Food & Food Culture


Fri June 27, 2014
The Salt

As Pig Virus Spreads, The Price Of Pork Continues To Rise

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 6:31 am

Michael Yezzi raises 1,000 pigs a year in Shushan, N.Y. He's worried about how to keep his farm safe from a disease that has no proven cure.
Abbie Fentress Swanson for NPR

If you're bringing home the bacon, you may have noticed a price tag inching upward.

Consumers are paying nearly 13 percent more for pork at the supermarket than they were this time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A deadly pig disease is partially to blame.

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Thu June 26, 2014
The Salt

Did Neanderthals Eat Plants? The Proof May Be In The Poop

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 3:35 pm

A rendering of Neanderthals cooking and eating. The ancient humans inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago.
Mauricio Anton Science Source

Neanderthals clubbed their way to the top of an ancient food chain, slaying caribou and mammoths. But a peek inside their prehistoric poop reveals that the meat-loving early humans may have also enjoyed some salad on the side.

Researchers excavating a site in southern Spain where Neanderthals lived 50,000 years ago were initially looking for remnants of food in fireplaces. Then they stumbled upon tiny bits of poop — which turned out to be the oldest fecal matter from a human relation ever discovered.

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Wed June 25, 2014
The Salt

Is It Time For Food To Get Its Own Major Museum?

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:36 am

The whirling, 3,200-pound puffing gun was used to produce cereals like Cheerios and Kix in the early 20th century. The Museum of Food and Drink plans to feature it in its first exhibition, on breakfast cereal.
Courtesy of MOFAD

You can thank a very large, and very strange, machine called a puffing gun for all those Cheerios you crunched on as a kid.

And if all goes according to plan, you'll be able to see one of those guns, patented in 1939 to force air into grains so they pop in your mouth and float in a bowl of milk, at a temporary exhibition in New York City next year on the history of breakfast cereal.

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Wed June 25, 2014
The Salt

Kandinsky On A Plate: Art-Inspired Salad Just Tastes Better

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:35 am

Kandinsky's Painting No. 201, on the left, was the inspiration for the salad on the right, which was used to test diners' appreciation of the dish.
Museum of Modern Art; Crossmodal Research Laboratory

We eat first with our eyes. When strawberries are perfectly red, they seem to taste sweeter. When chicken is painted blue, it's disturbing. The ancient Romans understood that, and certainly today's top chefs exploit it when they plate their food.

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Tue June 24, 2014
The Salt

'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 7:50 am

Advocates say consumers may assume that the "natural" label is the same as "organic."

Some people have had it with "natural" food.

For fifteen years, Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, has been pointing out that "natural" is just about the most misleading label that you'll ever see on a food package. Yet consumers still look for that word, food companies still love to use it and the Food and Drug Administration can't or won't define it.

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