All Posts By Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire and Wine Spectator, among other print publications, as well as for websites including The Daily Beast, MSN, Babble, AOL/Huffington Post and Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

The Foods That Boost Your Mood Are Not What You See in the Movies

by in News, July 16th, 2014

Salmon RecipesIt’s a movie cliche: The protagonist, depressed after being dumped by the boy she digs, berated by her boss and blown off by her best friend, sits in the gloomy kitchen half-light, taking a spoon directly to a pint of ice cream or scarfing down a sad-looking cupcake. She’s using sweet treats and highly refined carbs to scuttle the blues and boost her mood — possibly while wearing unflattering pajamas, watching bad TV, and trying to ignore concerned and/or skeptical looks from her cat.

The scene has become a Hollywood trope, in part, because we recognize in it our own impulse to turn to comfort foods to boost our spirits — along with our blood sugar — when life gets us down or stresses us out. But, NPR reports, the relationship between food and mood is likely more complex than that.

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Tofu Finally Gets Some Respect

by in News, July 15th, 2014

Tofu Finally Gets Some RespectA show of hands, please. Who here loves tofu? Anyone … anyone?

Tofu, also known as bean curd — which, let’s remember, is coagulated soy milk pressed into a soft block — is a food many of us have learned to accept. Low in calories and packed with protein, iron and other nutrients, it’s undeniably healthy and is a staple of vegetarians and diet-aware eaters.

Still, flavorless and bland and with a consistency that can be hard to pin down, tofu is a food few of us truly adore. “It’s not likely that tofu will become anyone’s favorite food; this we know,” is how Mark Bittman began his defense of tofu in The New York Times last week.

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Guess Which Country Spends the Least on Food?

by in News, July 14th, 2014

Guess Which Country Spends the Least on Food?Pop quiz: The residents of which country spend the lowest percentage of their household budget on food?

A) Pakistan
B) Russia
C) China
D) United Kingdom
E) United States

The correct answer may surprise you. It’s E.

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Spray Cake (Think Whipped Cream) Is Now Actually a Thing

by in News, July 12th, 2014

Spray CakeIs a ready-to-bake cake you spray like whipped cream from a can (and then pop in the oven or microwave) “the future” of dessert? That may be an overstatement, but Spray Cake, an award-winning product created by a couple of Harvard University undergrads, does seem increasingly poised to gain some millennial market traction.

Back in April, Harvard sophomores Brooke Nowakowski and John McCallum took top honors in the Harvard Innovation Lab challenge, along with a $10,000 prize, for their innovative cake in a can (not to be confused with cakes you bake in a can).

Nowakowski told the Boston Herald that the team planned to use to the award as a “launchpad” to bring the product, originally created for a science-of-cooking class, to market.

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7 Tips to Help You Avoid Getting Food Poisoning

by in News, July 11th, 2014

7 Tips to Help Avoid Getting Food PoisoningYou had a great time at the summer picnic, sampling a little bit of everything. Hot dogs, burgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, fruit salad, buttered corn on the cob — your paper plate was heaped high with them all. You left feeling full and satisfied. But you woke up the next day feeling sick as a dog with food poisoning. How do you know which food was the culprit?

Figuring out the “guilty” food item in a food-poisoning outbreak can be tricky, but IBM scientists have designed a new computer system that aims to expedite the process, the company recently announced. The system uses algorithms, visualization and statistical analysis to parse retail and public health data, and then figure out which products are likely to blame in a food borne disease outbreak. And while it can’t predict an outbreak in advance — at least, not yet — it can shorten the time it takes to locate the source and halt the spread before more damage is done.

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A Panda’s Perfect Birthday Cake

by in News, July 10th, 2014

YouTube Preview ImageIt can be challenging to bake a birthday cake that will meet the demands of a 1-year-old or someone with strict dietary constraints. But even those of us who are especially good at baking cute confections or have a file full of vegan and gluten-free cake recipes have probably never faced quite the same birthday-cake challenge zookeepers at the Taipei Zoo confronted this past weekend: What do you make for the panda who has everything on the occasion of her first birthday?

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Would You Eat Leftovers from a Stranger?

by in News, July 9th, 2014

Would You Eat Leftovers from a Stranger?You’ve thrown a party and have a ton of leftovers — there’s no way you’re going to be able to work your way through them before they go bad. You’ve begun to bake brownies and suddenly realize you’re short on flour. You’re on your way out of town for a few weeks and the groceries in your fridge will surely spoil by the time you return. What do you do?

People who find themselves presented with those dilemmas now have a new high-tech way of resolving them: food-sharing websites and apps. A website is now up and running in Germany that facilitates the sharing of leftovers, helping individuals or businesses pass them along to those who need or want them — for free. Once you sign up — as more than 43,000 registered users across 240 European cities have done — you can post a “basket” of food that’s available by listing its contents or scan the site for a basket you’d like to claim. Then you arrange to meet — the site’s founders have set up “hot spots” — and voila! It’s like Airbnb crossed with borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor.

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Snack Attack: How You Can Arm Yourself for America’s New Eating Trend

by in News, July 8th, 2014

Nut-and-Seed Mix with PapayaIf you frequently find yourself trading breakfast for a granola bar, skipping lunch and hitting the vending machines, or passing up dinner and grabbing a quick bite on the way to your evening activity, you are hardly alone. Increasingly, over the last three decades, the Wall Street Journal reports, America has become a nation of snackers. And if the trend continues, the three square meals we Americans have long prided ourselves on may go the way of the electric typewriter, the rotary phone and the passenger pigeon.

Back in the late 1970s, only 10 percent of Americans snacked three or more times a day. By the 1990s, that number had risen to about 20 percent. In 2010, 56 percent of us were snacking that frequently, the Journal reports, citing the most recent government data. What’s more, a 2013 survey by consumer tracker The Hartman Group found that 48 percent of Americans passed up meals at least three times per week, and the majority of us — 63 percent — didn’t decide what we were going to eat until about an hour before we ate it. And while in the morning we tend to reach for healthy snacks like fruit, in the evening, as willpower wanes, we’re diving into the candy jars and ice cream bowls with abandon.

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Get the Scoop on Ice Cream, Summer’s Favorite Dessert

by in News, July 7th, 2014

Get the Scoop on Ice CreamI scream, you scream. Everyone seems to be screaming about ice cream right now. And as the mercury continues its seasonal climb, the cries may grow louder, the cravings stronger.

The New York Times dedicated its Dining section last week to frozen treats. The new and trendy, soft and custardy, shaved and crushed, fancy and French, malted and milky, the ethnic and exotic all get their shivery due. The paper’s tribute to local ice cream parlors may inspire some readers to make nostalgic trips home and prompt others to make previously unscheduled stops during summer road trips. And Melissa Clark’s DIY tips and recipes — and her urging to experiment and taste — may inspire a new generation of ice cream tinkerers.

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State Fair Foods: You’ll Never Guess What You Can Get on a Stick

by in News, July 2nd, 2014

State Fair FoodsWhen you think of state fair food, you probably think of things that are deep-fried, sugar-dusted, perched on a stick or served in a cone: You’ve got your corn dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream — with which you can fortify yourself as you gaze upon your wall of blue-ribbon pies and, especially in the Midwest, your life-size cows carved out of butter.

But, of course, those fairground staples are only the beginning. State fairs are also famous for debuting foods that are new and different — innovative, imaginative, exotic and often deliberately excessive. Who can forget the deep-fried stick of butter on a stick that made its debut at the Iowa State Fair a few years back?

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