Food

Choice nuggets

From Whole (junk) Foods to Julia/Julie hype, tasty morsels from around the Web

When my info-larder gets too packed, it’s time to serve up some choice nuggets from around the Web. —————- • “Everything I’ve written is straw,” Thomas Aquinas is supposed to have lamented from his deathbed. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey seems to have come to a similar conclusion about the supermarket chain he founded decades ago. “Basically, we used to think it was enough just to sell healthy food, but we know it is not enough,” he recently told The Wall Street Journal in a blunt interview.  “We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk.” He …

Meat wagon: Antibiotic-resistant salmonella edition

Cargill plant recalls nearly a million pounds of tainted beef

Not-so-total recall: Cargill’s got nearly a million pounds of tainted beef circulating.  In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. ——— Remember a couple of weeks ago, when news emerged that a Colorado grocery chain had churned out 466,000 pounds of beef tainted with antibiotic-resistant salmonella, sent it out to six states, and then voluntarily recalled it–but not until  weeks after several people had fallen violently ill from it? Well, they must be having some kind of competition out west, because now a California outfit called Beef Packers, owned by Cargill, the globe’s …

If you can't stand the heat...

Simple summer salads for staying cool and well-nourished

It’s getting hot in here ….It’s happening again. It’s gotten so damn hot that I fear the heat of the stove. I want to be at the beach, tubing down a river, napping in a hammock under a big shade tree. The problem is I still get hungry. Convenience foods abound to solve that problem if I let my guard down. Luckily, we have other, tastier alternatives. This is the time of year when the produce at the farmer’s market is so perfect and so abundant, that with little more than a drizzle of vinaigrette you can create refreshing salads, …

Go green, save green

How to green your grocery shopping on a tight budget

Three months ago, my husband and I took a magnifying glass to our finances, examining a mountain of bills and receipts. We had two main concerns: paying the lingering tab for the birth of our second son (now one), and finding a way to afford a year of preschool for our highly-energized, insatiably-curious three-year-old. We pored over our monthly spending and came up with a budget we thought our family of four could live on. We made cuts all over the place. One major change was canceling satellite TV. That alone freed up $90 per month. We also scaled back …

Meatheads

Meat, climate change, and industry tripe

Washington Post food-politics columnist Ezra Klein has taken a stand: people should eat less meat, because of its vast greenhouse gas footprint. To make his case, Ezra cited the FAO’s landmark “Livestock’s Long Shadow” report, which found that global meat production is responsible for 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. To be honest, when I read Ezra’s column, I thought, “yeah, and?” Of course we should eat less meat. But how far will individual choice take us? Shouldn’t we focus on forcing the meat industry to pay up for its massive externalities, including its contribution to climate change? Yet …

Cook's night in

Thoughts inspired by Pollan’s provocative piece on cooking

Where is everybody?Photo: Shindz, via FlickrWhen I think hard about what it would take to create a just and sustainable food system, two big obstacles spring immediately to mind: 1) we need more people growing food; and 2) we need more people cooking it, too. In his latest blockbuster in the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan takes on the second one. I can sum up his 9,000-word jeremiad in one: cook! There’s a lot of wisdom in what he says. Pollan traces the evolution of cooking from quotidian ritual to spectator sport–complete with guys on TV huffing and puffing …

The shark of history bends toward justice

It’s time to end the practice of shark finning

This post is co-authored with Discovery Channel GM & President John Ford. —– Photo: Willy VolkEvery half-second a shark is killed for its fins, so in the time it takes you to read this post, hundreds of sharks will die. “Finning,” as the practice is known, is decimating shark populations world-wide. Every year up to 73 million sharks are caught, stripped of their fins, and left for dead in the ocean. Shark fins are a delicacy in many Asian countries, and the market is expanding to other parts of the globe. Fishing boats can save cargo space and pack more …

Andalucia in a bowl

From southern Spain, the king of summer soups

Spanish steps to the perfect summer soup.Like Penelope Cruz, my restaurant has a Spanish accent. I can’t quite say “theme,” because the menu is far from 100 percent Spanish; but we focus on tapas and serve classic preperations like paella and sangria. This time of year, our Spanish lilt mandates gazpacho. Some of the best dishes in the world were invented via that great mother, necessity: the necessity to get by on very little, or to make use of a soon-to-spoil abundance. Witness cassoulet, prosciutto, gumbo, quiche, bouillabaisse, pesto, etc. Gazpacho falls on the abundance side of that truism, as it …

Spray-and-trade

Can climate legislation survive the Senate Ag Committee’s embrace?

Real climate action–or agribusiness as usual?Photo: mike138After the House narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey climate legislation, there was some talk that the bill might be “strengthened” in the Senate. The bill’s sponsors had faced a serious slog in getting it through the House, and were forced into making large compromises with the energy and agribusiness industries. Perhaps a more effective bill, the thinking went, might emerge from the Senate. I remember thinking, really? Have these people not heard of the Senate Agriculture Committee? I watched with deep cynicism the proceedings of last week’s ag committee hearings on climate change (video here). …

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