Harvest Desk

The Salt
5:35 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Competitive Bartender Pours Father's Wisdom Into Signature Drink

Ran Duan will represent the U.S. at the Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition in Sydney, Australia on April 28.
Daniel A. Gross

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 5:57 pm

Most days, you can find Ran Duan pouring drinks for guests at The Baldwin Bar, inside a branch of his parents' Sichuan Garden restaurant in Woburn, Mass.

But recently he's been setting aside time each day to practice making a special drink.

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Chipotle Says Adios To GMOs, As Food Industry Strips Away Ingredients

Chipotle's announcement that it has removed all GMOs from its menu items is part of a growing food industry trend. From left: Nestle chocolates, Chipotle tortillas, Diet Pepsi, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, a Subway sandwich. All of these companies have dropped ingredients over the past year in response to consumer demands.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR; iStockphoto; PepsiCo; iStockphoto; iStockphoto

Fast-casual food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced it has removed all ingredients made with genetically modified organisms from its menu, making good on a two-year-old promise. It's the latest example of the food industry stripping away ingredients, some more questionable than others, as consumers demand a say in what's in their dinner.

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The Salt
1:26 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Deep-Fried Cheese Curds

Deep-fried cheese curds.
NPR

Whenever people from the edges of the country come to visit me in the Midwest, I don't let them leave until they have tried deep-fried cheese curds.

If you're not familiar with them, cheese curds are a byproduct of the cheddar cheese-making process, and "deep frying" is a method by which anything is made into a better version of itself.

You can find deep-fried cheese curds all over the states surrounding Wisconsin. But today we're eating the exceptional beer-battered ones from Farmhouse in Chicago.

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Shots - Health News
4:09 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Drop-In Chefs Help Seniors Stay In Their Own Homes

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 10:29 am

A healthy diet is good for everyone. But as people get older, cooking nutritious food can become difficult and sometimes physically impossible. A pot of soup can be too heavy to lift. And there's all that time standing on your feet. It's one of the reasons that people move into assisted living facilities.

But a company called Chefs for Seniors has an alternative: They send professional cooks into seniors' homes. In a couple of hours they can whip up meals for the week.

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Food
6:51 am
Sun April 26, 2015

In This Museum, Visitors Can Eat At The Exhibits

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 11:17 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
6:03 am
Sun April 26, 2015

Who's Behind The Latest Ethnic Food Trend? Maybe It's A Government

The government of Peru is partnering with culinary stars β€” like celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, shown here in his restaurant Astrid & Gaston in Lima in 2014 β€” to promote Peruvian cuisine around the world.
Ernesto Benavides AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 10:00 pm

Danny Kou, the executive chef at La Mar, an upscale Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco, says it's a good time to be him.

Kou moved from Lima to the United States when he was 21. It was 2001, and back then, Peruvian cuisine was still unfamiliar in North America.

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The Salt
6:08 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

Beginning in August, a newly formulated aspartame-free Diet Pepsi will hit the shelves, the company says.
PepsiCo

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 11:16 pm

If you like the idea of zero or low-calorie sodas, but you're turned off by the artificial sweetener aspartame, you're not alone.

Sales of diet soda have fallen off significantly in the U.S. And when PepsiCo started asking consumers what they didn't like, aspartame was at the top of the list.

"It's literally the number-one complaint we've heard from diet-cola consumers as to why they're drinking less and less diet cola, " Seth Kaufman, a senior vice president for PepsiCo, tells The Salt.

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The Salt
6:01 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

These Animals Might Go Extinct Because No One Wants To Eat Them

Choctaw boar
The Livestock Conservancy

The Steller's sea cow, the passenger pigeon and the New Zealand moa all went extinct because people developed a taste for their meat.

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The Salt
10:36 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Sexy, Simple, Satirical: 300 Years Of Picnics In Art

An illustration of noblemen enjoying a feast outdoors, from a French edition of The Hunting Book of Gaston Phebus, 15th century.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 3:32 pm

As the weather warms up, you might find yourself staring out an office window, daydreaming about what you'd rather be doing: lazing outdoors, perhaps, on a large blanket with a picnic bounty spread before you.

In fact, people have been fantasizing about picnics as a return to a simpler life pretty much since the dawn of urban living, says Walter Levy, author of The Picnic: A History.

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The Salt
2:16 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

How Texas Ranchers Try To Clinch The Perfect Rib-Eye

Donnell Brown and another cowboy move a grouping of bulls from one pen to another on rib-eye ultrasound day in March at the R.A Brown Ranch.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 6:03 pm

We're heading into grilling season, which means breaking out the burgers and brats. But if you're a true meat lover, the slab you'll want to be searing is the rib-eye.

The rib-eye is the bestselling cut of beef in America both at the supermarket and the steakhouse, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Beef lovers go crazy for it because of its marbling β€” the network of fat within muscles that melts on the grill and makes the steak juicy and tender.

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The Salt
11:55 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Lunch With Monet, Dinner With Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock cooks with his wife, the artist Lee Krasner, and his mother, Stella Pollock, in the kitchen of his home in Springs, in East Hampton, N.Y., 1950.
Courtesy Pollock‑Krasner House and Study Center

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 9:51 am

Regardless of our cooking prowess, all of us have undoubtedly spent some time in the kitchen. We all need to eat, and our preferences are intensely personal. Yet food is often overlooked in the biographies of anyone who wasn't a chef or gastronomic icon.

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Planet Money
6:03 am
Thu April 23, 2015

How A Swiss Cheese Cartel Made Fondue Popular

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 6:41 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Business
5:30 am
Thu April 23, 2015

CDC: Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak Started In 2010

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 1:22 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
3:22 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Fruit Growers Try Tricking Mother Nature To Prevent Crop Damage

A cherry tree and its blossoms are covered with snow in an orchard near Traverse City, Mich. Three years ago, almost every fruit crop in Michigan was frozen out when cold temperatures followed some 80 degree days in March.
John L. Russell AP

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 6:41 am

Fruit growers in northern Michigan grow apples, peaches and wine grapes. But the big crop here is tart cherries.

More than half of Ken Engle's 140-acre farm is planted with what he calls sour cherries.

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The Salt
5:47 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Buzz Over Bee Health: New Pesticide Studies Rev Up Controversy

A honeybee forages for nectar and pollen from an oilseed rape flower.
Albin Andersson/Nature

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 10:58 am

It has been about a decade since beekeepers and scientists began documenting a decline in honeybee populations and other important pollinators.

Even if you're not a lover of bees or honey, you should know that bees are critically important to our food supply. They help pollinate billions of dollars of crops each year, from apples and carrots to blueberries and almonds.

So if bees are threatened, ultimately, the production of these crops will be threatened, too.

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow: A Guide To Speedy Vegetables

Sprouting broccoli will serve up florets in about 50 days. Not bad for this member of the brassica family.
Laura Whitehead Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 5:00 pm

Editor's note: A version of this story ran in April 2014.

Yes, it is true that gardening requires patience.

But face it, we live in an impatient world. And gardeners everywhere were depressed by the brutal and endless winter.

So we are understandably eager to get sowing. And to see results by ... well, if not next Thursday, then maybe mid-May?

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The Salt
5:33 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

At Last: Kentucky Authorities Bust Ring Behind Great Bourbon Heist

Pappy Van Winkle bourbons at Bourbons Bistro in Louisville, Ky. The spirit was pricey even before a heist at the distillery.
Noah Adams/for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 11:56 am

Finally, the great Kentucky bourbon mystery has been solved.

Back in 2013, more than 200 bottles of aging Pappy Van Winkle bourbon vanished from a locked, secure area of the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Ky. Even before the heist, the bottles were rare β€” some fetched as much as $1,000 in private sales.

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The Salt
4:47 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Millions Of Chickens To Be Killed As Bird Flu Outbreak Puzzles Industry

Chickens stand in their cages at a farm near Stuart, Iowa, in 2009. This week, bird flu hit a large poultry facility in Iowa. It's not clear how the virus is evading the industry's biosecurity efforts.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 12:08 pm

Bird flu has been striking chicken and turkey farms in parts of the West and Midwest. This past week, it hit a flock of millions egg-laying chickens in northeastern Iowa. Update 4/22/2015: The USDA now says that around 3 million birds were affected in the Iowa facility β€” down from a previous estimate of 5 million.

Our original post continues below.

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The Salt
11:55 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Tea, Tao And Tourists β€” China's Mount Hua Is Three-Part Harmony

You can get a cup of tea at Cuiyun Palace on the west peak of Mount Hua.
Courtesy of James Guo

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 11:56 am

Imagine yourself clinging to a cliff face with nothing but uneven, worn wooden planks and chains to keep you from plummeting 7,000 feet to your untimely demise. Don't worry: You can rent a little red safety harness for $5. No one will make you wear it, though.

Oh, and you will probably encounter someone coming the other way, in which case you will have to maneuver around your neighbor as if playing a deadly game of Twister. Someone has to go on the outside, so I hope you're good at not blinking first.

You wouldn't do this for all the tea in China, you say?

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Blue Bell Widens Recall To All Of Its Products Over Listeria Worries

After initially recalling products made at its Oklahoma facility, Blue Bell is now asking retailers and customers to throw away or return all of its products currently on the market.
Blue Bell

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:04 am

Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries has widely expanded a voluntary recall over Listeria concerns, seeking the return of all of its products currently on the market. Blue Bell products are sold in 23 states.

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

When Danish Cows See Fresh Spring Pasture, They Jump For Joy

Near the Danish city of Ikast, some 1,500 spectators gathered on April 19 to celebrate what has become something of a national holiday at organic dairy farms around Denmark.
Courtesy of Organic Denmark

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 1:21 pm

"They're running a little late," chides an elderly gentleman, tapping his watch at 12:02 p.m. He's come to this farm near the Danish city of Ikast, along with about 1,500 others, to celebrate what has become something of a national holiday in Denmark. It's the Sunday in mid-April when thousands of organic dairy cows at 75 farms across the country are released into the green fields of spring. At exactly noon. Eh hem.

Ah, but here they come!

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The Salt
2:40 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Appetite For Gulf Seafood Is Back, But The Crabs And Oysters Aren't

Blue crabs brought back to Tony Goutierrez's dock in Hopedale, La. For the past few years, his traps have been coming up empty. "It's sad to see it go, but it's going β€” this way of life is going to disappear," he says.
Laine Kaplan-Levenson for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 12:55 pm

In 2010, just after the BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, seafood restaurants were bombarded with questions from concerned diners: "How bad is the spill?" "Is this from the Gulf?" "Is it safe?" Demand for Gulf seafood tanked.

"You have to remember, that was literally weeks and months on end when you could turn on the TV at any time of day and see an oil well leaking unabatedly into the Gulf of Mexico," says Brett Anderson, feature food writer for Nola.com.

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Shots - Health News
2:48 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Mellow Pastimes Can Be Good For Your Health, Too

Painting
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 9:11 am

This makes total sense: When you're engaged in an activity you truly enjoy, you're happy. And, when you're happy you're not dwelling on all the negative things in life, nor are you stressed about obligations or problems. Certainly this is a good thing from an emotional point of view, but it also has physical benefits.

We know exercise reduces stress, but it turns out that more simple stationary things, like doing puzzles, painting or sewing can help, too.

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Health
5:49 pm
Sun April 19, 2015

Transgender Man Leads 'Men's Health' Cover Model Contest

Aydian Dowling is currently leading the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins, he will be the first trans man to appear on the cover.
Jason Robert Ballard FTM Magazine

Aydian Dowling of Eugene, Ore., is ripped. He has sharply defined muscles, piercing eyes and European-playboy-on-the-Riviera tousled hair.

It's not just striking good looks that distinguish Dowling, who is leading the voting in the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins the contest (which is ultimately determined by judges), Dowling will be the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Men's Health.

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The Salt
4:20 am
Sun April 19, 2015

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

These robotic arms are part of a modular kitchen that's been set up so that the robot chef can find exactly what it needs.
Moley Robotics

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 10:00 am

Step aside, home chefs! The kitchen of the future draws near.

No, there's no hydrator from Marty McFly's kitchen in Back to the Future II. Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.

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The Salt
5:25 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

Chef Homaro Cantu holds a tomato in the kitchen of his Chicago restaurant Moto in 2007. Haute cuisine and extreme science collided in the kitchen of Chef Cantu, who took his own life Tuesday.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 9:19 am

The culinary world lost a visionary this week. Homaro Cantu, a specialist in the avant-garde approach to cooking known as molecular gastronomy, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 38. The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Cantu's death a suicide.

Every visit to Cantu's flagship restaurant, Michelin-starred Moto, was a trip down the rabbit hole.

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The Salt
7:15 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Brooklyn Brewery Dares Diners To Eat Like Dutch Settlers

Chef Andrew Gerson of Brooklyn Brewery organized a dinner party featuring ingredients used by Dutch settlers and Native Americans living in 1650s New York City.
Courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 1:22 pm

You can find food from just about any part of the world in New York City.

The Brooklyn Brewery is trying to push New Yorkers' palates even further by going back in time.

This week, it hosted a dinner party inspired by the local cuisine of Dutch settlers and Native Americans in the 1650s.

Back when New York wasn't even New York yet, and before the English took over in 1664, the Dutch called the city New Amsterdam.

"New Amsterdam tastes like salt pork," said head chef Andrew Gerson. "It tastes like venison. It tastes like fried dough; tastes like back fat."

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Food
6:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Culinary Siblings Give Pasta A Healthy Makeover

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 9:59 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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The Salt
5:38 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

How The Food Industry Relies On Scientists With Big Tobacco Ties

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 3:20 pm

This story is excerpted from an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

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The Salt
3:39 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Running A Marathon? How To Eat and Drink So You Don't Hit The Wall

Performance nutrition experts recommend stopping at all the hydration stations for a quick fill-up of a sports drink to replenish the glycogen that's being burned during a marathon.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 3:58 pm

Elite runners know the drill. When you run a marathon, you've got to consume extra amounts of carbohydrate β€” either from food or energy gels or energy drinks β€” in order to go the distance.

And if you don't fuel up enough? You may hit the wall during the big event, which, believe me, is pretty miserable.

The wall comes on abruptly. Suddenly your legs feel like lead. And then you're woozy.

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