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Ronnie Schmidt once volunteered for Food Lifeline. Then he saw a posting for a job driving a truck for the organization. 'You see a lot of seniors that need this help. So it's nice doing it.'
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

Most of the poor people in our region live in the suburbs. That can create problems for organizations like Food Lifeline, a nonprofit food distribution center. One solution for getting perishable food to needy people spread over a large area? A truck.

Browse through some turn-of-the-century American cookbooks, and it's obvious that popular tastes have changed (such as the presence of fried cornmeal mush and the absence of cilantro). But more striking than the shift in flavors and ingredients is the focus on feeding those who are sick — or, to use the parlance of the time, "cooking for invalids."

alcohol beer taps
Flickr Photo/Arvind Grover (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1SmmftY

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Kendall Jones, from the Washington Beer Blog, and Robyn Schumacher, co-owner and brewer at Stoup Brewing in Ballard, about Washington's longstanding love story with beer. We have more craft beer makers here than any other region in America — 174 of in the Seattle-Tacoma area, according to market researcher Datafiniti. 

Apple growers in Washington state, who dominate American apple production, are starting to plant a new kind of apple. It's the fastest launch of a new variety in history.

Herring Gets No Respect. This Man Wants To Change That.

May 3, 2017

Small oily fish get no respect—but as climate change reshapes the food landscape and sustainable foods gain currency, it may be time to change the way we eat.

Driven by respect for the sea, Warner Lew is on a crusade to bring herring back to your dinner table.

Get ready for a new kind of apple. It's called Cosmic Crisp, and farmers in Washington state, who grow 70 percent of the country's apples, are planting these trees by the millions. The apples themselves, dark red in color with tiny yellow freckles, will start showing up in stores in the fall of 2019.

Scott McDougall is one of the farmers who's making a big bet on Cosmic Crisp.

"It goes back to believing in the apple," he says.

"You believe?" I ask.

"I believe!" he says, and chuckles.

Hunger in America can often seem invisible, but recent studies have shown that it is a problem that affects millions of people, many of them children.

Hops pickers at Titus Farm, on the site of modern-day Kent (formerly known as Titusville). Titus farm and Titusville were named after the same prominent family of settlers. Everett E. Titus in white shirt.
White River Valley Museum Collection, Gift of Erle Titus.

When Kent, Washington, was first settled by Europeans, it was called Titusville. So why the name change? Because of beer.

Or, to be more precise, because of hops.

Or, to be even more precise, because of western Washington's great 19th-century hops craze.


A proposal to tax sugary drinks like soda pop in Seattle passed Monday.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JwCQyB

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposed soda tax will now include diet beverages.

Murray's original plan only included sugary drinks and received pushback. He said Thursday that the addition of diet drinks comes out of a desire for equity.

An unusually cold and wet spring has Northwest asparagus growers anxious because the crop isn’t coming up. Large asparagus packing houses say they’re down hundreds-of-thousands of pounds so far this spring from normal.

Dan Charles

Jeannie Yandel speaks with NPR food reporter Dan Charles about a new apple variety coming to Washington state known as the Cosmic Crisp. Washington grows 70 percent of the apples in the United States, and Red Delicious is the largest single variety grow in the state.

But Americans don't really buy Red Delicious apples anymore. Only half of the 2016 crop has been sold. And the majority of those have gone overseas. Most American shoppers like other varieties - the Honeycrisp, the Gala, the Pink Lady. So apple growers are changing things up. They're hoping Cosmic Crisp will be a big hit among apple lovers. 

Bill Radke speaks with Dr. Joth Davis, a marine biologist and owner of the Baywater Shellfish Company on Bainbridge Island. Joth explains why raw oysters are considered the reason for the spreading of norovirus in King County and how sanitation issues and heavy rainfall lead to these issues.

He also offers some tips on how to enjoy shellfish without getting sick. And for more info, here are some other tips from King County. 

Kobe beef is supposedly the finest steak in the world. It’s very hard to get -- and very expensive -- in the United States. But it's getting easier and easier these days to find more affordable “American style Kobe beef" or “American Wagyu” at your neighborhood steak house or upscale grocery.

A plane flies over a field in South Sudan. Out of the sky drops a cascade of pallets, sacks or boxes filled with emergency food supplies that, once they reach the ground, can make the difference between sustenance and starvation.

A Canadian investigative consumer program ordered DNA analysis of several fast-food chicken sandwiches and concluded that Subway chicken was only half meat — with the other half soy.

The sandwich chain strongly rebuts the allegations, with a spokesman calling them "absolutely false" and calling for a retraction.

The system that delivers fresh salad greens like clockwork to the nation's grocery stores is breaking down slightly. In about three weeks, consumers may get a reminder of two things. First, vegetables really are fragile living things, and most of them have to survive outdoors. Second, we depend to a remarkable degree on just a few places to grow them. (That's a lesson U.K. lettuce lovers also recently got.)

Starbucks has come full circle.

More than three decades ago, during a trip to Milan, Howard Schultz was inspired to turn the coffeehouse chain into a space that served as a community gathering place. Now Schultz, the company's CEO, has announced Starbucks is opening its first location in Italy, in the heart of Milan's city center.

One might think Italian coffeehouses would be shaken by the looming arrival of this global java giant. But many are saying, bring it on.

When it comes to climate change, we often think of the cars we drive and the energy we use in our homes and offices. They are, after all, some of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. But what about the toast you ate for breakfast this morning?

A new study published Monday in Nature Plants breaks down the environmental cost of producing a loaf of bread, from wheat field to bakery. It finds that the bulk of the associated greenhouse gas emissions come from just one of the many steps that go into making that loaf: farming.

What a new soda tax could mean for Seattle

Feb 27, 2017
FLICKR PHOTO/Mike Mozart(CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JDwKS6

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about a new proposal to tax soda and other sugary drinks in Seattle.

There are very few scenarios where I could see myself considering the flesh of a fellow human being as food, and the ultimatum "eat today or die tomorrow" comes up in all of them. Most people are probably with me on this.

But Bill Schutt's newest book, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, reveals that from a scientific perspective, there's a predictable calculus for when humans and animals go cannibal. And far more humans — and animals — have dipped into the world of cannibalism than you might have imagined.

The generation that pioneered organic farming is beginning to retire. These farmers want what they've built to last. Some growers are passing on their farms to their kids. But not all of them have a second generation who wants to take over the family farm.

That's what longtime organic growers Tom and Denesse Willey discovered when they decided over the past few years that it was time to retire. When the Willeys asked their kids if they wanted to take over their 75-acre farm in California's Central Valley, they all said "no."

On a clear, cold winter evening, the sun begins to set at Lost Lake Farm near Jewell, Iowa, and Kevin Dietzel calls his 15 dairy cows to come home.

"Come on!" he hollers in a singsong voice. "Come on!"

Brown Swiss cows and black Normandy cows trot across the frozen field and, in groups of four, are ushered into the small milking parlor.

Two of the most influential groups in the food industry are asking companies to change those pesky "expiration" or "sell by" labels on packaged food.

Most of us don't spend a lot of time thinking about what the farmed seafood we eat might itself be eating. The answer is usually an opaque diet that includes some kind of fishmeal and fish oil. Fishmeal is usually made from ground-up, bony trash fish and forage fish — like anchovy, menhaden or herring — that nobody is clamoring for, anyway.

Except researchers now say these are the very types of fish that may be more valuable to humans who eat them directly, rather than being diverted toward aquaculture and other uses.

The innovation of synthetic fleece has allowed many outdoor enthusiasts to hike with warmth and comfort. But what many of these fleece-wearing nature lovers don't know is that each wash of their jackets and pullovers releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers, or microfibers, into the environment — from their favorite national park to agricultural lands to waters with fish that make it back onto our plates.

This has scientists wondering: Are we eating our sweaters' synthetic microfibers?

Genetically engineered crops are nothing new. But emerging technology that allows scientists to alter plants more precisely and cheaply is taking genetically engineered plants from the field to the kitchen.

The first version of the Arctic Apple, a genetically modified Golden Delicious, is headed for test markets in the Midwest in February, according to the company that produced it. It is the first genetically engineered apple, altered so that when it is cut, it doesn't turn brown from oxidation.

I'm in the middle of tapping out an email to my dad, deleting and retyping sentences.

On Friday night I'll cook an abridged Chinese New Year Eve dinner, I write.

Maybe I'll cook noodles (symbolizing happiness, longevity) or dumplings (symbolizing wealth). I don't tell him what I'll do exactly. This is the first time in my adult life, apart from drinking parties organized under the guise of making dumplings for Lunar New Year, that I've paid attention to this holiday.

KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Dr. Sylvia Tara has struggled with weight issues for much of her life. After gaining a substantial amount of weight following the birth of her children, she committed herself to finding a way to lose the pounds and keep them off. That decision led her to an exploration of what exactly fat is, how it may harm us and how it actually helps us survive. 

King County executive Dow Constantine presents West Seattle Fish House with an 'excellent' food safety rating.
Courtesy of King County

People eating out in King County now have a new way to compare restaurants. King County Public Health began phasing in new food safety rating signs Tuesday.

Instead of a pass/fail system or traditional letter grades, you'll start to see emojis hanging in restaurant windows.

Courtesy of Anne McTiernan

Bill Radke speaks with Anne McTiernan about her new memior called, "Starved: A Nutrition Doctor's Journey from Empty to Full." McTiernan is a research professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine and a member of the public health sciences division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

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