What We’ve Been Reading

Serious Reporting About Serious Food Issues:
Under the Label Series – NPR

If you’re trying to make more sustainable choices when purchasing seafood, NPR’s recent special report series on the Marine Stewardship Council and their standards of sustainability is a fascinating read/listen.

The above link also includes a link to the Marine Stewardship Council’s response, so you can see what they took issue with and draw your own conclusions.


Fun & Eye Opening:
Worms: a Zimbabwe snack, from tree to dinner table –Associated Press (KOMO News linked)

I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to find sentences like “Banda was known for carrying around pocketsful of worms that he would also offer to children” or “Soak dried worms in water for 3-4 hours to reconstitute” in the next food article I read, but this one is an amazing window into a regional delicacy.

The mopane worm is a large caterpillar that is commonly collected and dried for consumption in Zimbabwe and southern Africa, either raw as a snack or cooked in sauce.  It’s significantly higher in protein than beef, easier on the environment than beef, and has a flavor “reminiscent of salty potato chips.”

What do you think?  The next snacking sensation?


Some People Really Can Taste the Rainbow – NPR

Synethesia is a neurological condition where stimulation of one sense stimulates another sense as well.  It’s surprisingly common, with one in 26 people believed to have some form of it.  Only a very tiny proportion of those people have a variety that involves taste being evoked by other senses or vice-versa.

Some people experience flavors when they hear words, or experience tastes as colors, etc.  This article attempts to give the reader a window into their world.  Ultimately I wish it was a lot more in depth, it fascinates but ultimately left me wanting so much more.  Still, it’s an eye-opening read that you should check out!


Intriguing and/or Horrifying:
From Pets to Plates: Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs – NPR

Every wondered why guinea pigs are so high strung?  I’ve always assumed it’s because they’re considered a delicacy in some parts of the world (you’d be nervous too).  This article explores the practices of preparing and eating guinea pigs, their potential impact on the environment as a cultivated food animal (significantly lower per pound than cattle), and guinea pig meat’s (aka cuy) slow emergence on restaurant menus in the US.


Money Saving Food Science:
A Shocking (and Hot!) Tip for Preserving Produce – Modernist Cuisine Blog

W. Wayt Gibbs of the Cooking Lab (here in Seattle) has published an informative guide to heat-shocking produce, a simple step than can dramatically increase the shelf life of fruits & vegetables.


Ever Heard of a “Vegas Strip Steak”?
Can You Patent a Steak? Part 1 & Part 2 – NPR

Believe it or not, new steaks do show up on the market from time to time.  Cattle aren’t changing before our eyes, but our knowledge of butchery is.  Oklahoma State University is attempting to patent a new butchery method for removing a new steak cut, which they claim offers tenderness akin to a NY Strip Steak, from where it’s been hiding in the midst of muscles usually ground to make hamburger. They’re calling it the Vegas Strip Steak.


A New Excuse for that Martini…
Shut Up and Drink Your Salad: Cocktails Embrace Spinach, Kale, and Arugula – Daily Details

Ok, putting leafy greens in your cocktails isn’t going to let you square them with your doctor as health food…but it will give them new flavors and truly gorgeous colors.  Hit the link above for some drool-inducing eye candy and new mixology ideas.

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