Some Like it Raw: The State of Unpasteurized Cheese in the U.S.

Ever wonder why some cheese tastes so much better in Europe? The view of the Eiffel Tower helps, but a lot of the time, it’s because fromage from across the pond is made from unpasteurized milk—milk straight from the animal, unheated before consumption. Europeans use this “raw milk” as the main ingredient to make much of their fresh soft cheeses, a practice forbidden in the U.S. But that may soon change.

In America, by law, all cheese regulated by the FDA (that is, all cheese that is transported across state lines) must either be made from pasteurized (heated) milk or aged at least 60 days. The rule has ...

Walk on the Wild Side With Beer Made From Wasp Yeast

I admit, I’m behind the times. While my friends are attending increasingly popular beer festivals and visiting the growing number of micro-breweries around the world, I can’t tell the difference between a lager and a stout. This means that not only am I the worst person to send to the bar, I’ve also never given much thought to what it takes to brew a great beer.

Unlike me, John Sheppard is a beer expert. As a bioprocessing professor at North Carolina State University, Sheppard spends much of his time in his lab (which could easily be confused ...

Walnuts Through Time: Brain Food, Poison, Money, Muse

The latest on the list of foods for boosting memory, concentration, and cognitive function may just be a handful of walnuts. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging (and, to be fair, funded in part by the California Walnut Commission) found that walnut-eaters scored significantly better on a series of cognitive tests, variously measuring everything from reaction time to story recall. Researchers guess that this may be related to walnuts’ high content of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, notably alpha-linolenic acid—versatile ingredients that may also have protective effects against cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Similarly, a 2014 study led by Abba Chauhan ...

Michaelmas: The Day the Devil Spit on Your Blackberries

It’s time to eat as many blackberries as you can find and stuff in a pie. After September 29, those celebrating the feast of Michaelmas warn you not to eat them.

On the list of forgotten holidays, Michaelmas falls somewhere below Arbor Day and the winter solstice. But just as American Popemania is rousing hoardes of non-Catholics, Michaelmas affects the secular world. A religious holiday celebrated by some Christian churches, it is a centuries-old event with a peculiar food history.

In medieval England, farmers used Michaelmas as a way to delineate the changing of the seasons—made sense, as it fell around the change of seasons. Michaelmas was a ...

Your Shot: Who Runs the Harvest (Girls)

When pop star Beyoncé wrote her female empowerment anthem, "Run the World (Girls)," she probably wasn't focused on who runs the farms that feed us. But she could have.

Women make up 43 percent of agriculture workers in developing countries, yet they tend to be less productive than men because they have less access to information, money, and help with other household responsibilities, according to a 2011 report on the state of agriculture by the Food and Agriculture Organization. "The gender gap imposes real costs on society in terms of lost agricultural output, food security and economic growth," the report says.

To fix it, many aid groups have prioritized focusing on ...

A ‘Life From Scratch’ Offers a Seat at the World’s Dinner Table

When award-winning food writer Sasha Martin started the popular Global Table Adventure blog, she had a simple plan: chronicle her quest to prepare a meal from every country in the world for her picky-eater husband and new baby girl—all from their small kitchen in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

After her editor encouraged her to go deeper, this straightforward project ultimately turned into a quest to make peace with her own troubled past and introduce her young daughter to her global neighbors through food. Martin documents her search—and shares 29 recipes—in her new memoir, Life From Scratch, published by National Geographic. Our interview has been edited for clarity. 0

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Eid al-Adha: A Joyful Holiday for Everyone But the Sheep

This week, Muslims everywhere celebrate Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son and God's mercy in allowing him to substitute a ram.

In Morocco, that means thousands of sheep are bought and sold to celebrate one of the biggest and happiest holidays of the Muslim calendar. Think American Thanksgiving plus the spirit of Christmas, and you have the Moroccan Eid al-Adha. Except American Thanksgiving is like a 300-meter dash compared to this marathon feast. I am spending my first Eid al-Adha as an “adopted middle child” with my Moroccan host family, and so far, I’ve been advised to pace myself.

While the Eid is usually ...

Why Micronutrient Deficiency Is a Macro-Problem

When we think about food, most of us are mulling over what nutritionists call macronutrients: proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates—respectively, the prime constituents of T-bone steak, butter, and spaghetti. What with close to a billion people in the world suffering from hunger, macronutrients are on our minds.

Equally important, however, are micronutrients—food constituents that we only need in tiny pinches, but that nonetheless are essential for our health and survival. And the problem is that a lot of us aren’t getting enough of them. A recent report from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) points out that micronutrient deficiency is a macro-problem.

Micronutrients, generally lumped together as “vitamins and ...

Peanut Poison Case Warns Food Companies to Take Salmonella Seriously

The owner of a peanut processing corporation that knowingly shipped deadly contaminated products was handed 28 years in prison Monday evening, an unprecedented sentence—the harshest by far in any food safety case. And it could cause food companies to think twice before putting profit over risks to human health.

In Albany, Georgia, U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands told Stewart Parnell, former owner of the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), that his actions—which resulted in the deaths of nine people from Salmonella and the illness of at least 714 and possibly many more—"were driven simply by the desire to profit." Sands also sentenced Parnell's brother, Michael Parnell, to 20 years ...

5 Thoughts From Pope Francis on Feeding the World

Even though my suggested hashtag for the Pope’s visit to Washington, #TheHolyDSee, is sadly not in heavy rotation, I’m still excited for his arrival Tuesday. And not because of the specialty beers or the “Pope Specials” at restaurants whose reach doesn’t extend beyond low-hanging fruit.

I'm excited because Pope Francis I's relationship to food goes far beyond "Popecorn" sold in little paper hats to people lined up along his motorcade route. He has spoken publicly and repeatedly about healthy food access and the “scandal” of hunger and malnutrition (which are different things—people can be obese and malnourished). It should not come as a surprise that a Christian leader would ...

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