The Salt

The Salt
5:30 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

Food companies spend a lot of time and resources coming up with the perfect plastic packaging to keep their products fresh.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:39 pm

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on the go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

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The Salt
6:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

With Help From America's Test Kitchen, Why Buy When You Can DIY?

This hazelnut-chocolate spread looks like the iconic Nutella, but it tastes more richly of hazelnuts, says Chris Kimball.
Anthony Tieuli America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:49 pm

Even people who love to cook don't make everything from scratch. You might make a homemade graham cracker crust, but who makes graham crackers?

Chris Kimball, that's who.

The host of America's Test Kitchen on TV and radio says there are quite a few foods you'd never think of making for yourself that you actually can. But why would you go to the trouble of hacking things — balsamic vinegar, Greek yogurt, caramel, Nutella spread, dairy-free whipped cream — that are so easily bought in the store?

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The Salt
6:15 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

Investigators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have discovered cases of organic fraud abroad as well as in the U.S. In 2013, 19 farmers or food companies were fined a total of $87 million for misusing the organic label.
Mark Andersen Rubberball/Corbi

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

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The Salt
5:09 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery

Logan Kovach, 6, Matthew Kovach, 2, and Allyson Kovach, 5, eat a lunch distributed by the YMCA in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:49 pm

More than 21 million children get free or reduced priced meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to only three million.

The big question is what happens to all the other children. Do they get enough, and the right food, to eat?

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The Salt
12:16 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

The Epic 2,200-Mile Tour De France Is Also A Test Of Epic Eating

Spain's Alberto Contador eats a banana in as he rides in the pack during the sixth stage of the Tour de France on July 10, 2014. The cyclists aim to eat up to 350 calories an hour as they ride, and up to 9,000 calories a day.
Laurent Cipriani AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:33 pm

The famously grueling cycling race involves about 2,200 miles of furious pedaling, huge mountain climbs and downhill sprints at 50-plus miles per hour. But the Tour de France, now in its final days, is also an epic marathon of eating.

The cyclists now competing in the 101st rendition of the race are burning an average of 700 calories per hour while riding and, to keep their weight up and maintain their health through the three-week event, they must eat 6,000 to 9,000 calories every day.

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The Salt
5:11 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Glass Or No Glass? That Is The Grill Lid Question

A still from a video showing a glass top grill.
Schott Home Tech/YouTube

We love cooking on our grills, especially in the summertime. Keeping the house cool and avoiding the dish pile up are two major draws – not to mention the flavor of food cooked over fire.

When we saw a glass-topped grill, shining like Cinderella's slipper in a YouTube video posted by commercial glass maker SCHOTT, we were intrigued. But, we wondered, how the heck do you clean it?

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The Salt
4:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Some Food Companies Are Quietly Dumping GMO Ingredients

General Mills' original Cheerios are now GMO-free. But you won't find a label on the box highlighting the change.
David Duprey AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 3:35 pm

A tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury, Vt., includes a stop at the "Flavor Graveyard," where ice cream combinations that didn't make the cut are put to rest under the shade of big trees.

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The Salt
6:05 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Menage A Trois

Urban Dictionary will misinform you about the ingredients of this sandwich.
NPR

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 6:38 pm

We're in San Francisco this week, and despite an exhaustive search, we have yet to find anywhere serving a Rice-a-Roni sandwich. We're told the next best thing is the Menage A Trois from Ike's Place.

It gets its name from the fact it's chicken bathed in three sauces — barbecue, honey mustard and honey — and three cheeses: cheddar, pepper jack and Swiss.

Seth: If I only had three wishes I might wish for this sandwich three times.

Ian: The sandwich so good they named a sex thing after it.

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The Salt
4:58 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

For These Vegans, Masculinity Means Protecting The Planet

Mixed martial arts fighter Cornell Ward (from left), chef Daniel Strong, triathlete Dominic Thompson, lifestyle blogger Joshua Katcher and competitive bodybuilder Giacomo Marchese at a vegan barbecue in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Courtesy of James Koroni

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:32 pm

Real men eat meat. They kill it and then they grill it.

That's the stereotype, or cliche, that's about as old as time.

At a recent barbecue in Brooklyn, N.Y., a half-dozen guys who resist that particular cultural stereotype gathered together. Many of them are muscled semi-professional athletes, including triathlete Dominic Thompson, competitive bodybuilder Giacomo Marchese and mixed martial arts fighter Cornell Ward.

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The Salt
1:54 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

From Scratch Or Not? French Restaurant Law Stirs Controversy

A new logo that is supposed to ensure a Paris restaurant's food is homemade (fait maison in French) is already stirring up controversy.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 5:04 pm

If you go to France this summer, you might notice a new logo in restaurant windows or on menus. It's a simple graphic of a rooftop covering a saucepan, and it's supposed to designate fait maison, or homemade. It's designed to highlight places that make their own dishes rather than bringing in frozen or sous vide — prepared meals cooked in a water bath, sealed in airtight plastic bags and designed to be heated up later.

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