Friday, September 28, 2012

Batch of links

- Here are 5 tips for easier cooking: basic knife skills, keeping your cutting board from slipping, how to tell when oil is hot, when and how to deglaze a pan, and what it means to salt to taste. Bonus: tips for browning meat.

- The 20 most significant inventions in the history of food and drink. The top 5 are refrigeration, pasteurization, canning, the oven, and irrigation.

- When a chef packs lunch for preschool, by Shauna James Ahern (writing about her husband packing lunch for their daughter). I found it interesting to see the pressure he felt to make her a gourmet lunch (you have to go read all the trouble he went through), compared to how he approaches the task two years later. [And insert shameless tie-in to my post about brown-bagging it.]

- According to the New York Times, veganism has gone mainstream in Southern California. This means that “regular” restaurants now usually have appetizing vegan options, which I think is wonderful news (the reason I don’t usually eat vegetarian or vegan meals in most restaurants is because that selection seems to be limited to a baked potato or a green salad).

- Scientists have found high levels of arsenic in rice. A year ago it was apple juice, now rice. This makes me wonder how many other foods it’s lurking in, and what can be done about it.

- You probably heard about the new Stanford meta-analysis study on organic produce, where the media once again reported that organic fruits and vegetables are not more nutritious than their non-organic counterparts. I’ve ranted several times on this blog about this big miscomprehension, that organic doesn’t mean more nutritious, it means less poison (in the form of pesticides). I won’t go into it again, but I would like to share a link to an article by Tom Philpott about the study’s flaws and the 5 ways it underestimates the benefits of organic produce. In a nutshell, the study’s authors use misleading calculations to compare pesticide levels in organic vs. non-organic produce, they don’t differentiate between traces of one pesticide and traces of multiple pesticides, and they ignore the cocktail effect.

- On a related note, here’s a link to the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen.

- Labelling produce is a win-win for farmers and consumers (found via Michael Pollan’s Twitter feed).

- And in light of this article, labeling would be a plus for meat, too. I knew some farmers fed their cows with things other than corn, given rising prices, but candy hadn’t crossed my mind! I’m glad I mostly eat grass-fed beef, now.

- The rise in the price of corn is also leading to a worldwide shortage of bacon.

- To end on a positive note: TED video on how to use a paper towel to dry one’s hands in a public washroom, instead of several, which reduces waste considerably. Shake and fold, people! (Personally, I found that just being a little more patient helps me do the job with one towel instead of two, which is what I do all the time now.)

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