This may be a little late for Mother’s Day 2013, but these are good tips for any special occasion.
Danielle Nierenberg and Quinn Korreck
Here are seven tips to make it a point to create a better, more sustainable celebration:
- Buy local. Consider cooking at home instead of going out and try to buy local ingredients. Local Harvest has a search feature that allows consumers to find area farmers markets and farms in their communities.
- Dine responsibly. If you prefer to go out, do some research beforehand and find restaurants that follow best practices for sustainability. The Green Restaurant Association has a search feature that allows diners to locate the most environmentally friendly places to eat. And make sure to take home and eat the leftovers.
- Learn something new. Understanding why it’s important to eat locally or to support sustainable operations is as vital as the actions themselves. There are great books and documentaries, which will also provide lots of quality conversation topics for dinner.
- Make a donation. Instead of buying another gift that Mom doesn’t need, why not find an organization that supports a food- and agriculture-related issue and make a donation in her name, i.e. Oxfam America has a gift section where you can donate a vegetable garden for a family in need.
- Help out in the community. Share a meal with those less fortunate on Mother’s Day by lending a helping hand at a food bank or a soup kitchen. Food Pantries has a website to locate food pantries and soup kitchens in your area.
- Buy Fair Trade. Common Mother’s Day gifts include chocolate, fresh fruit, coffee, or flowers—all items that can be purchased from fair trade producers.
- Plant a garden. Planting a vegetable garden at home is not only a fun Mother’s Day activity, but is also an excellent way to make sure that Mom has fresh produce available for the rest of the summer.
Here are a few Food Festivals Tasting Table recommends as “worth the trip”:
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
Thursday, 5/30 to Sunday, 6/2
Now in its third year, this festival has hit its stride. This year, the founders are abandoning large, stadium-style demos in favor of smaller, hands-on classes and lectures (day passes start at $185). Learn about real Cajun food with Donald Link, frying techniques with the Lee Bros., and classic cocktails with Neal Bodenheimer.
Charleston Grub Crawl
Bon Appétit is bringing its popular roving eat-and-walk event ($149) to Charleston this year. Spend the day walking the city’s cobblestoned streets, with pit stops at its best restaurants and bars, including Xiao Bao Biscuit, Hominy Grill and Husk.
Seattle Street Food Fest
Seattle’s first street-food festival will take place this year, and it promises to bring together food trucks, carts and nightly pop-ups with local culinary talent, including Joshua Henderson of Skillet, and Ethan Stowell.
West Coast Pig Pickin’
The South comes to California this summer, in a collaboration between the Southern Foodways Alliance and Napa’s Whetstone Winery. The afternoon ($125) will include on-site wine tastings paired with ‘cue from Rodney Scott of Scott’s Barbecue and Samuel Jones of Skylight Inn. Local chefs Daniel Patterson, Christopher Kostow and Stephen Barbour will prepare sides for the feasts.
The sequester will delay the US FDA implementation of the 2-year-old Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and result in fewer food-safety inspections, the agency’s top ranking official told the editorial board of USA TODAY. Thanks to the loss of $209 million in funds due to the $85 billion in government spending cuts, FDA will conduct 2,100 fewer inspections, representing an 18% decline from last year. A representative of Consumers Union expressed concern that sequestration will lead to more outbreaks of foodborne illness. The FSMA was crafted to prevent bacteria-ridden incidents, but FDA needs adequate resources to implement the law.
Mary Clare Jalonick
The government’s food stamp program, which helps feed 1 in every 7 Americans, was one of the few programs exempted from this year’s automatic spending cuts. But now it is likely to get trimmed. Unresolved is by how much. The Democratic chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee is only willing to take roughly one-half of 1 percent, or about $400 million annually, off the top as the panel prepares to move a massive farm bill through committee next week. Her Republican counterpart in the House, also preparing to consider a farm bill next week, would give the program a makeover and cut it by five times that amount. Neither committee has released its version of the bill, but House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., says he plans to propose a cut of about $2 billion a year. The House bill would also propose changes in the structure of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), something Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and other Senate Democrats have adamantly opposed. Both committees proposed slightly small changes to the program in bills they pushed in the last Congress, but the House leadership has committed to moving a bill, meaning the two sides will have to somehow resolve their differences over food stamps. It won’t be easy, but finding the right amount of food stamp cuts will be the only way farm-state lawmakers can get the five-year farm bill passed. The bill, which also sets policy for farm subsidies and other rural development programs, has historically included food stamps and domestic food aid to gain support of urban lawmakers who may not otherwise vote for the bill. The debate over food stamps doesn’t always fall along party lines—the top republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, has said he won’t support major cuts to food stamps because it is a popular program in his state. Food companies and states, both of which benefit from the program, are also expected to fight changes. On the House side, conservatives are expected to offer amendments to convert the program to block grants to the states, a move that could freeze spending and cut the benefit to many who now receive it. The debate on the floor is expected to be “lively”.
The prevalence of food allergies increased in children under age 18 years from 3.4% in 1997 to 5.1% in 2011, according to a new report from CDC released today. Skin allergies rose from 7.4% to 12.5% in the same time period; however, they decreased with age. The prevalence of respiratory allergies remained constant, at 17%, between 1997 and 2011, although it remained the most common type of allergy affecting children. Interestingly, the prevalence of respiratory allergies increased with age. In March 2013, the University of Manchester kicked off the world’s biggest study on food allergies that will have far-reaching consequences for consumers and food producers. The evidence base and tools that result from the study will support more transparent precautionary “may contain” labeling of allergens in foods which will make life easier for allergy sufferers as they try to avoid problem foods. The research project, which is expected to take three years to complete, also will work with groups of babies and groups of children who have been followed from birth in a number of countries to look at allergy and give advice on diet in pregnancy and early life.
Whole Foods announced on May 9 that some cold food bars mixed up the labels for chicken salad and vegan salad. Labels on a chicken salad and those on a vegan version of the salad were reversed at some of its cold food bars in the Northeast. The Mislabeled salads—a curried chicken salad and vegan curried “chick’n” salad—were sold in 15 stores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, Whole foods said. In some locations the salads were sold in the cold food bars where customers can scoop food into containers, which are then weighed at the register. In other locations, the salads were displayed in the prepared food sections behind glass. The salads were sold on Tuesday (5/7) and Wednesday (5/8). The FDA noted the vegan salad contains soy, and the curried chicken salad contains egg. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy or eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they eat the salads. The mislabeled salads came from a company-owned commissary. The mix-up was discovered by an employee in the prepared food section at one of its stores. Whole Foods is issuing a recall in line with guidelines set by the FDA and plans to post signs in stores alerting customers. To date, no illnesses have been reported.
Forget the plight of the polar bear for a moment and consider the coming collapse of the $30 billion honeybee economy in the US. Since 2006 honey bees responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops—from apples to zucchini—have been dying by the tens of millions. As a new report form the USDA details, scientists are still struggling to pinpoint the cause of so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and time is running out. Farmers who grow crops like almonds, blueberries and apples rely on commercial beekeepers to make sure their crops get pollinated. But the number of honeybees has now dwindled to the point where there may not be enough to pollinate those crops. In recent years, agricultural pesticides have become a leading suspect in bee deaths. Attention has focused on a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids. Last month the European Commission imposed a two-year ban on neonicotinoids as global concern grows over the bee population crash. But scientists increasingly believe several interacting factors—from disease-carrying parasites to poor nutrition to pesticides—are responsible for the mass die-off. And as agriculture becomes ever more industrial and natural habitats that formerly bordered farmland are destroyed, bees are being starved of the food they need to help produce food for humans. So how to save the bees? One answer: Breed better bees. The report recommends stepping up efforts to identify genetic traits in particular bees that make them resistant to suspected causes of CCD. The report also suggests importing Russian honey bees and other “Old World” bees to diversify bee breeding stock and build up CCD resistance. Scientists already have begun to stockpile bee semen and germplasm in case the worst comes to pass.
Farm to Paper – Tasting Table
For as much mention as there is about local food in mainstream food publications, little of it goes into depth on the actual process of creation—farming. With the inaugural issue of Modern Farmer, that’s about to change. Headed up by an alum of the New York Times Magazine and Monocle, the quarterly publication aims to cover issues surrounding the origins of food, whether raised in rural or urban settings, on family or industrial farms. This is not an empty mission held afloat by bucolic photo spreads. To provide substantive commentary, the team has enlisted some major journalistic talent, writers with credits at the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones and the San Francisco Chronicle, to name a few, who tackle topics like a rampant wild board epidemic, organic farming in the highly polluted city of Shanghai, the state of American slaughterhouses, and planting a four-season vegetable farm in your backyard. Modern Farmer is available now at newsstands and specialty food stores.
Grocery shelves are full of products with labels bragging that they contain antioxidants and implying that you’re just a few bites (and a few bucks) away from better health. But it’s not that simple. To help distinguish the myths from the truth, here’s a close look at the latest on antioxidants:
Myth:Antioxidants are all vitamins.
Truth: There are thousands of antioxidants, but relatively few of them are vitamins. Some are minerals and others are enzymes, which are protein molecules that facilitate chemical reactions necessary for cells to function properly.
Myth: All antioxidants are created equal.
Truth: Different antioxidants fight different free radicals, and they work well together. Even though scientists have yet to pinpoint all the ways the compounds protect against disease, many observational studies suggest that people who consume a greater amount of antioxidant-rich foods have a lower risk of certain diseases than people who don’t.
Myth: Be sure to eat pomegranates, berries and other “super fruits.”
Truth: All fruits are “super.” Each type of fruit or vegetable has a unique combination of healthful compounds, including antioxidants.
Myth: You should amp up your intake with supplements.
Truth: Focus on food instead. Overall, clinical trials that have examined the disease-fighting capability of specific antioxidant nutrients in supplement form haven’t shown very promising results.
Myth: If some antioxidants are good, more are better.
Truth: Too much can be problematic, so beware of multi- and single-antioxidant capsules labeled “megadoses,” which contain more than the recommended daily values for antioxidants. For example, consuming extremely large amounts of carrots or other vegetables rich in beta-carotene can result in orange-tinted skin.
Myth: Packaged food with labels that promise antioxidant benefits will boost your health.
Truth: Antioxidant claims on packaged food don’t always mean a health benefit. Some food manufacturers add an antioxidant, such as Vitamin C or E, and then label the product as containing antioxidants, presumably in hopes of boosting sales.
Is leaving butter out on the counter a common practice? And how long does room-temp butter last before it goes rancid? Keeping butter out seems to be pretty widespread. A very old method of preserving milk fat, butter existed long before refrigeration. Besides, butter right out of the fridge is un-spreadable—there’s nothing more frustrating than a stack of hot toast and a solid stick of butter. A lot of Chowhounds use a covered butter dish for kitchen-counter storage. Some like to use a butter bell, a ceramic storage container shaped like an inverted goblet with the open end neatly sealed in a crock of water. You need to change the water every couple of days. As the water evaporates, it cools the butter, keeping it fresh and spreadable. According to Land O’Lakes, butter should stay fresh for two weeks, though that depends on a few variables. Anecdotal evidence suggests that salted butter lasts longer. High-fat butters melt too easily to leave at room temperatures. Keep high-butterfat brands in the fridge, but leave ordinary butter on the kitchen counter.
More Chowhounds are rendering their own fat at homes these days. But how long does it last? How can you best keep it fresh, and how will you know if it’s rancid? Commercially rendered animal fat tends to keep forever. Unfortunately, home-rendered fat doesn’t last as long, as tiny amounts of impurities in the fat can cause rancidity. Since the bits of meat and impurities tend to settle to the bottom, sprinkling a layer of salt at the bottom of your storage jar before pouring in the fat will keep those bits from spoiling the whole batch. Or let the fat settle, spoon off the snow-white fat from the top, and toss the bits at the bottom. For long-term storage, the freezer is best. Fat can get freezer burn, but it won’t get rancid. Since fat doesn’t freeze as hard as water, you can freeze it in bags and chip off bits as needed. As for recognizing when it’s rancid, you’ll know from the taste—it’ll make your tongue tingle form the acidity not to mention the bad taste.
Over the past three years, cake clubs have been growing in popularity in the UK. The concept is similar to a book club—except with cake. Often there’s a theme: new recipes only, international or other mandates. Members rendezvous regularly at local tea shops and cafes, where they show off their homemade cakes before digging in. The clubs are just one manifestation of a baking madness that’s sweeping England. Last summer’s London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee inspired Brits to bake for street festivals and village fairs to commemorate both events. And the financial crisis has encouraged the nation to stay at home, finding low-cost leisure activities—including watching cooking shows on TV. “The Great British Bake Off,” which premiered in 2010 and tests home bakers on every aspect of baking skill, is also credited for the revival. Baking is so hip these days that, when 31-year-old Chris Holmes decided to quit his job to become a full-time baker, he wrote his resignation letter in icing on a cake—an image that quickly went viral.
MTV is joining the food reality fray with a new show called Food School. The casting notice explains that they are looking for “amateur chefs, bakers and cooking enthusiasts of all kinds (who are at least 18 years old), with the biggest personalities and a fierce appetite for competition.” The contestants will live together in a house “and be schooled in the most intensive and practical culinary training, with mentorship by legendary food masters. Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern offered some thoughts on the new show via Twitter: “Will do for culinary arts what Teen Moms did for parenting!”
TV personality Alton Brown is going on tour, and he’s bringing ponchos. His live show will feature cooking, live music and “bizarre and potentially messy experiments.” Brown has not yet announced the name for the tour; he is deciding between “The Inevitable Edible Tour” or “The Edible Inevitable Tour.” According to the official website, Brown will be heading to cities across the US, including San Diego, CA, Mesa, AZ, Detroit, MI, and Tampa, FL. He’ll also be heading to New England in the second leg of the tour. Since Brown tweeted a link to the site at 10:54 am EST today, the site has been crashing due to the number of visitors.
How Coffee Influenced The Course Of History - Lydia Zuraw
Coffee is a powerful beverage. On a personal level, it helps keep us awake and active. On a much broader level, it has helped shape our history and continues to shape our culture. Coffee plants grow wild in Ethiopia and were probably used by nomadic tribes for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the 1400s that people figured out they could roast its seeds. “Then it really took off,” according to historian Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. By the 1500s, he says, the drink had spread to coffeehouses across the Arab world. Within another 150 years, it took Europe by storm. Coffeehouses became a spot not just to enjoy a cup but to exchange ideas. Lloyd’s of London was founded hundreds of years ago in one of London’s 2,000 coffeehouses. Literature, newspapers and even the works of great composers like Bach and Beethoven were also spawned in coffeehouses. It is often said that after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when American colonists raided British tea ships and threw crates of tea into the harbor, that Americans universally switched over to drinking coffee. Pendergrast cites a letter John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, in which the Founding Father proclaims his love of tea but says he will have to learn to embrace coffee instead, because drinking tea had become unpatriotic. On the negative side, to be profitable coffee plantations used slave labor. In Brazil—where slavery was legal until 1888—coffee plantations would use slash-and-burn agriculture, tearing down rain forests and planting coffee trees that depleted the nutrients in soil. Once the soil had been sapped, growers would move on to another place. There are also history’s many coffee naysayers. In 1511, for example, the governor of Mecca banned coffee because his medical advisers warned it was bad for people’s health. In 1674, women in London were convinced that coffee made their husbands impotent. Overall, coffee has dad a very good impact in many ways on our civilization.
How Coffee Brings The World Together - Dan Charles
Coffee is more than a drink. For many of us, it’s woven into the fabric of every day. It also connects us to far corners of the globe. All across Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, people grow coffee. The best coffee comes from high altitudes, but you cannot grow it in places that freeze, so you need a mixture of high altitude and warm climate, which makes the tropics the place to grow it. In many tropical countries, especially poor ones, it’s a pillar of the economy; exports of green coffee beans, globally, are worth $15 billion a year. Forty percent of all coffee comes from Brazil, and the typical coffee farm in Brazil looks more like a corn farm in Iowa. When it’s time for harvest in Brazil, big machines roll through and strip off the cherry-like coffee fruit, with its valuable bean inside. The second-biggest producer in the world is a surprise for many people: Vietnam. Vietnamese farmers grow a species of coffee tree called Robusta. It grows fast and produces a big crop, but the bean has a bitter taste. It’s often used in blends, but high-end coffee producers stick to another species, Arabica. The one big divide in the coffee business is the “commodity” coffee on the one side and “connoisseur” companies on the other. The “connoisseur” companies sell coffee that has been more carefully harvested and graded. Some market the coffee almost like wine, labeling where it came from and how it tastes. People used to divide the coffee world neatly into producers, like Brazil, and consuming countries in Western Europe and North America. The clear lines are getting blurred. Brazil could soon overtake the US to become the world’s single biggest coffee-consuming country. There has also been significant growth in consumption in regions like Southeast Asia, South Korea, Eastern Europe, India and the Gulf nations. The coffee experience is more global than ever.
Coffee Quiz: Discover The World In A Cup Of Joe - NPR Staff
Now, let’s test your coffee knowledge. (Answers at the end of this week’s Edible Examiner)
Question 1: Who drinks the most coffee?
a) Finland b) Italy c) Peru
Question 2: Which of these is a macchiato?
a) Milk Foam/Steamed Milk/Espresso b) Water/Espresso c) Milk Foam/Espresso
Question 3: Where did coffee originate?
a) Ethiopia b) Brazil c) Indonesia
Question 4: Which country comes SECOND to Brazil as the world’s largest coffee producer?
a) Vietnam b) India c) Colombia
Question 5: Who first told North America about coffee?
a) William Penn b) John Smith c) Christopher Columbus
Question 6: Which will give you the biggest shot of caffeine?
a) Arabica Beans b) Robusta Beans c) Yerba Mate Tea
Question 7: What’s the origin of “Mocha” coffee?
a) Arabic word for chocolate b) Yemeni Port City c) Island off South America
Question 8: Who brought coffee to Java?
a) Dutch East India Co. b) Marco Polo c) Muslim Traders
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially broken the law by failing to release regulations needed to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the 2011 legislation meant to overhaul the nation’s food safety system. That was the key finding in the case of Center for Food Safety v. Hamburg, released Monday by US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the Northern District of California. The Center for Food Safety had sued Margaret Hamburg, the FDA commissioner, after the agency failed to release seven key regulations by July 2012, which the FSMA had set as the deadline for their release. The FDA responded that the rules were complicated and technical, and that releasing them prematurely would compromise their efficacy. They did not address widespread accusations that the regulations were being held up by the White House for political reasons. Judge Hamilton ruled that the seven food safety regulations were being “unlawfully withheld” and that “the FDA has violated the FMSA and the [Administrative Procedure Act] by failing to complete the regulations by the statutory deadlines.” She ordered the FDA’s food safety officials to meet with representatives from the Center for Food Safety to draw up a concrete timeline for the release and finalization of the regulations and to present it to the court no later than May 20 of this year. FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said that the FDA could not comment on pending litigation. Kimbrell noted that the agency could appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Barring that, however, the next step in the case is the meeting to set a timeline. The seven regulations could conceivably be released by July, one year after the deadline in the FSMA.
On Wednesday, April 24, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced bills to the Senate and House of Representatives that would require food manufacturers to clearly label any product containing genetically engineered ingredients—or risk having that product classified “misbranded” by the FDA. Both have previously sponsored bills that would have mandated GMO labeling, but the new “Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act” is the first GMO labeling bill to be introduced with both bicameral and bipartisan support. DeFazio said he hopes the new act would generate a “grassroots tidal wave of support” from constituents. Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans—over 90 percent—supports mandatory labeling of foods with GE ingredients. Sixty-four other countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, already require such labels. And dozens of advocacy groups and food corporations have signaled their support of the new bill. However, strong opposition from the agriculture and biotech industries has scuttled proposals for GMA labeling laws in the past. The most recent of these failed attempts at a GMO labeling requirement was California’s Proposition 37, which was narrowly defeated in a popular referendum after opponents spent $50 million lobbying against it. DeFazio confirmed that he intended the Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act to put political pressure on President Obama and the FDA. He described the executive branch’s stance toward GMO labeling so far as “indifference or even overt opposition.” But even if the bill fails to pass and to convince Obama and the FDA to require labeling on their own, GMO labeling could still happen soon—because of the private sector.
The US Justice Department and Anheuser-Busch InBev have agreed to conditions that will allow the beer giant to expand its stake in Mexico’s Grupo Modelo, according to court documents and company statements on Friday. The agreement looks like a victory for AB InBev, which knew early on that the Justice Department would balk at allowing it to expand its already significant US presence. Instead, AB InBev’s goal in doing the deal was to expand the sales of Corona and other Modelo brand beers outside the US. The deal requires AB InBev to sell the Piedras Negras brewery in Mexico that makes Corona and other Modelo brand beers for the US market. It also requires the purchaser, Constellation Brands, to expand the brewery so that it can make at least 20 million hectoliters of beer by December 31, 2016. The deal announced on Friday is similar to what AB InBev had offered in mid-February but adds Constellation as a defendant to the settlement with the department. This means that pledges that Constellation makes to the court about expanding the plant to make it big enough to serve the US market will be legally binding. InBev expects the deal to close in June 2013.
The annual ban on consuming recreationally harvested mussels from the California coast has been imposed early this year after testing revealed toxins that are harmful to humans. The quarantine usually begins May 1 and continues through Oct. 31. The quarantine applies to all species of mussels taken by the public anywhere on the California coast, including all bays, harbors, and estuaries. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included. Consumers of sport-harvested clams or scallops are advised to eat only the white meat, removing and discarding the dark-colored organs or viscera before cooking. Officials said compliance with the quarantine can prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning and domoic acid poisoning. There is no known antidote to the toxins, and cooking cannot be relied upon to destroy them.
Why Do People Love Eating Dangerous Foods? - George Embiricos
Physical and emotional discomfort. Hospitalization, asphyxiation that can lead to death. We’re not talking about the symptoms of some mysterious foodborne illness here, but rather the potential consequences of voluntarily eating some common, and often popular, foods. Let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous foods thrill-seekers can’t stay away from.
A spoonful of cinnamon. A recent article in The Atlantic details how a medical journal looked into the “cinnamon challenge,” which essentially involves a person trying to swallow a spoonful of dry cinnamon. The aftermath almost always includes coughing, vomiting and can even lead to collapsed lungs. Yet Pediatrics reports that there are currently some 51,000 videos on YouTube of individuals attempting the challenge.
Hot chilies. The Wall Street Journal wrote last month about the ongoing race to grow the world’s hottest pepper. The piece delves into the competitive nature of consuming ridiculously hot peppers. Now there are even restaurants serving dishes that include waiver forms, and some diners end up in hospitals after challenging their spice tolerance.
Fugu (puffer fish)
Widely recognized as the world’s most dangerous food, blowfish is often referenced in popular culture. Each year there are approximately 35 to 65 victims hospitalized from eating fugu in Japan—where it has long been considered a delicacy—with a 6.8 percent fatality rate. The poison, tetrododoxin, is found in the skin, skeleton, ovaries, intestines and liver of the fish, and chefs hoping to serve the dish must go through years of rigorous training just to gain certification allowing them to prepare it.
Dale Anderson has been a licensed professional counselor and a mediator in the court system since 1996 and has been working at Campus Employee Dispute Resolution Services at Western Michigan University since 2006. Anderson is good at that sort of thing. Making peace, building bridges…in fact, building literally is his third job. During his years of counseling, Anderson had observed that many of the juveniles he counseled were kinetic learners. They need to be moving, doing things while learning. He is a licensed builder, and his first thought was to provide work to young people looking for a second, or even a fifth chance, at getting life right by working in construction. But he bumped into child labor laws that don’t allow kids to use power tools or climb ladders. Buying a box of gourmet chocolates, Anderson suddenly had a sweet idea. These artisanal chocolates tasted far superior to ordinary supermarket boxed chocolates. Anderson took his master’s degree in counseling and multicultural conflict resolution and stirred in a heart for humanitarian work together with classes on becoming a chocolatier, and created artisan chocolate with a cause. Confections with Convictions opened its doors to the public in December 2010, in a building that had stood empty for nearly a decade. The convictions in the store name refer to Anderson’s commitment to offer employment to those who may not be able to find work elsewhere due to their criminal records. All of his employees have felony convictions. “Convictions” also refers to creating the best artisanal chocolates possible, using organic and fair trade means, and buying local fruits whenever possible. He has been successful at both. Amy Anderson, his 83-year-old mother, mirrors the same warm smile as her son, and she is only too happy to work alongside him in the shop. “I love working here, it’s like a new lease on life,” she says with enthusiasm.
Food Jobs Among the Worst in America, Survey Reports - Hillary Dixler
Not only do food industry jobs account for seven of the 10 lowest paid jobs in the country, they’ve been ranked as some of the all-around worst jobs too. CareerCast has announced its 2013 list of best and worst jobs and, as in years past, food industry jobs make a strong showing at the bottom of the list. CareerCast evaluates each job on five key elements: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. The only food-related job in the top 100 is dietician (#16). Here are the food and restaurant industry jobs on the list: Bartender (150), Butcher (183), Waiter/Waitress (185), Dishwasher (187), Farmer (190), Dairy Farmer (195). The following jobs are ranked even higher than the food-related jobs listed janitor (153), bus driver (157, sewage plant operator (87) funeral director (116) and taxi driver (146).
Students Stage Walkout at Culinary Institute of America - Paula Forbes
Students at the Culinary Institute of America staged a walkout protest yesterday, with about a fifth of the undergraduate class demonstrating. According to the New York Times, they were protesting, “a weakening enforcement of educational standards, including perceived lowered standards for admittance and graduation as well as rapid expansion. Students at the protest wore nametags declaring the amount of debt they had accrued going to the CIA. In 2008, students demonstrated against CIA president Tim Ryan, complaining that the school’s relationship with corporate food led to students learning institutionalized food preparations and lowered academic standards overall. Students involved in the protest told the Times they were trying to preserve the reputation of the school, in order to protect their investment in their education.
The Price Tags for 11 Culinary Schools Across the Country - Amy McKeever
Earlier this week, students at the Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park location staged a walkout to protest what they perceived as weakening academic standards alongside massive debt accrual. Folks in the restaurant industry have long debated whether culinary school is worth the high tuition rates for an industry in which entry-level jobs are notoriously low paying. Here’s a look at 10 programs across America, including tuition rates, programs offered and notable alumni. To keep things simple only the basic culinary arts programs are listed—not pastry, accelerated courses or bachelor’s degrees in management or any other specialty.
- Johnson & Wales University: $54,312 – $108,624. Located in Providence, RI; offers two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor of science degree; 2013-2014 tuition set at $27,156 per year, or $502 per credit. Notable alumni include Emeril Lagasse, Sean Brock.
- Kendall College: $53,772 – $89,667. Located in Chicago, IL; offers associate of applied science and a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. Notable alumni include Michael White, Mindy Segal, and José Garces.
- CIA, Hyde Park: $52,920 – $105,840. Located in Hyde Park, NY; offers both an associate degree in culinary arts and bachelor’s degree programs in either culinary arts or culinary science. For the 2013-2014 school year, each semester costs $13,230 in tuition. Notable alumni include Grant Achatz, Charlie Palmer.
- CIA at Greystone: $52,920. Located in St. Helena, CA; offers an associate degree in culinary arts. Theirs is also an 18-week externship and students work in the school’s own restaurant at the end of sophomore year.
- New England Culinary Institute: $52,500 – $82,350. Located in Montpelier, VT; offers both an associate degree of occupational studies in culinary arts and a bachelor of arts in culinary arts. Notable alumni include Alton Brown, Heather Terhune.
- The International Culinary Center, New York: $38,500 – $48,750. Located in New York City, NY; offers a variety of culinary arts training programs, including farm-to-table, French or technology intensive programs. Notable alumni include David Chang, Wylie Dufresne.
- Institute of Culinary Education: $30,278.90 – $34,278.90. Located in New York City, NY; Offers a variety of schedules for its 650-hour curriculum. There are no more than 16 students per class. Externships count for 210 of the 650 course hours. Notable alumni include Missy Robbins and Armandino Batali.
- International Culinary Center, California: $29,500 – $34,700. Located in Campbell, CA; offers a Classic Culinary Arts course with work experience. California students take externships at sites such as Bottega, Spruce, Café des Amis, the Mina Group and even Google.
- L’Academie de Cuisine: $29,500. Located just outside of Washington, DC; offers a three-phase culinary arts program that includes classroom learning, kitchen training and a paid externship at a fine-dining restaurant. Notable alumni include Carla Hall, Angela Pinkerton.
- Le Cordon Bleu, Los Angeles: $19,200 – $39,200. Located in Los Angeles, CA; offers a diploma in culinary arts and an associate degree in culinary arts.
Answers to the Coffee Quiz:
Question 1: a) Finland.
In 2011, Finns consumed an average of 12.17 kilograms (26.8 pounds) of coffee per person. In fact, Nordic countries make up the top six coffee-drinking countries. Could it be something to do with the long, dark nights?
Question 2: c) Milk Foam/Espresso
Question 3: a) Ethiopia
Evidence suggests that the first coffee plants grew in the region of Kaffa in central Ethiopia.
Question 4: a) Vietnam
Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French in the mid-19th century. Robusta beans account for most of Vietnam’s coffee output—more than 3.1 billion pounds in 2011.
Question 5: b) John Smith
Founder of the Colony of Virginia in 1607, Smith would certainly have encountered coffee on his Turkish travels, so he usually gets the credit.
Question 6: b) Robusta beans
A six oz. cup of drip-brewed Robusta coffee will give you anything from 140-200 mg of caffeine, compared to around 100 in a cup of Arabica.
Question 7: b) Yemeni Port City
Al-Mikha used to be a thriving port on the Red Sea Coast. It shipped a variety of coffee native to Yeen and Ethiopia and lent its name to those beans. These helped fuel Europe’s growing taste for this new and delightful drink that began in the 15th century.
Question 8: a) Dutch East India Co.
The Dutch governor of Malabar India, sent coffee seedlings via the East India Company to Batavia (near present day Jakarta) around 1696.
Fork to Planet: Eating Healthy to Save the Earth - Sari Kamin
With Earth Day fast approaching on April 22nd, this is a good time to check in with our community and ourselves and think about what we can do as citizens to help honor and respect our planet. The choices we make in our diets may have a direct impact on our planet. With agribusinesses now dominating our food system, food is now processed in factories that are responsible for massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. This is an issue that needs to be addressed on every level from government to individual.
We need new infrastructure in order to support our farmers and get local food into local markets. As individuals we can reduce our carbon footprint by making informed choices at our farmers markets and grocery stores. One of the most effective and efficient ways for individuals to contribute is by planting something. Urban gardening can be challenging, but there are many ways to grow potted vegetables and herbs on your fire escape or windowsill. As we think about Earth day and what that means to each of us, take advantage of these simple and accessible ways to do your part. Your body and your planet will thank you.
Farmers markets’ salad days - Elaine Gordon
According to the Agriculture Department, there are now more than 7,175 local farmers markets across the country. Many farmers markets open in April or May, so now is the time to get exploring, to discover new produce and fresh or potted herbs that your supermarket might not feature. Proper preparation can help make your trip to the market a great experience. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of your trip:
- Bring reusable, clean bags to carry your goodies home. Use separate bags for raw and cooked foods.
- Bring storage containers for delicate produce such as berries and cherry tomatoes that might otherwise get crushed when combined with other products.
- Arrive early in the day for the best selection. However, if you go toward the end of the day, you might get some good deals.
- Bring cash in small bills with a bag for change.
- Go in with an open mind. Vendors may point out produce you may not be as familiar with, such as garlic scapes, a twisty, curly plant, which makes a really good pesto.
- Take the time to scope out the entire market as different farmers offer different selections and prices of the same item. Be sure to ask the farmers how long produce will stay fresh so you don’t overbuy. The farmers may also be able to provide helpful storage tips.
Forget Gold, the Gourmet-Cupcake Market Is Crashing - Emily Maltby and Sarah E. Needleman
Is the Gourmet Cupcake Trend Finally Over? - Paula Forbes
Cupcakes became a cultural and economic phenomenon over the last decade, with gourmet cupcake shops proliferating across the country, selling increasingly elaborate and expensive concoctions. The craze hit a high mark in June 2011, when Crumbs Bake Shop Inc., a New York-based chain, debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol CRMB. After trading at more than $13 a share in mid-2011, Crumbs has sunk to under $1.40 today following an announcement that this year’s sales would be down 22% from earlier forecasts. As a business, making cupcakes has a relatively low barrier to entry and the field has become saturated with competitors, including individual bakeries, chains and grocery stores.
Also, backlash against the cupcake is nothing new: there have been cupcake haters ever since Magnolia Bakery first appeared on the HBO series Sex and the City. The sweet treats then became central characters in TV shows like the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and TLC’s “DC Cupcakes.” But it seems the cupcake backlash has reached the masses or maybe the masses are just suffering from gourmet cupcake burnout.
In Meat Tests, More Data Tying Human Illness To Farm Antibiotics - Eliza Barclay
Are the antibiotics the livestock industry uses on animals responsible for antibiotic-resistant infections in people? Bacteria are notoriously hard to follow from farm to fork, but more pieces of the puzzle are coming together that suggest the answer is yes. Findings released through a joint program of the FDA, the Department of Agriculture and the CDC in February reported data on tests conducted on supermarket meat samples gathered in 2011 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System. This week the Environmental Working Group, which opposes some of the livestock industry’s use of antibiotics, analyzed the government data and highlighted some of their startling implications in a report. EWG researchers found that 53 percent of raw chicken samples were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant E. coli. Resistant salmonella was also common on the meat samples: Of all the salmonella found on the chicken samples, some 74 percent were antibiotic-resistant. And 26 percent of the chicken tested positive for resistant Campylobacter. Lance Price, an expert on antibiotic resistance and a professor at George Washington University, reviewed the EWG report and he concurs. “This report isn’t fear mongering,” says Price. “Food is an underappreciated potential route of exposure to drug-resistant bacteria. And it’s a huge potential source for emergence of the next true superbug.” Mike Apley, a veterinarian at Kansas State University who specializes in cattle raised in feedlots, has frequently defended the livestock industry’s use of antibiotics for disease prevention and treatment. But he agrees that the new data suggests that the appearance of drug-resistant strains of harmful bacteria on meat is a problem. Many scientists and food advocacy groups are pushing for tighter regulations on the industry and more details about how it uses antibiotics. Ultimately, antibiotics are a crutch for a system that relies on confining large numbers of animals in a way that increases their susceptibility to disease.
Food Poisonings Up From Raw Milk, Poultry Bacteria - Mike Stobbe
Bacteria commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is causing more and more food poisonings, health officials said Thursday. Cases of campylobacter grew by 14 percent over the last five years, a government study found. The CDC report was based on foodborne infections in only 10 states—about 15 percent of the American population—but it is seen as a good indicator of food poisoning trends. Overall, food poisonings held fairly steady in recent years. There were no significant jumps in cases from most other food bugs, including salmonella and E. coli. But campylobacter rose, and last year accounted for more than a third of food poisoning illnesses in those states and about a 10th of the deaths. Health officials are not clear on why the campylobacter cases have increased, or which food or foods was the source of most of the added illnesses. The CDC report focused on only nine types of food germs, and counted only cases that were lab confirmed. The CDC reports that many illnesses never get reported and it estimates that as many as 48 million Americans get sick from contaminated food each year.
The federal government has been trying for nearly a decade to establish an animal identification system. The main goal of a livestock identification system is to track animals’ movements so agriculture and health officials can quickly establish quarantines and take other steps to prevent the spread of disease. It introduced a voluntary program in 2006 but scrapped it several years later amid widespread complaints from farmers about the expense and red tape. Some also worried about possible privacy violations with the collection of information about their properties. The program ultimately failed because relatively few participated. A new program recently launched is mandatory but more limited in scope. It applies only to animals being shipped across state lines, and it gives states flexibility in deciding how animals will be identified—an important concession to cattle ranchers in western states where brands are still commonly used. The rules that went into effect March 11 require dairy cows and sexually intact beef cattle over 18 months of age to be registered when they are shipped over states lines and outline acceptable forms of identification. The two most widely used forms of ID are ear tags and branding. Consumer advocates want the government to take the system further. Their goal is a program, which will trace food from farm to plate.
Why More Extreme Foods Are Creeping Onto Menus - Susan Berfield and Venessa Wong
For Americans who haven’t been to a state fair recently, this may come as a surprise: Some people make sandwiches with doughnuts. The Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich—there’s a pepper fried egg and cherrywood-smoked bacon inside–now offered at Dunkin’ Donuts, is one of many curious new items offered by restaurant chains, often for a limited time, to attract that adventure-seeking, fast-food-eating creature known as the young American male. Food-industry researcher Technomic reports that 34 percent of young men eat fast food several times a week; only 23 percent of young women do. So many restaurant menus are crafted with the Y chromosome in mind. According to Technomic Executive Vice President Darrne Tristano, “The younger generation is looking for fun things to try, interesting things to talk about.” In March, Burger King began offering burgers stuffed with bacon and cheddar and topped with onion rings, as well as tater tots filled with bacon and onions. Among the most successful in the more-is-more category of food is the Doritos Locos Tacos, which Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell introduced a year ago. Pizza Hut, another Yum! Brands’ unit has found a way to deliver even more cheese to customers. The chain’s new pizza has 16 open-face pockets along the crust brimming with its Italian five-cheese blend. A slice has 340 calories; one-third of them come from fat.
This Fully Loaded, Column of a Kitchen Is Actually Becoming a Real Thing - Ashley Feinberg
With populations growing and cities overcrowding, space-saving designs are amassing a huge, highly lucrative following. The only problem is that they often stay just that—designs. But at least one innovative appliance is leaving concept land to become a reality: Ecooking, a fully functional, vertical kitchen. Designed by Massimo Facchineti, the towering column of a kitchen includes practically anything an industrious, space-starved chef could need, plus a few things you wouldn’t even think to want. Kitchen basics are obviously covered with a fridge, oven, induction cooktop, sink, dishwasher, and an espresso maker. But then there’s everything else: multi-stage water filtration, side-mounted herb garden with UV light, dining surfaces seating up to six, extra storage, AND a solar panel to cut costs. The modular unit will be available sometime in early to mid-2014. Pricing is still undetermined.
Usually when someone smells like whiskey, that’s not a good thing. But perfume company Commodity wants to change that. The company allows you to fill out a scent profile, and it will mail you samples you may enjoy. Or, you can go ahead and purchase the whiskey (for men) or tea (for women). Unlike the bacon cologne or the Pizza Hut perfume, these perfumes/colognes are not meant as novelty items. May we suggest eau de chocolate cake?
Coming This Summer: Food Network Star Season 9 - Maria Russo
The ninth season of Food Network Star is set to start on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, when contenders will travel to Los Angeles to begin an 11-week journey, complete with all-new Mentor and Star Challenges, surprise chef guests and on-locations demands. Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be back to mentor the contestants, but this season they’re doing so from across the judges’ table as members of the selection committee. Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson will be on hand, as well. Focus groups will also be invited to share their reviews with Alton, Bobby and Giada. For the first time, one finalist will be brought back after elimination for another chance at victory. Just like last year, there will be a live finale fan vote to determine the winner at the end of the season.
Food Network Star Sunny Anderson is well know by her Twitter followers as perhaps the ultimate cat parent. When Sunny found out that fellow Food Network Star Justin Warner had found a stray cat near his Brooklyn restaurant, Do or Dine, she couldn’t help but welcome the wide-eyed kitty into her home. Sea Salt joined Truffle Tycoon, Cheddar Cheese and Milky Mouth as the newest member of the Anderson household. Sunny makes sure she keeps Sea Salt’s “godfatha” Justin up to date on her progress. Sunny and Justin aren’t the only ones pitching in to save animals in need. When Alton Brown found out last month that a corgi, Dale, in Virginia Beach, VA, was at a local shelter awaiting adoption, he took to Twitter to help Dale find a loving owner. “If one of my followers adopts him, I will bake him biscuits and deliver them myself,” he tweeted to his more than half a million followers. In just a few weeks, the shelter reported that Dale indeed had found a permanent home.
Is your wallet feeling a little thin after submitting your taxes? Haven’t gotten your refund yet? Several national food chains are offering deals for Tax Day.
- Cinnabon. Get 2 free Cinnabon bites from 6-8 pm. No coupon needed.
- Brueggers. Guests pay just $10.40 (a “deduction” of nearly $3.50 per bundle) at participating locations for their choice of 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese. Get your coupon on the Bruegger’s Facebook page.
- Arby’s. Free curly fries or potato cakes on April 15, with coupon.
- White Castle. 15% discount on orders at all restaurants and online through Tax Day. Coupon required.
- Boston Market. Incredible Rib Special. Two rib meals for $10.40 on April 15. No coupon needed. Offer includes a ¼ rack of St. Louis Style BBQ! Ribs with mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet corn and freshly baked cornbread.
- Sonic. The Tax Cut. Half-price drinks and slushies all day on April 15.
- Great American Cookie Company. Free Birthday Cake Cookie on April 15.
The Manda Packing Company recall announced this past week now includes 468,000 pounds of roast beef, ham, turkey breast, tasso pork, ham shanks, hog headcheese, corned beef, and pastrami. The agriculture department said Friday the products were recalled because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The products were shipped to retailers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. The USDA said eating food contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease.
Freezing Food Doesn’t Kill E. Coli And Other Germs - Nancy Shute
Think that freezing food kills E. coli and other nasty microbes? Thank again. That’s the lesson from the new E. coli outbreak caused by frozen chicken quesadillas and other snacks that has sickened 24 people in 15 states. Freezing does slow down the microbes that cause food to spoil, but it’s pretty much useless for killing dangerous bugs. Bacteria die if they’re heated to 165F. Cooking instructions on frozen food packages are designed to deliver a temperature of 165F to the coldest part of the product, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The foods involved in the outbreak are all meant to be cooked, not just warmed up, before they’re eaten. Remember safe equals piping hot when it comes to frozen foods.
Ridding Schools of Fast Food, Junk Food, and Soda Pushers - Michele Simon
With the passage of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010, in addition to improving school meals, Congress required the USDA to update nearly non-existent nutrition standards on so-called competitive foods. These are foods sold outside the school meal program, i.e. junk food sold in vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, and the like. While it’s commendable that the federal government is now taking up the issue, there are several serious concerns about the feasibility of an approach that essentially endorses healthier junk food while allowing corporations continued unfettered access to children in schools.
- Competitive foods financially undermine the school meal program. The opportunity to opt-out by purchasing competitive food is actually counter to the mission of the National School Lunch Program. A report from the Illinois Public Health Institute found that “schools that completely eliminated competitive food sales tended to see the greatest increases in school meal participation rates.”
- Competitive foods at school meals creates stigma for low-income children. The presence of so-called “a la carte” items on the school meal line sets up a demographic divide between those who can afford these items and those who cannot.
- Slightly healthier junk food is still unhealthy. USDA’s narrow focus on nutrients such as grams of fat and sugar will still result in highly processed junk food with only slightly improved nutritional profiles.
- Competitive food allows junk food companies to market to children. Maintaining the presence of fast food, soft drink, and junk food companies in public schools sends all the wrong messages to children.
To both maximize the economic benefit to schools as well as protect schoolchildren, USDA should assist and provide resources to help schools that want to eliminate competitive foods, as opposed to simply placing a healthy halo and government seal of approval on highly-processed and nutritionally-void products from companies seeking only to target children with their brands.
Apples and especially pears are vulnerable to a nasty bacterial infection called fire blight that, left unchecked, can spread quickly, killing fruit trees and sometimes devastating whole orchards. It’s such a big threat that for decades, growers have seen two antibiotics, streptomycin and oxytetracycline, as vital weapons in the fight to control the disease—even on organic apples and pears. Antibiotics have been used in American plant and livestock agriculture since the mid-20th century. Heavy antibiotic usage has been widely blamed for promoting the spread of antibiotic-resistant bugs. But antibiotic use in plant agriculture is far more limited—just a little over one-tenth of 1 percent of total agriculture use. Research suggests that both of the antibiotics used on fruit crops are rendered inactive in soils. That said, fire blight resistance to streptomycin is a concern for growers. Growers are committed to eliminating the use of the antibiotics. But before all organic growers can completely give up antibiotics, they need to have effective alternatives for preventing the devastation of fire blight. Aggressive pruning has helped reduce reliance on antibiotic spraying. There are two alternatives under field trials, which are promising. One option, called Blossom protect, is a yeast-like fungus that blocks the fire blight bacteria from colonizing the blossom. The other alternative is a copper sulfate that can be applied during bloom times without harming the fruit. Both need more testing, so it’s a little too soon to say goodbye to antibiotics.
L-Carnitine, Nutrient In Red Meat, Linked With Heart Disease - Carl Nierenberg
Red Meat and Heart Disease: L-Carnitine Linked to Increased Risk - Caroline Scott-Thomas
High intakes of red meat repeatedly have been linked to heart disease, but new research suggests that along with saturated fat and certain preservatives, l-carnitine is another red meat constituent that may contribute to cardiovascular risk. In a study published in Nature Medicine, researchers from Cleveland Clinic found specific bacteria in the gut that metabolize l-carnitine into trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO), a substance that has been linked to hardening of the arteries. In addition, they found that diets high in carnitine promoted the growth of the bacteria that metabolize it, thereby compounding the effect. The association between consumption of red meat and heart disease is well established, but researchers say that the increased risk could not entirely be accounted for by red meat’s saturated fat and cholesterol content. Researchers examined carnitine levels in 2,595 heart patients. They found TMAO levels in vegetarian and vegan participants were significantly lower than in omnivores, and they did not produce significant levels of TMAO even after consuming a large amount of carnitine. In omnivores, however, carnitine consumption promoted TMAO production. Researchers suggest that a better understanding of the role of gut microbiota in heart disease risk could help in the development of new ways to reduce risk. Carnitine is also taken as a weight loss supplement and is added to some energy drinks. Researchers advised caution to users in light of their findings. The American Meat Institute (AMI) issued a statement in response to the study in which they said that linking carnitine in red meat to heart disease was an oversimplification of a complex disease.
Reduced Guilt? Chocolate Gets A Healthy, Fruity Makeover - Audrey Carlsen
In a study published in the Journal of Material Chemistry, scientists, led by University of Warwick’s Stefan Bon, injected chocolate with micro-bubbles of fruit juice, which succeeded in cutting the product’s total fat content up to 50 percent without sacrificing its silky texture. The tiny droplets of apple, orange and cranberry juice, which were each less than 30 microns in diameter, were infused into chocolate (milk, dark and white) to create a creamy emulsion. In conventional chocolate making, fatty ingredients like cocoa butter and milk are used to create this creaminess. Another benefit to the new product is that bars left on the shelf for too long won’t develop a chalky white film. One downside (at least for some) is that the chocolate will retain a fruity flavor from the droplets. But the scientists assure the public that chocolate makers will have the option of replacing the juice with water and a small bit of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which should remedy the issue. But don’t get too excited by the prospect of a healthier chocolate bar—fruit juice is still packed with sugar which adds to its sugar content.
What’s In Your Steam? - Sarah Perry
Home cooks often assume that food cooked in a steamer comes into contact with pure neutral-tasting vaporized water, period. But it turns out that all kinds of things are present in steam and some can add off flavors to your food. One of the chemicals most present and most likely to affect food flavor is chlorine. Chlorine gas escapes from liquid water even at room temperature, so it can easily be removed by letting your cooking water sit out for a day or two before using, or by giving it a preliminary boil. Even better news is that you can add aromatic herbs, fruits, and vegetables to the cooking water to flavor food as it steams. Also, any liquid, not just stock or water, can be used to flavor steamed foods—try beer, wine or vinegar, to name just a few.
How to Get Extra-Crispy Skin on That Roast Chicken - Caitlin McGrath
The difference between a great roast chicken and merely a decent one is the skin. The key to crispiness is making sure the skin is dry when it hits the oven. For best results, salt the bird several hours before roasting, then let it air-dry, uncovered, in the fridge. Try mixing a bit of baking powder into the salt before rubbing on the uncooked skin. If you forget to salt and dry, parking the chicken in front of an electric fan will get its skin nice and dry in about an hour. Roasting on a rack in a shallow pan allows maximum circulation around the chicken. The hotter the oven, the crisper the skin, but high-heat roasting can fill your kitchen with smoke. To thwart the smoke detector, put a quarter-inch layer of salt in the bottom of the roasting pan and roast the bird on a rack above it. The salt absorbs the drippings so they don’t burn.
ALDI is introducing its premium private label range “Specially Selected” to US stores after it proved a bit hit in Europe. The range of products includes specialty products from German coffees and gourmet pastas to premium meats and cheeses. ALDI, which is a major player in the European retail market, is expanding rapidly in the US, opening between 50 and 80 new stores every year. It now operates more than 1,200 stores in 32 states.
Can These Funky-Smelling Wooden Spoons Be Saved? - Sarah Perry
Here are some tips on removing odors from wooden utensils.
- The simplest and gentlest thing you can try is letting them sit outside, in breezy sunlight for a few hours each day. You may try boiling them in plain water first.
- If that doesn’t work, scrub utensils with plain dish soap.
- If odors linger, soak them in vinegar diluted with water.
- Still funky, put them in a paper bag with some deodorizing activated charcoal, then sprinkle with baking soda and scrub with the cut side of a lemon.
- Finally, remove the top layer of odor-infused wood with fine sandpaper.
If all else fails, give your utensils a soak in 1 part bleach to 20 parts water, followed by a session in the dishwasher. This is an absolute last resort as both can be pretty harsh on delicate antiques.
Earliest Cookware Was Used To Make Fish Soup - Nancy Shute
Not so long ago, scientists thought hunter-gatherers were too busy roaming and foraging to invent cookware. But more recent archeological discoveries in China and Japan suggest that people were making ceramic containers as early as 20,000 years ago, long before the advent of farming. What were they cooking? Speculation first centered on nuts and plants. But a new study published online in the journal Nature says it was fish soup. About three-quarters of the shards found had traces of carbon and nitrogen, suggesting that they were used to cook food from fresh or salt water. Many had traces of marine fatty acids, while only one had fatty acids typical of a grazing land animal. The high nitrogen levels suggest that the foods cooked were something that ate other fish, rather than mollusks. Evidently these earliest cooks weren’t too keen on dishwashing. But their neglect is science’s gain.
How Atlanta’s Cabbagetown (Maybe) Got Its Name - Mike Benzie
Atlanta’s Cabbagetown was created to supply housing for factory workers at the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill in the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to the National Register of Historic Places. The mill maintained the housing costs for the entire neighborhood until it was sold in 1957. It’s a unique, tight-knit Atlanta neighborhood with a wide variety of homes, charming streets, restaurants, and bars. And the neighborhood’s graffiti-lined Krog Tunnel can’t seem to go 12 minutes without hosting some sort of photo shoot. A 2008 Atlanta tornado lasered in on the small neighborhood, taking a big chunk out of the Fulton Cotton Mill, now lofts. There are no confirmed sources, but there are plenty of stories about the naming of Cabbagetown. There are two stories, which are most frequently told. One describes how the mill workers would cook cabbage in their yards, creating an overwhelming and distinct smell in the neighborhood. The more romantic theories explore the idea of a truck, wagon, or train carrying cabbage and overturning or wrecking in some fashion. The cabbage from those wrecks may have baked in the sun so the town smelled like cabbage for days. The timing of the name also varies. One book notes that it was called Cabbagetown as early as 1919, while another said the name wasn’t used until after 1940. In his Creative Loafing story, Wyatt Williams’ research couldn’t find a “Cabbagetown” reference in print prior to 1969. The short and clean answer: It has to do with cabbage. But even that is not entirely certain, just a high-percentage guess.