1 in 6 Americans become sick from foodborne illness each year, and like a norovirus infection, the blame is easy to spread around. Where does foodborne illness happen, and does it matter? Doug Powell of Barfblog (previously) notes that peer reviewed studies claim in-home food safety failures account for anywhere from 15 to 90% of food poisoning cases, which is enough variance to make anyone shrug. But what do we really know when it comes to foodborne illness? Read on for a stomach-turning romp through what food safety research tells us about a question as old as Ask Metafilter. [more inside]
Every year in Uto, a remote town at the Southern tip of Japan, a festival is held to celebrate a woman known locally as the Mother of the Sea. Dr Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker died without knowing her research would save the Japanese seaweed industry and lead to a world multi-billion dollar obsession with sushi. The story of nori in Japan.
Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables — the first in a series of four Los Angeles Times long-form stories about labor conditions discovered during an 18-month investigation of Mexican vegetable farms that supply produce to the United States. [more inside]
"We see the good in everyone, and we believe in offering jobs to felons who have shown a commitment to turning their lives around. Our goal is to serve as an example to other employers that being a convicted felon should not be a deterrent to finding gainful employment. Our success with this practice shows that there is a largely untapped pool of loyal and hardworking people who simply have made bad decisions in their past. Currently about one-third of our workforce are felons. "
"... I love the version of the Thanksgiving story in the movie Addams Family Values, because I get to see the Indians win." [SLGuardian]
After causing some serious angst among the good people of Minnesota (cf. the cri de coeur of ex-Gopher and Mefi's own Linda Holmes) with its own unique Thanksgiving recipe suggestions for each of the 50 nifty United States (previously), the agents provocatuer of the New York Times are back at it again, this time leaning on the Google data team to find out which unusual regional recipes really are the favorites of each state: Behold, the Snickers Salad Belt.
"If we start from the guts, we go back to our origin. It is the butchers, in the end, that bring our food back to the rusticness of the tribe." Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, guts a pig, and discusses the tradition and art of butchering and the importance of being "responsible carnivores...thankful for the gift." Cecchini is the "Dante-quoting butcher" featured in Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. And here's another video with a similar message, but a different piece of meat, more details about his village as a "tiny little gastronomic republic" and instructions on how to use every piece of the pig "in the best way."
Find Your State in the United States of Thanksgiving [The New York Times] "We’ve scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states (and D.C. and Puerto Rico). Tell us your favorites." [more inside]
Recently on The Blue we've had discussions about American Chop Suey and New Jersey Pork Roll, but what about other regional favorites, like Lutefisk, Scrapple, or the French Dip Sandwich? Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are a few links to get you started:
The Atlantic's Adam Chandler analyzes Taco Bell's latest "Live Más app" and how it's a result of the "Chipotlification" of fast food. [more inside]
A landmark study indicates that seven pesticides, some widely used, may be causing clinical depression in farmers. [more inside]
Seth Roberts passed away on April 26th, 2014, after suffering a heart attack while hiking near his home in Berkeley, California. A self-experimenter and author of The Shangri-La Diet, Roberts described his attempts to combat his own insomnia in Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight, writing that "Before science was a profession, it was a hobby, which means some people enjoy it for its own sake . . . If a hobby has tangible benefits, such as lower blood pressure or reduced risk of relapse, so much stronger the motivation to do it." He was brilliant, obsessive and always challenging assumptions. His extensive blog is still online.
Hannah Rothstein imagines how different famous artists would plate Thanksgiving. [more inside]
An article from The Atlantic's Olga Khazan discusses the invention of a $1 fresh salad vending machine in order to make healthier food options available in lower socioeconomic communities like East Garfield Park in Chicago's West side. [more inside]
Alan Martin—"winner" of a pass that permits him to eat as much Olive Garden as he wishes in a 7 week time period—speaks out. [more inside]
Pizza making questions come up on Ask Mefi and the Blue semi-regularly. But I was surprised to find that (before it was a pricey book) ENCYCLOPIZZA was a web site that has apparently never been mentioned here. It went officially offline at the end of 2011, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, the online ENCYCLOPIZZA can still be yours. If you are serious about learning and hanging out with other serious pizzamakers of all stripes, you should also get thee to the pizzamaking.com forums. (Previously: A Layman's Guide to Regional Styles, and The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Making Your Own Pizza )
The Appearance of Being Earnest
It’s 1879. The courtroom in Santiago is full. The tables and benches and sidelines hold a defendant, his accomplice, the lawyers for all sides, the justice of the Chilean Supreme Court, and onlookers. The trial had dragged on for two years. The defendant was incarcerated all the while at the nearby Des Hotel Ingles. This autumn afternoon was the end of a very long journey. Up to that point in life, the accused had “engaged the most elegant suite of rooms in the most fashionable hotels,” charming investors with his “large, eloquent eyes.” Having spent the prior decade crisscrossing half the globe from Europe to North America to South America, he was the man papers from the United States to New Zealand called “foremost in the ranks of the world’s swindlers,” the man who they said had “the black heart of a conscienceless scoundrel,” the one the New York Times devoted ten long paragraphs to in his obituary six years later as the “king of swindlers.” He was the Chevalier Alfred Paraf.[more inside]
Wondering what the best chocolates in the world are? Don't simply Google it, as you'll get a lot of distorted, out-of-date, and uninformed opinion. Instead, look to the experts at C Spot, Seventy Percent, and the International Chocolate Awards, with last year's award winners including Pacari 70%, Friis-Holm's 55% Dark Milk Bar, and the truffles at Paul A. Young. This year's World competition is ongoing, with some results in for the Americas, Europe, and Canada.
A WaPo profile of industrial design student Solveiga Pakštaitė and her latest invention, a bio-reactive food expiry label called Bump Mark: Landfills are overflowing with food. Here's a gelatin label that could limit the waste.
Misleading labels are one reason that consumers waste nearly 40 percent of the food they buy — and one of the inspirations behind Bump Mark, a new bio-based food label made with gelatin. As the food in a package starts to decay, so does the gelatin; when it finally expires, the gelatin reveals a layer of bumps. If the label is still smooth, a consumer finally knows unequivocally that food is still safe to eat... By changing the concentration of gelatin, the designer can match the label to specific foods. A weak concentration breaks down faster, and works for foods such as milk and meats that don't last as long. For any given food, the label can be adjusted to degrade at exactly the same rate.[more inside]
Reanna Alder eats roadkill raccoon so you don't have to. (Article has no images except a highly processed one of a live raccoon.)
As hinted in the leaked digital innovation report which outlined how the venerable newspaper could leverage a substantial archive to compete with clickbait, The New York Times has been developing cooking.nytimes.com, a beautifully searchable repository of every recipe ever published in the newspaper. [more inside]
"As a chemist, I can tell you that no chemical is 100 percent safe all the time, under all conditions. Even I occasionally do a double take when I hear about the ingredients in some of our foods. But our fear of chemicals – what is often called chemophobia – needs to be tempered. [more inside]
Sure, highly paid tech workers often have to sign non-compete clauses when they hire on at a new firm, and some people think this is a problem. But what about when it's fast food employees? [more inside]
The New York Times Magazine treated a group of second graders to a seven-course meal at a pricey NYC restaurant. Culinarity ensued. [video, via]
Eating healthy food and eating together is important. But if you hate to cook, what's the best way to do that? (SLNYT)
The New York Times on regulation and lobbying around cafeteria food: "The average school-nutrition director is not unlike the chief executive of a medium-size catering business, but with a school for a landlord and a menu regulated by the government. With lower subsidies, the lunch ladies needed cheaper calories, and they turned to the increasingly efficient processed-food industry to find them. School cafeterias also began to rely more on revenue from so-called competitive foods — snacks and lunches that are not regulated by federal guidelines and “compete” with the regular school lunch on cafeteria à la carte lines."
Making Japanese Food Samples. A look at some of the techniques used in the creation of sampuru, the multi-million yen industry of handcrafted custom plastic fake food.
Imagine you're hungry for dinner, stuck at home and don't really want to cook. But you're also deeply ambivalent about what to order--Chinese? Pizza? Sushi? Well, Mike Lacher has you covered. Give his new web app Seamless Roulette your Seamless.com account details and a maximum cost, and it places an order for you at a random nearby restaurant, for something it randomly selects from the menu. If you like surprises and giving up the power to choose your own meal, this might just be for you.
American Chop Suey (aka Goulash) gets the Food Lab treatment from MeFi favorite J. Kenji López-Alt. (American Chop Suey was the subject of two recent questions on The Green.)
Why not eat octopus? [New Yorker]
"I like to think of an octopus as a blobby, eight-fingered hand with a mind of its own. And then I’m suddenly not so keen on the idea of eating it."
Three North Carolina researchers spend 18 months learning about the food and cooking choices of almost 200 households. They learned, perhaps unsurprisingly, that simply encouraging households to cook healthier meals at home was unlikely to address the challenges to healthy eating most families face. [more inside]
The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles. "Wouldn't it be great if you could get all of the convenience and pleasure of instant noodles—the portability, the just-add-water cooking, the lunch-sized portions—but pack it full of fresh vegetables and real, honest-to-goodness flavor? Here's a secret: you can, and it's easier than you think."
Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis was engaged in 1897 as the restaurant reviewer of the Pall Mall Gazette, and his reviews of London restaurants are collected in Dinners and Diners: Where and How to Dine in London, available online from The Dictionary of Victorian London. Newnham-Davis was a bon vivant, amateur of the theatrical world, and man of parts, and his reviews were equal parts reminiscence of the conversation with his pseudonymous companions and recollections and reviews of his opulent and lengthy Victorian dinners. [more inside]
Zero Percent Water. Alan Heathcock visits the Central Valley in California to talk to farmers about the drought, hear their perspective, and see first-hand what the land looks like.
"This is like the gateway drug of the Jewish foods" - Non-Jews try traditional Jewish food for the first time
The art world's food fetish is nothing new, triggering equal parts salivation and repulsion we gorge on so-called 'food porn' every day, saturating our screens with sugar. But beneath that candy-cane filter there's a darker side to our fetishisation of all-things sweet. With their Twix noses, salami decolletage and strawberry laces spewing from donut-shaped carverns, James Ostrer's saccharine-warped creations are delectably disturbing. Born out of a textbook childhood junk addiction, his new series Wotsit All About takes sugar worship to the extreme, sculpting mutated, larger-than-life candy characters from truck-loads of pick 'n' mix favourites. Pushing his sitters to the extreme he smothers them in cream cheese, frazzles and ice-cream cones, the food masks leaving a claustrophic, bitter-sweet taste on the tongue. Interview with the photographer. [NSFW]
The Disney Food Blog offers in-depth news, reviews, and information about food and restaurants in Disney’s parks, resorts, and cruise ships, along with reviews and photographs of and about anything food-related in Disney parks, resorts, movies, and events. Disney food FAQs. Disney food news.
Investment firm Starboard Value is unhappy with Olive Garden— unhappy enough to issue a scathing 294-page PDF enumerating all of the restaurant's sins. [more inside]
"The server comes over to your table after you've finished your cheesecake, carrying a deck of cards. He or she asks you to cut it and pick any card. Each of the cards has a different chocolate flavor on it, such as lime or raspberry. The waiter then asks you to flip over your cheesecake plate – and there, right in front of you, is a chocolate that corresponds to your card.
They do this mind-blowing trick to every single customer who eats there." The 6 Most Pretentious Dishes Rich People Pay Money For from Cracked.
They do this mind-blowing trick to every single customer who eats there." The 6 Most Pretentious Dishes Rich People Pay Money For from Cracked.
Freezer Burns is a youtube show where Gregory Ng reviews frozen food items you can buy in US Supermarkets. Amazingly, the Freezer Burns YouTube channel was nearly at 700 shows when he tried out a Kid Cuisine How To Train Your Dragon meal and you'll have to watch it all the way to the end to see his Come To Jesus moment (previously).