This week, the Supreme Court will take up a classic David-and-Goliath case. On one side, there's a 75-year-old farmer in Indiana named Vernon Hugh Bowman; on the other, the agribusiness giant Monsanto.

How did the Romanian horse meat wind up in the British spaghetti sauce? Follow its path, and you'll get a quick tutorial in the complexities of the global food trade.

A future without weeds would be a kind of farmer utopia, but currently, herbicide-resistant "superweeds" are part of today's reality. Some researchers, though, are looking for a solution that seems ripped from science fiction: weed-seeking robots.

If you're looking to buy chocolate in San Francisco this Valentine's Day, just follow your nose down Valencia Street. "A lot of people walk in [and say], 'Oh, my gosh, the smell!" says Cameron Ring, co-owner of Dandelion Chocolate.

Weeknight Kitchen: Croque Madame Muffins

Feb 13, 2013

Croque Monsieur is essentially a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. Put a fried egg on top and you've got a Croque Madame (the egg is supposed to resemble a lady's hat). What makes the difference between a toasted cheese and ham sandwich and a Croque Monsieur is the cheese – in a Croque Monsieur it comes in the form of a creamy cheese sauce. And boy, does this make a difference!

This week, our colleagues Daniel Zwerdling and Margot Williams with NPR's investigations unit have a terrific three-part series on the Marine Stewardship Council. As they report, the MSC's labels tell consumers which seafood is supposed to be good or bad for the environment.

The lure of the China market is legendary. The dream: Sell something to 1.3 billion people, and you're set.

The reality is totally different.

Ask the MBAs from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who tried to launch Auntie Anne's pretzels in China. The result is a funny, instructive and occasionally harrowing journey that is now the subject of a new book, The China Twist.

What To Do With All That Snow? Cook It

Feb 9, 2013

Two feet of snow can be a major inconvenience. We feel for you, friends in the Northeast. To help you work through that serious snow surplus, we shuffled through our virtual recipe box for snow cuisine.

It's like being given lemons and making lemonade, though you definitely don't want to be doing anything with lemon-colored snow you find outside.

About 3,000 years ago, give or take a couple of decades, the Chinese people began celebrating the beginning of their calendar year with a joyful festival they called Lunar New Year. They cleaned their homes, welcomed relatives, bought or made new clothes and set off firecrackers. And there was feasting and special offerings made to the Kitchen God for about two weeks.

Fried chicken washed down with sweet tea — it's a classic Southern lunch. That fat/sweet nexus is also a recipe for a stroke, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, have been trying to nail down how diet relates to stroke, particularly in the "Stroke Belt" — the Southeastern states that have the dubious distinction of hosting the nation's highest stroke rates.

Lower-calorie foods are driving growth and profits for chain restaurants, according to fresh research, suggesting that people are making smarter choices when it comes to burgers and fries.

We're still ordering the burger and fries, mind you. But we're going for smaller portions and shunning sugary drinks. French fry sales dropped about 2 percent from 2006 to 2011, while sales of lower-calorie beverages rose 10 percent, the study found.

Weeknight Kitchen: South of France Tomato Soup with Young Chevre

Feb 6, 2013

This soup tastes like it comes from Provence's culinary central casting. All the usual (and lovable) characters are here: the tomatoes, the garlic, the goat cheese and those herbs that actually do scent the air the way hyperventilating travel writers say.

Cook to Cook: Resist substituting fresh herbs for the dried ones called for here. They should be dried (but never powdered), just as they are in Provence's famous blend, Herbes de Provence. The ready-made blend is often stale. Here, you will be making your own.

Chocolate: Out Of The Box, Into The Frying Pan

Feb 6, 2013

Chocolate is like sex or pizza: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. There are those who prefer light, refreshing desserts after a big meal, but I think those people are crazy. I always gravitate to the most decadent dessert on the menu, which is usually laden with chocolate. And while I love the stuff, there is nothing sadder than giving or receiving a box of boring chocolates on Valentine's Day. Each year, men and women shamefully duck into grocery stores and pharmacies to grab a box of assorted chocolates. Because nothing says "I love you" quite like chocolate from a gas station.

Looking to cut back on the calories in your cocktail by mixing, say, diet soda and rum? Well, get ready for the buzz.

According to the results of a new study, this combination will leave you drunker than if you'd mixed the liquor with a sugary, caloric mixer.

It's a real bummer to be told to eat less of something. Especially when it's salt, the ubiquitous ingredient that seems to make everything taste a little better.

Super Bowl Sunday, A La Sandwich Monday

Feb 4, 2013

Seven Layer Bean Dip is a staple of Super Bowl parties, but there's an inherent risk: What if you show up with a seven layer dip, and someone else brings eight layer dip? It's humiliating. Last year, we created this 32 Layer Bean Dip recipe to help you win the Dip Arms Race, once and for all.

Weeknight Kitchen: Straw & Hay Pasta

Feb 2, 2013


This colorful pasta dish has been on restaurant menus as far back as I can remember. Patrons love the two-tone pasta, crispy peas, prosciutto bits, and creamy sauce. Your family and guests will ask for second helpings every time. But, as traditional as this dish is, feel free to change the vegetables according to seasons; for example, I love adding fava beans in the spring, corn in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, and cooked chestnuts in the winter. 


Those squeeze pouches full of organic pureed food in clever combos like plum, berry and barley have become a lifesaver for busy parents.

Future Farms Of America Might Not Include Much Family

Jan 31, 2013

It may sound like a line from The Godfather, but some agricultural specialists advise that farming isn't personal; it's business. And family farms need to think and act more like a business to survive in a competitive world, says Bernie Erven, professor emeritus in the department of agricultural economics at Ohio State University.