WBEZ | Food http://www.wbez.org/tags/food Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Launches First Black Restaurant Week http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-launches-first-black-restaurant-week-114744 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Peytyn.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago&rsquo;s annual Restaurant Week activities may be winding down, but &nbsp;Sunday marks the launch of a new restaurant week--one aimed at spotlighting Chicago&rsquo;s black-owned eateries.</p><p dir="ltr">The project is called <a href="http://chicagoblackrestaurantweek.com/">Chicago Black Restaurant Week </a>&nbsp;and it&rsquo;s the brainchild of social media management specialist Lauran Smith. She says the weeklong event is not so much a reaction to the other Restaurant Week as an addition to it. And the timing is just a co-incidence.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I chose the week because before there was Black History Month, way back in 1926 Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week, which was always the second week in February,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So I said let me honor his initial vision to honor African Americans who have played a part in our history. And let me do the restaurant week so it can commemorate what he did and so we can start something new in 2016.&rdquo;</p><p>So Smith invited about a dozen Chicago area restaurants and bakeries to discount some of their top dishes for the week. Participating spots include Truth Italian Restaurant in Bronzeville, Flavor Restaurant in Richton Park, Jordy Cakes in Country Club Hills, Pizzazzed Plus and Lighthouse Wholefood Grill in Hyde Park.</p><p>I recently stopped by Truth Italian to talk to its owner Peytyn Willborn. She says she&rsquo;ll be featuring discounted versions of her wings, chicken Alfredo and Atlantic salmon. And she&rsquo;s eager to show off her food.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;People need to know that we offer great food, that black people can cook,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Even though I don&rsquo;t cook here. But we&rsquo;re drowning. We&rsquo;re small fish in a big sea and people need to know we&rsquo;re here. So I love the fact that we are having our first Black Restaurant Week.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">When I asked Willborn why she and many other African American restaurant owners didn&rsquo;t participate in the main Restaurant Week, she said that many of them had never heard of it. Plus, she says, there are relatively few African-American entrepreneurs who get into the restaurant business. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">She notes that she was able to open her place using savings from her other businesses (a hair salon and a group of day care centers) but she knows that others don&rsquo;t have that capital available.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I was one of the blessed ones,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But African Americans have dreams, we just don&rsquo;t have the money and we have to have someone to believe in us.&rdquo;</p><p>Indeed, a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/black-hispanic-entrepreneurs-discriminated-against-when-seeking-small-business-loans/2014/06/03/70059184-ea86-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html">national study</a> out by Brigham Young University and other researchers suggests that minorities have a harder time getting business loans than whites with the same qualifications.</p><p>But even with financing barriers, Chicago&rsquo;s black entrepreneurs have opened dozens of restaurants all over the area, and consumers are hungry to know about them. <a href="http://beansouptimes.com/#sthash.AnMurAiI.dpbs">Bean Soup Times </a>publisher Toure Muhammad learned this last year when he compiled a list of black-owned eateries in the area.</p><p>&ldquo;I came up with 123, and there&rsquo;s actually more than that,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And I think it sparked something. I probably got eighty or ninety thousand hits [on that story] in a month and people still come to it. There&rsquo;s a realization in the community that the more we support black-owned businesses the more jobs are created and kept in the community. It&rsquo;s similar to the shop local movement.&rdquo;</p><p>The reaction to the list, he says, has inspired yet another black-owned restaurant event that he plans to launch in the summer.</p><p dir="ltr">Only a fraction of those 123 restaurants are signed up for this year&rsquo;s inaugural Chicago Black Restaurant Week (at press time it was nine). But Smith says she&rsquo;s just starting and hopes to expand every year. In the meantime, she hopes this year&rsquo;s effort will encourage African-Americans and others to give a few more black-owned businesses a try. &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/chicago-launches-first-black-restaurant-week-114744 We Sampled the Gastronomic Frontier of Virtual Reality http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/we-sampled-gastronomic-frontier-virtual-reality-114701 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickrMladen Hanzek.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res464920170" previewtitle="Project Nourished's virtual eating gizmos. From left: An atomizer that releases the scents of a food; a virtual reality headset; a a device that mimics the chewing sounds transmitted from a diner's mouth to their ear drums; a cocktail glass with built-in sensors; a utensil that picks up on the diner's movements and integrates them into the virtual reality experience; and a 3-D printed food cube."><div><p>By now, you&#39;re probably tired of hearing about how virtual reality is the next big thing for movies and games. But here&#39;s one you may not have heard yet: that virtual reality could be the next big thing for culinary experiences.</p></div></div><p>Potentially, the technology could help us consume our favorite tastes while avoiding unwanted side effects &ndash; whether food allergens or just extra calories. As someone who has long had a fraught relationship with the rotation of wonders at my local doughnut shop (think seasonal confections like Pumpkin Fool), the idea holds an undeniable appeal.</p><p>&quot;Why is it that the good things are always bad for us?&quot; commiserates designer Jinsoo An. He just might have an unconventional solution to my doughnut problem. &quot;Maybe with virtual reality, that doesn&#39;t need to be the case,&quot; he says.</p><p>An is the brains behind&nbsp;<a href="http://www.projectnourished.com/">Project Nourished</a>, a virtual reality eating experience that aims to let people consume whatever they want, without the downside.</p><p>The idea is to use a variety of methods to trick your mind and palate into thinking you&#39;re eating something different than what&#39;s actually in your mouth. To find out what it&#39;s all about, I visited An&#39;s studio in downtown Los Angeles.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Project Nourished's virtual eating gizmos. From left: An atomizer that releases the scents of a food; a virtual reality headset; a a device that mimics the chewing sounds transmitted from a diner's mouth to their ear drums; a cocktail glass with built-in sensors; a utensil that picks up on the diner's movements and integrates them into the virtual reality experience; and a 3-D printed food cube." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/29/gizmos_wide-1c4e96c253fe8025e290204ce0f40e20878b3913-s800-c85.png" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Project Nourished's virtual eating gizmos. From left: An atomizer that releases the scents of a food; a virtual reality headset; a a device that mimics the chewing sounds transmitted from a diner's mouth to their ear drums; a cocktail glass with built-in sensors; a utensil that picks up on the diner's movements and integrates them into the virtual reality experience; and a 3-D printed food cube. (Courtesy of Project Nourished)" /></p><p>&quot;We were actually making some sushi last night,&quot; he tells me as we tour the studio&#39;s kitchen. &quot;I can show you some.&quot;</p><p>The &quot;sushi&quot; turns out to be a couple of semi-translucent cubes that have been molded to look like rice. They&#39;re made out of agar-agar &mdash; a vegan substitute for gelatin. Fun fact: Agar-agar is used both in Japanese deserts and by microbiologists in lab experiments. Which is what I was about to become.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;re actually one of the first ones to try this,&quot; An tells me as I sit down for my virtual meal. &quot;You might be the first person outside of our team to try this.&quot;</p><p>Before pulling on the Oculus Rift goggles &ndash; a head-mounted display which shows me a visually simulated environment, including the looks of my food &ndash; I confess to An that my guinea pig status makes me giddy. Then it is time to chow down &mdash; virtually.</p><div id="res464894604" previewtitle="Designer Jinsoo An of Kokiri Lab is the mastermind behind Project Nourished, a virtual reality eating experience. Around 30 engineers, food scientists, chefs and designers have worked with An on the project."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Designer Jinsoo An of Kokiri Lab is the mastermind behind Project Nourished, a virtual reality eating experience. Around 30 engineers, food scientists, chefs and designers have worked with An on the project." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/29/engineer_custom-a4f18954c20a5d5b9df8e50c89c25de9238bac8f-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 232px; width: 310px; float: right;" title="Designer Jinsoo An of Kokiri Lab is the mastermind behind Project Nourished, a virtual reality eating experience. Around 30 engineers, food scientists, chefs and designers have worked with An on the project. (Courtesy of Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;Hello,&quot; says the most soothing computer voice imaginable. &quot;Welcome to Project Nourished. Momentarily, I will guide you through the culinary experience of a lifetime.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Inside the goggles I see a little table overlooking a Zen garden. On the table is a plate with a tiny cube of sushi rice that looks like the one An showed me back in the real world. And then, I actually smell sushi.</p><p>That smell is thanks to the blast of an atomizer, a device usually used to mist medicine. Here, it&#39;s repurposed to create a smell redolent of sushi restaurant. Finally, it is time to take a bite.</p><p>It tastes like fish.</p><p>Of course, it&#39;s all an illusion &mdash; one put together with the help of restaurateur Nguyen Tran.</p><p>&quot;We found that the two defining flavors of sushi&mdash; at least for the American palate &mdash; [are] ginger and wasabi,&quot; Tran says. &quot;And the minute we put those in there and layered on top of just the simple flavor of dashi, rice and seaweed, it was exactly like sushi for us.&quot;</p><p>Well, not <em>exactly&nbsp;</em>like eating sushi. The flavor is there, and at least at first, so is the texture. But past the first bite, the agar-agar starts crumbling into a sandy mush.</p><div id="res464895099" previewtitle="The Pumpkin Fool from Santa Monica, California's Sidecar Doughnuts &amp; Coffee is a ring of delicious evil, and reporter Noah Nelson's personal downfall. If only its gastronomic virtues could be bundled into a virtual, guilt-free version."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Pumpkin Fool from Santa Monica, California's Sidecar Doughnuts &amp; Coffee is a ring of delicious evil, and reporter Noah Nelson's personal downfall. If only its gastronomic virtues could be bundled into a virtual, guilt-free version." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/29/doughnut-a7f3b2e61bc80c7fab871e5e0ff54589a04ec53c-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 232px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="The Pumpkin Fool from Santa Monica, California's Sidecar Doughnuts &amp; Coffee is a ring of delicious evil, and reporter Noah Nelson's personal downfall. If only its gastronomic virtues could be bundled into a virtual, guilt-free version. (Courtesy of Noah Nelson/Youth Radio)" /></div><div><div><p>Right now, Project Nourished requires a touch of suspension of disbelief. But designer An sees it as an evolving &quot;open canvas&quot; for experimentation.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;Which means we can insert nutrients and take away nutrients. You can change the behavior of the food however you want &mdash; that&#39;s what&#39;s so magical about this. It turns food into a piece of code,&quot; An says.</p><p>So maybe one day we could pack all the nutrition I need into a virtual, guilt-free Pumpkin Fool donut. Until then, I guess you know where you can find me.</p><div><hr /></div><p><em>Noah Nelson is a reporter for&nbsp;<a href="http://turnstylenews.com/">Turnstyle</a>&nbsp;News &mdash; tech and culture coverage from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/29/464885833/www.youthradio.org">Youth Radio</a>.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/29/464885833/we-sampled-the-gastronomic-frontier-of-virtual-reality"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/we-sampled-gastronomic-frontier-virtual-reality-114701 Meet the Most Pampered Vegetables in America http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-most-pampered-vegetables-america-114699 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CUCAMELON_CREDITRyan Kellman_NPR.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res462829269" previewtitle="Microgreens and flowers grown by Chef's Garden are prepared by chefs from Walt Disney World."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Microgreens and flowers grown by Chef's Garden are prepared by chefs from Walt Disney World." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/tweezersdyp_slide-084d2a071b830dc2fd787696bebe474f0c0252f6-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Microgreens and flowers grown by Chef's Garden are prepared by chefs from Walt Disney World. (Michelle Demuth-Bibb/Chef's Garden)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>There&#39;s a small corner of the restaurant world where food is art and the plate is just as exquisite as the mouthful.</p><p>In this world, chefs are constantly looking for new creative materials for the next stunning presentation.</p><p>The tiny community of farmers who grow vegetables for the elite chefs prize creativity, too, not just in what they grow but in how they grow it. They&#39;re seeking perfection, in vegetable form and flavor, like this tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon &mdash; called a cucamelon.</p><div id="con463167901" previewtitle="cucamelon"><div id="res462840158" previewtitle="The cucamelon is a tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The cucamelon is a tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-5.1_custom-a861d53687621abe471b6dfccf825d1ad6401ac8-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The cucamelon is a tiny cucumber that looks like a watermelon. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div></div><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chefs-garden.com/">Chef&#39;s Garden</a>&nbsp;is a specialty vegetable farm in Huron, Ohio, about an hour west of Cleveland. It&#39;s a family farm, where three generations of the Jones family work side by side with about 175 employees. It&#39;s a place where vegetables are scrupulously selected and then painstakingly coaxed from the ground.</p><div id="res462837962" previewtitle="Rows of lettuce at Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Rows of lettuce at Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-11_custom-405ab7c832aa1be43fdb39aeaafbab7a607d782f-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Rows of lettuce at Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>This farm produces an extraordinary selection of vegetable varieties, ranging from the familiar to the exotic, like the cucamelon. In the summer, they can offer chefs 80 varieties of tomatoes. Through the year, they&#39;re growing more than a dozen kinds of lettuce of different textures and colors, like Merlot, in their greenhouses.</p><div id="res462829202" previewtitle="Merlot lettuce is one of many varieties of lettuce grown by Chef's Garden."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Merlot lettuce is one of many varieties of lettuce grown by Chef's Garden." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-6_custom-198fd13ec89019bc67d508c7cce3b486a37d4ecb-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Merlot lettuce is one of many varieties of lettuce grown by Chef's Garden. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;What we&#39;re trying to do is offer new colors of paint to the chef. It&#39;s not just about color ... it&#39;s flavor and texture. It needs to taste good, and if it doesn&#39;t it has no place,&quot; says Lee Jones, who runs Chef&#39;s Garden with his father and brother.</h3><div id="res462829182" previewtitle="Farmer Lee Jones inside a tomato greenhouse on his farm in Huron, Ohio."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Farmer Lee Jones inside a tomato greenhouse on his farm in Huron, Ohio." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-1_custom-54d37b795eee3543fbc7e0b4264268205b46b16c-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Farmer Lee Jones inside a tomato greenhouse on his farm in Huron, Ohio. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>When Lee Jones (who wears this ensemble of blue overalls, white shirt and red bow tie every single day) was a teenager, his family grew ordinary vegetables for the wholesale market, like a lot of their neighbors. Then in 1983, the Joneses went bankrupt and lost almost all their land. All they could do with the few acres that were left was supply a small stand at local farmers markets.</p><p>One of their customers was a food writer in Cleveland desperate to find the squash blossoms she&#39;d tasted in France and couldn&#39;t find in America. So they went back to the zucchini patch and picked some for her. She was ecstatic, and they began to realize there were unmet needs in the world of fine dining.</p><p>It wasn&#39;t too long before the Joneses began to get connected to chefs around the country &mdash; people like Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller. The great French chef Jean-Louis Palladin at the Watergate in Washington, D.C., told them, &quot; &#39;Your food is s*** in America,&#39; &quot; Lee recalls. In particular, he was talking about the vegetables. And he told them they could seize the opportunity to grow vegetables to the standards of chefs like him.</p><h3>There&#39;s a movement now of farmers like the Joneses who &quot;really aspire to be the best, where it&#39;s not a commodity anymore &mdash; it&#39;s actually about the process that will result in something extraordinary,&quot; says Chef Thomas Keller.</h3><p>The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter.</p><div id="res462829194" previewtitle="The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-4.5_custom-b6e7591312375f84e069c5554de53f07ae1e0f59-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The farm covers 300 acres and supplies chefs all year round, with the help of greenhouses and hoop houses that can be moved from plot to plot in the winter. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>The Joneses say they need to always have something new to offer the chefs. So they have a &quot;secret&quot; experimental garden and greenhouse where they test new varieties. Visitors are not allowed inside.</p><h3>&quot;When we find a new crop, we have two years before [other farmers] start to copy us,&quot; says Bob Jones Sr., Lee&#39;s father and the patriarch of Chef&#39;s Garden.</h3><p>Attention to detail flows through every step of the farming, harvesting and shipping process. And it all starts with the soil.</p><h3>&quot;If you don&#39;t have good soil, you have nothing,&quot; says Bob.</h3><div id="res462829186" previewtitle="Bob Jones Senior in a field of Sudan grass that's been planted as a cover crop. Underneath is about a foot of topsoil that he's built up over the years."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Bob Jones Senior in a field of Sudan grass that's been planted as a cover crop. Underneath is about a foot of topsoil that he's built up over the years." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-23_custom-152d2e688239a2d3f622fbbb010c9ae9bc1bb11e-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Bob Jones Senior in a field of Sudan grass that's been planted as a cover crop. Underneath is about a foot of topsoil that he's built up over the years. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>The soil on this farm gets remarkably special treatment.</p><p>The Joneses are fortunate that their farm is located just a few miles inland from Lake Erie. That means they started with some of the richest sandy loam soil in the world, formed from thousands of years of deposits from the lake bottom.</p><p>But they&#39;ve dedicated themselves to improving it by resting the soil and adding nutrients to deepen the layer of topsoil year after year.</p><p>The way they do that is by planting only one-third of their land (100 acres) with vegetables at any one time.</p><p>The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops like Sudan grass, oats and clover that return nitrogen and other nutrients that the vegetables take out.</p><div id="res462829179" previewtitle="The Joneses plant only one-third of their land with vegetables at any one time.The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops for one to two years before they're planted with vegetables again."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Joneses plant only one-third of their land with vegetables at any one time.The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops for one to two years before they're planted with vegetables again." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-22_custom-2fcd1cae254cfe0b0db78e2c8031059f9b5004be-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Joneses plant only one-third of their land with vegetables at any one time.The remaining 200 acres are sown with cover crops for one to two years before they're planted with vegetables again. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;If you would talk to the farmers around here, they think we&#39;re crazy. They think we&#39;re absolutely ready for the loony bin,&quot; says Bob, &quot;because we do things so much different.&quot;</h3><p>Rotating crops and cover cropping this way is one of the secrets to the vegetables&#39; distinctive flavor, Bob says.</p><p>The Joneses, like the chefs, are always looking for surprising new varieties. Lee tries out the latest seeds from plant breeders and combs through dusty agricultural books.</p><div id="res463182994" previewtitle="(Left) Lee finds unique varieties of vegetables to grow by combing through old agricultural books. (Right) Lee surveys a field of lettuce."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Left) Lee finds unique varieties of vegetables to grow by combing through old agricultural books. (Right) Lee surveys a field of lettuce." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/bookslee_custom-31719b2c17abc4c46f990b19cf97fc1e5a7a58fb-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 620px;" title="Left, Lee finds unique varieties of vegetables to grow by combing through old agricultural books. And right, Lee surveys a field of lettuce. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;We didn&#39;t discover any of these &mdash; we&#39;re uncovering, rediscovering, reintroducing. There&#39;s thousands of species of eggplant out there to be explored,&quot; says Lee.</h3><p>Another thing the Joneses try to tightly control is the seeds they put in the ground. If you buy thousands of them in bulk the way they do, many are bound to fail.</p><p>They check every batch for their germination rate to try to ensure they&#39;re putting only the seeds most likely to succeed in the ground.</p><div id="res462829257" previewtitle="The Joneses monitor seed vitality by germinating each batch they receive. Here, Helios radish seeds are checked for their germination rate."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Joneses monitor seed vitality by germinating each batch they receive. Here, Helios radish seeds are checked for their germination rate." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-28_custom-fd3c6cd6d9e1cc54413f0c24c47506614191ae60-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Joneses monitor seed vitality by germinating each batch they receive. Here, Helios radish seeds are checked for their germination rate. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>They also have a machine to sort seeds for size and weight to help them eliminate the weakest ones. The goal is to guarantee chefs a consistent product every time they need it.</p><h3>&quot;All this comes down to getting dependable production. We can&#39;t get to February and say, &#39;Aw, Chef, we can&#39;t do it because the seed wouldn&#39;t germinate.&#39; That doesn&#39;t work,&quot; says Bob.</h3><p>There&#39;s a whole lab at Chef&#39;s Garden with a small staff dedicated to monitoring and measuring the seeds and the soil.</p><p>It&#39;s just one branch of Chef&#39;s Garden&#39;s highly specialized staff, focused on different aspects of quality control. All together, they give this farm an unusual ratio of workers to acres: about one person per half-acre.</p><p>About 25 of the 178 employees are temporary workers who come mostly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work nine months a year.</p><div id="res462956721" previewtitle="About 25 of the 178 employees of Chef's Garden are temporary workers who come mainly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work on the farm nine months a year."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="About 25 of the 178 employees of Chef's Garden are temporary workers who come mainly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work on the farm nine months a year." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/13/mondayedit-36_custom-a34767213b0a65a44342f7d427bcfa44ba622cb8-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="About 25 of the 178 employees of Chef's Garden are temporary workers who come mainly from the Aguascalientes region of Mexico to work on the farm nine months a year. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>These workers pick everything to order &mdash; from the microgreens to the tiny eggplants and cucamelons.</div></div></div><p>Chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites because when they&#39;re small, they pack more flavor and make for stunning garnishes. And picking these crops is labor-intensive.</p><div id="res463183465" previewtitle="(Left) Chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites, like these tiny purple eggplants. (Right) Cucamelons on the vine."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Left) Chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites, like these tiny purple eggplants. (Right) Cucamelons on the vine." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/eggplant-and-tomato_custom-848f506a1b5ad6d01b1ae8106d32ac87ae408968-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 206px; width: 620px;" title="Left, chefs ask for miniature versions of their favorites, like these tiny purple eggplants. And right, cucamelons on the vine. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>But if a chef wants 100 nasturtium flowers the size of a dime, Lee is happy to oblige &mdash; in part because he has the manpower to pick them.</div></div></div><p>Since there are so many stages in a plant&#39;s life, the farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes, including micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded. Some vegetables come in every single size.</p><h3>&quot;At every single stage of the plant&#39;s life, it offers something unique to the plate. We&#39;ve learned how to look at that plant in a way that says, &#39;Why not?&#39; &quot; says Lee.</h3><p>The precise moment the crops are picked also matters if they&#39;re going to be perfect. Take, for example, the squash blossoms, which are harvested during a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning.</p><div id="res462829190" previewtitle="The farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes for vegetables like squash it offers chefs. The sizes include micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes for vegetables like squash it offers chefs. The sizes include micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-34_custom-96087b5534122e284ef1e7587a0a9cd3893cebef-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The farm has developed an eight-stage, patented set of sizes for vegetables like squash it offers chefs. The sizes include micro, petite, young, flowering and seeded. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><h3>&quot;You&#39;re trying to walk past those ones that are waning, if you will, and pick that one that&#39;s right today, in this particular moment, in this particular hour, the perfect squash bloom, so that it can go onto the plate and blow the guest away of that chef,&quot; says Lee.</h3><p>The same goes for the lettuce, which is harvested at dawn, when the air, the ground and the plants are coolest. The goal, particularly in the summer, is to harvest them at the lowest possible temperature so they can stay fresh longer.</p><div id="res462829261" previewtitle="Workers at Chef's Garden pick squash blossoms only at their peak, which is a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Workers at Chef's Garden pick squash blossoms only at their peak, which is a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/squash-3_custom-a349e678c8e35de78ab7d2d4ca0631688c24aa9f-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 622px; width: 620px;" title="Workers at Chef's Garden pick squash blossoms only at their peak, which is a narrow hour-and-a-half window in the early morning. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>By the time the vegetables reach the packing room, they&#39;re treated like jewels.</div></div></div><p>Bob Jones Jr., Lee&#39;s brother, oversees this stage, where lettuce rosettes are carefully packed with insulation. If the box is filled with tomatoes, it&#39;s fitted with foam padding. In the summer, ice packs go into the boxes to keep the vegetables cold if they&#39;re headed to hot locales.</p><div id="res463183792" previewtitle="The shipping room at Chef's Garden, where vegetables are carefully washed and packed for their overnight journey to chefs around the country and even abroad."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The shipping room at Chef's Garden, where vegetables are carefully washed and packed for their overnight journey to chefs around the country and even abroad." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/15/mondayedit-15_custom-ba11dcb6c72b3f1a726e1ed52321850b7fba8dc8-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The shipping room at Chef's Garden, where vegetables are carefully washed and packed for their overnight journey to chefs around the country and even abroad. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>Nearly all the vegetables that leave here by truck or airplane reach kitchens within a day of coming out of the ground.</div></div></div><p>Shipping vegetables from Ohio to California or New York or Florida means these vegetables most certainly won&#39;t be local once they reach diners. They&#39;ll have quite a few additional greenhouse gas emissions attached to them, too.</p><div id="res462829198" previewtitle="A box of heirloom tomatoes is fitted with foam padding before being shipped overnight to a chef."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A box of heirloom tomatoes is fitted with foam padding before being shipped overnight to a chef." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/12/mondayedit-14_custom-a60b74f104a909fe3263004b1c089f176f0a8ff1-s1300-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A box of heirloom tomatoes is fitted with foam padding before being shipped overnight to a chef. (Ryan Kellman/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>And if you&#39;re buying this precious produce, it will, of course, cost you. The Joneses say their costs are probably 2.5 times as great as a regular production system&#39;s, where every acre is farmed every year. A two-pound box of lettuce from Chef&#39;s Garden goes for about $24.</p><p>But chefs will pay top dollar for these exquisite vegetables.</p><h3>&quot;If we&#39;re not willing to pay for the extraordinary ingredients, then we&#39;re not going to have the extraordinary ingredients,&quot; says Chef Thomas Keller.</h3><p>Chef&#39;s Garden is starting to sell directly to consumers via mail order. And Lee is hopeful about this new frontier for the business.</p><h3>&quot;We know in the U.S. there&#39;s a movement toward more healthy and fresh vegetables, so we&#39;re trying to anticipate that and be ready for it. The chefs we work with can drive those trends. It is a trickle-down effect,&quot; says Lee.</h3><p>This has been a special multimedia project of NPR&#39;s food blog,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/">The Salt</a>.</p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/meet-most-pampered-vegetables-america-114699 Is Your Diet the Best Diet? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-29/your-diet-best-diet-114642 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Diet-dawnjacksonblatner.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>What&rsquo;s better: A diet based on superfoods? Taskercizing? Or maybe vegan smoothies?</p><p>Thursday night, ABC wrapped up its reality show &ldquo;My Diet is Better Than Yours&rdquo; where dietitians and health gurus battle it out to see whose diet is supreme. Chicago dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner is one of the experts who helps an overweight person shed some pounds. She joins us to talk about her brand of staying healthy while still enjoying what you eat.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-29/your-diet-best-diet-114642 Craft Beer Industry Competes for Limited Taps http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-29/craft-beer-industry-competes-limited-taps-114643 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Craft Beer-Flickr-tabounds.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Can too many good beers ever be a bad thing? If you like drinking it, the answer is definitely &ldquo;no&rdquo;. If you&rsquo;re a new brewery trying to break into the scene, or an established one trying to keep your product flowing, the answer is probably &ldquo;yes&rdquo;.</p><p>Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post tells us more. He recently wrote about what&rsquo;s happening now that the number of choices for consumers has exploded, but the number of taps at bars hasn&rsquo;t. We&#39;re also joined by Josh Deth of Revolution Brewery,and Earle Johnson of Quencher&rsquo;s Saloon.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-29/craft-beer-industry-competes-limited-taps-114643 Is School Food Too Healthful? http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/school-food-too-healthful-114638 <p><p>If you&rsquo;re tuned into the fights in Washington over school food these days, you might think students are eating nothing but lentils and kale.</p><p>Last week, the Senate agricultural committee voted to ease 2010 standards (limiting salt and requiring more whole grains) backed by Michelle Obama&rsquo;s &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s Move&rdquo; campaign. And later this year, the House of Representatives is expected to propose similar changes.</p><p>So that got me wondering: Have the new rules really changed school food that much?&nbsp; And what do the most popular entrees look like here in Obama&rsquo;s home district?</p><p>Despite six months of requests, Chicago Public Schools officials have refused to let me see a cafeteria. But I&rsquo;ve talked to lots of students about what they&rsquo;re eating, and then I went the official route with a Freedom of Information Act request to CPS for the top entreés it serves.</p><p>Turns out both efforts got the same answer. The top three dishes served in the district are--by far--highly processed, heat and serve chicken patties, cheeseburgers, and pizza.&nbsp; And that&rsquo;s under the nutrition rules considered overly strict by a lot of Washington lawmakers.&nbsp;</p><p>I also FOIAd ingredients for each item. They didn&rsquo;t look overly strict and healthful to me, but I wanted to be sure. So I took them to Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietician and author.&nbsp; Blatner said she was impressed by the partial use of whole grain flour in the buns and chicken patty. She also approved of the fat grams in the burger and chicken dish. But that&rsquo;s pretty much where her admiration ended. Blatner didn&#39;t like the meat fillers (soy protein concentrate) in the &quot;chicken&quot; and &quot;beef.&quot; And, generally, she said the foods violated a rule she calls &ldquo;cut the CRAP.&rdquo;</p><p>CRAP&rsquo;s an acronym for Chemicals you don&rsquo;t cook with at home, Refined sugars, Artificial flavors and sweeteners and Preservatives.</p><p>&ldquo;So do I see CRAP in all of this?&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Absolutely. Those are, to me, red flags that this is processed foods and definitely not something that should be an everyday occasion for anybody of any age.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Yet most of those entrees are being served every day to high schoolers and several times a week to grade school kids.</p><p>Chicago chef Sam Kass led the First Lady&rsquo;s Let&rsquo;s Move health and nutrition campaign that championed the 2010 rules.<br /><br />I asked if Chicago&rsquo;s Top 3 list of chicken patties, pizza and cheeseburgers surprise him:</p><p>&ldquo;No that doesn&rsquo;t surprise me,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp; &ldquo;I think what we know about that cheese pizza is that the crust is whole grain and the same with the bun of the burger. There is a lot less sodium and fat in the cheese and pizza.&rdquo;<br /><br />Still, these aren&rsquo;t the dishes Kass was dreaming of when he pushed for the rules six&nbsp; years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;Obviously the goal is to get our kids foods that are minimally processed and that are really healthy for them. So yes would I love to see just a chicken breast as opposed to a highly processed patty with lots of stuff in it. Of course. And a lot of districts are already doing it.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />These other districts are in places like Washington DC,&nbsp; New York and Oakland, Cal.,&nbsp; where pilot programs are helping kids swap processed meals for freshly cooked food.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s worth noting that Chicago schools also do some fresh cooking. Local cooks make things like broccoli and other vegetables. But, as part of a weird district rule, they&rsquo;re forbidden from ever using even a crystal of salt on that food. Intentionally or not, this ends up leaving a lot more room for salt in the processed foods--without blowing the federal limits on sodium per meal.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />I asked Kass if he thought this was a bad use of salt overall?<br /><br />&ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;For the love of God, salt the broccoli! I think this shows what can come when we do more of the cooking ourselves&hellip; We can dramatically reduce the amount of salt in the burger patty and make sure that broccoli tastes good.&rdquo;</p><p>But moving from processed foods to more scratch cooking isn&rsquo;t easy. Most school food watchers agree it requires, at least, three important elements: school kitchens outfitted with the right equipment, a staff of trained cooks and a strong directive from the top to make the change. In a cash-strapped district like CPS, scratch cooking advocates are unlikely to find those elements.&nbsp;</p><p>While there is some federal funding available for kitchen equipment--including loans and grants specified in the Senate proposal--most agree it&rsquo;s not enough. National funds designated for 2016 school kitchen improvements add up to a mere $30 million. A recent Pew study estimated that it would take $200 million to outfit kitchens for healthier cooking in Illinois alone.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sodium.jpg" style="height: 367px; width: 620px;" title="Buried in Chicago Public School’s 900 page contract with Aramark is this provision that forbids the use of salt in any meal preparation. Some believe this puts the salt-free vegetables at a disadvantage against the salty highly processed foods that dominate the menu. It also allows the processed food to be served without exceeding federal salt limits for the whole meal. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG)" /></div><p>While rural districts are often able to pull off freshly cooked meals, Diane Pratt-Heavner of the School Nutrition Association says it&rsquo;s tougher in city schools.</p><p>&ldquo;Quite often--especially in urban areas where the cost of labor is high and infrastructure can be old--schools simply don&rsquo;t have the labor or equipment to scratch prepare,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So they are required to serve pre-prepared items.&rdquo;</p><p>Heavner&rsquo;s group is leading the charge against current rules. The SNA represents school food service managers and is sponsored by big food companies, which she says are there to help.</p><p>&ldquo;Food companies are really working to try to develop cleaner label items and to help schools meet these standards,&rdquo; she said noting that many of the items the companies develop to meet school food rules end up in grocery stores. These include the &ldquo;better for you&rdquo; whole grain, reduced fat Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheeto.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />Where Congress will eventually come down on salt levels, whole grain percentages and vegetable frequency remains unclear. But what does seem clear is that the current debates are unlikely to get processed foods off the center of the plate in Chicago Public Schools any time soon.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ food reporter. Email her at meng@wbez.org Follower her <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 09:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/school-food-too-healthful-114638 New Dietary Guidelines Crack Down on Sugar. But Red Meat Gets a Pass http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dietary-guidelines-crack-down-sugar-red-meat-gets-pass-114418 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dietary-guidelines_larger_enl-54044ab72226fe0978a0b6aee5ed589c44fbd20b-s1200.jpg" style="height: 298px; width: 620px;" title="Eat This, Not That: The U.S. government's latest Dietary Guidelines call on Americans to eat more vegetables and fruits, more seafood and whole grains, and to cool it on foods high in sugar, refined grains, sodium and saturated fats. (Morgan McCloy/NPR)" /></div><div><p>With January comes lots of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/05/462036387/best-diets-2016-from-fastest-weight-loss-to-conquering-cravings">diet advice</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-08/2015-dietary-guidelines-are-outin-2016-114425" target="_blank">And this month comes the official advice from the U.S. government</a>: The Obama administration has released its much-anticipated update to the&nbsp;<a href="http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/">Dietary Guidelines</a>.</p><p>The guidelines, which are revised every five years, are based on evolving nutrition science and serve as the government&#39;s official advice on what to eat.</p><p>One concrete change: Americans are being told to limit sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.</p><p>As we&#39;ve reported, lots of Americans consume up to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/02/03/271130613/sweet-tooth-gone-bad-why-22-teaspoons-of-sugar-per-day-is-deadly">22 teaspoons a day</a>. To meet the new 10 percent target, they&#39;d need to cut their sugar intake by nearly half &mdash; to no more than 12 teaspoons a day on a 2,000-calorie daily diet.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div id="res462180383" previewtitle="These two muffins each contain 35 grams (about 8 teaspoons) of sugar. Add in a cup of sweetened blueberry Greek yogurt (18 grams, or about 4 teaspoons, of sugar) and you've got 22 teaspoons of sugar – the amount many Americans eat per day. Under the new Dietary Guidelines, we should eat no more than 10 percent of daily calories from sugar. On a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that's about 12 teaspoons."><div><div><img alt="These two muffins each contain 35 grams (about 8 teaspoons) of sugar. Add in a cup of sweetened blueberry Greek yogurt (18 grams, or about 4 teaspoons, of sugar) and you've got 22 teaspoons of sugar – the amount many Americans eat per day. Under the new Dietary Guidelines, we should eat no more than 10 percent of daily calories from sugar. On a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that's about 12 teaspoons." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/06/dietary-guidelines-3_custom-3b6d77ab9d1748e166f4a2d3ac684fd4f299ee2e-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 607px; width: 400px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="These two muffins each contain 35 grams--about 8 teaspoons--of sugar. Add in a cup of sweetened blueberry Greek yogurt--18 grams, or about 4 teaspoons, of sugar--and you've got 22 teaspoons of sugar – the amount many Americans eat per day. Under the new Dietary Guidelines, we should eat no more than 10 percent of daily calories from sugar. On a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that's about 12 teaspoons. (Morgan McCloy/NPR)" /><p>Over the past five years, a growing body of evidence has linked high levels of sugar consumption to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, even among Americans who are not overweight or obese.</p></div></div></div><p>Much of the dietary advice included in the new guidelines will sound very familiar and remains unchanged from 2010. For instance, there&#39;s a focus on consuming more fruits and vegetables, more fiber and whole grains, and less salt.</p><p>Top administration officials within the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, who were tasked with writing the guidelines, decided not to include some of the recommendations made by a Dietary Guidelines advisory panel that reviewed the latest nutrition science.</p><p>For instance, the advisory committee had recommended including&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/12/15/370427441/congress-to-nutritionists-dont-talk-about-the-environment">sustainability</a>&nbsp;as a factor in making food choices. But administration officials&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/06/446369955/new-dietary-guidelines-will-not-include-sustainability-goal">nixed that idea</a>.</p><p>The committee had also advised telling Americans to cut back on red and processed meats. But that recommendation sparked a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/24/393859592/why-theres-a-big-battle-brewing-over-the-lean-meat-in-your-diet">vigorous challenge</a>&nbsp;from the meat industry, and the final dietary guidelines do not include any specific advice to cut back on these sources of protein.</p><p>The recommendation &quot;was certainly controversial,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.human.cornell.edu/bio.cfm?netid=jtb4">Tom Brenna</a>, a nutrition professor at Cornell University and member of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.</p><p>&quot;The red and processed meat recommendation, I think, has morphed a bit into a different kind of message,&quot; Brenna tells us. &quot;A little bit like turning a coin over, in a sense, where if you eat less red meat, one is eating more of other protein foods.&quot;</p><p>Instead, the guidelines emphasize a &quot;shift towards other protein foods&quot; &mdash; including more nuts and seeds and about 8 ounces of seafood per week, based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.</p><div id="res462184561"><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Teen Boys And Adult Men Are Eating Too Much Meat</span></strong></p><p>Consumption of meats, poultry and eggs in the United States, by gender and age:</p><div><img alt="Graphic: Average weekly consumption of meat, poultry and eggs vs. recommended intake" src="http://www.npr.org/news/graphics/2016/01/gr-meat-consumption.png" style="height: 458px; width: 620px;" title="Source: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2010 for average intakes by age-sex group. Healthy U.S.-Style Food Patterns, which vary based on age, sex, and activity level, for recommended intake ranges. (Health.gov: &quot;Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, Eighth Edition&quot;)" /></div><div><p>The suggestion to limit meat intake comes in more subtle form. For instance, the guidelines point out that many teen boys and adult men consume more than the recommended 26 ounces a week of protein from animal sources, so they should &quot;reduce overall intake of protein foods by decreasing intakes of meat, poultry, and eggs.&quot;</p></div></div><p>There&#39;s also an overall recommendation &mdash; unchanged from 2010 &mdash; to reduce saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of daily diet, a shift that could, in practice, require limiting intake of red meat.</p><p>&quot;The message to eat more seafood, legumes and other protein foods really does mean substitute those for red meat,&quot; Brenna says. &quot;So I think the message is more or less there, it&#39;s just not as clear.&quot;</p><p>That message to cut the red meat should have been stated more directly, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/nutrans/popkin">Barry Popkin</a>, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. &quot;I am disappointed that the USDA once again is cutting out recommendations to truly limit red meat intake,&quot; he tells us in an email.</p><p>The other major change to the government&#39;s nutrition advice: dietary cholesterol. The new guidelines drop a longstanding recommendation to limit cholesterol from foods to 300 milligrams a day.</p><p>As&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nutrition.tufts.edu/faculty/lichtenstein-alice">Alice Lichtenstein</a>, vice chairwoman of the expert panel that advised the government on the guidelines,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/02/19/387517506/nutrition-panel-egg-with-coffee-is-a-ok-but-skip-the-side-of-bacon">told us</a>&nbsp;last February, there isn&#39;t strong evidence that limiting cholesterol-rich foods lowers the amount of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol that ends up in the blood.</p><p>The guidelines also call on Americans to cut sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. Most of us consume far more &mdash; about 3,440 milligrams daily on average &mdash; much of it in the form of foods like pizzas, soups, breads and cured meats.</p><p>The Dietary Guidelines have clear implications for federal nutrition policy, influencing everything from the national school lunch program to the advice you get at the doctor&#39;s office. But they are written for nutrition professionals, not the general public.</p><p>Indeed, one has to wonder whether most Americans are even listening. As the Dietary Guidelines report points out, three-fourths of Americans don&#39;t eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. In some age groups (think teens), the percentage of people following the guidelines is in the single digits.</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/07/462160303/new-dietary-guidelines-crack-down-on-sugar-but-red-meat-gets-a-pass?ft=nprml&amp;f=462160303" target="_blank">&nbsp;via NPR</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 08 Jan 2016 09:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dietary-guidelines-crack-down-sugar-red-meat-gets-pass-114418 Climate Change's Effect on Public Health http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-06/climate-changes-effect-public-health-114393 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_386099793449.jpg" title="(AP Photo/Michel Euler)" /><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/240695643&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Climate Change&rsquo;s effect on public health</strong></span><br />The World Health organization says climate change is the biggest public health threat of the 21st century. Climate Change has been linked to many public health problems - everything from increased waterborne diseases due to warmer waters and more flooding - to a rise in asthma cases. &nbsp;Illinois has its own set of public health challenges - with things like allergies on the rise. We&rsquo;ll look at the relationship between Climate Change and health with Dr. Sarah Lovinger, executive director of Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility, Brian Urbaszewski, director of Environmental Health Program for the Respiratory Health Association and Dr. Peter Orris, director of the Occupational Health Service Institute at the University of Illinois School of Public Health.</p><p><strong>GUESTS:</strong></p><p>Dr. Sarah Lovinger is executive director of <a href="http://www.chicagopsr.org/">Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility</a> and a practicing physician</p><p><a href="http://earthjustice.org/50states/2013/brian-urbaszewski">Brian Urbaszewski</a> is Director of Environmental Health Program for Respiratory Health Association, a Chicago-based lung health advocacy founded in 1906</p><p>Dr. <a href="http://www.cade.uic.edu/sphapps/faculty_profile/sphFacultyInd.asp?i=porris&amp;d=">Peter Orris</a> is a professor and director of Occupational Health Service Institute, located at the University of Illinois School of Public Health in Chicago. He attended the Paris talks.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/240696414&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>&ldquo;Le Doggy Bag&rdquo; hits France</strong></span></p><p>France just passed a law requiring all restaurants to provide takeaway boxes for customers who request them. Unlike Americans, the French have not traditionally used &ldquo;le doggy bag&rdquo; after finishing a meal at a restaurant. The new legislation is part of an effort to reduce food waste. Louisa Chu joins us to talk about how the new law is being received.</p><p><strong>GUEST: </strong><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu?lang=en">Louisa Chu</a> (Co-host of Chewing, new food and health podcast with Monica Eng)<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/240697070&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;"><strong>Global Notes: Singer Renata Flores reviving </strong><strong>Quechuan language</strong></span></p><p>You may not be able to pronounce this song title- Chaynatam ruwanki cuyanaita- but you&rsquo;d probably be able to hum along with its familiar melody line. &nbsp;The song is Michael Jackson&rsquo;s &ldquo;The Way You Make Me Feel&rdquo; and in this version, it&rsquo;s sung in the ancient Incan language known as Quechuan by a 14 year old Peruvian girl. On this week&rsquo;s Global Notes, Tony Sarabia brings us the story of<a href="http://renatafloresperu.com/"> Renata Flores</a>&rsquo; efforts to revive the language among Peru&rsquo;s youth through song.</p><p><strong>GUEST: </strong><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezsarabia">Tony Sarabia</a> is the host of The Morning Shift and Radio M</p></p> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 09:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2016-01-06/climate-changes-effect-public-health-114393 The Fall of Chicago's 'Porkopolis' and the Rise of Niche Meat http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fall-chicagos-porkopolis-and-rise-niche-meat-114271 <p><p>Like a lot of American kids, Pam Monaco read <em><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle" target="_blank">The Jungle</a></em> when she was in high school.</p><p>In case you don&rsquo;t remember, it&rsquo;s Upton Sinclair&rsquo;s 1906 indictment of the conditions in Chicago&rsquo;s meatpacking industry at the time. And it left an indelible impression on her. Monaco says even when she was living in Kansas, she&rsquo;d see livestock trucks heading north from Kansas and wonder if they were going to Chicago.</p><p>So, not long after she moved to the Chicago area, Monaco asked Curious City whether there are any meatpackers left in Chicago and, if not, where they went.</p><p>Borrowing from yet another literary classic, she specifically asked:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Does Chicago &mdash; the former <a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/2043" target="_blank">hog butcher for the world</a> &mdash; still do any of that kind of work?</em></p><p>The short answer is &ldquo;yes&rdquo; and we&rsquo;ll introduce a few of the shops that do. But what&rsquo;s most interesting is what&rsquo;s changed in the local industry. One hundred years ago the city was an international slaughtering juggernaut that helped establish a mass-market industrialized food system. Today, the remnants of slaughtering in Chicago are sustained by niche markets not well-served by that modern system: immigrant communities, trendy gourmands and people who cook traditional dishes in traditional ways.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Why did Chicago become a &lsquo;Porkopolis&rsquo;?</span></p><p>Dominic Pacyga, author of <em>Slaughterhouse: Chicago&rsquo;s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made</em>, says the principle reason is that by 1865, the city was the nexus of at least nine rail lines, and that nexus put Chicago close to the center of the nation&rsquo;s livestock growth areas.</p><p>&ldquo;After the Civil War the Great Plains were opened up to Texas cattle and they could be driven up north to [railroad stops] and brought into Chicago,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Later on, when you had refrigerated railroad cars that could take chilled beef east, Chicago really dominated even the Eastern and even the California meat markets.&rdquo;</p><p>The center of activity was the Union Stock Yard, a concentrated square mile on the city&rsquo;s Southwest Side. The yard acted as a market for the sale of large mammals: mostly cows, pigs and sheep. Some animals sold at the yards would be sent on to new owners beyond Chicago, but the rest would head for local slaughterhouses where they were killed, broken down and shipped out as chilled carcasses or canned and cured meats.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Livestock_chicago_1947.jpg" style="height: 447px; width: 620px;" title="The Union Stockyards in 1941. (Courtesy Library of Congress)" /></div><p>Companies such as Armour, Swift and Morris used new processing technologies and the yards&rsquo; massive scale to become international meatpacking giants.</p><p>&ldquo;It took a skilled butcher and his apprentice about eight to 10 hours to dress a steer in 1890,&rdquo; explains Pacyga, &ldquo;but it took about 35 minutes at Armour &amp; Company.&rdquo;</p><p>For many decades, the number of animals that passed through the stockyards just got bigger. Pacyga writes that the whole thing peaked in 1924, when 18.6 million animals went through the stock yard. On a single cold day in December that year, he says, it took in more than 122,000 hogs. To handle those animals, the stockyards made jobs for an estimated 40,000 workers at at time.</p><p>Early on many of the waste products from the animals ended up in the south fork of the Chicago River &mdash; a section <a href="http://www.chicagojournal.com/News/09-16-2009/There_are_still_bubbles" target="_blank">unaffectionately dubbed &ldquo;Bubbly Creek.&rdquo;</a> This improved a bit when meatpackers launched byproduct businesses that used the fat, blood, hair, organs and more to make soap, buttons, furniture stuffing, medicine, glue, paintbrushes, instrument strings, etc. Still, between the livestock, manure and the rendering plants, the smells generated could travel all the way to the North Side on hot summer nights.</p><p><a name="littleeddie"></a>But this didn&rsquo;t stop the tourists. As many as half a million a year flocked to the yard to see the latest in meat technology.</p><p>This modern meat show even became a popular destination for Chicago Public Schools field trips. WBEZ volunteer Ed Kramer remembers going to the stockyards in 1941 with his 8th grade class. He says he remembers taking the &lsquo;L&rsquo; from Wicker Park down to the yards and standing over the pens on a catwalk.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/239447357&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;Down below us, cows were being led in through a chute,&rdquo; he recalls. &ldquo;A chain was whipped around the back legs of the cow and they were hoisted up in the air. Someone came along with a huge wooden sledge, hit on the head and it stunned them and then their throats were cut. At that point a half a dozen people in the group began to erp.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite its popularity with the kids, the stockyards were already on the decline by the 1940s. Modern trucks and an extensive highway system made it easier to ship livestock to exact destinations by truck, rather than relying on fixed rail routes. Plus, farmers started to make deals directly with packing houses, eliminating the need to send their livestock to a central market.</p><p>These circumstances shrank the number of animals moving through the yard. In 1970, fewer than 1 million hogs arrived at the yards, leading officials to close the hog market that year. The closing of the cattle market soon followed, and the stockyards closed their doors forever in February 1971.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20stockyard%20graphic%206.png" style="height: 381px; width: 620px;" title="A depiction of the decline of the Union Stockyards as major meatpacking companies relocated. Based on Dominic Pacyga's book, Slaughterhouse: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made. (Graphic by Logan Jaffe/WBEZ) " /></div><div>Today, hog and cattle slaughtering and butchering facilities are in small towns all over the Midwest &mdash; mostly in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. They&rsquo;re closer to farms, easy highways, cheap land and fewer neighbors to complain about the stench.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-size:24px;">Chicago&rsquo;s slaughterhouse holdovers</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There&rsquo;s still a smallish meatpacking district near Fulton Street. The city also hosts 11 official slaughterhouses. These are mostly neighborhood spots that focus on poultry, but three process mainly sheep, goats and pigs. Those are: halal processor Barkaat, in the old Chiappetti plant at 38th and Halsted Street; Park Packing at 41st and Ashland Avenue; and the little Halsted Packing House at Halsted and Hubbard Streets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Even combined, the scale of these three processors is dwarfed by the scale of the former Union Stock Yard. Based on interviews with the operators, together they process approximately 1,000 animals per day, whereas the old yards could take in 100,000 hogs alone in a single day.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These operations don&rsquo;t share much with the old stockyards other than the fact that they all slaughter or process animals. During visits to two of the three remnant facilities &mdash; one slaughterhouse and one packing house (meaning: no slaughtering, just packing) &mdash; we see that these operations are almost an antidote to the mega industrial meat industry the Union Stock Yard helped establish. Instead, they base their business on fresh custom cuts, personalized service and (sometimes) religious traditions.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-size:24px;">Halsted Packing House: The family business </span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Halsted Packing House quietly operates on the 400 block of North Halsted Street, within walking distance of some of the city&rsquo;s top restaurants. On most days, you&rsquo;ll find a fresh stack of gossip magazines and either Cookie or Callie Davos at the front of the house. They&rsquo;re sisters (trained respectively in chiropractics and accounting) who never expected to run a slaughterhouse. But then, one day in 1994, their father had a sudden heart attack.</div><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="423" id="iframe" scrolling="no" src="//flickrit.com/slideshowholder.php?height=413&amp;width=620&amp;size=medium&amp;setId=72157662665264866&amp;click=true&amp;caption=true&amp;counter=true&amp;credit=2&amp;trans=1&amp;thumbnails=0&amp;transition=0&amp;layoutType=fixed&amp;sort=0" width="620"></iframe></p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;So we came down here to figure it out and reassure everyone that they still had jobs,&rdquo; Callie remembers, adding that the shop was male-dominated at the time. &ldquo;We were rookies and had no clue, and I think all the men were taking bets on how long those two girls are going to last.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Twenty one years later the sisters still oversee a staff of mostly men between taking orders, &nbsp;balancing the books and greeting customers. Many of those customers are immigrants, like Joe from West Africa.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;In this store here, everything is fresh and that&rsquo;s one of the reasons why I come from miles away to patronize them on a weekly basis,&rdquo; he says holding a bag of goat meat. &ldquo;I eat goat meat and cow tails and I cooked stews, vegetables, some African stuff. Spicy and delicious.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You don&rsquo;t get delicious meat without a kill floor, but the one at Halsted Packing House is nothing like the massive assembly line kill factories that epitomized the stockyards at their height. Here it&rsquo;s just one small, intense room where young pigs bleed out, tumble in the dehairing machine, and then get disemboweled before heading to a large cooler. There, they join lambs and goats of various sizes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Although Halsted Packing House offers retail sales to the public, its no-frills presentations and earthy aromas can startle some.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of odd reactions you get when people walk in here,&rdquo; Davos says. &ldquo;They expect everything to be in a beautiful little plastic package and freshly scented smells in here. We actually slaughter and we have live animals come in, so we have all sorts of smells.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Halsted offers customers the option of sacrificing their own animal for special traditional or religious observances. On the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, for instance, she says &ldquo;The place is packed. There are lines out the door waiting to get in and follow their tradition after their prayer.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, some animals also have their beginnings at Halsted. Davos says several sheep have been sent to her pregnant and have given birth right there at the packing house. &nbsp;&ldquo;So many times I&rsquo;ve taken a baby lamb home and fed it every two hours, &ldquo; she recalls. &ldquo;Then I find a home for it on a farm.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Despite the support Davos receives from the city&rsquo;s ethnic communities, she&rsquo;s not sure the family business will last after her generation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;People just don&rsquo;t cook the way they used to, so there&rsquo;s just less demand for what we offer,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s sad. But I&rsquo;m glad that I was a part of it.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-size:24px;">Grant Park Packing: Custom cuts</span></div><div>&nbsp;<iframe frameborder="0" height="423" id="iframe" scrolling="no" src="//flickrit.com/slideshowholder.php?height=413&amp;width=620&amp;size=medium&amp;setId=72157660396416863&amp;click=true&amp;caption=true&amp;counter=true&amp;credit=2&amp;trans=1&amp;theme=1&amp;thumbnails=0&amp;transition=0&amp;layoutType=fixed&amp;sort=0" width="620"></iframe></div><div>Just about a mile away from Halsted Packing House is the old Fulton Market area. During a recent visit, Joe Maffei, owner of Grant Park Packing, watches dozens of already-eviscerated hog carcasses glide through his receiving room on hooks from a truck. Although meatpacking can include slaughtering, the meatpackers at Grant Park Packing are just in the packing part of the business: They break down carcasses into cuts for sale to delis, restaurants, stores and even home cooks who want special cuts like coppa or guanciale for curing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The meatpacking business that&rsquo;s left in Chicago is on the smaller scale,&rdquo; Maffei says. &ldquo;All the big guys have left the Chicago area. They&rsquo;re out in the boondocks where they have a lot more space and are able to ship a lot more quantities than we do.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, he says that rising rents and local and state rules are making it harder to go on. Maffei&rsquo;s been in the Chicago meatpacking business for almost half a century. But he reports with a sigh, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s almost all gone, including us pretty soon.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Really?&rdquo; I ask. &ldquo;How many more years will you be here?&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He asks back: &ldquo;Months, you mean?&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-size:24px;">More about our questioner</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Pamela Monaco is a dean of graduate studies at North Central College in Naperville and a fan of public radio. Before coming to Chicago about two years ago, Monaco and her husband lived in Kansas, which also once hosted a big central stockyard.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Today Monaco lives in Naperville with her husband and three cats, but says she spends her free time exploring Chicago&rsquo;s food, theaters and museums. She was a little surprised by the outcome of the investigation she started on meatpacking.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s fascinating that the remaining meatpacking in Chicago is connected to the city&rsquo;s ethnic population and a continuing demand for speciality cuts,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It all gives me more food for thought and pondering.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org.</em></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 23 Dec 2015 13:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/fall-chicagos-porkopolis-and-rise-niche-meat-114271 How the Food Industry Helps Engineer Our Cravings http://www.wbez.org/news/how-food-industry-helps-engineer-our-cravings-114199 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/sugargraph.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The food industry has processed lots of foods to hit that &quot;bliss point&quot; — that perfect amount of sweetness that would send eaters over the moon. In doing so, it's added sweetness in plenty of unexpected places – like bread and pasta sauce, says investigative reporter Michael Moss." class="img" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/16/sugargraph_custom-9b4b159cf8de858ae0b5715776a3981c57a91989-s800-c85.jpg" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 15.5556px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: none; display: block; height: 412px; width: 620px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" title="The food industry has processed lots of foods to hit that &quot;bliss point&quot; — that perfect amount of sweetness that would send eaters over the moon. In doing so, it's added sweetness in plenty of unexpected places – like bread and pasta sauce, says investigative reporter Michael Moss." /></p><p>It is no secret that the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-07/obesity-rates-rising-threat-public-health-and-welfare-114083" target="_blank">rise in obesity in America</a> has something to do with food. But how much? And what role does the food industry as a whole play?</p><p>As part of&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s</em> series this week on obesity,<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/tag/america-on-the-scale" target="_blank">&nbsp;<em>America on the Scale</em></a>, host Jeremy Hobson spoke with investigative reporter&nbsp;Michael Moss of<em>&nbsp;The New York Times</em>.</p><p>For Moss&#39;s book,&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Salt-Sugar-Fat-Giants-Hooked/dp/0812982193?tag=wburorg-20" target="_blank">Salt Sugar Fat</a></em>,&nbsp;he went inside the industry and spoke with food inventors and CEOs about how the industry has shaped what people eat and capitalized on how American eating habits have changed &mdash; for the worse and, maybe now, for the better. Highlights from their conversation follow, edited for brevity and clarity.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>On the food industry&#39;s level of responsibility for the obesity epidemic</strong></p><p>I was really struck by how many people inside the industry itself hold their industry totally accountable, totally culpable for this surge in obesity that we&#39;ve had for the last 30 years now. Clearly, there are other contributing factors. Clearly, there are things like exercise and personal responsibility. But they &mdash; being insiders &mdash; came to believe that all of the effort they put into making their product so irresistible, so tasty, so perfectly engineered to get us to not just like them but to want more and more of them, laid that responsibility directly at their feet.</p><p><strong>On what it means to &quot;perfectly engineer&quot; food</strong></p><p>They would hire people like Howard Moskowitz, trained in high math at Queens College and experimental psychology at Harvard. Howard was one of the people responsible for some of the biggest icons in the grocery store.</p><p>For example, he walked me through his recent creation of a new soda flavor for Dr. Pepper. ... He started with no less than 59 variations of sweetness, each one slightly different than the next, subjected those to 3,000 taste tests around the country, did his high math regression analysis thing, put the data in the computer. And out comes this bell-shaped curve where the perfect amount of sweetness &mdash; not too little, not too much &mdash; is at the very top of the curve.</p><p>And it&#39;s Howard who coined the expression &quot;bliss point&quot; to capture that perfect amount of sweetness that would send us over the moon, their products flying off the shelf.</p><p><strong>On adding a sweetness &quot;bliss point&quot; to foods that didn&#39;t used to be sweet</strong></p><p>It&#39;s not that they engineer bliss points for sweetness in things like soda, ice cream, cookies &mdash; things we know and expect to be sweet. The food companies have marched around the grocery store adding sweetness, engineering bliss points to products that didn&#39;t used to be sweet. So now bread has added sugar and a bliss point for sweetness. Yogurt can be as sweet as ice cream for some brands. And pasta sauce &mdash; my gosh, there are some brands with the equivalent of sugar from a couple of Oreo cookies in one half-cup serving.</p><p>And what this does, nutritionists say, is create this expectation in us that everything should be sweet. And this is especially difficult for kids who are hard-wired to the sweet taste. So when you drag their little butts over to the produce aisle and try to get them to eat some of that stuff we all should be eating more of &mdash; Brussels sprouts and broccoli, which have some of the other basic tastes like sour and bitter &mdash; you get a rebellion on your hands.</p><p><strong>On the backlash the food industry now faces</strong></p><p>One of the fascinating things I came across in my research is that it was none other than Philip Morris &mdash; for years and years, it was the largest food manufacturer in North America through its acquisition of General Foods and then Kraft &mdash; it was none other than the tobacco managers at Philip Morris who turned to their food managers [in] 1999 and warned them that they were going to face as much trouble over salt, sugar, fat, obesity as they were then [facing] over tobacco smoking and health problems. Now we&#39;re starting to see that come home for the food companies.</p><p>Earlier this year, almost all of them stood before investors and reported dismal earnings. And the most forthright among the heads of the food companies attributed that decline to consumers caring more and more about what they put in their bodies, wanting to eat healthier, and acting on those decisions by changing their purchasing habits, which is really hitting the food giants hard.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/16/459981099/how-the-food-industry-helps-engineer-our-cravings?ft=nprml&amp;f=459981099" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 12:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-food-industry-helps-engineer-our-cravings-114199