Megnut

FishWise labels makes it easy to choose seafood that is healthy for the oceans and healthy for you. The labels are color-coded so you can tell if you're purchasing something that's being overfished. So far it looks like it's in stores in Minnesota and California for now.

Ice cream
Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco

Councillors in York, England vote today to urge the government to ban foie gras and for the city to discourage its sale. Doesn't sound like they're voting on anything more than a recommendation, so nothing will be banned. They mention Chicago's ban as inspiration for their campaign. Perhaps the news hasn't traveled across the Atlantic that that ban hasn't gone so well.

Chef foraged for the mushrooms in a thicket near the Tappan Zee. Frank Bruni on the change in climate at some New York restaurants. "Once they were lucky to have us. Now we’re lucky to have them. They don’t meet us on our terms. We meet them on theirs." Even my beloved Keller sounds annoying in this article.

Send breast milk halfway around the world to help undernourished babies in developing countries. What really piqued my attention was the bit at the end of the article, where they discuss pasteurizing breast milk so it will last longer. Won't that kill so many of the beneficial nutrients in the milk? After all, breast milk is our very own probiotic milk shake! [via Jason]


Chicagoist has photos and details of Alinea's latest 24-course tour with wine parings. Looks amazing, I've got to get back there! Thx Emily!

Things were slow around here at the end of last week because I was at MIT giving a talk, and didn't end up with as much time to blog as I'd thought. I hope to write up more about my presentation when I get a chance. In the meantime, here's a little summary from John Maeda.

Some experts say that probiotics have the potential to be this decade’s oat bran. Probiotics are foods that have beneficial bacteria that many claim aid digestion and ward off illness. Yogurt with live cultures is a probiotic, but now bacteria are being added to non-dairy products.

Thomas Keller uses frozen Sysco french fries at Bouchon. WIth all my travel last week, I missed this story from Grub Street. Scandalous, but I'm not a fry snob who turns my nose at frozen. If they taste good, I'll eat them.

Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. "Perhaps the most notorious freegan strategy is what is commonly called 'urban foraging' or 'dumpster diving'." That expired bread out behind the market? That's dinner for a freegan. [Thanks Cory]

A growing movement of health-conscious consumers say that unpasteurized milk -- as long as it's from grass-fed cows -- is capable of reversing chronic diseases from asthma to irritable bowel syndrome. Slate Salon takes a fairly positive look at the raw milk debate and the safety and health claims on both sides.

Mini SalamiThese miniature salami are so cute! Even if you no longer have a dollhouse, or never did, it seems like there's something you can do with it. The site sells all kinds of mini food items.

At what point does hiring someone to achieve a certain look or style in a restaurant turn into racism? Should a server at a high-end French restaurant like Daniel be French, or is it okay if he's Korean or she's Indian? Is the restaurateur crafting an experience or descriminating?

IT'S A NINTENDO DS CAKE!
Flickr user Rakka's awesome Nintendo DS cake.

Milk ChocolateEnd the tyranny of dark chocolate! Gourmet tests 25 milk chocolates and lists their preferences. I'm not a huge chocolate fan (though I used to be) but when I have it, I prefer milk chocolate, so I was happy to see this list.

Nine pages on Grant Achatz may only appeal to the die hard Alinea fan but it's got everything you'd want to know about cooking, going back to Carême and the Enlightenment. Just remember, don't call it molecular gastronomy. (Here's part II.) [via Serious Eats]

CHOW's put together a ten-point cheat sheet designed to help you sound informed when the topic of molecular gastronomy arises. Most important point: "2. Don’t call it molecular gastronomy." Sound a little Fight Club for my taste. [via Grub Street]

Alligator ChoppersFor lazy prep cooks, or those looking to create perfect julienne or dice without perfect knife skills, these Crate & Barrel Alligator Choppers will do the job for you. "With one quick press, hinged plastic cutters slice food into 'sticks' with a razor-sharp grid of stainless blades. Turn 'sticks,' then press again for 'cubes.'" See, you don't even need to know culinary terms to use it! $19.95 - $26.95, depending upon the size.

Buy a greenwashed product and you’re buying a specific set of healthy environmental and socially correct values. "Greenwashing...can also describe a pervasive genre of food packaging designed to make sure that manufacturers grab their slice of the $25 billion that American shoppers spend each year on natural or organic food." Includes a list of identifiers so you're aware the next time you're shopping for "Natural Cheetos." I imagine those must be picked fresh from the Cheeto tree, right?

How natural is natural food?

Kate at Accidental Hedonist reports that Capri Sun will be removing the "All Natural" label from their juice products after a lawsuit by consumers. The suit claimed the label was misleading and deceptive because Capri Sun contains high fructose corn syrup, a man-made product. But corn syrup is produced from corn starch, a natural product of corn, by an enzymatic reaction. Enzymes are natural, a scientist didn't invent enzymes one day in the lab. So in a weird way, Capri Sun is natural. I don't think that's really the issue here.

People infer some kind of healthiness when they read the label "All Natural", but plenty of natural product will kill you, eating the wrong wild mushroom, for example. The real issue is processed food, and how much manipulation we want of our food before it reaches the table. Corn syrup (and the high fructose variant) do not exist in nature without human intervention. People looking for all natural food are looking for food in its original state, I suppose, but how often does that exist? And where do we draw the line? Is maple syrup all natural? You need to boil maple sap to produce the syrup. Is flour all natural? You need to grind the wheat to produce it. You could be a "naturalist" by eating only fruits and vegetables and foods that haven't been transformed, kind of like folks in the raw food movement.

For a while now, my eating style has been whole foods as much as possible. I don't buy processed or prepared foods. I make pretty much everything from scratch, and try to eat things as close to their natural state as possible. This way I can avoid additives and preservatives, and chemicals. Mostly I do this because I enjoy cooking, and I enjoy how these unmanipulated foods taste. Tomato sauce from scratch tastes better to me than sauce from a jar. Homemade soup is better than canned. When I go to the market, I don't look for an "All Natural" label, I look at the ingredients. It's pretty easy to tell from that what's really gone into the product.

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