Hamburger Helper W
hile it’s no secret that diabetes, obesity and heart disease are problems nationwide, the statistics
in nearby Cayuga County are staggering. In the small county just 30 miles west of Syracuse, the deadly diseases are the top three chronic illnesses among both men and women. Obesity rates locally and nation- ally are rising rapidly, and more and more individuals are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each day.
But in the rural Cayuga area, resources
where residents can learn about diabetes man- agement and prevention are limited—espe- cially since last fall, when funding from the Diabetes Prevention Partnership Grant was eliminated due to state budget cuts. Starting in 2004, funding from the grant had helped groups like the Cayuga Community Health Network (CCHN) provide educational work- shops, classes on healthy eating, and support groups for diabetic and pre-diabetic individu- als.
Suzanne Hai, executive assistant at the
CCHN, coordinated these initiatives. “Our program was the only one of its kind in
But don’t expect to eat fat-laden, super-
Join Cayuga County Health Network’s quest to find the tastiest, healthy burger
Cayuga County,” says Hai. “Now without it, people have to travel to Syracuse, and for some, transportation is an issue.” Since the budget cut in late 2009, Hai has
been hard at work with Irv Lyons, CCHN’s executive director, raising money to keep the education programs in Cayuga County going. Still, says Hai, finding financial support for such initiatives has been a challenge. “Irv and I decided we needed to try a fund-raiser that was something new and different, and we wanted to do it in a big way,” she says. Enter the humble burger. On Saturday, Sept. 4, from 3 to 6 p.m.,
Burgers, Blues and Baseball, sponsored by CCHN and First Niagara Bank, will give Cayuga County residents plenty of delicious proof that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating boring. Funds raised will help Hai and the CCHN offer diabetes education events like “Lunch and Learn,” a series of healthy cooking classes held at Cayuga Community College. “We figured that it’s the end of summer,
and everyone wants to spend time outside with their families,” says Lyons. “And who doesn’t love burgers?”
sized burgers smothered in bacon and cheese. At the free event, held in Falcon Park in Auburn, local restaurants will present their own health-conscious and inspired takes on the traditional burger, many using local ingredients like organic, farm-grown produce. Guests can sample the heart-friendly fare, while WNTQ-FM 93.1 celebrities Ted and Amy will officially declare one tasty, healthy burger the winner. The winning restaurant will become the proud recipient of the Mayor’s Award, presented by Auburn mayor Michael Quill. The most delicious burgers may even
become menu staples, says Hai. “We’re hop- ing that the positive response from the com- munity will convince these restaurants to add more healthy options to their menus,” she says. Competing restaurants include Parker’s Grille, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Sunset, Connie’s Deli, Daut’s, Mema’s Deli & Sweet Shop, Big Kahuna’s, Bambino’s Bistro and Mesa Grande. Jim Daddabbo, owner of Mesa Grande,
100 Genesee St., Auburn (252-6252), is all for healthy eating. Daddabbo’s classic California- style taqueria opened just two months ago, but Mesa Grande’s fresh burritos, tacos and quesadillas are already a hit with the Auburn community. “The response has been really great,” says Daddabbo. Despite his restaurant’s early suc-
BY MARY MURPHY
cess, Daddabbo was hesitant to throw his hat into CCHN’s burger competition. “We don’t do burgers!” says Daddabbo
with a laugh. “I was afraid we’d confuse people.” But after brainstorming some recipe ideas
with his staff of creative chefs, Mesa Grande was officially up for the healthy burger chal- lenge. While Daddabbo is opting to stay mum about the details of his restaurant’s competing dish, he does reveal that it won’t be a burger in the traditional sense. “It’s going to be more of a burger-inspired
burrito,” he says. He also explains that the flavor won’t come from unhealthy ingredients like cheese, sour cream or ground beef. “With Mexican food, it’s easy to make a flavorful dish using spices, vegetables, avocados, beans and rice,” he says. “You don’t need lots of fat or sugar.” Daddabbo hopes his “burger,” along with
the entire event, will send Cayuga County res- idents an important message: “Eating healthy doesn’t have to taste bad,” he says. “Healthy foods can be really flavorful and really tasty.” But healthy eating is only one part of the
equation. In addition to the burger making and tasting, an informal fitness class will show participants how much fun getting active can be. Fitness instructors from The Center, 1 Hoffman St., Auburn (704-0319) and Allure Studio, 7 William St. Auburn (255-1979), will lead classes in Zumba, a
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WWW.DOMINICKSRESTAURANT.NET 14 September 1 - 8, 2010 Syracuse New Times NEWS & OPINION FEATURE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS CLASSIFIED
tender sirloin tips with mushrooms in a rich bourbon sauce over buttered egg noodles with a salad.
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