‘Top Chef’ should take up the ultimate challenge: school lunch

Season 7 of Bravo’s Top Chef will be based in Washington, D.C., reported the Metrocurean (no relation) a few days ago, with filming to begin in early April. That means that the popular reality show, with its supersized personalities and offbeat kitchen challenges, will be in Washington at the same time as...

Here’s the catch: More sustainable seafood requires exerting pressure up the supply chain

This is part 2 of a series on improving market-based seafood sustainability initiatives, inspired by a recent article published by an international team of researchers in "Oryx: The International Journal of Conservation." (See Oryx volume 44, pp. 45-56 doi:10.1017/S0030605309990470. Summaries available from...

Why seafood wallet cards can be the wrong bait for consumers

Seafood guides and other consumer-based campaigns are an important part of the quest for sustainable seafood and healthy oceans, but so far they have not shown enough positive results: bigger efforts are needed. That’s the main conclusion of a new article, "Conserving wild fish in a sea of market-based...

Saul’s got SOLE: The Jewish deli in Berkeley evolves

When it comes to comfort food — especially comfort food that is wrapped in "tradition" like the Jewish deli — change can cause a lot of discomfort. People want what they think will make them feel better. They want what they are used to eating, whether that means a chilled soup in the middle of winter,...

What does asthma have to do with farm animals — or food?

When government officials hear the words "backyard livestock," they tend to worry about disease outbreaks and sanitation crises. And for good reason, as improperly managed animals — including dogs and cats — can be the source of all sorts of public health problems. When it comes to asthma, however, recent...

Food & Wine magazine sins against the monkfish

In the January 2010 issue of Food & Wine magazine, former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni visits top-rated Le Bernardin (3 stars from Michelin, 4 stars from the New York Times) and acts like an ass to the sommelier as he eats his multicourse meal*. If you're into restaurant drama, or food...

Tuna or not-tuna: more questions for sushi eaters

When you think about eating endangered species, you might imagine going to Chinatown to some secret restaurant — or to the ones operated by shadowy mobsters like in the 1990 comedy "The Freshman," with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando. But if you order tuna in your neighborhood sushi restaurant, you too...

The little fish that we can: California’s sardine industry, now and then

When the subject of Monterey, California, comes up, most people think of two things: the magnificent scenery and the peerless aquarium. I think of a third: sardines. Two days after Thanksgiving, I took a day trip to Monterey to see the dramatic coastline and experience some of city's connection with...

There Be Dragons: Examining the alternatives to unsustainable aquaculture fish feed

February 23, 2010 update: I discovered that the credit for the grasshopper photo was incorrect. The photo is actually from tazintosh's Flickr collection and the photo's Flickr page is here. My apologies to the photographer, who has a great collection of photos in his Flickr collection, including many other...

New research on aquaculture industry reveals murky waters surrounding fish-feed issue

The products of aquaculture, the farming of sea creatures and plants, are often divided into "bad fish" — piscavores, like salmon, that eat more pounds of protein in the form of other fish than they yield — and "good fish," omnivores like tilapia and carp that can survive on plant matter. A new paper from...

Behavioral economics and the food system

The human mind is fascinating. Understanding how we make decisions, how we form preferences, how we think about the future is not only intellectually interesting, but can also help us understand the dynamics of national conversations and find solutions to some of today's most pressing problems. The national...

Mapping Markets and Organic Demand

Today is “Direct Markets” day for the USDA’s new “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, with the big event being the opening of a farmers market near the White House. In recent years, the value of direct sales from farms to individuals has seen significant growth:  from about $800 million in 2002 to...

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