Paula Deen hit by flying ham, Moscow’s favourite vodka comes to Canada, cooking up Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood

Paula Deen hit by flying ham, Moscow’s favourite vodka comes to Canada, cooking up Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood

When pigs fly: Paula Deen remains unporked (Photo by Alex Lines) 

• The ever-upbeat Paula Deen was unaware that she was in a game of catch when someone tossed a ham in her direction, accidentally hitting her in the face. Deen was helping to unload donated meat at an Atlanta food bank on Monday when she tossed the pork to a gentleman, then turned away, not expecting that when the man said “Back atcha,” he meant it. Despite fears of a busted lip, Deen walked away from the incident injury-free, quipping, “I haven’t met the ham that could stop me yet!” [AP]

• Moscow’s most popular vodka, Russian Standard, hits the Canadian market this week. Purportedly based on a formula by chemist Dmitri Mendeleev (the man who invented the periodic table), the grain-based spirit is distilled four times and has a balanced, bready taste. At roughly half the price of Grey Goose, it will have recession-wary boozers stockpiling bottles from the LCBO. [Globe and Mail]

• Margaret Atwood’s latest literary glimpse into humanity’s dismal future, The Year of the Flood, has inspired amateur chefs more than Booker judges. Lit-loving chef Bonnie Stern, who regularly hosts similar book-themed dinners at her Erskine Avenue home, created a menu fit for the Flood, including such post-apocalyptic treats as God’s Gardeners’ salad and Happicuppa walnut rolls. Atwood attended (and blogged about) the dinner and was impressed by the recipes’ wit and inventiveness. [National Post]

• With H1N1 paranoia ballooning out of control, New York City mixologist-cum-pharmacists are looking to cash in by dispensing cocktails that supposedly fight swine flu. Not quite our grandmother’s hot toddy, such drinks as the Flu Shot blend antivirals and immunity boosters (garlic, ginger, echinacea) with hard liquor (tequila), while other drinks contain yellow chartreuse, thyme and cinnamon “for the throat.” Dr. Ronald B. Turner from the University of Virginia School of Medicine thinks these drinks are likely better for the mind than for the body, noting, however that “if the cocktails make you feel better, go for it.” [New York Times]

• Every time Guardian food writer Jay Rayner visits America, he’s troubled by something disturbing. No, not the guns, SUVs or even Sarah Palin. Cinnamon. Rayner feels that Americans take the spice to unhealthy limits, especially when they use it on pork, jerk chicken and squash purée. Now safely back in England, Rayner can’t smell the spice without gagging, noting bitterly that on this side of the pond, “cinnamon is like herpes in a hippie commune: bloody everywhere.” [Guardian]