Harvest Desk

The Two-Way
6:23 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

WATCH: The Most Charming Thing On The Internet Today

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 6:57 pm

The New York Times invited six second-graders to eat at the acclaimed French restaurant Daniel. The result is the most charming thing on the Internet today.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
1:53 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Porridge Aficionados Vie To Make Theirs The Breakfast Of Champions

Definitely not traditional: two colorful takes on porridge, from Friday's London Porridge Championships.
Dai Williams Courtesy of the National Porridge Championship

Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 9:19 am

Dr. Samuel Johnson's dictionary once summarily dismissed porridge, defining oats as a "grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people."

That was in the 1700s. These days, porridge is seen as more cool than gruel. Today is World Porridge Day — and to celebrate, London hosted its own porridge-making competition.

"Most people think of porridge as a winter dish, and a richer, heavier dish. But I do think it's coming back in vogue. In the last 10 years, it's risen in profile," says Toral Shah, a competitor at Friday morning's event.

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Recipes
3:44 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Found Recipe: Cast Iron Roasted Half Chicken

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 5:28 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

With help now, for a kitchen conundrum. Got chicken? Got two cast iron skillets? Feeling strong? If so we've got you and your chicken covered with this dish from our Found Recipe files.

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The Salt
12:59 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Customers Can Keep The Tip — Which Might Please Restaurant Workers

A handful of restaurants across the U.S. are experimenting with no-tipping models, opting instead to charge higher set prices for menu items and give their servers higher hourly pay.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 2:45 pm

Imagine there's no tipping. By getting rid of gratuities, a few restaurants believe they'll make life easier for customers, while providing a more stable income to servers.

"It eliminates the pressure on the guest to worry about paying our staff," says Brian Oliveira, chef at Girard, a French-style restaurant opening in Philadelphia in a few weeks that intends to offer its staff up to $13 an hour in salary, plus health benefits, but with no tips.

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The Salt
11:53 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Smen Is Morocco's Funky Fermented Butter That Lasts For Years

That lactic acid is the very thing that gives smen its blue cheese-like scent, and it's what keeps it from going rancid.
Alex Schmidt for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 1:56 pm

If you get a hankering for cheese in the western Maghreb, you may be stuck with an (imported) Laughing Cow triangle wrapped in tinfoil.

Morocco doesn't have much of a dairy tradition, but there's one exception that dates back centuries: It's called smen, and it's a stinky, fermented butter made from sheep, goat or cow milk.

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The Salt
4:24 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Love Pine Nuts? Then Protect Pine Forests

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 7:15 pm

A colleague accosted me at the coffee machine the other day with an urgent question. "Why are pine nuts so expensive?"

I promised to find out. And I did. But along the way, I discovered something remarkable about pine nuts.

They connect us to a world of remote villages and vast forests, ancient foraging traditions that are facing modern threats.

Pine nuts don't generally come from orchards, or fields, or plantations. They come from pine forests. (And pine nuts are expensive because most of these areas are so remote.)

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The Salt
3:04 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

A New Museum To Celebrate Southern Food (And You Can Eat The Exhibits)

Eat, Drink And Be Scholarly: The Southern Food and Beverage Museum's new, permanent home in New Orleans is designed to help answer many questions — including "How does it taste?"
Stephen Binns Courtesy of SoFAB

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 5:59 pm

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Of course. It sounds so inevitable, you might assume it's existed since time immemorial: a museum to celebrate the food and drink of the American South, to enshrine barbecue and grits, showcase the heritage of Louisiana shrimpers and Kentucky bourbon.

But no.

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Harvest Desk
11:06 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Fracking Study Shows Consequences Are Uncertain

Credit WSIU

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking" - is an extraction method of natural gas that has many environmentalists concerned. It also has energy business booming in towns across the nation, and those towns will soon include ones in southern Illinois.

 

But in states where fracking is already underway, some say public health is at risk and pollution is happening. A recent study in Texas has looked at the liquid byproduct left over from fracking - and how it could be safely handled. Jamey Dunn joins us to talk about her recent column on the topic:

 

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The Salt
2:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Restaurants Shave Calories Off New Menu Items

A sign displaying calorie counts is seen in a Subway restaurant in New York City in 2008. A yet-to-be-finalized federal rule requiring big chain restaurants to post calorie counts has likely led eateries to tweak their menus.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 11:22 am

Last month we reported that big food retailers have eliminated billions of calories from the packaged foods they sell in supermarkets.

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The Salt
3:59 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Voters Will Get Their Say On GMO Labeling In Colorado And Oregon

Labels on bags of snack foods indicate they are non-GMO food products. This fall, Colorado and Oregon will be the latest states to put GMO labeling on the ballot.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 1:24 pm

Ben Hamilton walks down the salad dressing aisle at his neighborhood grocery store in west Denver. The human resources consultant usually seeks out organic options and scans nutrition information.

"I am a label reader. I think a lot of people read labels and really are curious to know what is in our food supply," he says. But Hamilton says he wants more information, specifically whether the food he buys includes ingredients derived from genetically modified crops, or GMOs.

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The Salt
2:35 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Eating Comfort Foods May Not Be So Comforting After All

Feeling blue? That may not be a great excuse to tuck into some mac and cheese.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 4:01 pm

For many of us, chicken soup can soothe the soul and mac and cheese can erase a bad day. We eat chocolate when we feel gloomy, or when we've been in the presence of a Dementor. And we eat chocolate ice cream to help us get over a bad breakup.

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The Salt
10:39 am
Tue October 7, 2014

The 'Sioux Chef' Is Putting Pre-Colonization Food Back On The Menu

Sherman is still experimenting with the type of food he'll serve in the restaurant. Recently he made this walleye filet with sumac and maple sugar, a white bean and smoked walleye croquette and toasted hominy.
Becca Dilley Courtesy of Heavytable.com

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 4:03 pm

Like most chefs, Sean Sherman practically lives in the kitchen. But in his spare time, this member of the Oglala Lakota tribe has been on a quest to identify the foods his ancestors ate on the Great Plains before European settlers appeared on the scene. After years of researching and experimenting with "pre-colonization" foods, he's preparing to open a restaurant in the Twin Cities this winter that showcases those foods, reborn for contemporary palates.

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Food Waste Series
6:37 am
Tue October 7, 2014

With Curbside Composting, Food Waste Not A Total Loss

In Portland, Ore., commercial food waste from restaurants and businesses gets separated and sent to a methane digester that extracts gas from the food and uses it to make electricity. (Cassandra Profita for Harvest Public Media)

Wasting around 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks: It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

But across the country, cities, towns and companies are finding food waste doesn't have to be a total loss. In fact, it can be quite valuable – in making fertilizer, electricity or even fuel for cars, trucks and buses.

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Harvest Desk
3:50 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer Found In Springfield, Neighboring Counties

Emerald ash borer
Credit U.S Department of Agriculture

A beetle that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees across the country has spread into central Illinois.

The state's agriculture department says the emerald ash border has been confirmed in 14 new counties, including Sangamon, Logan and Menard.  

That brings the total counties infested to 50.  

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The Salt
12:19 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Sandwich Monday: PB&J Balls

More convenient than a PB&J, unless you're eating them on an incline.
NPR

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 2:59 pm

Certain foods are supposed to be spheres: Cocoa Puffs; gum balls; eggs (if your chicken is broken). The folks at Welch's have spherified the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and if they're allowed to do that, we're allowed to make up the word spherified.

Ian: It looks like they came out of a PB&Rabbit.

Miles: Finally, a way for me to shove an entire sandwich in my mouth without attracting unwanted attention.

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Food Waste Series
6:26 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Choices Can Slice School Food Waste

Gloria Restrepo, a teacher’s assistant at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., helps students choose their lunch. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

Lunch time at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., displays all the usual trappings of a public school cafeteria: Star Wars lunch boxes, light up tennis shoes, hard plastic trays and chocolate milk cartons with little cartoon cows. It’s pizza day, the most popular of the week, and kids line up at a salad bar before receiving their slice.

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Shots - Health News
2:31 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Social Media, The New Weapon In The Battle To Lose Weight

Photos from Liz Paul's blog entries on Prior Fat Girl. The blog chronicles women's weight loss journeys.
Courtesy of Liz Paul/PriorFatGirl.com

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 1:25 pm

On a recent Sunday night, Liz Paul was tired. She'd worked in the morning, spent a full day with her family and she did not feel like going out for her daily jog.

"I tweeted out, 'Well, it's 9 p.m. on Sunday and I didn't work out,' " she says, "I really shouldn't go run in the dark should I?"

The response was immediate. The network of people Paul is relying on to help in her battle to lose weight chimed in with advice. Some tweeted back, "Yes, get out and run." Others offered alternatives like a video workout. But everyone said, "Do something!"

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Shots - Health News
2:30 am
Mon October 6, 2014

For The Formerly Obese, Stigma Remains After Weight Is Lost

Carlos Romero and girlfriend Kate Rowe sit down for a meal they cooked together. Two years ago, Carlos Romero weighed 437 pounds.
Mike Kane for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 8:34 am

Carlos Romero's apartment is marked with remnants from his former life: a giant television from his days playing World of Warcraft and a pair of jeans the width of an easy chair. Remnants of that time — when he weighed 437 pounds — mark his body too: loose, hanging skin and stretch marks.

"I lift weights and work out and work hard, but there's lasting damage," says Romero.

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The Salt
9:23 am
Sat October 4, 2014

Two For One: Subsidies Help Food Stamp Recipients Buy Fresh Food

Tokens representing $1, which can be used specifically for fresh fruits and vegetables, are displayed at a Electronic Benefits Transfer, or food stamp, station in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 7:14 am

The U.S. Department of Agriculture just announced that $31.5 million is now available as grants to programs that help make farm-fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for families who rely on food stamps.

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The Salt
4:14 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

GMOs Are Old Hat. Synthetically Modified Food Is The New Frontier

The vanillin made through synthetic biology will be used in flavorings sold in the U.S. by International Flavorings & Fragrances.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 12:57 pm

Genetically modified organisms are ancient, technologically speaking. Though some consumers may just be discovering that they're in the food system (and getting riled up about labeling them), farmers have had access to them since 1996.

But there's a new technology on the scene, adding a twist to the already complicated conversation about GMOs in our food: synthetic biology.

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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

In Chicago, A Long Farewell To Famed 'Hot Dougs'

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 5:17 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Salt
10:09 am
Fri October 3, 2014

The Birth And Afterlife Of Israel's Precious Etrog Fruit

A man picks up an etrog, one of four plant species used during the celebration of Sukkot, in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak in central Israel in September, 2012.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

In a temporary warehouse in Israel's ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, Shaul Kalimi examines etrogs.

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The Salt
7:51 am
Fri October 3, 2014

VIDEO: Glimpse The History Of Life In A Beer

NPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 4:04 pm

Beer is a collaboration between two species — a multicellular animal called a human and a single-celled fungus called yeast. Both descended from the same single-celled organism.

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The Salt
2:35 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Your Fellow Diners' Size May Affect How Much You Eat

In one study, people who were in a buffet line served themselves a lot more of an unhealthful pasta dish if they were next to or behind a person perceived to be overweight.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 3:20 pm

Your dining companion may have more influence over your eating habits than you realize.

We've known that people often have friends with similar body weights, but new research suggests that dining with an overweight companion may make us more likely to eat more unhealthful food.

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The Salt
9:30 am
Thu October 2, 2014

California Cracks Down On Farmers Market Cheaters

A customer shops for produce at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco in March.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 3:06 pm

Could that beloved farmer at your farmers market possibly be lying to you, passing off supermarket produce as locally grown?

California's state officials seem to think so. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that will raise $1 million to deploy a small army of inspectors to farmers markets around the state. The inspectors will check for signs that farmers are selling fruits and vegetables that they didn't actually grow themselves, but instead picked up wholesale.

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Food Waste Series
6:23 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Grocery Stores Waste Tons Of Food As They Woo Shoppers

Nearly one-third of the more than 400 million pounds of food available at grocery stores and restaurants is never eaten. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

Grocery stores and restaurants serve up more than 400 million pounds of food each year, but nearly a third of it never makes it to a stomach.

With consumers demanding large displays of un-blemished, fresh produce or massive portion sizes, many grocery stores and restaurants end up tossing a mountain of perfectly edible food. Despite efforts to cut down on waste, the consumer end of the food chain still accounts for the largest share of food waste in the U.S. food system.  

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Food Waste Series
6:16 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Manufacturers Cut Food Waste To Build Bottom Line

Todd Scherbing, Smithfield Foods’ senior director of rendering, holds a tray of pituitary glands that are cut from hogs on the line in the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo. Pituitary glands are used to make insulin. (Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media)

The long line of semi-trucks waiting to get in the gates of the Farmland Foods plant could simply wait around for a few hours to head back, fresh products on board.

The trucks are loaded with hogs from several confinement operations near this factory in Milan, a small town in northeast Missouri. Within just 19 hours, those pigs will be slaughtered, butchered and boxed into cuts that consumers see in the grocery store and in restaurants.

But that effort will use only about half of the animal.

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The Salt
2:45 am
Wed October 1, 2014

From Kale To Pale Ale, A Love Of Bitter May Be In Your Genes

The roots of your hankering for hoppy beers and cruciferous vegetables may be genetic.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 3:02 pm

The word bitter can make some of us wince. In conversation, we talk of "a bitter pill to swallow" or "bittersweet" memories.

But if you're puzzled by the bad emotional rap on bitter — perhaps you even like the taste of bitter greens or bitter beer — it may say something about your genes.

Scientists have been studying a particular taste receptor gene to understand why some of us may be more predisposed to liking bitter foods and hoppy beers. And a new study sheds new light on the bitter gene connection.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Editor's Note: Study Illustrates Unknowns at Play When Regulating Fracking

Jamey Dunn
Credit mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

  A recent change in regulatory rules meant to encourage fracking well operators to recycle wastewater in drought-stricken Texas could be contributing to a newly detected threat to public health.

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Author Interviews
3:12 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

'How To Cook Everything Fast'? Bittman Says Skip The Prep

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 8:59 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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