food

The L & T Cheryl DeGroot

Nancy Leson asked me how the horseradish got its name.  It's not because of its resemblance to a certain part of a horse.  And it's not because horses like to eat it -- the stuff's actually poisonous to them.  The "Horse" in horseradish is just an antique adjective describing anything large or strong.  For my taste, the stronger the better.

It's not hard to grate your own horseradish but if you do, it wouldn't hurt to wear a nuke suit or at least a gas mask when you do.  Once the cell walls of the root are broken down two chemicals previously kept separate combine to form allyl isothiocyanate -- the stuff that shoots the vaporized razor blades through your sinuses.  It's the plant's natural defense against getting eaten.  Ironic, no?

thegreenbeet.com

As I tell Nancy Leson in this week's Food for Thought, I have had an iceberg lettuce epiphany.  A voice whispered, "Slice it horizontally." 

We all could probably eat more fruits and vegetables. But if forced to choose between whole fruit or a glass of juice, which one seems more healthful?

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Wild mushrooms are going gangbusters this year in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to just the right weather conditions, and foragers are rejoicing after last year’s shortage

Among them is James Nowak, an amateur mycologist who spends most of his days working with mushrooms. When he’s not out in a forest hunting for mushrooms, he grows them in his lab in Seattle or processes them for sale to restaurants and home cooks.

Heather W. / Yelp.com

So how long would you be willing to stand on line for a table at a popular restaurant? Ten minutes? A half hour? Longer? Not KPLU’s Dick Stein, as he tells Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson on today’s Food for Thought.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

What if fresh foods were easier to find in lower income neighborhoods?  Would that lead to less obesity and disease? 

King County has been testing this idea by offering store-owners a free “makeover” to help them sell fresh produce.

They discovered: selling fresh fruits and vegetables poses surprising challenges. Some are cultural, since many small stores are owned by recent immigrants. Others involve the hidden world of produce wholesaling.

How evil is sugar? That's long been a hard question for researchers to answer. Most of the studies about sugar's health effects to date have been too small, too short-term, or too poorly designed to nail it one way or another.

Elvis Presley was better known for his music than his gourmet tastes. But he did have a famous affinity for the fried goodness of the American South — and he had the waistline to prove it.

In honor of what would have been the King of Rock 'n' Roll's 78th birthday, let's take a look at some of his legendary eating habits.

That buzz from your morning cup of joe waning? How about a quick boost from caffeinated mints, gum, Perky Jerky or, from the makers of Cracker Jack, coffee-flavored Cracker Jack'd snacks?

It's not just coffee and tea and soda anymore. "There's a proliferation of foods; all kinds of things are now being caffeinated," says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Northwest wild mushrooms are in short supply this year. That’s had a big impact on the region’s lucrative mushroom hunting industry. It’s also changed what’s on fall restaurant menus in the Northwest and across the nation.

At Pagliacci Pizza in Seattle this autumn customers are often coming home to their families without the coveted mushroom Primo Pizza. The Northwest’s bleak mushroom crop means sometimes the stores cut back on the number of pies, or don’t have them at all.

Mitt Romney is getting a lot of heat for his somewhat awkward comments about women in the workplace during Tuesday night's presidential debate.

The Internet's meme makers made merry with Romney's comment about the "binder full of women" that he sought out to work for him during his stint as Massachusetts governor. Cue the obligatory Ryan Gosling meme.

Wendy / Flickr

Apparently bacon goes with everything … including in and not just with coffee.

Seattle’s Best Coffee held a series of contests for a new coffee recipe and the winner, from Des Moines, infused her coffee concoction with caramelized bacon.

Mallory Kaniss / KPLU

I’ve never eaten so many flowers in my life – Anise-Hyssop, Borage, Nasturtium, Day Lily …

But it turns out flowers are common fare in extreme locavore/organic dining. That’s the first thing I learned at the Herbfarm restaurant and gardens where I went to explore how chefs there make the restaurant’s strict locavore, organic dinners.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

The rush is on, to get healthier lunches into public school cafeterias. But administrators say you almost need an advanced degree to comply with the latest rules.

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You might have trouble finding any attractive vegetables or fruits if you shop in the wrong stores. It’s especially challenging in poor neighborhoods, where mini-marts packed with beer, cigarettes and junk food may be all you can find.

One solution to be tested in Seattle this month will be in the form of a healthy corner store. Call it a mini-grocery.

Manju (MAHN-jew) are Japanese dough buns — often sweet — made from pounded rice flour dough and flavored fillings. In Japanese culture, a box of manju is what you'd take to someone's house on a special occasion, like Children's Day. Or you might simply snack on it with a cup of tea. But manju have to be eaten fresh, and they're pretty labor intensive, so nowadays, they can be hard to find.

When the economy began its steep decline in 2008, almost everything related to housing hit the skids, including the lawn and garden industry. But one sector escaped the pinch: food gardening.

In fact, food gardening sales nationwide have spiked 20 percent since then, and they've stayed there. While many households started growing food to be more budget-conscious, some are deciding vegetables and fruits can be beautiful, too.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon in the kick-off segment of Weekend Edition's "Taste of Summer" series.

An international research panel recommends cutting in half the global harvest of small, schooling fish like sardines, anchovy and herring. The group included researchers from the Northwest.

The panel estimates little fish are roughly twice as valuable in the sea as in the net because so many larger sea creatures prey on them.

Oregon State University professor Selina Heppell co-authored the study. She's proud to say the sardine and mackerel fisheries on the U.S. West Coast are already managed quite conservatively.

Disease outbreaks with imported foods are on the rise, and fish and spices are the foods most likely to cause problems.

It's not that imported foods are any nastier than home-grown, according to a presentation today from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's that we're eating a lot more of them.

The Blue Ribbon Group

An airplane mechanic from Auburn has won the top prize in the Great American SPAM Championship.

41-year old Jason Munson's Mini Maple SPAM Doughnuts won a blue ribbon last September at the Puyallup Fair. His recipe went on to the national competition, where this week it beat out 800 other entries for the top honors.

We're going to venture that just by nature of the fact that you're reading this blog, you count yourself as a member of the social mediarati.

If so, you, and a lot of other people, may sooner turn to Epicurious or Facebook to plan your next meal than your grandmother's recipe box or the Nestlé Toll House bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard. That's the word from the Hartman Group, a consumer research firm, and Publicis Consultants USA, a marketing agency.

If you're a regular reader of The Salt, you've probably noticed our interest in foraging. From San Francisco to Maryland, we've met wild food experts, nature guides and chefs passionate about picking foods growing in their backyards.

A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company's crop patents in the future.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company's patented crops happened to drift into their fields.

If you buy organic products, your options may be about to expand. The U.S. and the European Union are announcing that they will soon treat each other's organic standards as equivalent. In other words, if it's organic here, it's also organic in Europe, and vice versa. Organic food companies are cheering because their potential markets just doubled.

Here's a pie in your eye: A brief history of food fights

Jan 30, 2012

Last week, 500 tacos appeared at the mayor's office in East Haven, Conn. But they weren't intended for a casual luncheon.

Instead, this truckload of tacos was meant to be a symbol of discontent. An immigration reform group sent the fare in protest to what they said was an insensitive comment from Mayor Joseph Maturo in reference to Latinos and tacos.

From about 1966 to 1976, China's leader Mao Zedong enforced a brutal agenda. Everything was rationed during the Cultural Revolution. Millions of people were forced out of the cities and into the countryside, where food was even scarcer. The government controlled people's movements, their livelihoods, even their thoughts.

If you've ever lamented the time and effort it takes to brew or procure a cup of coffee, this might perk you up. "Breathable Energy. Anytime. Anyplace."

That's the campaign slogan for AeroShot, a plastic inhaler, roughly the size of a lipstick tube, filled with a powdery, calorie-free mix of caffeine, B vitamins, and citrus flavors. It's slated to hit stores in January, just in time for the New Year.

But some aren't so sure selling caffeine in pocket-sized tubes — and marketing it to young people — is a great idea.

During the Holiday Season, from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, a lot of people are spending extra hours in the kitchen. And while that used to entail dusting off an old recipe box or paging through a sticky and splattered cookbook – today, more aspiring chefs are using their laptops, tablets or smart-phones to look up recipes online.

And when they do, there will be one Website from Seattle that will serve up more piping hot recipes than any other.

NPR's The Salt: Superfood kale in the limelight

Dec 7, 2011

What is it with kale? That's what one of our producers asked this week, after hearing about the "Eat More Kale" standoff between Vermont t-shirt maker Bo Muller-Moore and the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. (Check this story on last night's All Things Considered for more details.)

It's true that kale seems to be enjoying a certain limelight these days, and not just because Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin was willing to say publicly, "Don't mess with kale."

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