-based intervention to teach children about healthy body weight and body image have actually achieved some success. Considering the prevalence of childhood overweight—which now effects a third of American children, and more than a quarter of Canadian children—understanding how kids perceive themselves, and helping them to build confidence by building healthy behaviors may be vital not only for combating the obesity epidemic, but also diminishing its concurrent health problems, which range from diabetes to depression.

taken from Time.com

What’s your reaction ?

Do you feel some kind of pressure to have a perfect body ?