Harvest Desk

The Salt
1:21 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Baco

The Baco: half bao, half taco.
NPR

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 12:00 pm

For years, Bac-Os have been the cool friend salad gets to hang out with, so naturally, it's a beloved name in food. This week we try a different sort of Bacos — that's what Chicago's Saucy Porka restaurant calls its bao-taco hybrids.

Ian: This does pretty well even in the most competitive food category: things that start with b-a-c-o-.

Peter: This is much more convenient than what I used to do, which was trying to breed takeout from Wao Bao and Taco Bell.

Read more
The Salt
12:46 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

On The Trail To Preserve Appalachia's Bounty Of Heirloom Crops

Edgar Meadows has been growing Bloody Butcher corn, an heirloom variety, for generations. The name Bloody Butcher refers to the flecks of red mixed onto the white kernels, like a butcher's apron, Meadows says.
Roxy Todd West Viginia Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 12:00 pm

Appalachia may be one of the poorest regions of the U.S., but when it comes to heirloom crops, it's got the riches.

Read more
The Salt
11:33 am
Mon November 3, 2014

A Non-GMO Way To Get More, Tastier Tomatoes

Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory say their new genetic toolkit to improve tomato yield without compromising flavor can be used in all varieties, from plum to cherry.
Courtesy of Zach Lippman/Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

People who grow tomatoes want varieties that produce as much saleable crop as possible. People who eat tomatoes are less interested in yield, and more in taste. The tension between taste and yield can get pretty intense. What's a poor tomato plant to do?

Read more
Strange News
6:46 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Orchestra Eats, Then Performs, The World's Hottest Tango

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 9:04 am

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

The Salt
4:20 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Nutritious Acorns Don't Have To Just Be Snacks For Squirrels

To turn acorns into something edible, you've got to crack the shells, pick out the nut meats, weed out the bad ones, dry them and grind them into meal.
Leah Nash for NPR

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 9:04 am

These days, Americans are all about eating local foods. But one important local crop drops to the ground mostly unnoticed every fall. Well, unless you're a squirrel. Yes, we're talking about acorns.

Although acorns don't get the love that hazelnuts and walnuts enjoy, this wasn't always the case. Bill Logan is an arborist in New York, who traced the history of eating acorns for his book Oak: The Frame of Civilization.

Read more
The Salt
5:03 am
Sat November 1, 2014

Election Night Eating: A Tasting Menu For What's At Stake

Join NPR on Tuesday night for a virtual election party. Host your own party and invite your friends.
NPR

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 12:56 pm

This Tuesday, NPR is hosting a virtual election viewing party, and we want you to join us.

NPR's politics team has put together a nifty little Web-based app designed to let listeners at home follow the results of races around the country along with our hosts on their TVs, Google Chromecast, iPads or laptops. You'll tap into the same real-time results that our hosts and reporters see.

Read more
The Salt
4:21 am
Sat November 1, 2014

With Style And Silo, 'Modern Farmer' Melds Agrarian With Urban Hip

Modern Farmer has a particular fondness for stories about anything having to do with goats.
Courtesy of Modern Farmer

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 9:42 am

If you cover food and farming, as we do, you end up looking at farm magazines and agricultural web sites. This means you see lots of articles about corn prices and ads for farm equipment.

Then, a couple of years ago, Modern Farmer appeared. It's a farm magazine like no other. It flaunts a look and attitude that sometimes make us laugh out loud.

Read more
The Salt
4:21 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Cash For Halloween Candy? Dentists' Buyback Program Is Booming

Dr. Curtis Chan, a dentist in Del Mar, Calif., loads up a truck with 5,456 pounds of candy to deliver to Operation Gratitude during the Halloween Candy Buyback on Nov. 8 last year. Chan personally collected 3,542 pounds of candy from patients.
Courtesy of Curtis Chan

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 10:04 am

If your little ghosts and goblins dump their candy on the living room floor tonight, go ahead: Let them at it. They can sort, then trade, and gorge on their favorites.

But if you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you may want to get rid of some of this candy glut.

One possible solution? Check out the Halloween Candy Buyback program, which was founded by dentist Chris Kammer in Wisconsin. Kammer's office offers $1 a pound to buy back candy collected by the young trick-or-treaters in his practice.

Read more
Found Recipes
3:42 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

A Traditional Strudel Recipe 'Pulled' From The Past

Slovak language instructor Julia Vrablova sought out women who could teach her to make the dough for tahana strudla, which can be made with ground poppy seeds, apple or sour cherries.
Courtesy of Sasa Woodruff

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:10 pm

I never actually had my grandmother's strudel, but for years I was obsessed with it.

She died when I was 4, so I only know about it from my mom. But she tells me that my babina, or grandmother, would pull and coax a ball of dough on the back of her hands, until it stretched so thin that she could pull it over an entire ping-pong table covered with a floured tablecloth.

Read more
The Salt
11:04 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Apps Aim To Guide You On 'Sustainable Food' (Whatever That Means)

Confused about all the different sustainability ratings out there? The simplest option may be to shop at your local farmer's market.
iStockphoto

If you're reading The Salt, it probably comes as no surprise to you that consumers increasingly want to make food choices based on not just their health, but their ethics. A growing number of groups are coming up with technological solutions to help them.

Read more
The Salt
7:28 am
Thu October 30, 2014

VIDEO: You Don't Know Jack-O'-Lanterns

Adam Cole/NPR

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 8:54 am

Decorative gourd season has arrived, and we decided to celebrate by investigating the science and history of pumpkins.

Do you know what happens when you feed ostriches pumpkin seeds? Or when the first pumpkin beer was brewed? Or what to call a zucchini-pumpkin hybrid? Watch our new video to find out.

Read more
The Salt
5:02 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar

Elaborately decorated skulls are crafted from pure sugar and given to friends as gifts. The colorful designs represent the vitality of life and individual personality.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 11:22 am

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 1, 2012.

Sugar skulls, tamales and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on ofrendas, or altars, built this time of year to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. These altars in homes and around tombstones are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition on Nov. 1 and 2originating in central Mexico.

Read more
The Salt
3:44 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Monsanto Hired This Guy To Help It Win Over Millennials

The headquarters of Monsanto, near St. Louis, Mo. Monsanto is the world's largest seed supplier.
Juliette Michel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 10:08 am

As I scrolled through tweets about a panel on agricultural entrepreneurs at the SXSW Eco conference earlier this month, one caught my eye. The sender was Vance Crowe, Monsanto's director of millennial engagement.

Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation with millennials, who befuddle and torment the companies who want their dollars.

Read more
Shots - Health News
8:10 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Patients Do Better After Surgery If They Do 'Prehab' First

Getting stronger before surgery has been shown to help cancer patients do better long term.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:51 pm

People are often told to follow a rehabilitation program following surgery to speed recovery. But starting weeks before going under the knife might help them regain function even faster.

Read more
The Salt
5:01 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Who Should Pay To Fix The World's Salt-Damaged Soils?

Farms outside Baghdad as seen from a U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter. Much of Iraq's soil has a high salt content because of flooding and poor drainage.
Jim Gordon U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr

Imagine losing about 5,000 acres, or 15 average-sized farms in Iowa, every day. That's how much productive farmland has succumbed to salt damage in the last 20 or so years, according to a paper published Tuesday by a group of international researchers. And, they say, all that degraded land is costing farmers $27.3 billion a year.

Read more
The Salt
3:16 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

To Make Bread, Watch The Dough, Not The Recipe

Sourdough loaves made by Fromartz with a bolted white flour from Anson Mills in South Carolina that he says reminded him of the wheat he'd tasted in southern France.
Samuel Fromartz

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 9:29 am

Journalist Samuel Fromartz works at home on a quiet street near the Capitol building, in Washington, D.C. He's a journalist, and editor-in-chief of the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

On a recent morning, I went to visit him and found several unread newspapers piled on his front step. "I've been a little busy," Fromartz explains.

He's not too busy to make bread, though.

Read more
The Salt
12:06 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

A Family's Fall Harvest Blooms In 'A Kitchen In France'

Author Mimi Thorisson and her husband, photographer Oddur Thorisson, moved their six children and dogs from a Parisian apartment to a farmhouse in the Médoc region of France.
Oddur Thorisson

France and its beloved cuisine come with more than a few cliches: the butter, the frog legs, the snooty chef twirling a curled mustache. To outsiders, it's part of the French identity.

But anyone who regularly cooks French food (or has at least attempted it) knows it's rarely that simple or predictable. Yes, there's butter, but more striking is how much patience it requires. That's what Mimi Thorisson, writer of the popular French cooking blog Manger, says she's learned since making France and its food a part of her daily life.

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:46 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

I've Got The Ingredients. What Should I Cook? Ask IBM's Watson

Chef Watson generates recipes for the user based on the ingredients the person has on hand, what type of food he would like to cook and a person's dietary restrictions.
Courtesy of IBM

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:31 pm

IBM's Watson computer has amused and surprised humans by winning at Jeopardy! Now, one of the world's smartest machines is taking on chefs.

Well, not exactly. Watson is being used by chefs to come up with new and exciting recipes in a feat that could turn out to be useful for people with dietary restrictions and for managing food shortages.

Read more
The Salt
4:45 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Soda-Makers Try To Take Fizz Out Of Bay Area Tax Campaigns

Proponents of the taxes say that if the measures pass, the money would be directed, in San Francisco, toward childhood nutrition and recreation and, in Berkeley, into the city's general fund.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:35 am

Again and again in the U.S., anti-soda crusaders looking to fight obesity have been stymied wherever they've tried to impose new laws on soda sales.

In New York, ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to limit soda size was tossed out by the state's highest court. Proposed taxes in the Northern California cities of El Monte and Richmond were voted down. And the Washington, D.C., City Council failed to pass an excise tax on soda.

Read more
The Salt
2:39 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Sandwich (Replacement) Monday: Soylent

Step 1: Start getting disappointed.
NPR

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 3:24 pm

My sister Natalie recently had a birthday, and a friend who hates her sent her a packet of Soylent, the powdered meal of the future containing all the boring nutrients we need to live.

Read more
The Salt
12:07 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Gladiator Gatorade? Ancient Athletes Had A Recovery Drink, Too

This gladiator tombstone was excavated in a cemetery for these ancient power athletes in what was once Ephesus, in modern-day Turkey.
Courtesy of PLOS ONE

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 4:54 pm

So it's A.D. 150, and you've just had a long day at the gym (or ludus), thrusting and parrying with your fellow Roman gladiators. What do you reach for to replenish your sapped strength? A post-workout recovery drink, of course.

Read more
The Salt
9:22 am
Sun October 26, 2014

An Unlikely Friday Night Pizza Cafe Has A Big Heart

At Moriah Pie in Norwood, Ohio, Erin and Robert Lockridge serve homemade pizza and diners pay what they can.
Christopher Kuettner

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 7:03 pm

Here's what might have sounded like a pretty shaky business plan for a neighborhood pizza cafe: "We'll only be open one day a week. Won't do any advertising. No prices on the menus. We'll serve mostly what we grow in the garden – and no pepperoni. And we'll look on this work as an 'experiment of faith.'"

That's what Erin and Robert Lockridge said two years ago, when they decided to open a pizza place called Moriah Pie in Norwood, a small town part of greater Cincinnati.

Read more
The Salt
5:17 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

A New Lending Library — For Your Kitchen

Originally published on Sun October 26, 2014 12:50 pm

Fondue sets, ice cream makers and juicers. Fun kitchen gadgets to have, but frankly, who has the cash or counter space? The Kitchen Library understands, so it just rents out those appliances.

We're talking four-day access to myriad cool kitchen contraptions. In addition to the aforementioned gadgets, the library is also home to a chocolate fountain, a creme brulee set, hand mixers and slow cookers. There are more than 100 items in the inventory.

Read more
The Salt
4:36 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

A depiction of "Gin Lane," filled with sins caused by drunken revelries.
William Hogarth/Wikimedia

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 10:57 am

In Scotland, some long-time whisky makers are switching over to gin. In Germany, people who distill traditional brandies are doing the same. The world is in the middle of a gin distillery boom, and it is coming to America.

One place to find the roots of this boom is London, where 250 distilleries once existed in the city limits alone.

For Charles Maxwell, this story is personal. "My great-great-grandfather was apprenticed in the city of London in the 1680s to learn how to make gin," Maxwell says. "And from that day to this, we've distilled gin in London."

Read more
The Salt
6:03 am
Fri October 24, 2014

A Wisecracking Biochemist Shares Her Kitchen ABCs

A selection of foods discussed by Shirley Corriher at the National Press Club on Oct. 22.
Alison Bruzek/NPR

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 2:58 pm

Biochemists aren't really known for their sense of humor. But we recently met one who was warm, inviting and downright hilarious. "When chemists don't know what something is, they call it a substance," quips Shirley Corriher.

Read more
The Salt
5:31 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

How 'Foodies' Were Duped Into Thinking McDonald's Was High-End Food

McDonald's Organic/youtube

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 4:54 pm

We all know that how a food is packaged and marketed can influence our choices, no matter how hard we try to shake the effect. Haven't you ever found yourself contemplating a row of wines, trying to decide which bottle to buy, and then opting for the one with the higher price tag, the prettier label or the more tempting descriptors?

Read more
Found Recipes
3:31 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Bring Home A Taste Of Paris The Easy Way With French Bistro Brisket

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 5:35 pm

Beef brisket is more than a tough cut of meat. Steven Raichlen says when it's braised low and slow until tender, it becomes otherworldly.

"Your knife doesn't so much cut through the brisket as glide through it," he says. "It's beefy, meaty, earthy."

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:58 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

How To Sell Bogus Health Cures In 5 Easy Steps

Wouldn't it be great if this stuff really did cause quick painless weight loss?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 11:33 am

I'm bummed that the green coffee weight-loss cure touted by Dr. Oz doesn't work. It could have been the perfect painless antidote to my habit of lying on the sofa eating Russian chocolate.

Read more
Food
12:22 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

'Test Kitchen': How To Buy The Safest Meat And Make The Juiciest Steaks

To make the best (and safest) burger, America's Test Kitchen recommends grinding the meat at home and packing it loosely.
Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 1:10 pm

When shopping for meat, sometimes the options can be dizzying — what's the difference between an organic, free-range or air-chilled chicken? The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book offers insights.

It's about how to shop for, store, season and cook meat and poultry — and how to prevent contaminating your kitchen with bacteria from the raw meat.

Read more
Harvest Desk
11:14 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Wild Bison Return To IL

Ferran Salat Coll/TNC

It’s been a long time since you could say there were bison roaming the prairie in Illinois. The last ones were thought to have died off here or moved to other places in the 1800s. And while bison have still been raised here on farms, there haven’t been efforts for bison conservation in the state. That is, until now.

Cody Considine is an ecologist for the The Nature Conservancy at the Nachusa Grasslands. He joined us for this interview:

Read more

Pages