food | KUOW News and Information

food

Bonnie Rice was released from prison last year. After a five-year, drug-related prison sentence, she knew she couldn't go back to any of the people who led her into trouble.

"I didn't know where to go, how to go," Rice says with a quiver in her voice. "It was scary." She was completely alone.

She managed to find a place to live in a halfway house. But even though she filled out lots and lots of job applications in the first few months out of prison, she didn't get many calls back. "People look down on you," she says.

The farm-to-table trend has exploded recently. Across the country, menus proudly boast chicken raised by local farmers, pork from heritage breed pigs, vegetables grown from heirloom varieties. These restaurants are catering to diners who increasingly want to know where their food comes from — and that it is ethically, sustainably sourced.

But are these eateries just serving up lies?

Los Angeles is home to the largest Thai community outside of Thailand. This week, Thai-Americans are celebrating the traditional three-day water festival called Songkran to mark the new year. And many of them regularly shop at LA's landmark Bangkok Market, the first Thai food store in the U.S.

I hadn't been in Japan more than a few weeks before I was hooked on Japanese karē raisu, or curry rice. It was the rich, unmistakable smell that seeped under doorways and filled the undercover shopping markets of Osaka that first caught my attention.

Sardines, herring and other small fish species are the foundation of the marine food web — they're essential food for birds, marine mammals and other fish. But globally, demand for these so-called forage species has exploded, with many going to feed the livestock and fish farming industries.

In his competitive diving career, four-time Olympic diving gold medalist and five-time world champion Greg Louganis has been all over the world. Now he'll be in one place that's eluded him for years: your kitchen table.

Wheaties announced that Louganis — who is openly gay and HIV-positive — along with two other former Olympians, hurdler Edwin Moses and swimmer Janet Evans, will be featured on the cereal boxes as part of the revamped "legends" series.

When Nephi Craig enrolled in the culinary program at Arizona's Scottsdale Community College, there was nothing like "Native American Cuisine 101" in the curriculum.

If you've been following any of the big news stories on food fraud lately, you'll know that it's tough to know what exactly is in our food — and where it's been before it makes it onto our dinner plates.

In Northwest farm country, tiny blueberry buds are already starting to plump up. But cold snaps could kill them. To save more of those fruit-bearing buds, blueberry farmers are currently waging an epic battle against frost.

The price of quinoa tripled from 2006 to 2013 as America and Europe discovered this new superfood. That led to scary media reports that the people who grew it in the high Andes mountains of Bolivia and Peru could no longer afford to eat it. And while, as we reported, groups working on the ground tried to spread the word that your love of quinoa was actually helping Andean farmers, that was still anecdote rather than evidence.

Seattle restaurant magnate Tom Douglas came out of his kitchen Wednesday to host a conference for chefs on the science connecting the food they serve and the environment from where it comes.

“More and more chefs are counted upon for knowing what is going on in our food supply chain. I want to know more about the system. I want to know what I as a chef should be supporting through purchases,” said Douglas, who operates more than a dozen restaurants, hosts a radio show and markets his own line of kitchen products and cookbooks.

Monsanto is one of the most controversial companies in the world. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson conducts a wide-ranging conversation with, Hugh Grant,CEO of the agrochemical and biotech giant, about pesticides, genetically modified crops (GMOs) and the future of agriculture. This is part one of a two part interview.

A century ago, your typical chicken was really kind of scrawny. It took about four months to grow to a weight of 3 pounds. One result: Americans really didn't eat much chicken.

Today, the typical broiler, or meat chicken, turns feed into meat at a mind-boggling pace. Compared with the bird of yesteryear, it grows to twice the size in half the time. But some animal welfare advocates want the poultry industry to turn back the clock. Modern meat chickens are growing so fast, they say, that they are suffering.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge Tuesday approved the sale of the profitable core of the Haggen grocery chain to rival Albertsons. That brings to a close the dismantling of the Washington-based company.

Adopt A Beehive — Save A Beekeeper?

Mar 29, 2016

Beekeeper Nick French never knows what he'll find when he opens up his hives for the first spring inspections. Of the 40 hives he manages in Parker, Colo., French loses about one-quarter of his colonies every year.

"I work all summer long to raise healthy bees, but there are no guarantees they'll make it through the winter," says French, founder of Frangiosa Farm.

Baked Alaska: A Creation Story Shrouded In Mystery

Mar 29, 2016

On March 30, 1867, for a mere $7.2 million — about two cents per acre — the U.S. bought land from Russia that would eventually make Alaska its 49th state, gaining a delicious fringe benefit in the process: Baked Alaska.

Organic food has gone majorly mainstream, right? Wal-Mart has been driving down the price of organic with an in-house organic line. Whole Foods has begun experimenting with cheaper stores to catch up.

You'll soon know whether many of the packaged foods you buy contain ingredients derived from genetically modified plants, such as soybeans and corn.

Over the past week or so, big companies including General Mills, Mars and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products – even though they still don't think it's a good idea.

Beekeepers flock from all over the country to California every February and March to watch billions of honeybees buzz around the state's almond trees. Eighty percent of the country's commercial bees visit the Golden State each spring.

So I went to check out the scene at an almond orchard at the California State University, Fresno, in Central California.

"Really, the key is to stay calm around bees, because if you're afraid, then your body physiologically changes and they can sense that," beekeeper Brian Hiatt tells me. "They literally can smell fear."

Bubble Tea Is Back — With A Vengeance

Mar 22, 2016

Whether you call it "boba" or "bubble" tea, the Taiwanese beverage that allows you to chew your drink is back with a vengeance. It first got its start in the 1980s, after an inventor thought to pour tapioca pearls into a glass of iced, sweet tea. Though Asian communities have been drinking boba tea in the United States for many years, the texturally exciting drink is finally reaching a wider audience.

And boba isn't just back — it's playing ambassador to a whole host of other foods and trends.

So you walk into the new Korean joint around the corner and discover that (gasp) the head chef is a white guy from Des Moines. What's your gut reaction? Do you want to walk out? Why?

The question of who gets to cook other people's food can be squishy — just like the question of who gets to tell other people's stories. (See: the whole controversy over the casting of the new Nina Simone biopic.)

The gross origins of a $100 cup of coffee

Mar 21, 2016
r
Nguyen Huy Kham/Reuters

BANGKOK, Thailand — Perhaps you’ve heard of “kopi luwak,” the world’s priciest coffee. And perhaps you know its main claim to notoriety: The drink is brewed from beans swallowed and excreted by civets, small mammals that look something like a cross between cats and weasels.

Sound repellent? That’s not even the most pressing reason to avoid the boutique coffee, which can sell for as much as $100 per cup in London or New York. 

Kopi luwak is tainted by more than a furry animal’s anal glands. Just as off-putting is its cruelty.

2 Breakfasts May Be Better Than None For School Kids

Mar 17, 2016

When it comes to school breakfasts, two is better than none, says a new report released Thursday in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

Pot-infused edibles are big sellers in states that have legalized marijuana. The problem is, it's been tough to measure and regulate the potency of these ganja-laced gummy bears, lollies and brownies.

Stinging Nettles
Flickr Photo/J Brew (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/4SPejs

Ross Reynolds interviews food writer Sara Dickerman about an early green offering in the farmers market: stinging nettles. They really do sting, but Dickerman explains how to handle them and make a delicious pesto that's distinctively different from basil pesto. You can pick them in the wild or get them at farmers market through May.

Miss Manners and skilled prep cooks should be pleased: Our early human ancestors likely mastered the art of chopping and slicing more than 2 million years ago. Not only did this yield daintier pieces of meat and vegetables that were much easier to digest raw, with less chewing — it also helped us along the road to becoming modern humans, researchers reported Wednesday.

And our ancestors picked up these skills at least 1.5 million years before cooking took off as a common way to prepare food, the researchers say.

Maya Swinehart weighs recovered food from the SPU campus kitchen.
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Food waste — we all do it. We put that bag of spinach in the back of the fridge and forget about it. We make a casserole big enough to feed an army and never eat the leftovers.

Now multiply that waste by thousands. That's what was happening at Seattle Pacific University. Nearly 100,000 pounds of food went uneaten every year. 

Maya Swinehart decided to do something about it.

Nearly one-third of households on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, still have to visit a food pantry to keep themselves fed, according to data highlighted this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

There's lots of evidence that getting too little sleep is associated with overeating and an increased body weight.

The question is, why? Part of the answer seems to be that skimping on sleep can disrupt our circadian rhythms. Lack of sleep can also alter hunger and satiety hormones.

Pages