Harvest Desk

The Salt
6:39 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

Chef James Corwell's nigiri sushi rolls made with Tomato Sushi, a plant-based tuna alternative, in San Francisco.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:15 pm

It's a dead ringer for Ahi tuna sashimi. It cuts into glistening slivers that are firm and juicy. And it's got a savory bite.

But this flesh-like food is not fish. It's made of tomato, and it's what San Francisco chef James Corwell hopes could be one small step toward saving imperiled species of fish, like bluefin tuna.

"What I want is to create a great sushi experience without the tuna," Corwell tells The Salt.

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The Two-Way
6:04 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

'Modern Farmer' Owner Says It Will Live On, Despite Staff Exit

Modern Farmer has a particular fondness for stories about anything having to do with goats.
Courtesy of Modern Farmer

A hip chronicle of ag life isn't dead yet, the owner of Modern Farmer says. The National Magazine Award winner lost its last paid editorial staff Friday, The New York Times reports. But the story comes with a clarification: Modern Farmer's owner says he'll publish again this summer.

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The Salt
3:10 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Brewers Gone Wild: Taming Unpredictable Yeast For Flavorful Beer

Allagash Brewing microbiologist and head of quality control Zach Bodah's favorite microscope picture of Brettanomyces (taken in house). The culture comes from Confluence Ale and is a blend of the Allagash house yeast and Brett yeast.
Courtesy of Zach Bodah/Allagash

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:16 pm

Crack the vast menu at any self-respecting beer bar, and you're bound to run into a scientific name among the descriptions: Brettanomyces, affectionately known as Brett.

I've heard American brewers and beer geeks utter "Brett" in hushed, reverent tones before swooshing aromatic liquids made with it across their tongues. But this mysterious, mythic and increasingly popular strain of wild yeast also strikes fear in the hearts of brewers and microbiologists in the industry.

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The Salt
6:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Investment Fund Pours Cash Into Cleaner, Greener Fish Farming

World Resource Institute

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 3:28 pm

Like it or not, our seafood increasingly originates not in the deep ocean but on fish farms hugging the coasts. Aquaculture already supplies about half of the world's seafood, and global production is going to have to more than double by 2050 to meet demand, according to the World Resources Institute.

The business opportunity here is tremendous. Thousands of operations around the world now produce huge numbers of salmon, shrimp, mussels, tilapia and catfish, to name a few fish species that thrive on farms.

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Found Recipes
4:13 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Hostess Isn't The Mostest: Make Your Own Sno Balls At Home

Jennifer Steinhauer's version of the Sno Ball moves the marshmallow inside and skips the pink food coloring.
James Ransom Courtesy of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 5:28 pm

When Hostess Brands announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, there was a lot of anguish on the Internet about the death of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Donettes and the like.

And it got Jennifer Steinhauer, a New York Times reporter and food writer, wondering why anyone would even want a Twinkie in adulthood?

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The Salt
3:05 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

What's More Nutritious, Orange Juice Or An Orange? It's Complicated

To juice or not to juice? That is the question.
OakleyOriginals/Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 4:28 pm

We all could probably eat more fruits and vegetables. But if forced to choose between whole fruit or a glass of juice, which one seems more healthful?

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Why Some GMO Foods Don't Have Genetically Modified DNA

While reporting my story on how foods earn a label certifying them as "non-GMO," I came across a comment that struck me – and it might surprise you, too.

The comment came from Ken Ross, the CEO of Global ID. (He didn't make it into the final story.) Global ID is the parent company of FoodChain ID, one of the companies that traces ingredients to determine whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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The Salt
4:11 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Clean Up Those Contaminated Chicken Parts, USDA Tells Industry

About a quarter of the chicken parts we buy are tainted with salmonella, according to USDA tests.
snowpea&bokchoi/Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:30 pm

Right now, according to government surveys, about a quarter of the cut-up chicken you buy — and about half of all ground chicken — is contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

It's a surprisingly high number, and it was a surprise to the USDA's food safety officials, too, when they realized this about a year ago. Because up to that point, their efforts had been focused on whole chickens, rather than the cut-up parts.

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The Salt
5:18 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Would Kids Eat More Veggies If They Had Recess Before Lunch?

A baked potato with toppings on a lunch tray at a school in Wisconsin. Students are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they're rushing to get to recess, researchers say.
Micheal Sears MCT/Landov

Schools are offering more and more healthy foods for lunch. And schools that participate in the National School Lunch program require students to choose a fruit and a vegetable side. Yet plate waste is a big problem in schools; as The Salt has reported, kids throw away anywhere from 24 to 35 percent of what's on their trays.

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The Salt
11:48 am
Tue January 20, 2015

How Your Food Gets The 'Non-GMO' Label

Demand is growing for GMO-free labels on food products, according to the Non-GMO Project, one of the principal suppliers of the label.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 1:41 pm

Demand for products that don't contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is exploding.

Now many food companies are seeking certification for products that don't have any genetically modified ingredients, and not just the brands popular in the health food aisle. Even Cheerios, that iconic cereal from General Mills, no longer contains GMOs.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Chipotle's Pulled Pork Highlights Debate Over Sow Welfare

A sow nurses her piglets in a farrowing crate in an Elite Pork Partnership hog confinement building in Carroll, Iowa, in 2009.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 3:47 pm

About a third of all Chipotle restaurants are not serving carnitas at the moment, because the restaurant chain has suspended one of its major pork suppliers.

The restaurant chain has declined to identify the supplier and the exact reasons for the suspension. In its official statements, Chipotle said only that the supplier was not in compliance with the company's animal welfare standards.

But when David Maren heard the news, he had a pretty good idea what the problem was.

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The Salt
1:21 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

From Detox To Elimination Diets, Skipping Sugar May Be The Best Bet

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:32 pm

When it comes to detox diets, we totally get the appeal.

Who's not drawn to the idea of flushing all the toxins out of our bodies — a sort of spring cleaning of our insides?

And yes, several years back, I even remember trying — if only for a day — the trendy cayenne-pepper liquid cleanse (as seen in this Mindy Kaling clip from The Office) as part of a cleansing/detox diet.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 am
Mon January 19, 2015

When Bariatric Surgery's Benefits Wane, This Procedure Can Help

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 6:37 am

For most of her life Fran Friedman struggled with compulsive eating. At 59 years old she was 5 foot 2 and weighed 360 pounds. That's when she opted for bariatric surgery.

The surgery worked. Friedman, who is now 70 and lives in Los Angeles, lost 175 pounds. "It was a miracle," Friedman says, not to feel hungry. "It was the first time in my life that I've ever lost a lot of weight and was able to maintain it."

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Shots - Health News
2:33 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Sure You Can Track Your Health Data, But Can Your Doctor Use It?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 6:10 am

Dr. Paul Abramson is no technophobe. He works at a hydraulic standing desk made in Denmark and his stethoscope boasts a data screen. "I'm an engineer and I'm in health care," he says. "I like gadgets." Still, the proliferation of gadgets that collect health data are giving him pause.

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The Salt
8:38 am
Sat January 17, 2015

United Noshes: Dinner Party Aims To Eat Its Way Through Global Cuisine

A sampling of dishes served at United Noshes dinner parties. From left: feta-stuffed peppers from Greece; noodles in cold broth from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (better known as North Korea); mojitos from Cuba; grilled quail with chili-ginger marinade from Congo.
Courtesy of Laura Hadden

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 12:17 pm

The United Nations has 193 member states. And United Noshes aims to recreate meals from every last one of them, alphabetically, as a series of dinner parties.

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The Salt
12:09 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Food Trucks, Share The Lane. Food Bikes Are Merging Into The Business

Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters makes all of his deliveries within the 6-mile radius of urban Portland, Ore., on one of his custom-built cargo bikes. He can also pull over to brew and serve coffee.
John Lee Courtesy of Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:17 pm

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

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The Salt
11:23 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Mojito Diplomacy: Chefs Plan Culinary Tours To Cuba

A vendor reaches out to catch a pineapple at a food market in the outskirts of Havana.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:11 pm

Miami Chef Douglas Rodriguez is known as the "Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine" for the pan-Latin American style of cooking he helped pioneer. But, as the son of Cuban immigrants, his early cooking education was firmly rooted in the traditions of his parents' homeland.

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Fitness & Nutrition
6:51 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Trying To Lose Weight? Your Environment, Mindset May Need Work First

Sure, these Buffalo-chicken-and-kale-stuffed mushrooms look tasty, but they aren't the giant bowl of salt and corn syrup your brain really, really wants.
Matthew Mead AP

This January, either you or someone you know is probably trying to lose some weight. Either you or that person probably will fail. In fact, only 77 percent of people maintain their resolutions for a single week, and only 19 percent last two years (some claim the success rate might be as low as 8 percent).

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The Salt
2:22 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Tweaks To Cadbury Creme Eggs Not Going Over Easy In The U.K.

A box of five Cadbury Creme Eggs in London. The confectioner's decision to change the chocolate used to make the outer shell has left many in the U.K. in "shellshock."
Anthony Devlin PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 12:03 am

Easter is still far away, but in the United Kingdom, the weeks after Christmas are when stores begin stocking Cadbury's iconic Creme Eggs — those foil-wrapped chocolates filled with gooey "whites" and "yolks" made of candy.

For many people there, the eggs aren't just sweets — they're "edible time capsules that take consumers back to their childhood with every mouthful," as the U.K.'s Telegraph put it.

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The Two-Way
7:34 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

After Foie Gras Ban Lifted In California, Some Chefs Face Threats

Karlene Bley of Los Angeles spreads her torchon of foie gras onto bread during lunch at the Presidio Social Club restaurant in San Francisco. Last week, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the dish.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 11:59 am

Last Wednesday, a federal judge overturned California's ban on the sale of foie gras, the delicacy made from the livers of fatty ducks and geese that have often been force-fed. The ban was approved by California voters in 2004, and went into effect in 2012.

Since the ban was overturned, some chefs using foie gras in their menus have been receiving threats.

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The Salt
5:34 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

We Lie About What We Eat, And It's Messing Up Science

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:18 pm

How many peanuts did you snack on last week? If you don't remember, you're not alone. We humans are notoriously bad at remembering exactly what and how much we ate. And if there's one pattern to our errors, it's that we underestimate — unintentionally and otherwise.

And yet, for decades, researchers who want to amass large quantities of data about how much Americans eat and exercise have had to rely on individuals to self-report this information.

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The Salt
2:58 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Philadelphia Pizza Lovers Pay It Forward One Slice At A Time

Slices of pizza on the counter of Rosa's Fresh Pizza, where customers are encouraged to pay it forward.
Elizabeth Fiedler/WHYY

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:11 pm

Some pizza restaurants decorate the walls with signed photos of minor local celebrities who once stopped by for a slice.

At Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, the shop is adorned with Post-it notes and letters. The messages are from customers who gave $1 so homeless members in the community could get a slice, which costs $1.

"The homeless, they come in and say, 'I hear you give out free pizza to homeless people,' " owner Mason Wartman tells The Salt.

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The Salt
8:24 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Gluten-Free Craze Is Boon And Bane For Those With Celiac Disease

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 11:28 am

Gluten is the dietary boogeyman du jour.

And for people with celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder, gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye and barley — really is the boogeyman, triggering painful gastrointestinal inflammation and other symptoms. For these people, the phenomenal popularity of gluten-free diets has been both a blessing and a curse.

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The Salt
3:30 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

GMO Potatoes Have Arrived. But Will Anyone Buy Them?

After a turn in the tumbling machine, these conventional russet Burbank potatoes are starting to show signs of bruising. New GMO potatoes called Innate russet Burbanks have been bred not to bruise as easily as these.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 6:30 pm

On the face of it, the new potato varieties called "Innate" seem attractive. If you peel the brown skin off their white flesh, you won't find many unsightly black spots. And when you fry them, you'll probably get a much smaller dose of a potentially harmful chemical.

But here's the catch: Some of the biggest potato buyers in the country, such as Frito-Lay and McDonald's, seem afraid to touch these potatoes. Others don't even want to talk about them because they are genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

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The Salt
1:27 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

How Do We Grow To Like The Foods We Once Hated?

Jasjit Kaur Singh, an Indian chef, cooks kaala channa, a traditional spicy Sikh dish. A psychologist says that children who grow up in cultures with lots of spicy food are taught to like spice early on.
Richard Lautens Toronto Star via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 1:43 pm

Why do some of us like to slather hot sauce or sprinkle chili powder onto our food, while others can't stand burning sensations in our mouth?

It probably has to do with how much we've been socially pressured or taught to eat chili, according to Paul Rozin, a cultural psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied attitudes toward food for decades.

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The Salt
4:54 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Minifasting: How Occasionally Skipping Meals May Boost Health

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:20 pm

If you've ever gone to sleep hungry and then dreamed of chocolate croissants, the idea of fasting may seem completely unappealing.

But what if the payoff for a 16-hour fast — which might involve skipping dinner, save a bowl of broth — is a boost in energy and a decreased appetite?

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The Salt
1:56 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Sandwich Monday: The White Castle Veggie Slider

Let's talk about the creepy green stains on the slider sleeves.
NPR

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 9:13 am

White Castle is not a place you think of as a restaurant for vegetarians. In fact, early franchises built moats and had cauldrons of hot oil at the ready to keep vegetarians out. So, the new Veggie Slider comes as something of a surprise. It's a tiny veggie burger made with carrots, zucchini, peas, spinach and broccoli on a tiny bun, topped with honey mustard, ranch or Thai sauce.

Eva: Oh, did you get these from Beige With Weird Green Lumps Castle?

Miles: Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Are Confused.

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The Salt
11:14 am
Mon January 12, 2015

What Might Be Missing From MyPlate? Water

The University of California's Nutrition Policy Institute has proposed that MyPlate include an icon for water.
UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Sometime in the next few weeks, we'll be hearing from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The panel of nutrition experts is tasked with reviewing the latest science on nutrition and medicine and making recommendations on how to update the next version of the federal government's guidance on eating.

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The Salt
2:26 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Iowa's Largest City Sues Over Farm Fertilizer Runoff In Rivers

The city of Des Moines, Iowa, sits on the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. The city's water works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in these waterways.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:09 pm

Des Moines, Iowa, is confronting the farms that surround it over pollution in two rivers that supply the city with drinking water. Des Moines Water Works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. It's a novel attempt to control fertilizer runoff from farms, which has been largely unregulated.

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All Tech Considered
1:48 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

If A Smart Stove Could Suggest Recipes, Would You Buy It?

Whirlpool's Kitchen of the Future is on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The concept includes a cooktop and connected backsplash that offers recipes and other information.
Whirlpool

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 2:12 pm

Imagine this: You just got home from work and, instead of doing the usual kale salad and lean steak for dinner, you grab a bag of chips and lie down in bed.

The sensors — in your cabinets, in your room, on your wrist — can tell that you're not yourself. The data across devices can talk to each other and infer: You're sad. And so, out pops an alert to recommend a movie to lift your mood. Or a latte at just the right strength.

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