Harvest Desk

Health Care
3:35 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

With Discounts For Healthy Behavior, John Hancock Courts Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 8:37 am

John Hancock announced a new program promising discounts for policyholders who wear a fitness tracker, exercise more and go to the doctor. The life insurance company says that if people live longer healthier lives, everybody wins. But privacy advocates worry about all the electronic monitoring.

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The Salt
10:58 am
Wed April 8, 2015

In Korea, Spam Isn't Junk Meat — It's A Treat

Spam is a staple in South Korea's supermarkets.
Matt Stiles NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 2:37 pm

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The Salt
3:36 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Aspiring Craft Brewers Hit The Books To Pick Up Science Chops

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 11:20 am

Here's how popular craft brewed beer is these days: On average, a new brewery opens its doors every single day in the the U.S.

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The Salt
5:45 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: How Tea + Sugar Reshaped The British Empire

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, 1632. Here, Tulp explains musculature matters. Elsewhere, the good doctor was promoting the health virtues of tea.
Rembrandt Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 1:30 pm

Coffee and tea both landed in the British isles in the 1600s. In fact, java even got a head start of about a decade. And yet, a century later, tea was well on its way to becoming a daily habit for millions of Britons — which it remains to this day.

So how did tea emerge as Britain's hot beverage of choice?

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The Salt
4:47 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

California Farmers Gulp Most Of State's Water, But Say They've Cut Back

Fields of carrots are watered March 29, 2015, in Kern County, Calif. Subsidized water flowing in federal and state canals down from the wet north to the arid south helped turn the dry, flat plain of the San Joaquin Valley into one of the world's most important food-growing regions.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:54 pm

When Gov. Jerry Brown announced the largest mandatory water restrictions in California history April 1 while standing in a snowless field in the Sierra Nevada, he gave hardly a mention to farms.

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The Salt
11:35 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Hold The Mammal: Daring To Make Dairy-Free Cheese From Nuts

Kite Hill's "soft-ripened" cheese made from almonds develops a bitter rind like that on Brie cheese.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 1:50 pm

On the fringes of the cheese world, a quest for non-dairy cheese that tastes like the real thing has been underway for years.

Products made mostly of soy protein or coagulated palm oil, often heavily processed and artificially flavored, have dominated the (very) narrow vegan cheese section of the supermarket. But these products have long underwhelmed the palate with their thin flavor and reluctance to melt on a hot pizza.

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Food
2:26 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Busy Chef Strives For Balanced Mix Of Home Life, Culinary Ambitions

Voltaggio sprinkles sugar on granola pancakes, a dish from his new cookbook, Home.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:24 pm

Breakfast is Bryan Voltaggio's favorite meal because it's the only time he gets to eat with his family. Most other times, the Top Chef and Top Chef Masters finalist is at one of his restaurants. That's why the recipes in his new book, Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends, are centered on family and family gatherings, from Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday.

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The Salt
2:06 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Sandwich Monday: Pizza-Flavored Energy Paste

We apologize to pizza.
NPR

Traditionally, the liquified foods marathoners choke down in the middle of a race have been limited to some pretty basic flavors: lemon-lime gel, vanilla goo, chocolate mystery substance.

No more! Clif has introduced pizza-flavored energy paste.

We tried it while competing together in an ultramarathon this weekend (this entire sentence is a lie).

Ian: It's like an IV bag for someone suffering from too much happiness.

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The Salt
12:06 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Does Your Food Have A Bad Case Of The Blahs? Put An Egg On It!

Put an egg on it
Ryan Kellman and Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:21 pm

Wondering what to do with all those painted eggs, or the ones you never managed to paint for Easter? We're here to help.

Inspired by Portlandia's "Put a Bird on It" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," we went in search of ways to be more assertive with eggs.

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NPR Story
3:58 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Farmers, Trade Association Debate Merits Of Organic Marketing Fund

Produce is often accompanied by signs like this one at a King Soopers grocery store in Fort Collins, Colo. But customers are often confused by their meaning, which is one reason the Organic Trade Association is trying to raise money for a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 2:05 pm

Pesticide-free? Nurtured with organic fertilizer? No antibiotics?

Ask any shopper, and you're bound to find mixed answers for what an organic label means.

Now, an association is trying to draw funding from something called a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research. For a checkoff to work, each farmer pays a small amount. For example, a penny-per-bushel of wheat or a dollar per cow would generate millions of dollars in pooled funding that could pay for splashy ad campaigns.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sun April 5, 2015

Drinking With 'Mad Men': Cocktail Culture And The Myth Of Don Draper

Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) raise their glasses. Many fans have been inspired to do the same, but Mad Men has a complicated relationship with alcohol.
Michael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 3:51 pm

Ah, 2007: the year in which we met the first-ever iPhone, a presidential candidate called Barack Obama ... and an inscrutable ad man named Don Draper.

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The Salt
6:33 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Why Wal-Mart Is Betting Big On Being Your Local Urban Grocer

A customer shops for groceries with her son at the Wal-Mart on H Street in Washington, D.C.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:16 pm

Wal-Mart made its name by going big: massive super centers with gallon jars of pickles and rows and rows of lawn chairs and tires.

Its future may depend a lot on going small. It's investing in smaller stores in densely populated urban neighborhoods, where customers buy fewer items at a time.

Customers like Donna Thomas, who walked over to a Wal-Mart near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on her lunch break from her job as an executive assistant at Comcast.

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The Salt
5:33 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Straight Out Of Brooklyn: 'Encyclofoodia' Pokes Fun At Foodies

Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 11:55 am

If you're trying to feed some of the lumberjack hipsters of Brooklyn, you might try serving up some Huevos Machismos. And if you're seeking the next cleanse trend, look no further than the Ultimate Gushy Protein Sewage Blast. Like any balanced smoothie, it incorporates one ounce of "pure, uncut cocaine (for the boost)."

These are the recipes and advice you'd receive from the Mizretti brothers, two fictional restaurateurs who just published an "encyclofoodia" and cookbook called FUDS.

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The Salt
1:30 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

You'll Get No Alcoholic Kick From Champagne-Flavored Jelly Beans

Jelly Belly has developed a champagne-flavored bean, but don't expect an alcoholic kick from this candy.
Jelly Belly

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 2:42 pm

This Easter, you can toast the Bunny with the newest jelly bean flavor from industry giant Jelly Belly: champagne. (Don't get your hopes up — the champagne bean is alcohol-free.)

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Shots - Health News
9:55 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Will Smart Clothing Amp Up Your Workout?

Athos workout wear includes sensors that measure muscle activity.
Tim Mantoani Courtesy of Athos

When Eric Blue goes to the gym, he sports a wafer-thin shirt that tracks his every move.

Blue's shirt contains tiny sensors woven into the fabric. They monitor his heart rate, the calories he burns and other metrics, like breathing rate. A companion app on his smartphone informs him about the intensity of his workouts.

Blue, a Los Angeles entrepreneur, says regular use of the shirt has pushed him to "up his game" during exercise.

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Food
4:07 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Celebrating Passover: The History And Symbolism Of Matzo Balls

Matzo ball soup with dill. Matzo represents the unleavened bread the Jews ate while fleeing Egypt.
Jessica and Lon Binder/Flickr

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 2:21 pm

Nothing says Passover like a good bowl of matzo ball soup. That's according to Joan Nathan, chef and grande-dame of Jewish cooking, who spoke to Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition about the importance of the tradition.

The Jewish holiday of Passover celebrates the Biblical story of the Exodus, or the freeing of Hebrew slaves from Egypt.

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The Salt
5:32 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

How The Matzo Crumbles: Iconic Streit's Factory To Leave Manhattan

A rabbi (center) supervises the production of Passover matzos at the Streit's factory on New York's Lower East Side, circa 1960s. This Passover will be Streit's last one at the landmark location.
AP

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 11:42 am

This Passover holiday marks the end of an era for an iconic matzo factory in New York City.

Streit's has been baking matzo — the unleavened bread that Jews eat during the eight days of Passover — in the same factory on the Lower East Side for 90 years. But the company announced it will move production to a new, modern factory after the holiday.

That's a blow to Streit's loyal customers, who insist it tastes better than other brands.

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Food
5:32 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

The Fake Meat Industry's Quest To Make Faux Taste Real

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 1:30 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Sodium Sleuths: Do Southerners Eat More Salt Than The Rest Of Us?

The salty suspects: Some 70 percent of the cheeses, soups, cold cuts and pizzas we buy at the grocery store exceed the Food and Drug Administration's "healthy" labeling standards for salt. Since we eat so much bread, it is — perhaps surprisingly — the top contributor of sodium to our diets.
iStockphoto; Deborah Austin/Flickr; Beckman's Bakery/Flickr; iStockphoto; The Pizza Review/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:02 pm

It's not the salt shakers on our tables that explain why Americans consume way too much sodium. It's the processed foods we buy in grocery stores.

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The Salt
2:59 am
Thu April 2, 2015

When Wal-Mart Comes To Town, What Does It Mean For Workers?

Jessey Drewsen, 25, lives near the H Street Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C. She says she doesn't like the store, but that she goes there for cheap supplies like pens.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 2:58 pm

This is the second in a two-part story about Wal-Mart. Read and listen to Part 1 here.

One of the biggest objections critics often raise about Wal-Mart is how it treats its workers.

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The Salt
3:57 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Navajos Fight Their Food Desert With Junk Food And Soda Taxes

A price comparison of Spam and fresh fruit in a grocery store in Navajo Nation. According to the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, the vast majority of the inventory at reservation stores would be considered "junk food" under the new tax law.
Courtesy of Denisa Livingston

More than 30 cities and states across the country have attempted to tax soda. Nearly all have failed.

Now, a community of about 250,000 people has found a way to tax not just sugary beverages, but also junk food. At the same time, it's making fresh produce more affordable in one of the hardest regions in the U.S. to buy it.

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The Salt
3:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

With Nostalgia And A Last Nosh, 1 Of 3 Remaining HoJo's Closes

A vintage postcard (circa 1930-1945) shows the HoJo's on U.S. Alternate Route I, in Fredericksburg, Va.
Boston Public Library/Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:55 pm

In the 1960s and '70s, Howard Johnson's restaurants were the biggest chain in the country, with more than 1,000 locations.

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Politics
3:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:00 pm

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades. NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with her about her accomplishments and challenges while in office.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Salt
9:28 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Scary Times For California Farmers As Snowpack Hits Record Lows

Dry, cracked earth is visible on a cantaloupe farm near Firebaugh, Calif., last August. Record-low snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada mean most Central California farmers will face another year without water from the federal Central Valley Project.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 5:23 pm

The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

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The Salt
1:52 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

The Revival Of Lamb Ham: A Colonial Tradition Renewed

"This lamb ham is sweet, buttery and smoky, with just a hint of lamb flavor," says Sam Edwards, one of the Virginians who is bringing back the colonial style of curing lamb.
Courtesy of Sammy Edwards

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 2:54 pm

Roast rack of lamb or a platter of smoked, glazed ham — which dish should be the centerpiece of the Easter table?

Lamb is rich in religious symbolism: A sacrificial lamb was first served by Jewish people on Passover, and Christians often refer to Jesus as the lamb of God. But ham feeds more guests and makes tastier leftovers.

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The Salt
2:41 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Our Food-Safety System Is A Patchwork With Big Holes, Critics Say

Walking through the warehouse of food processor Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., shows how complicated the food safety system can be. Pallets are stacked with sacks of potato flour, and the smell of fresh-baked apple-cinnamon muffins floats in the air.

Heartland Gourmet makes a wide range of foods — from muffins and organic baking mixes to pizzas and burritos. That means business manager Mark Zink has to answer to both of the main U.S. food safety regulators, the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

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The Salt
1:42 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Grocery Stores Are Losing You. Here's How They Plan To Win You Back

A little booze can't hurt: The Hy-Vee grocery chain has added a Market Grille to several of its locations in the Midwest and Great Plains. You can order drinks and dinner before or after you do your grocery shopping.
Courtesy of Hy-Vee Market Grille

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 5:41 pm

If pushing a cart up and down the lengthy aisles of your neighborhood supermarket — past dozens of brands of packaged cereal and crackers lit by fluorescent lights — feels overwhelming and soul-sucking, you're not alone.

But there's some good news: The days of shopping this way may be numbered.

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The Salt
10:24 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Sandwich Monday: The Passover Sandwich

Ann contemplates the little known Fifth Question: What exactly is this?
NPR

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in April 2014.

Why is this Sandwich Monday different from all other Sandwich Mondays? In honor of Passover, I introduced my non-Jewish colleagues to the wonders of the Passover lunch.

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Shots - Health News
2:40 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Sure, Use A Treadmill Desk — But You Still Need To Exercise

NPR senior Washington editor Beth Donovan walks on a treadmill desk in her office in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 4:31 pm

First off, I need to be upfront: I have a treadmill desk. I got it about two years ago, prompted by all the studies showing the dangers of sitting all day. The idea is to get people more active and walking while working. The problem is, I don't use it. In fact, I probably only used it for a few months. I still stand all day, but I'm not walking.

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Shots - Health News
2:39 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Compression Clothing: Not The Magic Bullet For Performance

Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross pulls on compression sleeves before a 400-meter race at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Istanbul in 2012.
Martin Meissner AP

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 2:27 pm

Maybe you've seen them in the gym, or even squeezed into them yourself: super-tight T-shirts, leggings, knee and calf sleeves, even tube tops. More and more athletes are wearing compression garments, hoping they will improve their performance and recovery.

But do they work? This is a question Abigail Stickford, a postdoctoral researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, wanted to answer.

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