From an early age, Japanese kids are taught to "eat with your eyes," and this emphasis on the visual delights of food can be found in many aspects of Japan's vaunted culture of cute.

Take children's television, for example. Some of the most beloved cartoon characters in Japan are based on food items.

In Colonial Virginia, oysters were plentiful; Capt. John Smith said they lay "thick as stones." But as the wild oyster harvest has shrunk, Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf says the market for farm-raised oysters is booming.

The local food movement is expanding from fertile fields to brackish waters.

Along the rivers and bays of the East Coast, where wild oysters have been decimated by man and nature, harvests of farm-raised oysters are increasing by double digits every year. At the same time, raw oyster bars are all the rage.

Many big food companies are caught in a dilemma these days. They want to rebrand themselves as merchants of health — Coca-Cola's new anti-obesity ads are just the latest example — but many of their profits still come from products that make nutritionists scowl.

If there's one person who symbolizes this tension, it's Derek Yach.

Coca-Cola is taking a lot of flak for its new television ad campaign addressing America's obesity epidemic – an epidemic in which sugary sodas are widely fingered as a key culprit.

When presented with a tempting buffet of French food, not overeating can be a challenge. But a new study by researchers in Lyon suggests there are strategies that will help people resist temptation.

People trying to keep off excess weight are frequently told that it's better to eat small amounts of food frequently during the day, rather than the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner. The idea is that more frequent eating will stave off hunger pangs that may lead to overeating.

A Slight Twist On The Sunday Roast

Jan 23, 2013

There are certain foods that are almost as fun to say as they are to eat. This is especially true when it comes to British cuisine. There are the easy jokes about bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes), bubble and squeak (fried patties of cabbage, potatoes and any other random leftovers) and stargazy pie (savory pastry with whole sardines horrifyingly poking their heads out the top crust). While it doesn't have quite the same Anglotastic drama, my favorite entry in the genre is the simple Sunday roast.

Should emergency rooms track the number of people who get hurt or sick after drinking coffee? That's what the maker of Monster Energy drinks suggests in response to a recent report that emergency room visits involving caffeine-laced energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011.

As Washington, D.C., gears up for the 57th presidential inauguration, political parties are in full swing. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill partisan bickering. We're talking about inaugural celebrations: balls, galas and cocktail parties. Emphasis on the cocktail.

The Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel is just a stone's throw from the White House. Bartender Jim Hewes has been serving up drinks there for nearly 30 years.

Mixed Pickle: The Sweet And Sour Legacy Of Dutch Trade

Jan 18, 2013

In Amsterdam, a popular street snack of brined herring comes with chopped onions and a side of sour pickle. The history of Dutch trade, too, is buried under those onions.

There's no shortage of food shows on television, from serene instructional content to tourist eye candy to kooky competitions where chefs cook in the desert. There's also The Great Food Truck Race, which is mostly about the finer points of where you should park a food truck.

But while my favorite was once Bravo's Top Chef, with its clearly skilled chefs and terrific judging panels, my new favorite is the Food Network competition Chopped.

Fried Egg Sandwich

Jan 16, 2013

What's more perfect than the simplicity of this sandwich? It's comforting, not too difficult to make, and you need only a few key ingredients. These are the essentials to preparing the kind of midnight food we love. The kind of food that will make you close your eyes and exhale a hot cheesy jumble that sounds something like "Oh my gah so freakin' good."

Discovering Barley's Hidden Charms

Jan 16, 2013

As someone who dines out a lot for work, I can tell you that barley doesn't appear on a whole lot of menus. And as a home cook, I can see how this grain maybe isn't perceived to be as sexy as farro, as healthy as quinoa or as versatile as oats.

But barley has a lot more going for it than being malted for beer or being dumped in a soup.

UPDATE at 12:35 p.m., ET, Jan. 17: Many of you wrote in to tell us you were taken aback by Whole Foods top executive John Mackey characterizing the health law as fascism in an NPR interview, and apparently, he's feeling a little sheepish.

About three minutes into his otherwise amiable chat with CBS This Morning hosts on on Thursday, Mackey walked back his comments in response to a direct question from Norah O'Donnell:

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.