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What do large tables, large breakfasts and large servers have in common? They all affect how much you eat. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the hidden forces that drive our diets. First we hear from Adam Brumberg at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab about how to make healthier choices more easily (hint: good habits, and pack your lunch!). Then, Senior (Svelte) Stopwatch Correspondent Daniel Pink returns for another round of Stopwatch Science to tell you about those tables, breakfasts and servers.

The Food and Drug Administration seems intent on bringing sugar out of the shadows.

Not only will food companies have to reveal, right on the package, how much sugar they've added to food; they also will have to call it by its real name.

Roberta Siao, a Brazilian immigrant in London, found that her dual status as a foreigner and mother made it impossible to find work. Yet at Mazi Mas, a London-based pop-up restaurant and catering service focused on training and employing immigrant and refugee women, she has found more than just a paying job. She tells her story in her own words.

Later this week, in hundreds of cities around the globe, from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to Lancaster, Pa., protesters will "March Against Monsanto." Will they still march if there's no Monsanto?

We're facing a kind of food revolution, and my generation is driving it.

Not so long ago, when fast-food giants reigned supreme, takeout meant cheap, quick, greasy meals. But a recent Goldman Sachs report found that people under 35 are now demanding food that's fresh and healthful — as well as fast.

The National Academy of Sciences — probably the country's most prestigious scientific group — has reaffirmed its judgment that GMOs are safe to eat. But the group's new report struck a different tone from previous ones, with much more space devoted to concerns about genetically modified foods, including social and economic ones.

Pork shoulder, cauliflower and cheese curds are all trending in 2016, according to Google's tracking of food-related searches. That list might either nauseate you or make your mouth water.

In Florida, homeowners have a propensity for landscaping. They take great pride in the green carpet of grass in front of their homes. But one Florida man is working on a project that's turning his neighbors' lawns into working farms.

Chris Castro has an obsession — turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms.

"The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says.

In recent years, there's been a no-tipping movement within the restaurant industry.

The idea has been to rectify a basic pay unfairness to even out the pay between tipped and untipped employees. Dishwashers and cooks at the back of the house don't earn as much money as waiters because they don't get tips.

So, do away with tipping, raise menu prices a little bit, and pay everyone a higher wage.

In Hindi, the saying goes that to survive, you need three things: roti, meaning bread or food, kapda or clothing, and makaan, shelter.

India has a roti problem. While the country has catapulted to No. 3 in the world for obesity, it's also the hungriest country in the world.

Sugar, you might think, is just sugar, no matter where it comes from. But not anymore.

About half of all sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, and the other half comes from sugar cane. Now, for the first time, sugar traders are treating these as two different commodities, with two different prices.

Deborah Wang speaks with Saru Jayaraman, author of "FORKED: A New Standard for American Dining," about why restaurant-goers should ask not only "Is the fish sustainably sourced?" but also "How much do you pay your dishwasher?" and "Why do you have an all-white wait staff?" Her book calls out restaurants who treat their workers poorly, and praises those who take what she calls the "high road" to profitability.

Courtesy of Kate Murphy

You probably already know this, but lunch these days is sad. This is especially true when it’s eaten during the workday. Frequently, it’s eaten alone, at the desk while answering emails.

There’s research to back lunch’s retreat into sadness.

Graham Kerr on his show, 'The Galloping Gourmet.'
Screenshot from YouTube

Bill Radke talks with Graham Kerr about his book "Flash of Silver." Kerr is best known as host of The Galloping Gourmet, a TV cooking show that aired nationally in the late 1960s and early 70s.

The Food and Drug Administration is re-evaluating its definition of what counts as a "healthy" food.

The change comes as healthful fats — including fats found in nuts — are increasingly recognized as part of a good diet.

Currently, if a food company wants to put a "healthy" claim on its label, regulations stipulate that it must be very low in fat. The specific rules are complex, but, for instance, a snack food can contain no more than 3 grams of fat for a regular-size serving.

This means that many snacks that include nuts don't qualify as healthy.

I.

Americans have until May 10 to help the Food and Drug Administration with one of philosophy's greatest riddles: What is the meaning of "natural"?

Seattle Food Rescue founder Tim Jenkins picks up food from Stock Box on James St.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

Up to 40 percent of food in the U.S. ends up in landfills. Seattle has been trying to tackle the issue with laws that require composting. But that's not enough for one local cyclist.

Tim Jenkins cuts sharply across tracks in the road as he jets through an intersection before the light changes. He has a child trailer attached to the back of his bike. But instead of carrying a small human, Jenkins hopes to fill the cart with food.

What do you get in Cracker Jack? A QR code, apparently.

The "Prize Inside" will no longer actually be inside the box, Frito-Lay has announced. Like so many other aspects of our lives, the prize will be digitized.

The newest apiary inspector at the Maryland Department of Agriculture has four legs, golden fur and a powerful sniffer.

Mack, a 2-year-old yellow Lab, joined the team last fall to help his mom, chief apiary inspector Cybil Preston, inspect beehives for American foulbrood — AFB — a highly contagious bacterial disease that infects honeybee brood and, eventually, kills the colony.

The kid with the stinky lunch

Apr 28, 2016
p
Marcelle Hutchins

When my family emigrated from Cameroon to the US in 1997, I was 8 years old and many things were new to me. But lunchtime was a whole new universe of discomfort.

I brought traditional Cameroon food to school — think, peanut sauce with rice — and my classmates would make fun of me and call my meal "stinky."  I quickly learned that children weren’t very forgiving about my “strange” food.

The grocery industry is calling it quits on a potential ballot measure that would have privatized liquor sales in Oregon. Currently, hard liquor like whiskey, vodka and gin can only be sold in state-chartered stores.

Grocers want to be able to sell it along with their current selections of beer and wine, but the industry group behind the effort said Wednesday they won't collect any more signatures for the initiative.

Is it a problem when white chefs cook other people’s food?

Apr 26, 2016
Angela Garbes, food writer at The Stranger.
Courtesy of Angela Garbes

When you go to a restaurant that touts itself as Korean, French, Mexican or Italian—it’s hard to know exactly what that means. And you might accidentally be stepping into murky food politics by going to one. How? If the chef is white and making money off the cuisine of people of color.

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan at his restaurant in Ravenna, Salare.
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

This week, we explored what it means when a white chef earns a reputation from cooking the food of people of color.

Here in Seattle, we met a chef who had the opposite problem.

When it comes to introducing babies to solid foods, rice cereal is often first. And rice is a staple in many baby and toddler foods.

But, as we've reported, multiple studies have found that rice-based foods contain traces of arsenic, and sometimes levels are surprisingly high.

Editor's note: This week, to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, we will be running a series of stories examining the links between food and the Bard.

In Shakespeare's time, England was a hungry and volatile nation.

Earth Day got you thinking about how your diet impacts the planet?

The World Resources Institute has news to ease a meat-lover's conscience: In a new report, it says you don't have to bid burgers bye-bye in order to reduce the environmental footprint of what you eat. Cutting back could go a long way, it says.

In the report, the nonprofit calculates the planetary effect of various possible changes in how the world eats.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 this week, and like many of us do on our birthdays, she'll be celebrating with some cake.

This year the task of coming up with a cake fit for a queen fell to Nadiya Hussain, the winner of the most recent season of the wildly popular TV show The Great British Bake Off.

After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters 'Chase The Burn'

Apr 20, 2016

Right now, and in the coming weeks, from Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.

"Sometimes we call it 'chasing the burns,' " mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.

If you melt at the creaminess of full-fat yogurt, read on.

A new study finds the dairy fats found in milk, yogurt and cheese may help protect against Type 2 diabetes.

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