Low-Hanging Fruit

A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that, by simply changing the cafeteria environment, “schools can encourage kids to make better choices without even changing their menus”:

“Kids were more likely to eat healthful foods when it was quieter in the cafeteria; when the food was cut into pieces, such as with apple slices; when lunch periods were longer; and when teachers were eating lunch in the same cafeteria.

“‘We saw a big jump in consumption if these factors were controlled, and they aren’t expensive things to control for,’ said Susan Gross, a nutritionist and dietitian at Johns Hopkins.”

“Heartland Communities Need to Be Involved”

For a sustainable food economy to fully take root, we shouldn’t eat so locally, argues Liz Carlisle:

“By all means, we should continue developing local food systems—in both urban and rural areas. But we also need to build strategic partnerships between affluent urban consumers and rural producers in environmentally sensitive, low-income areas. We’re used to this fair-trade paradigm for tropical commodities like bananas and coffee. It’s time to apply it to rural America, too.

“Even if you live hundreds of miles away from Montana, eating organic lentils grown there helps farmers responsibly steward their land.”

Giving Thanks for Football

From the Onion:

“Noting that the nation’s long wait is now at an end, sources confirmed Thursday that the Thanksgiving holiday will grant millions of Americans the rare chance to eat incredibly large amounts of food while watching football games. ‘This kind of day doesn’t come around too often, so I’m excited to finally be able to sit back with family and friends over some delicious food and watch football for the entire afternoon,’ said 34-year-old Arnold Dawson of Henrico, VA.”

“Redefining the Definition of ‘Classic'”

Emma Christensen hails Saveur‘s latest cookbook:

“I love that Saveur did keep one thing truly classic about this cookbook: its format. This book is styled with the same homey feel of Joy of Cooking or Better Homes & Gardens—black and white text, minimal headnotes, recipes that flow one after the next. The recipes are divided into major foods, like ‘Salads,’ ‘Breads & Rolls,’ and ‘Desserts,’ and then further subdivided into specific ingredients and groups (Chilled Soups, Pork, Peas, and Eggs).

“This cookbook is subversive in this way—it feels like a classic 1950s cookbook, but its pages explode with brand new recipes that will shake up your meal routine in the best possible way.”

What Causes Thanksgiving “Food Coma”?

It isn’t the turkey, argues Ellie Krieger:

“It turns out the real Thanksgiving nap-inducers have been hiding behind the turkey all along. Yes, that means you, sweet potato casserole, stuffing and double-crust apple pie. These sides and desserts are all rich in carbohydrates, which don’t contain tryptophan but clear the path for it to get to the brain fast.”

Frozen in Time

Emma Brockes tries to make sense of Thanksgiving:

“I don’t claim to fully understand this American holiday—I have only lived in the US for seven years. But from my own experience of Christmas, I know too well the hysteria that can be brought on by deviating from the way things have always been done. There was, for instance, my dad’s heroic efforts one year, to suggest that we have steak instead of turkey on Christmas day, a well-meaning but egregious subversion of the first rule of the holidays: nothing is to change, ever.”

Cranberry King

Smithsonian magazine explains how Marcus L. Urann revolutionized cranberry consumption:

“Urann was a savvy businessman who knew how to work a market. After he set up cooking facilities at as packinghouse in Hanson, Massachusetts, he began to consider ways to extend the short selling season of the berries. Canning them, in particular, he knew would make the berry a year-round product.

“‘Cranberries are picked during a six-week period,’ Robert Cox, coauthor of Massachusetts Cranberry Culture: A History from Bog to Table says. ‘Before canning technology, the product had to be consumed immediately and the rest of the year there was almost no market. Urann’s canned cranberry sauce and juice are revolutionary innovations because they produced a product with a shelf life of months and months instead of just days.'”

“It Revolutionized the Way We Think About Vegetarian Cooking”

Mollie Katzen reflects on the Moosewood Cookbook, which turns 40 this year:

“The original Moosewood Cookbook originated, in part, from random notes used to help keep track of what my friends and I were cooking in the tiny kitchen of our modest 1970s restaurant. ‘Vegetarian’ was in the early stages of becoming a ‘thing,’ but it was highly unofficial. We were greatly inspired by international dishes as remembered from various world travel (actual or via the “ethnic restaurant” route), discovering cuisines from other countries that placed far less emphasis on meat and more on creative preparation of garden- and orchard-sourced ingredients.”

Island Time

Sur La Table asks Sarah Barthelow, author of the Little House Pantry blog, about her approach to cooking:

“My food is pretty simple. I cook whole, seasonal foods. I realized a while back that I feel best when I eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can cram into a meal, steer clear of white grains and sugars, and use meat rarely, usually as flavoring. My food is mostly vegetarian and usually falls in the one-bowl-wonder category. Oh, and I put pine nuts on everything.”

Whole Lot of Nothing?

Michael Schulson dismisses the advertising in Whole Foods as “pseudoscience” and compares the supermarket to the Creation Museum in Kentucky:

“From the probiotics aisle to the vaguely ridiculous Organic Integrity outreach effort (more on that later), Whole Foods has all the ingredients necessary to give Richard Dawkins nightmares. And if you want a sense of how weird, and how fraught, the relationship between science, politics, and commerce is in our modern world, then there’s really no better place to go. Because anti-science isn’t just a religious, conservative phenomenon—and the way in which it crosses cultural lines can tell us a lot about why places like the Creation Museum inspire so much rage, while places like Whole Foods don’t.”