The nitrogen footprint

Calculate yours online

March 31, 2011

It’s similar to a carbon footprint. »

Behavioral disorders and food

Does diet cause ADHD?

March 30, 2011

Culinate’s health columnist, Marissa Lippert, wrote earlier this year about the possible links between diet and such disorders as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now comes word of a new Dutch study aiming to document not only that ADHD, in particular, may be caused by diet, but that elimination diets can ameliorate the symptoms. The upshot? Eating fresh whole foods is better than processed, sugary treats. Yeah, you knew that already.

The vegan-omnivore alliance

A new idea on the activist front

March 29, 2011

Banding together against CAFOs. »

The quinoa problem

It’s too expensive for its growers to buy

March 28, 2011

A decade ago, few North Americans were familiar with quinoa; Corby Kummer, The Atlantic’s longtime food writer, had to explain how to pronounce the name of the tiny, protein-rich Andean seed when he sang its praises in 2002. Now that Northerners have embraced quinoa, the old supply-and-demand problem has emerged. In Bolivia, the ancestral home of the seed, quinoa is now too expensive for locals, who can only afford cheaper white-flour products even while earning more money by exporting quinoa. The frustrating results? Poor health in the countries that formerly relied on a foodstuff that the rest of the world now snaps up to improve health.

Pine mouth

The weird annoyances of pine nuts

March 25, 2011

So there’s a global recession on. A massive earthquake in Asia may cause global nuclear fallout. And climate change just keeps on changing. But hey, you’ve got more serious things to worry about, right? Like the rare but totally annoying problem known colloquially as "pine mouth."

What’s that? Well, according to Epi-log, the Epicurious blog, it’s “a condition in which people who have eaten pine nuts suddenly experience an unpleasant taste in their mouths that won’t go away for long periods, sometimes weeks. The taste is often described as metallic.” It’s a new and mysterious affliction, and it can be unpleasant enough to make former pine-nut lovers swear them off forever. Sad.

A plastic-free Oregon?

One man’s crusade

March 24, 2011

Plastic bags. Several cities and supermarket chains around the country have banned them. To detractors, the issue seems like a tempest in a plastic teapot, but to supporters, banning the bag is just one campaign in the battle against the global plastic pollution problem.

Alt-paper Willamette Week recently profiled one of those supporters, Stiv Wilson, describing his efforts to rid Oregon of plastic bags with a bill in the state’s legislature. Noted, also, was the fact that oceanic plastic pollution has become the latest scientific and political controversy: are our oceans really as full of plastic detritus as activists would have us believe?

Whether or not there are Texas-sized pools of plastic out there, as one activist noted, “our fundamental message is still that there’s way too much trash.”

By the bottle

America’s relationship with wine

March 23, 2011

In an international upset, the U.S. recently knocked France off the pedestal reserved for the World's Biggest Wine Consumer. Of course, as the Independent noted, since the U.S. population is five times that of France, per capita wine consumption is still higher in Gaul.

Even as our wine consumption goes up, our tolerance for wine froufrou may be running dry. As Slate recently declared, fancy wine labels correlate more to high prices than to actual flavor: “When it comes to invoking elegance, foreign and complex words have a natural advantage. Cigars and truffle conjure up prestige and luxury.” A cheap wine, in other words, is just grape juice.

(Cheers to Minnesota food reporter Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl for the links.)

Poisonous pigs and poultry

Deadly chemicals turn up in China and Stateside

March 22, 2011

Tom Philpott details the latest livestock travesties. »

Food swaps

Find a DIY barter option near you

March 21, 2011

Chalk it up to Craigslist, the recession, or just the desire not to see anything go to waste, but as Culinate contributor Cynthia Lair recently noted on her blog, food swaps are happening across the land.

Some folks keep it practical (swapping all those extra jars of green-tomato chutney, for example) while others get all fancy-foodie, making goodies just for the swaps. There are swap groups in Brooklyn, Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Houston, and the Bay Area. Time to go through those canning cabinets and see what you need to trade . . .

Japan, a week later

What you can do

March 18, 2011

Plus nuclear concerns. »

Pantry basics

A Culinate contributor’s tips

March 17, 2011

The Oregonian recently featured Culinate blogger Katherine Deumling for her efforts (through her cooking-class company, Cook With What You Have) to encourage people to embrace home cooking.

Tips we liked? Cooking and freezing beans and grains in small quantities so they’re always on hand; making your own pestos, spreads, and other flavor-boosting pastes; and remembering that beans, grains, and vegetables are really all you need as the building blocks of a delicious dinner.

Sell those sandwiches

Insider tips for “artisan” food

March 16, 2011

How to charge more for lunch. »

Celebrating farms

Today is National Ag Day

March 15, 2011

A round-up of the latest farm news. »

Tasty feedback

Fundraising for kids via food

March 14, 2011

The World Food Programme, a global anti-hunger effort by the United Nations, recently launched a social-media fundraising campaign titled WeFeedback. The concept? Get food to hungry kids, either by embedding a widget on your website or blog, or by entering foods in an online calculator before donating dinero to the program. There’s also an interactive map showing who’s donating what around the world, and a blog about the program. The idea isn’t just to drum up cash but to get people talking about their favorite foods and how much, say, a pan of brownies might be worth to kids around the world.

Fats are back

But can we shed our fat-hating ways?

March 11, 2011

The fattitude is changing. »

Chocolate gets rarer

A ban in Africa cuts down on supply

March 10, 2011

Sure, the prices of most foods have risen dramatically around the globe in recent years, driven up by a variety of factors, including production costs, energy costs, biofuels, supply and demand, and the like. The chocolate price saga, however, is sadly specific: just one African country, the Ivory Coast, produces 40 percent of the world’s raw cacao, and it’s currently sinking into a civil war. If the current ban on exporting cocoa beans from the country holds, look for chocolate prices to soar.

Our toxic world

Investigating chemicals and children

March 9, 2011

Lead, pesticides, mercury, and more. »

Take that, Michael Pollan

A global-food expert says Pollan gets it all wrong

March 8, 2011

Different agendas, different takes. »

Recipe aggregators

Google and Foodily break it down

March 7, 2011

New tools for finding and comparing recipes online. »

A food-news smorgasbord

It’s not just for the food section anymore

March 7, 2011

All the food news that’s fit to print. »

Frozen over fresh

Wintertime beef

March 4, 2011

Why you shouldn’t buy fresh grass-fed beef in the winter. »

Living lard

A call to rediscover pork fat

March 3, 2011

It’s versatile and good for you. »

The Santa Barbara syndrome

Our broken food system

March 2, 2011

The import-export problem. »

Take the challenge

Ditch processed food for a month

March 1, 2011

But what counts as “processed”? »

Sift archive — March 2011

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