Politics of the Plate

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by Barry Estabrook

Something to Squawk About

During the winter here in Vermont, my 12 laying hens seem content enough residing in a retrofitted horse stable. But when I open the henhouse door for the first time in the spring, feathers literally fly as the birds stampede to get outside. In celebration of their newfound liberty, they flap, run, peck, and scratch—in short, behave like chickens.

Which is why I’m always skeptical when a factory farm claims that hens are perfectly happy spending their entire lives crammed into barns with tens of thousands of other chickens in stacked battery cages each not much bigger than the average computer screen. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) apparently agrees. Last week, the organization filed a complaint asking the Federal Trade Commission to stop Rose Acre Farms, the country’s second largest egg producer, from making “false and misleading animal welfare claims.” Continue reading

Posted in Farming, Food Politics

Holy Mackerel

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by Casson Trenor

Your browser may not support display of this image.Mackerel is a fantastic fish. Not only is it healthy and nutritious, but it reproduces quickly, breeds in large numbers, and often benefits from effective and precautionary management. In fact, saba has been a sushi staple of mine for years, and I encourage you to give it a shot in the place of other more sustainably troubling sushi items (like unagi or hamachi, for instance) next time you visit a sushi bar.

That being said, some troubling news from the Atlantic has forced me to revisit my standard double-fisted endorsement.

Continue reading

Posted in Recipes, Seafood

This #$!% Has Got to Stop: Part Five

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By Suzanne Lenzer

In this era of public cynicism toward corporate America, it’s exciting to see a company, traditionally known for developing junk food delivery systems, trying to do some real good. Walking through the aisle of the local supermarket it’s hard not to notice these Hostess Twinkies: there’s a giant ogre on the package.
Admittedly, it’s “only” a co-marketing campaign to promote the new Shrek film, but still. These Twinkies aren’t like the traditional ones with that cloying white cream substance in the center–these appear to contain a cloying green cream substance instead. At last, a product aimed at encouraging kids to eat their greens!
 
How exciting it must have been to have to be a part of that product development meeting: “Hey, instead of just making sugar snacks that encourage childhood obesity and diabetes, let’s do some good, public service even. Let’s make the same #$!% but in green! We’ll be helping kids get over their fear of green food–parents will love it.”
Sure, some will say the executives at Hostess really just needed a way to help sell movie tickets–and Twinkies–but come on, that’s just so cynical.
Posted in Food Politics

Politics of the Plate

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by Barry Estabrook

Where Have All the Lobsters Gone?

On Cape Cod, Mass., nothing says summer evening as clearly as a big pot of boiling seawater and a mess of locally caught lobsters. Thanks to warming ocean temperatures, the all-important “local” component of that timeless ritual may soon be a thing of the past.

With Cape Cod lobster catches reduced to a quarter of what they were in the 1990s, officials are thinking of imposing a five-year closure of the fishery from the Cape to New York’s Long Island Sound. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics, Seafood

Meeting Barbara Kowalcyk

by Jill Richardson

Jill Richardson, who is the heart and soul of Lavidalocavore, meets Barbara Kowalcyk, the mom who lost her son to E. Coli (and was interviewed in Food Inc) -mb

There was one part of this week that was intensely emotional for me, and that was meeting Barbara Kowalcyk. If her name rings a bell, that’s because you saw her in Food Inc. She was the mother whose son went from perfectly healthy to dead in the span of a few days due to eating E. coli-tainted beef. When I saw Food Inc. I was newly grieving my brother’s death a few months before. Her story just hit me. When I used to see stories of tragedies like that, it made me sad but not overwhelmingly so. It just wasn’t even something I could comprehend in order to empathize with it. But now, now I get it.

So, while mingling with other attendees of the Consumers Union Activist Summit, I saw an attractive woman in a lime green top standing a few feet away from me. Upstairs, a crowd was watching Food Inc, which I was skipping because a) I’ve seen it twice and b) films give me migraines and Food Inc was worth the two migraines I already got from watching it but not a third one. I thought I had heard that Barbara was coming. And I was pretty sure that this woman in green standing near me was her. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics

Heeere’s Pam (and Maggie, and Sharon)

Pam Anderson, one of our regular contributors and the engine behind threemanycooks.com, joins her daughters in a video premiere. -mb

 

Posted in Behind The Scenes

Attention (Last Minute) Shoppers!

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To celebrate Father’s Day, instead of our regular Sunday Supper column we’re offering the hugely popular (and very practical) How to Cook Everything iApp for just $1.99. This way Dad can pick whatever he wants for dinner–and make it too.

Posted in Mark Bittman Books

Bittman Grills

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One disadvantage of living in Manhattan is trying to take the subway on Sunday. (I’m writing this on a Monday, so the memory is fresh.) Another is the inability to grill. Aside from getting ready for the Mini grill-taping this year, and actually doing it, I haven’t had much opportunity. 

So when it was my turn to cook dinner at the reunion I was at last week in Florida, I kind of went nuts. We bought two kinds of sausage and some rib-eye, which I “marinated” with rosemary. Oh, and a few ribs, on which I rubbed some ill-defined spice mixture Daniel Meyer brought back from his Africa trip.  

But that was easy, and not especially interesting. Good, but not especially interesting.  

Interesting were rediscovering two things I already knew: One, vegetables like to be grilled on low heat. And two, parsley pesto is every bit as good as “real” pesto. Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes