The Feed is my weekly round up of interesting food-related stories from newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites.
Washington Post: “Vegetarian or omnivore: The environmental implications of diet,” by Tamar Haspel.
Haspel has proven herself adept at tackling key contemporary assumptions about food to examine the deeper truths behind what we eat. Today’s story is no different and she unearths a real doozy: is vegetarianism really better for the environment than omnivorism? Her analysis is really interesting. Take, for example, the commonly held assumption that it takes more energy to produce animals for food than vegetables, since the former also need to eat vegetables to get there and produce methane, making their overall carbon footprint much larger. While the answer to the question is still generally “yes,” the picture isn’t so rosy when you consider climate impact on a per calorie basis instead of per kilogram (after all, a kilogram of meat contains a lot more calories than a kg of many vegetables). Perhaps my favorite finding is that the paleo diet scores particularly poorly in this analysis (I’m not a fan of faddish diets—now I have yet another reason why).
NPR: “Once Exotic, Now Ubiquitous, Bananas Deserve A Bunch More Respect,” by Laura Weiss.
I was recently surprised to learn that bananas are the top-selling fruit in the United States. (I’d have thought it would be apples). It is kind of odd when you consider that apples are common (although not indigenous) to North America, whereas bananas are tropical and therefore not grown here. Weiss examines the history, popularity and versatility of the yellow fruit (which is really a berry, go figure!).
New York Times: “What’s In It: The Cookie Dough Oreo,” by Michael Moss.
The author of Salt Sugar Fat takes a look at the latest brand extension from the popular cookie line: a chocolate cookie dough flavor. It’s an interesting look at the concept of “permission” since this product apparently contains neither cookie dough nor chocolate chips. A closer look at the packaging shows how they get away with this.
New York Times: “Rolled Oats With Amaranth Seeds, Maple Syrup and Apple,” by Martha Rose Shulman.
This warm homemade cereal bowl sounds like a wonderful breakfast. Great reason to go try amaranth seeds.
PopSugar: “Ruth Reichl Forsees the Future of Food,” by Anna Monette Roberts.
Fans of Ruth Reichl’s books like Comfort Me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires will be happy to hear she has another book on the way: this time a novel, her first. Roberts’ interview touches on that but also some of Reichl’s musings about food and food publications.
Eater: “Chefs and Restaurateurs Weigh In: How to Handle Yelp,” by Amy McKeever.
For better or worse, Yelp has become a major player in providing consumers information about restaurants from other consumers. McKeever talks to chefs about their views on the pros and cons of the popular review site.
CNN Eatocracy: “Chefs with Issues: Opinion: The dirty truth behind New York’s restaurant grading system,” by Josh Grinker.
You may have read that Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant Per Se, considered one of the finest restaurants in the world, recently got a “C” grade from the New York City health inspectors. Here’s a chef’s look behind what that actually means and how the grading system isn’t necessary objective.
CNN: “Delicious Food Movies.”
Still coming down from the Oscars? Here’s a fun gallery from CNN of some of the great food-themed movies. It includes several of my favorites: Julie & Julia, Babette’s Feast and Ratatouille, plus a reminder that I really need to see Big Night.