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Meat has a greater impact on the environment than pretty much any other food we eat. As The Salt has reported, billions of cows, pigs, sheep and poultry we raise as livestock guzzle massive quantities of water and generate at least 10 percent of the total greenhouse gases attributed to human activity.

But scientists say we've been slow to acknowledge yet another side effect of our taste for meat: nitrogen pollution.

When I was growing up, there was no question of what I wanted for dinner. I wanted glorified "American" food: hamburgers, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese. I dreamed of coming home from school to find my mom pulling a pot roast from the oven, not setting the table with chopsticks and bowls of rice.

It wasn't until I left home for college that I began to miss my mother's cooking and decided to re-create some of her dishes. After a few mishaps and a cupboard full of burnt pans, I decided to look to the Internet for guidance, discovering the wonderful world of food blogs.

The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters.

The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems.

Which beer goes with guacamole? And which brew adds a nice clean, crisp finish to spicy wings?

Those are burning questions for anyone who wants to take his snack game to the next level this Super Bowl weekend. And two craft beer experts who wrote the book on pairing have the answers.

The Record: Thursday, Feb. 4, Full Show

Feb 4, 2016
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Today on The Record: Rick Steves, a well-known travel writer based in Edmonds, will tell you how to go to Cuba and what you might find.

Also, is Europe's immigration crisis something you should consider when it comes to visiting there? And move over Gala, Fuji, Braeburn and Red Delicious, there's a new Washington apple coming to your grocery store. Listen to the full show above or check out the individual stories:

Cosmic Crisp, near Quincy, Wash., on Sept. 18, 2013
Courtesy of Good Fruit Grower/TJ Mullinax

Bill Radke speaks with Washington State University apple researcher Kate Evans about Cosmic Crisp, a new variety of apple she helped develop that will be exclusively grown in Washington state. 

We asked our listeners to weigh in on their favorite varieties, check out their varied responses below!

Food writer Bee Wilson has a message of hope for parents struggling to get their children to eat their veggies: "As parents, we have a far greater power than we think we have to form children's tastes," Wilson tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

In her new book, First Bite, Wilson examines how genetics, culture, memory and early feeding patterns contribute to our food preferences. She says that a child's palate can be formed even before birth. And this insight can be helpful for parents who want their children to eat well and healthfully.

One month down, two to go.

For unemployed adults in 22 states, that's how long they can count on help with the grocery bills: Starting this January, they have three months to find a job or lose their food assistance.

SNAP benefits — formerly known as food stamps — have been tied to employment for two decades. Unless they are caring for children or unable to work, adults need to have a job to receive more than three months of benefits.

Editor's note at 10:51 a.m. ET, Feb. 1: The original version of this post lacked a perspective from the food industry. That post also may have given the impression that NPR has a position on whether food ads should or should not be banned. A new version appears below and the original version follows.

Why is it that we haven't seen ads for cigarettes on television since the Nixon administration?

chocolate lw
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Listener Beth Ann Johnson asked Local Wonder about Seattle's chocolate industry, and reporter Ruby de Luna agreed to report. (We know. Tough assignment.)

The Senate Agriculture Committee has voted in support of a compromise plan that will preserve key school nutrition standards enacted after the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010.

Yep, that's the law that requires schools to serve up more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It also paved the way for major reductions in salt.

Separation of church and state? When it comes to fighting food waste, the U.S. government is looking to partner up with the faithful.

No More Tipping At Tom Douglas Restaurants

Jan 14, 2016
Chef Tom Douglas
Flickr Photo/Ronald Woan (CC BY NC 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1USBvzb

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas about his plan to replace tipping with a wage raise and 20 percent service charge. The change will take place at Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen and The Carlile Room on Feb. 1.

Food writer Hsiao-Ching Chou
Courtesy of Hsiao-Ching Chou

What’s the best Chinese restaurant in Seattle? Seattle food writer Hsiao-Ching Chou gets this question all the time.

She struggles to answer, she told KUOW’s David Hyde, because there isn’t one.

Dick's Drive-In on Capitol Hill.
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1OgLT27

Bill Radke talks to Luke Burbank, host of the podcast TBTL and Live Wire, about his high school job working at Dick's Drive-In. 

Every year some 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and 23,000 of them die from these superbugs.

Superbugs are mostly a hospital problem: They're where these pathogens are often born and spread, and where the infected come for help. But hospitals are not where the majority of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is struggling to convince its customers it's a safe place to eat, after several outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have sickened hundreds of its customers. But no one thinks the task is going to be easy.

The fast expansion and spectacular meltdown of the Haggen grocery chain has left thousands of people in the Northwest with fewer places to buy their groceries. Safeway even got a monopoly as the only large supermarket in a whole county of eastern Oregon.

One of the great public-health success stories of the past couple of decades can be found in your cereal bowl.

About a decade ago, food writer Michael Pollan issued a call to action: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. As 2016 opens, it looks like many American cooks and diners are heeding that call.

Vegetables have moved from the side to the center of the plate. And as another year begins, it appears that plants are the new meat.

It all started with a question about food labeling at the Iowa Agriculture Summit earlier this year and Jeb Bush's not-so-humble brag:

"When I go to Publix in Coral Gables after church to go prepare for Sunday Funday in my house ... I'll probably make a really good guacamole and I want to know where that avocado is from and I want to know where the onions are from and the cilantro and all the secret stuff I put in it."

Cage-free, antibiotic-free, artificial-free. Sound familiar?

Many of the world's biggest food companies announced major changes this year — in what they purchase and how they manufacture their food.

Alaska is about to become the first state to have pot cafes where people can buy and consume marijuana, similar to Amsterdam.

Right now, that's not legal in other states that have recreational marijuana.

Brothers James and Giono Barrett, who own a marijuana business, Rainforest Farms, in Juneau, also plan to produce a line of chocolate bars infused with pot. They'll be an alternative to the sugary, processed edibles Giono says he has eaten recently in Colorado.

In Madrid, Museo del Jamón, which isn't a museum but a chain of bars, sells special ham backpacks, for carrying a whole ham leg — hoof and all — around town at the holidays. Spanish airports have special luggage rules for them. A leg of ham is the most popular family gift at Christmas. Every self-respecting Spanish household has a jamonera — a kitchen countertop rack on which to mount and cut slices off a ham leg.

Panettone may have once sounded exotic, but these days, the dome-shaped Italian fruit bread is readily available on American grocery store shelves. And if you're ready to expand your repertoire of global holiday breads, there are many more yeasty, doughy traditions to nibble on. And they all remind us how expensive, imported fruits — like Greek currants and Italian candied citrus peel — have long been a part of our most treasured Christmas foods.

Here, a brief tour of five other fruited holiday breads from around the world.

Julekake

The Food and Drug Administration doesn't see a need to require labeling for genetically engineered salmon. But Congress does.

In the federal spending package approved Friday, lawmakers directed the FDA to make sure the controversial new fish is labeled for consumers.

The Massachusetts-based company AquaBounty has engineered a fish that grows to market size faster than Atlantic farmed salmon.

An attachment to the last-minute spending proposal going before Congress this week would end a six-year trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. If it's passed, as seems likely, the omnibus budget bill would repeal a law called COOL that requires "country-of-origin labels" on meat.

Dr. Uma Pisharody advises parents to cut back on sugar in their kids’ diets, even sugar from unsweetened fruit juice.
Flickr photo/stvcr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Juice boxes and children seem to go together. Juice is often the main drink in school cafeterias and at kids’ parties and sports events. But at Swedish Medical Center's First Hill campus, fruit juice is now off the pediatric menu.

If you go by their declarations and promises, meat producers are drastically cutting back on the use of antibiotics to treat their poultry, pigs and cattle. Over the past year, one big food company after another has announced plans to stop using these drugs.

But if you go by the government's data on drugs sold to livestock producers, it's a different story.

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