Food

Debunking Labels: Does What We Eat Define Who We Are?

Beth Kaiserman

America has become a nation divided, one refrigerator at a time, as we have been bombarded with non-dairy options. Aside from the classic blue and red-capped milk jugs and white cartons, you might find soymilk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and something labeled “nondairy beverage.” Don’t forget the vanilla and chocolate-flavored options. Next to that you might see yogurt: low-fat, nonfat, Greek, probiotic, soy, and almond. With such an array of options, how can we decide what’s best for our bodies? 

‘Boom Varietal’ is a Pleasing Documentary Up Front, But Unspectacular in the Finish

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Despite a promising start, the rest of this film feels very much like a PR piece for potential investors. Which perhaps isn’t surprising: directed by Sky Pinnick, the producer is Kirk Ermisch, CEO of Southern Wine Group, a Latin American wine importer. Vineyards are beautiful, Mendoza seems like a fun and vibrant city, and it is nice that so many winemakers featured are given the space to talk about wine in their own words—other than a few notes that flash on the screen, the vintners basically tell the story. 

Tales From the International Food Police

Eugene Durante

Warning! Your brown-bagged lunch may be illegal. “Sounds Cheesy” you might think, but the Swiss or mozzarella cheese on your sandwich may be considered contraband if the international food police are successful. The same goes for many meats, salads, teas and hundreds of other foods produced without authorization. Food inspectors around the globe are engaged in a conflict over regulations for trade. Because of varied production standards across borders, food manufacturers have struggled to develop trade agreements to satisfy the global marketplace. 

America in a Bun: A History of Hot Dogs

Beth Kaiserman

By U.S. law, a hot dog can contain up to 3.5 percent non-meat ingredients, usually milk or a soy product. Most popular brands use cellulose casings, which are removed before the product is packaged. Some use natural casings, which stay on the hot dog and provide that delightful “snap” when you bite into the hot dog. In 2012, Americans spent $1.7 billion on hot dogs in supermarkets. But whether they come from a street peddler or at a ballgame, Americans have had a longstanding devotion to their hot dogs.

A Vegetarian in Paris

Sandra Canosa

I don’t know what I’d expected – all roads and recommendations had led us to Chez Gladines, a Basque-style restaurant in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. We’d gotten there early and still had to wait an hour outside for a table. After days of sightseeing fueled by crepe stands and baguette sandwiches on the go, a sit-down meal out of the tourist’s path was a welcome change. I carried a post-it note in my wallet, written on it the most important French phrase I hadn’t thought to learn before we came here: Je suis végétarienne. Que conseillez-vous?

‘The Restaurateur’ Features the Ever-Growing Culinary Empire of Danny Meyer

Beth Kaiserman

Meyer is a daunting figure in the restaurant industry. After all, despite some setbacks and two-star reviews, his restaurants are some of the most coveted in New York City, and the world. This documentary follows the progress of opening Tabla (now closed after 13 years) and Eleven Madison Park, recently placed number 5 on the list of best restaurants in the world. Watching the construction, delays and issues of these two major players in the New York dining scene is thrilling to serious food industry folks. 

Biodynamics and the Greening of the Wine Industry

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Beckmen Vineyards is one among some 100 American winemakers who have become certified as biodynamic grape growers, and healthy soils are at the heart of the method. This accomplishment is not for the inexperienced: to achieve the soil revitalization and elimination of outside inputs that biodynamics demands, vineyard managers have to work harder, smarter and at greater time and expense to produce the crops they need for wine. 

A Brief History of Whisky, the ‘Water of Life’

Beth Kaiserman

“Whiskey” is used for whiskeys made in Ireland and North America.  “Whisky” is used for those made in Canada, Japan, Scotland, and Wales. Your best bet is to go by what’s on the label of the bottle. (For example, Maker’s Mark is labeled as bourbon “whisky,” even though it’s made in Kentucky.) Though “scotch” has become ubiquitous, it is simply known as “whisky” in Scotland.

 

From Bagels to Food Trucks: America’s Food Legacy Abroad

Evelyn Robinson

McDonald’s might have taken off in France years ago, but it was the introduction of something even more casual that has the trendiest of Parisians talking today. Within the past year, something very American has been stirring on the streets of Paris. In a land that very recently was at the forefront of declaring that American food was nothing more than grease and a lack of imagination, suddenly, there is no greater praise for food amongst the young Parisians than “très Brooklyn,” a term that has come to symbolize something particularly cool and of high quality, not in spite of but because of its informality and creativity.

The Culinary Secrets of Svelte Parisians

Misa Shikuma

Comparing the inventories of grocery stores in the two countries suggests that there is a fundamental difference in what is considered to be food. American manufacturers appear to enjoy one-upping each other by coming out with lower calorie, zero fat versions of their products, to the point where the ingredients lists read more like chemistry experiments than anything that might actually be edible. Go to France, and everything you see on the shelves is real. Better yet, head to your neighborhood’s open-air market and buy everything directly from the farmers, butchers, bakers and cheese-makers. 

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