Tag Archives: Pick of the Month

Pick of the Month: What It Means to Be a Real Foodie (Vice Munchies)

Foodie poseurs are coming out of the woodwork these days talking a big game about the nuances of food. It’s more than just a word on your Facebook profile or the way you pronounce prosciutto.

I am such a Foodie. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved putting edible things into my mouth and chewing them, then swallowing and digesting them. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Check out my blog if you don’t believe me. That’s where I document my extraordinary journey as a Foodie, and where you’ll see photos of all different kinds of food inside my mouth.

People sometimes tell me they can’t make out what they’re looking at. Well, I’ll tell you what you’re looking at—the early stages of my body metabolizing sustenance into nutrients, that’s what.

A big part of being a Foodie is knowing how to get food into your mouth. A non-Foodie would probably just scream out “Fork!” right now and be done with it. Don’t get me wrong, I use forks. I love forks. But I also might decide to go with a spoon depending on how liquidy the food is, or chopsticks depending on how Asian-y it is, or hands depending on how banana-y it is.

I try to not be one of those Foodies who judges other people for not knowing the things I know, but when I see someone trying to eat a sandwich with a ladle, it’s hard.

People have accused me of jumping on the Foodie bandwagon. They’re like, “I never heard you talk about napkins before they became a thing.” Yeah, I’ll admit to being a little influenced by all the hype. I’m human. But truthfully, napkins have been a major part of my Foodie regimen for years now, I just haven’t felt the need to brag about it.

Foodie poseurs are coming out of the woodwork these days talking a big game about the nuances of food and how they can totally pinpoint when something they’re eating is sweet or salty or even hot or cold. But you can totally hear in their voices that it’s all guesswork. Crunchy? Really? Because that looks a hell of a lot like a yogurt, so let’s cut the Foodie act, shall we?

I’m well aware that being a foodie comes with a responsibility to share my knowledge with others. That’s why I feel compelled to write restaurant reviews on the Internet. Here’s a quote from a recent review I wrote for a local place near my house. “Mmmmm.”

When I’m not writing about food, one of my favorite Foodie things to do is head over to the farmer’s market on a Saturday and jam my tote with as much beautiful local farm crap as it can hold, then walk home and throw it all right into the garbage. All of it. I call that Support and Release. Just my little way of illustrating that a Foodie’s responsibility is far greater than simply eating.

In the end, being a Foodie is more than just a word on your Facebook profile or the way you pronounce prosciutto. It’s also a word on your Twitter profile and the way you pronounce Doritos.

Original link:

Written by: Colin Nissan
Image by: Phil Roeder

Pick of the Month: What Trump’s Budget Means for the Filet-O-Fish (New York Times)

Consider the pollock.

It is the most voluminously caught fish in the United States, accounting for a quarter of everything Americans catch. As such it is the major bulwark against the United States’ multibillion-dollar seafood trade deficit — the second-largest deficit in our trade portfolio, after crude oil. And it is, today, the main component in the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, or the “fish delight,” as Donald Trump likes to call it.

Now consider the president’s budget for the people who make his preferred sandwich possible.

If Congress seriously entertains the White House’s suggestions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — a popular target for conservatives, who see it primarily as a source of pesky climate-change research — and the National Marine Fisheries Service it oversees will lose 17 percent of its funding. This despite Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s desire to “try to figure how we can become much more self-sufficient in fishing and perhaps even a net exporter.”

As the three of us consider this statement, a common wry fisherman’s response comes to our lips: Yeah, good luck with that, buddy.

Because of repeated sacrifices made by American fishermen working with NOAA over the past 40 years, the United States now has the most robust and well-managed wild fisheries in the world. Federal observers oversee 99 percent of the large trawlers fishing for pollock, ensuring that this largest of fisheries maintains an impeccable set of management tools.

But in spite of all of our success, only around 9 percent of the seafood available in American markets comes from American fishermen. In fact, the last traditional fishing communities in the United States are fighting for their very existence. Fair-trade local fishermen remain unable to compete in our domestic marketplace, which is overwhelmed and flooded with cheap, untraceable imported seafood.

More than half the imported seafood here comes from fish farms, mostly in Asian countries, where there is little regulation of food safety. The rest, which is wild, is often from illegal sources. Rates of seafood fraud and deceptive mislabeling in the domestic marketplace are soaring to unprecedented levels.

Which government agency is at the forefront of combating this fraud? NOAA. Any funding for NOAA programs that help consumers reconnect to clean, healthy, sustainable seafood swimming off our shores is funding that we cannot afford to lose. The costs of managing our wild fisheries will not disappear with budget cuts; instead, the financial burden for programs like federal at-sea monitoring will continue to shift onto the shoulders of the last remaining American fishermen.

And it’s not just wild American seafood that risks disaster. Aquaculture, the fastest-growing food sector in the world and one of the most promising new industries in the United States, will be crippled by President Trump’s budget cuts. The United States already ranks 17th in world aquaculture production, behind Myanmar. Yes, sad! Without NOAA, things would be even sadder.

Most Americans probably think NOAA focuses on the weather. It does, but it does much more. NOAA gave birth to domestic shellfish farming in the 1930s and continues to fund innovations like seaweed and land-based salmon farming, which has in turn opened up new horizons for unemployed fishermen and their children. In Rhode Island alone, oyster growers raked in more than $4.3 million and have swelled their ranks by over 20 percent. And if revival of the blue-collar economy is the goal, according to the World Bank, building a network of seaweed farms covering a piece of ocean less than 5 percent of American waters could generate up to 50 million new jobs globally.

The president’s budget also zeros out Sea Grant programs, which provide education and technical assistance for aquaculture and other ocean-based industries. In the last two years these programs generated $575 million in economic impact and created or sustained over 20,000 jobs.

For those who work at sea, economic opportunity is inextricably tied to environmental protection. An Environmental Protection Agency initiative to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, now on the chopping block, has been the catalyst for more than 500 new ocean farms in the Chesapeake Bay in the last five years.

Last, for everyday Americans who need fish for good nutrition, particularly school-age children, endangering the supply of clean, traceable, healthy American seafood risks our very future. It is estimated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization that pregnant women who eat eight to 12 ounces of seafood per week bear children with better brains and eyes, and I.Q. scores 5.8 points higher than the children of mothers who did not eat the recommended amount of seafood.

Cutting NOAA’s budget is a bad idea, both for parents who want their children to realize their full potential and for a president who wants to keep eating his favorite sandwich. And if all that fails to convince, consider this: NOAA tracks storms and wave heights, allowing thousands of fishermen to work safely. Without adequate funding, many could find themselves literally lost at sea.

Correction: April 25, 2017 

An earlier version of this article misstated the percentage of large pollock trawlers overseen by federal observers. It is 99 percent, not 80 percent.

Bren Smith is a kelp and shellfish farmer and the founder of Greenwave. Sean Barrett is a co-founder of Dock to Dish, an international network of community-supported fishery programs. Paul Greenberg is the author of “Four Fish” and the correspondent for the forthcoming “Frontline” special “The Fish on My Plate.”

Original link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/opinion/what-trumps-budget-means-for-noaa.html

Written by: Bren Smith, Sean Barrett, Paul Greenberg
Illustration by: Justin Renteria

Pick of the Month: Seven things in food to stay livid about in 2017 (Jay Rayner, Guardian)

Good news. Comfort eating dealt brilliantly with the horrors of 2016, though sadly the effect was only temporary. Once I’d eaten all the salted caramel ice cream, the things that drove me nuts about the world were still there. This made me angry. After sticking a fork in my hand repeatedly to see if the feelings would go away, I’ve decided to stay angry. Because this year, being furious is the only way forward. Here then, are seven things in the food world to continue being livid about in 2017.

I’m exasperated by the relentless use of the word “artisan”. What does it mean? Someone who’s skilled? People working in big factories are skilled. Someone who’s not successful enough to have staff to help them? It’s meaningless marketing garbage which tells you nothing about the product. All those food stuffs with the “artisanal” tag aren’t made on grandma’s gnarly kitchen tables and thank God for it, because the result would most likely be food poisoning. They’re made in strip-lit, hygienic, light industrial units on ring roads. All that matters is whether the food is good or not.

People claiming to be gluten intolerant still make me want to hit things. You’re not gluten intolerant. That bloated feeling you have when you eat too much bread is because you’ve eaten too much bread. Stop it. You’re just a picky eater trying to control the world around you through food and, in the process, making life harder for people who are genuinely coeliac.

I’ve had enough of any restaurant or food offering with the word “skinny” in the title. That’s lunch with a side order of judgmentalism.

I am infuriated by anyone who claims they have to import sea water from a thousand miles away to make their pizzas better. I don’t even care if the pizzas are better. It’s stupid.

I’m enraged by ignorant numpties banging on about the evils of refined sugars and the glorious benefits of the unrefined stuff. Learn some basic biology. It doesn’t matter whether you get your sugars in white granules from a paper bag or by collecting the raging tears of the Honey Monster. Sugar is sugar. Whatever the source, it all gets converted to glucose in the body. Are there trace nutrients in the unrefined stuff? Possibly, but if you attempt to get your daily dose of iron from unrefined sugars you’ll have type 2 diabetes quicker than I can say Paula Deen.

The raw milk lobby drives me to distraction. Louis Pasteur was not a health and safety nut. Pasteurisation has saved millions of lives. And don’t claim raw milk is healthier than pasteurised. You only want to consume raw milk as an expression of some anti-modernist, self-satisfied, hipster lifestyle, not because you’re trying to stave off osteoporosis. The people who bang on about raw milk are plenty nourished. As are the goggle-eyed bandwagon jumpers who claim coconut oil greases the path to godliness. As with refined sugars, you’d have to eat so much of it to gain any benefits you’d be the size of a house, thus making you very unhealthy indeed.

Which brings me to all those who point at clumsy, ill-written, pseudo-science as proof that their desperate, self-aggrandising food choices are better than yours; people who don’t know the difference between a causal link, correlation and sheer coincidence. They make me really, really angry. Does getting all this off my chest make me feel better? No. I’m still livid. And I’m damn well staying that way.

Written by Jay Rayner for Guardian
Image credit: Benjamin Van Der Spek (Getty Images)