Dear EarthTalk: I understand that, despite the popularity of organic foods, clothing and other products, organic agriculture is still only practiced on a tiny percentage of land worldwide. What’s getting in the way? -- Larry McFarlane, Boston, MA
The 90th annual Laconia Motorcycle Week has a distinct sound that revs and rattles throughout the Granite State during the nine day rally, but over the years “bike week” has also become known for its unique taste.
“We do a lot of eating at bike week,” Jennifer Anderson, director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said laughing.
During the event, vendors set up temporary stands along the Loudon racetrack, selling chicken tenders, soft pretzels, fried dough, sizzling pizza and seafood to patrons who watch sports bikes orbit the track.
Products like goji berries and quinoa are part of a fast-growing health-food industry – just last year, products derived from the Brazilian açaĺ-berry grossed 200 million dollars in the United States alone. The aggressive marketing of these superfoods are backed up by often misleading, or overblown, claims of their healthful benefits. Tom Philpott is the co-founder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in North Carolina. His work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek and The Guardian…he wrote about superfood myths for Mother Jones.
For many of us, rekindling a connection to our food means lingering a little longer in the organic produce section while trying to pick the perfect pepper. But the “hyper-local” and “slow food” movements have created a new demand for the old ways of connecting to food…food you can grow, catch, gather and even kill…D.I.Y. style. A wide range of workshops have cropped up all over the country that offer hands-on experience with identifying edibles in your own backyard. Our next guest took a decidedly more aggressive approach to connecting with his food.
There are two things we all seem to know about rhubarb – it grows and grows, and you can make pies with it. But there's a world of rhubarb that goes beyond the (admittedly delicious) pie - in fact, it's a hot commodity among bartenders, who are mixing up cocktails and other tangy rhubarb-based beverages. And bakers might like to try a rhubarb upside-down cake.
This week on All Things Considered we’re kicking off a feature on local food, which we’re calling Foodstuffs.
Local food is growing in New Hampshire – both in its size and its popularity. But it can be difficult to explain just what makes our state's food unique. NHPR's Brady Carlson takes us on a quest to find the answer.
You know those individually wrapped chocolates that you find in office candy jars and Halloween sacks ? Turns out, the troublesome need to unwrap chocolates makes them hard to eat in certain settings, like the car, which is why some years back, Hershey released Reese’s Minis, small, resealable bags of candy designed to be snarfed on the go.
Impaired sight often requires glasses – impaired hearing, a hearing aid. But what about people who suffer from an impaired sense of smell or taste? Depending on the source, somewhere between two and five million people suffer in varying degrees from anosmia, the loss of the sense of smell. Here to tell us more is rhinologist Dr. Carl Philpott – Director of the Smell and Taste Clinic at James Paget University in Norfolk, the only clinic devoted to smell and taste disorders in the United Kingdom.
We read about his work in New Scientist, and invited him on the program to tell us more.
Large-scale acquisition in developing countries to secure food, natural resources and even altruistic motives is nothing new, but it’s grown exponentially in recent years. Recent estimates of how much land has been snapped up run from 120 to 560 million acres.
My mother loves to cook, and as a result she raised an entire family of food obsessed children who also love to cook. My father rarely cooked but was a big fan of eating and proclaimed after every meal, “Dear, this is the best [insert main course here] I’ve EVER had!” She would roll her eyes at his genuine but exaggerated praise and I would chime in with, “Mom, this was the worst dinner ever.” A big grin would spread across her face as she leaned over to pat my head; my mom gets me. Because she cooked an amazing, well-balanced meal nearly every night, my siblings and I were consistently robbed of what we felt was the holy grail of eating: the frozen TV dinner.
Wander the aisles of your favorite grocery store and you’re likely to see produce marked as locally grown, meat that is trumpeted as grass fed and hormone-free, and canning kits to help you preserve your own garden’s bounty. The explosion of these products has largely been credited to the femivore movement, which has many women returning to the kitchen.
Nearly 10 million cases of food poisoning occur in the United States every year. Moreover, one in five outbreaks of food-borne illnesses are caused by food that people eat in their homes. A new report looked at the parts of the kitchen most and least likely to harbor bacteria and the results might not be what you’d expect. Here to discuss the matter is Lisa Yakas, Microbiologist and Manager of NSF International's Home Product Certification Program and co-author of the report.
For most of the twentieth century, Americans got between a quarter and a half of their daily calories from uniform loaves of factory baked white bread. It was a symbol of an industrial food revolution that inspired national pride; a dough so emblematic of a successful democracy that the book White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf was written not by a baker, but a professor of politics; the author, Aaron Bobrow-Strain, teaches politics at Whitman College in Washington. He also wrote about his own attempt to prepare the perfectly rectangular cloud-like loaf in The Believer magazine. We spoke to Aaron when his book was first published about the deeply symbolic place of white bread in American identity; the book is now out in paperback.
A good potato is hard to find – at least for potato chip makers, who require the exactly the right balance of sugar, starch, and color to produce a perfect chip. In the late 1960’s, chip companies aimed to engineer these tricky variables to their liking using conventional plant cross-breeding. Researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Penn State University and the Wise potato chip company embarked upon a scientific quest to create the perfect potato for chips – and ended up with poisonous results. We spoke to Maggie Koerth-Baker, science editor at Boing-Boing and columnist for the New York Times magazine, about the failed quest.
According to Oxfam, the world’s poor spend three-quarters of their income on food. A survey by Save the Children found that 24 percent of families in India, 27 percent in Nigeria and 14 percent in Peru now have foodless days. Pictured: A young girl in India cries for food.
Some studies show organic foods to be no healthier and only marginally safer with regard to individual exposure to pesticides than non-organic foods. Nonetheless, choosing organic is a wise "better safe than sorry" strategy which also reduces pollution and conserves water and soil quality.
Research from the University of Miami provides an alternative to commonly held beliefs on why we are drawn to high calorie foods and insight into the continued popularity of high fat food since the great recession. Stress, not piggishness, may trigger the choice of the double cheeseburger instead of the grilled chicken salad. We talk to Tony Salerno, a PhD candidate and co-author of the paper “Life-History Strategy, Food Choice, and Caloric Consumption” to get the skinny on the link between stress and food choices.
Americans largely oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Despite the cultural taboo, the United States is a key exporter of live horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada. Each year, more than 100,000 American horses are killed in North America for consumption abroad. Many American horses are given drugs that are carcinogenic to humans, putting consumers’ health at risk.
A recent study found little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, challenging organic’s reputation as the healthy alternative to conventional agribusiness. But others say researchers did find some vital differences around pesticide levels and that the study was too narrow, ignoring vital environmental and ethical reasons for eating organic. Today we'll look at the arguments on both sides.
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A new study shows that the act of holding a gun changes perception, as participants saw guns that weren't actually there. And Clay Wirestone wraps up the latest in video game trends, and looks forward to what's coming in 2013
TED cracks down on pseudoscience at local spinoff TEDX conferences. And film critic Garen Daley tells us what we can expect on the big screen in 2013
We’re beginning the new year with some "culture-vores" about which trends and habits they expect to fade out or faze in during 2013… Joining us for more on the literary scene is Jason Boog, editor of the publishing news website Galley Cat...and, for more on what’s coming up for food in 2013, we asked Maine chef and cookbook author, Kathy Gunst – who cautions that watching for culinary trends is not an entirely objective undertaking.
Pictured: Andrea Northup, winner of the 2012 Young Food Leader award for her work with the D.C. Farm to School Network, which links regional farmers with local schools in order to transform cafeteria lunch menus.
A.P. food writer and cookbook author J.M. Hirsch shares his tips on how to “pimp” your Thanksgiving dinner to make it impress without stress. Make your own butter in five minutes, stuff your turkey with fresh herbs, and make sure to dry your potatoes before you mash them. And as far as salad? Forget it. Thanksgiving comes but once a year, so splurge.
Jeffrey Alford is an adventurous sort. He left his Wyoming home in the late 1970's with very little money and began traveling in Asia. He funded his travels by smuggling gold and hawking jewelry before meeting another restless spirit named Naomi Duguidon a Tibetan rooftop in 1985. The two vagabonds got married, had two sons, and turned their love of Asia and its foods into a career of travel, writing and photography.
In Maine, consumers can buy dairy products, meat, fish, eggs and organic produce via a growing array of subscription-based, community supported agriculture programs. CSAs encourage customers to pay a farmer or fisherman up front in exchange for weekly shares of, say, shrimp or mixed vegetables. As Jay Field reports, microbrew lovers on the Blue Hill Peninsula will soon be able to buy their beer the same way.
Since spring of this year, our Shifting the Balance series has explored how environmental and social factors affect the way people eat…and how those factors play in to America’s obesity epidemic. A recently published study in Pyschology reports demonstrates how setting the right mood at meal time can help diners cap their calories.