Harvest Desk

The New And The Next
4:12 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

A Spicy Gold Rush: Turmeric's Rise To Superfood

Ground turmeric comes from a golden-yellow root native to India.
Adeel Halim Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 5:19 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Watson tells guest host Kelly McEvers about the growing popularity of turmeric in the U.S. The spice, which comes from a golden-yellow root native to India, is heralded for its health benefits and is being infused into a variety of food products. Some mixologists are even working it into cocktails.

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The Salt
7:18 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Newbie Urban Gardeners Don't Realize How Much Soil Is Contaminated

Graze the Roof is a community-produced garden that grows vegetables on the rooftop of a church in San Francisco.
Sergio Ruiz/Flickr

Originally published on

The majority of Americans now live in cities, which means we have very little to do anymore with the production of our food.

But there's a reversal of that trend afoot, as more city people decide that they want to cultivate crops and raise some livestock. After all, there are few things more satisfying that biting than a bunch of tender, red radishes you grew yourself, or a fresh egg from the backyard.

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The Salt
1:58 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Cuisine And Culture Transform A Dallas Neighborhood

Trinity Groves, a sprawling food incubator in West Dallas, has attracted diverse chefs and huge crowds.
Rebecca Combs Courtesy of Trinity Groves

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:18 pm

Can food revitalize an ailing neighborhood? In Dallas, global flavors seem to be playing a pretty big part in one area's transformation.

For decades, West Dallas was a ramshackle place: a Superfund site with a cement plant, some crime-ridden warehouses and a modest Latino neighborhood known as La Bajada across a potholed two-lane bridge from the glittery downtown.

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The Salt
11:04 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Tasting French Fries For A Living Can Be A Pain In The Mouth

Food companies invest heavily in running their products through taste tests with trained sensory panelists. Here, a blind taste testing event at McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., in 2012.
Bloomberg/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 7:18 am

Behind all of the mass-produced food that's churned out by fast-food restaurants and cafeterias is a hidden army of workers: professional taste testers, or "sensory panelists." Their job is to evaluate every aspect of a food product — from the texture to the spice combination to the salt levels — before it hits consumers' plates.

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The Salt
2:46 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Time To Relax The Sodium Guidelines? Some Docs Say Not So Fast

Consuming anywhere from about 2,600 milligrams up to almost 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day is associated with more favorable health outcomes, according to a study.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:50 pm

We've all heard the advice to go easy on the salt shaker. Or, perhaps, more importantly, to cut back on eating packaged, processed foods that often contain a lot of salt.

And why? There's a lot of evidence linking excessive sodium intake to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease.

The dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

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The Salt
1:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead

Farmers participate in a CGIAR climate training workshop on how to interpret seasonal rainfall forecasts in Kaffrine, Senegal.
Courtesy of J. Hansen/CGIAR Climate

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:39 pm

The planet's top experts on global warming released their latest predictions this week for how rising temperatures will change our lives, and in particular, what they mean for the production of food.

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The Salt
10:15 am
Thu April 3, 2014

'Hot' Oregon Blueberry Fight Prompts Farm Bill Changes

It's unclear exactly how the new law will change enforcement of wage and hour laws on farms. Meanwhile, a blueberry labor dispute in Oregon grinds on in federal court.
David Wright/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 2:42 pm

American consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the working conditions of the people who pick, pack and harvest their food. And retailers are responding. Wal-Mart is now paying Florida farm workers more for each pound of tomatoes picked. Whole Foods is using worker wages to rank the sustainability of the produce and flowers it sells.

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The Salt
5:24 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Stop, Thief! When Colleagues Steal From The Office Fridge

"Too darn funny what a co-worker put on top of her lunch. It was fake of course, but got the point across."
Courtesy of Toni Kinnard

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 8:54 pm

As a wedding planner, Jeanne Hamilton saw her share of very bad manners — people who made her think, "There should be an etiquette hell for people like you."

And bingo! That was the beginning of her website, Etiquette Hell, a repository of more than 6,000 firsthand accounts of bad behavior people witness in their fellow peers.

And the most frequent complaint? Fridge theft. It's rampant, apparently, in offices all over the world.

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Shots - Health News
3:14 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Run When You're 25 For A Sharper Brain When You're 45

Leading an active lifestyle in your 20s will benefit your brain down the road.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:47 pm

If you're in your 20s, you might work out because it's fun, or because it makes you look better. But here's another reason to hit the gym or go for a jog — exercising now may help preserve your memory and cognition later in life.

Researchers figured this out by following 2,700 men and women for 25 years as part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study.

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The Salt
2:28 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Should We Close Part Of The Ocean To Keep Fish On The Plate?

A tuna fishing boat drags a cage of nets on the Mediterranean sea in 2010. (The Mediterranean is not considered to be part of the "high seas.")
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 4:55 pm

For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life?

If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin — that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source.

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The Salt
12:08 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Old And Mysterious Practice Of Eating Dirt, Revealed

Dr. William Rawlings holds a piece of kaolin from his hometown of Sandersville, Ga.
Courtesy of Adam Forrester

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:51 am

There's an old saying in the South: "A child's gotta eat their share of dirt."

Mamie Lee Hillman's family took this literally, but they weren't after just any old dirt.

"I remember my mom and my aunties eating that white dirt like it was nothing," says Hillman, who grew up in Greene County, Ga., and used to go with her family to dig for their own dirt to snack on. "It was an acceptable thing that people did."

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Kitchen Window
7:26 am
Wed April 2, 2014

How To Get To Sesame Treats: Open A Can Of Tahini

Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 8:29 am

If you were going to make a desert-island list for your refrigerator, it's unlikely tahini would make the cut. In fact, it might not even be in your standard mainland refrigerator, unless you regularly cook food with a Middle Eastern or hippie influence. Which is a bit of a shame. Because tahini is quite lovely, and capable of much more than we usually give it credit for.

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NPR Story
4:07 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Ranch Dressing Is The Cream Of The Crop

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 12:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Our last word in business today: Dip it.

That's what millions of Americans are doing with ranch dressing. A new report says it is the salad topping of choice in cafeterias and restaurants in the United States. Its sales and shipments are doubled that of the number two dressing: blue cheese.

We are using ranch on salads, on broccoli, baked potatoes, chicken wings, even pizza.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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The Salt
6:07 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

School For Making Toast: The Best Food Fooling 2014

Bring your own bread (BYOB) if you're going to take the class in San Francisco to learn the art of making the perfect toast.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 6:39 am

Here at The Salt, we get a lot of emails from public relations firms hawking newfangled food products and services. Sometimes it's difficult to discern whether they're for real.

So when we got an email from the San Francisco Cooking School on Tuesday shilling a one-day class on How to Make Toast, we did the email version of a double take.

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The Salt
3:52 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

It's Official: Americans Are Floating In A Pool Of Ranch Dressing

Tomatoes, pizza, Pringles — Americans are not afraid to douse everything in ranch.
Mr.Ducke/Flickr; Jamaila Brinkley/Flickr; Hajime Nakano/Flickr; Janet Hudson/Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 5:37 pm

Many a gab session of my 1980s suburban youth was fueled by Cool Ranch-flavored Doritos — after school, on a campout, on a sleepover — whenever the girls got together. We'd seek out that tangy, salty flavor, inhale a bag or two, and lick the red, blue and green flecks off our fingers when they were all gone. (Ah, the pre-calorie-counting days.)

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The Salt
11:14 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Do Girl Scout Cookies Still Make The World A Better Place?

Girl Scouts sell cookies on Feb. 8, 2013, as a winter storm moves in on New York City.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 2:40 pm

It's a pretty bold move to blast Girl Scout cookies, those precious sugary treats whose limited run from late winter to early spring is just about over for the year.

But a few brave voices argue it's no longer all that delightful to see little girls peddling packaged cookies, or to buy them in the name of supporting the community. (And no, this is not an April Fools' joke.)

To some doctors and parents, the tradition increasingly feels out of step with the uncomfortable public health realities of our day.

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Harvest Desk
6:45 am
Tue April 1, 2014

While Farm Life Changes, FFA’s Blue Jacket Stays The Same

The blue corduroy jackets sported by high schoolers in FFA have been a part of the group's brand since its founding in 1928.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The blue corduroy jacket worn by high school students in FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, is an icon of rural life. To the average city dweller the jacket is a vestige of dwindling, isolated farm culture, as fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms. The numbers tell a different story however. In spite of that demographic shift, a record number of kids are donning blue jackets this year.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Waffle Taco From Taco Bell

Taco and waffle go together even better than Terry Gross and Gene Simmons.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 1:05 pm

For most people, the morning goes like this: Wake up, take a shower and wait six hours in painful agony until it's an appropriate time to eat Taco Bell.

But, finally, times have changed: Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu. The centerpiece is unquestionably The Waffle Taco.

Peter: I was driving in after picking them up, and I was terrified of getting in a fatal car crash. "Local radio host found dead next to bag of four Taco Bell Waffle Tacos."

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The Salt
2:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Rethinking Fat: The Case For Adding Some Into Your Diet

Nutrition researchers are reaching a new consensus: Cut back on all those refined carbs. And remember that some fat is good.
Stacy Spensley/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:10 pm

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

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Food
2:29 am
Mon March 31, 2014

In Kitchens Around The World, Comfort Foods Bring Us Together

Hall makes the hors d'oeuvres version of spanakopita.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:58 pm

There's nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to bring everyone to the table. And in her new cookbook Carla's Comfort Foods, Chef Carla Hall celebrates the meals that unite us — no matter where we're from.

Hall is one of the hosts of ABC's talk show The Chew and was a finalist on the reality TV show Top Chef. She invited NPR's David Greene over to bake spanakopita — a Greek dish, and just one of the many recipes she loves from around the world.

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The Salt
11:32 am
Sun March 30, 2014

By Any Other Name, Does Vermont's Maple Syrup Taste As Sweet?

Vermont has dropped the old system of grading of maple syrup in favor of a new plan that names both color and flavor.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

At Green's Sugarhouse in Poultney, Vt., visitors are gathered around four squeeze bottles of maple syrup, sampling the each under brand-new labels.

Vermont recently replaced its syrup grading system and now uses new names that make different syrups sound more like wine or expensive coffee.

Gone is the former system, with names like "Fancy," "Grade A Dark Amber" and "Grade B." The new labels give both the color — "Golden," "Amber" or "Dark" — and a flavor description: "Delicate," "Rich," "Robust" or "Strong."

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Arts & Life
6:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Strategic Seating: How To Elicit The Optimal Dinner Conversation

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Alex Cornell does not like dinner parties or overly chatty commuters who insist upon talking to him on the bus. So, he created a new app called Tickle, which helps you escape awkward public situations. By simply touching the phone, you can generate a fake phone call, allowing you to politely excuse yourself. The app isn't out yet, but it reminded us of another one of Alex Cornell's attempts to avoid awkward conversations. We spoke to the San Francisco-based blogger and designer last year.

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The Salt
4:09 am
Sun March 30, 2014

No-Kill Caviar Aims To Keep The Treat And Save The Sturgeon

This Vivace "no-kill" caviar was harvested from a Siberian sturgeon via a massage-based technique. The fish didn't die. But did the taste survive?
Alastair Bland for NPR

Caviar was once the food of kings and czars — and for a sturgeon, it meant death.

But a new technique of massaging the ripe eggs from a female sturgeon — without killing or even cutting the fish open— could make caviar more abundant, more affordable, and more accessible to all.

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The Salt
4:38 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Batter Up: Baseball Just Got Its Most Decorated Corn Dog

The Diamondbacks' D-bat Dog is an18-inch corn dog filled with cheese, bacon and jalapeño.
@DBACKS VIA TWITTER

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 10:27 am

Inside the kitchen of the Arizona Diamondbacks, chef Michael Snoke has created a monster: 18 inches of meat that's skewered, wrapped in cornbread, stuffed with bacon and infused with cheddar cheese and jalapeños.

All that rests on a bed of fries. And for $25, it's all yours.

"I have created the D-Bat," he says.

The Diamondback's executive chef has wanted to get in on the culinary competition that's sprung up between Major League Baseball teams.

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Shots - Health News
5:46 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

A Third Of School-Age Kids May Have Risky Cholesterol Levels

Getting kids to exercise regularly and eat right can reduce their risk of heart disease down the road.
Robert Brown iStockphoto

Of all the things parents worry about when it comes to their children's health, high cholesterol probably isn't very high on the list.

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The Salt
8:40 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Hippest Winery In Mexico Is Made Of Recycled Boats

Architects Alejandro D'Acosta and Claudia Turrent incorporated materials salvaged from boats into the Vena Cava winery in Baja's Guadalupe Valley.
Courtesy of Alejandro D'Acosta and Claudia Turrent

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 5:05 pm

A lot of artists say they find inspiration in unlikely places. Architects Alejandro D'Acosta and Claudia Turrent, designers based in Ensenada, Mexico, most often find theirs digging through dumpsters and junkyards.

Their work, however, isn't remotely trashy. One of their latest creations, the Vena Cava winery in Baja's Guadalupe Valley, is sleek and totally modern. It's one of a growing number of wineries that's designed to give visitors a memorable visual experience — not just a taste of fine wine.

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The Salt
2:27 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Why We Got Fatter During The Fat-Free Food Boom

The 1990s were rife with low-fat packaged snacks, from potato chips to cookies.
Youtube and RetroJunk

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:24 am

If you want to trace Americans' fear of fat, the place to start is the U.S. Senate, during the steamy days of July 1976.

That's when Sen. George McGovern called a hearing to raise attention to the links between diet and disease.

And what was the urgency? The economy was booming, and many Americans were living high on the hog. A 1954 Capitol Hill restaurant menu offers a glimpse of what lunch looked like then: steak with claret sauce, buttered succotash and pineapple cheesecake. But soon, that prosperity began to cast a dark shadow within the halls of Congress.

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Found Recipes
3:36 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Before You Bake Brooklyn's Legendary Cake, Heed A Warning

Beware the siren's call of this chocolate delight: Ebinger's Blackout Cake is as arduous to make as it is delicious to taste.
Jennifer Yin Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:58 pm

For Brooklyn, Ebinger's Blackout Cake was a decades-long institution. Ebinger's Bakery opened in 1898, quickly flourishing with dozens of locations throughout the borough. There was a time when, if you lived in Brooklyn, you lived near an Ebinger's — and you knew its famous blackout cake. The signature chocolate dessert had a rabid following among Brooklynites, until the bakery went bankrupt in 1972.

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The Salt
2:25 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

The Search For The Perfect Cup Of Coffee Can Be Such A Grind(er)

Doug and Barb Garrott assemble a Lido 2 grinder at their home in Troy, Idaho. They've spent the past three years perfecting their design for the hand-cranked machine.
Jessica Greene

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 7:31 am

In the tiny town of Troy, Idaho, Barb and Doug Garrott have spent the past three years perfecting a machine that could change the morning routines of coffee drinkers all over the country: a $175 hand-cranked coffee grinder.

It's called the Lido 2, the first run of 500 has already sold out on preorder, and coffee aficionados are asking for more.

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Harvest Desk
12:04 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

FDA Reports Progress Controlling Pharma On The Farm

hog confinement barn
Credit wikipedia.org

Federal regulators say progress has been made in limiting antibiotics given to food animals.

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