by Amy Reiter in News, June 17th, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, June 16th, 2014
There are those who swear by street eats and those who avoid them at all costs. Fans of food trucks and carts may point to the entrepreneurial looseness, the homespun mobility and the availability of exotic international flavors in unexpected places as part of their appeal, while those who eschew them may list those same qualities as reasons for passing them by and getting grub at regular restaurants instead.
But whether you love street food or not, you may find yourself wondering, on occasion, just how safe and sanitary it is. A recent study conducted by the Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based libertarian advocacy organization and law firm, may allay some concern.
The group reviewed 263,395 food-safety inspection reports from seven United States cities in which mobile food sellers are held to the same health and inspection regulations as regular restaurants. And the group determined that in each of those cities — Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C. — the health and safety records of the food trucks and carts were as good or better than those of brick-and-mortar restaurants.
by Amy Reiter in News, June 14th, 2014
The 2014 FIFA World Cup — which kicked off last week in Brazil and will continue until one team claims the trophy on July 13 — is for fans of soccer, or “football,” if you prefer. That’s a given. But it’s also for fans of food. After all, if the teams and their supporters in the stands and at home are going to eat, they might as well eat well.
Of course, eating well means different things to different people — and certainly to each of the teams from 32 countries competing in this year’s tournament. That’s why their team chefs and nutritionists are providing foods that reflect not only concern for players’ health and fitness, but also those players’ cultural tastes. Team Italy, for instance, brought Parmesan cheese, olive oil and prosciutto, and the players plan to fuel up with pasta before every match, eating a tricolor diet that evokes the colors of the Italian flag: “pasta (white), tomato (red) and extra virgin olive oil (green),” their nutritionist, Elisabetta Orsi, told the Associated Press.
by Amy Reiter in News, June 13th, 2014
Butter is ready for its close-up — and gets it on this week’s cover of Time magazine, where a solitary, sensuously lit shaved curl of golden deliciousness poses alluringly against a black background.
“Eat Butter,” the attending coverline directs in a bold yellow font, adding, in smaller, whiter type, “Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.”
Inside, senior writer Bryan Walsh declares the “war on fat” — “for decades … the most vilified nutrient in the American diet” — to be over. Even as we sought to reduce our intake of saturated fats in the name of good health, in the 70s and 80s, Bryan notes, the rates of obesity and diabetes in the United States skyrocketed. That, he contends, is because we were replacing those fats in our diets not with healthier foods, like fruits and veggies, but rather with carbs, sugar and processed foods, which turn out to be far fiercer public health foes.
by Amy Reiter in News, June 12th, 2014
As the weather heats up and spring sweaters get swapped for sleeveless summer tops, many java lovers trade their piping cups of joe for iced coffee. The clinking cubes bring a coolness and comfort to our daily caffeine fix on sizzling days, the straw a sense of beachy fun and festivity.
This year the excitement about cold caffeinated beverages is more than simply seasonal: Iced coffee (not to mention its fancier cousin, iced latte) is suddenly hot — enjoying an undeniable moment in the sun.
“This is a good era for iced coffee,” Oliver Strand asserts in a New York Times article about the “exquisite,” “carefully formulated and fastidiously made” iced lattes on offer at high-end Los Angeles coffee bars Go Get Em Tiger and G & B Coffee. (The bars’ iced almond-macadamia milk latte, Oliver contends, is “one of the best iced coffees in the United States and almost certainly the best latte.”)
by Amy Reiter in News, June 10th, 2014
No Big Tips Allowed? What should a restaurant do when a generous, deep-pocketed patron spontaneously leaves one of its servers, a single mother of three who’s working two jobs, a $1,000 tip — on Mother’s Day, at 3 a.m.? A) Let her keep it. B) Take it away from her. C) Return it to the customer. The correct answer is clearly “A.” But when a customer left waitress Shaina Brown a $1,000 tip and asked her to direct an additional $500 to another customer, writing $1,500 into the tip line on his credit card form, the Waffle House in Raleigh, N.C., chose options B and C instead. The chain refunded the generous customer’s money, which it said was its standard procedure with big tips, in case the tipper has a change of heart. Shaina was crestfallen. “I feel like they stole from me,” she told the Charlotte Observer. Mercifully, the big tipper, a local businessman who wished to remain anonymous, wrote her a check after the paper contacted him. So, phew, sticky situation resolved. [Charlotte Observer]
An In-Depth Look at a Dried Meat Snack: You know what they say about not wanting to know how the sausage is made, but the sentiment may or may not hold true for Slim Jims. For anyone the least bit curious as to how the iconic packaged “meat sticks” are put together, a Wired video exploring “What’s Inside” a Slim Jim is worth a watch. Really, despite the ironic tone of the video’s narrator and the garish animation, it’s not that bad: You got your questionable cuts of meat; your “mechanically separated chicken” (i.e., that pink, pasty stuff they use in some chicken nuggets); your corn and wheat proteins and hydrolyzed soy; lots of salt; and the preservative sodium nitrate, which helps the stick stay red “instead of an unappetizing gray.” Maybe have carrot sticks for a snack today? [Wired via Eater]
by FN Dish Editor in News, June 9th, 2014
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Whey? The U.S. Artisan Cheese Industry is reeling from a “clarification” of policy from the Food and Drug Administration prohibiting the use of wooden boards for aging or ripening cheeses. According to the FDA, bacteria may “colonize” the surface layer and inside layers of wood due to its “porous structure,” making wood boards impervious to cleaning and sanitizing, and making them breeding grounds for pathogenic microorganisms like listeria. Cheese makers note that some of the finest cheeses in the U.S. are produced using wood boards and predict it could have a “devastating” effect on artisan cheese production. Furthermore, the Cheese Underground blog points out, should the FDA extend its no-wood policy to imported cheeses, fans of fine cheeses may have to leave U.S. borders to nibble formidable fromages like Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon. [Cheese Underground]
Let Them Eat Wedding Cake: The cupcake towers have been toppled. Wedding cakes are back in a big, beautiful way. “Now, even in Brooklyn, the super-casual center of the universe of culinary cool, wedding cakes are resurgent,” The New York Times reports. Prices per slice are way up — and couples are picking cakes that are traditional, pretty, and in some cases adorned opulently or whimsically. Bare cakes — unfrosted, their inside layers gorgeously exposed for all to see — are also trending, as are gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan and organic cakes. As for cupcakes, brides and grooms are just saying, “I don’t.” Manhattan caterer Mary Giuliani told the Times, “I just don’t get the cupcake request as much anymore.” Macaron towers, yes. “Maybe macarons are the new cupcakes,” she said. [The New York Times]
by Amy Reiter in News, June 6th, 2014
Food Network Kitchen Atlanta, a grab-and-go market, is now open at Terminal D in the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Serving up classic dishes with a local Georgia twist, this new venture from Food Network will feature a fresh selection of salads, soups, and cold and toasted sandwiches made with local and organic ingredients. The Kitchens have also utilized local products like jams, jellies and relishes. The market will also serve signature items like the Big Peach Ham and Brie sandwich made with local honey and thyme on an H&F Bread Co. ciabatta roll (pictured above).
All of the items are offered alongside a selection of American wines, local beers and locally roasted coffees.
by Amy Reiter in News, June 5th, 2014
If You Were a Doughnut: Run, doughnut walk, to check out these photos of people who look like doughnuts. St. Louis photographer Brandon Voges teamed up with ad agency The Marlin Network and local doughnut shop Strange Donuts to produce a series of images and a video, for the National Restaurant Association’s annual food show, in which people appear alongside their morning-pastry doppelgangers. There’s a freckle-faced woman who resembles a white-frosted pastry with red sprinkles on top, a hip lady whose spiky white Mohawk look has a lot in common with a cruller, and craggy-faced smoker “Debbie Diner,” whose pastry double looks like it’s lived nearly as tough a life as she. Be warned, though: After looking at this series, you many never again look at strawberry filling the same. [Behance]
A Jolt in the Java Aisle: Your morning caffeine habit is getting pricier. J.M. Smucker Co., the company behind a host of coffee brands, including Folgers, Dunkin’ Donuts and Café Bustelo, said Tuesday it would hoist the cost of its coffees for consumers by 9 percent, on average, in response to a drought that has affected the supply of Brazil’s Arabica coffee beans. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is the first major coffee maker to boost prices in about three years, and it’s not yet clear whether other java roasters, like Starbucks and Maxwell House-maker Kraft, will follow suit. Brazilian coffee crops have recovered to a large degree, but that good news probably won’t be reflected on your supermarket receipts for at least a few months. [Wall Street Journal]
by Amy Reiter in News, June 4th, 2014
Art Meets Hot: You could call it the hottest art exhibit in Los Angeles. LA’s Chinese American Museum is currently showing, through July 12, new works by 30 diverse artists inspired by locally produced hot sauces Sriracha and Tapatio. Some of the artwork even incorporates the sauces as a medium. The now-iconic sauces have risen “to rival Heinz Ketchup and French’s mustard as the all-American condiment for the Y-Generation,” the museum contends, adding that they “have become interwoven into the American cultural fabric.” Curator Steven Wong told NPR that, while “a hot sauce show could be superficially kind of pop-y,” he believes it is “very complex if you peel away the layers.” [Chinese American Museum via NPR]
Whiskey A-Going-Going … Gone? Thanks to a global explosion in bourbon and whiskey consumption, with exports more than doubling in the past decade and sales up more than 10 percent in just the past year, we could be looking at a whiskey shortage. American distilleries are struggling to keep up with the rising demand, but sales are outpacing increased production by about two to one, The Tennessean reports. “It’s not like you can ramp up production today and have that whiskey on the market tomorrow,” Clayton Cutler, chief distiller at the TennSouth Distillery in Lynnville, Tenn., tells the paper. “There’s an aging process that requires a wait of at least a couple of years before you can start selling it. Some takes four years or more.” Better down that sour before it’s too late! [The Tennessean]
Healthy Foods to Help You Heal: Just the thought of hospital food can make a person feel a little sick, but there’s a movement underway to change that. Hospitals are increasingly rethinking their menus, abandoning those salty (but otherwise tasteless) broths, quivering cubes of gelatin and beige foods, and instead they’re embracing healthier fare like fresh fruits and vegetables and sustainable, locally grown foods. “Good food can help speed the healing process, and hospitals can be really good models,” Lucia Sayre, co-executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility, tells U.S. News. What’s more, adds dietitian Susan Levin, who works with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, providing healthy foods on those trays is “probably the best opportunity in educating the patient in how not to return.” [U.S. News]
Eat Your Words: Summer reading season is just around the corner. And if you’re looking for a literary snack to sustain yourself as you stretch out with a good novel by the pool or on the beach, you might consider whipping up a batch of book-worthy cookies. The website Book Riot has assembled a collection of literary cookie cutters — in the shapes of open and closed books, favorite literary characters, and beloved writers — that will make you want to reach for your cookie recipes and set to baking. Because the only thing more delicious than devouring a good book is doing it with a plate of fresh-baked cookies at arm’s reach. [Book Riot]