3:42 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Of Carrots And Kids: Healthy School Lunches That Don't Get Tossed

Samples of carrots cooked three ways are placed on a table for the kids at Walker-Jones Educational Campus, in Washington, D.C., to sample after they have finished lunch. The crowd favorite will later end up on the school lunch menu.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 10:50 am

You can lead a child to vegetables, but can you make her eat them?

A child, for instance, like Salem Tesfaye, a first-grader at Walker-Jones Educational Campus in Washington, D.C. Tesfaye picked up a lunch today that's full of nutrition: chicken in a whole-wheat wrap, chopped tomatoes and lettuce from local farms, a slice of cantaloupe and milk.

But, she confesses, sometimes she throws her lunch out. I ask her what she did today. "I threw all of it away," she says softly.

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4:46 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Taco Bell Dessert Nachos

The Taco Bell Home Dessert Kit: putting the D-I-E in D-I-Y.

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 6:10 pm

Depending on where you are in the world, Taco Bell can be as many as 2 miles away. Fortunately the chain has started selling make-at-home kits, and today we're trying the Dessert Nacho Kit. It's a great chance to make your own cuisine, and you can keep the box around to help you stop spelling "dessert" like "desert" all the time.

Miles: It's a little disconcerting that the box has two expiration dates, one for the product, and one for the person eating it.

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11:08 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Girl Scout Cookies Will Soon Be Just A Click Away

In this undated photo released by the Girl Scouts of the USA, Girl Scouts Bria and Shirell practice selling cookies on one of two new digital platforms. It's the first time the organization has allowed the sales of cookies using a mobile app or personalized websites.
Girl Scouts of the USA AP

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 1:56 pm

Thin Mints, Do-si-dos and Samoas just became easier to buy: Girl Scouts will now be able to use Digital Cookies to sell the treats online.

"Girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space," said Sarah Angel-Johnson, chief digital cookie executive for the Girl Scouts of the USA. "Online is where entrepreneurship is going."

Her comments were reported by The Associated Press.

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3:34 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Mexican Chef Serves Up An Authoritative Guide To Her Country's Cuisine

With over 700 pages and 600 recipes, Mexico: The Cookbook, attempts to document exhaustively the country's varied regional cuisines. Recipes in the book include (from left): potato and chorizo tacos; divorced eggs with tomatillo sauce; and tikin-xik fish, a grouper dish from the Yucatan Peninsula.
Courtesy of Fiamma Piacentini-Huff and Phaidon

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 9:21 am

If you want to give your taste buds a gustatory tour of Mexico, then Margarita Carrillo is ready to be your guide.

The Mexican chef and food activist has spent years gathering hundreds of recipes from every region of the country for Mexico: The Cookbook, her new, encyclopedic take on her country's cuisine.

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6:15 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

Smoke and mirrors: Dave Arnold plays around with liquid nitrogen in a cocktail glass during his interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 2:36 pm

Dave Arnold can work some serious magic with a cocktail shaker. But he's no alchemist — Arnold, who runs the Manhattan bar Booker and Dax, takes a very scientific approach to his craft.

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Weeknight Kitchen
8:00 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Weeknight Kitchen: Fried Chickpea Salad

Serves 4
Make sure to dry the chickpeas very well, which will allow them to get crisp and golden on the outside while remaining creamy inside. This salad is best served when the chickpeas are slightly warm or at room temperature.
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and dried very well
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, sliced

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Weeknight Kitchen
8:00 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Weeknight Kitchen: Chicken Marsala on the Lighter Side

Serves 4
Chicken Marsala is one of those dishes that's found on just about every Italian restaurant menu, but the dish is usually swimming in butter. So I've lightened it up, resulting in a tender chicken dish with a rich pan sauce made with a touch of Marsala wine and fresh parsley. Trust me, you'll be happy you decided not to order out!
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil

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7:46 am
Thu November 13, 2014

40 Percent Of The World's Cropland Is In Or Near Cities

These farmers grow maize, onions and other vegetables in a city in Ghana. They use groundwater to irrigate their crops.
Nana Kofi Acquah IWMI

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 6:54 pm

Urban agriculture is clearly taking off around the world — in backyards, on rooftops and on local farms.

But just how much of the world's cropland can we really call urban? That's been a big mystery.

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3:01 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

How 'Double Bucks' For Food Stamps Conquered Capitol Hill

These wooden tokens are handed out to shoppers who use SNAP benefits to purchase fresh produce at the Crossroads Farmers Market near Takoma Park, Md. Customers receive tokens worth twice the amount of money withdrawn from their SNAP benefits card — in other words, they get "double bucks."
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 12:52 pm

The federal government is about to put $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of SNAP benefits — what used to be called food stamps — when people use them to buy local fruits and vegetables.

This idea did not start on Capitol Hill. It began as a local innovation at a few farmers' markets. But it proved remarkably popular and spread across the country.

"It's so simple, but it has such profound effects both for SNAP recipients and for local farmers," says Mike Appell, a vegetable farmer who sells his produce at a market in Tulsa, Okla.

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2:36 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Dunkin' Donuts Cronut

A look within

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 2:50 pm

The Cronut croissant-doughnut hybrid was the food phenomenon of 2013. There were long lines at the bakery where Cronuts were invented, and they were going for hundreds of dollars on the black market. They even inspired spinoffs like the doughscuit — a doughnut-biscuit hybrid — and the bronut, which was just a doughnut wearing an Ed Hardy T-shirt.

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3:06 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Want To Grow These Apples? You'll Have To Join The Club

Pinatas are among the new generation of club apples — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.
Stemilt Growers LLC

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 8:21 pm

There's an apple renaissance underway, an ever-expanding array of colors and tastes in the apple section of supermarkets and farmers markets.

Less visible is the economic machinery that's helping to drive this revolution. An increasing number of these new apples are "club apples" — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them.

To understand the new trend, start with the hottest apple variety of recent years: Honeycrisp.

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12:13 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Inhalable Chocolate? Ingestible Ideas From A Lab For The Senses

Le Laboratoire Cambridge features a restaurant, the Cafe ArtScience. The restaurant's bar features a glass-globed drink vaporizer called Le Whaf.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 1:31 pm

David Edwards has been called a real-life Willy Wonka. The biomedical engineer has developed, among other things, inhalable chocolate, ice cream spheres in edible wrappers, and a device called the "oPhone," which can transmit and receive odors.

Edwards is based at Harvard, but much of his work has been done in Paris, at a facility he calls Le Laboratoire. Now he's opened a similar "culture lab" closer to home: Le Laboratoire Cambridge in Cambridge, Mass.

Cultural Research And Development

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5:52 am
Sat November 8, 2014

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

Many artisan cheese producers never pasteurize their milk – it's raw. The milk's natural microbial community is still in there. This microbial festival gives cheese variety and intrigues scientists.

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 12:33 pm

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.

A handful of scientists who study cheese recently gathered to share their latest findings at a farm in the English county of Somerset. They know cheese well here — after all, Somerset invented cheddar.

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1:46 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

On The Trail To Preserve Appalachia's Bounty Of Heirloom Crops

Edgar Meadows has been growing Bloody Butcher corn, an heirloom variety, for generations. The name Bloody Butcher refers to the flecks of red mixed onto the white kernels, like a butcher's apron, Meadows says.
Roxy Todd West Viginia Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 1:00 pm

Appalachia may be one of the poorest regions of the U.S., but when it comes to heirloom crops, it's got the riches.

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5:20 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Nutritious Acorns Don't Have To Just Be Snacks For Squirrels

To turn acorns into something edible, you've got to crack the shells, pick out the nut meats, weed out the bad ones, dry them and grind them into meal.
Leah Nash for NPR

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 10:04 am

These days, Americans are all about eating local foods. But one important local crop drops to the ground mostly unnoticed every fall. Well, unless you're a squirrel. Yes, we're talking about acorns.

Although acorns don't get the love that hazelnuts and walnuts enjoy, this wasn't always the case. Bill Logan is an arborist in New York, who traced the history of eating acorns for his book Oak: The Frame of Civilization.

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5:21 am
Sat November 1, 2014

With Style And Silo, 'Modern Farmer' Melds Agrarian With Urban Hip

Modern Farmer has a particular fondness for stories about anything having to do with goats.
Courtesy of Modern Farmer

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 10:42 am

If you cover food and farming, as we do, you end up looking at farm magazines and agricultural web sites. This means you see lots of articles about corn prices and ads for farm equipment.

Then, a couple of years ago, Modern Farmer appeared. It's a farm magazine like no other. It flaunts a look and attitude that sometimes make us laugh out loud.

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12:04 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Apps Aim To Guide You On 'Sustainable Food' (Whatever That Means)

Confused about all the different sustainability ratings out there? The simplest option may be to shop at your local farmer's market.

If you're reading The Salt, it probably comes as no surprise to you that consumers increasingly want to make food choices based on not just their health, but their ethics. A growing number of groups are coming up with technological solutions to help them.

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6:02 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar

Elaborately decorated skulls are crafted from pure sugar and given to friends as gifts. The colorful designs represent the vitality of life and individual personality.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:22 pm

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 1, 2012.

Sugar skulls, tamales and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on ofrendas, or altars, built this time of year to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. These altars in homes and around tombstones are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition on Nov. 1 and 2originating in central Mexico.

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4:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

To Make Bread, Watch The Dough, Not The Recipe

Sourdough loaves made by Fromartz with a bolted white flour from Anson Mills in South Carolina that he says reminded him of the wheat he'd tasted in southern France.
Samuel Fromartz

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:29 am

Journalist Samuel Fromartz works at home on a quiet street near the Capitol building, in Washington, D.C. He's a journalist, and editor-in-chief of the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

On a recent morning, I went to visit him and found several unread newspapers piled on his front step. "I've been a little busy," Fromartz explains.

He's not too busy to make bread, though.

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Weeknight Kitchen
8:00 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Weeknight Kitchen: Wedge Salad with Bacon, Maple-Fried Red Onions, and Buttermilk Chive Dressing

Serves 4
The wedge salad is one of life's great pleasures. If you've ever been to an old-time diner or a classic steak house, you know what we mean. But in our ever-lasting efforts to make dishes more creative and healthy, we offer this twist on the original. Instead of only iceberg lettuce, try wedging other nutritious salad greens, such as romaine and radicchio. 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vinegar, such as cider or sherry vinegar

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