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Last summer, Anna Pallai was leafing through her mom's cookbooks — sauce-splashed volumes of Robert Carrier recipes, issues of Supercook pinched together in a ringed binder — when she realized she'd stumbled across a gold mine. The books were full of meaty aspics and mousses coaxed into elaborate shapes: a crown made of blunted hot dogs, seafood mousse sculpted into the shape of a maniacally grinning fish.

Kale Is About To Have An Identity Crisis

Nov 28, 2016

Kale is getting a makeover, and the very essence of kaliness may hang in the balance.

To develop a new variety of kale tailored to American palates, horticulture professor Philip Griffiths of Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science and graduate student Hannah Swegarden are soliciting consumers' kale reflections — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The scientists face a philosophic question for the ages. Asks Swegarden:

This is the time of year when donations to food banks spike. But, some food banks are getting pickier about what they'll accept.

Earlier this year the Capital Area Food Bank announced it would "dramatically" cut back on junk food it receives and distributes. This means saying "no" to donations such as sheet cakes, holiday candy, sugary sodas and other processed, bakery items.

Every holiday season, things get a "bit tricky," says Risa Greene, 53, from New York City. "You have one child who is a human garbage disposal and will eat anything you put in front of him, and you have another child who is more restricted than [the] TSA."

Greene's son is an omnivore — he eats everything. Her daughter, Jessica, is a vegan. She stopped eating meat when she was in high school years ago, then dropped dairy products and eggs in college and eventually gave up gluten, too.

No-GMO food label
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

A judge in Olympia has fined an activist group from Iowa for secretly funneling money into a Washington state election.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor ruled that Food Democracy Action! concealed $300,000 in contributions supporting a ballot measure to label genetically modified foods in 2013.

Many, many Thanksgivings ago, my fiance took me home to Allentown, Pa., to be inspected by his family. During our visit, my mother-in-law-to-be served a relish so delicious that I married her son.

Ever since, I've shared the recipe with NPR listeners right before Thanksgiving. Now, supportive listeners may be shocked to learn that over the years, I've gotten a good deal of grief about this recipe — especially from my NPR colleagues, many of whom have never bothered to taste it!

Courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, MOHAI

Seattle's food scene is booming.

Not only is it doing well economically, but people come from all over the world to try our oysters and berries and stroll Pike Place Market.


Meals cooked at home keep getting cheaper, and Thanksgiving dinner will be a real bargain this year.

That's what two separate measures of food prices showed on Thursday.

One gauge, the Consumer Price Index done in October by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that the cost of food at the supermarket — known as "food-at-home" prices — fell for the sixth straight month. Such prices are now down 2.3 percent from the same time last year.

When I give public talks about animal intelligence and emotion around the U.S., I'm struck by one thing: a big audience response to the behavior of octopuses.

King County is asking the public to vote on these 6 options
Public Health Seattle & King County

Kim Malcolm talks with Becky Elias about King County's plan to require restaurants to post storefront signs that tell customers their health inspection grades. King County is seeking feedback from the public on how these signs will look. Elias manages food and facilities for Public Health-Seattle & King County. 

People who eat fish from Washington state waters will be protected by a combination of new federal and state pollution rules.

That’s the outcome of a decision the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled Tuesday.

The announcement could end years of wrangling over how much to restrict municipal and industrial water pollution. Indian tribes have been especially critical of what they considered lax standards for how much fish can be safely consumed.

Sara Thompson from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission called the decision an important first step.

There may be nothing more American than mom and apple pie – but mom and cake come pretty close.

Ask Anne Byrn, the Nashville-based best-selling author and baker whose romance with cake started when she was tall enough to reach for the box of Hershey's cocoa.

Hey, Looks Like Americans Are Finally Eating More Fish

Oct 31, 2016

San Diego native Megan Olbur didn't grow up eating much seafood beyond tuna sandwiches, fish sticks or the occasional salmon dinners her parents made. But in 2015, when Olbur became pregnant with a daughter of her own, she heeded the advice of her physician and deliberately began adding more seafood to her diet as a way to boost brain development and to ensure the health of her growing baby.

It turns out, she wasn't alone in upping her fish fare.

The barbarians are invading Rome — again.

At least, that's the complaint of a group of Italian intellectuals protesting the "siege" of the city's cultural sites by outside enemies such as McDonald's and cheap souvenir shops.

Some 170 people have signed their names to an open letter appealing to UNESCO for help in combating the "commercial exploitation" of the ancient city.

What does a booming Seattle mean for young people?

Oct 21, 2016
Downtown Seattle
Flickr Photo/Jeffrey Scott Will (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://www.flickr.com/photos/cactus22minus1/24611507186/

By definition, growing pains are the problems that are experienced as something grows larger or more successful -- and there's no doubt that Seattle has been experiencing that in recent years. But has this city really become more successful? And what do these changes mean for young people? 

The beverage giant PepsiCo has announced a plan to cut the sugar content and calories of drinks it sells around the globe.

A degree program in craft brewing is in its second year at Central Washington University and beer school graduates are in high demand in a market that’s growing rapidly.

The World Health Organization has already urged us to cut back on sugar, limiting added sugars to no more than 10 percent of our daily calories.

The idea behind the company Blue Apron is simple: Each week, it sends customers a box with recipe cards and fresh ingredients to make a handful of meals, each of them in just under 35 minutes.

The company has grown quickly since its founding in 2012: It delivers around 8 million meals per month.

Sam Choy's Poke to the Max, a popular poke food truck in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

A Hawaiian fish salad is taking Seattle by storm. It's called poke, and you can probably find it in your neighborhood, especially if you live in Capitol Hill. 

Poke means "to cut" which explains why it consists typically of cubes of cut tuna (or another, typically, seafood item) with a variety of sauces and toppings to accompany it.

Most of us have been tempted at one time or another by the lure of sugar. Think of all the cakes and cookies you consume between Thanksgiving and Christmastime!

But why are some people unable to resist that second cupcake or slice of pie? That's the question driving the research of Monica Dus, a molecular biologist at the University of Michigan. She wants to understand how excess sugar leads to obesity by understanding the effect of sugar on the brain.

3,000-Year-Old Cooking Fail Found At A Danish Dig Site

Sep 21, 2016

Denmark currently holds the title of world's happiest country. But we could imagine at least one Norseman back in time who, after a failed cooking attempt, probably felt little of the famed Danish hygge.

In a hilly wetland north of Silkeborg, archaeologists have unearthed a wholly intact Bronze Age clay pot containing a cheesy and charred residue burned to its inside.

No chemical used by farmers, it seems, gets more attention than glyphosate, also known by its trade name, Roundup. That's mainly because it is a cornerstone of the shift to genetically modified crops, many of which have been modified to tolerate glyphosate. This, in turn, persuaded farmers to rely on this chemical for easy control of their weeds. (Easy, at least, until weeds evolved to become immune to glyphosate, but that's a different story.)

Robin Everett, a Sierra Club organizer, says that Trump sees that workers and the environment are not being protected through these trade deals.
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

Last month in Everett, Donald Trump called the Trans-Pacific Partnership a “disaster.”

Hillary Clinton opposes it, too. So what does the rise in anti-trade politics mean for Washington – the most trade-dependent state?

Courtesy of Julia Harrison

Bill Radke speaks with food anthropologist Julia Harrison about how Washington state became the king of apple production in America. 

Sugar shocked.

That describes the reaction of many Americans this week following revelations that, 50 years ago, the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists for research that shifted the focus away from sugar's role in heart disease — and put the spotlight squarely on dietary fat.

What might surprise consumers is just how many present-day nutrition studies are still funded by the food industry.

First, a confession: I've never liked gefilte fish. The slimy, grey balls of fish from a jar have always struck me as icky.

Turns out, I am not alone.

"I had the same experience as you. I never ate gefilte fish," says Liz Alpern. "It was disgusting to me. I literally think I never ate it, until I started making it."

That's a remarkable statement coming from someone in the gefilte fish business. Alpern is half of the team behind the Gefilteria, which makes artisanal gefilte fish. Yes, that is a thing. Alpern gave me a demonstration at a catering kitchen in Brooklyn.

In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat, according to a newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine.

I fell for pho in Saigon in 1974, when I was 5 years old. When my family came to America in 1975, my mom satisfied our family's cravings for the aromatic beef noodle soup with homemade batches, served on Sundays after morning Mass. As Vietnamese expatriates, we savored pho as a very special food, a gateway to our cultural roots. When we didn't have pho at home, we went out for it in Orange County, California's Little Saigon, patronizing mom-and-pop shops that welcomed us with the perfume of pho broth.

A legendary South Asian dish has suddenly found itself in the midst of a war in India. Made up of layers of meat and rice and cooked with fragrant spices, the dish is the much-loved biryani. And the latest battlefield is in the northern Indian state of Haryana.

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