Harvest Desk

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Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Maybe you've noticed a dish that keeps popping up in more restaurants across the U.S.

Peru is one of the countries that lays claim to ceviche, which is made of raw fish and chilies, cured in lime juice.

So how do you know you're tasting a perfect ceviche?

"In the first bite, you want to find a strong citrus flavor balanced with the fish, and a little bit spicy, but a fresh spicy given by a fresh chili," says chef Gaston Acurio.

Want to eat food that's fresh, local and cooked from scratch? Consider a retirement home. Once known for bland, institutional fare, hundreds of retirement communities around the nation now tout their restaurant-like dining experiences.

One of those is Bethlehem Woods in La Grange Park, Ill. Resident Marge Healy counts on having dinner with the same group of friends every evening.

"We're almost like a family," she says, as her friends nod in agreement.

So what does it mean to be hungry?

That's a question that occurred to us as we read some encouraging news: The world isn't as hungry as it used to be.

A U.N. report has noted that 795 million people were hungry in the year 2014. That's a mind-boggling number. But in fact it's 200 million lower than the estimated 1 billion hungry people in 1990.

The improvement is especially impressive because the world population has gone up by around 2 billion since the '90s.

It's May in Rocky Mountain National Park, but on a mountainside 10,829 feet above sea level, snow is falling. It's pelting Jim Cheatham, a biologist with the National Park Service. Shrugging off the cold, Cheatham seizes a teachable moment. This snow, he says, holds more than just water.

"Chances are it's carrying the excess nitrogen we're talking about," says Cheatham.

Eleanor Klibanoff / Harvest Public Media

It's no longer enough for restaurants to offer roasted chicken or braised beef shank on their menus. They need to be able to tell customers exactly where that chicken came from and how the cow was raised. If they can remember the pedigree of the produce? All the better.

As soon as Traci Mann's new book, Secrets From The Eating Lab, hit bookstores, I ordered my copy.

As the author of a no-diet book myself, I was eager to read what one of the leading researchers on the psychology of eating, dieting and self-control had to say about why diets fail to bring about significant or sustainable weight loss.

That yoga pose you've been practicing may not be as ancient as you thought. In fact, journalist Michelle Goldberg says that most of the poses that we do in modern yoga classes have no antecedent beyond 150 years ago.

"Probably the greatest myth is when you do these poses, when you do sun salutations or the warrior poses, that that there's some sort of continuity to what yogis were doing 3,000 years ago on the banks of the Ganges, and that's just not true," Goldberg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

There's no good reason for a live, 8-foot sturgeon to be tied by the tail and tethered to the shore of the Columbia River, in the Pacific Northwest.

But this is how poachers steal the giant fish: They keep the sturgeon alive and hidden underwater while they look for black-market buyers.

For the next six months, Italy is hosting a dinner party — and the entire world is invited to attend.

The event, called Expo Milano 2015, is the latest World's Fair. This year's theme is "feeding the planet, energy for life." The global population is projected to pass 9 billion by 2050, and Expo organizers want to start a global conversation now about sustainability, biodiversity and food security.

On Thursday we told you about an elaborate hoax carried out by a science journalist who wanted to teach the media a lesson about being more responsible in reporting on nutrition science.

Chef James Rigato is all about fresh, seasonal and local ingredients at his restaurant, The Root, in White Lake, Mich.

But when NPR asked him to share a story for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series, Rigato served up something a 16-year-old boy would love.

"Jimmy's Cajun Chicken Pizza ... it's the antithesis of everything I've worked for in my career!" he says.

Panda, standing six feet tall and weighing almost a ton, is everything a show cow should be: broad-backed and round-rumped, with sturdy legs holding up her heft. Her hide — thick and black, with splotches of creamy white — fits her name.

"She's a big-time cow," says Dan Byers, owner of Byers Premium Cattle, Inc. "She's a freak of nature is what she is."

Harvest Public Media

The U.S. EPA is proposing tweaks to ethanol policy.

The agency proposed a cut to the amount of corn ethanol oil companies are required to blend in to our gasoline, as well as ambitious targets for low-carbon cellulosic ethanol, which is produced from grasses and other inedible parts of plants.

There's a dare that floats out on hot days by the pool: Who can hold their breath the longest? In shallow water, the challenge sounds fun or at least harmless. Competitive swimmers and divers crouch under the surface all the time to build endurance. But the practice can cause swimmers to faint and drown without warning and before anyone notices.

Cod love the icy cold waters of the North Sea — and British people love eating cod.

But a decade ago, it looked like people were eating the fish to the brink of collapse. Now the trend has turned around, and the cod are coming back.

We pick up this fish tale, which seems to be on its way to a happy ending, at an early morning fish auction in Fraserburgh, Scotland, where buyers and sellers are lined up alongside hundreds of boxes containing cod, hake, monkfish, sole and every other kind of fish you can imagine from the North Sea.

Earlier this spring, headlines around the world trumpeted an exciting bit of news that seemed too good to be true: "Eating chocolate ... can even help you LOSE weight!" as Britain's Daily Mail put it.

Many farmers in Appalachia are cultivating food not in big open fields but deep in the forest — where ramps, hazelnuts and maple trees for syrup thrive.

But some would like to see the region producing even more forest-grown products — in particular, mushrooms — to meet growing demand at specialty food stores and restaurants that serve local ingredients.

The catch? Cultivating mushrooms is labor-intensive, and if you want to sell them to the public, you'll need to show proof that they're edible and safe.

Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

Panda, standing six feet tall and weighing almost a ton, is everything a show cow should be: broad-backed and round-rumped, with sturdy legs holding up her heft. Her hide - thick and black, with splotches of creamy white - fits her name.

In the last couple of years, we've detected a faint buzz about crispy crickets and crunchy mealworms. Companies pedaling scorpion lollipops and peanut butter-and-jelly protein bars made with cricket flour have thrust their wares into our hands and mailboxes.

Underneath railway arches on a nondescript street in North London, you'll find an old warehouse that's the epicenter of the Ottolenghi food empire.

Jerusalem-born food impresario Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner, Sami Tamimi, started out over a decade ago with one restaurant in London selling fresh, Middle East-inspired food. The business now encompasses several restaurants, an expanding online food business and some cookbooks that have been wildly successful on their home turf and here in the U.S.

Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange had a favorite saying: "A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera."

And perhaps no one did more to reveal the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photographs gave us an unflinching — but also deeply humanizing — look at the struggles of displaced farmers, migrant laborers, sharecroppers and others at the bottom of the American farm economy as it reeled through the 1930s.

At least 2,500 years ago, tea, as we know it, was born.

Back then, it was a medicinal concoction blended with herbs, seeds and forest leaves in the mountains of southwest China. Gradually, as manners of processing and drinking tea were refined, it became imbued with artistic, religious, and cultural notes. Under the Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907), the apogee of ancient Chinese prosperity, the drink involved ritual, etiquette and specific utensils. During this period of splendor, the first book dedicated solely to tea was written by Lu Yü.

Ignatius Agon practices his greeting: "OK, good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Ignatius and I am going to guide you into the dark."

It's Monday, and the first day of training for a new restaurant opening this month in Kenya. Diners will be served in the dark. They'll have to find their food with their forks and eat it in a pitch black room.

And the waiters are blind.

It's believed to be the oldest pub in England — but now Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is facing a call to change its name. Citing modern society's compassion for the birds, the UK's People for Ethical Treatment of Animals suggests an alternate name: Ye Olde Clever Cocks.

From PETA:

Game For Ancient Grain: Palestinians Find Freekeh Again

May 26, 2015

In early May, Nasser Abufarha drove through the rural farmlands around Jenin in the northern West Bank and noticed the timeless features of village life. Young boys harvested cauliflower bigger than their heads, a sun-beaten old man passed on foot with a hoe propped against his shoulder and middle-aged women strolled to their modest homes on a path between waving wheat fields.

But there was one new element, says Abufarha, a Palestinian-American businessman and the founder of the largest fair trade exporter for Palestinian produce.

How Dangerous Is Powdered Alcohol?

May 24, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

The open-hiring policy at Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., invites local residents to apply for jobs — regardless of their immigration status, whether they have criminal or drug records, or even prior work experience.

It's all part of the company's social-justice business model, based on the philosophy of Bernie Glassman, an aeronautical engineer-turned-Buddhist monk who founded the industrial food facility in 1982.

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in May 2012.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon.

Try to order "pork roll" in most of the country and you'll probably get a blank stare. But in New Jersey, pork roll is a staple at diners, restaurants and food trucks from Cape May to the Meadowlands. And this unsung meat product is now the star of not one, but two competing festivals on Saturday in Trenton.

To the untrained eye, pork roll looks like Canadian bacon. But New Jersey residents know better.

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