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food

KUOW/Brie Ripley

It's known as the miracle compound: Omega-3s are an amazing fat that can helps lower blood pressure, help with heart disease, and can strengthen brain function.

We consume omega-3s in fish and increasingly in supplements made from marine creatures. But there may be more to the story of those magic fish oil pills. Are they as environmentally sustainable or as healthy as we thought?

Goat's milk. Sheep's milk. Soy milk. Almond milk. The grocery store shelves these days are filled with alternatives to dairy from cows. But in Europe, interest is growing in milk from a surprising source: horses.

seattle soda tax
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Soda companies have poured $4.7 million into an anti-tax measure in Washington state, enough for the initiative to pop up on the November ballot. 

The Seattle dog, with grilled onions and cream cheese, was born in Pioneer Square in the late 1980s. This is a Polaroid of that era.
Courtesy of Hadley Long

Mara Dillinger stood at a hot dog cart in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, eating her fourth hot dog of the night.

On a beautiful sunny day recently in south Lancaster County, Pa., farmer Abner Stolztfus and seven of his eight children were inside, bottling yogurt in a room next to the barn. "The younger one is only 2 months old, so she's not working out here yet," he said, laughing.

Stolztfus and his family own Cedar Dream dairy farm in the town of Peach Bottom in southeast Pennsylvania. He and his kids milk 50 cows twice a day — at 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. His family has been farming for generations.

"I learned milking cows before I started going to school," he said.

Paper straws at Duke's Seafood & Chowder in Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

There’s a rising tide of concern over the plastic junk flowing into the world’s oceans. So starting July 1, restaurants and bars in Seattle won’t be allowed to give out plastic straws. 

City officials say Seattle is the first major city to ban plastic straws. Other cities, including New York and San Francisco, are considering similar bans.

If you're interested in sustainability, you've probably thought about how to reduce your carbon footprint, from how you fuel your car to how you heat your home. But what about carbon emissions from growing the food you eat?

Most of the crops in the United States are grown using chemical fertilizer – a lot of it: American farmers used over 24 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer in 2011. And making nitrogen fertilizer requires fossil fuels like natural gas or coal.

One of these sustainable straws might be in your future.
KUOW Photo/Brie Ripley

Nothing is more satisfying than the sweet sound of a straw - a pointy, plastic straw - piercing the seal on a tall cup of bubble tea. But after this weekend, that sound might be harder to come by. Seattle's ban on single use plastics goes into effect on July 1st.

Why the prohibition? How will it be implemented? And most importantly: what about the tea?? Kevin Kelly, general manager of Recology Cleanscapes in Georgetown, came by to help Bill Radke and producer Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong cope with change.

The author (left) with his friends, discussing the ways food has brought them closer together through the years.
KUOW PHOTO/Patrick Liu

The popularity of cooking shows, food photography, and fine dining testifies to the fact that  in today’s culture our need to eat goes far beyond satisfying a daily nutrition quota. In this four-part podcast, RadioActive’s Patrick Liu delves into a series of vignettes that collectively explore the emotional significance that food brings to the table.


McDonald's says it will start using paper straws instead of plastic at all its locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it plans to test sustainable alternatives to plastic straws in some restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe later this year.

IHOP — the International House of Pancakes — is changing its name to IHOb and will now feature burgers, the company said in a tweet that was not posted on April Fool's Day. It remains to be seen whether the change will be permanent or merely a flash in the pan (cake) to promote hamburgers.

Editor's Note: In 2016, Anthony Bourdain visited Senegal and spoke with NPR's Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton. Their meal and conversation were filmed for his travel-food show Parts Unknown on CNN. With the news of Bourdain's death, we wanted to revisit our interview with Quist-Arcton about that day.

Americans are rediscovering the coldest aisle in the supermarket.

According to a new report, sales of frozen foods, including vegetables and prepared foods, are now on the rise following a multi-year slump.

The uptick is new — and modest. But growth "is accelerating as consumers begin to see freezing as a way to preserve food with fewer negatives," concludes a report from RBC Capital Markets.

From left, peanuts, hog maw and chitterlings. These three dishes, as chef Edouardo Jordan explains, come from West Africa, and evolved during slavery in the Deep South.
JuneBaby Instagram/@junebabysea

Chef Edouardo Jordan brought major gold home to Seattle this week by winning two James Beard Awards. One for Best Northwest Chef, a recognition of his talent at his flagship restaurant Salare, and another for Best New Restaurant nationwide for the Ravenna eatery two blocks away, JuneBaby.

Left to right, Rachel Park, Sonali Coehlo, Brooke Lell and  Judith Prado are part of the school's Green Team. They sort and organize the collected food before storing them in the fridge.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

A Bellevue school has saved 4,000 pounds of food – enough that a nearby food bank no longer has to ration milk for its families.

Edouardo Jordan, right, works in the kitchen at JuneBaby on Wednesday December 6, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Chef Edouardo Jordan kept one item off his menu when he opened Salare in 2015.

“I didn’t want to put fried chicken on the menu,” Jordan said in the Netflix documentary series, “Ugly Delicious.”

In July, seven Oregon craft breweries will start selling beer in reusable glass bottles in the country’s first statewide refillable beer bottle program.

Oregon's Widmer Brothers, Buoy Beer, Double Mountain, GoodLife, Gigantic, Wild Ride and Rock Bottom breweries will be pioneering the program with some of their beers. Other breweries may join the program later.

The reusable bottles will be on store shelves just like all the other beer, but they'll look a little different.

File photo: Calorie counts are now national law.
Flickr Photo/Wes Dickinson (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/TWcThi

A national law requiring calorie information on menus takes effect this week. Restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores with 20 locations are now required to post calorie information on their menus. 

If you live in King County, you won’t see much difference because it was an early adopter and passed a menu labeling requirement in 2009.


In a big grass pasture in the shadow of Mount Rainier in Washington state, hundreds of chickens crowd around a little house where they can get water and shelter from the bald eagles circling overhead. This is the original location of Wilcox Family Farms, an egg farm that also has locations in Oregon and Montana.

When Melisa Martinez's son, Juelz, was born very prematurely at 25 weeks back in January, doctors at University of California, Davis Children's Hospital gave him probiotics. "They told me the probiotics may help reduce the risk of infection," Martinez says. Now, Juelz is home and doing well.

Last summer's Eagle Creek Fire burned more than 48,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge. Conservationists estimate that it may take years for some areas to reopen to the public. But despite the devastation, some areas in the Gorge are seeing their first signs of rebirth. 

Enter, the humble mushroom. The charred wood and decaying organic matter in the wake of a fire create the perfect environment for several types of fungi to thrive. Oregon's mushroom hunters are forecasting a mushroom bonanza this spring — including a bumper crop of the coveted wild morels.

Liz West/Flickr Creative Commons (https://flic.kr/p/4oxLb1)

Before you buy that head of lettuce, you might want to first check where it’s grown.

“Be certain that what they’re buying is from California and not from Arizona,” said Marguerite Pappaioanou, epidemiologist at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

Kelli Russell Agodon is a poet based in Kingston, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

Starting this month KUOW is celebrating local poetry with a series called #NewsPoet.

A Pacific Northwest poet writes an original piece inspired by a KUOW news story. This week we hear from Kingston-based poet Kelli Russel Agodon.


Where other chefs might see kitchen trash, Tim Ma finds treasure — for his culinary creations, and his bottom line.

In a big grass pasture in the shadow of Mount Rainier, hundreds of chickens are crowded around a little house where they can get water and shelter from the bald eagles circling overhead. This is the original location of Wilcox Family Farms, an egg farm that also has locations in Oregon and Montana.

East of the Cascades, wheat farmers say there has been plenty of moisture over the winter and all things point to a good harvest. But the price and demand for that crop is very much in question.

Last Christmas, Matthew Bamsey was in Antarctica with a giant item on his wish list.

As a systems engineer at the German Aerospace Center, Bamsey was hoping the greenhouse he had helped design would arrive at Neumayer Station III, Antarctica, around Dec. 25. His gift was a bit late — icy weather delayed the greenhouse's arrival until Jan. 3, but he didn't mind. After three years of preparation, it was fine that it got there eventually.

Photo courtesy of Mac Witt

Most Seattle bakeries have employed graduates from South Seattle College’s Pastry and Baking Arts program. The school is a pipeline for notable restaurants and bakeries like Macrina, Bakery Nouveau, and Grand Central.

But now the college is looking to cut $1 million, and the baking program is a target.


Earlier this month, nearly half the inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla staged a hunger strike. It ended after five days. The inmates were protesting the quality of prison food.

It’s an issue that has been simmering in Washington prisons for years.

Doctors encounter all nature of odd things in their daily lives. Sometimes the stories end up as more than coffee-room chatter. Consider a case that spills over from the clinical to the culinary: the hot pepper and the horrible headache.

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