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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.

The nightshade family has some of the most economically important and useful crops on Earth. That includes, of course, deadly nightshade or belladonna, which produces the medicine atropine, as well as potatoes, tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, tobacco and eggplant.

In the kitchen at Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, just north of downtown Detroit, Linda Carter and Shawnetta Hudson are in the final stages of making their newest jam creation: cranberry-apple preserves. Carter is meticulously wiping down tables while Hudson seals the lids on jars. Then comes the logo — a beautiful graphic of a black woman with afro hair made of strawberries. The kitchen is small and basic, but for the past year it has served as the hub of a community-based product called Afro Jam.

After multiple recent studies showing that feeding peanut-containing foods to infants can reduce the risk of peanut allergies, there are new federal guidelines for parents about when to start feeding their infants such foods.

If you're looking for a diet plan that suits your lifestyle, a new list of rankings from U.S. News & World Report has you covered.

Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes. It could be bad for your brain, too.

It started with a cup of coffee, or more precisely, a hot beverage. Seven years later came fries, the now infamous eggplant and friends. Sandwich lovers waited for their time to come, while begrudgingly sending another drumstick, wishing it were barbecue.

For many Americans, Christmas-time baking is filled with the rich, familiar scents of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. But in Sweden, there's another spice that enters the December pantry pantheon — saffron.

It's a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation's swine, cattle and poultry.

Emily Phillips is Marination's Commissary Manager. She and her crew of 10 cook the rice, marinate the meats and do all the food prep for the restaurants.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Food trucks — you see them everywhere.  

Marination is one of the early pioneers of the Seattle food truck business, serving Hawaiian-Korean food. To feed its customers, Marination goes through 100 pounds of rice, 40 pounds of kimchi and 300 pounds of chicken, pork and beef on a typical busy summer day.  

Every winter, Scandinavian-Americans gather in church basements, lodges and restaurants to feast upon the nearly see-through, white, gelatinous food known as lutefisk.

It's not an appetizing dish. Lutefisk is made from dried whitefish — usually cod— which has been rehydrated in baths of lye and cold water. The cook just has to heat and serve.

Americans waste a staggering amount of food. Instead of letting it rot and wreck the environment, some entrepreneurs want to put it to work feeding insects, and see the potential to revolutionize how we feed some of the livestock that provide us our meat.

Phil Taylor's enthusiasm for insects is infectious. The University of Colorado Boulder research ecologist beams as he weaves through a small greenhouse in rural Boulder County, Colorado. A room about the size of a shipping container sits inside.

Back when I was drinking, I loved the holiday season, because it was a time of year when getting blasted was perfectly acceptable.

Eat, drink and be merry? Hey, I'm just following the rules here.

Between open bars, champagne toasts and office parties, the month of December was one long pub crawl for me, and if I drank too much — and I always drank too much — I could absolve myself on Jan. 1, when I swore to a bunch of resolutions I would inevitably break about two weeks later.

I've made so many false promises on New Year's Day, you'd think I was running for office.

Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with managing director of Investigate West Lee van der Voo about her new book, "The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate." She explains the effects that privatizing access to fishing rights have had on the fishing industry and how you buy seafood. 

Sarah Lohman has made everything from colonial-era cocktails to cakes with black pepper to stewed moose face. She is a historical gastronomist, which means she re-creates historical recipes to connect with the past.

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.


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