1. SHUTDOWN LEAVES PROGRAM FEEDING WOMEN AND INFANTS IN THE LURCH
Eliza Barclay and Allison Aubrey | NPR
Among those affected by the chaos of the government shutdown are 9 million low-income women and children who may be worrying where next week’s meal is going to come from.
They rely on the government for food assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC.
And according to Douglas Greenaway, president and CEO of the , some of the state programs that serve these women and children may run out of money by next week, while others may have enough funds to offer the food benefits through the end of the month. But across the country, he says, anxiety is rising as both program administrators and participants wonder how long they’ll be in limbo.
2. WHERE DO HUNGER AND COGNITION INTERSECT
Zarja Muršič | The Scicurious Brain | Scientific American
Just how important is leptin? Studies of genetically modified strains of mice with deficiency in production of leptin, and so without the ability to reduce food intake, are prone to obesity and diabetes (8). These mice have a genetic defect in fat cells, which prevents them from secreting leptin, and without leptin, they don’t have the signal to stop, so they keep eating, and get very obese.
So, maybe you are halfway through your omelet, or that big bowl of oatmeal, and your body begins to produce leptin, signaling you have had enough. This may be the whole story of your Sunday breakfast, but the leptin has not yet finished its work. Maybe you didn’t make that omelet yourself, but bought it at a little breakfast place down the road. If you remember where that breakfast place is, you might be able to go back. And leptin plays a role here as well. Our bodies are quite efficient and will turn one hormone to many uses. In case of leptin – if the hormone can do one thing, it can be adapted to do another as well, and in this case, leptin plays a role in cognition.
3. WHAT ARE WE TO MAKE OF CHIPOTLE’S NEW AD?
Paul Raeburn | MIT Tracker
The root of much of the criticism, it seems to me, is that people are shocked, shocked that Chipotle would advocate sustainable farming, family farms, and greenmarkets when it is nothing more than a big corporation selling burritos by any means necessary!
If Chipotle is sincere in trying to use its leverage to promote better agricultural practices, there is no greenwashing here; it is pursuing the course promoted in the video. If it is lying about that, then it is not only guilty of deception, but possibly crimes.
But let’s not be shocked by Chipotle’s eagerness to sell its burritos. It’s a public corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and it’s trading around 419 as I write this, close to its 52-week high. It has a market cap of almost $13 billion and a P/E of just over 44.
If Chipotle is pushing sustainable agriculture over less desirable practices, let’s take it. Would we feel warmer about the burrito-industrial complex if Chipotle promoted ruthless slaughter?
4. POSTSCRIPT: MARCELLA HAZAN CHANGED MY LIFE
David Sipress | The New Yorker
On Sunday, the great Italian chef and cookbook author Marcella Hazan died, at the age of eighty-nine. Marcella changed my life. Twenty years ago, my wife and I went to Italy for our honeymoon and I discovered the wonders of Italian food. I returned from the trip determined that, for the rest of my life, I would eat only the way I had during those three weeks of culinary bliss. There was one huge problem—I was a terrible cook. The little cooking I did usually involved frying in Wesson oil and saucing with Paul Newman salad dressing. Fresh ingredients were not in the picture; having grown up in New York in the fifties, I had pretty much accepted my mother’s theory that any food item not wrapped in plastic was probably covered with germs.
What I needed was a teacher. And I found mine in Marcella’s “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.” All I had to do was follow her instructions to the letter, and success was pretty much guaranteed. If you’ve ever seen Marcella on television, you know that she was a short, compact lady, a tough biscotti with a raspy voice who didn’t suffer fools gladly and had a surprising preference for Jack Daniels over a glass of wine. But in her books her voice is always warm and encouraging. This, and the fact that her recipes are consistently clear and straightforward, enabled me to overcome a lifetime of insecurity in the kitchen. She just made it all seem so easy.
5. COFFEE EXPERIMENTS
Seth Brown | Dr. Bunsen
For analyzing beer and whisky flavor preferences, I turned to several comprehensive datasets. For coffee, I couldn’t find an equivalent resource, so I generated my own data. My experimental design was simple.3 I’d give guests two cups of coffee prepared in exactly the same way except for one important difference. I’d then ask guests to choose their favorite of the two cups without them knowing which cup was which. Then, I’d record the results.
To avoid Groupthink, I gave one of the two cups, blinded and at random to each subject. I also wouldn’t inform the subjects what the independent variable was until after the experiment was completed. These steps helped avoid introducing bias into the experiment which may have distorted the results.
In total, 3 rounds of randomized experiments were conducted. Two of the three rounds were actual experiments, while the other round served as a control. As a control, house guests were given two cups of the exact same coffee and asked to choose their favorite. The control served as a baseline to calibrate the experiment. In all control experiments, subjects’ preferences between the two cups of coffee were consistent with a random coin flip.
6. LET’S RETIRE THESE DAMAGING NUTRITION MYTHS, PLEASE
Andy Bellati | Huffington Post
1) “There is no such thing as junk food/there are no bad foods.”
In very specific contexts (i.e., eating disorder recovery), I understand where this stems from — strip away judgmental labels on food and bring it to its most basic function: nourishment. However, I’m increasingly seeing this message doled out by mainstream nutrition experts as a “takeaway” for the general public. . .
To my ears, “Everything in moderation!” is the equivalent of 600 fingernails on a chalkboard, plus the never-ending drip of a leaky faucet. “Moderation” is a meaningless term. Ask 20 different people what it means and you’ll get 20 different responses.
“But that’s the beauty of it — each person can define it themselves!” some say. That doesn’t sound like beauty to me. It sounds like chaos.
“Everything in moderation,” is another way of unnecessarily and inaccurately equalizing all foods. It operates on the inane and utterly insane notion that peaches, Pop-Tarts, muffins, soda, lentils and tomatoes should all be approached the same way. . .
3) “Healthy eater = red flag.”
When I was in school, I recall many of my nutrition textbooks pointing out that vegetarians, vegans and “those who avoid certain food groups” must be warned that if they do not plan their diets adequately, all sorts of nutritional ills could befall them. Meanwhile, the average American on the omnivorous “Standard American Diet” falls short of the recommended intake of fiber and several minerals, including magnesium. Of course, this is not because omnivorous diets are inherently unhealthy, but because the majority of Americans eat highly processed foods with little nutritional value. . .
4) “You have to be realistic.”
This is often brought up by some nutrition professionals to justify their recommendations about making healthful choices at fast-food restaurants (“Just get the small size”). I’ll admit it — I used to think this way when I first started studying nutrition, before I counseled clients. I now see that the most satisfied individuals I have worked with are those who stepped outside their comfort zone. They aren’t interested in learning how they can still go to the drive-through three times a week and making “lower-calorie choices.” They want to truly learn about healthful eating. . .
FAMILY: MARCELLA HAZAN, INFLUENTIAL ITALIAN CHEF AND COOKBOOK AUTHOR, DIES AT 89 AT FLA. HOME
Associated Press | The Washington Post
She eschewed the American-style Italian food that suffocated mushy pasta in grainy meatballs and tasteless cheese. She begged home cooks to use more salt and once wrote that if readers were concerned about salt affecting one’s life expectancy, to “not read any further.” On the topic of garlic, Hazan took a sharp view.
“The unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking,” she wrote in her 2004 cookbook “Marcella Says…” ‘’It must remain a shadowy background presence. It cannot take over the show.”
. . . In 2004, Marcella Hazan wrote, “Simple doesn’t mean easy. I can describe simple cooking thus: Cooking that is stripped all the way down to those procedures and those ingredients indispensable in enunciating the sincere flavor intentions of a dish.”
Hazan said the Roman dish spaghettini aio e oio — thin spaghetti with garlic, oil, parsley, chili pepper and nothing else — embodies the simple-yet-complex nature of Italian food. Dishes should nourish and please, she added, not “dazzle guests with my originality or creativity.”
“I am never bored by a good old dish and I wouldn’t shrink from making something that I first made fifty years ago and my mother, perhaps, fifty years before then,” she wrote. “I don’t cook ‘concepts.’ I use my head, but I cook from the heart, I cook for flavor.”
RECIPE: TOMATO SAUCE WITH ONION AND BUTTER
Giuliano Hazan | Saveur
My mother’s tomato, butter, and onion sauce unfailingly elicits feelings of comfort and well-being. Its ability to wash away fatigue and anxiety is almost miraculous, and its preparation borders on alchemy. Who would think that simply putting tomatoes, a peeled halved onion, butter, and salt in a pot and cooking it with barely an occasional stir until it is reduced, would produce such concentrated goodness? In my freezer there is always a batch, ready to be defrosted and enjoyed in the time it takes to cook some pasta.
MAKES 3 CUPS
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
¼ tsp. sugar
1 (28-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring butter, sugar, tomatoes, and onion, to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld and sauce is slightly reduced, about 45 minutes. Discard onion, and season sauce with salt and pepper before serving.
MARCELLA HAZAN’S TOMATO SAUCE WITH ONION AND BUTTER
Jaden Hair | The Steamy Kitchen
MEETING MARCELLA AND VICTOR HAZAN
Jaden Hair | The Steamy Kitchen
It’s funny how a little thing like lunch can be a life changer.
For Marcella Hazan, it was when Craig Claiborne of the NY Times came to lunch in 1970….and shortly thereafter, celebrities, writers, chefs and other-important-people-who-can-make-your-career started coming to Marcella’s classes to learn about authentic Italian cooking. Six best-selling books, Lifetime Achievement awards and changing the way Americans cook, think, enjoy Italian food…that’s Marcella.
My life changing lunch was last week.
It was a bit unexpected – I’ve been friends with Lael and Guiliano Hazan (Marcella’s son) for the past couple of years but never imagined that I’d be meeting Marcella. And it wasn’t until Pamela Sheldon Johns swung by the area on book tour that I had that chance. A few emails, text messages and phone calls with Pamela and it was decided that lunch at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota was the plan, and that Marcella would be joining us.
I really didn’t know what to expect, I had heard Marcella was intense and intimidating, but I would have expected nothing less from the “doyenne of Italian cooking in America“…a fervent force of nature, indeed!
Lunch was pleasant, I was on my best behavior and didn’t slurp my Pork Belly Ramen Noodles like I normally would, for fear that a long slingy noodle would slurp-lash rich broth at my dining companions. Conversation flitted between Pamela’s cooking school in Italy to olive oil to cookbooks to book tour to travel.
No, wait. Pamela and I flitted. Marcella listened, at moments her eyes would gaze away and just when I thought we had bored her to tears, she’d smile and cut our sing-song fluttery conversation with her wisdom, bluntness and staunchy opinions.
And that was our lunch.
But that wasn’t THE LUNCH that I was referring to.
MARCELLA HAZAN’S BAGNA CAUDA
SERVES 4 – 6
This lusty dish, whose Italian name means warm bath, provides the perfect counterpoint to raw vegetables. This recipe is based on one in Essentials of Classic Italian Cuisine (Knopf, 1992) by Marcella Hazan.
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 salt-cured anchovy filets, rinsed, boned,
and finely chopped
Assortment of raw, cut-up cauliflower, carrots, celery, radicchio, and radishes
1. Heat oil and butter in a pot over medium-high heat until butter begins to foam. Add garlic; cook for 10 seconds.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add anchovies. Cook, stirring and mashing anchovies with a wooden spoon, until anchovies are broken into very small pieces and dip is cloudy, 3–4 minutes.
3. Season with salt to taste and serve immediately as a dip for an assortment of raw vegetables.