Food

More notes from Terra Madre

Day two from the foodie blowout in Turin, Italy

Turin, Italy — Yesterday I left off at the Presidia section of the Salone del Gusto, having met up with my friend the fermentation scholar and teacher Sandor Katz, and his friend the food scholar Jeffrey Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisinal Cheese. By that point, I was overwhelmed by the variety on display and unsure what to make of it all. Sandor’s enthusiasm changed all that. “We’re sampling some English pear cider,” he informed me. “Only she won’t let us call it that,” he whispered, glancing briefly in the direction of a formidable elderly British woman. “She …

Eat local, get laid

The surprising benefits of seasonal eating

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night. Your food or mine?   Lou, I am curious about any benefits of eating seasonally — the foods or products that are traditionally or historically in abundance at particular times of the year. At one time were our bodies in sync with those seasons and the foods that were available at that time? Curious, let me know! George Dear George, What a timely question, when farmers markets and …

California’s Prop. 2 spurs big-bucks battle over farm-animal treatment

You can bet that if all the animals in America had televisions — as they do in San Francisco’s SPCA shelter — they’d be tuned in to California’s election returns on Nov. 4. A free-range chicken. On the ballot is an initiative — Proposition 2 — that is as potentially transformational for the treatment of farm animals raised for food in the United States as the presidential vote could be for the nation itself. Watching closely will be the nation’s big meat and egg producers. Because if Californians embrace Prop. 2 — and scant polling on the initiative suggests it’s …

Notes from Terra Madre

Day one at the foodie blowout in Italy

Turin, Italy — On the one hand, I’m exhausted and jetlagged after a day of meeting people, listening to speeches, walking the streets of Turin, and noshing on lots of cured meat, cheese, olives, and other pungent goodies. On the other hand, I’m sipping a glass of Barolo — a celebrated red wine named after a town not far from Turin — at the Salone del Gusto, a kind of vast tasting pavilion. The wine I chose was one of more than 2,000 on offer at the Salone’s expansive enoteca (wine bar). (I’m the only one with a laptop open …

Chef Dan Barber and sustainable ag expert Fred Kirschenmann set the table for a new food policy

Grist asked two gurus from the sustainable farm/food world to weigh in on the role of food in the 2008 election. Before they could get to work on their piece, Michael Pollan landed his opus in The New York Times Magazine. That sent our experts in a new direction — an op-ed as dialogue. Dan Barber. Photo: Nicholas Basilion Dan Barber: Fred, I think we both agree that right now there isn’t enough money being directed to the food crisis. And with the budget even more strained, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we will see any major investment from a …

How to make a meal from your market basket

  Turning market treats into good eats.   On a recent trip to the farmers market, I found a mountain of leafy greens of all different hues and textures. I couldn’t resist buying four varieties: rainbow chard, red Russian kale, an Asian green similar to spinach, and escarole. Cooler weather also means the arrival of cooler-weather herbs like cilantro, and I tucked a bunch into my market basket too. Later in the week, when it was time to make dinner, I surveyed the contents of the refrigerator and the pantry. I realized I’d gotten a little carried away buying greens, …

The misadventure capitalist

Khosla’s letter to Science backfires

Vinod Khosla has a letter in the Oct. 17 issue of Science ($ub. req’d) critiquing the Searchinger et al study: “U.S. croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land-use change.” Question: Why would the editors at Science publish a letter from someone who is not a biologist or a peer of the researchers being critiqued? Answer: Searchinger et al were allowed to respond, and the response left a glowing crater where Khosla’s argument once stood. Here’s a sample: The plight of the Amazon is a matter of both forestry and agriculture. Typical logging removes a few trees per …

U.N. initiative urges green global economy

Fear not: The economic, food, and climate crises can be tackled in one fell swoop, says the United Nations Environment Program. The organization launched a Green Economy Initiative Wednesday, comparing it to Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-tackling New Deal. “Investments will soon be pouring back into the global economy,” says Pavan Dukdhev of Deutsche Bank, which is working with the initiative. “The question is whether they go into the old, extractive, short-term economy of yesterday or a new green economy that will deal with multiple challenges while generating multiple economic opportunities for the poor and the well-off alike.” Indeed. UNEP hopes it …

Meat Wagon: Squashing beef

Consolidation in the beef industry has gotten too intense even for the Bush DOJ

Way back in March, Brazilian beef-packing behemoth JBS finished an extraordinary lunge into the U.S. market, having snapped up Swift, National Beef Packing, and the beef assets of Smithfield — the nation’s third-, fourth- and fifth-biggest beef packers. If the deals were approved by U.S. antitrust authorities — and nothing in recent history suggested they wouldn’t be — JBS would own more than a third of the U.S. beef market. And just three firms — JBS, Tyson, and Cargill — would slaughter something like 90 percent of beef cows raised in the United States. Well, the unthinkable has happened. The …