food

Today on Sundial: Open enrollment season to sign-up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is  underway. The deadline, however, is coming up fast. The closing date is Dec. 15.

This year, Congress  botched many attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. But it implemented a shorter enrollment period and  allocated almost no federal funds for advertising. Surprisingly, enrollment nationwide is almost 50 percent higher now than at this point last year.

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

After Hurricane Irma, the federal government offered a food assistance program to Floridians who needed help because of the storm. The signup period for that program ended last week.

But there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might reopen registration for some people with disabilities because, the suit claims, the lines to sign up were prohibitively long.

This time of year, the stands at Paris' hundreds of weekly food markets are laden with plump, dark grapes and wild mushrooms. Wild game often hangs from hooks above.

Of all the seasons to visit Paris, food lovers say the best time is autumn.

"The fall is the best time to eat in France," says longtime Paris resident and culinary historian David Downie. "Everyone knows that. It's when everything comes in. It's the harvest season."

Pick up any packaged, processed food, and there's a decent chance that one of its listed ingredients will be "natural flavor." The ingredient sounds good, particularly in contrast to another common and mysterious ingredient, "artificial flavor." But what exactly does natural flavor mean? When a reader posed the question, I contacted nutritionists and flavorists — yes, that's a profession — to find out.

Florida is paying nearly $437,000 to cover the fees of attorneys who sued Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Here's something that may sound like a contradiction in terms: low-fat pigs.

But that's exactly what Chinese scientists have created using new genetic engineering techniques.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists report that they have created 12 healthy pigs with about 24 percent less body fat than normal pigs.

What counts as dietary fiber? That's up for debate.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing 26 ingredients that food manufacturers use to bulk up the fiber content of processed foods to determine if there's a health benefit.

If you're a nutrition-label reader, the list includes some familiar-ish sounding ingredients — such as inulin, which is often sourced from chicory root.

The El Injerto coffee shop, with its silver stools, brick-and-chalkboard walls and The Weeknd's "I Feel It Coming" playing softly in the background, resembles many cafes in Brooklyn or Los Angeles. But it is in Guatemala City, where paying $5 for a cup of coffee has not always been so common.

Coffee has been one of Guatemala's most important export crops since at least the early 1800s. Only in the past few years have Guatemalans started to consume their own world-renowned product on a larger scale.

Every year about 130,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with a foodborne illness, and 3,000 people die.

To protect against this, the Food and Drug Administration inspects facilities that produce and handle food to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.

But a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General raises some red flags about the inspections program.

In 2009, food writer Emma Christensen began brewing beer at home. She quickly grew to love each stage of the hours-long process, much of which is spent tending to a crock of boiling wort, or unfermented beer, and adding hops every few minutes. Over the course of making more than a hundred batches, she has become skilled at the art of turning barley, water, hops and yeast into beer.

The power outages that followed hurricanes Harvey and Irma are unfortunately a common reality with powerful storms, just as is the fact that the affected people need to eat.

Hurricane diets can consist of a lot of processed, prepackaged food, but with a bit of imagination or preparation, hot meals are possible.

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Tara Gatscher and her family returned to their house in Tampa Bay to find that while the house didn't have any terrible damage, they didn't have power.

Food prices in America were down for the longest period in about 60 years.

Wait, what?

It's not something that shoppers seemed to have noticed much.

"Are you serious? Really?" says Michelle German, holding a bag of groceries and wine at a Harris Teeter store in Washington, D.C. "I just spent about $40 dollars on four items and I'm like, wait, how did I spend that much money?"

If you look in your cupboard and start reading nutrition labels on your favorite box of granola or your gummy vitamins, there's a good chance you'll notice a popular ingredient: fruit concentrate.

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