Harvest Desk

The Salt
4:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

The Enigmatic Pecan: Why So Pricey, And How To Pronounce It?

Where In the U.S. do people say pee-kahn over pi-kahn? Joshua Katz answered your burning question by mapping Bert Vaux's dialect survey on regional variations in the continental United States.
Courtesy of Joshua Katz

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 2:08 pm

The price of pecans is going up, up, up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, the time to buy them is now. The reasons behind that escalating price all come down to natural forces: supply and demand and weather.

Read more
The Salt
3:32 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Can We Eat Our Way To A Healthier Microbiome? It's Complicated

While no one's sure which foods are good for our microbiomes, eating more veggies can't hurt.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 9:27 am

When our colleague Rob Stein got his microbiome analyzed recently in the name of science journalism, we were totally fascinated.

As Stein noted, it may be possible to cultivate a healthier community of bacteria on and inside us by modifying our diets.

Stein was advised to eat more garlic and leeks for his. But we wondered: Are there other foods that promote a healthy microbiome in most people?

Read more
Harvest Desk
11:07 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Harvest Blog: Changing Illinois, Hungry World

Peter and father, Bert, tilling a backyard garden in 1987
Credit Cheryl Gray

I come to Harvest Public Media as a reporter standing at the intersection of rural and urban life.  It is a fascinating place to be in the young 21st century.

Growing up in Oswego, Ill., I watched my backyard turn from cornfield to the carefully trimmed suburban lawns of Chicagoland’s residential expansion. The land my Norwegian immigrant great-grandparents tilled in the 1900s is likely a restaurant, big box retail store or strip mall today.

Read more
The Salt
10:35 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Hunger Games: What's Behind Yelp's Fake Restaurant Reviews?

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 1:58 pm

When it comes to scouting out a new bakery, pizzeria or noodle shop, there are few review sites that compare to Yelp. In turn, the reviews left on sites like Yelp can have a big effect on many restaurants' bottom lines.

Read more
Television
3:47 am
Fri November 8, 2013

2 Finalists Vie To Be 'Master Chef Junior'

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:17 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tonight, a big moment for a couple of extraordinary chefs. They were originally 24 but after unimaginable cooking challenges, devastating eliminations, and, yes, some tears, the field is down to two. We're talking about the reality cooking show "Master Chef Junior." These contestants were ages eight to 13. Some stood on crates to reach their cooking stations? The two finalists: 12 year old Dara Yu and 13 year old Alexander Weiss. We spoke to them, along with one of the celebrity judges, Joe Bastianich.

Read more
The Salt
5:55 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

How 17th Century Fraud Gave Rise To Bright Orange Cheese

Shelburne Farms' clothbound cheddar has a bright yellow color because it's made from the milk of cows that graze on grasses high in beta-carotene.
Courtesy of A. Blake Gardner

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:46 am

The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.

Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there's a curious history here.

In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?

Read more
The Salt
2:53 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

FDA Moves To Phase Out Remaining Trans Fats In Food Supply

Crisco was the original product made with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which contains trans fats. Today, Crisco has only small amounts of the fats.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 5:51 pm

If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, an era of food technology will soon end. The agency announced Thursday it is aiming to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products.

Margaret Hamburg, the FDA commissioner, said at a press conference that her agency has come to the preliminary conclusion that the oils "are not generally recognized as safe for use in food."

If the agency makes this decision final, it will mean a complete ban on this ingredient.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:50 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Roy Choi's Tacos Channel LA And The Immigrant Experience

Chef Roy Choi was named Food and Wine Magazine's Best New Chef in 2010.
Bobby Fisher Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:24 pm

Roy Choi is a chef who's celebrated for food that isn't fancy. He's one of the founders of the food truck movement, where instead of hot dogs or ice cream, more unusual, gourmet dishes are prepared and sold. His Kogi trucks specialize in tacos filled with Korean barbecue.

Choi was born in South Korea in 1970 and moved to Los Angeles with his parents at the age of 2. His parents owned a Korean restaurant near Anaheim for a few years when he was a child. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that his mother had some serious cooking talent.

Read more
The Salt
10:41 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Washington State Says 'No' To GMO Labels

Cars in Tacoma, Wash., promote a "yes" vote on a ballot initiative that would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 12:58 pm

Voters appear to have defeated another attempt to require labels on genetically modified foods in Washington state. In early counts, the "no" campaign has what appears to be an insurmountable lead with 54 percent of votes.

The ballot initiative would require labels on the front of packages for most food products, seeds and commodities like soy or corn if they were produced using genetic engineering.

Read more
Harvest Desk
6:00 am
Thu November 7, 2013

DREAMing Beyond The Slaughterhouse

Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen, both 18, work in the Garden City Community College chemistry lab. The two best friends graduated from high school in three years and after community college, plan to go on to universities.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

The teacher calls the class to order, calling the students “Busters,” short for “Broncbusters,” the college’s mascot and a reminder of this old West town’s history of raising cattle.

Read more
The Salt
2:08 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Forget Barley And Hops: Craft Brewers Want A Taste Of Place

The brewers at Scratch Brewing Company add wild plants like spicebush, goldenseal, wild ginger, chanterelles and wild rose root to their beer to give it the flavor of the Illinois woods.
Aaron Kleidon Scratch Brewing Company

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:37 am

Last week, Aaron Kleidon went for a walk in the Illinois woods and returned with a bag of lotus seeds. The seeds were bound not for his dinner plate, but for his pint glass.

In a few months, Kleidon will have lotus-flavored beer at the small brewpub Scratch Brewing Company, which he owns with two friends in Ava, Ill. The microbrewery specializes in beers with seeds, leaves, roots, fruits and fungi foraged from a nearby wooded property. The brewers have even made a saison from chanterelle mushrooms.

Read more
Harvest Desk
6:38 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Garden City: Tending To A Cultural Crossroads In Kansas

Sister Janice Thome at a local Garden City school. Thome teaches several classes, including a teen parenting class at the Garden City alternative high school.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

Thome puts 125,000 miles a year on this car, picking up boxes from the food pantry, finding a mattress for a newcomer, delivering a sick soul to a doctor’s appointment. All the while, she fields emergency calls on her flip phone, responding to her mission to serve the poor of Garden City, out on the plains of southwest Kansas.

This day, Thome is teaching her teen parenting class at the alternative high school.

Read more
Remembrances
3:42 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Remembering Chef Charlie Trotter, Chicago Fine-Dining Visionary

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:55 pm

For decades, Charlie Trotter's name was synonymous with cutting-edge cuisine. His Chicago restaurant was regarded as one of the finest in the world — a stellar accomplishment for the self-taught chef, who died Tuesday at age 54.

Read more
Kitchen Window
11:03 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Yes, It's Worth It To Make Your Own Yogurt

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 10:35 am

On the verge of a move to Casablanca, Morocco, for the next four years, I spent a month there this summer to dip my toes figuratively — and literally, into the Atlantic — into my new life. I became almost accustomed to the ongoing calls to prayer and cooked with gorgeous produce acquired from my neighborhood souk. I drank all sorts of delicious and cheap fresh-squeezed juices at the cafe up the street and watched cars and donkey-pulled carts pass by in equal measure. I ate too many French-inspired pastries, and I made my own yogurt.

Read more
The Salt
2:49 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Make Room For Mushrooms: Fungi Compete With Meat In Burgers

Richard Blais' Earth & Turf Burger, served at the Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta, is 50 percent beef, 50 percent mushroom.
Courtesy of Flip Burger Boutique

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 5:00 pm

With so many people reconsidering their meat consumption, the mushroom industry is hoping their product can become the next "other" white meat.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Charlie Trotter, Famous Chicago Chef, Has Died At 54

Chef Charlie Trotter, who helped revitalize Chicago's culinary reputation, has died at age 54. He's seen here at the 2006 International Gastronomy Summit in Madrid.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 4:04 pm

Charlie Trotter, whose eponymous Chicago restaurant became an institution and helped pave the way for innovative small dishes that featured fresh and unique food, has died at age 54.

Read more
Harvest Desk
6:40 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Noel, Mo.: Schools Build Safety Net For Immigrant Children

At the primary school in rural Noel, Mo., teachers and staff function as educators about as often as they do de facto social workers.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Noel, MO - It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

One student in a bright blue T-shirt – 9-year-old Isac Martinez – has not yet picked up his pencil. He’s clearly sick. When McPherson asks him what’s wrong, Isac’s small voice is barely audible in between coughs. He says he threw up four times last night but did not go to a doctor.

Read more
The Salt
2:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

For Mind And Body: Study Finds Mediterranean Diet Boosts Both

A crostini of smoked trout, hard-boiled egg, aioli and roe at The Red Hen in Washington, D.C. Owner/Chef Michael Friedman says Mediterranean cooking is simply a tweaking of basic cooking ideas.
Courtesy of Brian Oh

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:36 am

For all of us nearing middle age, or slogging through it, yes, there is a benefit in eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, nuts, vegetables and fruit.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that women who followed this pattern of eating in their 50s were about 40 percent more likely to reach the later decades without developing chronic diseases and memory or physical problems, compared to women who didn't eat as well.

Read more
The Salt
1:53 am
Tue November 5, 2013

LA Food Truck King Tells His Story, One Recipe At A Time

Five years ago, chef Roy Choi and a partner launched Kogi and ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles. He tells his story in his new book, L.A.Son: My Life, My City, My Food.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 2:09 pm

Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.

Read more
The Salt
4:13 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

How To Levitate A Sandwich: 'Modernist Cuisine' Spills Photo Secrets

Modernist chefs often like to deconstruct dishes. Why shouldn't food photographers do the same?
Courtesy of the Cooking Lab

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:36 am

Food porn or art? That's for you decide.

But one thing is for certain: The jumbo-sized images in The Photography of Modernist Cuisine are truly awesome.

In one, a ham and cheese sandwich levitates in midair. Then, a Weber grill gets sliced in half lengthwise to expose a pink burger cooking on another page. And blueberries and peas balloon to the size of dinner plates and melons.

Read more
The Salt
3:31 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Why Are Pig Farmers Still Using Growth-Promoting Drugs?

In recent years, pork producers have found ways to keep the animals healthy through improved hygiene.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 6:42 pm

It's one of the most controversial practices in agriculture: feeding small amounts of antibiotics to animals in order to make them grow faster.

But what if the drugs don't even work very well?

There's some good evidence that they don't, at least in pigs. They used to deliver a boost in growth, but that effect has disappeared in recent years or declined greatly.

The reason for this is interesting and even paradoxical.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:29 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Bariatric Surgery Can Keep Pounds Off For Years

Just knowing that someone is obese doesn't mean they would benefit from bariatric surgery, doctors say.
iStockphoto.com

Weight-loss surgery is becoming increasingly popular because it's the only treatment that pretty much guarantees weight loss.

There is very little evidence on how it will affect people's health over the long haul. But people who had surgery maintained substantial weight loss three years later, according to a study that's trying to figure out if it works.

Read more
The Salt
1:41 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Pumpkin Spice Eggo Waffles

I tried to spell out "HELP" with syrup in the little squares, but there aren't enough pixels.
NPR

If you sell food, this is the time of year you have no choice but to sell something with pumpkin spice flavoring. This has been especially hard on Taco Bell, which — nationwide — has sold only one Pumpkin Spice Dorito Loco Taco. Today, we try the Pumpkin Spice Eggo Waffle, washed down with the classic Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Eva: In the Fall, never ask a woman if she's pregnant. She might just have Pumpkin Spice Latte Belly.

Peter: I think these are a great fall treat, redolent as they are of death and decay.

Read more
Harvest Desk
12:55 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Area Farmers Reflect On Summer Crop, Look Ahead

Springfield shoppers who connect with local growers each summer at the Old Capitol Farmer's Market have stocked up for the cold months ahead. 

In these Oct. 26 interviews, Peter Gray caught up with a few vendors at the last Saturday market downtown to hear their thoughts on the summer harvest.

INTERVIEWS from the Old Capitol Farmer's Market:

Read more
Politics
11:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Cutting SNAP Benefits Not A Snap Decision

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 1:57 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll get an update on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. But first, we turn to an issue that affects one out of every seven humans in America, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. Back in 2009, in the depths of the recession, President Obama increased SNAP benefits using stimulus funds, but the temporary increase expired this past Friday.

Read more
The Salt
3:28 am
Sun November 3, 2013

5 Things You Might Not Have Known About God And Beer

Beer and Hymns is an event at the annual Greenbelt Festival in London. Since 1974, Greenbelt has brought people together to explore faith, arts and justice issues.
Drew McLellan Courtesy of Greenbelt

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 11:35 am

On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's John Burnett describes how some churches are trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community around craft beer.

This is actually nothing new. For centuries, beer has brought people together to worship God. And God has inspired people to make beer. We've selected a few of the best examples:

Read more
The Salt
3:25 am
Sun November 3, 2013

To Stave Off Decline, Churches Attract New Members With Beer

Todd Fadel, at piano, leads singers at a recent gathering of Beer & Hymns at First Christian Church Portland.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:40 pm

With mainline religious congregations dwindling across America, a scattering of churches is trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community. They are gathering around craft beer.

Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. The result is not sloshed congregants; rather, it's an exploratory approach to do church differently.

Leah Stanfield stands at a microphone across the room from the beer taps and reads this evening's gospel message.

Read more
The Salt
4:35 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Mash Donalds? Iranians Copy American Fast-Food Brands

Is that Subway? Middle East analyst Holly Dagres is on a hunt for fast-food lookalikes in Tehran.
Holly Dagres

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 1:37 pm

Iran may not love America politically, but Iranians love American food — especially fast food.

With no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, though, it's rather hard to find a McDonald's or a Pizza Hut. But if you wander through the streets of Tehran, you might find a Pizza Hat or a Mash Donald's.

Read more
The Salt
4:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Kraft Dims Artificial Orange Glow Of Its Mac And Cheese

Some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will no longer be so ... orange.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:35 pm

One of the iconic foods of American childhood is becoming a bit less startlingly orange.

Kraft Foods plans to remove artificial food coloring from mac and cheese products that are marketed for children, starting early next year.

Read more
Harvest Desk
1:03 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Rural Neighbors Split On Wind Energy Lines

In O’Brien County, Iowa, Jay Hofland has agreed to sell part of his land to an energy company for a conver station that would mark the beginning of a high voltage transmission traversing the state.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren/Harvest Public Media

The rolling plains of Midwest farm country are being tapped for their natural resources again. This time, though, the bounty would be wind energy, instead of corn, wheat or soybeans.

Houston-based utility company Clean Line Energy Partners wants to produce a massive amount of wind energy on the plains. To do that, the company plans to build five large-scale high voltage transmission lines that would criss-cross the country, three of which would bring energy from Midwestern windmills to the energy grid to the east.

Read more

Pages