Harvest Desk

The Salt
5:11 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Nuts For Longevity: Daily Handful Is Linked To Longer Life

Regular nut consumers had about a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, including lower death rates from heart disease and cancer, a study found.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:02 pm

Americans have not always been in love with nuts.

Think about it: They're loaded with calories and fat. Plus, they can be expensive.

But Americans' views — and eating habits — when it comes to nuts are changing. Fast.

There's a growing body of scientific evidence that's putting a health halo over supermarkets' expanding nut aisles.

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Found Recipes
4:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

A Chef Learns To Make His Nana's Petite Sweet Potato Pies

The secret to the sweet potato pies Matthew Raiford's Nana makes is their size. "When you eat sweet potato pie, you're supposed to have just enough," Raiford recalls his Nana saying.
Christopher Connelly/NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:54 pm

Matthew Raiford's grandmother is known around their hometown of Brunswick, Ga., for her sweet potato pie. Raiford says growing up, he knew her sweet potato pie was the best. He was admittedly biased: This was his Nana's pie, so of course it's his favorite.

But Raiford says he's watched enough people try the pie and, overcome with a look of euphoria, sit down and mutter, "That's the best pie I've ever had," to know that there's something special about Nana's sweet potato pie.

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The Salt
3:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Food Stamp Program Doesn't Guarantee Food Security, Study Finds

A sign in a New York City market window advertises the acceptance of food stamps.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Just as the food stamp program has been hit with funding cuts, a small study out of Harvard has found that the program isn't doing enough to ensure that its participants get a complete and nutritious diet.

The researchers wanted to find out how much the benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a critical source of food aid for 47 million needy Americans, improved individuals' food security.

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Harvest Desk
1:07 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Cougar Under The Corn Crib: DNR Says Landowners Called The Shots

The 5-6 ft. male cat found near Morrison, Ill.
Credit Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Dept. of Natural Resources employees have discussed adding cougars to the list of protected species in Illinois.

But in a phone interview with WUIS, IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer said currently "it’s up to the landowner” to decide whether a potentially threatening animal should be put down.  

That's what transpired Wednesday near Morrison, Ill., when a woman and her husband reportedly spotted the large male cougar hiding under their corn crib and asked Conservation Police to dispatch the cat.

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NPR Story
11:49 am
Thu November 21, 2013

In 'Original Local,' Thanksgiving Recipes From The First Americans

A potluck featuring Sunny Corn Muffins, Tanka Bite Bread, squash with Garlic-roasted Cranberries, and Black and Blue Bison Stew.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:09 am

Heid Erdrich's new book Original Local is part cookbook, part memoir and part meditation on the interplay of tradition and fusion in American cooking. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks to the author and poet about the Native American food traditions Erdrich grew up with in the Upper Midwest.

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The Salt
9:15 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Remember 'French Fries Cause Cancer'? Here's The Acrylamide Update

French fries: There are probably other reasons besides acrylamide to avoid these tasty snacks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:02 pm

Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.

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The Salt
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use

TK
Dan Charles/ NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:01 pm

Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Specifically, the FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure.

"We think of it as the best thing in the world," says organic farmer Jim Crawford, "and they think of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting."

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The Salt
4:53 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Food Stamp Cuts Leave Rural Areas, And Their Grocers, Reeling

The recent cuts in federal food benefits may be felt most in rural areas and the grocery stores that serve them.
USDA

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:23 pm

One recent evening, some shoppers at the Countryside Market in Belvidere, Ill., were loading up on staples, like milk and eggs. Others, like Meghan Collins, were trying to plan Thanksgiving on a newly tightened budget.

"My work has been cut," says Collins. "I'm working half the hours I used to work. So yeah, I'm making half of what I made last year."

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Food
4:53 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

A Second Helping Of Turkey Tips From Alton Brown

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:57 pm

So nice, we decided to air it twice: All Things Considered's Melissa Block interviewed TV chef Alton Brown last year to get the lowdown on his tips for the best way to prepare your Thanksgiving Turkey.

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The Salt
4:17 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Moms-To-Be Are Eating Fish, But Choosing Low-Mercury Options

Based on new research, the EPA concludes that women of childbearing age are making more informed choices and opting for low-mercury seafood choices such as shrimp, canned light tuna and salmon.
JackF iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 7:07 pm

It's been a conundrum for pregnant women: Forgo fish out of fears of mercury? Or eat it up to get the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish and shellfish?

Increasingly, it seems women of childbearing age are opting for a smarter option: They're eating fish, but avoiding the species that are high in mercury.

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Shots - Health News
11:19 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Kids Are Less Fit Today Than You Were Back Then

There's a reason she's out there all alone. Children worldwide are spending less time on sports and active play and more time with TVs and video games.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:44 am

Children around the world are less aerobically fit than their parents were as kids, a decline that researchers say could be setting them up for serious health problems once they're grown up.

Children today take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago, according to data from 28 countries. Children's aerobic fitness has declined by 5 percent since 1975.

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The Salt
10:52 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Can A Fish Farm Be Organic? That's Up For Debate

Employees at Pan Fish USA, a salmon fish farm, unload fish feed on Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Ron Wurzer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 1:34 pm

This year, Americans are expected to buy more than $30 billion worth of organic grains, produce, coffee, wine and meats.

Some producers of farmed fish want the chance to get a cut of those profits, and retailers, who can charge a premium price for organic farmed fish, are with them. But an organic label for aquaculture is not coming easy.

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Kitchen Window
11:03 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

You Can't Judge A Celery Root By Its Looks

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 11:59 am

Imagine how celery root feels at the vegetable beauty pageant. Everyone's falling over the tomato, that smug beauty queen. The cameras love elegant long carrots and parsnips, and the radishes blush in the spotlight. People coo over the potatoes even though they're not much to look at, because they're in it for the fries.

But homely celery root hovers by the concessions table with big, unremarkable rutabaga and antennaed kohlrabi.

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Harvest Desk
1:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Joel Salatin: Local Food Evangelist

Joel Salatin on his Virginia farm.
Credit Creative Commons

Joel Salatin is one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and scheduled speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies, he’s a celebrity.

He’s also a vocal critic of industrialized agriculture. Salatin criticizes the use of pesticides, herbicides, genetic modification in crops, and hormones and antibiotics in livestock.

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The Salt
11:48 am
Tue November 19, 2013

How To Prepare For Climate Disasters? Artist Says Dehydrate Food

Fan raises egg-laying hens in the yard behind his studio on Staten Island.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:59 pm

Emergency aid workers are rushing this week to get food aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines — just the latest reminder of how vulnerable the food supply can be when disaster hits.

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Technology
4:05 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Easy As Pie: Soon You Could Push A Button And Get A Pizza

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:27 pm

Ordering a pizza may soon get easier in the U.S. — at least if the company iStrategyLabs has anything to do with it. The company's working on a device they call Pie Pal that allows you to order pizza with the push of a button.

Your Health
4:05 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Critics Warn Latest Cholesterol Guidelines Invite Overtreatment

Alan Crawford iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:15 pm

The launch of new treatment guidelines isn't a good time for confusion and controversy.

But that's precisely what's happening to a set of sweeping new guidelines aimed at slashing the U.S. rate of heart attacks and strokes — the first reboot of such advice in seven years.

If such guidelines are going to work, Dr. Steven Nissen points out, they have to convince.

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The Salt
3:16 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Meat Mummies: How Ancient Egyptians Prepared Feasts For Afterlife

Anyone up for meat mummies? Above, a mummified beef rib from the tomb of Tjuiu, an Egyptian noblewoman, and her husband, the powerful courtier Yuya, circa 1386-1349 BC.
Image courtesy of PNAS

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 11:25 am

Meat mummies.

It's a word pairing that is, I dare say, pretty rare. Who among us has heard those two words together? What, indeed, could a "meat mummy" be?

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The Salt
12:35 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Sandwich Monday: IHOP At Home

The only thing missing is that sticky feeling when you accidentally touch the side of your hand to your plate.
NPR

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 2:28 pm

Sure, you want IHOP all the time. But what if you want the "P," without the "I" and the "H"-- at which point the "O" is just kind of hanging there? Fortunately, you can now have food from the International House of Pancakes at home, even if your house is not the slightest bit international. We sampled IHOP's new microwavable Griddle n' Sausage breakfast sandwich.

Eva: Now I have something to eat when I'm drunk at 3 a.m. alone at home.

Miles: After I finished my meal, I left a $4 tip in my microwave.

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The Salt
10:57 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Coffee Maker Cooking: Brew Up Your Next Dinner

Parallel processing: Couscous cooks in the coffee maker's carafe while broccoli and cauliflower steam in the basket.
Morgan Walker/ NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:36 pm

A few months ago, we introduced you to the wild world of dishwasher cooking. Poach salmon while cleaning dirty plates? No problem.

But some of you expressed concerns about having your sockeye sit so close to soapy water and the high energy cost of running a dishwasher.

Well, we've stumbled upon another wacky cooking method that may overcome these issues: using your coffee maker.

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The Salt
10:29 am
Sun November 17, 2013

See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Screen grab of a map that shows hard numbers about who's getting hit by food stamp cuts.
Stateline

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:20 pm

When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.

And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.

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Around the Nation
7:04 am
Sun November 17, 2013

Bike Evangelist Wants To Put More Riders In The Low Seat

Andrew Duncan Carson makes recumbent bikes out of recycled parts in his garage. He says he'll never ride an upright bike again.
Jon Kalish NPR

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 11:24 am

After several knee operations, 66-year-old Marilyn Cowser of Greenfield, Wis., found herself no longer able to Rollerblade or ride her bike.

She was advised to try a recumbent bike, but when Cowser went to her local bike shop, she found they were selling for upwards of $1,500. Cowser wasn't willing to spend that kind of money, so she went to see a guy about a half-hour away who builds recumbents in his garage.

"When I got there, he had them all out," she says. "And I got on this one and took off. I mean, I just went."

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The Salt
5:35 am
Sun November 17, 2013

MSG, Seasoned For A Comeback

According to legend, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda discovered the food additive monosodium glutamate in 1908 after contemplating the meaty flavor of seaweed soup.
Jung K Oh iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:20 pm

Umami, that savory fifth taste — in addition to bitter, sour, sweet and salty — has become a sought-after flavor in the culinary scene.

Not quite so beloved is the umami additive monosodium glutamate — MSG, as it's more popularly known. For decades it's been vilified, maligned and, some say, misunderstood.

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The Salt
5:35 am
Sun November 17, 2013

'Anything That Moves' Explores America's Extreme Food Culture

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 3:20 pm

Author Dana Goodyear has spent a lot of time dining with foodies who champion bugs as a meal. And horses. And brains. Whales. Leaves. Weeds. Ash. Hay. Even plain dirt.

Goodyear, a staff writer for The New Yorker, set out to document the outer bounds of the extreme food culture that has taken hold among American foodies. Their quest for ever more exotic, challenging ingredients, she says, is raising fundamental questions about the nature of food itself and the assumptions that underlie what we view as acceptable to eat.

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The Salt
11:07 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Menu Site Makes It Easy To Compare Restaurant Fat Stats

MenuStat, a new website by the New York City Department of Health, allows users to compare the calorie counts of items between restaurants, over time.
Screenshot of MenuStat.org

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 3:43 pm

New York City became a leader in pushing restaurants to be more transparent when it required calorie counts on menus in 2006. Now the city's health department has developed a new tool for those who'd like even more detailed information about restaurant food.

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TED Radio Hour
8:20 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Where Does General Tso Chicken Actually Come From?

Andrew Heavens TED

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 8:38 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Jennifer 8. Lee's Talk

Journalist Jennifer 8. Lee talks about her hunt for the origins of familiar Chinese-American dishes — exploring the hidden spots where these two cultures have combined to form a new cuisine.

About Jennifer 8. Lee

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The Salt
8:06 am
Fri November 15, 2013

How Coffee, Citrus And Nuts Help Cut The Risk Of Diabetes

Coffee can help cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes, fresh research shows. Other foods, such as oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits, nuts and beans can also help.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 1:45 pm

If you go back to the 1970s, people with a serious coffee habit often had an accompanying habit: smoking.

And that's why early studies gave coffee a bad rap. Clearly, smoking was harmful. And it was hard for researchers to disentangle the two habits. "So it made coffee look bad in terms of health outcomes," Harvard researcher Meir Stampfer explained to me.

But fast-forward a quarter century, and the rap on coffee began to change.

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The Salt
2:01 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Philippines Disaster Rekindles Fight Over Food Aid Rules

A relief worker looks over boxes of aid provided by the U.S. on November 14, 2013 in Leyte, Philippines. Proponents of food aid reform say it makes more sense for the U.S. to buy food donations locally than ship them across the globe.
Chris McGrath Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:49 am

Emergency aid, including stocks of food, started arriving this week in cyclone-devastated areas of the Philippines; more is on the way.

The first wave of aid — high-energy biscuits designed to keep people alive when food is scarce — arrived via airlift. Huge shiploads of rice will be needed in the weeks and months to come. And exactly how the U.S. donates of that rice is a flashpoint in a long-running debate in Washington, D.C., about food aid.

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The Salt
4:59 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

What's The Most Important Thing Food Labels Should Tell Us?

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:29 pm

Food labels have become battlegrounds. Just last week, voters in Washington state narrowly defeated a measure that would have required food manufacturers to reveal whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.

Supporters of the initiative — and similar proposals in other states — say that consumers have a right to know what they're eating.

But there are lots of things we might want to know about our food. So what belongs on the label?

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Found Recipes
3:56 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

A Quest For The Perfect Quince Paste Yields A Great Sauce

Courtesy of Tammy Donroe Inman

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 12:03 pm

A good quince can be hard to find. And for many, they're also hard to define.

Tammy Donroe Inman, who wrote the dessert cookbook Wintersweet and blogs at Food on the Food, says the tough yellow fruits are rock hard straight off the bush, and have a strong fragrance when raw – kind of like a green apple Jolly Rancher.

"But when you cook them, the flavor is different," says . "It's more like a cross between an apple and a pear, with a little hint of an exotic flower fragrance."

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