Summary of “How the U.S. government planned to feed nuclear war survivors”

What if it turns out that they’re the smart ones? If, in the coming months or years, the standoff with North Korea turns hot and we confront a nuclear holocaust, and millions of people flee toward long-forgotten fallout shelters, one of the first questions we’ll face is the simplest: What do you eat when the world ends? It’s actually a question that the government has spent a lot of time – and millions of dollars – struggling with.
All told, during the peak of the fallout shelter craze, from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s, the government tallied that some “7,000 volunteers had participated in over 22,000 man-days of shelter living in occupancy tests ranging from family size to over 1,000 people.”
These experiments ultimately produced enduring national standards for underground shelters, such as a minimum of 10 square feet of space per person – which, while only half the space allotted inmates in crowded jail cells, was more than three times the amount of space given to prisoners at the Nazis’ Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and six times as much space per person as inside the notorious Black Hole of Calcutta, the government explained helpfully in one report on shelter life.
People couldn’t be expected to bring their own supplies and food; everything they would need had to be ready and waiting inside a shelter when nuclear war arrived.
A new problem emerged, though: There wasn’t enough capacity to turn the necessary three million bushels of bulgur wheat into the 150 million pounds of crackers that the government originally believed it needed; at the time, nearly all of the government’s surplus bulgur went through a single plant at the Fisher Flour Mill in Seattle, and it couldn’t possibly handle the volume the nation now required to secure itself against nuclear war.
The tins were rushed across the nation to fallout shelters, caves, and mountain bunkers where Americans might ride out nuclear war.
The government expected that survivors would be able to emerge from shelters to search for food and water after only a couple of weeks.
In February 1962, when the navy set out to test how people would survive on fallout shelter rations, it hid 100 sailors for two weeks in a fallout shelter on the grounds of the Bethesda Naval Hospital outside Washington, D.C. and refused to offer the sailors only survival crackers for sustenance, supplementing the meals with different types of soup, peanut butter, jellies, and coffee.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Nasty, Nafta-Related Surprise: Mexico’s Soaring Obesity”

“We started to seek the advantage of the geographical proximity to the United States.”
The agreement removed hurdles to cross-border investment and fully eliminated Mexican restrictions on foreign majority ownership in Mexican companies.
The United States, Canada and Mexico became an open trading bloc.
Mexican exports of fruits and vegetables to the United States soared; enormous quantities of the raw ingredients of processed foods flowed in the other direction.
Last year, more than half the agricultural products exported from Mexico to the United States were fruits, vegetables and juice, while these foods made up only 7 percent of what the United States exported to Mexico, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
United States exports to Mexico have been dominated by meat, soybeans and corn.
Overall paid employment of farm workers rose by 2.8 million but there was a displacement of 4.8 million people who left family farms, according to a study by the Woodrow Wilson Center that has been cited by some Mexican officials as evidence of Nafta’s imperfections.
Duncan Wood, director of the center’s Mexico Institute, said falling food prices, coupled with a stagnant economy, have left many Mexicans in a curious economic position.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Which is better, Applebee’s or Cracker Barrel? Our critic ranks America’s most popular chains.”

Left: The Chili’s location in Alexandria, Va. Right: John Lee and Russ Ryden have dinner at the restaurant.
If all you were to eat were the ribs that spawned one of the most popular restaurant jingles of all time, you would wonder what all the fuss is about.
Chili’s makes it easy with its Triple Dipper, your choice of three snacks.
Elsewhere on the menu, Chili’s tries and fails to deliver on a few food fashions.
Claim to fame: The earworm to promote Chili’s baby back ribs.
Slogan: “Like no place else”Best of the bunch: Southwestern egg rolls, mini-burgers, panko onion rings, rib-eye.
Steer clear of: Caribbean salad, Cajun pasta, salted caramel cake.
Tidbit: The creative director behind the chain’s song says he’s never eaten Chili’s ribs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How World Wrapps gilded the burrito and invented fast casual”

World Wrapps was modern, virtuous, premium; it was fast casual before there was a name for it.
Today, in the wake of the Kooks Burrito appropriation scandal, the World Wrapps origin story sounds oddly and uncomfortably familiar: Affluent gabachos vacation in Mexico; culinary eureka moment ensues; they take their idea back home, where they reap acclaim and profit.
If CPK, a sit-down, full-service casual dining chain, was LA’s opening shot in the mainstreaming of fusion, World Wrapps, which carried its lavish whimsy into the realm of fast food by repackaging the distinct format of the Mission-style burrito, was San Francisco’s volley.
Two decades ago, things were different: In the San Francisco Examiner, food critic Patricia Unterman reveled in its textures, declaring it “Cold and crunchy, hot and savory, contrasts that very much mirror the mother cuisine.” She liked it so much that she awarded World Wrapps three stars, something unheard of for quick-service takeaway places.
“How on earth did the Bay Area, home of Alice Waters and honest, seasonal cooking, become the home of the latest culinary imperialism?” bemoaned one editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, subtitled, “Has multiculturalism crossed one border too many?” Not only had World Wrapps stolen the burrito’s form, the critics complained, but worse, its founders had cast aside the burrito’s honest fillings to sell impoverished simulacra of real culinary traditions to an audience of mostly white, mostly rich diners at three times the burrito’s price.
In one year, the wrap metamorphosed from a tequila-soaked fantasy into a product category that generated over $125 million in revenue nationally, largely thanks to World Wrapps.
”In all my years in the food business,” World Wrapps CEO David Barrows told the New York Times in 1998, ”I have never seen anything copied so fast or in so many numbers.
To survive in the new millennium, World Wrapps experimented with breakfast, table service, and bento boxes; it even temporarily changed its name, to Fresh Latitudes World Café.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Inflated Promise of the American Food Hall”

In its wake, the American food hall flourished, and took on a life of its own.
In Manhattan alone there are now at least sixteen food halls, with many more in planning or construction.
In contrast to the food court, with its Auntie Anne’s and Panda Express, the food hall eschews big chains in favor of local, artisanal purveyors, dazzling the visitor with a vision of a thriving economy of small businesses operating side by side.
It is tempting to see the proliferation of the food hall as a victory for the little guy.
Drop a food hall into the mix, and the whole development basks in the soft, Edison-bulb glow of the small food businesses inhabiting its ground floor, luring tenants with the siren song of pour-over coffee and craft beer.
Food halls do tend to attract solid foot traffic, but several venders mentioned to me that visitors seem to come primed for small purchases, like a coffee or a sandwich, which makes survival difficult if you’re a butcher or a cheesemonger.
Alexandra Saunders, whose high-end chocolate company, Nuubia, leased a space in the food hall occupying the ground floor of the Twitter building, in San Francisco, said that her average sale there was six dollars, less than ten per cent of what she makes for an average sale at the company’s other retail location.
Another forthcoming food hall, inside Miami’s Aventura Mall, will include an outpost of the burger chain Shake Shack.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Clearing Up the Confusion About Salt”

To be sure, sodium is an essential nutrient, as is chloride that makes up the rest of the salt molecule.
Our kidneys are fine-tuned machines for keeping blood levels of sodium within a physiologically healthy range; when there’s too much sodium on board, the kidneys dump it into urine for excretion, and when more is needed, they reabsorb it from urine and pump it back into the blood.
Faced with a chronic excess of sodium to deal with, the kidneys can get worn out; sodium levels in the blood then rise along with water needed to dilute it, resulting in increased pressure on blood vessels and excess fluid surrounding body tissues.
You may wonder, is there any controversy? Shabby science, resulting in claims that is it unsafe to reduce sodium intake below 1,500 milligrams a day, is one reason, according to Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.”Very few people consume so little sodium, and most of those who do are sick to begin with, so they eat less and consume less sodium,” she explained.
Six years earlier, the city created a National Salt Reduction Initiative, which now has more than 500 partners, including some food companies and restaurant chains, that seeks to lower sodium levels for restaurant-prepared and processed foods.
A nationwide sample of 172,042 households revealed that between 2000 and 2014 the amount of sodium from packaged foods and drinks purchased declined by 396 milligrams a day on average per person, although most households still exceeded recommended amounts.
You’ll get a bigger bang for that salt buck while consuming less sodium.
Some producers of chips rely on this tactic – consumers taste only the salt on the surface, which to my taste is more than enough on chips labeled “Low sodium.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm”

Two years ago, the 32-year-old Whitehurst – who graduated from a liberal arts college and grew up in the Chicago suburbs – abandoned Washington for this three-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Md. She joined a growing movement of highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers who are capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and sustainable foods and who, experts say, could have a broad impact on the food system.
The number of farmers age 25 to 34 grew 2.2 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the 2014 USDA census, a period when other groups of farmers – save the oldest – shrunk by double digits.
A survey conducted by the National Young Farmers Coalition, an advocacy group, with Merrigan’s help shows that the majority of young farmers did not grow up in agricultural families.
Today’s young farmers also tend to operate small farms of less than 50 acres, though that number increases with each successive year of experience.
All three young women, who also live on the farm, make their living off the produce Whitehurst sells, whether to restaurants, through CSA shares or at a D.C. farmers market.
If today’s young farmers can continue to grow their operations, said Shoshanah Inwood, a rural sociologist at Ohio State University, they could bolster these sorts of farms – and in the process prevent the land from falling into the hands of large-scale industrial operations or residential developers.
The number of young farmers entering the field is nowhere near enough to replace the number exiting, according to the USDA: Between 2007 and 2012, agriculture gained 2,384 farmers between ages 25 and 34 – and lost nearly 100,000 between 45 and 54.
Student loan debt – which 46 percent of young farmers consider a “Challenge,” according to the National Young Farmers Coalition – can strain already tight finances and disqualify them from receiving other forms of credit.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mac & cheese means 2 different things in black and white culture”

In black culture, for the most part, macaroni & cheese is the pinnacle, the highest culinary accolade.
In white culture, for the most part, macaroni & cheese is certainly considered tasty – cheesy, comforting and filling.
In her family, macaroni & cheese was “a sacred thing.” It wasn’t until she went to an integrated high school that she learned that her white friends did it differently.
“I associate mac & cheese with every holiday. Winter and summer. If there’s a barbecue, somebody has mac & cheese. Easter. July the Fourth. In black families, you associate macaroni & cheese with comfort, with your mother, your aunts. Not just anybody is allowed to make the mac & cheese. If you’re invited to someone’s house, especially for a holiday, you can’t just bring the mac & cheese, you know. You have to be assigned.”
Miller found a report in New York’s Amsterdam News, the oldest black newspaper in America, showing that the Harlem Relief and Employment Committee included macaroni & cheese in emergency food baskets in 1930 – seven years before Kraft put it in a box as a convenience product.
“So many black people were like, ‘What? Where’s the mac & cheese?'”.
“They were convinced mac & cheese was something white people stole from us. I thought they were kidding, but they were like, ‘No, it’s like rock ‘n’ roll – we started that.’ They were serious.”
“I turned all the energy I had into taking the foods I grew up with and making them into a food that is whole. When I grew up, that food was not whole. So my children think macaroni & cheese is wonderful. But my immediate reaction is ‘powdered cheese and dried milk and bologna.'”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “how they changed Britain’s dining habits”

The rise of the burger from a scapegoat for the obesity crisis to the symbol of a dining revolution was fuelled by a combination of social media and recession-era economics, and it established a whole new class of restaurant: inspired by simple street food, led by untrained chefs and advertised via Twitter.
“GBK messed about with ‘global influences’; that’s not what I want from a burger,” says food writer and burger connoisseur Helen Graves.
In the months and years after MEATliquor’s launch, a string of premium burger joints opened across London and the UK. Some, like Patty & Bun and Honest Burger, have grown into thriving chains.
Within 10 minutes’ walk of the King’s Cross headquarters of the Guardian, for example, there are branches of Five Guys, Honest Burger, MEATliquor and Burger King – and two McDonald’s.
While the burger boom has “Forced the likes of McDonald’s to look at what they offer and ask how they can change their quality,” he says, what it has really disrupted is home dining: “The sheer level of people who eat out now is so much higher than it was 20 years ago. We’ve simply given people the option, rather than having an average quality hamburger from a supermarket, of having a better-quality hamburger from a restaurant.”
Deliveroo faces potential action from several local authorities in London for bypassing planning rules by setting up temporary kitchens in carparks and on industrial estates, where food is made exclusively for delivery by chefs from restaurants reportedly including MEATliquor and GBK. Maybe the pertinent question is not how much the market can grow, but how much better the burgers can be.
Gavin Lucas, who spent two years running his own burger pop-up at a Marylebone pub, says the perfect burger is an elusive dream, and a burger chain is not the place to go looking for it: “As soon as you have more than about 10 branches, you can’t work with a butcher, you have to work with wholesalers. And as soon as you start imagining the tonnage of cow that’s going into those businesses, it’s harder to remain in love with their burger,” he says.
“The best burger in terms of absolute quality won’t be from a burger chain. It’s probably in a restaurant or a pub, conjured up by a chef who wants to do something special. To make a great burger, you have to have really good suppliers – and you have to have love in your heart.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The History of Soul Food in Department Stores”

In her discussion of Basic Black, Givhan confirms that soul food was indeed trendy in 1969; however, she cannot ignore the peculiarity of its placement in the throes of a fancy event held on Fifth Avenue.
Soul food is grounded in the ways black Americans have always fashioned a way out of no way, taking scraps and creating a food tradition that has stood the test of time.
The decade, ushered in by the civil rights movement and making way for the black power movement, had proven that department stores themselves were an opportune site of protest for black Americans.
In his book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, Miller dedicates an entire chapter to the vegetable, tracing it from ancient times when the Romans began introducing greens into their diets through its evolution in becoming a staple in the black American food tradition.
The popularity of greens among enslaved Africans and them being regarded as a staple in soul food is reflective of the ways in which black Americans have asserted autonomy by being self-sufficient and entrepreneurial.
An article published on Highsnobiety exploring the gentrification of soul food asks, “How could someone cook these kinds of food and have such disdain for black people?” Drawing on examples such as Paula Deen’s racist comments toward her employees and the serving of soul food in white-owned restaurants, the author outlines the Columbus-ing of food and how doing so erases the contributions of black cooks and chefs.
The soul food at Basic Black did benefit some black entrepreneurs; in a New York magazine catering guide published in November 1971, a write-up for Lee Foods stated that the food was proven to be “An unqualified success” and so was the evening.
The profits went directly to the retailer, which did not use the opportunity to promote black chefs or restaurateurs and did not acknowledge the food item’s important place in black diasporic history.

The orginal article.