Food & Food Culture


Wed June 5, 2013
The Salt

Let Them Eat Wood! (If It's Turned Into Starch)

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 2:52 pm

Scientists have figured out out how to turn cellulose from wood, bushes and grasses into edible starch.

For Percival Zhang, growing up in China meant learning to appreciate just how critical a stable food supply is to avoiding social unrest and disasters like famine.

When he became an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, he got to thinking just how risky growing food has become because of the finite resources it requires: land, water, seeds and fertilizer.

Plenty of other plants on Earth, on the other hand, aren't so demanding.

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Tue June 4, 2013
The Salt

Can Going Vegetarian Help You Live Longer? Maybe

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 8:18 am

PETA members hold placards on the street in Johannesburg.
Themba Hadebe AP

If you're looking for the definitive study that might persuade meat lovers to become vegetarians, this may not be it.

New research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that vegetarian diets are linked to a slightly lower risk of early death — about 12 percent lower over a period of about six years of follow-up. But the link to longevity was more significant in men compared with women.

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Tue June 4, 2013
The Salt

Coronation Chicken: A Lowly Sandwich Filling With A Royal Pedigree

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:46 am

Sixty years on, this retro dish is still a favorite with Her Majesty.
Monkey Business Images

If you want to eat like a queen, maybe it's time to break out the cold chicken, curry and cream sauce.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 60th anniversary of her coronation in a ceremony Tuesday at Westminster Abbey. But the event also marks the anniversary of a dish as resilient as the British monarch herself: Coronation Chicken.

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Tue June 4, 2013
The Salt

In Philly, Lo Mein Is Going Low Sodium

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:53 am

Philadelphia is training owners of Chinese takeout restaurants to cut some of the salt in menu items like lo mein.
Stephen Flood Express-Times/Landov

Philadelphia is training owners of Chinese takeout restaurants to cut some of the salt in their menu items.

The city is working with about 200 takeout restaurants, providing free cooking lessons and tips on adding flavor without salt. None of the restaurant owners were paid to participate in the program, which offers advice such as how to find suppliers who sell low-sodium ingredients at a reasonable price. Participants are also encouraged to limit the number of soy sauce packets they hand to customers.

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Tue June 4, 2013
The Salt

The French Learned To Make Wine From Italians 2,400 Years Ago

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 10:38 am

This French tapestry depicts noblemen and women treading and pressing grapes to make wine circa 1500. By then, the French had already been making wine for at least 2,000 years.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

The French weren't the first to make wine? Mon dieu! But as anyone who has sipped a Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy can tell you, the French got pretty good at it once they learned how. And thanks to some molecular archaeology, researchers can now confirm they picked up these skills as early as 425 B.C.

So who taught the French the art of viniculture? Probably the ancient Italians, says the man with perhaps the coolest nickname in science research — the "Indiana Jones of alcohol," Patrick McGovern.

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