Friday Faves. No. 144

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

This week's Faves is all about innovation. 


Lettuce in space! Astronauts at the International Space Station have grown their first crop in space (with a cool little video). (New York Times)

There's plenty of farming innovation happening down here on Earth too. As populations rise, arable land shrinks and the Earth grows warmer, we look at how technology and big data are coming deep into American farming. Link to full audio. (On Point/NPR)

There are even farming innovations going on under the sea as underwater pod farms off the coast of Italy experiment with growing strawberries, basil and lettuce.  “That [meeting future food demands] is the aim, and it could be a sustainable way of agriculture,” he says. “Not just local businesses, but for large parts of the world. Starting from Middle Eastern and tropical countries such as the Maldives, where there is not much [suitable] soil or fresh water ... [to] southern California, which is experiencing droughts.” (Guardian)

A Spanish community innovation: To Cut Food Waste, Spain's Solidarity Fridge Supplies Endless Leftovers "Here, food is sacrosanct — it's something that's venerated. We have one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in the world...So we value eating well, and conserving food. It's part of our culture, and the Solidarity Fridge is part of that." (NPR)

Even sommeliers are getting bold and experimental. There is a conspiracy in London to get you drinking more interesting wines. (Bloomberg)

Friday Faves No. 143

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Artists Transform Coffee Spills Into Masterpieces, like in the above by Maria Aristidou. (NPR)

Why everyone who is sure about a food philosophy is wrong. Food and philosophy don't mix, the author argues. "Here’s why. Food is a constant tug-of-war between people and planet. We can’t feed ourselves without doing environmental harm." (Washington Post)

The US is the world’s “most attractive” wine market while China has fallen out of the top five according to a new Wine Intelligence report. (Drinks Business)

Pot for foodies: Is marijuana the next California cuisine? "Flour Child’s line of jams and granolas, in contrast, are everything that resonates with the Bay Area culinary ethos circa 2015: local, seasonable, sustainably grown, free of chemicals, perhaps a wee bit precious. They represent a new class of medical marijuana products — meant to be savored for their taste, not just for their ability to turn an eater into a puddle of goo." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Friday Faves No. 142

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

An uni habit can make you more than broke — it can get you high. At least that's what we read on Munchies, along with this great photo, above. (Munchies)

Drought-Stricken California Farmers Look To Tap Urban Wastewater. California could be using two to three times more wastwater. However, "It's not the single silver bullet solution for agriculture. Agriculture is going to have to do a lot of things to adapt to a future of less water availability." (NPR)

Organic farms don't have the tiny carbon footprint they like to tout. But they could. "If you look at the USDA standards for organically produced goods, you will find that the soil management practices necessary to promote carbon sequestration are encouraged, but not required. Instead, the USDA uses its seal to create a ceiling and a floor for organic practices, allowing organic to be a profitable industry. It no longer matters, at least within conventional grocery markets, if one farmer’s organic standards result in higher green house gas emissions than another because, in the eyes of the consumer at, say, Whole Foods, they are the same. But the Earth’s climate will definitely know the difference." (Guardian)

A Renaissance painting reveals how breeding changed watermelons. If you're curious about the fruit and vegetables of the past, hit the art museum. (Vox)

Can Craft Beer Truly Express a Sense of Place? Many of the ingredients used in craft beer are produced at an industrial scale and traded as commodities, but "there are a number of experimental breweries that are gathering yeast from their region and isolating it for the purpose of creating beer that better reflects its place." (PUNCH)

The drive-thru grocery store is happening, thanks to Amazon. "The e-commerce giant is developing a new drive-up store concept in Silicon Valley that will allow consumers to order grocery items online, then schedule a pickup at a dedicated facility, according to industry sources familiar with Amazon’s plans. If confirmed, the project could signal a new distribution strategy for Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, while adding an additional threat to a grocery industry already in the throes of change." (Biz Journals via Specialty Food News)

Friday Faves No.141

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Comedian Jeff Wysaki recently pranked a grocery store with helpful in-store “tips.” While a baguette lightsaber battle sounds super fun, we know it would eventually lead to “Clean-up on aisle three”. (Bored panda)

How does the saying go? “If you can’t stand the heat, don’t play Doritos roulette.”  OK, maybe not quite, but 14-year old Beth Leybourn “thought I was going to die.” (The Guardian)

Cheese gives us gas! No, it’s not what you think. First Milk, a U.K. based dairy, will open a dairy-cum-power plant that is expected to generate 1,000 cubic meters of biogas per day. (Munchies)

Looks like Budweiser stirred up a hornet's nest this past week. The self-proclaimed ‘King of Beer’ took on the San Francisco based craft brewery 21st Amendment in the twitter-sphere with a derogatory tweet about their beloved seasonal offering called Hell or High Watermelon.  As one customer called out, this may not have been the best target for a company that produces Shock Top Raspberry Wheat.  (SF Weekly)

The connection between emotional health and food just got stronger. Scientists have now documented that beneficial bacteria play a critical role in how we function. If yogurt is the new Prozac, what is kimchi? (NPR, The Salt)

Sing Along Snacks: Clams Have Feelings Too

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

We don't get many Sing Along Snacks submissions, but we love it when we do. This one of NOFX's Clams Have Feelings Too is from our friend Ray at Aloha Seafood in San Francisco.

"No chowder for you, 'cause clams have feelings too
Actually they don't have central nervousness
No manhatten style, clams have the right to smile
Come to think about it, they don't have a face"

Friday Faves No. 140

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

In summer everything slows down, including our blog posting. This Friday Faves is a smattering of some of our favorite stories from the past few weeks. 

A team at MIT has devised away for you to get the last of the sauce out of the jar. LiquiGlide, A New Surface Coating Developed to Let Food and Other Products Slide Easily Out of Their Container  (Laughing Squid)

When Will Native American Food Finally Get Its Due? Most people don't know what plants are native to the Americas, much less what Native American cuisine consists of. (Eater)

Is It Time to Table Farm-to-Table? Sure, this one is full of snark, but also some very good points. (Vanity Fair)

In fast food news, Amy's Kitchen is opening its first all-vegetarian drive-thru restaurant in Sonoma County, California, this month, and McDonald's tries to reach out to a new bike-riding market with new take-away tote. "The packaging then unfolds, revealing two little pockets where the fries and burger have been gently cocooned during the commute. It’s like a little fat- and sugar-filled purse, and it’s great." Well, great except for the actual food. (Well and Good / Wired)

Sweden's wine industry? There is a whole world of wine coming out way. Says one winemaker: “I like to compare Sweden to Central Otago on South Island in New Zealand – the world’s most southerly wine region. It now has some of the best pinot noirs, but for years they said it was impossible because it was too cold.” (Guardian)

Back here at home, new hybrid grapes help grow wine industry. Did you know Indiana even had a signature wine grape? "Across the country we've seen a huge expansion in wine and grape production and wine-related tourism," said Bruce Reisch, who leads Cornell University's wine and grape research and development program in New York's Finger Lakes. (Press Connects via Specialty Food News)

Google Street View Goes Inside California Wine Country The map tool's panoramic views expand to include vineyards, tasting rooms and barrel cellars. (Wine Spectator)

Brew Dog is coming to America — to make beer here. Columbus, Ohio is the lucky destination. (FoodBev Media)

Will we ever be rid of the great Pacific Garbage Patch? Hopefully, yes. The world's first ocean cleaning system will be deployed in 2016. (Minds)

Amazon Plans to Add Its Own Line of Food — Milk, baby food and household products would carry Elements label. "Private labels have become a vital business for mass-market retailers, generating stronger margins and building loyalty with consumers who no longer view generic products as lower quality." (WSJ)

 

Sing Along Snack: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

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

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by the Platters might not be about food exactly, but it come to mind on summer days. This one is dedicated to all you amateur BBQ jockeys out there, standing by the grill tomorrow for the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day!

"Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies, smoke gets in your eyes"

Friday Faves No. 139

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

We resisted watching this, but then, Schadenfreude can be sweet: Hugh Acheson Made Kris Jenner's Nachos And if you still haven't had your fill: The 23 Most Ridiculous Lines From Kris Jenner's Kookbook (yeah, that's how she's spelling it). 1) On her casual taste in dishware: "I am notorious for my table settings and my dishes. If I'm cooking an Italian meal, I will grab my red Hermès china to go with the red sauce." (Eater)

Marketing rule #1 — don't insult your customers. Sexist beer ads: why it's time for a cold, hard rethink. "There is a powerful business case for beer companies to abandon the puerile misogyny and step into the 21st century. The Daily Mail reports that the number of female beer drinkers in the UK has doubled to 1.3 million in recent years, and that women make up 31% of weekly beer drinkers." And the real shocker: "The study, which examined nearly 40,000 banner adverts over a six month period, is perhaps another suggestion that sticking a semi-naked woman next to a product isn’t necessarily the most inventive or effective way to sell it." (Guardian)

Ivory Coast president tours country's first chocolate factory. Chocolate to be made in Ivory Coast for first time despite country being the world’s biggest grower of cocoa beans. "Despite its French ownership, the plant represents a small victory in the continent’s battle to profit from its natural resources instead of exporting them to be processed elsewhere." (Guardian)

Does A Pig Fed With Green Tea Taste Better? Some farmers in Japan think so. Apparently, it works with goats too. (Modern Farmer)

A nice personal essay from David Chang on how war and scarcity can shape a culinary legacy. "At the end of the day, you’re not born a great cook. It’s something you have to learn, and you need something to work with." (Lucky Peach)

The Piggly Wiggly way: Businesses should think carefully about continuing to heap work on their customers. Lots of interesting points here: "The reason why so many people feel overworked these days is that they are constantly being asked to do “unseen” jobs by everybody from Amazon to the Internal Revenue Service to the local school board. And the reason why they feel so alienated is that they spend so much time pressing buttons and speaking to machines rather than interacting with other people." And: "If [businesses] never meet their customers, they will lose touch with them. And although self-service is great for saving costs, its effect over time is to train customers to shop on price, and thus to switch as soon as a slightly cheaper rival comes along." (Economist)

'It's like eating a hedgerow': why do hop shoots cost €1,000 a kilo? Sounds like a bit much to pay for something described as "kale-like," but if people are willing to pay... (Guardian)

Sing Along Snacks: Jamaica Jamaica

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

As farmers market season gets into full swing, Brigadier Jerry sings about veggies and marketing in Jamaica Jamaica. It's like a shopping list you can dance to.

"I-man borrow my brother van
was making a truck going over these hills, man
to check my grandfather who is a farmer
Lord! who live inna Manchester area....

(He) give me 17 bunch 'a 'di green, green banana
34 pound 'a 'di Irish potatoe
55 pounds of the sweet sweet cassava
Lord, 'im neva have no tomatoe
'im neva have no tomatoe"

Friday Faves No. 138

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

This Morbid Artist Serves Her Cake with a Side of Death (like above, and much more through the link made from chocolate) "The chocolate project came about as kind of a natural progression of having switched to an edible medium,” de Vetten explains. “I was reading Dr. Paul Koudounaris’ book Empire of Death and was marveling once again at the painted skulls displayed in the Ossuary of St. Michael in Halstatt, Austria, and it occurred to me that I could make myself one, in chocolate. I hadn’t really thought about if that would be something my customers would want or aimed at selling. It was just something I wanted to own and as I couldn’t have a real one I made one from chocolate."  (Munchies)

Astoundingly Realistic Candy Animals Skillfully Crafted Using the Traditional Japanese Art of Amezaiku gives a cuter version of sugar art. (Laughing Squid)

Why your next food porn will come from Ethiopia Really, it's about time. (CNN) 

The All-Stars of Stadium Snacks From the best pie in English football to Baltimore’s crab cakes, we serve up the tastiest game-day grub (Mr. Porter)

'Tales' Of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming And Humane Bacon with Barry Estabrook Good commentary, but not an easy listen. (NPR)

As if you didn't already know that kombucha was up to no good; it's now part of an LA cult bust. (Jezebel)

Is it aliens, or is your microwave talking to you? At one observatory in Australia they were. Rogue Microwave Ovens Are the Culprits Behind Mysterious Radio Signals (National Geographic)

Decaying City Just Wants To Skip To Part Where It Gets Revitalized Restaurant Scene “Sure, we’ll eventually see lobster roll stands and high-end noodle bars popping up on every corner, but that could take years or even decades. Let’s just skim over all the gang turf disputes and burnt-out streetlights and go straight to blocks lined with stores specializing in key lime pies, locally sourced butcher shops, and gourmet empanada places. That honestly seems like the way to go.” (The Onion)

Friday Faves No. 137

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Woman walks Paris marathon with a bucket on her head to talk about water. Gambian woman Siabatou Sanneh (above) displays a sandwich board which translates as "In Africa women walk this distance each day for drinking water" as she carries a jerrycan of water on her head while walking the route of the 39th Paris Marathon in Paris, on April 12, 2015, to raise awareness for the cause of charity "Water for Africa." (CBS News)

The Guardian explores the brave new world of food packaging language. From ‘family owned’ and ‘created with love’, to ‘hand crafted’ and ‘authentic’, food-packet rhetoric is now mainly in the business of selling nice feelings...A brand of snack bars is made “in small batches at our own makery”. Makery? I am guessing that “makery” is a portmanteau for “made-up bakery.” (Guardian)

The language fight is getting ugly: MillerCoors Sued For Selling Blue Moon As A Craft Beer (Consumerist)

Human mind wired for marketing through storytelling, says Forrester analyst “Decision making is not rational and it is not rational in business-to-business either,” said Laura Ramos, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, San Francisco. “You wouldn’t know that from looking at content because in B2B, you think if you put all the facts out there of course consumers will make the right choice.” (Luxury Daily)

Who needs New Nordic? Giving Northern (North American) Cuisine Its Due "Both at sea and far inland, chefs from some of the chillier regions of North America are making an effort to dive deeper into their habitat. From New England up through the Maritime Provinces of Canada and west to Montreal and Toronto, they are doing culinary work that poses questions without simple answers: What exactly is Northern cooking? And how do you make that identity clear and compelling to diners?" (New York Times)

Michelin Star Chef Turns Spring Fashion into Culinary Masterpieces (PSFK)

Better to eat vegetarian that a lot of industrial meat. The Nation’s First Vegetarian Public School Is Thriving "We had no focus on vegetarianism specifically," says Groff, the school’s principal. "If we were presented with a free-range, organic chicken, that’s something we would talk about." (Fast Company)

Friday Faves No. 136

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

This Brilliant Instagram Chef Is Making Junk Food Look Like Fine Dining. Above, one of the creations of “Chef Jacques Lamerde.” (via Buzz Feed)

If you have a food business you want to take bigger, Steve Case wants to hear your restaurant pitch. The deep-pocketed AOL founder is going on the road again to search for new investment vehicles, including restaurants, in off-the-beaten-path locations. (Restaurant Hospitality)

Out With The Caraway, In With The Ginger: 50 Years Of American Spice Consumption Why are people crazy for turmeric but dissing allspice? (FiveThirtyEight)

Wanted: chefs to cook for boatloads of seasick migrants. "The Migrant Offshore Aid Station, set up last year by Italian-American philanthropists, aims to rescue some of the record numbers of migrants capsizing while trying to reach Europe by sea. In an advertisement that riffs on the call-to-arms supposedly made 101 years ago by Ernest Shackleton as the explorer sought a team to reach the South Pole, MOAS is on the lookout for people to keep them all fed: 'Wanted: great chefs to brave the Mediterranean in exchange for an extraordinary adventure,” the advert reads. “Position is voluntary. Honour and recognition will follow in the event of success.'” (Guardian)

In the world of culinary letters and photography, the Saveur blog awards and James Beard Foundation book nominees are out.

In one more way to suck the fun out of life, menus will now have to list calorie counts for alcohol. At least the ruling will apply only to chain restaurants. (Wine Spectator)

Forget emoji — show someone you're thinking of them by sending a (real & drinkable) glass of Champagne. Moët & Chandon partners with new app Skosh to do just that during the Miami Open. “If you see a friend just received a new job in New York via LinkedIn, you can send a drink. If you want to send a glass of Champagne to your newly married friend on their honeymoon in Hawaii, you can send a drink. (Luxury Daily)

Sing Along Snacks: Candy

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

The Presidents of the United States rockin' some Candy in a live version at the Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia.

"Well the devil, she made sweet candy,
Took six days and nights to dream
On the seventh day she rested,
Woke up early and made ice cream
Now the devil, she must be a dentist
With deep jawbreaker eyes"

Friday Faves No. 135

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

 

If you ever thought you were the most cocktail obsessed person, you're wrong. The people who make ice sculptures with 3D printers (like above) and then put them in drinks win. (Food & Wine / FWx)

History of the Egg Cream "The sweet, frothy combination of bubbly seltzer, frosty cold milk and sugary chocolate syrup explains the enduring appeal of the egg cream. But the true origin of this classic American drink remains a delicious mystery. Despite the fact that there’s no egg and no cream, most New York natives have a story about the famous potable, and whether it was invented in Brooklyn or on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is a source of heated debate." The excellent song about Egg Cream by Lou Reed was a Sing Along Snack. (Imbibe)

Now available on Amazon — rental goats! Yes, really. They're "vegetation management experts" to you. (KUOW / NPR Seattle)

Gluten Free Museum Tumblr painstakingly removes gluten products from famous works of art. (Dangerous Minds)

Most irresistible headline of the week: How I Went From Being a Backstreet Boy Impersonator to a Sustainable Seafood Chef  You had us at Backstreet Boy Impersonator, but talking about working for healthy fisheries in the Bahamas isn't bad either. (Munchies)

Friday Faves No. 134

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

The house that Champagne built: a Russian man has built a house made almost entirely of Champagne bottles in the city of Chelyabinsk, where it is known as the “Palace of Oz.” It took 12,000 bottles, so you'd better start drinking if you want one of your own.(Drinks Business)

In hard new this week, the seafood world has been called out in an new AP Investigation: Are slaves catching the fish you buy? (AP)

Is the Strawberry Field The Next Farmworkers’ Rights Battleground? It's not just hard work, it's literaly poison: "Roman Pinal, the Southern California regional director for the United Farm Workers (UFW), says strawberry pickers are more susceptible to pesticide exposure than the average farmworker because the fields are more densely planted than other crops, meaning chemicals are being sprayed or are drifting closer to farmworkers. What’s more, compared to crops that are harvested once a season, strawberry plants produce fruit every two days—creating a situation where chemical management and harvesting occur “right on top” of each other, he says." (Civil Eats)

New waves of distilling have been a boost for rural areas, and that was the case in the 1920s and 30s too. Old Time Farm Crime: The Hooch Farmers of Templeton "Templeton Rye, “the good stuff,” was a hot commodity in Prohibition era Chicago, Kansas City and New York and its popularity helped save many a family farm in rural Northwest Iowa where the booze was illegally distilled by desperate farmers during the lean years of the 1920s and early-30s." (Modern Farmer)

'New Nordic' goes to the bar with Icelandic Birch Cocktails. (Huffington Post)

A Belgian chef Is making summer in a bottle with gin flavored with lobster. (Munchies)

Now Marriott has a magazine. You could too. Don't worry about all this new lingo. "Content" = stuff worth looking at that makes people like you. “Content marketing is a marathon; it’s not a sprint, said Lisa LaCour, vp of global marketing at content-recommendation platform Outbrain." (Digiday)

Scottish Langoustines

Just in time for Seafood Expo North America in Boston (SENA 2015), Polished is working with Scottish company Macduff Shellfish to launch a new product to the North American market — frozen clusters of Scottish langoustine tail meat chunks. 

The langoustines are wild-caught from a well-regulated fishery. The meat is not treated — just straight-up frozen shelled langoustine meat. The clusters are small, so chefs can quickly thaw just what they want to use. 

Quick thaw, Quick cook Pre-shelling means no labor in the kitchen and the tender, delicate meat cooks up in minutes. And because its frozen, chefs can keep it on hand to always have something for specials or a knock-out dish for a surprise VIP.

Menu Versatility Langoustine meat is at home cozied up to caviar as it is at the bar in a deviled egg, and it can be used to replace crab or shrimp in a variety of dishes. Check out the slide show — styled and shot by Polished — for inspiration. And if you're still hungry, there's more from around on the web on the Macduff Shellfish Pinterest page.