All Posts In News

FDA Churns Cheese Makers, Wedding Cakes Are Back and “The Bear” Slips Out for Tea

by in News, June 10th, 2014

FDA Churns Cheese MakersWhere 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]

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Just Landed: Food Network Kitchen at Atlanta International Airport

by in News, June 9th, 2014

Food Network Kitchen at Atlanta International AirportFood 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.

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Doughnut Doppelgangers, a Pricier Morning Joe and “Billie Jean” on Beer Bottles

by in News, June 6th, 2014

A Pricier Morning Cup of JoeIf 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]

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Hot Art, the Illusion of Choice and Whiskey Boom Tremors

by in News, June 5th, 2014

Hot Art at LA's Chinese American MuseumArt 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]

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Healthier Hospital Food, Cookies by the Book and Bottle Delivery by Drone

by in News, June 4th, 2014

Healthier Hospital FoodHealthy 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]

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A Pint-Size Pastry Chef, a Pricey Lunch Date and Marshmallows Fit for a Princess

by in News, June 3rd, 2014

A Pint-Size Pastry Chef and Marshmallows Fit for a PrincessMajor Moxie: She’s only 8, but already Taylor Moxey is making a name for herself in the baking world. After she won a local cornbread competition, in which she faced off against adult chefs, the Miami grade-schooler found herself awash in orders for her cupcakes and cookies, so, with the help of her parents and a pink stand mixer, she set to baking. Moxey, a Food Network fan who dreams of opening her own bakery and personally decorates the boxes in which she packs her treats, has now earned thousands of dollars selling her homemade confections. She’s donating part of her proceeds to raise awareness of dyslexia, making the story of her success even sweeter. [Local 10]

Not a Cheap Date: Lunch at Smith & Wollensky in New York City shouldn’t run you more than $100 per person, even when you factor in sides and salads along with your thick, juicy steak, but if you want to eat it up-close and personal with Warren Buffett, it’ll cost you a pretty penny more than that. The billionaire investment guru has just — for the 15th straight year — offered himself up as a luncheon companion in an online auction to raise money for San Francisco antipoverty organization Glide. The bidding on eBay was up to $350,300 as of this writing, but it’s apt to go much higher before closing on Friday. Last year’s winning bid was just over $1 million, and in 2012 some deep-pocketed soul splashed out nearly $3.5 million to break bread with Warren. Who knows what financial pearls Buffett will drop over his midday meal, but he might suggest that, in general, the winner spend a little less on lunch. [eBay via Slate]

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A Nutty Trend, a New Brew and the World’s Grossest Restaurant Goes Down the Tubes

by in News, May 31st, 2014

A Nutty TrendA Nutty New Trend: The next big thing in technology: nuts. So suggests Slate’s Lily Hay Newman. How does she figure? For starters, tech startup OnePlus is coating the backs of its new smartphones with a cashew powder to give them a soft texture. And an eco-city in Turkey is considering a proposal to burn pistachio shells to provide heat. The nuts are grown locally in great quantity, making them an especially enviro-friendly option. “The tech-nut collision may seem like a happy accident,” Lily writes. “But it also stems from the never-ending search for innovative and sustainable materials, and from looking for the next big thing in industries that haven’t had a lot of recent growth or change.” [Slate]

What’s Brewing: Speaking of next big things, the latest development in coffee making is apparently the “automatic pour over.” According to Lifehacker, these machines differ from drip machines in the way they heat water to the “proper brewing temperature” and maintain it throughout the brewing process. They also “use a broad drip pattern across the coffee grounds that gives [the coffee] a chance to bloom … before it passes through into the carafe below.” Who knew? [Lifehacker]

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World Cup Doughnuts, Wacky “Napkin Table” and a Record-Setting Steak Eater

by in News, May 30th, 2014

Word Cup DoughnutsGoal! What better way to honor the efforts of fit athletes from around the globe gathering to compete than with a selection of snazzy doughnuts? To pay tribute to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Krispy Kreme Japan is introducing six limited-edition doughnuts inspired by six of the 32 countries set to participate in the global soccer tournament: Mango Passion (Brazil), Creme Brulee (France), Tiramisu (Italy), Peach Melba (the United Kingdom), Lemon Cheesecake (the United States) and Green Tea Cake (Japan). They look delish, but maybe don’t try to eat them all in one sitting without an assist. [Krispy Kreme Japan via The Daily Meal]

Peculiar Picnic: It’s a napkin — and a portable picnic table with cup holders. Two industrial design grads from Taiwan’s Tunghai University have created a “napkin table,” a take-along tote that unfolds and attaches with straps to the necks of two diners sitting opposite each other. The flat surface extending like a flat hammock between them can accommodate plates, utensils and beverages, and loose fabric at each end can be used to dab crumbs from lips. The creators say their napkin table “can improve the relationship and interaction between people when eating.” Certainly it would require a certain amount of trust. One sudden move from your meal companion and you’ve got a lapful of lemonade. Ick. [Design Boom]

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A Coffee-Gulping Parrot, Artisanal Toothpicks and a Beer Cooler You’ll Really Dig

by in News, May 29th, 2014

ToothpicksFowl Brew: Polly can keep her cracker. Kyara, a parrot owned by Portland, Ore., resident Charlene Fugel, wants a grande two-pump mocha, diluted and poured from a venti cup. The caffeine-craving bird has been drinking coffee — about a tablespoonful about twice a month — for the past seven years. (Her vet apparently said it was OK.) “She’s crazy about coffee, and she’ll drink it any way you give it to her,” Charlene told KATU News. “Cold, hot — she doesn’t care. Sugar, none …” Watch a video of Kyara downing her unusual beverage of choice here. [KATU.com]

Cold Brewskies: Wondering how to keep your beer cold during all those backyard barbecues? Forget the schlep to the kitchen fridge. Never mind the ice-filled cooler. Four thirsty Danish inventors have come up with a convenient, environmentally friendly, electricity-free way to cool your beer year-round — underground. The eCool earth cooler is a patented contraption you embed in the earth below your yard or terrace that uses the naturally lower temperatures below ground to chill your beer (or, one imagines, sodas and juices). Stock it with up to 24 cans and retrieve them, one by one, using a simple hand crank, as your thirst dictates. Ingenious! [eCool via Gizmodo]

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Babka and Bagels, Hot and Haute — Trending

by in News, May 28th, 2014

Babka and Bagels, Hot and HauteBagels are hot. No, really. And though babka and matzo ball soup and brisket don’t conjure haute cuisine, they’re hot too. It’s true: Jewish-American foods that highlight tradition (and remix it) — are pushing Dominique Ansel’s latest trendy treats to the side. (So says BusinessWeek.com.)

In April, Black Seed opened in New York’s East Village, and the lines of fans awaiting everything-poppy-sesame-topped cream-cheese-schmeared Montreal-style bagels stretched to rave reviews. But the growing love of Jewish food doesn’t end with breakfast. In yesterday’s New York Times, Julia Moskin detailed the renewal of excitement around innovative Jewish fare, citing the famous Russ & Daughters Cafe, which serves smoked fish and herring but also, she notes, updates like whitefish chowder and halvah ice cream with salted caramel. Julia described hot spots in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle where familiar Jewish-American foods and newfangled ones are enjoying a hip-factor heyday, respecting traditions but also building upon them.

“We are always conscious that we are taking care of a piece of history,” Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters told Julia. “But we can’t run only on nostalgia.” Katherine Alford, senior vice president, culinary, here at Food Network, agrees: “That is how we run here too. We love these rich and cherished traditional foods, and it’s so exciting that they are getting their well-deserved moment.” But, she says, it’s more than a passing fad. “When something is really good, it never goes out of style. Who doesn’t want babka now and always?” You don’t have to head to an old-school new-school chic restaurant to get babka. The next trend might just be staying home and making your own Jewish-American foods for family and friends — no lines!

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