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Food

"Man, in New Orleans we really are fortunate — we got some of the best things in the world," Chef Paul Prudhomme once said. "And one of those things is the muffuletta sandwich."

And one of the best things about New Orleans was Prudhomme himself.

He was known for introducing blackened redfish to the rest of us, for his cooking demos and for his line of magic spices. Needless to say, Prudhomme changed the way the world saw Louisiana cooking.

He has died at the age of 75.

In Napa, Calif., a company called Free Flow Wines fills and dispenses reusable wine kegs, which are used by restaurants and bars for serving wine on draft. Every month, the company rinses and refills about 10,000 of the stainless steel casks, each of which eliminates the need for 26 clunky wine bottles.

This is a small win for the environment, since glass bottles are heavy and require energy to ship.

Updated at 10:52 a.m.

When it comes to eating well, should we consider the health of both our bodies and the planet?

Michael Solomonov has built a reputation for his unique take on the cuisine of Israel. He's won a James Beard Award for Best Chef for his restaurants in Philadelphia.

But he says awards aren't what inspire him to keep cooking.

"It's the pots of rice," he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It's the savory pastries that my grandmother made that if I can close my eyes right now I can still taste."

In ancient China, black rice was considered so superior and rare, it was reserved exclusively for the emperor and royalty. These days the grain, also known as forbidden rice, has become the darling of gourmets and people seeking superior nutrition.

Back in the 1800s, sour and sweet were a hot item. Americans drank shrubs and switchels — refreshing mixes of vinegar, water, spices lightly sweetened with honey, sugar or molasses. Southern households preserved their fruits in vinegar. And some of the nation's most popular berries were tangy — like the famed Klondike strawberry and tart cherries that came in eight different varieties. But by the middle of the 20th century, these tart-sweet delights had all but vanished.

Ruth Reichl is in her green-tiled kitchen on the Upper West Side, stirring pungent fish sauce into a wok of sizzling pork. Perhaps you remember her as a highly influential restaurant critic for the LA Times and the New York Times (15 years), or from her best-selling books about food (three, including her memoir Tender At The Bone) or that she ran Gourmet magazine for 10 years.

Serves 8-10
 
· 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken drumsticks or other pieces of your choice, about 1 1/2 lb (750 g)
· 2 yellow onions, cut into chunks
· 1 large Garnet yam, peeled and cut into chunks
· 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into chunks
· 1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
· Splash of white wine (optional)
· Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
 

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

As we show in the video above, this is what chef Dan Barber demonstrated earlier this year, when he temporarily turned Blue Hill, his Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, into an incubator for garbage-to-plate dining.

We're welcoming an unseen guest to our Jewish holiday celebrations this fall: My mother-in-law, Jan Dale, who died in 2005.

Since her passing, I've tried to keep Jan a presence at our festive meals with my attempts to bake some of her favorite recipes. For instance, to mark the start of Yom Kippur Tuesday night, I've made a batch of Jan's crumbly, cinnamon-scented mandelbread — that's Yiddish for "almond bread," a twice-baked cookie that's the Jewish version of biscotti.

But getting here has taken a bit of detective work.

In Florida, federal and state officials have quarantined 85 square miles of farmland to combat a destructive pest: the Oriental fruit fly, which attacks hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables.

If you are looking for proof that Americans' vegetable habits lean towards french fries and ketchup, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has it: Nearly 50 percent of vegetables and legumes available in the U.S. in 2013 were either tomatoes or potatoes. Lettuce came in third as the most available vegetable, according to new data out this week.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The wealth gap in America manifests itself not just in our pocketbooks but also in our bellies: The poor are eating less nutritious food than everyone else.

So concludes a new review of 25 studies published between 2003 and 2014 that looked at the food spending and quality of diets of participants in SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

We talk a lot on The Salt about the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in nuts, olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables. Scientists believe it's one of the world's healthiest patterns of eating, and can protect against a lot of chronic diseases.

In the Arctic, the typical meal looks very different. There, a traditional plate would have some fatty marine animal like seal or whale and not much else – fruits and vegetables are hard to come by in the harsh climate.

Fast food is an undeniable part of American culture. We've probably all encountered the McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" jingle and the white-goateed Colonel Sanders of KFC at least once, if not hundreds, of times.

The big fast-food chains market their foods to us constantly. And our children see, on average, three to five fast-food ads per day.

Paleo People Were Making Flour 32,000 Years Ago

Sep 14, 2015

Oatmeal is generally considered a no-no on the modern paleo diet, but the original paleo eaters were definitely grinding oats and other grains for dinner, according to new research.

That finding comes from new investigations of an ancient stone recovered in a cave called Grotta Paglicci in Puglia, in southern Italy. It was used by the Gravettian culture — a paleolithic people who also left behind spectacular cave paintings, evidence of burial and distinctive stone tools.

A Food Museum Grows In Brooklyn

Sep 11, 2015

How did we get vanilla flavor without a vanilla bean? Or chicken flavor made from all-vegetarian ingredients?

Though humans have been enjoying the sensory pleasures of flavor since we first popped food into our mouths, the flavor industry itself is relatively new. And this modern business of manufacturing smell and taste will be the theme of the Museum of Food and Drink's first exhibit in a brick and mortar space of its very own: a "mini-museum" opening in Brooklyn on Oct. 28.

Weeknight Kitchen: Shrimp Burgers on Zucchini

Sep 11, 2015

Serves 4
 
I had a dish similar to this in a small restaurant in Mexico, and at Gloria’s request, I created my own version at home. I use medium-size raw shrimp and puree the tails in a food processor, then combine the puree with pieces of the shrimp to form thick burgers.
 
· 1 1/4 pounds shelled and deveined medium shrimp
· 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 firm zucchini (about 1 pound), cut into 3/8-inch slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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