The Feed is my weekly round up of interesting food-related stories from newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites.
Bloomberg Businessweek: “McFresh: Why a simple tortilla wrap is so important to McDonald’s,” by Susan Berfield.
I haven’t eaten in a McDonald’s in nearly 10 years (except perhaps a forgettable breakfast at an airport once). Although I may ignore its food, I can’t ignore its influence: it’s still the world’s largest restaurant chain. And I, like many Americans, have fond memories of it from my childhood. So it was interesting to read Berfield’s story about the golden arches’ latest attempt to modify its assembly-line-style food just enough to appeal to changing tastes looking for fresher, “realer” ingredients—i.e. the sort of thing you get at fast casual establishments like Chipotle. McDonald’s key tool in this effort is the new McWrap, which Berfield describes as a “fusion of the fresh and the machined” with its visible lettuce and chicken, but also its shape and package designed to fit in a cup holder.
I really enjoyed the accompanying “Periodic Table of McDonald’s,” which visually illustrates the ingredients of McDonald’s 44 burgers, wraps and salads. It’s amazing to think that in the early ‘80s, the chain had six sandwiches—none of which contained chicken—and no wraps or salads. Today there are twice as many chicken than beef entrees.
Washington Post: “One grower’s grapes of wrath,” by David A. Fahrenthold.
Raisins aren’t a food I often give much thought to, but this piece about the “raisin reserve”—a government program to protect raisin prices by pulling excess supply off the market—was fascinating. The issue is examined from the point of view of Marvin Horne, a raisin farmer who is resisting the 64-year-old program (and breaking the law by doing so, apparently).
New York Times: “Homemade Pickles Require Just Three Ingredients,” by Cathy Barrow.
D.C.-based food writer Cathy Barrow shares how easy it is to make your own sour pickles. It sounds extremely easy actually if you use the right ingredients: dense fresh cucumbers with thin skin, kosher salt and pure water (garlic and dill may also be added). I just might have to try this. I bet the results are way better than jarred pickles from the grocery store.
New York Times: “Vietnamese Marinated Flank Steak,” by Melissa Clark.
This simple grilled or broiled flank steak recipe uses a marinade inspired by the Vietnamese dipping sauce nuoc cham and comes with a side salad of cucumber, scallions and radishes. Sounds delicious and quick—another winning idea from Clark.
Washington Post: “Weeknight Vegetarian: Ratatouille, all wrapped up,” by Joe Yonan.
Yonan writes about a delicious idea for transforming a summer staple: use ratatouille as the filling for tomato crepes. Ingenious! Recipe: Ratatouille in Tomato Crepes.
Just a Taste: “Food blogging guide,” by Kelly Senyei.
Senyei is the author of Food Blogging for Dummies, a resource I found helpful when I was starting Cook In / Dine Out early last year. Now she’s created a web-based resource with similar information for food bloggers. So far she mostly has information about getting started, but promises to expand the guide.