It would be nice if we could all lie with our mouths to the ground, chomping on fresh potatoes the second they emerge from the dirt (that’s how plants grow, right? I’m a little rusty). But since we’re, like, BUSY and stuff, buying fresh produce at the grocery store is almost as good, right? Certainly better than that freezer-burned stuff in the same aisle as ice cream and Hot Pockets (GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION).
This video thinks not. In fact, Asap Science makes a pretty compelling case for frozen fruits and veggies over “fresh” ones in the produce aisle -- namely, that they’re picked (and frozen) at the peak of freshness with lots o’ vitamins intact, as opposed to the green bananas that are picked pre-ripe and flown across the world. Then they sit in our grocery stores, and then they sit in our kitchens, and maybe 12 years after they were originally picked, we eat them.
There's a tic in the way we talk about small towns and big cities that assumes that small places allow people to be kind to one another, while in big cities, anonymity and the sheer mass of humanity make us grumpy and mean. But that's not always true. In Naples, for many years, there was a tradition that allowed people to perpetrate tiny kindnesses. You could go into a café and buy a "suspended coffee" -- a shot of warmth and caffeine and good feelings that you'd pay for at the time and someone else would consume later. If you needed a cup of coffee and couldn't afford it, you could go into a café and ask if they had any suspended coffee available.
Over time, the tradition fell out of fashion in Naples, although it's been revived in the last few years as the recession hit people hard. But the idea's also been spreading, and enough cafés around the world have been taken with the idea that Italy is far from the only place where cafés sell suspended coffee.
Here is some food propaganda we can get behind. The Mushroom Council, which of course exists for no other reason than to promote mushrooms, recently held a "Mushrooms and Health Summit" where it presented the results of a study, which it funded, showing that people really will eat mushrooms. And they'll like them! As long as they're blended with beef.
In the study, NPR reports, a chef snuck mushrooms into samples of "taco blend" -- ground-up meat and mushrooms, in various proportions. Some samples were saltier than others. The testers tasted each taco blend and rated it. And they actually like the 50-50 beef and mushroom blend slightly more than they liked the all-beef or mostly mushroom blends.
It wasn't a huge difference, but it's notable even if it shows that people like meat-mushroom blend just as much as they like beef.
One of the most disturbing details included in the recently leaked IPCC report is that climate change could begin reducing farm yields worldwide by up to 2 percent a decade. Meanwhile, demand for crops is increasing 12 percent per decade.
You don’t have to be a math whiz to see how that (doesn't) add up.
A collision between a rising need for food and falling yields would be terrible for the environment, as well as for people. When people are starving, they are forced to make really bad tradeoffs: You might cut down your forest to feed your kids, even if you know it will lead to landslides that might ruin your farm the next year.
But that collision only happens if we don’t act, said Jonathan Foley, of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. There are a lot of things we can do to keep ourselves -- and, more probably, our fellow humans in developing countries -- from starving.
“Agriculture could change more than climate does,” Foley said.
Opponents of Washington state's initiative to label genetically engineered food effectively crushed the measure under a giant pile of money.
As of this writing (with 1 million ballots counted of about 1.3 million total votes cast), Washington's measure 522, which would have required prominent labels for foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, was losing by 9 percentage points, which amounted to nearly 50,000 votes, out of about a million votes cast.
Opponents of the initiative outspent supporters by about 3 to 1. Results are here.
Cars and cows are slurping up the largest corn crop ever grown in the U.S.
With the fall corn harvest three-quarters done, traders are anticipating a yield of about 14 billion bushels, Bloomberg reports. That exceeds forecasts and is 30 percent greater than last year. Growers are thanking agreeable weather for this year's early and bountiful harvest, a notable shift after last year's drought woes.
Charlie Harry Francis' Glow-in-the-Dark ice cream glows when you lick it, so we probably don’t have to tell you that it’s not made of all-natural ingredients. But it is inspired by nature: The magic comes from synthetic luminescence protein, a lab-made version of the protein that make jellyfish glow in the dark.
The neon sheen of Kraft's macaroni and cheese is kind of iconic, but it's also just as artificial as it looks -- the sauce gets its color from Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, dyes that have been banned in some countries due to health effects. Starting early next year, though, the familiar "cheez" color will be a little more muted, achieved with colorful spices like paprika and turmeric. Making food out of food: innovative! (For the hardcore safety-orange fans out there, never fear, Kraft classic will still be there. It's only* the marketed-to-kids products which will receive this tasty update.)
Send your question to Umbra! Q. I've been trying to eliminate preservatives and other food additives from my diet. Upon becoming more label aware, I've been shocked to discover how many foods contain "natural flavor.” Even butter contains it! I'm suspicious of how natural this flavor actually is! Do you have the scoop on natural flavor additives? Yours truly, Lindsay F. Seattle, WA A. Dearest Lindsay, Your question reminds me of one of my favorite old love songs, the one that goes “A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh, and butter is just cream that’s …