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Do Backyard Chickens Need More Rules?

Mar 12, 2018

Last September, a cappuccino-colored stray chicken appeared in Katherine Rae Mondo's neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. After it hung around the same intersection for a couple of days, Mondo took it in — her house had a coop, and she was already caring for a housemate's three-chicken flock.

She named the stray chicken Terribad, since, unlike most hens, "she was kind of a wild woman who didn't obey the rules, and she could fly," Mondo says.

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales' main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.

Chinook salmon are also known as kings: the biggest of all salmon. They used to grow so enormous that it's hard now to believe the old photos in which fishermen stand next to chinooks almost as tall as they are, sometimes weighing 100 pounds or more.

A new report raises concerns that when fishing vessels "go dark" by switching off electronic tracking devices, in many cases they are doing so to mask the taking of illegal catches in protected marine parks and restricted national waters.

When I was growing up in a village in India's then-smallest state, Goa, my family had a Sunday tradition. We love to eat and we have the hips to show for it.

Located on India's west coast, Goa is known for its sun, sand and beaches. A typical Goan meal is xitt-koddi-nustem (rice, curry and fish). A long coastline meant a lot of wealth came from the sea; an easy availability of coconuts meant they often found their way into the food – which, like all aspects of Goan life, is heavily imprinted by four-and-a-half centuries of Portuguese rule.

When you talk about traditional Scandinavian foods, you end up talking about porridge. In a cold climate, only certain grains could thrive — namely barley and oats. Their warm mush was a building block of early Nordic foodways, and is still a staple.

Now, an everyday bowl of plain old grain mush hardly sounds controversial. But in the middle of the 19th century, Norway was gripped with a series of public debates that later became known as the Norwegian Porridge Feud. Really.

Like the human gut, the belly of every bovine contains a microbial engine — engines, really — since cows have four-part stomachs. Those unicellular inhabitants do most of the digestive acrobatics of processing a cow's gnarly, fibrous diet of grains, hay, and grass. They're also responsible for some of the cattle industry's greenhouse gas contributions, since, as it turns out, cows don't make methane. Microbes make methane.

Climate change could decrease the yield of some crops in California by up to 40 percent by 2050. That's a big deal for farmers in the state, which provides about two-thirds of the nation's produce.

Chef David Chang's new Netflix show Ugly Delicious dives deep into how some of his favorite kinds of foods — from pizza to fried chicken — are made all over the world.

Food scientists at the University of Massachussetts Amherst have come up with a technique they say could make it a lot easier to avoid food poisoning.

The main piece of equipment? Your smartphone.

Currently, to identify the bacteria that can get you sick, like E. coli or salmonella, food scientists often use DNA testing.

They obtain samples from, say, raw spinach or chicken skin, by rinsing the food and collecting a tiny bit of bacteria from the water. Then they let that bacteria multiply over 24 hours to get a big enough sample.

As superhero origin stories go, this one is pretty low-key. No radioactivity. No other planets. Just a Swede, his love of pastry, and a noble quest for accuracy. It's a bun, it's some cream, it's ... Semla Man!

Hot summers can devastate canola farmers. Prolonged heat waves can leave behind fields of fallen, shattered oilseed pods and destroy vast amounts of the crop. Why canola (oilseed rape) seedpods disintegrate rapidly in prolonged heat blasts has been something of a mystery, but a new study suggests rising temperatures trigger a genetic cascade in the plant that leads to premature fruit development.

Some people may be planning to dine on kimchi and bulgogi this weekend in honor of the opening of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. The rest of us, however, are stocking up on Vulcan Plomeek Soup and blue-hued Romulan Ale as we prepare for the final episode of season one of Star Trek: Discovery on Sunday night.

Let the intergalactic feasting begin.

If you've ever tried to catch an Uber on a rainy day during rush hour or after the ball drops on New Year's Eve, you're familiar with dynamic pricing. That's when the price of a ride costs more or less depending on the demand for drivers.

The pricing strategy has long been used by other sectors of the travel industry, such as airlines and hotels, to balance supply and demand, and last month, a luxury restaurant in London rolled out a similar model.

As you clutch a cuppa for a bit of winter warmth, spare a moment to consider the elaborate process that goes into producing that seemingly simple sip of tea.

In the biggest tea-growing region in India, the hazards alone range from red spider mites to herds of wild elephants.

Grower Tenzing Bodosa, a native of Assam, fights the former and unusually invites the latter.

From the large Bodo tribe and widely known by his first name, Tenzing stands beside the vermilion flames of a brick oven that provides the heat for a drying contraption erected in his backyard.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, known best for its red, yellow and green sustainable seafood-rating scheme, is unveiling its first Seafood Slavery Risk Tool on Thursday. It's a database designed to help corporate seafood buyers assess the risk of forced labor, human trafficking and hazardous child labor in the seafood they purchase.

As the story goes, Henry Schwartz's grandfather bought a herd of cows in Manhattan in the early 1900s and walked them across the Williamsburg Bridge all the way to the family farm in Elmurst, a neighborhood in Queens. By 1919, Schwartz's father, Max, and uncle, Arthur, were bottling milk under the name Elmhurst Dairy. By the 21st century, Elmhurst's milk could be found across New York City, from elementary schools to Starbucks.

It was the tiny streams of slime that stood out.

As a microbiologist who studies the rinds of cheeses like Stilton, Gruyere and Taleggio, Benjamin Wolfe had done plenty of experiments on bacteria, yeast and mold. But he'd never seen anything like this.

I hadn't been living in London long when I attended my first Fourth of July party. The hosts, members of the U.S. Embassy staff, made their guests envious by revealing that they could request any American products they wanted through the embassy. Minds boggled with the possibilities. Dried chiles? Aged bourbon? Fancypants cereal?

Nope. These were globe-trotting sophisticates living in the tony Maida Vale neighborhood, and topping their wish lists were ... Bud Light and Cheetos.

When chef James Syhabout set out to write his new cookbook, Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef's Isan Thai & Lao Roots, he sampled a recipe that is not on most American dinner tables: Fire ant salad.

It's a traditional Lao dish that he ate in his mother's home village. The ants nest in mango trees, and little children are sent into the tree to harvest the ants and their eggs.

"We got this salad, came to the table and there's like ants crawling in and out of it," Syhabout says. "You just bite them before they bite you."

When a journalist and chef made the decision to host a dinner party and invite members of the Illuminoshi (a not-so-secret society of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish food professionals) to eat a meal of pork and shellfish-filled dishes in the name of education, she knew that more than a few people would have some beef with the menu.

An event like that takes lots of, as the Jews say, chutzpah to put on. Which is why Alix Wall prefaced the announcement of Trefa Banquet 2.0 with an apology.

Frustrated with the Vietnam War, The Man, and the general state of the nation, hippies set out to do everything differently. They founded rural communes, dabbled in psychedelics and cultivated a laissez-faire approach to personal hygiene. But, like everyone else in the world, they had to eat.

Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves are probably ramping up in importance in your spice cabinet right about now — the classic flavors of the winter season. But while you might be shopping for local ingredients for your favorite recipes for eggnog or maple-glazed ham, the odds are that the spices you're using were imported from the other side of the world.

Lior Lev Sercarz thinks spices should be local, too.

Forget the party dresses and uncomfortable shoes. Toss the fussy canapés — and instead, simmer the soup.

At writer and radio producer Anne Ford's holiday party this year, it's all about comfort. "I like the idea of having some kind of holiday celebration, but not the kind where you have to wear sequins and high heels and drink champagne cocktails. I want to sit ... with a blanket and eat latkes and just be chill about it."

Susan Adolphus James has one vivid memory of childhood Christmases on the island of Beaulieu, Grenada: black cake.

"Christmas don't feel like Christmas if you don't have a piece of black cake," says James, who moved to the U.S. as a teen.

In the winter of 2006, the unthinkable happened. There was a shortage of aquavit, the Scandinavian spirit that's flavored with caraway and other botanicals like dill and anise. For Scandinavian-Americans who relied on aquavit to accompany the traditional julbord, or holiday buffet, it was a tragedy.

Telling people what to eat is perilous, whether the advice is aimed at a friend or an entire country. Of course, people and governments do it anyway. Dozens of countries have come up with recommendations for the perfect, most health-promoting diet.

"I hate the term curry house," says Ranjit Mathrani, who co-owns Veeraswamy restaurant in London. "We are not a curry house."

Veeraswamy has been around since 1926 — it is London's oldest surviving Indian restaurant. Founded by Edward Palmer — the great-grandson of an English general and an Indian princess — the restaurant served not quite Indian food, but an Anglicized version of it, catering to an English clientele that craved something a bit spicy, but not overly so.

In the early morning hours inside a cozy Paris boulangerie, big batter-mixing machines are kneading dough for the flaky breakfast pastry that has become a symbol of good French eating. Baker Frederic Pichard says it's no secret how to make a good croissant.

"It takes savoir-faire and of course milk, sugar, eggs and flour," says Pichard. "But the key ingredient is butter. Out of the eight kilograms of dough here, three kilos are butter. More than a third of croissants are made of butter."

Thanksgiving is on Thursday. If you're hosting this year, are you ready?

For some, menu planning and turkey and sides cooking won't involve breaking a sweat. For the rest of us, the next two days may be fueled by anxiety — with maybe a pinch of panic.

Kebabs, tikka masala, biryani, naan – these Indian dishes are well-known worldwide. But, you may soon see a new Indian dessert joining their ranks at your favorite Indian shops and restaurant.

Rosogolla, a round confection made with cottage cheese and sugar syrup, is a relatively cheap popular sweet treat in India, says Madhumita Saha, an opinion writer for World Is One News (WION).

"It's as good as baklava," she says.

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