'food trends' on Serious Eats

'Salon' Asks, 'Why Is the U.S. So Into Faddy Foods?'

And then, after floating several possible reasons, answers: "America's fickle eating habits are actually a function of everything that America has gotten right, or at least, a result of things that make America so uniquely American: science, progress, open-mindedness, abundance and an emphasis on commerce and entrepreneurship. The "frontier mentality" that allows people to quickly adopt new foods also represents liberalism, flexibility and a willingness to experiment." [via Food News Journal] More

Why Do Foodies Freak Out About Ramps?

Time's Josh Ozersky tries to get at the heart of what makes ramps so friggin' beloved by foodies: "What makes ramps ramps is not their flavor, you see, but their cultural value. David Kamp, the author of The Food Snob's Dictionary, offers this explanation to Time: 'The ramp is not a salad green, but it is a green vegetable, and it is the first legitimately green thing that appears from the ground in April, a month that, in terms of farm yield, is otherwise an extension of winter. For food snobs, therefore, ramps are overcelebrated and overly scrutinized, like the first ballgame played in April, even with 161 more games ahead.'" Do you agree that's why foodies absolutely freak about ramps? More

Are Heirloom Wheat Varieties the Next Big Baking Trend?

"You could give me dog-shit wheat, and I could still make it taste great." —Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Just as tomatoes have spent the last few hundred years getting the flavor slowly sucked out of them, in favor of more convenient attributes like uniformity in size and color and resistance to the rigors of transcontinental shipping, wheat has undergone a similar process. Unlike tomatoes, which, discounting any Native American influence, have been bred for a mere few hundred years, wheat, a staple grain since the earliest civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, has had a 10,000-year breeding program. Modern wheat is designed for high yields, and to produce flours with consistently high protein contents. In the meantime,... More

In The News: Kill E. Coli, Heathly Food Trends, Smoking Bans

Cooking ground beef to 160°F kills E. coli (and perhaps your desire to eat it). [TCPalm] Five healthy food trends: Cooking Light identifies five good-for-you food trends. [Cooking Light/CNN] Beverly Hills institutes smoking ban in outdoor dining areas: California law prohibits smoking inside restaurants, cafes, and bars. A growing number of cities have taken things a step further by banning smoking in outdoor venues. [L.A.Times] Gamble away your money and your health: In Tunica, Mississippi, "a 560-seat Paula Deen's Buffet will be installed at the Grand Casino Resort Tunica." Deen is the woman, you'll remember, who offers a deep-fried butter recipe. [Associated Press] Battle over best way to ensure food import safety: Government and food industry officials favor high-tech... More

The War On Drugs, Err, Raw Milk

Time Magazine's Wendy Cole, on how law enforcement is cracking down on raw milk suppliers: Richard Hebron, 41, was driving along an anonymous stretch of highway near Ann Arbor, Mich., last October when state cops pulled him over, ordered him to put his hands on the hood of his mud-splattered truck and seized its contents: 453 gal. of milk.Yes, milk. Raw, unpasteurized milk. To supply a small but growing market among health-conscious city and suburban dwellers for milk taken straight from the udder, Hebron was dealing the stuff on behalf of a farming cooperative he runs in southwestern Michigan. An undercover agricultural investigator had infiltrated the co-op as part of a sting operation that resulted in the seizure of... More

Telling Diet Myths From Diet Facts

Janet Helms of the Seattle Times wrote a seven item quiz on nutrition and diet myths, to point out that much of what we probably think is true is actually anything but. My favorite item: 2. Low-fat always means low calories.Myth. If you see the word "low" on the label, that's your clue to look a little further, suggested dietitian Susan Moores, of Minneapolis. Check for serving size and the number of calories on the Nutrition Facts label. Low-fat foods often contain the same amount or even more calories than regular versions.That's particularly true for fat-free foods. If fat is taken out, something else is put back in — and that's often sugar. Some studies suggest that snacks with low-fat... More

Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter as a Victim

Cities like New York have already banned artificial trans-fat for health reasons, although scientists think natural trans fat might actually turn out to be beneficial. Because of an FDA ruling that says products with half a gram or more of trans-fat "can’t be called trans fat-free, even if butter is the only fat," companies like Starbucks are making their suppliers cut out butter to make their product labeling ("no trans-fat!") easier. From Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter as a Victim, by Kim Severson of the New York Times: This is an important issue because anything made with animal fats will have trans fats and make it impossible to claim trans fat-free,” said Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at New York University.... More

Can You Tell Food Fact From Food Myth?

"Myths about nutrition seem to linger for years just like urban legends. Remember the one about grapefruit burning fat? What about coffee stunting your growth? Maybe you're still holding on to the belief that gelatin will make your nails stronger. No doubt, you've fallen for a few weight-loss myths too. It's easy to do with the continual crop of fad diets promising a quick fix. Who can forget the cider vinegar and cabbage soup diets?" March is National Nutrition Month and so Janet Helm of the Chicago Tribune has put together an eleven point quiz you can take to see if you can tell food fact from food myth.... More

A Renaissance Of Pork

Carolyn Jung of the Mercury News, on why 2007 is a good year for pork: Foodies have long found today's conventionally raised pork too dry and flavorless to swallow. Many of them now seek out heritage breeds to deliver the full-on porky flavor they've been missing. Just as discriminating Americans learned to zero in on Kobe and Wagyu breeds for top-quality, ultra-marbled beef, so, too, are they now gravitating toward Berkshire and Duroc breeds for exceptional pork.Although the National Pork Board has no firm figures on how large this niche pork market is, it is one that is definitely growing."The kind of short-lived trend of thinking leanness meant health and quality led to the pig being ostracized somewhat," says Patrick... More

Ganso Iberico, The Ethical Foie Gras?

The Spanish company Pateria de Sousa produces a foie gras called Ganso Iberico, which they're marketing as an ethical foie gras because they avoid "the process known as la gavage - force-feeding birds with grain by using a metal tube - by allowing geese to stock up on extra food naturally in preparation for their normal winter migration to Africa. They are slaughtered once they have fattened themselves for their expected long flight south." Ganso Iberico is only produced once a year because of migration, and is even more expensive than traditional foie gras, which costs £10 to its £16 for just 2½oz (70g). Interesting factoid thrown out in the article: "Although the production of foie gras is banned in... More

All Give Praise To The Pork Belly

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Hsiao-Ching Chou dissects the increasing popularity of what's always been my favorite cut of pork: "Forget oysters. If you want to get a chef all hot and bothered, whisper "pork belly" in her ear. "It's such an amazing textural experience," said Maria Hines, chef and owner of Tilth restaurant. "You have a nice layer of meat, a nice layer of fat, another nice layer of meat, another nice layer of fat, and when you cook it properly, you have a thin crispy layer on top that's crackly when you bite down into it -- which you should never do in less than three seconds."... More

Improving School Lunches

The Kansas City Star published a three-part feature late last year on how schools in their area are working to improve the quality of food, it's well worth checking out whether or not you have school-age children for what's said about trends in healthy eating. Part 1: Reap it and eat visits the Niles Home for Children, where the fresh produce used in the cafeteria comes from the school garden that the students work on: "Ratcliff, the garden director at Niles, has seen kids who professed a lifelong hatred for vegetables try —and like — everything from cucumbers to kohlrabi, a kind of cabbage. The pea crop never made it to the cafeteria because the children ate them all straight... More

NYT Dining Section Roundup: A Wine Collector, Red Velvet Cake, and Paul Bocuse

Florence Fabricant explains why over 300 people (including 80 chefs) flew into Monte Carlo from all over the world to spend this past weekend commemorating the 80th birthday of the chef Paul Bocuse in Celebrating the Ringmaster of the Restaurant Circus: "Before chefs had their own TV shows and million-dollar book deals, when today’s international obsession with chefs and restaurants was in its infancy, Mr. Bocuse was on the cover of Time magazine as the champion of nouvelle cuisine. People knew his name when they could name no one else who worked in a kitchen. "He made it possible for chefs to be respected international celebrities,” said the New York restaurateur Drew Nieporent. "And he made haute cuisine popular. His... More

SF Chronicle Food Section Roundup: Picking Wild Mushrooms, Fried Chicken and Maple Syrup

Sizzling hot: Bay Area chefs and diners rediscover the irresistible appeal of fried chicken by Amanda Byrne: "The weird thing about chicken at Town Hall is that I couldn't sell it before," says chef-partner Mitchell Rosenthal. "Then I put this fried chicken on the menu, and now I sell upwards of 35 orders a night." Really thorough article that manages to also be mouth-watering—I'm having fried chicken for lunch today as a result! There are great tips at the end on frying chicken plus four recipes, in case you'd like to make your own, and also a selected listing of SF Bay Area restaurants that serve fried chicken. Other highlights: Marlene Sorosky Gray, on how real maple syrup isn't just... More

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