This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told food manufacturers to stop using partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major source of artificial trans fats in processed foods ranging from nondairy creamers, to baked goods, margarine, and microwave popcorn. The move, the FDA said, “is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”
Catch up on this week’s food news with stories that caught our attention.
Three Simple Rules for Eating Seafood (The New York Times)
Paul Greenberg wrote American Catch and Four Fish, two important books that exposed most of us to the complexities of modern industrial fishing. In Sunday’s NYT, he distilled his research into three rules for eating seafood, a la Michael Pollan’s “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Greenberg’s rules starts with, “Eat American seafood.”
Timothy Burke describes his trick for making spring rolls with rice paper, which is notoriously difficult. With a bit of translation from his mom, the shy eight year old said, You dip them in a wide plate of hot water, and turn them, then take them out of the water and place them on another plate before they get soft. Then you add the vegetables and roll it up fast. Easy.
Amina Harris has a sweet job. Literally. As Director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, her day-to-day tasks involve curating a honey library and hosting honey tastings. But this “sensory scientist” would prefer we move away from the word “sweet.”
For the Chesapeake Bay, a region synonymous with blue crabs and a diversity of native fisheries, the blue catfish is like Shiva the Destroyer. In the last 40 years, the invasive fish has devastated a long-established indigenous ecosystem, crippling local economies that depend on crabs and other marine fauna for their livelihoods.
The Wide Net Project is an effort to reverse the damage already done by one of the area’s most insidious environmental threats. Founded by food systems experts Wendy Stuart and Sharon Feuer Gruber, the young nonprofit works to build a market for blue catfish, while providing free fish to hunger relief organizations in the process.
Kernza’s arrival has been a long time coming. The new grain variety from the Land Institute is derived from an ancient form of intermediate wheatgrass, a perennial that is actually a distant relative of wheat. And there’s a widespread team of researchers hoping their work will pave the way for an entirely new form of food.
Catch up on this week’s food politics news with the stories that caught our eye:
The bird flu that has plagued the Midwest for months is finally waning, but an unexpected side effect is the rising cost of eggs–in some cases, prices have more than doubled since May. Meanwhile, Hampton Creek, maker of eggless mayo and cookie dough, has become the fastest-growing food company in the world partially thanks to the bird flu’s effects.
Ric Brewer got his first taste of snails by gate-crashing a high-school French club field trip to a French restaurant in Seattle. He ate the escargots on a dare but loved them — so much so that somehow, decades later, he found himself quitting his job, moving out to the Olympic Peninsula in coastal Washington, and investing everything he had to launch one of America’s only snail ranches.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a vegan who doesn’t own at least one of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks. Her first, Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock, came out 10 years ago, and since then, she’s written seven more. Her third book, Veganomicon!, is known by many as the vegan bible, and her blog, The Post Punk Kitchen, has been a resource for both novice and experienced cooks since 2003.
I’m all for the spirit of the trash fish movement: getting lesser-known species that were once discarded into the hands of skillful chefs who make them shine. I just don’t like the name.
Chefs Collaborative has been hosting Trash Fish Dinners around the county since 2013 and they’ve started a trend. I was recently invited to a dinner at a vineyard in my area by chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara from Mexico City. The publicist told me she would be cooking with “trash fish.” The term made me wince, but I wanted to see what she could do with our local fish, as she’s opening a seafood restaurant in San Francisco this summer.