Balsamic Vinegar | The Process

Balsamic vinegar How It's Made

The sweet type of vinegar-based dressing known as Balsamic Vinegar originates from a region in Italy known as Modena. Balsamic has become a staple in local cuisine and the distinguished flavor has made the region world famous.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is made from Trebbiano grapes and occasionally, Lambrusca grapes. Through years of experimentation, it was discovered that these grapes were not well suited for wines, so the Italians were pressed to find another use for them. The process of creating the vinegar was similar to that of wine, and it’s discovery happened quite by accident.

Today, the process of creating balsamic vinegar is almost the same as it was back when it was first created. Wine barrels made from woods such as mulberry, chestnut, oak, or cherry are collected. The type of wood chosen for the barrel correlates to the resulting flavor of the balsamic. Next, the grapes are harvested at the peak of ripeness. Each barrel is filled with the ripe grapes.

If you have ever seen (or participated in) grape squashing, you know what comes next. Today, grapes are squashed using machines – but historically, villagers would get together and stomp on the grapes with their bare feet until they were turned into a pulp and juice.

The resulting grape mush is pressed through a sieve so that the juice is separated from the pulp and skin of the grapes. The juice is boiled in large kettles for a full 24 hours. It is during this point that most of the liquid evaporates from the juice and it is turned into a sweet syrup known as mosto.

The mosto is then fermented and aged in the wooden barrels for 6 or more months. During this time, more liquid is allowed to evaporate. Like wine, the longer a balsamic ages, the “better” it is. Our balsamic vinegar is a combination of 16 to 18 year barrel aged balsamic with a very low acidity. The special aging process makes it very smooth with no bite.

Once the aging process is complete, the balsamic is transferred to glass bottles (like ours!) and sold in markets across the world.

Congratulations, you are an expert in the aging process of balsamic vinegar!


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Summer BBQ Idea | Grilling Fruit

Grilling Fruits | Summertime BBQ Ideas | Tavern on the GreenGrilling season is in full swing. During the weekend barbeques the burgers will be slinging and the hot dogs sizzling. Aside from the traditional grilling essentials, we’d like to encourage you to expand your repertoire this summer season. Grilled veggies are an excellent way to add some variety to your meal, but have you ever tried grilling fruit? The heat from the grill brings out the sweet flavor from the natural fruit sugars. Few people get beyond the fruit salad to experiment further, but it’s really quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your barbeque. Drizzle in a bit of balsamic and you’ll be having a whole other-worldly fruit experience. Check out our list below to see which unexpected fruits made the cut for the best on the grill.


Be sure to peel the banana first, cut it in half lengthwise, and lay cut-side-down on the grill. Serve with a side of creamy vanilla ice cream and fresh cherries. Mmmmmm!


Cut in half and poke with a fork- marinade for an hour with Tavern Blackberry Ginger. Grill face up to hold the Balsamic

Actually, any stone fruit is excellent on the grill. Plums, apricots, peaches… all of them. Simply section each fruit in half and place on the grill face down.


Large, steak sized watermelon filets are amazing on the grill. A just-ripe watermelon makes for the best grilling. For watermelon salad: drizzle the grilled watermelon with Tavern Citrus Balsamic and mix with mint leaves, mache greens, sea salt, and feta cheese. It’ll be a huge hit at any summer celebration.


Similar to watermelon, a grilled pineapple grills beautifully in filets. Add as a burger topper, or as a dessert accent. Fresh pineapple work better than canned.



To prepare your fruits for grilling, you will want to wash, peel, and soak them in water for 15 minutes to prevent burns. Brushing them in a vegetable oil will help to ensure they won’t stick to the grill. When the fruits are cooked all the way through, transfer them to a serving dish and drizzle in a delicious balsamic vinegar.

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The Many Uses for Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic vinegar usesIf you’re looking for a bang-for-your-buck cooking ingredient, look no further than balsamic vinegar. Here at Tavern on the Green Intl., we have great, authentic balsamic for sale online. Wondering what you’ll use it for? It’s no secret that balsamic vinegar makes a tasty salad dressing, but you may not realize the expansive usefulness of the condiment.

Firstly, balsamic vinegar can be used to flavor an array of meats. Pair it with whiskey, and you’ve got a steak marinade. Use it when braising pork. Cook it with chicken and garlic. Glaze salmon with it. Sear scallops with it. The list goes on.

Vegetarians, rejoice. Mixed vegetables roasted in balsamic vinegar offer a fresh twist on a classic stir-fry recipe. Vegetables like mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are especially tasty after being sautéed in equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Soups and stews can also be enhanced with a few drops of well-aged balsamic vinegar. If you find a soup tasting a bit bland—whether it’s minestrone, tomato, or pumpkin—consider adding a dash of balsamic vinegar; you might be surprised at how it can revitalize the dish.

Pasta and risotto dishes, too, stand to benefit from a little balsamic vinegar. Try adding a few tablespoons to your next batch of spaghetti sauce to create a more complex flavor.

For those with a sweet tooth, you’ll be pleased to know that balsamic vinegar is not limited to savory foods. Reducing balsamic vinegar on the stove will diminish its acidity and transform it into a richly flavored, thick syrup. From there, drizzle the vinegar reduction on fresh fruit (strawberries are a favorite), roasted fruit (we have a mean Grilled Balsamic Peach recipe), or even atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Inspired? Yeah, we thought you might be. Head over to our online store to find a selection of specialty balsamic vinegars exclusive to Tavern on the Green Intl.. To learn more about ways to incorporate balsamic vinegar into your cooking, visit our website’s Recipes page.

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Tavern on the Green Supports Safe to Compete

Tavern on the Green Intl. specializes in gourmet sauces, marinades and oils, all of which this blog will address, and with detail. However, the heart of the company is found in the fact that we donate a portion of the profit from every item sold to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. One important program from the center that deserves attention is Safe to Compete.

Safe to Compete works hard to raise awareness of child sexual abuse in sports and to prevent it from happening in the first place. It provides a platform for discussing the issue and its possible solutions. Training resources are available to open people’s eyes to how children interact with their coaches, fellow players, and other people involved in their sports.

Children are most often abused by someone they know, such as coaches, family friends, babysitters, childcare providers and neighbors. Child molesters are often very unsuspected people from traditionally unsuspected places.

The recent Jerry Sandusky scandal made the general public more aware of what experts on child sexual abuse already knew: that child molesters tend to choose youth-serving organizations as places to find victims. In Sandusky’s case, it was the Penn State football program and his Second Mile program. Any place that gives adults relatively unfettered access to youth must be properly monitored and regulated to prevent incidences of child sexual abuse. The unquestioned authority of coaches and other authority figures, a physical culture, and common hesitancy to report abuse are all factors that need attention.

The Safe to Compete program works to educate parents, children, and those involved in youth sports to give childhood recreational activities a safe and healthy environment free from the poison that has affected so many innocent children in the past. Tavern on the Green International is a direct extension of that cause, raising money through the sale of delicious foods straight from the recipes of the original Tavern on the Green. Place an order to support this crucial cause today.

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A Quick Primer on Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic information

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

Balsamic vinegar is a very distinct product native to Italy.  Recent years have seen an explosion of the product’s popularity throughout the world.  In the United States, balsamic vinegar is very different from its Italian cousin, with some brands being an exception.  Balsamic vinegar, made in the traditional way, is often aged for more than twelve years. It consists of late harvest Trebbiano grapes, and is processed carefully using centuries old methods.

Today, the typical manufacturing process is done in one day.  The more modern methods do not use one hundred percent Trebbiano grapes. In some cases, manufacturers use a combination of wine vinegars, wine must and even apple cider vinegar, often without any balsamic vinegar at all.  Only occasionally will you find a balsamic vinegar on the ingredient list.  We invite you to read the labels of supermarket balsamic vinegars and then read ours.  We are certain that you will be amazed.

Traditional balsamic vinegar should have a deep, rich brown color, complex flavors and with more viscosity than typical vinegar.  The price of the highest quality balsamic vinegar can exceed $200 a bottle.

Tavern’s balsamic vinegars are made from aged balsamic vinegar and condiment, infused with natural ingredients. While they include no artificial sweeteners, the lower acidity makes for a sweeter taste. Additionally, the thicker style allows our balsamic vinegars to be used for glazes, salads, finishes and preparations that are endless in variety.  Because of the intense flavors, you will be able to use comparatively little to achieve the tastes that make our vinegars so special. In the end, a typical bottle from Tavern Direct will go much further than one off the supermarket shelf.

For more information on the products we sell, the causes they serve, and the Tavern on the Green tradition, stick to the Tavern Direct blog for much, much more.

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Gourmet Cooking with Purpose: Tavern Direct + NCMEC

By Kristen Hess, Artful Gourmet
March 20, 2011

I recently was fortunate enough to meet Lou Bivona, Managing Partner of Tavern Direct and Founding Member of National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/NY and sample some of his gourmet products to cook with. Tavern Direct has a fantastic line of flavorful, gourmet marinades, dipping and finishing sauces, 14-16 year barrel-aged balsamic vinegars infused with real fruit and herb oils all made with premium, all-natural ingredients bottled under the Tavern on the Green name. The best of all about this wonderful cooking line is that a portion of all their proceeds goes to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a charity committed to help millions of children through the sales of their products.


*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

Their product lineup includes Oils, Herbs ‘n More featuring Garlic with Rosemary Oil, Chili Pepper with Garlic Oil and Pepper with Lemon Oil. Their Marinade, Dipping and Finishing Sauce line includes Central Park Signature, Wasabi Wonder, Smokin’ Chipolte and Asian Lemon. The Marinade trio features Chandelier Chardonnay and Fire Grilled Garlic, Old Vine Cabernet and Fire Grilled Garlic and Toscana Garlic Parmesan. The Balsamic Vinegar line is premium and gorgeously flavored with options such as Citrus on the Green (infused with Orange, tangerine and lime), Blackberry and Ginger, Autumn Fig with Vanilla, and Summer Strawberry. Last but not least, they have a robust 1870 Steak Sauce as well as a sesame Golden Ginger Teriyaki Sauce, perfect for marinating steak, chicken and fish for stir-fries and grilling.

Garlic & Rosemary Oil

With so many gorgeous sauces and marinades to choose from, I had a hard time choosing which one to cook with first. I chose the Garlic with Rosemary Oil in their Oil, Herbs n’ More collection to make a fantastic, delicious meal of Pan Seared Pork Chops, Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan and Pecan Brown Basmati Rice with Garlic. With all the wonderful oils and vinegars and marinades in this line, I’ll be cooking up a storm and planning food and wine pairings and special recipes, and aim to share all my creations and cooking experiences with you throughout the year. Stay tuned for more!

For more great recipes and info about Tavern Direct, visit To make a donation to NCMEC , visit their secure website.

Garlic Rosemary Pan-Seared Pork Chops, Parmesan Zucchini + Pecan Brown Basmati RIce

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Garlic and Rosemary

Serves 4
Total Prep time: 30 mins
Total Cook time: 1 hr
Cooking skill: Intermediate


4 large boneless pork chops (about 1 ½ inches thick)
Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
4 Garlic cloves, sliced
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and adjust the oven rack to middle position.

Marinade pork chops in the Garlic with Rosemary Oil in a plastic freezer bag or baking dish and place in the refrigerator for up 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once chops are done marinating, cut 2 slits about 2 inches apart into each chop, using a sharp knife. Insert sliced garlic cloves into slits and sprinkle entire surface of each chop with 1 tsp of salt. Place them in a roasting pan or baking sheet and let stand room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle chops with freshly ground pepper and rosemary and transfer baking sheet or roasting pan to oven. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 120-125 degrees (approximately 30-45 mins).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the Garlic with Rosemary oil in a 12 inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Place 2 chops in skillet and sear until well browned and crusty, 1 ½-3 minutes, lifting once halfway to redistribute the fat underneath each chop. (reduce heat if browned bits in pan bottom start to burn). Using tongs, turn chops and cook until well browned on second side, another 2-3 minutes. Transfer chops to a plate and repeat with remaining 2 chops, adding extra tablespoon oil if pan is dry.

Reduce heat to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 pork chops on their sides. Holding chops together with tongs, return to skillet and sear sides of chops until browned and meat thermometer in center of chops registers 140-145 degrees, about 1 ½ minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 chops. Let chops rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes until ready to serve. Sprinkle with some extra Rosemary if desired to garnish.

Pair the Pan-seared chops with Roasted Zucchini with Garlic & Parmesan and Pecan Brown Basmati Rice (recipes follow) and a light, crisp Chardonnay to top off the meal. Delicious!

Roasted Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan

Serves 4
Total Prep time: 15 mins
Total Cook time: 30-45 mins
Cooking skill: Easy


4 medium zucchini
Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh or dried rosemary leaves


Wash zucchini and cut in half length wise, chopping off ends, and cut in half again. Arrange zucchini in a glass baking pan and drizzle the Garlic with Rosemary oil over the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and top the zucchini with the shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh or dried rosemary. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Pecan Brown Basmati Rice with Garlic

Serves 4
Total Prep time: 15 mins
Total Cook time: 1 hour
Cooking skill: Easy


1 cup long-grain brown rice
1-2 tablespoons Tavern Direct Garlic with Rosemary Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
¼ cup green onion, sliced thin (for garnish, optional)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare brown rice in medium saucepan, following package instructions.

About 15 minutes before the rice is done, heat 1-2 tbsp of Garlic with Rosemary oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and begins to yellow, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and pecans; sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the garlic is tender and pecans are browned slightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove rice from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Spoon brown rice into a bowl; spoon the onions, garlic and pecans on top and toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some chopped green onion if desired.

About the Author

Kristen Hess, Artful Gourmet

Kristen Hess is an amateur chef, freelance food writer, food stylist/photographer. You can view more of her food writing, photography and recipes at her food blog Artful Gourmet.

**This was not a paid endorsement for Tavern Direct, NCMEC or Tavern on the Green.

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Giveaway! The Tavern Direct Super Insiders are HERE!

ATTN: This post and giveaway has moved to the newly improved! Please head HERE to enter!

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

There’s been quite a lot going on at lately, and to kick everything off, we’ve decided to host our own giveaway encouraging all our fans to get involved! Those of you new to the Tavern on The Green label, welcome, we’re confident you’ll be surprised to learn all of the amazing and versatile uses for our Gourmet line of Dips, Marinades, and Sauces. Chef Lou, owner and resident gourmet foodie, is always in the kitchen whipping up something delectable with the Tavern on The Green Intl. products; and now you can too!

In addition to our comprehensive recipe database, found on the main site, the Tavern Direct Blog will be offering monthly recipe profiles and pairing suggestions. Kicking off, alongside the re-released new Tavern Direct Blog is the brand new Super Insiders Group of 7 talented bloggers. Every month they’ll be whipping up dishes with our featured product and sharing innovative suggestions for time saving and gourmet meals! Every time you see Tavern Direct in the news, a tweet, a blog, or online be sure to head back here to the blog and let us know- then enter our monthly giveaway, and get a head up on all the current contests.

Fans of our Gourmet Marinades and Sauces love us for their unparalleled flavor and quality CookingForBachelorsTV‘s Jyl Ferris proclaims is the only ‘pre-made, bottled line’ she’s ever endorsed! We know our products are amazing, but did you know a portion of the proceeds from every purchase go to support the efforts of the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children? Every time our customers indulge in our 1870 Steak Sauce,  Summer Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar, or other gourmet products they’re helping to reunite lost or abducted children with their families! Be sure to connect with our blog today, and on Facebook to stay up to date with all the current efforts and events.

This month’s Tavern Direct Blog giveaway will give followers the chance to win 1 of 5 bottles of our Toscana Garlic Parmesan Marinade. Make sure to check in daily for new entry possibilities, and links to our Super Insiders posts, as they go live. Facebook fans will have the first heads up on bonus entry possibilities- so be sure to connect today!

*Tavern on the Green Intl. is NOT affiliated with Tavern on the Green In Central Park in New York City

5 Tavern Direct Blog followers will win a bottle of our March featured Toscana Garlic Parmesan  Marinade!

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment sharing your favorite Tavern Direct product, or the one you’d like to try most. Be sure to leave a method of contact to notify you if you are a winner!

Extra Entries:

*Connect with Tavern Direct on Facebook (say Hi if you’d like)+1
*Follow Tavern Direct on Twitter +1
*Make a Tavern Direct purchase +8
*Visit our Tavern Direct Recipes and tell us one you’d most like to try +1
*Subscribe to the Tavern Direct blog via email +2
*Tweet this giveaway with the button below (+1 daily)
*Share this post on Facebook +1

*Watch Chef Lou’s CookingForBachelorsTV Spot and tell us which recipe you’d like to try +1
*Visit Super Insider Confession’s Of An Overworked Mom’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

*Visit Super Insider Momma Told Me’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

*Visit Super Insider My Life With Rats and More’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

*Read and comment on this week’s Gourmet Cooking With Purpose post +2
*Visit Super Insider Turning The Clock Back’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

*Visit Super Insider Deb’s Here’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1(Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

*Visit Super Insider Mama Buzz’s Toscana Parmesan post and share with us something you learned/like +1 (Be sure to leave a comment here and there!)

Giveaway begins March 18, 2011 at 12:01 AM EST and ends 12:59 PM EST on March 31, 2011. Winners will be notified via email, and posted here. Entries valid within the US. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Prize will be transferred via Tavern Direct.

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Beyond Veal Milanese

Want to dazzle your guests with a wonderful veal dish? Try Tavern Direct’s “Beyond Veal Milanese”.

Total: (total time to make recipe, including prep) 36 minutes
Active: (active time to make the recipe) 10 minutes prep and 3 minutes for salad
Makes: (how many people can this recipe serve) 4

Ingredients with measurements:
6-8 pieces veal scaloppini
2-3 eggs
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tsps basil
2 tsps Italian seasoning
1 TBLS grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 tsps for garnish
2 cups mixed greens
6-10 grape tomatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tavern’s Citrus on the Green Balsamic Vinegar
Crushed Sea Salt
Fresh ground black pepper

1) Slightly beat the eggs in a small shallow dish.

2) On a dinner plate mix together:
Bread crumbs
Italian seasoning

3) Coat a piece of the veal in the egg and then place the veal on the breadcrumbs and pat on both sides until well coated in the bread crumbs. Set aside and repeat until all the veal is coated in breadcrumbs.
4) In a large frying pan heat 4 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil.
5) Place veal in hot oil until they are well browned on each side.
6) Remove from oil and place on paper towel.

For the Salad:
1) Place the mixed greens in a small bowl.
2) Cut tomatoes in half and add to the greens.
3) Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and citrus balsamic
4) Salt and pepper to taste.
5) Toss

To Plate:
Place one or two pieces of veal on a plate and top with the salad

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

I.R.S. Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children

Published: November 12, 2010
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For parents of missing children, any scrap of information that could lead to an abductor is precious.
Enlarge This Image

Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va., has a wall of posters dedicated to unsolved cases.
Enlarge This Image

Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times
At the center, Colin McNally ages an image of a girl taken by a relative at 4. She would now be 17.
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Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
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Three years into an excruciating search for her abducted son, Susan Lau got such a tip. Her estranged husband, who had absconded with their 9-year-old from Brooklyn, had apparently filed a tax return claiming the boy as an exemption.
Investigators moved quickly to seek the address where his tax refund had been mailed. But the Internal Revenue Service was not forthcoming.
“They just basically said forget about it,” said Julianne Sylva, a child abduction investigator who is now deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County, Calif.
The government, which by its own admission has data that could be helpful in tracking down the thousands of missing children in the United States, says that taxpayer privacy laws severely restrict the release of information from tax returns. “We will do whatever we can within the confines of the law to make it easier for law enforcement to find abducted children,” said Michelle Eldridge, an I.R.S. spokeswoman.
The privacy laws, enacted a generation ago to prevent Watergate-era abuses of confidential taxpayer information, have specific exceptions allowing the I.R.S. to turn over information in child support cases and to help federal agencies determine whether an applicant qualifies for income-based federal benefits.
But because of guidelines in the handling of criminal cases, there are several obstacles for parents and investigators pursuing a child abductor — even when the taxpayer in question is a fugitive and the subject of a felony warrant.
“It’s one of those areas where you would hope that common sense would prevail,” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “We are talking about people who are fugitives, who have criminal warrants against them. And children who are at risk.”
About 200,000 family abductions are reported each year in the United States, most of which stem from custody disputes between estranged spouses. About 12,000 last longer than six months, according to Justice Department statistics, and involve parental abductors who assume false identities and travel the country to escape detection.
But, counterintuitive as it may seem, a significant number file one of bureaucracy’s most invasive documents, a federal tax return. A study released by the Treasury Department in 2007 examined the Social Security numbers of 1,700 missing children and the relatives suspected of abducting them, and found that more than a third had been used in tax returns filed after the abductions took place.
Criminologists say it is unclear what motivates a child abductor to file a tax return: confusion, financial desperation for a refund or an attempt to avoid compounding their criminal problems by failing to pay taxes. Whatever the reason, the details in a return on an abductor’s whereabouts, work history and mailing address can be crucial to detectives searching for a missing child.
“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” said Harold Copus, a retired F.B.I. agent who investigated missing child cases, of why abductors provide such information. “But if they were thinking clearly, they wouldn’t have abducted their child in the first place.”
The law forbids the I.R.S. from turning over data from tax returns unless a parental abduction is being investigated as a federal crime and a United States district judge orders the information released. But the vast majority of parental abduction cases are investigated by state and local prosecutors, not as federal crimes, say investigators and missing children’s advocates. Even when the F.B.I. does intercede in parental abduction cases, requests for I.R.S. data are rarely granted.
When the Treasury Department study identified hundreds of suspected abductors who had filed tax returns, for instance, a federal judge in Virginia refused to issue an order authorizing the I.R.S. to turn over their addresses to investigators. The judge, Leonie M. Brinkema, declined to discuss her decision.
Advocates for missing children say that federal judges often argue that parental abductions are better suited to family court than criminal court.
“There’s this sense that because the child is with at least one of their parents, it’s not really a problem,” said Abby Potash, director of Team Hope, which counsels parents who are searching for a missing child. Ms. Potash’s son was abducted by a relative and kept for eight months before he was recovered. “But when you’re the parent who’s left behind, it is devastating. You’re being robbed of your son or daughter’s childhood.”
In Ms. Lau’s case, her search for her missing son dragged on for two years after the I.R.S. refused investigators’ request for her ex-husband’s tax return. She actually got the tip from the I.R.S., which disallowed her request to claim the boy on her own tax return because someone else had. The boy was eventually found in Utah, after his photo appeared in a flier distributed by missing children’s groups, and he was reunited with his mother at age 15 — five years after they were separated.
I.R.S. officials are quick to point out that they have worked closely with missing children’s advocates in some areas. The I.R.S.’s “Picture Them Home” program has included photos of thousands of missing children with forms mailed to millions of taxpayers since 2001. More than 80 children were recovered with the help of that program.
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Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times
Ernie Allen, chief of the center, says, “It’s one of those areas where you would hope that common sense would prevail.”
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Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
• Read All Comments (130) »
Still, attempts to change the law to give the tax agency more latitude have sputtered over the last decade. Dennis DeConcini, a former Democratic senator from Arizona, lobbied for the change in 2004 on behalf of a child advocacy group, but said that it never gained traction because some members of Congress feared that any release of I.R.S. data could lead to a gradual erosion of taxpayer privacy. In recent years, much of the legislation involving missing children has focused on international abductions.
One problem missing children’s advocates have wrestled with in proposing legislation is determining how much information the I.R.S. should be asked to release from a suspected abductor’s tax return. Should disclosure be required only if a child’s Social Security number is listed on a return? Should child abduction investigators be given only the address where a tax return was mailed? Or the location of an employer who has withheld taxes on a suspected abductor?
Griselda Gonzalez, who has not seen her children since 2007, holds fleeting hope that some type of information might reunite her family. Diego and Tammy Flores were just 2 and 3 years old when their father took them from their home in Victorville, Calif., for a weeklong visit and never returned. After Ms. Gonzalez reported their disappearance, a felony warrant for kidnapping was issued for the father, Francisco Flores. His financial records suggest he meticulously planned his actions for months — withdrawing money from various accounts and taking out a second mortgage — so Ms. Gonzalez doubts he would claim the children as dependents on a tax return.
But it gnaws at her that some federal laws seemed more concerned with the privacy of a fugitive than the safety of children.
“When your kids are taken from you, the hardest part is at night, thinking about them going to sleep,” she said. “You wonder who’s tucking them in, who will hug them if they have a bad dream or taking them to the bathroom if they wake up. And you ask yourself whether you’ve done everything possible to find them.”
“It would be good to know that you tried everything,” she said.
Missing children’s advocates see the I.R.S. data as a potentially powerful resource.
“There are hundreds of cases this could help solve,” said Cindy Rudometkin of the Polly Klaas Foundation. “And even if it helped solve one case — imagine if that child returned home was yours.”

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Brent’s Chili Recipe

The weather is turning colder. What could be better than chili for comfort food? Here is a great recipe that is so simple and amazingly healthy. Enjoy.
Tavern’s Chili with Chipotle
Total: (total time to make recipe, including prep) 20 minutes prep time,
4-5 hours crock time
Active: (active time to make the recipe) 20 minutes
Serves: 8-9 people

Intensity: EASY
You will need

2 rotisserie chickens skin removed!
32 oz salsa of your liking
¼ cup of Tavern on the Green Smokin Chipotle or Tavern on the Green Intl. 1870 Steak Sauce
4 cans Great Northern beans – add with liquid
1 yellow pepper diced
1 red pepper diced
1 orange pepper diced
1/2 cup red onion chopped
Taste of cumin
Taste of chili spice
Crushed red pepper

Take the chicken off the bone and put in the crock pot along with remaining ingredients. Mix in the pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

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