Harvest Desk

The Salt
1:01 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Introducing Roma Cuisine, The Little-Known 'Soul Food' Of Europe

The decor at Romani Kafenava offers some local culture.
Courtesy of Epeka

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 2:11 pm

It's no secret that tensions surrounding the Roma people in Europe are running high these days.

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The Salt
4:28 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Organic Produce Is A Tough Sell In The Gaza Strip

Rami al-Naffar is the clerk at a small organic produce shop in Gaza City.
Emily Harris/NPR

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.

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The Salt
10:47 am
Thu May 15, 2014

A Sponge Cake's Long, Strange Trip: Germany To Denver, Via Japan

A chef prepares the baumkuchen, a German layer cake made on a stick that when cut, resembles a tree with concentric rings.
LuxTonnerre Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 2:18 pm

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.

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Shots - Health News
6:19 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Don't Salmon, Don't Shoal: Learning The Lingo Of Safe Cycling

What's that salmon doing in the bike lane?
Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:48 am

Alec Baldwin, you were salmoning!

The actor was ticketed in New York on Tuesday for riding his bicycle the wrong way on a one-way street.

Cyclists use the term "salmoning" to describe a biker going against the stream on a one-way bike lane. Surely the definition can be broadened to include Baldwin's infraction.

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Around the Nation
2:05 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Across The U.S., Bicycle Commuting Picks Up Speed

The ranks of bicycle commuters are growing, though men are almost three times more likely than women to ride to work.
Tobias Ackeborn iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 9:55 am

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.

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The Salt
5:34 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

How Food Companies Court Nutrition Educators With Junk Food

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 1:41 pm

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.

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The Salt
3:42 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

The Latest Food Truck Theme Is Marijuana For Lunch

The MagicalButter food truck is called The Samich.
Courtesy of MagicalButter

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 11:09 am

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.

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Business
3:00 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Minimalist Shoes Smacked With Lawsuit, As Health Claims Get The Boot

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 6:59 pm

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.

The Salt
12:22 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

For The Win(e): U.S. Passes France As World's Top Wine Consumer

Yeah, Americans drank way more than that.
Erik Schelzig AP

We don't typically pity the French, what with their pantries full of fine cheese, meats and wine.

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Kitchen Window
6:42 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Home Is Where You Hang Your Apron

A cheese-and-cracker snack is sustenance during the hard work of packing up the kitchen. And after you've moved, a meaningful meal can help make your new place feel like home.
Amy Morgan NPR

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 1:09 pm

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.

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The Salt
4:10 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Gardeners' Gems: Designer Crops That Will Wow The Neighbors

The nearly translucent Glass Gem Corn looks more like a work of art than a vegetable.
Greg Schoen Native Seeds

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 1:40 pm

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.

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The Salt
3:05 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Ranchers Wary As U.S. Considers Brazilian Beef Imports

Cattle rancher Sharon Harvat says she's worried about how the Brazilian beef imports will impact her business.
Luke Runyon NPR

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 7:25 pm

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.

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The Salt
9:10 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Resveratrol May Not Be The Elixir In Red Wine And Chocolate

There are more than three dozen polyphenols in red wine that could be beneficial. But resveratrol may not have much influence on our health.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 2:28 pm

If you've come to treat that daily glass of wine as your fountain of youth, it may be time to reconsider.

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The Salt
2:02 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Turnspit Dogs: The Rise And Fall Of The Vernepator Cur

A turnspit dog at work in a wooden cooking wheel in an inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, in 1869.
Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 5:45 pm

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.

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The Salt
3:23 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Domino's Specialty Chicken

We should have seen this coming.
NPR

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:30 pm

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.

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Harvest Desk
10:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Chilli Parlor Re-Opens Serving Century Old Recipe

WUIS/Lee Strubinger

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:

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The Salt
3:07 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Why Take-And-Bake Pizza Is Giving The Tax Guys A Headache

Papa Murphy's is a chain that sells take-and-bake pizza. It built its name on low prices, and a willingness to accept food stamps. But now that may be in jeopardy.
Nicholas Eckhart Flickr

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:21 pm

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.

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Code Switch
2:46 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Sriracha-Maker Says Factory Will Remain In California

Sriracha chili sauce is produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. CEO David Tran has been at odds with the local City Council over the smells emitted by the sauce factory.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 5:53 pm

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.

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Code Switch
5:04 am
Sat May 10, 2014

With Great Korean Barbecue Comes Great Responsibility

As far as stock images go, this one of Korean barbecue seems pretty tasty.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:41 am

Go hunting for the best barbecue in America and you might end up in a city that surprises you: Los Angeles. Specifically, the L.A. neighborhood known as Koreatown.

I'm talking about Korean barbecue. If you're unfamiliar, that's thinly sliced, marinated meat grilled right in front of you. Trust me, it's awesome (this guy knows what I'm talking about).

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat May 10, 2014

Bridging The Cultural Gap With A Mother-In-Law In The Kitchen

Lisa Brown for NPR

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 1:17 pm

In Indian kitchens, patience is a virtue.

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.

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Shots - Health News
4:20 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Europeans Are Getting Fatter, Just Like Americans

Fried cod awaits its destiny as fish and chips in London.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

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.

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Found Recipes
3:11 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Bake Mom Some Skillingsboller: Simple Buns With A Tricky Name

When leaving the oven, these "money buns" look like they're made of gold.
Alexandra Grablewski Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:52 am

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.

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The Salt
8:32 am
Fri May 9, 2014

As Craft Beer Starts Gushing, Its Essence Gets Watered Down

Craft breweries now make up 98 percent of all U.S. operating breweries. Of course, overall sales are still dwarfed by traditional beers.
Courtesy of the Brewers Association

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 9:19 am

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.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Rice Theory: Why Eastern Cultures Are More Cooperative

It takes a village to grow rice paddies: Taiwanese farmers break a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people planting rice at once in August 2012.
Sam Yeh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:26 pm

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.

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The Salt
2:05 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Injuries On The Farm Happen Much More Often Than We're Told

Migrant workers harvest corn on Uesugi Farms in Gilroy, Calif., in 2013.
Courtesy of USDA

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.

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Shots - Health News
11:44 am
Thu May 8, 2014

If Polar Bears Can Eat A Ton Of Fat And Be Healthy, Why Can't We?

Lots of swimming in icy seas may have helped bears evolve to eat a high-fat diet yet remain healthy.
Sebastien Bozon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 5:20 pm

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.

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Harvest Desk
7:45 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Illinois Groups Want Expanded Trade With Cuba

Credit Illinois Cuba Working Group

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.  

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The Salt
3:21 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Less Nutritious Grains May Be In Our Future

Wheat fields like this one could yield wheat with less zinc and iron in the future if they are exposed to higher levels of CO2, according to the journal Nature.
Zaharov Evgeniy iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 8:26 am

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.

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The Salt
3:45 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

For Many, Farming Is A Labor Of Love, Not A Living

Miller with one of his cows.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:59 am

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture carries out a census of farmers: who they are, and what they are doing on their farms.

The agency just released the latest one, and it's a feast for all ag geeks. And here's the very first, most basic piece of new information: There are 2,109,303 farmers in this country.

But look a little closer at that number, and you can see that it's not quite what it seems. Most of those farmers are not actually making a living by farming.

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The Salt
3:43 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Vermont's GMO Bill Expected To Face Major Legal Challenges

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:59 am

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will sign a landmark bill into law on Thursday, making the state the first to require food producers to label products made with genetic engineering.

The law won't go into effect for two years, but it's already become a hot topic at the first outdoor farmers market of the season in the capital city of Montpelier.

"Finally we have a vote," says Laini Fondilier, who runs the Lazy Lady Farm stand. "We haven't been able to vote on this by our purchases."

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