Food

Monsanto counts its cash

Seed-and-chemical giant sees its profit triple

In a gold rush, the firms that supply the gold diggers with tools — not the gold diggers themselves — make the highest and steadiest profits. That’s a platitude, but it’s also usually true. And it’s now playing out in the boom in corn-based ethanol. Don’t waste much time envying corn farmers. Sure, they’ve seen the price of their product double over the past year and a half or so. But they’ve also seen their costs inch up. Fertilizer, land rents (much of the farmland in the midwest is rented), pesticides, and seeds — all have risen since the corn …

An interview with Carol Moseley Braun about her biodynamic food company

This election season, Carol Moseley Braun isn’t gunning to become the first black president or the first female president. (Been there, done that.) Instead, she’s trying to break ground in another arena, one she considers vastly more satisfying than politics: food. Healthy, organic, biodynamic food. Carol Moseley Braun. Photo: AP / Seth Perlman In 2002, after a couple of decades in politics — she served as an Illinois state senator from 1978 to 1987, a U.S. senator for Illinois from 1993 to 1999, and ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001 — Brown founded Good Food Organics in Chicago. …

Edible Media: Angry vegans with knives and pots

A full-flavored attack on industrial food

Edible Media takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web and off. I have to admit, when I think of vegan fare, I first picture little lumps of soy curd, swimming in a brown pool of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids — perhaps with a spear or two of oversteamed broccoli on the side. Then, when I think a little harder, I picture all the fantastic food that emerges without direct involvement of animals (though nearly all well-raised produce involves at least some contact with animals). I can picture the antipasti table at a simple trattoria …

Meat Wagon: Get it while it's hot

Avoid burgers in Texas, Hillary gets charred for CAFO ties, and more

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat industry. In a proper finale to an E. coli-tainted 2007, the USDA has issued a public-heath alert regarding 14,800 pounds of stolen hamburger meat down in Texas. Get this: the hot meat is “thought to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.” By my calculations, there is enough of the tainted stuff floating around Texas to produce no fewer than 74,000 quarter pounders. Texas Grist readers, don’t say you weren’t warned. Meanwhile, up in Iowa, Hillary Clinton is getting flack for anointing a shill for the CAFO (concentrated animal …

Ammonium drifts into national parks

You may not be able to smell cow poop in Yellowstone, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, but the air there has become increasingly contaminated with nitrogen compound ammonium, says a recent report from the National Park Service. Possibly originating in concentrated animal feeding operations, ammonium in the three parks — as well as six other parks in Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah — was most likely borne in from the east by snow and rain, says the report. Ammonium can subtly alter ecosystems; for example, scientists are noticing Rocky Mountain’s iconic wildflowers giving way to grasses. Says John …

Edible Media: Deep south

Edna Lewis, late doyenne of traditional southern fare, in Gourmet

Edible Media takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web. The January issue of Gourmet is devoted to the food of the U.S. south — probably our sturdiest regional culinary tradition. I adore southern cooking, and the issue had my stomach grumbling from start to finish. I can think of few dishes that sound as satisfying as “simmered greens with cornmeal dumplings” (page 37). Beyond the enticing recipes and food-porn photos, what really makes the issue work is the presence of the late Edna Lewis (1916-2006), the great food writer, chef, and canonizer of southern …

Me Huckabee, you Jane

GOP (and Dem) candidates: red-meat-lovin’, veggie-hatin’

From a compilation of responses given to AP reporters throughout the year: FAVORITE FOOD TO COOK DEMOCRATS: Clinton: "I'm a lousy cook, but I make pretty good soft scrambled eggs." Edwards: Hamburgers. Obama: Chili. Richardson: Diet milkshake. REPUBLICANS: Giuliani: Hamburgers or steak on the grill. Huckabee: Ribeye steak on the grill. McCain: Baby-back ribs. Romney: Hot dog. SHUNNED FOOD ITEMS DEMOCRATS: Clinton: "I like nearly everything. "I don't like, you know, things that are still alive." Edwards: "I can't stand mushrooms. I don't want them on anything that I eat. And I have had to eat them because you get food served and it's sitting there and you're starving, so you eat." Obama: "Beets, and I always avoid eating them." Richardson: Mushrooms, specifically. "I'm not a big vegetable eater." Recalling the first President Bush's distaste for broccoli, he said: "I sympathize with that fully." REPUBLICANS: Giuliani: Liver. Huckabee: "Carrots. I just don't like carrots. I banned them from the governor's mansion when I was governor of Arkansas because I could." McCain: "I eat almost everything. Sometimes I don't do too well with vegetables." Romney: "Eggplant, in any shape or form. And I've always been able to avoid it." Thompson: "Not much. I've tried to do better about that. I jokingly say that we kind of have a diet around our house that if it tastes good, you don't eat it. I haven't quite got there yet. There's not much that I turn down. That's a good thing on the campaign trail because you get quite a variety." You know, because vegetables are for wusses, true patriots love meat, vegetarianism is a gateway drug to liberal snobbery, etc., etc. Scrolling through the responses, some amusing patterns emerge. Namely, McCain loves anything and everything to do with barbecuing, and Huckabee desperately wishes that guitar ownership would make him cool. (Hey guys, hey guys! I have a bass guitar! Did -- did you hear that? Did I mention my guitar? Because I have one.) Now if only someone would compile a useful table of candidate responses to relevant questions ... say, a table with candidates' stances on fuel-economy standards, renewable energy, and coal. Oh wait! We did.

Feedlot meat production: nothing if not profitable

Tyson Foods chief nets $10 million — oops, no, $24 million

Update [2007-12-28 10:14:4 by Tom Philpott]:According to AP, Tyson CEO Richard Bond made total compensation of $24 million in 2007, not $9.88 million, as reported by Bloomberg. Here’s how industrial meat production works: you stuff animals into pens, feed them genetically modified, nutritionally suspect corn and soy (along with growth hormones), and force them to wallow in their own waste while keeping them alive with regular lashings of antibiotics. Then you haul them to vast death factories, where de-skilled, low-paid workers, under immense time pressure, dismember them and pack their flesh into little shrink-wrapped styrofoam packages. There’s plenty to be …

Chicago will levy bottled-water tax, Big Bottle plans to sue

Beginning Jan. 1, Chicago will levy a 5-cent tax on bottled water; shortly after it goes into effect, an alliance of food and beverage retailer associations plans to sue.

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