Outside a small organic produce shop in Gaza City, a large sidewalk placard reads "Good Earth" in Arabic in big red letters, followed by "Organic produce, free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides." The same message is on the shop's awning.
But "people don't notice the signs, they come in and ask, 'Why these [high] prices?,' " says Rami al-Naffar, the clerk here.
For a cake the Germans call "the king of cakes" and the Japanese call "the ultimate wedding cake," the baumkuchen doesn't really look like a cake or behave like one. But it more than makes up for its oddities with rich flavor, history and symbolism.
It resembles a hollowed cross-section of a craggy tree trunk, or a planet's rings, depending on how you make it. It can have up to 21 delicate, sugary stratums, which give it a light yet chewy texture.
As bicycling goes, America is far behind Copenhagen, the promised land where roads look like bicycle highways as people pedal to work. But commuting by bike in the U.S. is catching on — though geographic, income and gender disparities persist.
In Chicago, busy Sheridan Road is the start of the Lakefront bike trail on its north side. That's where you can find plenty of bicyclists commuting to work early in the morning.
When hundreds of California nutritionists and dietitians gathered for their annual conference in April, their Friday lunch was a bacon ranch salad, chocolate chip cookies and a pink yogurt parfait, all courtesy of McDonald's.
Food trucks have been steadily multiplying in cities across the country for a few years now. So their collision with the brave new world of marijuana edibles — from brownies to gummy candy — was probably inevitable, at least in the states where the drug is now legal.
The running world's recent trend of "minimalist" shoes has earned popularity partly from idea that they're more natural than regular running shoes. Now, not so much — minimalist shoemaker Vibram has just settled a class-action lawsuit for $3.75 million, agreeing to stop making health claims. Brian Metzler, the editor-in-chief of Competitor magazine, comments on the news.
For almost 10 years, Kitchen Window has been providing a weekly peek into the kitchens of writers, chefs and food fans from all over. I've helped produce this series for half of its life, led by its editor and Weekend Edition commentator Bonny Wolf. Today, we're shutting the window — at least a little. As the saying goes, you'll find other windows opening where one is closing (or something like that), and, indeed, NPR's food coverage continues both on-air and online.
To the home gardener who says "been there, done that" to the heirloom green bean, the French breakfast radish or the Brandywine tomato, take heart.
Nurseries and seed companies are competing to bring you the most colorful and flavorful designer edibles they can come up with. They travel the world looking for the next in-vogue plant for the home horticulturist. Every few years they introduce these new chic varieties in their catalogs and websites.
Sharon Harvat drives a blue pickup truck through a field of several hundred pregnant heifers on her property outside Scottsbluff in western Nebraska. Harvat and her husband run their cattle in the Nebraska panhandle during the winter, then back to northern Colorado after the calves are born.
Harvat says when she heard about a proposal to open up the beef trade with Brazil, she felt a pit in her stomach.
"On an operation like ours, where we travel a lot with our cattle, that would probably come to an abrupt halt if there was an outbreak," she says.
In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case.
"Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed," says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum.
The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces.
First, KFC replaced bread with chicken in the famous Double Down sandwich. Then, President Obama replaced Steven Chu with chicken as secretary of energy. Now, Domino's has created Specialty Chicken, which is essentially pizza with chicken in the place of crust.
Eva: The only thing left is pie dough made from chicken. Actually, that's not the only thing left.
Miles: I can't wait until we start breading chicken in more chicken.
Eva: It's a weird day when vegetarians have to order the tofu pizza dough.
A Springfield culinary landmark has re-opened it's doors. The Dew Chilli parlor was established in 1909, but it closed about 20 years ago. Mark Roberts is the new owner and a longtime fan. Lee Strubinger went to the parlor's recent grand opening and he presents this audio postcard:
In 24 states, a Hershey bar is candy but a Twix is not. That's because a Twix contains flour, and in those states — which all share a sales tax code — candy is defined as being flour-free. And since groceries aren't taxed, you'll pay tax for the Hershey but not for the Twix.
If that seems strange, consider the case of take-and-bake pizza — uncooked pies you take home and bake later. Take-and-bake is at the center of an ongoing tax-code debate. Many states consider it a grocery item, like eggs or flour. But now they're re-evaluating whether take-and-bake should be tax-free.
Sriracha hot sauce-maker Huy Fong Foods has been tussling with the City Council of Irwindale, Calif., near Los Angeles for months now over whether the factory's spicy smells harm its neighbors. There have been legal action and suggested fixes, but also pleas from other cities for the company to consider moving there.
David Tran, the CEO of Huy Fong, says he escaped from Vietnam almost 35 years ago to be free of the communist government there and its many intrusions.
Vegetables must be chopped, lentils soaked, spices roasted and ground before slowly simmering everything together. If you try to cut corners, the food just isn't the same.
The same is true for some relationships.
My mother-in-law, Rama Saini, grew up in north India in the early years after independence from the British. At age 19, her marriage was arranged and she moved to Canada with her husband. By 30 she had three children and a thriving business.
Ireland is predicted to become the fattest country in Europe by 2030, according to a study released by the World Health Organization and the UK Health Forum.
As many as 90 percent of Irish men and 84 percent of Irish women are projected to be classified as overweight or obese by then. Blame goes to the usual culprits: unhealthy diets high in sugar and fats, and a lack of exercise.
First, a public service announcement: Mother's Day is Sunday. Perhaps it's best to reread that note before continuing, because it's also best that you don't, under any circumstances, forget. And — ahem — you still have time to put something nice together.
There was once a time when it was easy to throw around the term "craft beer" and know exactly what you were talking about. For decades, craft was the way to differentiate small, independently owned breweries – and the beer they make – from the brewing giants like Coors, Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Ask Americans to describe themselves, and chances are you'll get adjectives like "energetic," "friendly" or "hard-working."
In Japan, the responses would likely be much different. "Dependent on others" and "considerate" might pop up, studies have found.
Psychologists have known for a long time that people in East Asia think differently, on average, than do those in the U.S. and Europe. Easterners indeed tend to be more cooperative and intuitive, while Westerners lean toward individualism and analytical thinking.
Farm work has always been one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Government statistics show it clearly, and the people doing the work can attest, too.
But new research from the University of California-Davis suggests that it's a much bigger problem than the federal government recognizes. The health problems faced by agricultural workers are the most undercounted of any industry in the U.S., they say.
If you were a bear and wanted to make a go of it in the frozen North (think polar bear, of course), what would you need to survive?
White fur would help, to help you sneak up on prey. Also plenty of body fat to stay warm. And you'd need great stamina to swim many miles from one ice floe to the next.
And there's another important trait, researchers reported Thursday: Polar bears have genes that help them live on a diet that's overloaded with fat — without suffering the sorts of human diseases that typically come with a diet of that sort.
Back in 1999, then Governor George Ryan led a delegation to the island nation of Cuba. Since that time, a number of Illinois Agriculture groups have been working to ease trade restrictions to the small nation. The Illinois Cuba Working Group recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama hoping to expand trade opportunities between the nations.
In the future, Earth's atmosphere is likely to include a whole lot more carbon dioxide. And many have been puzzling over what that may mean for the future of food crops. Now, scientists are reporting that some of the world's most important crops contain fewer crucial nutrients when they grow in such an environment.