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Farming groups resort to M...

Spin-dustrial ag: Two dozen of the nation's largest and best-funded farm groups have formed a coalition to counter poor publicity, reports the AP (LAtimes.com). What are they mad about? "Videos that show male chicks being put into grinders, egg-laying hens in battery cages and the mistreatment of hogs in large confinement operations," -- you know, evidence of industrial farming's everyday practices. (It's...

Tipping sacred cows: Revie...

Mainstream culture and news abound with broad statements about our food system and the choices we make about what we put on the dinner table. Surely you’ve heard that if you want to save the planet, you should eat a vegan diet, since raising livestock contributes significantly to carbon emissions and thus to climate change. Or perhaps you’ve been told that organic agriculture can't possibly "feed the...

For when you Karo too much...

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a big fan of pie, supposedly. (Who isn't?) A few years ago, Austin, Tex. artist Luanne Stovall was baking a buttermilk one in honor of the civil-rights activist and decided to turn sharing it into a vehicle for peace and reconciliation on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Now, she calls these reinvented pie socials "Peace Through Pie," and those who bring pies to share and engage in...

Boycotting bluefin isnR...

Critics of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas often say that the acronym ICCAT might better stand for the “International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna.” At its most recent meeting, ICCAT lived up to that derisive nickname by setting 2011 catch levels for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) at basically the same levels as 2010 -- 12,900 tons, down from 13,500 – despite...

Two cookbooks give winter ...

The temperatures have plunged below the freezing point, the first major snow of the season has blanketed the ground, and winter is officially here. Baby, it’s cold outside, and there’s not a cute fresh tomato in sight -- to which I can only say, thank goodness. After a superabundance of August heat and lush summer vegetables this year, I was more than ready to welcome the frost-kissed produce of fall and...

Massive gingerbread house ...

Grist (where I am the food editor) just got a late entry to our Scariest Food of 2010 contest: Gingerbread houses. Not because you can break a tooth on some of these hard-as-drywall sugar shacks, but because if you snacked on one bought at a Whole Foods in 23 states, you might be doubled over right now with cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting  thanks to a food-borne Staphylococcus aureus infection. On...

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