Archive: Food in the News

Thursday Is Veggiedag in Ghent, Belgium

By the time you read this with your morning coffee, the plates will have been cleared at the first official Veggiedag (Meatless Day) in Ghent, Belgium. Poster from U.S. Food Administration's war conservation ad campaign. (Courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration) As reported by the BBC, mayor Tom Balthazar has officially declared Thursday meatless in his city of nearly a quarter million people. In an effort to make the connection between meat consumption and greenhouse gases (18 percent of which come from livestock production), Balthazar has asked his fellow civil servants to abstain from meat every Thursday; vegetarian meals will also be served in the city schools. Earlier this year, Germany’s federal environment czar publicly urged his fellow citizens to reduce meat consumption, but those words have yet to be translated into deeds, as they are in Ghent, which may be the first city in the world to implement...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 14, 2009; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (9)

An Early Taste of 2009

On the dawn of this new year, I’m meditating on possible themes and directions that will define the flavor and mouth feel of 2009. I’m hardly a fortuneteller, so don’t expect any predictions; however, with this starter batch of tidbits, below, I’m able to piece together some storylines about issues, trends and tastemakers worth watching (and chewing on). So what can we expect from the world in which we eat, drink, cook, grow, fish, hunt and gather? Will it be the year of slow, fast or medium food? Will we ever know where all our seafood comes from? And while we’re pondering these notions, share what’s on the tip of your tongue, either literally or metaphorically, in the comments area. It will be difficult to ignore the crapped-out economy and its hand-to-mouth impact. Globally, one billion people will go hungry this year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization....

 

By Kim ODonnel | January 6, 2009; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Getting Hip to COOL

Beginning next week, you may notice more labels at the meat counter and in the produce aisle of your neighborhood supermarket. As of Sept. 30, the federally mandated Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law will go into effect at supermarkets nationwide. The COOL requirements for beef, lamb, pork, seafood, produce and peanuts have been on the books since 2002 as part of that year’s Farm Bill; however, implementation has been painfully gradual, rolling out with seafood labels in 2004. The list of COOL-required categories has since expanded; as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, the rules now apply to chicken, goat, macadamia nuts, pecans and ginseng. With COOL, shoppers will now know, for example, if a head of garlic was grown in California or in China, which has earned a grisly reputation for exporting tainted food. (Remember last year’s pet food nightmare?) It should also help eliminate some of the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 24, 2008; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (5)

Sorting Through the Tomato Pulp

As expected, there were several questions about the salmonella-tainted tomato scare in yesterday's chat, so I'll try and break it down. Tomatoes: Hey Kim. I'm trying to remember 8th grade home ec...what exactly is salmonella? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause diarrhea and related illnesses. It is passed through both animal and human feces. There are several kinds of salmonella strains; the strain associated with the current tomato scare is Saintpaul. The infection caused by salmonella contamination is called salmonellosis. And how have tomatoes contracted it (from what I remember, vegetables weren't the potential contaminates my teacher warned us about.) It's not like e. coli that you can just wash off, correct? Usually, salmonella is associated with animal products - poultry, beef, milk or eggs, but vegetables are not out of the question, and here's why: It's...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 11, 2008; 08:26 AM ET | Comments (21)

Cook's Grab Bag: A Call for Clean Water and Emeril Co-Stars

Offer to pay for your tap water next week so that others may drink out of harm's way. That's the focus of Tap Project, UNICEF's week-long fund drive at restaurants nationwide, including more than 90 in Washington. Beginning this Sunday, March 16, here's how you can get involved: Dine out at a Tap Project participating restaurant (you will need to type in your zip code to get a search return for D.C. area eateries) and pay for your tap water. Your minimum $1-donation will help UNICEF's efforts to provide access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities in the developing world. One dollar buys 40 liters of clean drinking water. Water-related disease (diarrhea, dehydration) is the number two killer of children under five in the developing world, according to UNICEF. Tap Project launched last year in New York, where $100,000 was raised from tap-water-funneled funds at 300 participating restaurants. This...

 

By Kim ODonnel | March 11, 2008; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bites of 2006

Controversy. That's what we've been chewing on in the food world in 2006. This year's nuggets of culinary discourse have been as plentiful and juicy as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Below, a year-end smorgasbord in review, with some lingering crumbs for the whetting of next year's appetites. Fueling the "trans-fat fire" In June, the notion of trans fat as outlaw made headlines, when a Chicago city council member introduced legislation to ban the use of trans fat in restaurants there. (As a reminder, trans fat is a man-made phenomenon, the marriage of liquid vegetable oil with hydrogen, resulting in a solid, shelf-stable fat. It's found in shortening, hard margarine, snack foods and all those goodies from your favorite drive-thru window.) Although the original bill was watered down and remains in that city's legislative pipeline, the debate over trans fat has spread like a grease fire in other cities and states around...

 

By Kim ODonnel | December 27, 2006; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wanna Bite of My 'Twin' Burger?

With the news that the Food and Drug Administration is getting closer to approving the sale of meat and milk made from cloned livestock, the Jetson Age officially may have arrived. Does anyone else think that the state of the food chain is getting weirder by the day?...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 18, 2006; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Opinionated Spinach

Now in Week Two of the E.coli spinach scare, the public health mystery remains unsolved and has to date affected 173 people in 25 states. Banished from supermarket aisles and restaurant menus, spinach has become the subject of countless thorny debates, from culprits to dinner-plate substitutes. Here, a spinach-scare opinion sampler plate that has been served up during the course of this agri-drama: The intricacies of the federal food safety system are under scrutiny ... if cattle farmers would stop feeding cows grain and feed them grass, then the spinach problem would disappear ... Obesity is a more pressing public health problem than contaminated spinach ... the spinach ban, seen through a child's eyes ... and to round out the menu, a helping of spinach satire... Got something to say about the spinach story that won't go away? Share in the comments area below. P.S. If you're going through spinach...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 25, 2006; 09:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Solving the Spinach Scare

In the midst of the media frenzy over E. coli-contaminated spinach, there's a fact that few people are talking about: the supermarket isn't the only place to get the stuff. It's hard to believe, given that our constantly replenished supermarket shelves are constantly replenished with pre-washed and pristine greens, as if packaged by elves. With gift-wrapped spinach always for the taking, who would want to bother looking anywhere else for salad fixins? But sustainable agriculture advocates beg to differ. "If there ever was a reason to shop local, this is it," says Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, a home gardener and food blogger from Syracuse, N.Y. The latest contamination scare makes it "more critical than ever to eat closer to the source," adds Baskerville-Burrows. "If we patronize smaller, local farms and something goes wrong, we can trace it back directly to the producer." What's more, the coverage of the E. coli scare has...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 19, 2006; 01:27 PM ET | Comments (6)

This Week's Edible Headlines

Some 220,000 tomatoes were hurled in Bunol, Spain, yesterday for La Tomatina, an annual tradition since the 1940s... Peaches, pineapple, bananas and mangoes are all lovely on the grill - but watermelon? I dare ya.... Drinking tea may be as good - or better - than the prescribed eight glasses of water... Gourmet Magazine rolls out podcasts, supplementing the written word to its stand-alone collection of food essays and stories that came with the magazine's August issue... Political magazine The Nation releases its first-ever Food issue, now available at magazine stands... The Edible publications, quarterly magazines that focus on sustainability in different parts of the country, including The Chesapeake Bay, now have a blog, called Edible Nation, edited by Bruce Cole, who also oversees Saute Wednesday, one of my go-to food blogs.... Yesterday, while shopping in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood with a pal, whose London-based luggage was still missing (and admittedly...

 

By Kim ODonnel | August 31, 2006; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Blogging Diet

Even a blogger needs to forage for her food. A blog cannot live on one blogger's keystrokes alone. Let's face it; the blogosphere is one enormous communal table, at which bloggers break bread and mooch off each other's plates. To wit, the Web site of Food and Wine magazine features a weekly "Blog Watch," a list of links to five food blogs considered peruse-worthy. Here's a sampler (in no particular order) from my weekly virtual diet, each blog offering unique gastro-literary nutrients and sustenance. Although updated only once, maybe twice a week, Saute Wednesday is an important part of my diet, as it provides a tasty stew of food news, original essays by blogger Bruce Cole and stuff that people are debating in the food world. I feel imbalanced if I don't check it regularly. It's based in San Francisco but has a strong national flavor. The Food Section gets...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 26, 2006; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (5)

Whole Foods Nixes Live Lobsters

Last month, The Post's Walter Nicholls reported that Whole Foods Market had decided to stop selling live soft-shell crabs after complaints of animal cruelty. Yesterday, the Austin-based company went one step further on the animal rights front, announcing its decision to ban sales of live lobsters in its 183 stores in North America and the UK. There are 13 Whole Foods stores in the Washington metropolitan area. Yesterday's World Cup match between England and Trinidad and Tobago apparently made Scotland hungry for mangoes (and rum drinks, of course). The recent outpouring of love for the tropical fruit is rooted in Scottish animosity for the English team. What do you think they'll chow on when England plays Sweden next week -- smorgasbord with shots of aquavit? Stay tuned. Will Travel for Food As you make plans for summer vacations, consider including a food festival as part of your itinerary. A hallmark...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 16, 2006; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (4)

 

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