food

Is it the dessert topping that eats like a spread, or the spread that can also be a dessert topping? That's a question the U.S. government is asking about Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut treat, in a new request for comments. The answer could cut the number of calories and fat listed on Nutella's nutritional labels in half.

When scientists want to know what our ancient ancestors ate, they can look at a few things: fossilized animal bones with marks from tools used to butcher and cut them; fossilized poop; and teeth. The first two can tell us a lot, but they're hard to come by in the fossil record. Thankfully, there are a lot of teeth to fill in the gaps.

It's one thing to appreciate a 20-year-old fine wine. It is something else to brew up a 2,500-year-old alcoholic beverage.

While sifting through the remains of an Iron Age burial plot dating from 400 to 450 B.C. in what is today Germany, Bettina Arnold, an archaeologist and anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and others uncovered a cauldron that contained remnants of an alcohol brewed and buried with the deceased.

Luigi Guarino / Flickr Creative Commons

Plantain. It’s a South Florida food staple. It’s green, it’s starchy and when cooked absolutely delicious.  No arguments there.

But how do you pronounce it?

I was going over a radio script with my editor Tom Hudson and when we got to the word he called it “plan-TAYNE,” rhymes with rain. I said,  “plan-TIN,” like inn.

I’ve always heard it pronounced both ways in Miami, but is there a “right" way?

In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat, according to a newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine.

thehungryblackman.com

Miami blogger Starex Smith is exploring local food scenes from the perspective of a hungry black man.

His blog The Hungry Black Man is a mix of restaurant recommendations and profiles of food entrepreneurs across Florida and other states he visits.

But since Smith's home base is Miami, South Florida gets a lot of love on the blog.  

Most of the world didn't know anyone lived in the highlands of Papua New Guinea until the 1930s, when Australian gold prospectors surveying the area realized there were about a million people there.

When researchers made their way to those villages in the 1950s, they found something disturbing. Among a tribe of about 11,000 people called the Fore, up to 200 people a year had been dying of an inexplicable illness. They called the disease kuru, which means "shivering" or "trembling."

Lisann Ramos

Our WLRN interns come to us from all over the country in hopes of dipping their toes in the radio reporting world. What they usually get is full immersion; into the many sights and sounds of South Florida's culture, quirks and food! This summer we were lucky enough to host four wonderful reporters from Tallahassee, Chicago and Miami. In their own words, they explain what it was like to get a taste of local living.  

Caitlin Switalski: Here You Never Have To Eat Alone

If the popularity of quinoa has taught us anything, it's that Americans are increasingly open about exploring grains besides the familiar wheat and rice. Now, researchers at Tennessee State University are hoping consumers are ready to give another ancient grain a try: amaranth.

Amaranth was revered by the Aztecs in Mexico. Today in the U.S., it's mostly grown in people's backyards or on research farms, like an experimental field at Tennessee State University.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Key West has a great restaurant scene — but people who live on the island know that to get true local delicacies you have to get inside someone's kitchen. Preferably someone who was born in the Keys, or a Conch in local parlance.

Someone like Martin Liz. He was born and raised on the island and he knows how to handle a conch filet.

We're living at a time when more than 80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. At the same time, many Americans overeat refined grains and sugar.

This may help explain why the obesity rate seems stuck. The most recent estimate is that 36 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese.

The 2,200-year-old mummy of an Egyptian man who spent a lot of time sitting and eating carbs went on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Tuesday and will be open to the public beginning Wednesday.

The table is set for dinner. Small cooked crabs and shrimp are laid out on the thick wooden tabletop next to succulent figs, grapes, pears and types of produce you can't even name. There's a citrus with a long coiling peel draped around it, and an entire roast of some animal's leg that's been cut down the middle — so you can see the thick layer of fat running around the edge. Just for good measure, a red lobster and ornate goblet of wine stand on a pedestal above it.

In April 1865, at the bloody, bitter end of the Civil War, Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin, a Union cavalryman, wrote in his diary, "Everything is chaos here. The suspense is almost unbearable."

"We are reduced to quarter rations and no coffee," he continued. "And nobody can soldier without coffee."

If war is hell, then for many soldiers throughout American history, it is coffee that has offered some small salvation. Hidden Kitchens looks at three American wars through the lens of coffee: the Civil War, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Note: This story first ran last summer. The group Mangoes to Share is back at it this summer, and they say they've been scheduling "non-stop" pickups.  Organizer Anna Milaeva tells us the owner of one vacant lot has given them carte blanche to pick mangoes from 30 trees on the property. They've been picking other fruit too, like star fruit, lychees and avocados.

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