The Salt
6:03 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Culinary Diplomacy Takes Texan Chef To The Land Of Grilled Yak

As you may have heard, America's diplomats are struggling these days with a few distracting and unpleasant events in far-off parts of the world. But they're rising to the challenge: They're sending in the chefs.

The U.S. State Department launched a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership two years ago in order to "elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts." Some of the country's most renowned chefs have volunteered to help out, joining the department's "Chef Corps."

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The Salt
5:36 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

To Stop Picky Eaters From Tossing The Broccoli, Give Them Choices

Students are given healthy choices on a lunch line at Draper Middle School in Rotterdam, N.Y., in 2012. To keep students from tossing out the fruits and vegetables they're served, researchers say it helps to give them a choice in what they put on their trays.
Hans Pennink AP

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 4:11 pm

In many communities, the local school district is the largest food provider, filling thousands of hungry bellies every day. But trying to feed healthful food to some of the pickiest eaters can result in mountains of wasted food.

Now, many schools are finding that giving kids a say in what they eat can cut down on what ends up in the trash.

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6:15 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Sustainable Food Gets A Jump Start In Heart Of The City

Len Trevino plans to plant landscaping beds in front of his karate studio with kale, spinach and other vegetables and wants to encourage his neighbors in this strip center to do the same.
Credit Eileen Pace


Len Trevino spends his afternoons and evenings teaching karate in his dojang located at a busy intersection a little bit north of Loop 410.

Outside in the active strip center, cars and trucks come and go at the gas station, customers pop in and out of the nail salon and gaming store, and hungry customers patronize two popular restaurants.

In between the parking spaces are scattered several 8 x 10-foot landscaping beds, mostly with just one remaining dried up shrub and a thin layer of grey mulch.

That’s where Trevino sees an opportunity.

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The Salt
11:54 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Rosh Hashana's Sacred Bread Offers Meaning In Many Shapes And Sizes

The author's braided round challah.
Deena Prichep NPR

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 9:36 am

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Sept. 15, 2012.

Challah is a rich, eggy bread baked every week for the Jewish sabbath, or shabbat. But for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year that starts tomorrow at sundown, it gets a few tweaks. There's a little extra honey or sugar, for a sweet new year. And instead of the usual long braid, it's round.

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The Salt
5:39 am
Thu September 18, 2014

From Coffee To Chicory To Beer, 'Bitter' Flavor Can Be Addictive

The cardoon is like "celery on steroids," says McLaglan.
Aya Brackett/Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 8:35 am

Food writer Jennifer McLagan has spent the past few years trying to win home cooks over to the ingredients they fear. She's written a cookbook on fat, one on bones and one titled Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.

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The Salt
8:07 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Food Is Cheap, At Least Compared With 4 Years Ago

Soybeans in a field in Springfield, Neb., on Wednesday. The nation's corn and soybean farmers will bring in by far the largest harvest ever this year, driving down the price of the commodities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:30 pm

Around the globe, it's become easier for people to buy food. The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization is reporting that its global food price index has now fallen to the lowest level in four years. That's because of good weather and big harvests in places like North America, Europe and China.

Almost all of the major food commodities have become less expensive: grains, vegetable oils, sugar and dairy products. Dairy prices, in fact, are down by almost 20 percent, compared with their peak a year ago.

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The Salt
1:29 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Why Food Pilgrims Will Wait Four Hours For A Taste Of The Sublime

Aficionados line up outside Hot Doug's, a gourmet hot dog diner in Chicago, in May. Owner Doug Sohn has announced that he will shut the doors in October after nearly 14 years.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 11:04 am

During a trip to Austin, Texas, last year, Sarah Grieco and her friends stood in line for two hours to taste the famously delicious smoked meat at La Barbecue.

Before that, Grieco, 25, says she queued up for pork belly pancakes in Seattle, and ramen burgers in New York. And she and a friend waited three hours for the flashy cronut at Dominic Ansel Bakery.

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The Salt
10:20 am
Thu September 4, 2014

The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Turns out cookie customization is easier than it seems.
Tessa Arias Handle the Heat

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 2:50 pm

You like soft and chewy. He likes thin and crispy. If only there were a way to bake chocolate chip cookies to please everyone.

There is! And, no, it's not Martha Stewart's way. It's science.

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The Salt
1:25 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

These 5 Crops Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work

At left, a woman holds the saffron crocus during the saffron harvest in Herat, Afghanistan. At right, saffron flowers are collected in Saint Hippolyte, eastern France. Since the stigmas need to be picked from the flowers by hand, saffron is the world's most expensive spice.
Majid Saeedi/Getty Images; Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 10:48 am

Mechanization has made the farming of many crops — lettuce and tomatoes among them — a lot less labor intensive. But some crops are still tended and harvested by hand, and it can be painstaking work.

How do you measure the labor intensity of crops? We thought there would be an easy answer to that, but there isn't. Some agricultural economists talk about labor input in terms of hours per acre, but that may not take into account the difficulty of the labor.

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The Salt
4:09 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

When Zero Doesn't Mean Zero: Trans Fats Linger In Food

About 84 percent of food products that contain trans fats still carry a "zero gram" label, which may mislead consumers, researchers say.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 1:44 pm

Last we heard, the once ubiquitous trans fats had mostly disappeared from packaged cookies, muffins and french fries.

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