Harvest Desk

The Salt
3:53 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10th. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:46 pm

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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All Tech Considered
3:24 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Weekly Innovation: Nonstick Coating Helps Ketchup Slide Out

With LiquiGlide, ketchup easily slides outside of the bottle with no shaking necessary.
LiquiGlide

Just think about how much food or product we waste because it's stuck on the sides of its container. Whether it's that last bit of ketchup or toothpaste, it seems easier to throw it out and start anew rather than deal with that endless game of shaking and squeezing.

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The Salt
12:13 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

A Holy Land Christmas Porridge Honors A Damsel In Distress

In Jerusalem, Syrian Orthodox Christian Nadia Ishaq prepares her burbara porridge with boiled what kernels, raisins, dried plums and dried apricots, topped with ground coconut in the shape of a cross. The holiday honors St. Barbara, an early convert to Christianity whose story is echoed in the Rapunzel tale.
Daniella Cheslow for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:51 pm

The winter holidays are a time of abundance, but for Christians in the Middle East, the official start of the Christmas season is marked by a decidedly rustic dish: porridge.

Archbishop Swerios Murad of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem says his congregation will eat boiled wheat kernels this week to mark the Feast of St. Barbara, or Eid el-Burbara in Arabic.

"It's a simple porridge," Murad tells The Salt, "but it's very important that it be sweet."

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The Salt
10:46 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Way Beyond Brownies: Vice Launches A Marijuana Cooking Show

Aurora Leveroni, 91, is also known as "Nonna Marijuana."
Vice

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:03 pm

On Sunday, my mother sent me an email: "OMG! Watch this unbelievable cooking show!"

It wasn't spam, and my mother, who's 65, does not use OMG lightly.

The fuss was over a 20-minute video about a 91-year-old grandmother who cooks Italian classics in marijuana-infused butter.

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The Salt
4:21 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:15 pm

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The Salt
4:18 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:07 am

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

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Around the Nation
4:17 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Top Chefs Discover Denver's Fast-Growing Restaurant Scene

James Beard-award winner and Top Chef Masters star Jen Jasinski recently opened a seafood restaurant in Denver called Stoic and Genuine that features a raw bar.
June Cochran Stoic and Genuine

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:01 pm

When you think of the restaurant scene, Denver probably doesn't come to mind. But that's just the latest change for a city whose population has ballooned in the last couple of years, thanks in part to a nearby oil and gas boom. Top chefs are beginning to take notice.

Award-winning pastry chef Keegan Gerhard, for example, just opened a new location of his restaurant, D Bar, that is three times the size of his old one. His chef buddies wonder why he's in Denver.

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The Salt
2:22 am
Tue December 16, 2014

At Last, Muslims Can Savor A Halal Spin On Spain's Famous Jamón

Halal jamón products made with lamb and beef inside the Balkis Gourmet curing room in Cumbres Mayores in Andalusia, Spain.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:29 am

Wander into any bar in Spain, order a drink, and the waiter will very likely hand you free tapas. Very often it's some type of pork — jamón (ham), chorizo (spicy sausage) or panceta (cured bacon). You could say this country is obsessed with cured pork products. People joke that even vegetarians in Spain eat jamón.

Eating authentic jamón ibérico de bellota, a cured ham made from free-range pigs fed on acorns, is a key part of Spanish life, especially in the south.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Hanukkah Miracle

Not pictured: the treadmill Dan is standing on. Just 18 more miles and he'll have worked off half of this sandwich!
Dan Pashman

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:51 pm

[Today's post comes to you from Dan Pashman, a friend of Sandwich Monday. You may know him from his spots on Weekend Edition; his WNYC podcast, The Sporkful; his book, Eat More Better; or the time he stole a piece of your sausage when you weren't looking.]

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The Salt
2:25 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:34 pm

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

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Food
6:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Mead Moves Out Of The Middle Ages

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 11:18 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you've been yearning for a cup of mead ever since you read Beowulf in high school - and who hasn't, really? - this could be your moment. The honey wine is once again the bee's knees. WEEKEND EDITION food commentator, Bonny Wolf, explains.

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Food
6:47 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Beware The Tippling Point, And Other Cocktail Party Tips

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 11:18 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Salt
4:19 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Hanukkah History: Those Chocolate Coins Were Once Real Tips

Wrapped in gold and silver foil, chocolate gelt are often handed out as a little treat for children (and adults) during Hanukkah. Turns out, the tradition is rooted in real money.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:09 pm

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, starts on Tuesday night. But the flickering candles won't be the only things shining on the table. Many families celebrate with gelt, chocolate coins covered in gold and silver foil. But while this treat is beloved, it's not all that delicious.

"It snaps. It's not soft and buttery — it's waxy. This is chocolate you have to chew," jokes Ariel Cohn, who runs Tree of Life, a Jewish pre-school in Portland, Ore.

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The Salt
12:16 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Florida Tomato Pickers' Wins Could Extend To Dairy, Berry Workers

Farm workera at Lipman Produce load tomatoes on a truck on Jan. 16, 2014 in Naples, Fla. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. joined an initiative that will require its Florida tomato suppliers to increase farm worker pay and protect workers from forced labor and sexual assault, among other things.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 10:10 am

Farm workers in America have long been among the nation's poorest paid and most abused workers. But conditions have been improving for Florida tomato pickers, and those advances may soon reach other farm fields, according to the annual report released Thursday by the Fair Food Standards Council, or FFSC, a labor oversight group based in Sarasota, Fla.

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The Salt
10:56 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Aerial Photos Are New Weapon In Organic Civil War

The Cornucopia Institute commissioned this photo of an organic egg producer in Saranac, Mich. According to Cornucopia, the facility is owned by Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, which has a license to maintain up to 1 million chickens on this site.
Courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:11 pm

If you look at it one way, these are the best of times for organic egg and milk producers. They can barely keep up with demand. Prices for their products are high. Profits are rolling in. Operations are expanding.

But that expansion is provoking suspicion, name-calling, and even clandestine investigations within the organic "community" because some organic advocates believe that some of these megafarms are not truly organic.

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The Salt
5:10 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Kalettes, Broccoflower And Other Eye-Popping Vegetables For 2015

Broccoflower was originally grown in Holland and hit the U.S. market in 1989. It's remained a relatively specialty item since then, but culinary experts say it may soon become more widely available.
Brand X Pictures Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:22 pm

Does a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale sound like your vegetable dream come true? Maybe so, if you're someone who's crazy for cruciferous vegetables and all the fiber and nutrients they pack in.

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The Salt
4:06 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Why The White House Wants To Go After Seafood Pirates

A crab pot full of snow crabs, fished out of the Bering Sea.
Josh Thomas Courtesy of WWF

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:02 pm

Americans eat more seafood than just about anyone else. Most of it is imported from abroad. And a lot of it — perhaps 25 percent of wild-caught seafood imports, according to fisheries experts — is illegally caught.

The White House is now drafting recommendations on what to do about that. Fisheries experts say they hope the administration will devote more resources to fight seafood piracy.

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Found Recipes
3:34 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Pork Schnitzel: One Chef's Secret To Marital Bliss

Chef Jay Bentley makes his pork schnitzel with panko instead of the more traditional bread crumbs. He gets his pork from growers who raise heritage-style pigs that are allowed to forage outside.
Courtesy of Jay Bentley

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:30 pm

Jay Bentley will break out the bread crumbs and his meat mallet when he wants to make his wife very happy.

"She's the brains in my family, you know? Anytime she wants schnitzel, she gets it," he says.

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Strange News
4:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

For The Sophisticated Souse, Fabric Infused With A Whiff Of Whiskey

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 7:13 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Salt
2:51 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Women's Work Is Never Done On The Farm, And Sometimes Never Counted

Owner Mary Kraft at Badger Creek Dairy outside Fort Morgan, Colo.
Luke Runyon KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 10:45 am

The average American farmer is a white man in his late 50s. Or at least, that's who's in charge of the farm, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But the number of female-run farms has tripled since the 1970s, to nearly 14 percent in 2012. And if you dig a little deeper, you'll find women are showing up in new roles. But because of the way farm businesses are structured, women's work often isn't included in those USDA counts.

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The Salt
5:36 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

More Drinking, Less Buzz: Session Beers Gain Fans

Chris Lohring founded Notch Brewing in 2010. The company's lineup includes a Czech pilsner, a Belgian saison and an India pale ale. All of the brews are session beers — meaning their alcohol by volume, or A.B.V., is less than 5 percent.
Courtesy of Notch Brewing

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:02 pm

Tailgating, camping trips and wedding receptions are just some of the occasions when many Americans down a few beers in one sitting. For those who prefer high-alcohol microbrews and other craft beers, that can lead to trouble.

But a growing trend is offering another option: Session beers emphasize craft-beer taste with alcohol as low as or lower than big-brand light beers.

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

From Potatoes To Salty Fries In School: Congress Tweaks Food Rules

When it comes to salty french fries or pizza served at lunch, schools may get more time to dial back sodium content, thanks to a provision in the federal spending bill headed for a vote on Capitol Hill.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:00 am

The gargantuan budget bill that lawmakers on Capitol Hill are expected to vote on Thursday does more than dole out federal dollars to keep the government running.

It also tweaks federal nutrition rules.

For starters, the bill — aka, the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill — includes a provision that will give school food directors more flexibility when it comes to adopting 100 percent whole grain items, such as pasta and biscuits, in school breakfast and lunch meals.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
3:56 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?

Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Many plants we eat today are a result of genetic modifications that would never occur in nature. Scientists have long been altering the genes of food crops, to boost food production and to make crops more pest-, drought- and cold-resistant.

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Economy
3:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Cheap Crops Mean Tight Times For Midwest's Fledgling Farmers

Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation, but expectations of low prices are tying his hands.
Abby Wendle Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:18 pm

Farmers who just got into the business in recent years found it was a good time to both plant and harvest.

"We were all spoiled little brats the past two years, with $5, $6, $7 corn, yep," says farmer Grant Curtis.

He's sitting in the captain's chair of his combine on a brisk, overcast day in western Illinois. He's driving back and forth over rows of corn on his family's farm. Then he arcs the 80,000-pound machine off course towards a single stalk he missed.

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Food
2:30 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Best Cookbooks Of 2014 Offer Tastes And Tales From Around The Globe

Andrea Nguyen's Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches is the perfect gift for your friend who has an app tracing the routes of half a dozen food trucks on her phone.
Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 8:30 am

2014 was a year for faraway cuisines to take up residence in U.S. kitchens — cookbook authors cast their nets for flavors from Paris, the Middle East and Southeast Asia; from the ancient spice routes and every point in between.

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The Salt
8:02 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Mexican Megafarms Supplying U.S. Market Are Rife With Labor Abuses

At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico.
Don Bartletti Los Angeles Times

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 8:06 pm

"Product of Mexico" — it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

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The Salt
5:58 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

In Europe, Ugly Sells In The Produce Aisle

Intermarche/Vimeo

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:20 pm

In Europe, the ugly ducklings of the produce aisle are increasingly admired for their inner swans.

Call it the return of unsightly fruit.

Retailers (at least in Europe and the U.S.) by default now cater to the perfectionist shopper who prefers only the plump, round tomato or the unblemished apple to grace the fruit bowl. But many fruits and vegetables, while edible and nutritious, don't measure up.

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The Salt
3:17 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Venison As Benison: Food Banks Score From Deer Overpopulation

Ralph Roloff trims meat from a deer donated to the Help Us Stop Hunger program in State Center, Iowa in 2007.
Scott Olson Getty Images

White tailed deer are so common in Washington, D.C., that my kids barely take note, even if I have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them.

But the National Park Service says there's a problem beyond the risk of driver-deer collisions, which lead to an estimated $4 billion in damages each year. The overabundance of deer are a threat to native vegetation.

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Arts & Life
4:11 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Don't Let The Kasha Vanish: Diners Band Together To Save Café Edison

The Café Edison serves what might be called Jewish soul food — blintzes, matzoh ball soup and kasha varnishkes.
Jeff Lunden

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 9:49 am

Yesterday, about 50 protestors — and some media outlets — gathered on West 47th Street near Times Square for a rally to save the Café Edison, a diner whose clientele includes everyone from Broadway luminaries to tourists. People carried signs, local politicians spoke, and a quartet sang — to the tune of "Silver Bells" — an ode to the cafe's matzoh balls.

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Food
3:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Olive Oil Producers In 'Crisis' From Weather, Pests And Disease

Damaged olives hang in the grove belonging to Augusto Spagnoli, an oil producer from Nerola, near Rome. Producers and experts declared Italy's 2014 olive harvest the worst in history, due to adverse climatic conditions that helped the olive fly proliferate, thus destroying the olives before they could be harvested.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 9:49 am

There's been a dramatic drop in oil production, but it's not barrels of light sweet crude. It's olive oil.

Curtis Cord, publisher of the Olive Oil Times, tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered there are many reasons why production has fallen so much in Italy and Spain this year.

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