Halloween Frights: Brains, Tongue and Other Terrifying Foods

Tonight, as any parent of small children, costume designer or chocolate fiend already knows, is Halloween: the night when the veil between the worlds thins, when dread things stalk the earth, when approximately 1,000 Elsas from Frozen show up at your door. (Be afraid.)

In the spirit of the season—having carved the pumpkins, hung the cobwebs, and positioned the clawing skeletons with the glowing LED eyes—I’d like to discuss the thing that truly frightens me:

Brains. (more…)

The Search for Immortality in Food

Henry Ford was funny about food. He was anti-milk (“the cow is the crudest machine in the world”) and anti-meat (“chicken is only fit for hawks”). He shunned sweets and would drink only tepid water. And he was convinced that carrots held the secret to longevity.

At one point, to promote his favored vegetable, he hosted an all-carrot dinner, which began with carrot soup and proceeded through carrot mousse, carrot salad, pickled carrots, carrots au gratin, carrot loaf, and carrot ice cream, all washed down with glass after glass of carrot juice. (more…)

Farmland the Movie: Hearing from Farmers First-Hand

There’s a documentary about farming, called Farmland, that was released in the spring and that is free to watch on Hulu for the next several days.

The movie follows the lives of six young farmers: five men whose families have been raising corn, cattle, chickens, hogs and produce for generations, and one spunky young woman who is the first in her family to attempt to farm. (more…)

Cooking Like a Computer: The Albacore Tuna Pancake

IBM’s party for its glittering new headquarters in New York City last month featured a menu of chocolate burritos with edamame and apricots and cardamom-spiced Brussels sprouts. At the helm was culinary-school-trained Florian Pinel, but the recipes weren’t Pinel’s own—they were created by IBM’s new artificial-intelligence computer, Watson.

You may remember Watson as the winner of a 2011 Jeopardy championship round, asking questions from answers read to it in natural-language format, while not connected to the internet. (more…)

Farm Antibiotic Use: Getting Worse Before It (Maybe) Gets Better

If you have never engaged with it, the thorny topic of antibiotic use on farms—primarily for raising livestock, though there’s some use on fruit as well—can be daunting.

The multi-syllabic drug names all sound the same, the federal directives governing their use have opaque, uninformative titles, and the sides disputing the pro and con each have decades of arguments on their respective sides. Which can make it, you know, a little hard to catch up. (more…)

The History of Vanilla

By and large, Americans seem to like vanilla ice cream better than chocolate.

There’s a little waffling here: one source claims that actually it’s Democrats who prefer vanilla, while Republicans go for chocolate; and a Baskin-Robbins poll found that there’s a substantial contingent in the Southwest that shuns both in favor of mint chocolate chip.   (more…)

My Transcontinental Journey to Explore our Food System

By Sarah Smith, a Research Manager in the Food Futures Lab at Institute for the Future, an independent, non-profit strategic research group based in Palo Alto, California

For 10 days this summer chefs Christian Ortiz, 29,  and Simone Carvalho, 24, toiled away in the 30-square-foot kitchen of a renovated 1956 Pullman train car.

They were working to feed 35 ravenous young innovators on board the Millennial Trains Project, a series of crowd-funded transcontinental journeys on which young innovators explore our generation’s urgent challenges. (more…)

Food Security Is National Security

As we celebrate World Food Day and 2014 as the Year of Family Farming, we want to celebrate the millions of Americans involved in getting food from our farms to our tables and to the millions and billions of others around the world tilling the soil, tending the nets, striving not just to survive but to thrive.

Family farming is not unique to small farms in less-developed countries; family-run businesses dominate U.S. agricultural production, accounting for almost 98 percent of U.S. farms. (more…)

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