The Salt

This summer, diners in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles will get their hands on a hamburger that has been five years in the making.

The burger looks, tastes and smells like beef — except it's made entirely from plants. It sizzles on the grill and even browns and oozes fat when it cooks. It's the brainchild of former Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown and his research team at Northern California-based Impossible Foods.

The startup's goal is like many in Silicon Valley — to create a product that will change the world.

I must admit I have dunked a tea bag into hot water and called it tea. I have even made Darjeeling tea, sometimes called the champagne of teas, from a tea bag.

For tea gurus like Anindyo Choudhury, that is sacrilege. "I wouldn't even touch it," he says.

Most tea-bag teas are chopped and cut by machine instead of being rolled and twisted, hand-plucked and hand-processed. The best Darjeeling tea is loose leaf, steeped for a couple of minutes in hot water — it's light and bright.

Are Millennials Chocolate Chip-o-crites?

19 hours ago

If you give a millennial a cookie, he'll ask for some organic milk to go with it. So goes the food industry's conventional wisdom, which has pegged millennial consumers as caring more than previous generations about the social and environmental implications of their food.

But give a millennial a chocolate bar, and he'll hold off on the questions, according to an April study in the journal Food Quality and Preference.

When you think about fish, it's probably at dinnertime. Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish. Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.

"Thanks to the breakthroughs in ethology, sociobiology, neurobiology and ecology, we can now better understand what the world looks like to fish," Balcombe says.

A few years ago on Father's Day, my dad, who was then living in Taiwan, forwarded the family a special holiday coupon to one of his favorite places in the world: Souplantation. A sort of glorified salad buffet, Souplantation is the kind of chain restaurant you go to with your family after church or sports games, particularly after the ones you've lost. The food doesn't inflame the senses or your digestive tract. In his email, he urged us to take advantage of the coupon on his behalf— with an exclamation mark and a note of regret.

The soda industry says it will fight to repeal the tax on sweetened beverages voted in by the Philadelphia City Council this week.

"The tax passed [in Philadelphia] is a regressive tax that unfairly singles out beverages — including low- and no-calorie choices. But most importantly, it is against the law," reads a statement from the American Beverage Association.

At The Salt, we talk a lot about how food and cultures intersect and how we can learn about ourselves through what we eat — or don't eat.

For many of us, food can serve as a way to explore our heritage. But what happens when you grow up in a family with a different ethnic, racial or cultural background than your own? How does food play into your sense of who you are?

If you are an international adoptee, and you've got a story about food, home and identity, we want to hear from you. Your story could end up on radio or NPR.org!

What you need to do:

A wine's terroir is what makes it special, says Greg Allen. He's a California winemaker who has studied and worked in the industry for 20 years.

"There's a rush of emotion when I think of terroir," he says. A wine's terroir may recall the slope of the hill where lush grapes grow — and maybe the angle of sunlight that warmed those grapes on that hill, or the way water moves through the soil that nourished them.

But when Allen thinks of terroir, he also think about microbes — about bacteria and fungi.

At a long table in the Level Up restaurant, 11 stories above Gaza City, Basil Eleiwa got a cake with a sparkling candle on top — to honor his eatery's second birthday.

"We opened two or three weeks before the 2014 war," Level Up's founder and co-owner notes, referring to the conflict that began in July 2014 between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that runs the Gaza strip.

The restaurant had closed during the seven weeks of fighting.

"The building was hit a number of times," Eleiwa says. "It didn't fall down."

If you're a home gardener in most of the country, your tomato plants are probably just getting started. It's not even officially summer.

Yet if you go to the grocery store, you'll probably see tomatoes that come from even farther north: Canada!

Our cold-weather neighbor sends us more tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers than we send the other way. Despite all the vegetable fields of California and Florida.

When I discovered this fact, I was so shocked that I decided to investigate.

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