food

The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling.

What's not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when people who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs.

Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

Sous vide. Not that long ago, it sounded so exotic — or, at least, so French. It was a phrase that belonged in restaurants, amid white tablecloths and flower arrangements and hushed conversations. Alternatively, it was a word that belonged to the modernist kitchens just beyond the swinging doors — kitchens filled with gleaming dehydrators and transglutaminase "meat glues" and spherification siphons and more.

Rwanda has a warm climate, and the people love milk. You'd think ice cream would be an easy sell.

But mention ice cream to Chantal Kabatesi, and she rubs her jaw like she's at the dentist with a toothache. When she first tasted ice cream at the age of 35 "it was like eating hailstones," the kind that fall on her childhood village once or twice a year.

"I thought, 'Oh no, what are we serving to our customers? Is it dangerous?' " she said.

The Passover Seder is usually described as a ceremonial meal: Participants sit down to a set of ritualized foods and tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. But more than just tell it, Jews are bidden to relive it. We engage in ritual and discussion and debate, until each of us feels that we've made a journey ourselves. It's a singular, time-stopping evening. But it can take a very long time.

Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?

It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Farmed salmon come from big net pens in the coastal waters of Norway or Chile.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The first wave of memorial services honoring the victims who perished in the Oso landslide took place this weekend.

In Darrington, residents gathered to remember Linda McPherson, a longtime resident and librarian. After the service, the community gathered for a meal together. It's a special tradition that goes back many decades in this small community.

Tom Mueller's book, "Extra Virginity."

Marcie Sillman talks with author Tom Mueller about his book, "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil."

The Joys And Ethics Of Insect Eating

Apr 3, 2014

A week ago today, I ate my first crickets.

It was a first step into entomophagy, the practice of insect eating. I wrote about this topic here at 13.7 in January but had never before tried it myself (excluding accidental ingestion of the insect parts often found in peanut butter, chocolate, vegetables and other foods).

For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life?

If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin — that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source.

There's an old saying in the South: "A child's gotta eat their share of dirt."

Mamie Lee Hillman's family took this literally, but they weren't after just any old dirt.

"I remember my mom and my aunties eating that white dirt like it was nothing," says Hillman, who grew up in Greene County, Ga., and used to go with her family to dig for their own dirt to snack on. "It was an acceptable thing that people did."

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

If you want to trace Americans' fear of fat, the place to start is the U.S. Senate, during the steamy days of July 1976.

That's when Sen. George McGovern called a hearing to raise attention to the links between diet and disease.

And what was the urgency? The economy was booming, and many Americans were living high on the hog. A 1954 Capitol Hill restaurant menu offers a glimpse of what lunch looked like then: steak with claret sauce, buttered succotash and pineapple cheesecake. But soon, that prosperity began to cast a dark shadow within the halls of Congress.

Flickr Photo/ron.heasley (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Sheryl Wiser of Cascade Harvest about what spring will bring to local farmers markets.

The Secret To These Sauces Is Nuts

Mar 26, 2014

I grew up thinking of nuts as junk food: full of fat and calories, a guilty treat for holidays and special occasions. I remember bowls of salty cocktail mix, nut-covered cheese logs, sweet buttery honey-roasted peanuts and cashews, or Jordan almonds in their strangely addictive sugary coating. They were in the same category as potato chips and candy: irresistible, but not good for you at all.

A few years ago, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver kicked up a foodie firestorm when he told the audience at the Late Show with David Letterman that vanilla ice cream contains flavoring from a beaver's ... um, derriere.

"Beaver anal gland — yes," Oliver shouted bluntly, as the crowd booed and hissed. "Oh, come on! You're telling me you don't like a little beaver? ... It's in cheap sorts of strawberry syrups and vanilla ice cream."

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