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.

Your Bacon Obsession Is Boosting Prices

by in News, August 21st, 2015

Your Bacon Obsession Is Boosting PricesThe rage for bacon in or on everything — from doughnuts and funnel cakes to peanut brittle, ice cream bars and marmalade to Tater Tots and shrimp tempura — is not without consequences.

Because demand is up and supply is down, wholesale prices for pork bellies, the cut of meat from which bacon slices are made, are surging: They’re up 174 percent over the five-year low they hit in April, reaching a one-year high of almost $1.70 per pound last week, Bloomberg reports, citing information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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The Wine Bottle’s Days May Be Numbered

by in News, August 20th, 2015

The Wine Bottle's Days May Be NumberedWill wine bottles, as we know them, soon be a thing of the past? If a Boston-based startup named Kuvée has its way, the answer to that question will be yes. The firm, founded by a successful software entrepreneur, a robotics engineer and a recent MIT grad, is gearing up to launch a high-tech wine bottle that, as Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner sees it, aims to be “the last [one] you’ll ever need,” promising to do for wine pouring and storing what Keurig and Sodastream have done for coffee making and carbonation.

In fall 2015, Kuvée plans to launch a WiFi-connected wine bottle into which the user will place a canister of the wine of his or her choice and pour a glass here or there, as needed. The canister (a funding blurb calls it a “proprietary Kuvée wine bottle”) is designed to protect the remainder of the wine from exposure to the air in order to prevent it from oxidizing and going bad. The outside of the bottle will feature a touchscreen “smart label,” with information about the wine you’re drinking and “social recommendations for Kuvée wines from drinkers with like taste profiles,” according to the blurb. You can reorder canisters with the tap of a button.

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Technology Is Working to Save You from Overcrowded Coffee Shops

by in News, August 19th, 2015

Technology Is Working to Save You from Overcrowded Coffee ShopsAh, the trials and tribulations of the modern remote worker. Among them? Gathering together all your gear (smartphone, laptop and whatever other stuff you need to turn in that project on deadline) and heading to your friendly local Wi-Fi-equipped coffee shop only to find out that — ugh, really? — the place is packed and there’s no place for you to perch.

The good news, Wired reports, is that a Portland, Ore.-based company is working to combat this very problem. Workfrom, a startup dedicated to helping “nomadic” workers “discover reliable places to get work done outside of the home or office,” in cities all over the world, has now promised to help you find out — before you leave your home or office — just how likely you are to score a seat in a coffee shop, using sensors to suss out the scene and relay the intel back to you in real time.

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A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Pumpkin

by in News, August 18th, 2015

A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: PumpkinIf the school year is starting, as it has for some and soon will for others, can Pumpkin Spice Lattes be far behind? The answer, of course, is no. The season for Starbucks’ autumnal drink is close at hand, and for those who had felt compelled to say “no” to the fall favorite after discovering, last year, that it contained no actual pumpkin but did contain the potentially unsafe additive Class IV Caramel Color, the last gasp of summer has brought good news: Starbucks has changed its PSL recipe.

“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ director of espresso and brewed coffee, and a PSL co-creator, wrote this week in a blog post on the company’s website, announcing that, when the PSL returns to stores this fall, “it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.”

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Is Cold Brew Heating Up the Bean Scene?

by in News, August 15th, 2015

Is Cold Brew Heating Up the Bean Scene?Cold brew coffee is hot, hot, hot. Local coffee shops and big chains like Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Starbucks are increasingly switching to it from traditional iced coffee. It may also be heating up demand for coffee beans.

Cold brew, said to be smoother and less bitter than regular iced coffee (brewed hot, then cooled), calls for fresh ground coffee beans to steep in cold water for anywhere from 12 to a full 24 hours. But because the cooler temps and relative stillness in the process prevent as much flavor from being extracted from the coffee as regular hot brew, roasters use more (sometimes double) beans per cup.

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Spirits Maker Shoots Alcoholic Beverages Into Space, Because Science

by in News, August 13th, 2015

Spirit Maker Shoots Alcoholic Beverages Into Space Because ScienceIf a whiskey is aged in space, will it be mellower? It sounds a bit like a Zen koan (“the sound of one hand clapping” and all that), but in fact it is a question that may soon have an answer.

On August 16, the spirits maker Suntory will rocket six samples — five kinds of distilled spirits of different ages as well as a liquid that is 40 percent ethanol — into space in order to explore, the company says in  a news release, the “development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment.”

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Do You Live in a S’mores-Loving State? Check Out This Map

by in News, August 10th, 2015

Do You Live in a S'mores-Loving State? Check Out This MapSure, you got your fruit pies and crumbles, your ice cream and frozen pops, but there’s a solid argument to be made that no other dessert captures the taste of summer quite like s’mores. With the milk chocolate made melty by the toasted-to-taste marshmallow and smooshed between two graham crackers, s’mores evoke the snap of the campfire, the nighttime cool after a hot summer day, songs under the stars, and the comfort of family and good friends.

Yeah, we all love s’mores, but some states apparently love them — or at least love to tweet about them — more than others.

In honor of National S’mores Day, which happens to be today, Twitter’s Data Analytics team has compiled a list of the top s’mores-lovin’ states of the summer, based on which of them tweeted about s’mores the most from May 1 to July 31, 2015. (Check out the cool companion heat map above.)

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England Has a Shop Specializing in Potato-Chip Sandwiches

by in News, August 9th, 2015

England Has a Shop Specializing in Potato-Chip SandwichesPeople around the world like a lot of different things in their sandwiches. (See also this video.) And while we in the United States may generally prefer to eat our potato chips on the side, in the U.K. folks are apparently partial to eating them between two slices of bread — right where you might expect to find your lunch meat or PB&J or whatever.

Capitalizing on this taste for crunchy potato-chip sandwiches (“crisp butties,” they call them) is Mr. Crisp, which bills itself as “England’s first crisp sandwich shop” (apparently Belfast quite enjoyed a crisp sandwich pop-up — Simply Crispy — that launched there in January), offering sandwiches filled with “over 50 varieties of crisp for you to enjoy.” Customers also get their choice of bread (white or brown, teacakes or baguettes) and topping: Try it with ketchup, jam, peanut butter, Marmite or the mayonnaise-like “salad cream,” or get crazy and order it with chocolate spread. Crisp sandwiches start at £1 and go up to £1.50, depending on your toppings. (Marshmallow, anyone?).

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Why Your Cupcake Might Not Taste as Sweet as Mine

by in News, August 8th, 2015

Why Your Cupcake Might Not Taste as Sweet as MineYou love to eat sweet things: yummy cakes, delicious candy bars and sometimes, maybe, on special occasions, crazy-decadent combinations of both. But did you ever stop to wonder if these things taste the same way to the person sitting across the table from you, digging in with – wait, is that equal gusto?

The answer — surprising or not — may be no. A recent study conducted by sensory scientists, and led by Danielle Reed at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, has determined that some people are more sensitive not only to bitter compounds, but to sweetness as well.

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How Come Everyone’s Suddenly Drinking Seltzer?

by in News, August 5th, 2015

How Come Everyone's Suddenly Drinking Seltzer?Seltzer may not be the most-flavorful drink in the fridge, but that hasn’t prevented it, in recent years, from rising like a carbonated bubble to its current status high up on America’s preferred list of beverages.

The Washington Post notes that, while sales of regular and diet soda and “vitamin” drinks have flattened and declined over the past decade like the contents of a half-consumed can, sales of Perrier, San Pellegrino and their fizzy ilk have more than doubled over the last five years, reaching, at last measure, around $1.5 billion — a growth that has exceeded even that of other bottled waters.

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