Food

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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.

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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.

via indiebound.org

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.

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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.

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: There’s been a lot of coverage on the topic of organic foods and how they aren’t actually any healthier than conventional foods. Is this true? -- Gina Thompson, Salem, OR

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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.

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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.

Guests

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Word of Mouth's weekly show...the best of the best of Word of Mouth.

Part 1:

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

Part 2:

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

Part 3:

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.

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When we talk about holiday shopping we're usually referring to gifts. But as anyone who's ever hosted the family Christmas party knows, holding shopping can also mean food shopping.

And this year in New Hampshire, there are more options for that kind of shopping than perhaps ever before.

D.C. Farm to School Network

EarthTalk®
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Part 1: Pimpin' Your Thanskgiving Faves

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.

Part 2: A Vegan Thanksgiving???/Chocolate... Yum

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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 Duguid on 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.

A Sudsy CSA

Oct 25, 2012
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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.

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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. 

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.

Guests

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Maine Chef Kathy Gunst on what we should cook and eat to make us feel better about the waning summer season.

Kathy's recipes:

END-OF-THE-SEASON ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
From Notes from a Maine Kitchen (Down East Books, 2011)by Kathy Gunst
 

Today we sit down with iconic food writer and activist Frances Moore Lappé. In the 1970's, Lappé pioneered the idea of conscientious eating with her book “Diet for a Small Planet”. Now forty years later, she says much has changed. There's more awareness of the connections between food, health, and the environment, yet there's also growing world hunger requiring she says a complete global re-think.

Guest

Courtesy Miller's Cafe and Bakery

Northern New Hampshire may be home to the best sandwich in the state.

Eric Myers, via Flickr

This presentation was given at the Unitarian Universalist church in Peterborough, N.H. on July 22. The presentation will air on NHPR at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

From the Monadnock Summer Lyceum:

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk:We’ve been hearing for years how producing red meat is bad for the environment while consuming it is bad for our health. How do other types of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins stack up in terms of environmental and health impacts? -- Julia Saperstein, via e-mail

Pesticide Action Network

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Dear EarthTalk: How do I learn about what pesticides may be on the food I eat? -- Beatrice Olson, Cleveland, OH

Along with the rise in the popularity of organic food has come an increased awareness about the dangers lurking on so-called “conventionally produced” (that is, with chemical pesticides and fertilizers) foods.

The Women of Wine

May 21, 2012

Sip a glass of Italian wine tonight with dinner.  Savor its full-bodied flavor, or its delicate notes of plum or cherries.    If you really concentrate, you might detect another subtle but important flavor - equality.  Italian women are revolutionizing the way vino is made, promoted and sold.  And women in corporate boardrooms might not be a new phenomenon; their entrance in the world’s male-dominated cantinas and vineyards is, especially as   they’re making changes that are nothing to sniff at.  Nancy Greenleese reports.

 

Health Options at Tropical Food Market

Most people know how we should be eating: more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, fewer candies, fats, and calories. But putting that into practice can be tough.

When you walk into the convenience store and a bag of potatoes chips is a dollar, and a salad is six, which are you going to buy?

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You’re at the gym, working up a sweat, burning some calories, getting that metabolism in gear… and then the workout ends and you’re looking for quick refreshment. Grabbing a candy bar or a sugary soda from the vending machine can feel like you’re undoing all your exercise.

We'd probably like to think that clean, safe food goes hand in hand with pristine nature, with lots of wildlife and clean water. But in the part of California that grows a lot of the country's lettuce and spinach, these two goals have come into conflict.

Environmental advocates say a single-minded focus on food safety has forced growers of salad greens to strip vegetation from around their fields, harming wildlife and polluting streams and rivers.

An increasing number of restaurants in the U.S. display signature dishes made with Kobe beef. From Kobe steak raviolis to Kobe beef burgers, you name it, Kobe beef seems to be popping up everywhere — except it's not Kobe beef.

Food writer Larry Olmsted of Forbes.com couldn't help but notice the trend and decided to bust everyone's bubble in a three-part expose of the so-called domestic Kobe beef industry.

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