Ring the Alarm

Beyoncé has launched a vegan meal delivery service:

“The meals will be 100% plant based, organic, non-GMO, and soy, dairy, and gluten free. Prices will range $9.76 per meal to $16.50 each.

“Bey herself did a vegan challenge with hubby Jay Z in the winter of 2013, and she’s since made a conscious effort to adopt more plant based foods into her diet.

“‘All you have to do is try. If I can do it, anyone can,’ she said in a press release.”

Quick Work

Kate Bratskeir explains how to dice an onion–and why you should learn:

“It’s something everyone should know — yes, even you. Even if you can hardly boil yourself a pot of spaghetti, you should still know how to finely chop an onion. It’ll come in handy for recipes galore — soups, marinades and dips all benefit from the aromatic flavoring and crunch of the bulb.”

Sweet and Salty

According to a new study, packaged food for toddlers contains too much salt and sugar, reports Joanna Rothkopf:

“‘Some of the foods had about similar [sugar or salt] content to what we see in adult foods,’ said the study’s lead author Mary Cogswell, a scientist in the division for heart disease and stroke prevention at the CDC in an interview with Live Science. ‘For example, in the category of savory snacks or salty snacks, the average sodium concentration, or amount of sodium per 100 grams, was about the same as you see in plain potato chips.'”

Objective Treatment

Tamar Haspel proposes an idea for fixing our country’s food system: crop-neutrality.

“I’m not making the case that rejiggering subsidies will dramatically change the way Americans eat; it’s a complicated matter, and I don’t think anyone can predict with certainty what the effect will be. But crop-neutrality aligns public dollars more closely with public interest. It lets farmers decide what they want to grow, and it encourages the age-old risk-mitigation strategy of diversity. It continues to ensure that a bad year isn’t crippling, and a decent living is possible for the men and women who feed us.”

Mind-Bending Research

Diverging from food, Michael Pollan writes about the resurgent use of psychedelic drugs in medical studies:

“The clinical trials at N.Y.U.—a second one, using psilocybin to treat alcohol addiction, is now getting under way—are part of a renaissance of psychedelic research taking place at several universities in the United States, including Johns Hopkins, the Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, and the University of New Mexico, as well as at Imperial College, in London, and the University of Zurich. As the drug war subsides, scientists are eager to reconsider the therapeutic potential of these drugs, beginning with psilocybin.”

Stock in a Snap

Mark Bittman shares ideas for making stock on the spur of the moment:

“Fortunately, there are almost certainly flavorful ingredients sitting in your fridge or pantry that can transform water into a good stock in a matter of minutes. The process may be as simple as simmering in water fresh herbs, mushrooms or even tea, or browning aromatics to create richness, or adding staples like crushed tomatoes or coconut milk. To further maximize flavor in minimal time, it pays to reach for ingredients that pack a punch, like miso, anchovies, chipotles, Parmesan rinds, sometimes even leftovers.”

“It Was a Great Foundation for Me As a Cook”

David Lebovitz, renowned food blogger and author of My Paris Kitchen, describes how he got his start at Chez Panisse:

“It was very exciting because we were getting things at Chez Panisse that no one had ever heard of — fresh goat cheese, radicchio, blood oranges — and focusing on buying food from local producers, before the term ‘locavore’ was around.

“In the early ’80s, we were insanely busy. At opening time, 5:00 pm, we’d have a line out the door, which didn’t stop until we closed. The hosts were turning people away. I worked in the café and we worked very, very hard but it was amazing to be surrounded by such beautiful ingredients and serve them.”

Game-Day Gorging

Not surprisingly, Americans eat a lot on Super Bowl Sunday:

“After Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is infamous for being the second most caloric day in the U.S. Market research firm NDP Group asserts that vegetables have actually topped the list of most popular Super Bowl snacks for the past three decades—but unless it counts potato chips as vegetables, that’s a little hard to believe.”

Pickling on Wheels

The New York Times profiles Tara Whitsitt, “a nomadic evangelist for fermented foods”:

“A soft-spoken Texas native who refers to her cross-country travels as Fermentation on Wheels, Ms. Whitsitt has spent the past 18 months motoring around the United States in the bus, a former Michigan State Police vehicle outfitted with a kitchen and a wood stove and laden with five-gallon jugs of mint-lemon balm wine, jars of radish-turmeric sauerkraut and plenty of sourdough starter. Ms. Whitsitt earns a living largely by holding workshops in which she teaches old-fashioned methods of food preservation.”

Saving Your Bacon

Bacon fat should be “saved and cherished, not discarded,” says Matt Duckor:

“The process of saving bacon fat couldn’t be easier…. After a few batches, you’ll have a stockpile of the stuff to start cooking with on a regular basis. The key to working bacon fat into your cooking routine is that you don’t want to overdo it. It’s extremely rich and shouldn’t be a straight substitute for olive oil or butter. Believe me when I say that a little bit goes a long way.”