Highly unpleasant and negative are the raw, uncomposted, intense smells that emanate from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, which confine and raise large numbers of animals—hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands—in a small area, and have come to dominate modern meat and dairy production over the last few decades. They accumulate huge quantities of excrement that can be smelled from miles away. I live in central California and pass by the Harris cattle ranch on Interstate 5 near Coalinga whenever I drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Even with the car windows closed, I can smell it long before I see it. Tens of thousands of beef cattle are confined there, each animal generating some 65 pounds of urine and excrement a day. Today’s formulated feeds usually supply more nitrogen than the animals would obtain from their natural diet of plants, so their excrement is especially rich in the most offensive volatiles, the branched acids, cresol, skatole, ammonia, and amines.
“Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods, such as coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change,” Debra Roberts, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II, said in a press release. (In the summary of the report, the IPCC acknowledges that factors like financial barriers and cultural habits may influence the adoption of such diets.)
Diversity holds the key.
Many countries continue to plant popular potato varieties that have remained essentially unchanged for decades. But new approaches, including genetic engineering, promise to add more options. Potato breeders are particularly excited about a radical new way of creating better varieties. This system, called hybrid diploid breeding, could cut the time required by more than half, make it easier to combine traits in one variety, and allow farmers to plant seeds instead of bulky chunks of tuber. “It will change the world tremendously,” says Paul Struik, an agronomist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Good restaurateurs want to know when something goes wrong as soon as possible — while the diner is still in the restaurant, ideally — so they can fix it, and avoid a complaint in the future (or in the age of social media, a complaint that goes directly onto Yelp). For people who are used to communicating via email and text, speaking up about a cold plate of risotto can be somewhat anxiety-inducing. According to a recent survey by restaurant consulting group Technomic, 52 percent of millennials are uncomfortable sending food backat a restaurant (by comparison, 61 percent of people over 55 are comfortable doing so). They shouldn’t be! Restaurants want you to have a good experience! Hospitality is their business, and they want you to leave happy — and hopefully, come back again.
This is for friends who fantasize about food all day long.
The book, entitled Georgian Cuisine and Tried Housekeeping Notes, was published in 1874 by a Georgian princess named Barbare Jorjadze. Today, Princess Jorjadze is a national hero: She is considered the first feminist of the country, and is famous for her advocacy of women’s rights in Georgia. In her decree, she wrote about the damning expectations placed on women: “From a very young age, we are told, ‘since god made you a woman, you must sit silently, look at nobody, go nowhere, shut your ears and your eyes, and just sit there. Education and learning of languages is none of your concern.” Now, the Georgian National Library has dedicated a full room to her, in honor of her advocacy efforts. A copy of Georgian Cuisine and Tried Housekeeping Notes is on display at the Georgian Literature Museum and the Georgian National Library, too.
The idea that there’s a powerful vegan lobby has caught on with vegans and non-vegans alike. In a Telegraph essay last year, titled “I would sign up to veganism if it weren’t for all the damned vegans,” a photo caption uses the term to refer to PETA protestors, thus equating the vegan lobby with animal rights groups as King does. But others use the term even more loosely. A writer for The Guardian seems to believe that the vegan lobby is people who love soy. And in a recent essay, vegan writer Janey Stevenson wrote, “I’ve deliberately disconnected myself from the vegan lobby because frankly, it’s embarrassing,” without explaining what, exactly, she’d disconnected herself from. A PETA membership? A vegan Meetup?
But even with these deep cultural connections, milk held a peculiar status among early civilizations. The Greeks castigated barbarians for their gluttonous desire for dairy, and in Rome, milk was widely regarded as low-status food because it was something only farmers drank. Northern Europeans would earn similar ridicule for their love of reindeer milk, and Japanese Buddhists later rebuked Europeans as “butter stinkers.”
Sunday special on Bihari cuisine.
“Bihar is very rich (in food), but it has been looked down upon due to multiple political reasons. Therefore, its cuisine got left behind as well. Look at Bengal, for example, whose food has really travelled,” says chef and food consultant Ajay Chopra, who has made some Bihari dishes on his show Northern Flavours on the Living Foodz channel. He calls the thekua, made during the annual festival of Chhath, no less scrumptious than a Scottish shortbread. In modern kitchens, fans of the fennel-flavoured thekua often bake it instead of frying it. Chopra went a step further to fashion a bold thekua millefeuille, putting a French spin on it, for a food event recently. Another favourite of his is the Bihari murmura mutton—cooked with a lot of mustard oil and turmeric, spooned over puffed rice and topped with chopped onion, green chillies and lemon.
Organizations like Rainforest Rescue have demanded a boycott of palm oil, urging consumers to use local oils made from sunflower seeds or rapeseed instead. As of December 2014, the European Union has made such a boycott easier by requiring foodstuff producers to clearly indicate what kind of oil is used in their product. If consumers begin shunning palm oil, the drop in demand will have an influence on its global price, which will in turn affect the prices producers receive at the local level.
A food article for your Sunday!
ADOBO AT PURPLE YAM (RESTAURANT IN MALATE OR KIOSK IN ESTANCIA MALL, CAPITOL COMMONS)
Amy Besa, owner of Purple Yam in Brooklyn and Manila, also a self-described Manileña, makes her adobo with apple cider vinegar because that’s what was available in her city supermarkets growing up. A recipe from her book Memories of Philippine Kitchens uses baby back ribs and replaces the peppercorns with tellicherry peppers. She shared her recipe with the New York Times, where it maintains a perfect five-star rating from hundreds of homesick Filipinos.