Thursday, May 31, 2012

The shiitake mushroom is a brown to black fungus.
"There's a pharmacy in food," says Julie Daniluk (a registered holistic nutritionist) authur of Meals That Heal Inflammation, which includes reference charts and recipes. 

Some of her tips concerning the shiitake mushroom:
It fights the flu.
Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called AHCC that boosts the immune responce after one has been exposed to the flu virus.
It slows aging.
When ones immune system is 'up to speed', Daniluk says, you slow the clock of aging.
It helps cancer patients.
Shiitake mushrooms contain polysacharides that can help ease the pain, nausea and hair loss associated with chemotherapy and radiation.

Two buying tips:
1 - The darker the mushroom the healthier.
2 - Don't fixate on fresh; dried shiitake mushrooms have the same nutrients as the fresh ones.

At The CURIOSITY Shop we carry dried black shiitake mushrooms - one pack are whole and the other is sliced.

1. Soak shiitake in warm water for 25 minutes.
2. Drain.  Squeeze excess liquid from shiitake.
3. Use as desired.

Shiitake mushrooms have long been a symbol of longevity because of their healthy properties, and they have been medicinally used by the Chinese for more than 6000 years.
The shiitake mushrooms are as unique as they are delicious giving off a smoky taste.

If you are not a fan of mushrooms you might try Garlic, Squash, Pumkins, Papaya, or Seasame Seeds (which we carry) as they are also infection fighters.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On the 5th of November 1605, Guy Fawkes plot was discovered, Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King's escape from assassination by lighting bonfires in the city.
The story became public knowledge and fell into folk law with the Guy Fawkes poem: Remember Remember, the fifth of November:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent to blow up King and Parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d with a dark lantern and lighted match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip hoorah!
Yes, our organic fresh produce shipment arrived yesterday!
We received:

  •      Honeydew Mellons
  •      Carrots w Tops
  •      Broccoli
  •      Watermelon (Seedless)
  •      Bananas
  •      Golden Delicious Apples
  •      Roma Tomatoes
  •      Green Beans
  •      Russet Potatoes
  •      Yellow Squash
  •      Zucchini
  •      Romaine Lettuce
  •      Green Cabbage
  •      Red Cabbage
  •      Red Beets

These are all fresh organic produce in our cooler section.  Our prices are, we feel, the best in Aiken!

In the last blog I discussed the overall advantages to buying organic produce.

The real reason that we have been ordering organic is that when we started looking into buying produce we decided we would first try organic - we think that it tastes better.  The pricing that we have is very good.  The deliveries are prompt.  And the produce is certified organic.  If you have not been in The CURIOSITY Shop recently you will be surprised by the amount that we carry.

In addition to the above we also have Organic Vidalia Onions!

Monday, May 14, 2012


To Protect Future Generations:
The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food.  The food choice you make now will impact your child's health in the future.

To Prevent Soil Erosion:
The Soil Conservation Service estimates that more than three billion tons of topsoil is eroded from the United States croplands each year.

To Protect Water Quality:
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet.  Despite its importantance, the Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates pesticides and some cancer-causing contaminates in groundwater in 38 states are polluting the primary sources of drinking water for more than half the country's population.

To Save Energy:
Modern farming used more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming 12% fo the country's total energy supply. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the United States.  Organic farming is still mainly based on labor-intensive practices, such as weeding by hand and using green manures and cover crops rather than synthetic fertilizers to build up the soil.  Organic produce also tends to travel fewer miles from field to table.

To Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate:
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established.  Now the EPA considers 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides carceinogenic.

To Protect Farm Worker Health:
A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had a six time greater risk than non-farmers or contracting cancer.

To Help Small Farmers:
Although more and more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic pesticides, most organic farms are small, independently owned and operated family farms of less than 100 acres.

To Support A True Economy:
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than 'conventional' foods, conventional food prices do not reflect hidden costs borne by taxpayers, including nearly $74 BILLION in federal subsidies since 1988.  Other hidden costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and cleanup, and environmental damage.

To Promote Biodiversity:
Mono-croping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year (remember cotton).  While this approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients (dust bowl memories).  To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often is increasing amounts.  Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making famers more reliant on pesticides.  Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled - partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.

Here at The CURIOSITY Shop we now carry Certified Organic Produce that comes from small organic farms around the SouthEast.  All the produce that we import (i.e., bananas) is from organic fair trade farms.  While the cost is a little more than 'conventional large farmed produce' it is made up in the quality and taste!  Our shipments are received weekly.

My first venture into organic farming was in 1978 when my brother and I set up a raised bed garden in Aiken Estates.  That's been awhile, but I still have several raised beds in my backyard today.

Peas Not War
TEA: the most consumed beverage in the World!

Evidence about the healthy benefits of tea has been known for centuries.  This year (2012) has witnessed several studies and reviews confirming these assumptions about the positive effects of tea drinking.
A Japanese study has found that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of fraility and disability as they grow older.  In the study of 14000 people over three years showed green tea drinkers were shown to suffer less from functional disabilities in performing everyday tasks like bathing or dressing.
But green tea was not the only variety in the spotlight.  A study from Australia and a review from the United Kingdom lent further credence to the notion that black tea is just as healthy as its green cousin.  According to research, black tea was found to lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart desease.  It may also cut levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and blood sugar. [from Tea Trends]

Most of us know that sweet tea is a mainstay in Southern homes.  I have drunk tea my whole life.  But it wasn't until the mid-seventies that I began to cultivate a taste for un-sweetened tea which in turn led me to leaf tea.

The most daunting task in learning about tea is getting past the mythology of tea (i.e., Tea Ceremonies of the East and West).  In reality the vast majority of the world drinks tea much as we do.  They boil a pot of water, pour it into a teapot, let it steep, pour it into a cup - and drink it.  In the United Kingdom and Ireland they have tea around four o'clock in the afternoon (much as Americans have a 'coffee-break' at around three), they sit down with a cup of tea (they may have a scone or a biscuit) and relax.

Here at The CURIOSITY Shop, a member of the Speciality Tea Institute, we have over twenty-eight years experience with teas.  Our prices and selection of teas and tisanes is the best in the South East.
We offer the Dickens Cafe as a site for a cup of tea (or other beverage) and a respite from the world.