Learning that wine has ingredients like bull’s blood or crab shells is likely to trigger panic attacks in some dedicated vegans. It certainly did to Kate Jacoby. Jacoby is co-owner of Philadelphia’s Vedge restaurant with her chef husband, Rich Landau. “When I found out that a wine can be made and processed with animal and dairy products, I freaked out,” she said. Jacoby was writing a serious wine list, but she’d begun to wonder: Would she be limited to one or two wines? Read more
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Call off the search for the new kale: we’ve found it, and it’s called kelp! In this episode of Gastropod, we explore the science behind the new wave of seaweed farms springing up off the New England coast, and discover seaweed’s starring role in the peopling of the Americas. Read more
Rain or shine, we’re serving up the week’s food news. Here’s what caught our attention:
1. The World’s Most Powerful Chef Hangs up His Apron (Politico)
As White House Chef Sam Kass prepares to retire, the Obamas aren’t just losing a chef, “the Obama administration is set to lose its behind-the-scenes food policy general,” writes Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich. Kass, who has been instrumental in preventing the GOP from completely degrading recent school lunch improvements (see below), is relocating to New York City just one year before school lunch reauthorization is set to take place. “Food and agriculture insiders are anxious to see where Kass goes next—he’s expected to stay engaged as he works on nutrition issues from the private sector—but they are even more curious to know who will replace him,” writes Evich. Read more
We hope you’ll think of Civil Eats in your year-end giving.
This has been a big year for us. After our successful Kickstarter campaign late last year, we brought on a paid managing editor, started paying our contributors, and expanded our readership. We were named the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Publication of the Year and two of our stories were included in Best Food Writing 2014. We’re also reaching more people than ever thanks to our new media partnerships with TIME.com, Harvest Public Media, and Bay Area Bites. Read more
Last Thanksgiving, the average American family spent $22 for a 16-pound turkey. That’s less than $1.40 a pound.
Yet slow food and small farm advocates argue it’s time we start paying more, closer to $10 a pound–or $100-$150 a turkey–if we want to address the many problems associated with factory farmed poultry. Read more
While the nation’s underpaid fast food workers have been making themselves and their demands very visible in recent years, a group of cooks and food servers in one of San Francisco’s most prominent Chinese restaurants have also been quietly charting a course to a better work environment.
Today, a group of employees at Yank Sing joins the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) and several Bay Area legal groups to announce a historic $4 million dollar settlement and workplace agreement with the restaurant’s owners. Yes, you read that right: $4 million. According to the State Labor Commissioner’s office, this is the largest monetary wage settlement they have helped secure from a restaurant of this size.
In a dimly-lit lab on the Des Moines, Iowa, public schools’ agricultural science campus, students in aprons, safety goggles and plastic gloves poke and probe chicken wings. About 15 girls and just one boy in this vet careers class are looking for ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other features of this animal part that teenagers more often experience cooked and covered in barbecue sauce. Read more
When you open a pizza or donut box, you know a guilty food pleasure awaits. But along with the extra calories, you may be getting a dose of chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These chemicals are used to make the grease-proof coating on paper and cardboard food packaging–things like take-out boxes and containers and the paper used to wrap pastries. They have also been used to make nonstick cookware, waterproof rain gear, and stain-resistant coatings for fabrics. What makes these chemicals so good at repelling grease, water, and stains also makes them environmentally persistent and potentially toxic. Read more
Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress last night. And a handful of races focused on specific agriculture issues and legislation or have implications on future food and farm policy decisions. Civil Eats updates you on what’s at play with the major politicos who will impact agriculture after the midterms. Read more
Forget about exploding airbags. America’s exploding waistlines have us on a collision course, literally, with food-induced fatalities. Our crash test dummies just gained 106 pounds overnight, after studies found that most cars’ safety features don’t properly fit larger Americans, putting them at much greater risk of dying in car crashes. Read more