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Bonnie Azab Powell's Posts

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‘Shroommates

New Agtivists: Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez turn coffee grounds into fun fungi kits

Psst! Wanna buy some mushrooms?: Nikhil Arora in the alley outside Back to the Roots' warehouse. Photo: Bart NagelWhen two good-looking 23-year-olds give up careers in investment banking to grow mushrooms, oysters and shiitakes aren't the first fungi one imagines. But Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez are on a different trip. Their business, Back to the Roots, turns coffee grounds into food, first as mushrooms they sold wholesale and now as grow-your-own gourmet mushroom kits. It all started with a "random fact" tossed out by their business ethics professor in February 2009, in the last semester of their senior year …

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For when you karo too much, recipe

In honor of MLK, Jr. Day, my great-grandmother’s pecan pie recipe

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a big fan of pie, supposedly. (And who isn't?) A few years ago, Austin, Texas artist Luanne Stovall was baking a buttermilk one in honor of the civil-rights activist and decided to turn sharing it into a vehicle for peace and reconciliation on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Now, she calls these reinvented pie socials "Peace Through Pie," and those who bring pies to share and engage in conflict resolution are "pie-o-neers." The internets tell me that pecan was King's favorite pie, as it is mine. Or at least it was until I read The …

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Soymilkin' it, video

How truly delicious tofu gets made [VIDEO]

Say "tofu" to most Americans, and they'll think of the rubbery, tasteless stuff served at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Even when I was a vegetarian, I ate a lot of it, but I didn't love it. It was just protein filler to me. When I started eating meat again, I stopped buying tofu. And then a few years ago I tried Hodo Soy Beanery's tofu at the Berkeley farmers market. It was a revelation. The soft tofu was creamy like a good custard. The yuba (tofu skin) was delicately chewy yet ethereal, eggy, and nutty. I realized I had simply …

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Kill us now, please

New Congress may simply starve food-safety bill to death [VIDEO]

Many sighed with relief when the lame-duck 111th Congress pulled itself together and, like passing a Capitol-sized kidney stone, finally got the ill-starred, much-discussed Food Safety Modernization Act done and signed into law by President Obama last week. At last, the nation's food safety laws will get their first update in decades: the FDA will gets the authority to mandate food recalls, plus legions of new inspectors, and the power to raise the standards for imported foods, among other things. The bill comes with a $1.4 billion price tag -- chump change in federal budget land. But even that seems …

Read more: Food, Politics

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This face is wasted on radio

Tom Philpott on KCRW's 'Good Food' radio show

(Bart Nagel Photography)Grist senior food and agriculture writer Tom Philpott -- who's been vacationing in Mexico since Christmas -- will make a brief appearance on this morning's broadcast of Good Food with Evan Kleiman. Tune into KCRW at 11 a.m. Pacific (live stream here) to hear Tom talk (at 11:06 a.m.) about what's happening with tomato harvesters in Immokalee, Fla., a subject he and other Grist contributors have been following for a while. If you miss it, the show will be archived for later sampling. Good Food is a rich blend of gastronomical coverage and food politics broadcast by L.A.'s …

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All food is fuel

Recycling 'blackouts in a can' should inspire other uses for recalled food

Truckloads of Four Loko and other alcohol-laced energy drinks are being recycled into ethanol and other products after federal authorities told manufacturers the beverages were dangerous and caused users to become "wide-awake drunk." - Associated Press, Jan. 6, 2011 Here in America, we don't believe in wasting food. We manage to use almost a whopping 60 percent of what we produce. (W00t!) How do we do it? Well, among other things, our thrifty government buys up excess production of cheap cheese or meat to use in the National School Lunch Program. Food manufacturers and supermarkets send their leftover, messed-up, or …

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How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?, video

'The Daily Show' investigates San Francisco's Happy Meal toy ban

A not-so-happy meal?Photo: Jason WhittakerStarting in December 2011, McDonald's restaurants in San Francisco won't be able to put a toy in their Happy Meals unless the box meets nutritional guidelines for kids -- i.e., contains some fruits and vegetables in addition to the fat, salt, and sugar designed to get kids hooked for life on fast food. Which is too bad because as Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi points out, these plastic little choking hazards are the most nutritious part of the meal. The new law, pushed through by San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, represents the triumph of the "nanny …

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Puree drivel

Tropicana 'snackifies' drinks with new fruit in a tube

The new Tropicana AppleWorld Tropolis snack.Americans know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but still, only a pathetic portion of adults actually eat them every day. It's pretty tough to foist things on your kids that you yourself don't eat, which might explain why one out of five U.S. children is obese. PepsiCo is here to help. The solution? Make fruit more fun! And what's more fun than puréed slush in a tube that you can hand your kid in his carseat to squirt in his mouth? Move over, juice boxes and Go-Gurt: PepsiCo subsidiary Tropicana is introducing Tropolis …

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Dirty hippies with power tools

Farmer-scientist group wants to 'hack society' through open-source technology

OhmmmMG: Some of the Open Source Ecology members demonstrate the strength of the Lifetrac II prototype frame.Photo: Sean Church One of the most frequent criticisms leveled against the sustainable agriculture movement is that its proponents want to send farmers back to 19th-century hard labor, with hand weeding and harvesting. Here's an incredibly cool group of eco-minded "farmer-scientists" who aren't in the least afraid of technology -- and in fact believe in "creating industrial processes that are fully in harmony with ecologically responsible living." The Open Source Ecology team's first, ambitious project is the Global Village Construction Set -- a sort …

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Oozing sores and holiday cookies, yum!

Massive gingerbread house recall a reminder that food safety starts in the gut

This homemade gingerbread house was NOT part of the recall -- it's just pretty.Photo: Trey RatcliffWe've got a late entry to our Scariest Food of 2010 contest: Gingerbread houses. Not because you can break a tooth on some of these hard-as-drywall sugar shacks, but because if you snacked on one bought at a Whole Foods in 23 states, you might be doubled over right now with cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting thanks to a food-borne Staphylococcus aureus infection. On Christmas Eve, Whole Foods Market recalled gingerbread houses made by Rolf's Patisserie, a "gourmet European-style bakery" in Illinois, and sold through dozens …

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