Food

Sweetness in Seattle

Theo Chocolate is the country’s first organic and fair-trade chocolate-maker

Photo: Sarah van Schagen Stroll into Theo Chocolate in Seattle’s artsy Fremont neighborhood, and you’re bound to feel all warm and cozy. From the freshly made confections beckoning from behind the counter to the welcoming brick fireplace and mugs of hot cocoa (a new addition this winter), the storefront offers a respite from the winter chill. But descend the stairwell into the belly of the chocolate factory on one of their daily tours — adjusting your blue hairnet along the way — and you might end up more than a little disappointed. For starters, there are no chocolate waterfalls. There …

On the first day of Gristmas, my true love gave to me ...

A roundup of savory holiday links from Grist

Since it’s the holiday season, it’s time for a trip down candy cane Grist archive lane to revisit some festive links that are, uh, evergreen: Decorations Deck your halls with a sprinkling of mistletoe trivia, like that “mistletoe” means “dung on a twig.” That’ll get your lips wet. And Umbra explains why LED holiday lights rock so much harder than traditional ones. The downloadable Yule log demonstrates yet another reason iPhones win at life, or you can gaze at Stephen Colbert’s version. Christmas trees Sarah van Schagen looks at the issue of pesticide-drenched trees, and Umbra dishes on finding an …

Lab-ulous

Best Burger Ever discovered in tiny Ballard eatery

I was originally going to write this in an email to Tom Philpott, but I decided the Gristian masses deserve to know as well, in case y’all ever make it up to Seattle. I bring you an important announcement: the quest for the Best Burger Ever is over. Call it off. We’re done. Finito. On Friday I had lunch at a dingy little hole-in-the-wall in the Ballard district of Seattle called Lunchbox Laboratory (excuse their epically awful website). Though occasionally daily specials stray (a pasta here, mashed potatoes there), basically the place is about burgers and fries. But that’s like …

A renewed call for food reform

Updates on secretary of agriculture appointment

In the five weeks since the election and almost a month since my first post about the secretary of agriculture, a lot has changed. But one thing has become increasingly clear: The people who voted for Barack Obama expect change at the head of USDA. The next person to head the Department of Agriculture needs to be someone willing to step outside the status quo. The idea is gaining traction, with nods from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, Chuck Hassebrook in the Des Moines Register, and over 35,000 grassroots individuals at fooddemocracynow.org. The call for change is growing. …

Curt Ellis responds to the ads promoting corn syrup …

I was really happy to see this article. The ads which cast doubt on corn syrup-related health problems are so bad that even Karl Rove must be shaking his head. (Besides, who takes a popsicle — let alone one popsicle for two people — on a picnic?)

Meat Wagon: Midnight riders

The EPA and FDA send last-minute gifts to the meat industry

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. —– Living near confined-animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) is no bowl of cherries. CAFO operators pack thousands of animals into tight spaces, concentrating their waste. The smells they release are intense and foul — and probably dangerous. According to one recent peer-reviewed study, by Wellesley researcher Stacy Sneeringer, living near CAFOs “significantly” raises infant-mortality rates. But you don’t need to live near a CAFO to feel their effects. According to the U.N., CAFOs generate tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas — more even than cars. If this …

That's what he said ...

Foodie lessons from Dwight K. Shrute

A brilliant blogger has assembled a list of food and frugality tips gathered from Dwight K. Shrute, assistant to the regional manager at The Office‘s Dunder Mifflin paper company. Below, a few gems: DWIGHT SAYS: “My grandfather left me a 60-acre working beet farm. I run it with my cousin Mose. We sell beets to the local stores and restaurants. It’s a nice little farm … sometimes teenagers use it for sex.”DWIGHT MEANS: Buy local.Not only does it support neighborhood farmers (who need security to keep randy kids away), but food that’s shipped from nearby tastes better, is better for …

Will the Obama administration be the first to seriously regulate genetically modified food?

  Will Obama buck the trend and regulate GMOs?   On Nov. 11, Austria’s Ministries for Agriculture and Health released the results of a long-term study [PDF] of genetically modified organisms. A widely used strain of GM corn, they found, appears to decrease both birthrates and the size of offspring in mice — and the problems seem to grow with each generation. This is a troubling conclusion. U.S. farmers planted the first commercial GMO crops in 1996. Today, upwards of 90 percent of U.S. soy, and 60 percent of U.S. corn, come from GMO seeds. Those crops suffuse our food …

Does this industrial poison make my ass look fat?

Study: Common pollutant may lead to obesity

Ever heard of tributyltin? Probably not, but odds are you’ve been exposed to it. The chemical is used as a biocide in industrial water systems, breweries (gulp), and in wood preservatives; and as a pesticide on so-called "high-value" food crops (think fruits and vegetables). Its residues are also found in fish and shellfish. And … exposure to it may be contributing to growth in obesity and diabetes rates, according to an article in the December 2008 BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. From an AIBS press release: The harmful effects of the chemical on the liver …

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