food

Spring planting season is coming early this year for a lot of home gardeners. And this year some Pacific Northwest nurseries are getting familiar with the flavors of the Caribbean.

Congress Puts Potatoes On The Menu In Nutrition Subsidy

Dec 15, 2014
Idaho Potato Commission

Northwest potato farmers are cheering a small provision tucked into the newly passed federal spending package.

The Women, Infants, and Children or WIC program is the provider of modest monthly vouchers for a variety of foods. WIC will cover any vegetable, except for “white potatoes.”

That single exclusion outraged the potato industry. They felt it sent the wrong message and Northwest lawmakers from both parties got on board to reverse the rule.

Sybaris Bistro / Northwest News Network

An Oregon chef is asking if you have the guts to celebrate World Tripe Day on Friday. What is tripe? It's the lining of the cow's stomach.

Matt Bennett is the owner of Sybaris Bistro in Albany. He volunteered to promote consumption of beef stomach on behalf of the British-based Tripe Marketing Board.

"They had good luck with calling it Lancashire calamari, Bennett said. "It is very similar in texture. So they said, 'Well, maybe you could do a Portland calamari or Tillamook,' which was funny because they were apparently just looking at a map."

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

  

  Chefs and adventurous diners converged at Zenith Vineyard in Oregon's Willamette Valley near Salem.

There's Much More To Apples Than Meets The Eye

Sep 2, 2014

One of my favorite Far Side cartoons shows four triumphant cavemen with a giant carrot hoisted onto their shoulders, with the caption, "Early vegetarians returning from the kill."

That's kind of what it looks like every autumn weekend when my better half, Dan, comes home from the farmers market with a half-bushel of apples balanced on his shoulder.

If there's one thing college students know well, it's a belly full of instant ramen.

"Ramen always has been and always will be a college staple," says Rick Brandt, a recent University of Iowa graduate.

And it's not just college students who turn to the noodles in lean moments: When your food budget is reduced to quarters dug out of the couch, or when hunger pangs strike at ungodly hours, ramen noodles may come to the rescue.

Washington State University

While I have been dinking around for months, trying to lose five pounds, two of my friends have gotten serious about weight loss. Each of them is down 50 pounds.

I’m pleased for them, of course, and truly impressed by their accomplishments. Successfully combating overweight and obesity is one of the best things people can do for their health. It can help everything from joint pain to heart function, from Type 2 diabetes to certain aspects of mental health.

When Laura Silver's favorite knish shop in New York closed it doors, she started to investigate why it shut down. And that led to a years-long research project, she tells Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin.

Her book Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food explores the history of the baked delicacy filled with meat or vegetables and what it means to the people who love it.

Fighting Public Welfare Fraud In Washington

May 29, 2014
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Fraud investigators in Washington say they expect to announce a major case of public welfare theft next month. This small team of fraud-fighters was created three years ago after a series of media reports highlighted serious misuse of public benefits.

In the opening pages of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca, the narrator lays out a feast for the imagination: "Those dripping crumpets, I can see them now. Tiny crisp wedges of toast, and piping-hot, flaky scones. Sandwiches of unknown nature, mysteriously flavoured and quite delectable, and that very special gingerbread." Of course, the reader can't actually see these treats — and that's where graphic designer Dinah Fried comes in.

Brian Duss / Bread for the World

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program. This would mimic what Oregon and three eastern states just decided to do. 

Heid Erdrich's new book Original Local is part cookbook, part memoir and part meditation on the interplay of tradition and fusion in American cooking. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks to the author and poet about the Native American food traditions Erdrich grew up with in the Upper Midwest.

Roy Choi is a chef who's celebrated for food that isn't fancy. He's one of the founders of the food truck movement, where instead of hot dogs or ice cream, more unusual, gourmet dishes are prepared and sold. His Kogi trucks specialize in tacos filled with Korean barbecue.

Choi was born in South Korea in 1970 and moved to Los Angeles with his parents at the age of 2. His parents owned a Korean restaurant near Anaheim for a few years when he was a child. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that his mother had some serious cooking talent.

Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.

Food porn or art? That's for you decide.

But one thing is for certain: The jumbo-sized images in The Photography of Modernist Cuisine are truly awesome.

In one, a ham and cheese sandwich levitates in midair. Then, a Weber grill gets sliced in half lengthwise to expose a pink burger cooking on another page. And blueberries and peas balloon to the size of dinner plates and melons.

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

A Sweet And Sour History Of Our Obsession With Candy

Oct 27, 2013

Trick-or-treaters demand it. Dentists despise it. Pop musicians have sung odes to it.

Love it or hate it, candy is a cultural fixation — and it isn't going anywhere.

bluebike / Flickr

Oregon's first utility-scale facility to turn commercial food waste to electricity is up and running in Junction City.

Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are just a few of the stars the Food Network helped create. But what the network gave, it could also take away.

In From Scratch, author Allen Salkin takes an unsparing look at the network's progression from struggling cable startup to global powerhouse, and the people — Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen — who rose and fell along the way.

Salkin tells NPR's Rachel Martin that while the network was intended for cooks, it wasn't run by them.

Back in 1993, the Food Network was the Little Network that Nobody Really Thought Could. Cable TV was still, if not in its infancy, then enduring a difficult toddlerhood — no one knew what cable audiences were interested in, and no one thought a scrappy startup dedicated to food would go anywhere. Twenty years later, the doubters have been proved wrong; the Food Network is a global powerhouse that's made the names and fortunes of stars like Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray.

"Can a cholesterol-conscious matron from the west side find happiness at the East Side Dairy Queen?" So begins Marilyn Hagerty's review of the national creamery franchise for her local paper, The Grand Forks Herald, in Grand Forks, N.D.

The 87-year-old Hagerty has reported on food, events, and local profiles at the Herald for more than 25 years, but she earned 15 minutes of national fame last year with a positive review of her local Olive Garden restaurant.

Over the past year, volunteers in Seattle have been clearing grass next to a city park and planting all manner of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and vegetables.

It's a social experiment, where the eventual bounty from this public "food forest " will be open for anyone to forage. But can respect and sharing triumph over hunger and greed in the edible arboretum?

Planting favorites

There's something so compelling about the idea that it attracts as many as 100 volunteers at a time to scheduled work parties.

The Washington state initiative that calls for labeling genetically modified foods will impact food producers in the state and those that sell here. Some feel it will cost them more, others see it as a chance to expand their market.

On the Noodle Road is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?

Near the beginning of the Road Warrior there is a scene in which Mel Gibson's character eats dog food.

It is a perfect moment, a beautiful moment, a completely defining moment — a pause in the post-apocalyptic action where the writers gave us everything we needed to know about Gibson's Max Rockatansky in one, long, wordless scene. And it was a moment that — watching the movie at likely far too young an age on some long-gone Saturday night at the drive-in — messed me up for life.

These days, it's often noted that food has displaced art, sport and even sex as the literary mind's propulsive muse. The single cookie that launched poor Proust on his interior odyssey feels shockingly modest compared with the vast smorgasbord today's writers seem almost compelled to revel in.

Think our current culture has become food-obsessed? Take a look at this wall painting from ancient Egypt.

The US Department of Agriculture says stalks of genetically modified wheat found in a field in Oregon look to be an isolated incident. In an announcement Friday the agency says its own tests confirm the suspect wheat carries modified genes designed by agribusiness giant Monsanto.

Northwest farmers appear relieved that the government is calling the discovery of genetically modified wheat “a single isolated incident in a single field on a single farm.”

Federal inspectors have taken seed samples from a distributor in Walla Walla, Wash., as part of their investigation to find out how genetically modified wheat wound up in an Oregon field. That’s according to a news report published by the Capital Press.

Matt Lavin / Wikimedia Commons

After unauthorized, genetically modified wheat was found in an Oregon field, scientists have been trying to figure out what that means for wheat crops. Beyond farmers’ fields, a few pesky plants could also benefit as more genetically modified crops come into play.

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