Food & Food Culture

4:17am

Sat October 13, 2012
The Salt

When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 3:38 pm

The reporter's mother, Nawal Elbager, of Khartoum, Sudan, shows off her falafel.
Rashad Baba Courtesy Nawal Elbager

Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.

But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.

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6:48am

Fri October 12, 2012
The Salt

The Secret To Genius? It Might Be More Chocolate

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:13 pm

A Swiss cardiologist plots a cheeky graph that shows a country's chocolate consumption may predict its chances of winning a Nobel.
John Loo Flickr.com

Nerds, rejoice! It's Nobel season — the Oscars for lab rats, peacemakers and cognoscenti alike. Every fall, big thinkers around the world wait for a middle-of-the-night phone call from Sweden, dreaming of what they might do with the $1.2 million prize.

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1:25am

Fri October 12, 2012
The Salt

Making 'The Science Of Good Cooking' Look Easy

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:36 am

Want a better-tasting gazpacho? Don't toss out the tomato seeds.
Carl Tremblay Photography America's Test Kitchen

Ever wondered why you're not supposed to bake with cold eggs or whether marinating really tenderizes meat? Read on.

America's Test Kitchen host Chris Kimball "whisks away" some cooking myths as he talks with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne about the book he wrote, The Science of Good Cooking, with fellow Cook's Illustrated magazine editors. Being the science and cooking geeks that we are, we tuned in.

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1:23am

Fri October 12, 2012
The Salt

Kelp For Farmers: Seaweed Becomes A New Crop In America

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 9:02 am

Oyster fisherman Bren Smith on his boat, The Mookie. Smith decided to try his hand at seaweed farming, collaborating with ecology professor Charles Yarish.
Ron Gautreau Courtesy of Bren Smith

A new kind of crop is being planted in the United States, and it doesn't require any land or fertilizer. Farming it improves the environment, and it can be used in a number of ways. So what is this miracle cash crop of the future?

It's seaweed.

Charlie Yarish, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, loves seaweed. In nature, he says, when seaweed turns a rich chocolate color, that means the plant is picking up nitrogen, a process called nutrient bioextraction.

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2:23pm

Thu October 11, 2012
The Salt

How A Sleepy Pennsylvania Town Grew Into America's Mushroom Capital

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:13 pm

Four hundred million pounds of mushrooms come from farms in Chester County, Pa.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Here's an astonishing fact: Half of America's mushrooms are grown in one tiny corner of southeastern Pennsylvania, near the town of Kennett Square.

But why? It's not as though this place has some special advantage of climate or soil, the kind of thing that led to strawberry fields in Watsonville, Calif., or peach orchards in Georgia. Mushrooms can grow indoors. They could come from anywhere.

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