False fish

Beware the mislabeled seafood

October 31, 2011

Is that fish wearing a Halloween disguise? »

An oily mess

The olive-oil struggle

October 28, 2011

Will labels actually mean something soon? »

Subsidy shenanigans

Policy juggling between the feds, farmers, health, and water

October 27, 2011

Who comes first? »

The romance — or not — of food

Taste differences can mean trouble

October 26, 2011

It’s true that vegetarians and omnivores sometimes hit it off, and it’s even more true that the modern American family is full of competing picky eaters. But as Lois Smith Brady recently noted in an essay about romance, incompatibility in the kitchen is a dealbreaker for many couples.

“In marriage and relationships, even on first dates, someone’s diet has become like their clothes or religion. It tells you something about how they feel about the planet, their bodies, their communities and their children,” wrote Brady. “Whether you are vegan, eat dessert, are willing to drive hours for blue eggs from a favorite farm, eat loudly or silently, read the labels on food or ignore them, tip well or try to sneak out without tipping — it all can convey how adventurous, generous, fussy, lonely, considerate or strange you might be.”

And sometimes you might even break up over garlic.

Budget DIY tips

Helpful hints for the basics

October 25, 2011

Two essays on going it alone. »

How much, how often?

Big meals versus small meals

October 24, 2011

Three squares instead of six snacks. »

Celebrate Food Day

On Monday, October 24

October 21, 2011

Next Monday, October 24, is Food Day — a day dedicated to supporting “healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.”

The national event, promoted by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, will include thousands of local events — including festivals, parties, dinners, conferences, website contests, breakfast giveaways, and even a bicycle tour — all in the service of greater food awareness and policy reform.

Not able to attend an event in your neighborhood? Download Food Day’s recipe booklet featuring recipes from the likes of Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Rick Bayless.

Occupy Food Street

Calls for food activists to join the Wall Street protests

October 20, 2011

Food politics everywhere. »

The school-lunch activists

A blog, a book, and a team

October 19, 2011

Recording just how bad our children’s food can be — and trying to improve it. »

The expanding urban farm

Chickens, bees — and now goats

October 18, 2011

The next domestic trend. »

The ongoing Frankenfish debate

GM salmon gets a thumbs-up

October 17, 2011

And a new report condemns offshore fish farms. »

The allergen detector

Spot trouble foods on the go

October 14, 2011

Alas, it’s not a reality yet, but a handheld gadget that can scan and detect allergens in food may soon be available to consumers. Developed by Knegadesign, the tool picks up “the presence of milk, eggs, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, peanuts, soy or wheat, the eight items that account for 90 percent of food allergies.” And, presumably, keeps allergic folks from eating the wrong foods.

The GMO label

Will it finally happen here?

October 13, 2011

The U.S. is behind the rest of the developed world. »

Terminology trouble

How “natural” is your food?

October 12, 2011

The term is confusing and misleading. »

Pesticides and honey bees

Dan Rather takes a look

October 11, 2011

Former television anchor Dan Rather now hosts a show on HDNet called "Dan Rather Reports," featuring investigative news stories. The show recently tackled the ongoing mystery of why honey bees are dying in such great numbers, and fingered pesticides as the culprit.

Concerned? The Pesticide Action Network has an ongoing save-the-bees-from-pesticides campaign, including a petition to the EPA on pesticide use.

Vegan month of food

Blogging through the month

October 10, 2011

Vegan MoFo is short for October = Vegan Food Month. »

The real Indian corn

Not that harvest-decor stuff

October 7, 2011

You know, you gotta hand it to the New York Times style editors in the subversiveness department. In a recent issue of the paper’s style magazine, hiding between the interview with a Dutch supermodel and the tips on shopping (or not) in Jerusalem, the staff stashed a wacky little article about Tuscarora corn.

Writer Verlyn Klinkenborg’s breezy little piece sums up the history of corn — from Native American creativity through modern GMO dominance and now back to heritage seed — in a few brief pages, and included tips on where to stay and eat if, you know, you feel like touring New York’s corn country. Go, seed savers!

Another Food Dialogues follow-up

From the Environmental Working Group

October 6, 2011

What sorts of things do Americans — as opposed to Big Ag — really care about on the farm? »

The brown revolution

Going wild on the ranch

October 5, 2011

On the Atlantic’s website, farming advocate Lisa M. Hamilton recently reported on the so-dubbed Brown Revolution, in which restoration of natural systems — healthy grasslands, marshes, and the like — is the foundation of better farming. (The philosophy is also known as holistic management.)

Bison, for example, co-evolved with their grassland homes. So, writes Hamilton, contemporary ranchers should treat their herds less like livestock and more like wild animals:

Rather than simply turning cattle into a pasture, these ranchers conduct them like a herd, concentrating bodies to graze one area hard, then leaving it until the plants have regenerated. The effect can be tremendous, with benefits including increased organic matter in the soil, rejuvenation of microorganisms, and restoration of water cycles.

The full article (with accompanying photo essay) digs deep into the rural culture of the West, trying to suss out whether America’s ranchers and farmers will really change their work habits en masse. Maybe, maybe not.

Creative shopping

Getting food to the people

October 4, 2011

Regular Culinate contributor Twilight Greenaway has a new gig as Grist’s food editor. Her food-politics reporting so far has included stories on the agricultural exploitation of teenage workers, the dirty secrets of the organic-strawberry industry, and the importance of farmland conservation.

Most inspiring might be her article about converting shipping containers into grocery stores. The idea is a blend of a mobile mart and a permanent grocery: you can put one pretty much anywhere, and operate it as long as you want. The prototype — put up by Stockbox Grocersopened recently in Seattle. Will a new kind of mini-mart be opening soon in a parking lot near you? Stay tuned.

The food and drink issue

With a manifesto from Mark Bittman

October 3, 2011

The fourth annual issue of the New York Times Sunday magazine dedicated entirely to food and drink came out yesterday.

Mark Bittman’s precise yet passionate introduction is a manifesto for better eating, while Michael Pollan’s answers to reader questions include his takes on such topics as genetically engineered food and organic food.

Here’s just one takeaway from Bittman: “There is the personal, and there is the political. As well as you might feed yourself and your kids, the food ‘system’ is still out there, stuffing some people and starving others, poisoning the earth and the air, destroying cultures everywhere.”

Sift archive — October 2011

Our Table

Joy of Cooking app

A new tool for the kitchen

The latest in our collection of cooking apps.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice