Food

Food
1:17 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

A Moveable Feast: What Are You Leaving For Santa?

Aside from the traditional plate of cookies, some households planned to leave Santa gourmet surprises that would land most people on the naughty list at the local gym.
Larry Crowe AP

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 1:53 pm

Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

It's just one out-of-the-ordinary example we gleaned from a call out to fans of NPR's Facebook page. Many of them involved a different sort of Christmas "spirit" — the kind that could push Mr. Claus over the legal limit, at least during the U.S. leg of his annual aerial circumnavigation.

Read more
Food
11:38 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Polish Christmas Wafer: A Flavorless Tradition That's Oh So Sweet

The oplatek, embossed with a Christmas scene, is shared among family members before Christmas Eve dinner.
iStockphoto.com

Nothing says "I love you," at least in my Polish-American family, quite like the sharing of a thin, flat, tasteless wafer called an oplatek at Christmas.

We're not alone. Before sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, many families with roots in Poland and other Eastern European countries will take part in this tradition, which has roots dating back hundreds of years.

Read more
Food
3:18 am
Mon December 24, 2012

At Christmas, A Roman Holiday Revolves Around The Food

Christmas chocolate and sweets on display at a Christmas market at Piazza Navona on Dec. 20 in Rome.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:05 am

The city of Rome may be the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, but as far as bright, glitzy decorations, Christmas there has always been a rather sober affair.

And yet at Christmastime, there's one area where Romans pull out all the stops — the dinner table.

Even with the economic crisis, outdoor markets, grocery shops and fishmongers are crowded with customers.

Read more
Food
11:58 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Survived The Mayan Apocalypse? Here Come The Radish People

Michael Benanav

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:02 am

While the rest of the world was in a tizzy over the Mayan apocalypse that wasn't, the residents of Oaxaca, Mexico, were busy preparing for the very real Coming of the Radish People.

This Sunday, they will descend upon Oaxaca's zocalo, or main plaza: giant root vegetables carved into human figures and other vivid forms.

Read more
Food
3:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A Pie-Making Encore: Start With The Perfect Recipe, Serve With Love

The foundation of a good pie starts with the crust.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:00 am

It's high season for pie-making. And when we came upon this touching story about a bunch of women gathering to bake fresh apple pies for the people of Newtown, Conn., it warmed our hearts here at The Salt. Truly.

Read more
Food
3:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Drought, Economics And Your Holiday Feast

Think your prime rib holiday dinner is more pricey this year? You're right. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Todd Patterson iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 11:16 am

Nobody really wants to think about economics, the famously dismal science, while sitting down at a table loaded with love and calories. Like it or not, though, supply and demand drive food production and set the price of dinner.

So, in a season of feasts, what are the business stories on your holiday menu?

Read more
Food
4:02 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Big Food And The Big, Silent Salt Experiment

Food companies have begun quietly reducing salt in regular foods because low-salt items like these don't sell as well.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:18 pm

Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?

Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.

Read more
Food
12:44 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Elixirs Made To Fight Malaria Still Shine On The Modern Bar

Shaken with splash of malaria drug, please. The original James Bond martini is made with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine flavored with a smidge of the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:23 am

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

Read more
Food
3:28 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Paradox And Mystery Of Our Taste For Salt

Bali sea salt and a spoonful of Hawaiian red alae salt.
Jim Noelker AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:37 am

Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.

They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.

First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.

Read more
Food
5:57 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Mealworms Beat Meat For A Place On The Menu In Environmental Study

A woman takes a bite of a mealworm pie in the Hague, Netherlands.
Ed Oudenaarden AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:04 am

Want to eat sustainably? Then eat bugs.

That's the word from the Dutch, who are doing their best to make a scientific case for the environmental benefits of insect proteins. Reduce greenhouse gases? Check. Produce more edible protein while using less land than more traditional livestock? Check.

Read more
Food
5:49 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Belgian Sweets Not Just For 'Sinterklaas'

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:34 am

Though my grandmother Georgette was born in the United States, she is half Belgian (Flemish) and half French. On top of the cabinets in her blue kitchen you'll find a little Dutch village of porcelain houses. Above the sink are miniature figures of the Statue of Liberty, Manneken Pis and the Eiffel Tower — representations of her three nationalities. In her Delft cookie jar you'll find speculaas (also called speculoos) — the Dutch windmill-shaped gingersnap-like cookie traditionally eaten on St. Nicholas Day.

Read more
Food
4:21 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

A Gluten-Free Holiday Table

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 11:39 am

My family's holiday traditions are simple but consistent: Wake up Christmas morning, drink lots of coffee, eat a good breakfast, and wish each other happy happy. If the weather is nice, we postpone the present opening and pile into the car to head directly to the beach for a walk — a sunny December day along the Northern California coast is something to celebrate. Later, we cook a delicious dinner and sit around the table with a fire glowing in the fireplace nearby.

Read more
Food
11:02 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Peak Farmland? Some Researchers Say It's Here

A soybean field near Campo Verde in western Brazil in January 2011. Researchers argue that enough arable land is already under cultivation to feed the planet for the next several decades.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/GettyImages

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:34 pm

If you're looking for a dash of optimism about the future — and who isn't, these days? — you can find it in a rosy new prediction about the planet's ability to produce food for the next half-century.

Read more
Food
6:23 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Our Pancakes Are Saved! Charges Filed In Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

Fresh maple syrup in two maple leaf-shaped bottles, with other bottles behind. Police officials have arrested three men who allegedly siphoned the sweet treat from 16,000 storage barrels stored in a Quebec warehouse.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:51 am

After months on their sticky trail, Canadian police have finally fingered the people allegedly involved in the great Canadian maple syrup caper Bill Chappell told us about in August.

Read more
Food
3:59 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Building A Rover Of The Edible Kind

The other Mars Curiosity rover, made of gingerbread and on display on the Caltech campus.
Brian Bell courtesy California Institute of Technology

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:47 pm

The folks at the California Institute of Technology have built another Mars rover, but this one will never get to leave Earth. Not surprising, really, since it's made of gingerbread.

Read more
Food
2:36 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

One Airport's Trash Is 2 Million Worms' Treasure

Charlotte Douglas International Airport has deployed an army of 1.9 million worms to eat through its organic waste. The airport has reduced the trash it sends to the landfill by 70 percent.
Julie Rose

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Food waste is not just a problem for restaurants — airports also have to deal with piles of this kind of garbage.

Read more
Food
10:59 am
Mon December 17, 2012

A Photographer's Mini Food Fascination

"When I was young the cones were so big you could drive a car through them."
Christopher Boffoli

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 10:32 am

Small stuff is having a big moment. There's skateboarding for your fingers, cupcake-size lasagna, and now we've discovered photography featuring food as a backdrop for miniature life.

Read more
Food
10:56 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Cheese And Raw Veggies May Be Antidote To Kids' Mindless Eating

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 11:11 am

It's hard to eat just one potato chip. The salt, the fat, the crunch — no wonder we mindlessly munch away, especially if we're parked in front of the TV.

So is there something better for children to snack on in the afternoon, especially if we're looking to limit their calories? It turns out that the combination of cheese and raw veggies like broccoli, carrots and sliced peppers may be the best option from both a nutrient standpoint and a satiety one.

Read more
Food
12:03 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Brewers Prepare Beer For The End Of Time, Mayan Or Otherwise

Great Basin's Mayan Maybe? beer has been a fast seller, the company's brewmaster says.
Jazz Aldrich Great Basin Brewing Company

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:50 pm

The world isn't going to end next Friday, but Dec. 21, 2012, has come to be known as the Mayan apocalypse because that's when the Mayan calendar ends. As scientists have told us repeatedly, the end of the calendar year was actually a time for celebration and renewal — the equivalent of an ancient New Year's Eve. So breweries around the country have decided to celebrate with — what else? — beer.

Read more
Food
9:24 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Sowing The Seeds For A Great American Chestnut Comeback

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 10:02 pm

Though we hear about them every holiday season in that famous song, chestnuts – whether roasting on an open fire or otherwise – have been noticeably absent from many American tables for decades, thanks to a deadly fungus that decimated the species near half a century ago. But a small army of determined growers have been on a seemingly quixotic quest to put chestnuts back on the American table, and they're just starting to see results.

Read more

Pages