Harvest Desk

The Salt
10:29 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Sexually Transmitted Food Poisoning? A Fish Toxin Could Be To Blame

Beware of the big guys: Red snappers from tropical waters sometimes accumulate high levels of the toxin that causes ciguatera. Go for the smaller fish to avoid it.
Kamel Adjenef iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:33 pm

Twenty-five years ago, two pals went out for a seafood dinner while vacationing in the Bahamas. What could be better than some fresh grouper steaks and a night on the town without the wives?

Um, plenty.

A few hours after dinner, the men started having stomach pains and diarrhea. Their legs began to tingle and burn. And their sense of temperature went haywire: Ice felt hot while fire felt cool.

All the while, their wives were completely fine — until they had sex with their hubbies.

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Found Recipes
1:50 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Paris Confidential: The Mystery Mousse Behind The Chocolate Bar

One of the lovely things about the mousse, according to Dorie Greenspan, is its versatility: It goes as well with maple syrup as with peanut brittle — or nothing at all.
Mary Dodd Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:17 am

Gather round, everyone: Dorie Greenspan has quite a story to tell. It's a tale of intrigue, sweets and — just in time for Valentine's Day — the city of love.

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The Salt
1:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Why Some Olympians Load Up On Salad Instead Of Pasta

Peter Frenette of the United States jumps during training for the Men's Normal Hill Individual ahead of the start of the Sochi Games.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:53 am

When we imagine Olympic athletes at the table before the most important competition of their lives, we might picture a huge plate of pasta, with Gatorade to wash it down and a well-deserved ice cream sundae for dessert.

Turns out, they might be preparing with a salad, a glass of beet juice and some almonds.

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Harvest Desk
6:01 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Meat Labeling Advocates Back New Farm Bill

The USDA's new COOL rule went into full effect in November. It requires labels to list where animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Proponents of a new labeling rule that gives consumers more information about where their meat comes from say they are pleased with the new farm bill President Obama signed into law on Friday. That’s because the bill does not include any significant changes to current country-of-origin labeling rules, known as COOL.

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The Salt
2:09 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

For Lower-Income Students, Snow Days Can Be Hungry Days

When schools close for bad weather, some kids miss out on much-needed nutritious meals. "It's hard to be a hungry person, and it gets harder when the weather is like this," Nancy Roman, president of the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., says of severe cold and snow.
Jessica Glazer NPR

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:32 pm

For many Americans it's been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country's Northern edges to the Deep South.

When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well.

This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

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Harvest Desk
12:41 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Harsh Winter Freezing Out Some Crop-Devouring Pests

Western corn rootworm beetles munch on a corn stalk
Credit Purdue University Extension

Despite what they may be thinking now, Midwest grain farmers and backyard gardeners alike may be thankful for the recent arctic temperatures before 2014 is out.

That’s because soil that’s frozen solid from weeks of below average temperatures isn’t exactly a cozy spot for hibernating insects that feed on crops as soon as the spring thaw comes.

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Food
6:03 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Shanghai Warms Up To A New Cuisine: Chinese Food, American-Style

The majority of patrons at Shanghai's Fortune Cookie restaurant are foreigners, particularly Americans who crave the American-Chinese food they grew up with but can't find in China.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 10:25 am

Imagine living in China and missing Chinese food. It happens. American expatriates who grew up with popular takeout dishes like General Tso's chicken can't find it in China because it essentially doesn't exist here.

Much of the Chinese food we grew up with isn't really Chinese. It's an American version of Chinese food. Chinese immigrants created it over time, adapting recipes with U.S. ingredients to appeal to American palates.

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Kitchen Window
2:41 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken

T. Susan Chang for NPR

In first grade, my heart was stolen by Mark, who sat next to me and had an advanced phonics book (which I also craved). Then there were Peter, Eddie, Raja and Michael. These serial crushes continued right on up through my early 20s, at a rate of approximately three a year. Boys. I fell for their incipient mustaches, their bad attitudes and foul mouths, their poor poetry and bass guitars, their careless humor. I saw their swagger for what it was, but I loved it anyway.

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The Salt
2:38 am
Wed February 12, 2014

The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

A customer shops for milk at a Safeway in Livermore, Calif. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there's growing evidence that full-fat dairy is linked to reduced body weight.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:52 am

I have to admit, I melt at the creaminess of full-fat yogurt.

It's an indulgence that we're told to resist. And I try to abide. (Stealing a bite of my daughter's YoBaby doesn't count, does it?)

The reason we're told to limit dairy fat seems pretty straightforward. The extra calories packed into the fat are bad for our waistlines — that's the assumption.

But what if dairy fat isn't the dietary demon we've been led to believe it is? New research suggests we may want to look anew.

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The Two-Way
6:38 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

European Union Moves To Approve U.S. Genetically Modified Corn

Despite efforts by two-thirds of its 28 member states to block the move, the European Union took a large step toward approving a new genetically modified corn Tuesday. It opponents say the corn, a DuPont Pioneer product called TC1507, has harmful qualities. They also predict the decision will prove to be controversial in Europe.

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The Salt
6:11 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Thank You, Shirley Temple, For The Original 'Mocktail'

A Classic Shirley Temple
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 7:38 pm

Generations of little girls have watched the ebullient Shirley Temple light up Depression-era black and white films, her glossy curls bouncing and her voice chirping. Generations, too, developed a taste for the Shirley Temple drink — traditionally, ginger ale with a dash of grenadine, maraschino cherry and lemon for garnish.

The drink, it seems, has a shelf life as long as her movies.

That's because the saccharine beverage in a girly pinkish hue has long embodied glamour in a glass for tweens and the younger set.

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The Salt
2:55 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

After 23 Years, Your Waiter Is Ready For A Raise

A Denny's waitress delivers breakfast to customers in Emeryville, Calif. The tipped minimum wage has been stuck at $2.13 since 1991.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 3:21 pm

When Woody Harrelson's character got hired as a bartender on Cheers, he was so excited, he insisted on working for no more than the minimum wage. "I'd work like a slave," he said, "and, of course, I'd wash your car."

Most bar and restaurant workers would prefer to bring home a little more cash. They may be in luck.

As part of his plan to raise the minimum wage, President Obama has called for substantially increasing the base wage paid to tipped workers for the first time in decades.

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The Salt
9:54 am
Tue February 11, 2014

N.Y. Immigrants Find They Can Earn Bread And Butter From Baking

Hot Bread Almacen, the retail shop of Hot Bread Kitchen, is located in the historic La Marqueta building in East Harlem, New York.
Daniel Krieger for Hot Bread Kitchen

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:31 am

In the heart of New York City's Spanish Harlem, women from Morocco to Mexico arrive before dawn to crank up the ovens at Hot Bread Kitchen.

Despite their different cultures and languages, this non-profit training bakery says most of its participants have one thing in common: they all grew up learning how to bake traditional breads.

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Harvest Desk
9:16 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Retailers Look To Sell Sustainability Of Food

A poster meant to teach the general public about sustainable ag hangs in Rob Myers’ office. “Everyone can mentally think of a farm scene: the cows out in the pasture, and the crops growing out in the field and a farmer in their pickup but when we talk about sustainability, it’s a step beyond that,” Myers said.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for foods they believe were sustainably produced, like free-range chicken, fair-trade coffee and pesticide-free wine. But what does “sustainable” actually mean?

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The Salt
7:34 am
Tue February 11, 2014

How Caffeinated Are Our Kids? Coffee Consumption Jumps

According to the pediatrics study, about three-fourths of children in the U.S. consume caffeine on a given day.
iStockphoto

Energy drinks tend to get a bad rap. The Food and Drug Administration has investigated reports of deaths and sicknesses linked to them. Hospitals have reported increased ER visits.

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The Salt
3:34 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Subway's Fritos Chicken Enchilada Sub

It happens.
NPR

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:57 am

Whether the Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Sub was the result of creative inspiration or an enormous workplace Fritos spill, we'll never know. What matters is it happened, and it's only a matter of time until all foods everywhere will be available topped with Fritos.

Ian: I like that they're thinking in texture. And adding crunch with Fritos is way better than McDonald's creepy BBQ McTickle.

Miles: Yeah, but let's be honest, crunches are the last thing anyone is going to be doing after eating this sandwich.

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Harvest Desk
2:59 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Harvest Blog: Crop Insurance To Cover Midwest Cucumbers, Cherries

Michigan, Indiana and Illinois are major producers of cucumbers that wind up in pickle jars around the country
Credit en.wikipedia.org

Passage of the Agriculture Act of 2014 brought with it good news for fans of pickles and cherry pies.  

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The Salt
2:39 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

The Neuroscience Of Munchies: Why The Scent Of A Burger Gives Us A High

Research in mice offers new clues as to why Harold and Kumar were so motivated to get to White Castle.
Todd Plitt/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 5:56 pm

From cinnamon buns in the morning to a burger after a long run, food never smells as good as when you're superhungry.

Now scientists have uncovered a clue as to why that might be — and it lies in the munchies and marijuana.

Receptors in the brains of mice that light up when the animals are high are also activated when the critters are fasting, French scientists reported Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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Harvest Desk
5:00 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Propane Price Spike Hitting Hog, Poultry Farms

Week-old piglets are kept under electric heat lamps while feeding
Peter Gray/WUIS

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter. Homes in rural counties are not the only places lacking adequate heating fuel. Farms that put bacon and eggs on your breakfast plate are also feeling the supply pinch.

Hog farmer Phil Borgic of Nokomis, Ill., burns liquid propane – LP - from September through May to support his piglets. His farrowing barn goes through about two semi truckloads of LP each year.

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The Salt
2:26 am
Mon February 10, 2014

It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert

Euclid Market, a corner store in East Los Angeles, recently got a makeover to promote healthier eating. It not only sells more fruits and vegetables, but also offers cooking classes and nutrition education.
Courtesy of Margaret Molloy/UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 5:56 pm

In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they're converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables.

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The Salt
12:21 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Four-Legged Athletes Compete With Olympic-Sized Heart

Sky, an Australian shepherd, runs the weave poles with the intensity of an Olympian.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:19 pm

In Sochi this week, athletes are competing in a display of human grace and skill. Many will win. Many more will lose, and many tears will be shed.

In New York on Saturday night, athletes of a different breed competed in a display of canine finesse and dexterity. Many won. If any lost, none knew it. Not one shed a tear.

At the Westminster Dog Show's Masters Agility Championship, 225 exuberant dogs dove through tunnels, flew through hoops, leaped over hurdles and wove in and out of poles with the focus of the highest-level Olympic champion.

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The Salt
9:55 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Beatlemania! When The Fab Four Rocked The Lunchroom

I want to hold your lunch! This 1965 lunchbox — considered "one of the Holy Grails" of lunchbox collecting — sold for $936.10 in 2013. It came with a thermos. Another mint condition sample sold for $1,625 last fall.
Courtesy of Hake's Americana & Collectibles

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:18 pm

The Beatles are not only considered the top of the heap when it comes to musical acts of the 20th century, they're also apparently the kings of the lunchbox.

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Harvest Desk
2:21 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Why Cutting The Ethanol Mandate May Not Ruin The Rural Economy

Just outside of Central City, Neb., is the Green Plains Energy ethanol plant, a facility that can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The EPA wants to roll back the amount of ethanol mixed into the fuel supply for 2014, worrying farmers across the Corn Belt. Ethanol supporters warn that if the EPA follows through, the rural economy will take the fall. But many economists predict a soft landing.

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The Salt
12:29 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Wine Wisdom With A Wink: A Slacker's Guide To Selecting Vino

Having trouble picking the perfect wine?
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:52 pm

A few months ago, we told you all about the bologna advice swirling around in the wine-tasting world. And then we offered you a few tips to quickly master the art. (Yes, it is highfalutin, but there is some real science behind it.)

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Harvest Desk
10:37 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Obama Signs Farm Bill, Announces Rural Export Initiative

President Obama signs the 2014 Farm Bill
whitehouse.gov

One of the key farm bill negotiators says the nation has entered “a new era of farm and food policy.” 

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) said the legislation President Obama signed into law Friday “values saving money, reforming or repealing government programs and yet still providing an effective safety net for the production of our national food supply and for those Americans who are struggling.”  Read Lucas' full statement here

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Food Industry Groups Say They'll Label GMOs, On Their Terms

A woman shops at a supermarket in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:51 pm

Remember those ballot initiatives in California and Washington that aimed to get food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients?

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The Salt
11:51 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Sandwich chain Subway has announced plans to drop the additive azodicarbonamide from its fresh-baked breads. Above, Subway founder Fred DeLuca poses carrying bread for sandwiches.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:19 pm

Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.

Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.

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The Salt
8:31 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Oh, So That's What Goes Into A McDonald's Chicken McNugget

McDonald's new video answers that age-old question: What are McNuggets actually made of?
McDonald's Canada/YouTube

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 4:40 pm

A fried, battered coating can hide a multitude of sins. (Everything tastes yummy when deep-fried, amiright?) So it's not surprising, really, that allegations of "mystery meat" have dogged McDonald's famous chicken McNuggets on and off for years.

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Food
5:51 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway To Remove Chemical In Its Bread

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:53 am

The popular blog FoodBabe.com has exposed the fact that a chemical bleaching agent found in Subway's bread is also used in shoe rubber and yoga mats. (Get the full story from our food blog, The Salt.)

The Salt
2:26 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Woolly Mammoths' Taste For Flowers May Have Been Their Undoing

Woolly mammoths depended on tiny flowering plants for protein. Did the decline of the flowers cause their extinction?
Per Möller/Johanna Anjar

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:01 pm

They were some of the largest, hairiest animals ever to walk the Earth, but new research shows a big part of the woolly mammoth's diet was made up of tiny flowers.

The work is based on DNA analysis of frozen arctic soil and mammoth poop. It suggests that these early vegans depended on the flowers as a vital source of protein. And when the flowers disappeared after the last ice age, so too did the mammoths that ate them.

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