Friday Faves No. 128

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Happy 2015! We took an break from the blog over the holidays. We rested. We planned. We drank Champagne and ate lots of cookies. Here's a few stories that caught our eye.

A clip (above) from one of our new favorite boards on Pinterest — all food illustrations.
Have you been to visit us on Pinterest yet? Come over

7 Ways The Utensils You Use Change The Taste Of Food. The shape, weight and color of your cutlery can significantly alter the way you perceive the fundamental aspects of food, from how sweet it tastes to how much you think it costs. (Fast Company)

ConAgra food truck. Where to begin... (Modern Farmer)

Getting bumpsy and poggled: A History of 'Drunk' Words, a new book explains the evolution of synonyms for "intoxicated," including how English got "wasted," "bombed," and "lit." (Atlantic) 

A great interview with Ruth Richel on restaurant reviews. (OpenTable)

Foie gras is back on the right side of the law in California. And it's all anyone wants to talk about. (Eater)

Sherry with a Chance of Onion Rings What to expect next year in restaurants, bars, cookbooks and more. (Tasting Table)

Barbarians at the farm gate. Hardy investors are seeking a way to grow their money. "Farmland has been a great investment over the past 20 years, certainly in America, where annual returns of 12% caused some to dub it “gold with a coupon”. In America and Britain, where tax incentives have distorted the market, it outperformed most major asset classes over the past decade, and with low volatility to boot." For more money to flow in, financiers and farmers will have to learn a lot more about each other....Farm investing requires patience; it is ill-suited to flipping and trading. But those willing to climb over the barriers could reap big rewards. The investment thesis is as simple as they come, as Mark Twain realised long ago: “Buy land, they’re not making it any more.” (Economist)

This Icelandic Chef Has Use for Your Marijuana Grow Lights (Munchies — have we told you yet how much we love this food site?) 

Let's Talk Chicken — everything you ever wanted to know about your favorite bird, but were afraid to ask. (On Point)

Best armchair travel piece: Profile of The Hunter-Gatherer Chef of the Scottish Highlands (Gear Patrol)

Christmas might be over, but it's never to late to up your baking game. Listen to Science Friday's Cookie Science Secrets (Science Friday)


Friday Faves No. 127

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

A brief history of how the rich and poor eat in an excellent photo essay (image above). Be sure to use the center tab that drags left and right for the full picture. (Independent) 

Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables: A new four-part series exploring how thousands of laborers at Mexico's mega-farms endure harsh conditions and exploitation while supplying produce for American consumers. "They want us to take such great care of the tomatoes, but they don't take care of us." (LATimes)

Taking the message to the people, ‘Black Brunch’ organizers put protest on the menu at restaurants in Oakland, California. (KQED)

I like pig butts and I cannot lie: 16 of the best food T-shirts you need to own  (Food & Wine)

Futuristic Fungi: Austria-based Livin Studio has created a process to cultivate edible fungi that digests plastic as it grows in photos and a video. (Dezeen)

Women's work on US farms remains under counted. "Women have always worked in agriculture, historically. I think a key issue is whether or not it's counted," says Julie Zimmerman, a rural sociologist at the University of Kentucky who studies how women's roles on the farm have changed over time. "If you see working on your farm as being part of your role as the spouse or the wife, as helping out, then you might not even recognize it as being 'working on the farm,' even if you're doing it all the time." (NPR)

Gilbert & Sullivan lives! A Champagne kerfuffle has arisen in Britain's Parliament. "During budget negotiations meant to impose some belt-tightening measures, the House of Lords refused to merge their catering services with their lowly counterparts in the House of Commons because 'the Lords feared that the quality of Champagne would not be as good if they chose a joint service.'" The Lords bought 17,000 bottles of Champagne since 2010 at a cost of $417,000. (via Wine Spectator)

Friday Faves No. 126

our favorite finds from the front lines of food


A new way to wear your dinner (above). "Hatanaka, a Japanese manufacturer specializing in highly realistic plastic food replicas for restaurants, recently entered the fashion business with their line of food replica jewelry and accessories on their website." (Laughing Squid)

Further confusing consumables and wearables, a new fabric has been created using Harris Tweed that will permanently give off the smell of whisky. (BBC)

If your meal was good, but your server stinks, this restaurant in LA will let you tip just the cooks. (Food & Wine)

Budget Problems? Kentuckyand Elsewhere Find Answer in Bottle “'A key factor is the growing interest in American whiskey,” said Frank Coleman, a spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council. 'Then obviously you have all these ancillary economic impacts,' he said, such as sales of bottles, corn used to make bourbon, and tourism." (New York Times)

Made in China, the boutique version. "The conventional wisdom—or cliché—is that China can reproduce Western manufacturing or technology overnight, but European artisanal culinary delicacies that have evolved over generations are all but impossible to replicate. And yet, even apart from wine, there are dozens of small producers in China who are now attempting to do just that, with surprising success. Truffles, burrata cheese, prosciutto, feta, Roquefort, baguettes, foie gras—almost every Western gourmet item has been tackled by Chinese entrepreneurs for a new audience of adventurous diners." (WSJ via Punch)

SciShow Explains the Chemistry Behind What Makes Spicy Things Taste ‘Hot’ and Minty Things Taste ‘Cool’  (via Laughing Squid)

To the theme of what's (really) old is new again: Mead  (Food & Wine)

Friday Faves No. 125

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Strong commentary brought to us as a collaboration between the Guardian newspaper and the Royal Court theatre-makers: Britain Isn't Eating. This micro-play satirizes the coalition government's approach to food banks and the 'feckless poor'.  Something to keep in mind as the holidays approach. (Guardian)

Everything old is new (or should be) again! Iconic chefs, such as  Ferran Adria, head to Brazil to talk about biodiversity and what it truly means to eat local. (NPR)

We are all now familiar with the tyranny of the pumpkin spiced everything, but Just What Is In Pumpkin Spice Flavor? (Hint: Not Pumpkin)  (NPR)

Pumpkins, manure, burning cars and riot police. There's nothing more French than a strike. "French farmers unions organized a nationwide day of protest yesterday, staging demonstrations in villages and cities across France. Thousands turned out, expressing their anger at collapsing prices (due in part to sanctions against Russia), increased environmental regulations, cheap imports, and high costs." (Atlantic)

Time to give Port a chance: Wine Spectator names a Port as Wine of the Year and you should probably be drinking more of it. (Food Republic)

Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize is November 19th so we are taking a quick look back into a October 2012 issue of Saveur Magazine's 'Cassava Nation' article. As the temperature drops dive into a dish of steamy banana leaf tamales, pumpkin bread, or a rich and hearty seafood soup. It makes us all warm inside just thinking about it! (Saveur)

Unilever (Hellmann's Mayonnaise) vs Hampton Creek (Mayo): who has the right to be called real "mayo"? It doesn't look like this will be resolved in time for your left over turkey this coming Thanksgiving. (New York Times)

Friday Faves No. 124

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Wine, women and television: Red Wine Is the Drink of Choice on ‘Scandal’ and ‘The Good Wife’ "The way wine is used as a character device in shows like these can tell us a lot about how wine is viewed in popular culture. As much as a small group of wine lovers would like to believe wine has gone mainstream, in fact its portrayal on television as a character prop suggests that many Americans still view it as somehow effete, foreign or, at least, no different than any other alcoholic beverage. (New York Times)

Boldly going where no cafe has gone before, a new science-inspired restaurant opens in MIT's backyard of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The restaurant, Cafe ArtScience has a sister incubator / exhibit space called Le Laboratoire. "Le Laboratoire also has been where Edwards incubates his many offshoot companies. Theres’s WikiFoods, a company that develops edible food skins that are looking to replace plastic packaging and the oPhone, a gadget that sends olfactory messages." (Wired)

Africa's Slow Food, in pictures: "This year Lavazza Coffee and Petrini collaborated on Lavazza’s annual Earth Defenders Calendar to celebrate the farmers of Africa’s Slow Food movement—individuals who safeguard the land, crops and resources in their local communities. The 2015 calendar, featuring photography by Steve McCurry, is a sumptuous visual treat that opens a window into a culture and livelihood most of us know very little about." Proceeds for all calendar sales will go to the “10,000 Food Gardens in Africa” project. (Forbes)

Guilty pleasure read: Jeremiah Tower — just the name is memory lane of 1970s and 80s California cuisine. Is he coming back on the scene? The writer John Birdsall on Tower: "as a know-nothing kid cooking in San Francisco in the late 1980s, I envied and feared Tower like nobody else I ever thought about. Jeremiah was the Jay Gatsby of my own longing for ascendancy, the distant idol of my ambitions, trailed by a rumor-fueled narrative of trouble that, to me, only made him more heroic." (Eater)

Friday Faves No. 123

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Happy Halloween!

Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar "This day is a joyous occasion; it's a time to gather with everyone in your family, those alive and those dead," says Hayes Lavis, cultural arts curator for the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. (NPR)

DIY destruction: Illegal foragers are stripping UK forests of fungi. “In rural areas, foraging is fine if you are picking for your own personal use. But the difference with Epping Forest is that it is on the doorstep of the millions of people in London and can even be reached by tube train. (Guardian)

How Benu’s Corey Lee Attained the ‘Unattainable’ Third Michelin Star On writing his upcoming cookbook and how that influenced him: "Writing the book and going through the process of writing that book was, I think, really important in the evolution of our restaurant. The moment you start to explain things or articulate ideas that just live in your head, you start to understand them a lot more and I think that's really focused the identity of the restaurant in the past year or two. That book was really a catalyst for the way our food has evolved and the kind of menu that we do now." (Eater)

The Digitized, Home-Delivered Future Of Our Food Supply Will going to the grocery store be history? How the online order and delivery business is reshaping our food economy. (On Point)

Shut Up and Eat : A foodie repents A thoughtful piece on the endless food chatter. "The first time I quit restaurant reviewing, in 1995, I remember thinking that the fascination with food was a bubble: we had reached Peak Food. I may never have been more wrong about anything." (New Yorker)

With candy, you know you're eating sugar. It shouldn't be sneaky. John Oliver, as usual, does a great job taking it to the sugar industry. Via Grist 

Friday Faves No. 122

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

We've been seeing glimpses of fish skin leather for years, but now the big kids of design are getting into it. Prada, Dior and Nike are finding a fashionable new purpose for fish skins. Fish leftovers are often turned into meal for animals, but top brands are turning fish skin into leather

21 Food Words & Phrases That We Should All Probably Quit Using  A list of food writing pet-peeves from the twee (sammy, delish) to the philosophical (sinful: "Eating is pleasure and sustenance, not sin. Don't mix the two.) Amen. (Kitchn)

So book trailers are a thing — and this pastry one is totally out there! Prepare for confusion. First there was Thug Kitchen now this for Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts. Warning: Both are NSFW.

Whole Foods to Chobani: Please Leave Was it because they got too big, or because they're not green enough compared to other, smaller producers?  (Inc.)

Supreme court backs California's foie gras ban (Guardian)

A Peek Inside the Lunchbox Museum in Columbus Georgia, the largest collection of antique lunch boxes in the world, with all your childhood faves (1930-80's) from Hopalong Cassidy to Mork & Mindy.  (Honest Cooking)

Take note aspiring food business people: Our friends at Local Food Lab are taking their business training show on the road with one-day intensive workshops across the US. 

Friday Faves No. 121

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Bug Power: Cricket Flour and power bars (above): "With Millennials particularly adventurous when it comes to food and the protein trend still on the upswing, these products have a decent chance of gaining traction." (JW Intelligence)

I'm not a chef, but I play one on TV: why stars are lining up to play chefs? Bradley Cooper is in London playing a chef in a movie that follows a spate of documentaries starring some of gastronomy’s most esteemed avatars  (Guardian) 

Go ahead and blame your parents: Scientists say DNA determines coffee consumption.  (PBS Newshour)

A new restaurant concept allows New Yorkers to sample the fare of talented chefs from all over the country. (New York Times)

Jancis Robinson Swears by Milk Thistle Supplements, Says Mexican Wine Is the Future (Food & Wine)

Is Scotch Whisky the new liquid gold? A rare whisky index is compiling data.  (Telgraph)

If you're trying to be the happiest place on Earth, a little bubbly never hurts. Disney get's its own branded Champagne. (Drinks Business)

Friday Faves No. 120

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

The illustrated sound of frying food in other languages. In English, we say fried eggs "SIZZLE," but in China they go "ZIZI."  (First We Feast)

The Hard And Soft Rules Of Apple Cider Cider sure isn't new, but it's surge in the market is making news.  Check out this full hour radio segment. (On Point)

The gluten police are coming: a new portable device lets diners test foods for gluten. (Eater)

For the stylish bootlegger who like their household objects to multi-task: The Prohibition Kit comprises a fully-functioning cooking pot, fondue stove, fruit bowl and watering can that can be combined to brew alcohol at home. "Producing schnapps, liquor or alcohol is very restricted by the law in most countries," says Morackini. "The separated elements are legal but put together the objects become illegal. I wanted to explore the limit of legislation." (Dezeen)

Charles Spence: the food scientist changing the way we eat An Oxford professor’s research into what affects flavour, from who we eat with to background noise, has influenced food-industry giants and top chefs alike. Now his new book brings food science to the home cook, too. (Guardian)

New York, the World's Greatest Wine City: Swaggering sommeliers, intrepid importers, sophisticated consumers—why even French Champagne producers agree New York is the greatest town for grape. "In New York, wines are decontextualized," he said. In other words, everything has an equal shot—whether it is a bottle from Bordeaux, Rioja or the Priorat. There is no regional bias to overcome. As Mr. Little stated, "It's the most egalitarian city in the world." (WSJ)

Seattle Assesses Fine to Homeowners for Wasting Food "In an effort to encourage residents to stop wasting food, the city council passed an ordinance this last Monday that allows households to be fined $1 each time that garbage collectors find more than 10 percent of organic waste in their garbage bins."
(Triple Pundit)

Friday Faves No. 119

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Great things come in small packages with seafood too, especially at Tincan, a new London pop-up that serves only canned seafood(Guardian)

The Vocabulary of Food — reading menus through politics and pretensions, and a cool-sounding new book, “The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu” (New York Times)

Ever wonder what the Waldorf Astoria was serving for dinner in 1917? The New York Public Library has made available a digital archive of menus through the years.  So far: 1,302,722 dishes transcribed from 17,376 menus

If we could get rid of all that pesky running, this is a marathon we could really get into: The Marathon du Médoc: a full marathon with 23 wine stops, costumes, oysters, steak, and ice-cream. (Guardian) 

Ralph Lauren has gotten into the coffee business to spiff up your breakfast. And there's a snazzy vintage truck and copy right out of a perfume ad: “The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories for me, mostly of time spent with friends and family; the people I love.” (Luxury Daily)

After 25 Years, Food Arts Magazine Folds Who will fill the gap? (Eater)

Friday Faves No. 118

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

These 5 Crops (including the beautiful vanilla, above) Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work  (NPR)

Could Great Lakes Fisheries Be Revived Through Fish Farms? "The reality is that the native Great Lakes wild fishery is in a state of general collapse...If we're going to have locally available fish, it has to come from fish farms." The concerns trade on the assumption that's there's only one way to raise fish. (NPR)

The back of your fridge is a perfectly good babysitter for your starter, but for some, it's the new frontier in helicopter "parenting." (Guardian)

Downton Abby and The Sopranos have had their own cookbook. Now its Portlandia's turn.
Check out the guides below and do head over the cookbook's website to play with the incredible menu generator, spitting out brilliant dishes like "dehydrated wild roses salad of cabbage blossoms" and "communal veal with inverted asparagus and a charred yeast brew paste." (Eater)

Nomiku Sous-Vide Cooking Immersion Tool Adds a Larger Screen and Wi-Fi, available for home cooks. Awesome idea or food poisoning generator? (Laughing Squid)

Sing Along Snacks: Cookin' and Jammin

It's never too early or too late for a snack, so crank up that volume on your computer.

The characters of British animated series Rastamouse spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And, since the show has its own band in da Easy Crew, there must be singing and dancing.

Brace yourself for a serious dose of cuteness, and one of the most adorable ear worms around.

"Pots and pans are all a bangin'

Spoons and forks and knives are clangin'

All that time we be a spendin', spicin', whiskin', shakin', blendin'

Cookin' and jammin"

Friday Faves No. 117

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Plop, plop, Fizz, fizz — Champagne house Veuve Clicquot is investigating a hoax by a Russian marketing agency about the supposed release of Veuve-branded tablets.  (Drinks Business)

Russians React To Western Food Ban With Pride, Resignation "Take the Soviet times: Everything was Soviet, everyone ate Soviet, Russia didn't depend on the West — so there's nothing to worry about." No Champagne for them. (NPR)

We can now raise a lot of food, but how we consume it and continue to grow is critical: How Humans Deal With A Changing Natural Environment MacArthur “genius” Ruth DeFries looks at humanity’s long, deep integration with nature – and what comes next. (On Point)

For those who love a graphic, check out 40 maps that explain food in America from farming politics to plain goofy stuff.  (Vox)

Last week all the super cool kids were in Copenhagen for MAD4 Cool bit of news: Chefs Roy Choi of the L.A.-based Kogi and San Francisco-based chef Daniel Patterson of Coi to "supplant the fast-food chains and convenience stores that separate out youth from the taste of real food." The pair plan to open Loco’l — a high-quality, affordably priced fast-food chain — in the spring of 2015 on the West Coast, with the rest of the country to follow. We can't wait to check it out. (New York Times)

Friday Faves No. 116

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Not just for extreme sports anymore, a GoPro camera films the poaching of an egg, above. (via Food Politic)

Five Ripple Effects from Russia's food ban. In Finland "Putin cheese" is flying off the shelves. (Modern Farmer)

Food politics go micro as Brittan rages over the Bakes Alaska Incident. Really, the only thing better than a baking smackdown is one that's televised, and then narrated by social media.  #GBBO (BuzzFeed)

Are Broccoli Stalks the Next Kale? If you're looking for tomorrow's hot ingredients—and today's top values—start with the compost bin. How different foods go from trash to treat to trite. On whether trends can have lasting impact: Of course, there is a limit to how long any ingredient can command the full glare of the spotlight. "Look at olive oil," Mr. Sax offered. "It probably peaked as a trend sometime in the late '90s, but extra-virgin olive oil is now the oil everyone has in the cupboard. The novelty has worn off, and it has become part of the culture." (Wall Street Journal)

Our default image of the new farmer should probably be a woman. The article 'Mother Nature’s Daughters' explores why almost everyone working in urban agriculture is female. (Seriously, almost everyone.) Some theorize that it's the lack of cash: “People don’t expect to be paid very much doing this work...It’s a labor of love to a certain extent. I don’t think we’ve come up with a hard and fast model to pay people exceedingly well for doing nonprofit urban-farming work.” (New York Times)

Glad someone is thinking seriously about how we're going to live in space: Ardbeg distillery anticipates zero gravity single malt's return to Earth to study the aging process. "This is one small step for man but one giant leap for whisky, and the team hope to uncover how flavours develop in different gravitational conditions - findings which could revolutionize the whisky-making process." (Guardian)

Back on Earth, diner chain Denny’s, staple of the American road trip, is opening its first restaurant in Manhattan, an "upscale" location featuring a $300 Champagne ‘Grand Slam’ (Laughing Squid)

Friday Faves No. 115

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Why Vegetables Get Freakish In The Land Of The Midnight Sun Those suckers would make some serious golabki, aka Polish cabbage rolls. (NPR)

We've been fans of Scotland for a while, so it's great to see the country's food scene getting some attention from US media. You can check out foodie Scotland in the 36 hrs in Glasgow  with video and a review of the Raeburn in Edinburgh and its "modern Scottish locavore cuisine."  (New York Times) And of course there was this great article, Haggis Redux, that argues that "a new generation of chefs is taking the stodge out of Scottish cuisine, while paying proper respect to tradition." (Food Arts)

US-produced camel milk is hitting the mainstream. It's now on sale at Whole Foods. "Camel milk advocates reference studies demonstrating that the anti-inflammatory beverage will soothe symptoms of Crohn’s disease, IBS and diabetes thanks to its low sugar content and high levels of protein and vitamin C."  (Modern Farmer)

As the value of the world’s top fine wines continues to decline, investors are increasingly turning to rare single malt Scotch and Japanese whisky instead. (Drinks Business)

Musical farming: As we approach the end of summer, even cattle like a free outdoor concert, like in this video of unconventional herding.

Friday Faves No. 114

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

When farmers are working so hard to grow vegetables, it's crazy that we would let any go to waste for superficial reasons like irregular looks. French supermarket Intermarché launched an ingenious campaign to get people eating more vegetables while reducing food waste. A two-minute video explain the project.  (JW Intelligence)

One of the strongest food reads this week is the OpEd Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers (and it's by a shellfish and seaweed farmer). And then some interesting letters to the editors get in on the topic. (New York Times)

Oh great, just what we needed: more corn. Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat For Corn  (NPR)

Consumers are demanding antibiotic-free meat, and Big Food is starting to listen (even if our politicians are still mostly ignoring us) Alas, antibiotic free meat is still just about 5% of the total US supply. Sense of urgency please.... (PRI/The World)

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Food  "Twenty-six people, places, and ingredients are changing the way we eat right now" from Appalachian food to Moonshine Universtiy. (Garden & Gun)

Cashew Juice, the Apple of Pepsi’s Eye  "Pepsi is betting that the tangy, sweet juice from cashew apples can be the next coconut water or açaí juice....The demanding demographic group known as millennials, as well as new consumers among the world’s emerging middle class, have a restless appetite that is driving food companies to experiment on a grand scale with flavors and ingredients whose appeal until recently were largely local." (New York Times)