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Emerging Health Paradox in Greece

By admin | April 18, 2012

Greek salad

Photo: Katherine Martinelli

By: Michael Engle

Currently, the national economy is not the only crisis for the country of Greece.  In a stunning and ironic development, more than 65% of Greek citizens are obese–the highest percentage of any EU member country. This growing problem in Greece is especially disappointing, when one considers that Greece is the cradle of the Mediterranean diet.  For centuries, the Greek lifestyle has been regarded as one of the healthiest diets, with its plethora of whole grains, olive oil, herbs and spices, and seafood, coupled with its societal aversion to (but not banishment of) red meat and salt. It is even recommended at times in order to lose or maintain ideal weight. Hence, the alarming paradox.

Predictably, Western lifestyles and influences can be blamed, as the Mediterranean region is poised to consume more unhealthy fats and sweets than ever.  As a result of these nontraditional diet practices and lower levels of physical activity, Greeks are increasingly prone to previously unprecedented maladies, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Read More

News

NYC Cheap Eats for Tax Day

By admin | April 17, 2012

Photo: Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Photo: Edgar Zuniga Jr.

By: Michael Engle

Today is Tax Day for Americans!  While local and state governments collect their revenues incrementally, thanks to sales taxes on most transactions, Uncle Sam gets paid in one lump sum.  Whether or not you vow to be more thrifty this year, it is always advantageous to know where the local “cheap eats” can be found.  Because let’s face it: even though some people insist on cooking every meal of every day and night, this is not a realistic option for others.  So resist the urge for cheap “extra value meals” at fast food places, because their long-term effects may be incredibly “taxing.”  Instead, take a look at some of the best values in NYC! Read More

News

Catching Up on Ketchup

By admin | April 11, 2012

Photo: Scout Seventeen

Photo: Scout Seventeen

By: Michael Engle

Have you ever wondered why ketchup labels itself as “tomato ketchup,” even though “other” ketchup is almost impossible to find?  This is because ketchup has a long, rich, and interesting history.  Tomatoes have only served as the standard ketchup base for a little more than 200 years.  Surprisingly, if not for a since-proven misconception about tomatoes, ketchup may not have become so firmly entrenched with tomatoes.

Ketchup can be construed to be a descendant of fish sauce (ke-chiap), which is an Asian condiment made of pickled fish and spices.  After ke-chiap was invented in China, in the 1690′s, it soon became incorporated into Malay culture.  In the 1740′s, British explorers discovered ke-chiap in Malaysia, and imported it to England.  Eventually, the product name evolved to the anglicized “ketchup.”  In British cuisine, the most popular ketchup was neither a tomato variety nor the original fish version; instead, the Brits invented a mushroom ketchup to accompany their Victorian meat pies, puddings, and roasts. Read More

News

Not So Happy Meal: Fast Food Linked to Depression

By admin | April 9, 2012

Photo: joo0ey

Photo: joo0ey

By: Michael Engle

Have you ever wondered how happy children become when served McDonald’s Happy Meals?  But just how happy can a Happy Meal actually make you? For years, parents and physicians have worried about fast food’s nutritional value (or lack thereof), as well as whether their advertising practices prey upon young children.  Fast food has also been criticized for their food preparation techniques, from using GMO’s to constraining their livestock in tight living quarters.  The most recent attack against fast food companies is of a different ilk.  Tracy Pedersen reports that fast food may be linked to depression.

Scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada found that consumers of fast food are 51 percent more likely to develop depression than minimal or non-consumers.  According to the lead author of this study, Dr. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, Ph.D., the connection is so strong that “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression.”  The study also found a similar connection between commercial baked goods, e.g.: donuts, cakes, and croissants, and the likelihood of depression. Read More

News

Food Focus: The Seder Plate

By admin | April 6, 2012

Photo: mollyjade

Photo: mollyjade

By: Michael Engle

On Friday and Saturday nights, April 6 and 7, 2012, Jewish families worldwide will commemorate Passover with seders.  Seder is actually the Hebrew word for “order,” because there is a strict order to the festivities during these first two nights of Passover.  In addition to components such as ritual hand-washing, reading the haggadah, asking “The Four Questions,” and leaving drops of wine on the side of your plate, there is much more to a seder than just a Passover dinner.

Two food-centric centerpieces that appear on every seder table are the three-sheet pile of matzo and the seder plate.  The seder plate has six food items; each one carries its own symbolic element. Read More

News

Another Day for BPA

By admin | April 5, 2012

Photo: Rubbermaid Products

Photo: Rubbermaid Products

By: Michael Engle

Just recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided against banning bisphenol A, or BPA, from food packaging.  This decision satisfied a legal settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which originally presented the FDA with a petition to remove the chemical.  The FDA’s failure to ban the chemical should not be interpreted as a seal of approval; as a matter of fact, the FDA indicated that it would conduct further research on BPA.

BPA is commonly used to line food and beverage cans, in order to prevent the food or drink from reacting with the can and altering its taste.  Read More

News

Four-Person Hot Dogs and Other Unique MLB Foods, Part II

By Michael Engle | April 5, 2012

Photo: Wally Gobetz

Photo: Wally Gobetz

For many Americans, yesterday marked the unofficial start of spring. To celebrate Opening Day of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, we showcased some of the more unique food items in the Bigs, from the regionally beloved to the “just, plain weird.” However, because not every team played yesterday, certain teams will be celebrating their Opening Days today instead.  As a result, we will step up to the plate again, with more of the best concessions the MLB has to offer!

To read our first installment of unique ball park eats, click hereRead More

News

What Exactly Is Kosher?

By admin | April 5, 2012

Photo: Henk Kosters

Photo: Henk Kosters

By: Michael Engle

With Passover just about to begin, many may be wondering what in fact makes a food kosher or non-kosher. Few non-Jews truly know the meaning and reasoning for the kosher food label. Kosher food can be dated back to the beginning of the Jewish religion and are known as a framework for foods that are fit to be eaten by those practicing their Jewish faith.  But with little knowledge of what exactly is in our own processed food nowadays, it can seem a daunting task trying to figure out if something is kosher or not. Imagine having to, while grocery shopping, inspect every single label not just for calories and allergens, but also for religious approval. Luckily, kosher supermarkets exclusively stock kosher products, allowing observant shoppers to focus more of their energy on menu planning.

Kosher food products are specifically approved by trained kosher inspectors; they certify that each kosher item was made with kosher ingredients in a kosher facility.  By Jewish law, all kosher inspectors are graduates of rabbinical school.  Read More

News

Four-Person Hot Dogs and Other Unique MLB Foods, Part I

By admin | April 4, 2012

Photo: Josh Bousel

By: Michael Engle

For many Americans, today marks the unofficial start of spring.  Unofficial because to baseball enthusiasts, Opening Day of Major League Baseball is really when the fun begins.  (If you are an Oakland Athletics or Seattle Mariners fan who forgot to wake up for the two games in Japan, your season has already started.  In fact, your team is 1-1 with 160 games to go.)

While most teams use Opening Day to debut the newest free agent acquisition or the prized rookie from Spring Training, ballparks will occasionally debut new food items.  The most hyped concession of the upcoming season is, without a doubt, the one-pound, two-foot-long, four-person “Champion Dog.”  Topped with Texas chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and sauteed onions, this $26 tube-steak, served on a wooden cutting board, is already the talk of the town at the Ballpark in Arlington–home of the Texas Rangers.

Since peanuts and Cracker Jack have become ubiquitous cliches (although participating in the seventh-inning stretch over “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” will never feel passe), and because most people won’t be able to get to Texas to try the Champion Dog, let alone form a foursome to tackle it, it begs the question: What are the best and/or most unique eats among Major League stadia?

Here’s a list of unique eats available while watching this all-American sport… Read More

News

“Weighing In”: An Interview with Author Julie Guthman, Part II

By admin | April 4, 2012

Julie Guthman

By: Michael Engle

With the obesity epidemic in news over the recent years, society is often quick to point to personal responsibility as a main cause to America’s weight problems. But in Julie Guthman’s book Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, she proposes other causes like exposure to chemicals and under-regulation of these by the government.

We continue her interview here with her thoughts on the ways to address this epidemic. Read More

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Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

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