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Food

Food

If you live in a college town, you might have noticed that campus coffee shops are still buzzing late into the evening.

And that makes sense. New survey data from the NPD group, which tracks trends in what Americans eat and drink, finds that 18- to 24-year-olds are turning to coffee, rather than caffeinated sodas, as their pick-me-up of choice.

Chef and culinary historian Maricel Presilla owns two restaurants and has written many cookbooks. But her newest book, Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, is her attempt to give fans a heaping helping of the many cultures she blends into her world.

"It's my whole life," she tells Morning Edition host David Greene. "There are recipes there of my childhood, things that I remember my family, my aunts doing. But also things that I learned as I started to travel Latin America."

When you walk into a crowded bar, the sound may not be apparent at first. But before long, your ears will pick up the rhythm of an unmistakable beat.

It's a bartender's shake.

"Some people think I'm listening to a rumba when I'm shaking," says D.C. bartender Eddie Kim. "I don't think it matters what the background music is as long as you keep a rhythm."

Another Beltway bartender, J.P. Fetherston, agrees, adding that the spectacle helps him keep his audience captivated.

The tantalizing aroma of freshly baked brioche is hard to resist, while a virtuous loaf of whole wheat often lacks that same allure. Blame it on the ferulic acid.

See, whole-wheat bread contains all parts of the wheat, including the bran, but white bread does not. That bran in the wheat bread contains the aforementioned ferulic acid, which overrides the compounds that give white bread its mouthwatering smell, according to new research.

If there's one thing we love more than talking about beef here at The Salt, it's visualizing the U.S.'s insatiable appetite for meat through infographics and charts.

So when we ran across Sarah Hallacher's Beef Stakes project over at Fast Company's Co.Design blog, our eyes lit up like the charcoal grill on Super Bowl Sunday.

In the heart of the Moroccan oasis and palm grove of Skoura, west of Marrakesh, yellow and reddish dates dangled heavily from branches high above us. It's going to be a good year, a man harvesting dates said, offering me a handful of fresh, still-yellow fruit cut from the tree just moments before.

OK, I'll admit it: I've thought about doing a liquid cleanse. Detoxing, renewing myself, clearing out my system all sounds appealing, especially post-holiday binging. As baked brie, gingerbread cookies and rich stews settle onto my hips, a detox becomes ever more alluring. I've never taken the leap, though, for one simple reason: I like eating solids.

Cities have plenty of reasons to care about how much food is being produced within their limits — especially now that community and guerrilla gardeners are taking over vacant urban lots across the country. But most cities can only guess at where exactly crops are growing.

And in Chicago, researchers have found that looks — from ground level, anyway — can be very deceiving when it comes to food production.

[Note: Peter sends this disgusting dispatch from a family vacation in London.]

The holidays are finally wrapping up. So after you repack the twinkly lights, and the tinsel goes into the trash, what should you do with that once beautiful spruce standing in your living room? Why not drink it?

Well, not exactly as is. The needles, shoots, light-green tips and inner bark of the popular conifer have been used for centuries to brew forest-scented tea, soft drinks and beer. And it seems that fresh evergreen flavor may be making a comeback.

Tame Wild Game In The Kitchen

Jan 4, 2013

Growing up in the South, I always felt out of place because we never went hunting. Most of my friends went. All of my extended family went. But in my family, my father was more of a fisherman than a hunter.

I was in the fifth grade when one of my dad's co-workers showed up at our house with a venison roast. I pounced at the opportunity to freak my sister out by eating Bambi. As I recall, my mother made a delicious pot roast in the slow cooker and served it with rice and gravy. I had seconds, maybe thirds, while my sister cried and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.

Still ordering gazpacho and sliders at your favorite restaurant? Not pre-screening restaurant menus before you make a reservation? Well, hop in the DeLorean and set the chronometer to 2013: You're really behind the times.

Technology is in and bacon-flavored chocolate is out, says a recent survey of 1,800 chefs across the nation.

The Ones That Got Away series: There were so many good arts and entertainment stories in 2012 that we couldn't get around to reporting on everything as it was released. So this week, our arts reporters are circling back to look at books, movies, TV shows and trends that we should have paid more attention to.

Amanda Cohen's Dirt Candy is a graphic novel, vegetarian cookbook and memoir. But because it's all of those things, it's also not exactly any of them — so it fell between the cracks.

As the new year begins, we here at The Salt are looking back at the food topics that got you talking in 2012, and pondering which conversations will continue in 2013. (And, like many of you, we're also firmly swearing off the holiday cookies.) So, instead, feast your eyes on this roundup of our top stories from the past 12 months:

Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf offers her predictions of what we'll eat in the new year.

Asia is the new Europe. It's been gradual: from pan-Asian, Asian fusion and Asian-inspired to just deciding among Vietnamese, Korean, Tibetan and Burmese for dinner.

Should we have the simple food of the Thai plateau or the hot, salty, sour foods of southern Thailand?

The act of toasting feels natural: You lift your arms in affirmation and drink in honor of an occasion or a loved one.

It's what millions will do this week as they ring in the New Year, but why? Like shaking hands or saluting, toasting is a habit with incredibly foggy beginnings, so we here at The Salt decided to dig into it, for the sake of science.

If the thought of watching the ball drop in Times Square again is already making you yawn, consider perking your New Year's Eve celebration with this tradition from Spain: As midnight nears on Nochevieja, or "old night," the last day of the year, the entire country gathers in front of television screens or in town squares, clutching a small bowl of green grapes and wearing red underwear. More on the underwear later.

There's nothing like the distinctive "pop" of the uncorking of a bottle of bubbly to create a sense of celebration. Whether it's Dom Perignon or a $10 sparkling wine, bubbles add pizazz.

Sparkling-wine lovers sometimes point to the glittering streams of tiny bubbles as an important attribute. Why? Well, tiny bubbles are a sign of age, explains French chemist Gerard Liger-Belair, author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne.

One Lunch Lady's Cafeteria Conversion

Dec 28, 2012

Kathy Del Tonto started cooking school food 30 years ago in the Montrose school district at the foot of Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Back then, the cafeteria workers made everything from scratch.

"My first kitchen that I managed was a little country school out south of town, and we made our own ketchup and everything," she says.

It's the holiday season and for some people that means celebrating with friends, family and cocktails. But instead of settling for the standard martini or Manhattan, author and historian Lesley Blume suggests you reach for a taste of bygone cocktail culture.

In Let's Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition, Blume outlines more than 100 lesser-known oldies that are both delicious and delightful. She joins NPR's David Greene to discuss cocktail history and how to make vintage recipes part of a modern-day party.

'The Book Of Gin' Distills A Spirited History

Dec 28, 2012

Unlike a good martini, the story of gin isn't smooth; it's long, complex, sordid and, as Richard Barnett has discovered, it makes for tantalizing material. Barnett's newly published The Book of Gin traces the liquor's life, from its beginnings in alchemy to its current popularity among boutique distillers.

Barnett joins NPR's Renee Montagne to discuss the medicinal origins and changing reputation of gin.


Interview Highlights

On gin's medicinal origins

Veganism has long been thought of as a bland, fringe diet typically associated with hippies or trend-setting Hollywood types. But chef Bryant Terry is trying to chip away at that stereotype.

Got milk? Ancient European farmers who made cheese thousands of years ago certainly had it. But at that time, they lacked a genetic mutation that would have allowed them to digest raw milk's dominant sugar, lactose, after childhood.

Today, however, 35 percent of the global population — mostly people with European ancestry — can digest lactose in adulthood without a hitch.

Father Leo On How To 'Spice Up' Married Life

Dec 26, 2012

Mixing spiritual and culinary nourishment might seem like an odd pairing to some. But it all comes naturally to Father Leo Patalinghug. He's a priest of the archdiocese of Baltimore, and the author of multiple cookbooks. His latest is called "Spicing Up Married Life," where advice about strengthening your marriage sits side by side with recipes for romantic meals.

Because Christmas Day means good cheer and good food for many, All Things Considered asked you to describe what you eat on the holiday — whether you celebrate Christmas or not. You told us about tamales, pickled squid, homemade soup and (of course) Chinese food.

Last Christmas, we told you about tourtières, the savory meat pies Canadians serve around the holidays. Now, we bring you cretons, a Québécois delicacy found throughout Canada and parts of New England this time of year.

Cocktail Chemistry: Parsing The Bloody Mary

Dec 26, 2012

The bloody mary, the signature brunch cocktail, had a friend in Ernest Hemingway.

Infuse The Holidays With Spirits

Dec 26, 2012

While Melkon Khosrovian was wooing his wife, he quickly realized that she wasn't as enamored with the frequent hard-liquor toasts as his extended Armenian family was. "She would just pick up her glass and put it back down," he recalls. So he decided to experiment with flavor combinations that would be more palatable to her, creating infused liquors such as grapefruit-vanilla or (her favorite) pear-lavender vodka — in hopes that he might help her feel more like part of the family in the process.

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