{weekend reading} BEST OF NATIONAL EDITION

11/29/10 NEW NOTE: I have added TWO more articles of the same vein as the Newsweek Story- One from Judith Warner for the NYTimes, the other from The Washington Post by Jane Black & Brent Cunningham.

NOTE: I’m taking a short holiday break, so this post is a “best of” from the past 9 weeks of Weekend Reading links– EXCEPT  the small section up first– I couldn’t help myself!!!  Have a great weekend & BUY LOCAL!!!!! – Christina


This article is so thought-provoking that I had to post it this week. I promised myself to take the weekend off but I just couldn’t for this thought-provoking Newsweek article. “What Food Says About Class in America”, written by Lisa Miller, explores the heightened interest in all things food and the subcatagories like local/sustainable/DYI movement in the context of class in America. You can take our blog as an example, we discuss all things local and low-sugar while 17% of Americans are food insecure…

This article also has a photo series, The Great Food Divide, to accompany it.

Along the same lines are two more articles (I’ve added these post-publishing)

1) Washington Post article “The New Front in the Culture Wars: Food” by Jane Black and Brent Cunningham.

2) Junking Junk Food by Judith Warner for the NYTimes.

BIG case law news: Kellogg just settled a class-action lawsuit over their crazy health claim on their Frosted Mini Wheat box, which they had to remove last year after the FTC demanded they remove it from the boxes. Dr. Marion Nestle has a history of the story...As Dr. Nestle says “What goes on the front of food packages is FDA territory. Get to work FDA”

NYS City Council is taking on the challenge of improved the 5 boroughs’ food system. Golf claps!

Local News; From Times Union Saratoga Seen: Saratoga Springs School District has gone from boxed to “from scratch” cooking… including Kilpatrick Family Farm lettuce….except that in this article its credited as “Saratoga Farmers Market” lettuce.


Wow is all I can say about this article written by NYTimes’ City Critic Ariel Kaminer “The Main Course has an Unhappy Face” Is about the author’s journey from farm to slaughter-house in Queens with a turkey. This story is fascinating.

The wonderful Southern Poverty Law Center has completed a study on the horrible injustices inflicted on female immigrants who mainly work in the industrial food system. “Injustice on Our Plates:Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry” can be read by downloading the entire 68 page study from their explanation page. You can also read a shortened article with highlighted main points on poultry and farm works and sex abuse on the job.

There is an amazingly beautiful (!!!!!) photo slide show with sound in the Glens Falls’ Post Star on Farm Camp, “Located in the heart of the Battenkill River Valley, Farm Camp at Flying Pigs Farm is a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity for professionals working in food service, food media, and farm and food advocacy to learn about both the challenges and opportunities associated with agricultural production and distribution in the Northeast.”  The accompany article here.

TreeHugger has a great review of a study, from the University of Toronto,  just released that showed that chemicals from fast food packaging are leaching into the food.

Will righteous foodies ruin the local/sustainable/nutritious food movement? This is a wonderful (and soo funny!!!) essay-in-three-parts by PETER MEEHAN in the Grass Fed Column. A must read.

A thought-provoking article in The Atlantic by Jocelyn Zuckerman: “Framing malnutrition in terms of national security might be the most effective strategy yet. “A hungry person is an angry person,” the saying goes. Empty stomachs in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen could have serious consequences for us back home.” The article touches on malnutrition as the world’s biggest health issue and why it’s barely discussed or on people’s radar unless there is a major catastophy like an earthquake. In addition, a biofortication project is featured.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed, by a large margin, a law that bans restaurants, such as McDonalds, from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat. In addition, restaurants can offer a toy with their meal if it contains fruits and vegetables. The Los Angeles Times has more.

I have to be honest, I have not read this full commentary “The Big Issue with Ultra Processing” from the WorldPubic Health Nutrition Association.

Barry Estabrook reports that “The White House garden may be green and unsullied by agricultural chemicals, but Obama’s United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just forked over$180,000 to fund an agribusiness-backed smear campaign against the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides,” that includes the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of the foods most commonly found to have pesticide residue.”

Grist reports (Tom Laskaway) that researchers from the University of Southern California decided to test actual brand-name sodas — including Coke, Pepsi, and Sprite — to confirm their exact sugar content and makeup. They found that the High Frutose Corn Syrup (HFCS)  in the vast majority contained far more than the presumed 55 percent fructose: in the case of those three brands, it was actually 65 percent fructose. Study findings here. HFCS advocates have always argued that chemically white sugar and HFCS- having the same roughly the same 50/50 frutose to glucose ratio as white sugar, HFSC has been said to be 55/45 but this research shows that the frutose is much higher. Make sure to read the artist and the comments. The very first comment was written by Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association!!!! He states the research is flawed and links to their official press release on the study. Press Release found here.

This article was all over the blogosphere as it was linked to on many, many blogs. A great article about candy, indulgence and the American psyche all told from the perspective of Dr. Samira Kawash, a former Rutgers professor of American and Gender Studies. She is the Candy Professor, a blog, dedicated to researching the history of candy and the historical and current “baggage” surrounding the treats. This article was linked to on many, many blogs. Great stuff.

Raise Healthy Eaters poses 6 Questions That Will Transform Your Meal Planning

An Op-Ed (interactive graphic) in this week’s New York Times explores the idea in how to restructure secondary school’s “lunch lines” to be more conducive to kids making smart food choices. These changes are SMALL and the authors say it would make a substantial difference. A MUST looksie, hence its the first link.

In an update of a story about LA-based farmer’s market vendors cheating by selling veggies off trucks, not grown on their farms, LATIMES reports that California Food & Agriculture are having public comments in four different cities on their proposed certification process for all vendors.

Scientific America reports on a study, just completed, that shows food tastes better in a noisier environment.

I don’t have a pre-teen or full fledged teenager in my house so I believe I’ve missed most of the “spaghetti taco” controversy. I believe some teen NICK show had some character serving spaghetti tacos and now its being requested at mealtime across the nation. Seriously? NYTIMES has more.

Hilarious and scary article in NYTimes “Would a Health Inspector Shut Down Your Kitchen” Written by Henry Alford, had a NYC Health Inspector come to his apartment and grade his West Village kitchen, with the same regulations, and grading system (A +-, B+-, C+-, ect) now used for all restaurants.  If you’ve ever visited (or resided in) Los Angeles, so you are very accustom to this grading system already…I love it and would welcome it everywhere. A must read.

Very interesting food policy issue coming to a head in New York City. Mayor Bloomberg asked the Federal Department of Agriculture (the agency that sets rules for Food Stamps) for permission to deny food stamp participants from using them to buy soda and other sugary drinks.

Marion Nestle’s Food Politics is a great stop on your weekly food-policy reading tour- she covers all the issues. I try not to link to her with every topic, but I easily could. The one post that stands out this week, is her monthly column Q&A for the San Francisco Chronicle. This month’s question: “What does Whole Wheat Labels mean on food packaging?” I wanna know don’t you? Ms. Nestle explains.

In food-desert- failing-Northeastern-city-news (errily similar story to Troy) New Haven, CT, home to Yale, has a food desert in the immediate-Yale vicinity. The last grocery store, Shaw’s, closed back in March. New plans are in the works for a co-op, think Pioneer Troy Community Food Co-op, because 60 major chain grocery stores declined the invitation to put a store in Shaw’s place. Interesting article on the subject, written by Yale student Jake Conway, on The Atlantic’s website. (Please note there is a comment about TROY in the comment section)

Remember the egg recall, here’s my two top favorite articles:

1) In my opinion, if you are a known repeated violator of food safety regulations you should lose the right to feed Americans. Period. Such a person, Mr. Austin “Jack” Decoster went before the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday to discuss the national egg recall. Over at Grist, Tom Philpott has a great article reviewing what was learned during the hearings. (warning: photos are graphic)

2)  The Atlantic published a very hard-hitting investigation into the super-dodgy owner of the recalled-egg factories, Jack DeCoster. I’ve posted quite a few articles on this guy, I know, but this one gives a really great overview of the last 20+ years of total disregard of federal regulations, animal welfare and honestly, the public’s health. In my opinion this man has lost the right to feed Americans. period.

A quickie article in The Atlantic by Amy Sullivan about people’s bad food memories in childhood which can lead to never trying that food as an adult. Very interesting.

This story has been everywhere this week- This past Tuesday, The Corn Refiners of America (HFCS Manufactures) applied to the FDA to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to Corn Sugar. *sigh*


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