I've been cooking on the Kansas City barbecue circuit now for about nine years, and the best barbecue beer I've found is O'Fallon's Smoke beer. They smoke their hops before brewing, and the smoke flavor comes through wonderfully. It isn't overpowering, like some of the German smoked beers. (They're like drinking bacon.)
It's also good to add to a roast where you'd normally add beef or chicken stock or to use in barbecue sauce instead of water. Give it a shot — you'll like it.
Stephen Schaub, Independence
Thanks for David Martin's recent article about the possibility of a new, multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-supported convention hotel downtown. With all the hoopla and brouhaha surrounding the opening of the shiny Power & Light District, very little attention has been paid to just how much Kansas City taxpayers are really on the hook for all of that. And now this. I am the first person to say that something needed to be done about downtown. But nobody seems to be asking out loud just how much is enough and where does it all end. At least Martin is.
Chris Benedict, Mission
I thought Nadia Pflaum's latest cover article on the health risks of bisphenol A exposure was very well done, a big improvement over the sensationalistic fare that often ends up as a Pitch cover story. The article's list of common items that are made from polycarbonate plastic was incomplete, though. The Wikipedia entry for polycarbonate gives a more complete list. In particular, though you mentioned "the linings of aluminum food cans," it'd actually be more accurate to list "the linings of aluminum beverage cans and most steel food cans." To be more specific, canned vegetables, beans, seafood, dog and cat food, etc., are all sources of exposure to bisphenol A for us and our companion animals. Moreover, canned foods are heated after sealing to kill bacteria, and heat dramatically increases the leaching of bisphenol A, from what I understand.
Unfortunately, bisphenol A is only one of the hormone disruptors we are exposed to through common household items. For those who'd like to reduce their exposure, the Environmental Working Group provides some tips at ewg.org/node/21843.
Individual efforts to avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals can only go so far, though, because we are involuntarily and unwittingly exposed simply by going about our lives. We, the people, must demand that federal agencies apply the Precautionary Principle (sehn.org/pre caution.html) and responsibly regulate these substances if we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
John Fish Kurmann, Kansas City, Missouri
I just finished reading Nadia Pflaum's article on Frederick vom Saal and his team's work on bisphenol A. I would like to congratulate you on such a well-researched and well-written piece that has importance for everyone. It's so refreshing to see this kind of journalism here in Kansas City. Keep up the good work.
Anne McGregor, Kansas City, Missouri
Thank you to Dana Self for her kind words about the Creighton Michael exhibition at the Belger Arts Center. I was especially happy that she noted the "beautiful installation" of the work. It is not unusual for visitors to praise Belger installations in our comment book. Our chief installer, Al Sells, and his crew have done some wonderful things over the last eight years. We've shown fiber, ceramics, digital projections, painting, sculpture, prints and photography in that time. Al has consistently devised a way to show the work in its best light. Many thanks to Ms. Self and The Pitch for noticing.
Mo Dickens, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, Missouri