Food Safety. Foodborne illnesses in the U.S. sicken and hospitalize millions each year. They also kill. The economic losses are also staggering. Bill Marler – food safety guru, attorney and activist – has a new piece out that explores food safety and the Trump administration. One take away? “Food safety regulations work when government, industry and consumers work together.” The piece appears in Food Safety News and on Marler’s blog, which is always worth reading.
Food Politics. Donald Trump recently ate a well done steak served with ketchup and it generated a Twitterstorm. It also resulted in this New York Times opinion piece by Frank Bruni on Donald Trump versus “the food snobs.” A key quote: “We’re brutal on eating habits, period.” Related: Read my Q&A with Sophie Egan, author of “Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies – How What We Eat Defines Who We Are.” In the book she answers this question: What unites us as eaters in America? She also describes 10 phenomena that she believes collectively define American food culture.
Food Culture. “How Cambodians became the kings of beloved South L.A. fried chicken chain.” A fascinating and lyrical piece about how the Louisiana Fried Chicken chain’s success has been boosted by Cambodian immigrants (they own 80% of the franchises). Many of them are refugees. Ultimately, the story shows how food and culture mix in America. A heartening piece by Frank Shyong for the Los Angeles Times. An excerpt:
“The restaurant, part of the Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken chain, is a cultural mixtape that only Southern California could have produced: fried chicken, served by Cambodian refugees to black and Latino customers, from a chain founded by a white man from Michigan, Joseph Dion.”
Shyong is immensely talented and has become one of my favorite writers in the last couple of years; he’s worth following on Twitter.
Happy Birthday, Luther Burbank. March 7 is the 168th anniversary of the birth of famed American botanist and horticulturist Luther Burbank (March 7, 1849 – April 11, 1926). Burbank’s birthday coincides with California’s Arbor Week – March 7 through 14 – which promotes tree planting to enhance our communities and open spaces. To locate an Arbor Week event near year, visit the California Arbor Week website.
Burbank’s work was influenced by Charles Darwin’s Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. His contributions to agriculture cannot be overstated: in his lifetime, he developed more than 800 varieties of fruits, vegetables, grain crops and ornamental plants (including the Shasta daisy). He created one variety of almond, plums, pears, prunes, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, potatoes, tomatoes and ornamentals (including a spineless cactus). This nifty piece by Joy Lanzendorfer for Mental Floss lists ten of Burbank’s “crazy creations.”
His work in developing pest and disease resistant varieties – including the Burbank potato, which ended fears of the potato blight – revolutionized agriculture. Burbank was so well-known and so highly regarded in the United States that a postage stamp bearing his image was commissioned in 1940. Schools, communities and even a bank are named after him.
Read my post about his life and contributions.
Related: Teresa recently wrote a terrific piece about the art of plant illustration. We’re pleased to report that botanical art is still “alive and well.” The article tells about its history and is a nice accompaniment to the Burbank piece.
Have a great week!