'food shortages' on Serious Eats

Breaking: Hope for Canned Pumpkin Shortage

Though the pumpkin crop wasn't so hot this year and some have flipped about a potentially apocalyptic canned pumpkin shortage, Whole Foods says settle down. According to an email from a PR representative we just received, the store has plenty of their Whole Foods Market 365 canned pumpkin in stock, in fact more than normal. The organic pumpkin crop didn't hurt as badly since it didn't face the same issues with fungus and mold. But if you still can't find the orange stuff, here are some pumpkin pie alternatives.... More

Pumpkin Pie Alternatives for Thanksgiving

[Photograph: Robyn Lee] The canned-pumpkin shortage is worse than originally predicted. If you were going to use this ingredient in your Thanksgiving pie this year but can't find it, we've come up with a list of alternative pies that don't use pumpkin. Why not try one of them this Thanksgiving? We give you 40 pumpkin-free recipes to consider (after the jump), but first, here's our favorite pie crust recipe: Cook's Illustrated's Foolproof Pie Dough. [Special @jaydeflix/simon addendum: You can always roast fresh pumpkins for your pumpkin pie—if you can find them; heavy rain this year has negatively affected pumpkin crops in parts of the U.S. Alternatively, Carri points out, "You can also use cooked butternut squash or yams in... More

Slim Jim Shortage in Effect

File this under "Because We Rarely Have Reason to Talk About Slim Jims": If you're wondering where your beloved beef jerky sticks are, there's a shortage due to a deadly explosion last month caused by a gas leak that destroyed the only Slim Jim plant in the country in Garner, North Carolina, and killed three employees. The company doesn't expect to meet full Slim Jim demand until fall. [via Best Week Ever] Update (7/13/09): Donations to the ConAgra Foods Garner Plant Fund are being accepted through United Way. BlueRidgeNow.com has a feature about the victims and their families. The factory will resume operations on July 27. ConAgra says there is no Slim Jim shortage.... More

Olive Oil Demand Creates Water Shortages in Europe

Photograph by roboppy on Flickr. Aggressive olive farming techniques for cheap, mass-produced olive oil now means extreme water shortages in Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Farms that produce the low-priced oils are driving out the small olive farmers who produce the quality goods—and are also leading to other "serious environmental problems" such as soil erosion. Inappropriate weed-control and soil control, combined with the inherently high risk of erosion in many olive-farming areas, is leading to desertification on a wide scale in some of the main producing regions. If these irresponsible farming methods continue, we might be demanding for butter instead of olive oil at our favorite restaurants.... More

Turkey's Pork Shortage (And It's Not 'Cause of the Food Crisis Either)

Eating pork is becoming increasingly popular in Turkey, but perhaps not for the reason you think. The BBC reports that many are blaming Turkey's dwindling pork industry on an Islam-backed agenda by the government, which is now primarily made up of Muslims. Butchers like Lazari Kozmaoglu—who calls himself the last pork butcher in Istanbul—have been around for more than 40 years, slicing and dicing for the locals, are now finding themselves in a tight spot: Lazari's being prevented from slaughtering pigs and the stock of meat in his freezer is running critically low.He owns an abattoir but the Agriculture Ministry has refused him a licence to operate it, saying it does not meet strict new regulations.Curiously, all the other slaughter... More

Quit Sitting on Your Hands Until People Love Organic Tomatoes!

According to Tom Philpott, the food editor of environmental site Grist.org, evangelists of the farmers' market movement like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters should quit simplifying the food shortage issue. Instead of arguing that expensive industrial foods will eventually drive people toward equally-pricey organic and sustainable eats, they should focus on the accessibility of these happier, healthier options.... More

If Running Out of Toilet Paper or Pickles Isn't Going to Get You to Costco, Maybe the Media Frenzy Will

Photograph from octal on Flickr The sky is falling! Or something. OK, OK, the increase in food prices is a reality. But if you need to read stories about Americans stockpiling and hoarding foodstuffs such as rice and flour, the Chicago Tribune has one, U.S. News & World Report has one titled "Should Shoppers Hoard Rice?" and the Wall Street Journal has one titled "Load Up the Pantry" (I kid not). Certainly, some degree of stockpiling was already going on, but the media is fanning the flames by running these much too-easy-to-write stories (send a reporter to Sam's Club! interview a man on the street!). And frankly, it's a little irresponsible. Literally instructing people to stockpile is only going to... More

In Videos: 'The Daily Show' on the Global Food Crisis

As global food shortages cause riots in East Africa, West Africa, Egypt, and elsewhere, Americans feel the effects in the form of Costco's limit on how many bags of rice they can buy. In a segment called C"Rice"Is in the U.S., We're All Gonna Die, Rob Riggle reports from Costco: "The lines here to purchase your four 50-pound bags of basmati rice—per visit—while not long, are slow-moving." Aasif Mandvi reports from East Africa: "There is some concern that the food riots will not subside in time for the scheduled water riots, leading to what some might call, a much bigger riot." Watch the video, after the jump.... More

More on the Butter Shortage in Japan

How bad is Japan's butter shortage? Here's some more photographic evidence: Yongfook, a web designer based in Tokyo, took this photo in a supermarket where a block of a butter blend now costs about $7. So for $14 you could get a full only-butter block. Previously Japan Is Running Out of Butter Unbelieveable! This Is Not Butter!... More

More in Food Shortages: Japan Is Running Out of Butter

A sign explains "that the management does not know when the next shipment of butter will come."    Japanese croissant-lovers be afraid: Japan is going through an extreme butter shortage: Where is the butter? — cry Japanese consumers who have been hunting everywhere for the dairy product. The drastic reduction in raw milk production, complicated by hikes in the price of grain as well as changes in the global patterns of dairy product consumption, have caused a serious butter shortage in Japan. Empty shelves in the dairy section of grocery stores across the country have not seen a shipment of butter for days, and stores are posting signs apologizing for the shortage. [via Boing Boing]... More

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