“How cool is this!” Susan, a 68-year-old retiree from Philadelphia, was on her maiden voyage with her new toy, a salad spinner.
As she pulled the spinner’s retractable cord, the room filled with a rattling hum, similar to a washing machine at the end of its cycle. She was visibly pleased that after just a few pulls, the lettuce leaves tucked inside the colander-like basket were nice and dry. She marveled at how she could both wash–“Wow, there’s a lot of dirt in these leaves”–and dry salad greens with just one tool.
This was just one of the many ah-ha moments for Susan, who signed on to take an immersion cooking course with me earlier this summer. Over the course of a week, we met in her kitchen each day with one primary objective: Getting a handle on the bare essentials of cooking. Read more
Food stamps go by many names. There’s the official name, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the name of the debit-like cards used to access benefits, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), and the name for the broad category of federal programs under which food stamps fall, entitlement programs (which, by the way, just means that anyone who qualifies has a legal right to benefits). Whatever you call them, food stamps are in the news a lot lately. On Thursday, September 19, Republican representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut 40 billion dollars from SNAP. Read more
A year ago, when I was working as an editor at the magazine Whole Living, I oversaw a special issue on food featuring “Visionaries”—people making a real difference in the way this country thinks about eating. There was “The Motivated Mayor” (Michael Bloomberg); “The Integrator” (Harlem chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson); and, among several others, there was “The Badass.”
That would be Marion Nestle. Read more
KFC TV commercials that have aired in China over the last few years reveal a remarkably wide range of marketing techniques. In the ads, humor, irony, playfulness, and sentimentality present the restaurant’s quick-serve food as something that can help families bond, nourish athletes, entertain children, and even make teenagers cooler. Overall, the ads associate KFC with a modern lifestyle, suggesting (implicitly of course) that the Chinese can get their piece of middle class affluence–along with a full belly–for a reasonably low price. Read more
You have to hand it to Chipotle. Not only has the company released a captivating and buzz-worthy viral ad/video game package, with The Scarecrow, but it has also managed–in just a few short years–to position itself as a viable alternative to other fast food menus leaden with industrially produced meals. Read more
The famed UK chef/activist, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has a lot to share with an American public hungry for great recipes as well as important food for thought. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Fearnley-Whittingstall and he shared with me his passion for vegetables, how he wants to help change people’s lives, and his inspiring work to help raise awareness about the importance of how and what we eat. Read more
For years, the public health nutrition field has warned Americans about the risks associated with a high-sodium diet. This past April, the New York City Department of Health launched a sodium reduction campaign encouraging the purchase of lower-sodium packaged foods. More recently, The American Journal of Hypertension published a series of point-counterpoint articles debating the weight of the evidence supporting recommendations to reduce sodium. I worry that when the crux of the conversation focuses exclusively on sodium reduction, it overlooks a crucial part of the puzzle: The ratio of sodium to potassium in our diets. Read more
When Bozo the Clown went off air in 1963, no one would have guessed the small-town television character would soon become the most famous clown in the world. But McDonald’s turned Bozo into Ronald McDonald, and today he’s recognized by more than 90 percent of schoolchildren in the United States. Read more
What do fast food worker strikes and a DC living wage ordinance have in common with Hunger Action Month? Unfortunately, not enough. A wave of one-day strikes against fast food restaurants is rolling across the country. On August 29, thousands of workers in more than 50 cities protested their low wages, demanding a raise to $15/hour. In Washington, Mayor Vincent Gray has on his desk the Large Retailer Accountability Act that would raise minimum wage for employees of new Walmart stores to $12.50/hour, up from current average of $8.81 nationally. Walmart has threatened to halt construction on three new stores in the nation’s capital if he signs the bill. Read more
“The appropriate measure of farming then is the world’s health and our health, and this is inescapably one measure.” —Wendell Berry
In July, I argued that the House’s decision to split out the gargantuan Nutrition Title from the Farm Bill might signal a new era for those of us seeking fundamental reform of agriculture and food systems. This is the second in a three-part series where I lay the groundwork for why unification is crucial for the food movement and how public health can tip the balance of power to ensure the good food movement will prevail in the struggle over the future of our food system. Read more