Food

Stories related to food in Seattle, including Dick Stein and Nancy Leson's weekly commentary Food for Thought.

It's a bacon renaissance. The stuff's in everything from milkshakes to chocolate to bourbon whiskey. Just Google "new uses for bacon" and you'll see. There are innumerable sites devoted to all things bacon. Including one called Mr. Bacon Pants, a concept with some intriguing possibilities. 

And now in the interest of full disclosure, I confess:

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

Nate McCarthy / Wereteens of Edmonds

Nancy's pretty let down about this. Not so much that she can't bring her own but that she won't get to watch the dogs others bring.  In Seattle dogs are allowed at some farmers markets and banned at others.  

Here's a list: Farmers markets in Washington make their own rules.

BENTON CITY, Wash. – Northwest winemakers say they’re optimistic that 2012 will turn out to be a great vintage. Many of the region’s red wine grapes are just on the edge of starting to change color and ripen. The timing of this color change is a good indication of the coming harvest’s quality.

Scott Williams is a pretty jovial guy. But get this Red Mountain wine grower in the middle of some color-changing grapes and he’s just giddy.

It’s a hot summer day at his Kiona Vineyard. We wade into an undulating sea of bright green Lemberger vines.

CONNELL, Wash. – Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are raising because of the Heartland’s decimated yields.

Wheat stubble, grain elevators and whole lot of wide open -– that’s Connell, Washington.

There, I caught up with Dana Herron and his partner Craig Teel. The men run a grain seed operation. They sort, clean, treat and store pure grain for farmers’ future plantings.

We humans evolved to eat meat. How many times have you read or heard some version of this statement?

Nancy Leson

Well, Nancy has fun. Sometimes I get a little freaked when hemmed in by a farmers' market crowd. You know –  potato panic. Arugula anxiety. 

But my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson loves s nothing better than immersing herself in the mob of happy food grazers at farmer's markets in the Seattle area.

Stein / Stein Software and Garlic Management Associates

I read my first Yelp restaurant review this past weekend and I'm pretty sure it'll be my last. So many of the posts were so whiny that they weren't even as amusing as those really dumb Netflix Member Reviews.

You know the ones ...

When you hear the word chia, you probably think of chia pets. Maybe you even mutter that catchy slogan: "ch-ch-ch-chia."

Or maybe not, but lately, chia seed has been getting buzz beyond those terra cotta figurines. It's becoming a popular health food. Rich in fiber, protein and the highest plant source of Omega 3s, the little seeds pack a major nutritional punch.

Wayne Coates grows and sells chia seeds and has a book called Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought Co-conspirator Nancy Leson, previously a happy land lubber, was recently cajoled into a trip to Mexico on one of those giant cruise ships.  The good news?  The tales of heroic eating you've heard are true.  The not so good news?  

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.

Huffington Post

"How could I  not have known about this?"  My Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson echoed the very words I had thought when I discovered the Spiral Cut hot-dog.   It's not only cool,  it's so easy to do. 

Stein

Seattle's ban on (some) plastic bags starts July 1st. Seattleites will still be able to get paper bags at the checkout at a nickel a shot for the big ones.  Or do what any smart KPLU'er would –

We eat a lot of meat in this country; per person, more than almost anywhere else on Earth. (Here's a helpful map of global meat-eating.)

But why? What makes an American eat ten or twelve times more meat than the average person in Mozambique or Bangladesh?

Stein

If you've never had them the idea of cold noodles might not sound too appetizing.  But just take a look at that recipe up there. Why do you think it's so ragged and stained? From multiple uses, that's how. 

I've had it memorized for years but I thought it would be fun to break it out once more so you could see. Click through all the photos and then keep reading – because I've got some good tips for you on how to make it.

J. Henslee / KPLU

Everybody doesn't like some kind of chow that almost everybody else loves. Me, I'm horrified by fruit. That's baffled and bemused everyone around me lo these years. But even I was surprised when some KPLU staffers revealed their food terrors to me.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Northwest cherry harvest is set to begin next week, but farmers are a bit glum. That’s because the National Weather Service says this month’s temperatures will be near or below average across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Cool weather and rain can delay ripening and compress the cherry growing season. That means that markets have less time to sell the perishable fruit. Plus, farmers may have a harder time recruiting enough labor in a shortened season.

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.

Stein

Over the years I've received numerous emails from listeners who rhapsodize over the Beef on Weck sandwich of upstate New York . Last week's "favorite foods of memory"  installment brought yet another mention so I decided I'd make my own. Step one was finding out exactly what a Beef on Weck is.

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.

When recipes go wrong

May 23, 2012
The health care blog

Don't blame yourself. It is absolutely not your  fault. After all, you could never make a mistake. Could you?

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy Leson has been tormenting me with pics of all the great food she's been scarfing on the east coast.   What lovely schadenfreude I enjoyed upon  learning that the sandwich pictured above was awful.  The bummer was the bread.

Give peas a chance!

May 9, 2012
Stein

I'm planting mine – the ones  pictured above – this very weekend. Actually they're Chinese-style Snow Peas.  My wife, the L&T Cheryl DeGroot refuses to eat the little round ones. 

Which is too bad because besides being delicious and versatile peas are really good for you.

Stein

Full disclosure: I don't know whether or not they fry their pizzas in Micronesia. I just wanted a rhyming headline and I liked "Micronesia" better than "Spinal Anesthesia."* Who wouldn't? 

Anyway, they have  been deep-frying pizzas in Europe.  Now the fad has moved stateside.

Paul Gibson / For KPLU

Here in the Great Pacific Northwest the days are getting longer, the temperature is on the rise and we are finally starting to see some sun. We’re not out of the iffy spring weather yet but soon we’ll be grilling on the BBQ, lounging on beaches and looking for pubs that have outside seating.

A hefeweizen is a great summer time beer and the Widmer Hefeweizen is one worth trying.

Nancy Leson

One of the most common flash points of domestic bickering is the optimum method for loading a dishwasher.

And now I'm admitting to my wife, the  Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot, right here on the World Wide Web that I was  – arghhh!  wrong and she was  – gackkk!!... right.  But only about the dishwasher.  I think I've been right about everything else.  For years.  Anyway...

U.S. officials announced a case of mad cow disease in a dairy cow in California. It is only the fourth such case detected in the U.S. since the first case was identified in 2003.

Matt Long / Flickr

YAKIMA, Wash. — A new study shows the Washington wine industry contributes $8.6 billion to the state's economy and creates nearly 30,000 jobs.

Ben Adams / Flickr

In response to the hubbub started by Change.org, Starbucks has announced today that it will stop using the bug extract cochineal as a colorant in four food and two beverage offerings in the United States, according to its Website.

Dine alone and love it

Apr 18, 2012
Cheryl DeGroot

I do. In fact I was pretty surprised to learn that many people are uncomfortable when dining alone in public. I can't imagine why. I enjoy unaccompanied ingestion for lots of reasons.

Pages