Wednesday, April 27, 2011

High security meals & some curious uses for oregano

The Clink is an interesting restaurant in Britain which is run by inmates of HM Prison High Down (this article about it by an expert in prison food is worth reading too). Envisioned by its Michelin-starred chef-founder as a way to train chefs and restaurant staff, it took seven years to get off the ground, but now produces both good food and employable inmates. It's not open to all diners - you have to have a good reason for going there and/or be employed by a government or prison office, or with a nonprofit (presumably one with compatible aims to the program which is also a registered charity). I suspect the project may have taken some inspiration from another such ristorante in Italia: the maximum security prison at Volterra in Tuscany.

Another odd and slightly Italian-flavoured item that has crossed my inbox is news of this study that's found another use for oregano: when cows eat it, it keeps them from burping methane (apparently it is burps rather than farts which emit the greenhouse gas) and ups their milk yields. The study doesn't say whether the milk picks up any flavour from the herb - but if it does, it might make for some interesting cheeses. And perhaps offer some other health benefits for humans. I have been plied with oregano oil at various points in recent years, by persons neither belching nor lactating, who swear by its curative powers, particularly for preventing colds. Definitely something to plant in my garden this year.


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