Food

Some like it raw

Environmental NGOs present sustainable-sushi guides and delicious raw fish at a New York event

A lot of people I know seek out meat, eggs, and dairy from pasture-raised animals and vegetables grown without chemicals, but they do not question where their seafood comes from unless they’re worried about mercury. The concept of sustainable seafood is a revolutionary idea that I hope catches on the way dolphin-safe tuna fish has. In mid-October in Manhattan, a group of environmental NGOs joined forces to promote the idea of sustainable sushi. I arrived at the French Culinary Institute for the New York Sustainable Sushi Tasting having no idea what I was in for. The Blue Ocean Institute, Environmental …

Terra Madre notes: Redeeming fast food

On the glory of Terra Madre’s street-food section

Turin, Italy — The critique of "fast food" needs to be nuanced. Pre-fab burgers from corn-fed cows, cooked to the cardboard stage by deskilled, exploited workers and washed down with corn-syrupy Coke: surely a calamity on many fronts. But other modes of fast food are possible, even necessary. In most of the world’s cities — especially outside of the United States — there’s a kind of canteen of the streets: stalls where one can find quick, delicious, and cheap fare on the hoof, sustenance for a busy day. As a journalist living in Mexico City a few years ago, a …

Terra Madre notes: Vandana Shiva rocks the house

A food/climate manifesto presents new visions for responding to climate change

Turin, Italy — I’ve just come out of the most hopeful and interesting discussions of climate change I’ve ever witnessed. Anchored by Indian food-sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva, the panel discussion at Terra Madre unveiled a new “Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security,” drawn up by the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture. The room was packed beyond capacity with at least 400 people, and the discussion was translated through headsets into eight languages. The document under discussion — which can be found here — is brisk, lucid, and to the point. I will …

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, …

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