Good morning! We have a few tasty tidbits to whet your appetite for what promises to be a great day…!
Can fast food be good for you? Michael Specter writes about the revolution in fast casual dining in this remarkably good #longread from the New Yorker’s annual food issue. Specter covers a lot of territory in this piece: changing consumer demands, trends, case studies of some restaurant chains (McDonald’s and Lyfe Kitchen prove a study in contrasts), agricultural subsidies and more. He also provides some excellent historical background that will help readers understand (at least in part) how we got here. Specter gets an accurate read of the American consumer: “speed and convenience matter”…but so does transparency. Change is happening all over. #goodread
Is bacon bad for you? Apparently, “yes.” The World Health Organization issued a statement on Monday saying that processed meats (including bacon and sausage) “cause cancer.”A panel of 22 international experts studied a range of materials to inform their decision, which was not unanimous. The group also issued a statement indicating that red meat “probably” also causes cancer. Peter Whoriskey provides a write up for the The Washington Post. But should you panic? We turn to one of our favorite science explainers, Nathanael Johnson of Grist. He breaks down the information and provides some context for this announcement. A personal note to Johnson: the bacon lovers in my life felt much relief after reading your piece. You once again proved that consumers have to consider the larger context of things, not just the (bacon) sound bites. And here’s another piece, from Cancer Research UK’s Science Blog: processed meat and cancer…what you need to know. This is in important announcement and we haven’t heard the last.
(Wonky) Food Fight. One of the most intriguing sites that the UC Food Observer checks out is The Republic of Awesome (ROA). Now, ROA’s Don Carr has partnered with lawyer Baylen Linnekin (Keep Food Legal) to develop a weekly talk radio show and podcast that focuses on broadly conceptualized food and agriculture policy news and issues. Lots of politics. And it’s using DC-based guests (reporters, experts and others). Wonky, thought-provoking and worth following. And the topics: GMOs, school lunches, urban foraging, lab grown meat and more. I’m ditching Meet the Press and investing my listening time here. It’s still in beta-phase, but it’s very exciting. Excellent line up of guests. Here’s the first episode.
Why the Left isn’t talking about poverty in rural America. Thought-provoking piece by Lauren Gurley for In These Times. Absolutely superb discussion about the history of sociology as a discipline, and how rural poverty was studied and is considered today. The study of urban and rural poverty is contrasted. There’s also a great bit about how all of these things play into the 2016 election. And it’s complex, as Gurley writes. The American political left “has all but cornered the subject of poverty” and the conservatism of many rural Americans on social issues “does not make the liberal media or Democratic candidates any more sympathetic to rural American poverty.” A must read.
School lunch. How food trucks are making healthy school lunches cool. A terrific story by Kristine Wong, first appearing in Civil Eats and now running in The Atlantic. Chef Ann Cooper (one of our heroes) is interviewed in the piece about the innovative work being done in Colorado’s Boulder Valley school district. Simply wonderful stuff. Pair Wong’s piece with our Q&A with Anupama Joshi of the National Farm to School Network.
Speaking of heroes…Robert Egger of The L.A. Kitchen is one of the most inspiring people we know. We enjoyed having an opportunity to talk with him about his important work helping to feed the hungry, reduce #foodwaste, create jobs…and shift the paradigm about poverty. What he shared with us about senior citizens, poverty and food insecurity got us thinking:
“The aging boomer population is going to have a profound impact on our country. Everyday….for the next 18 years, 10,000 people will turn 70. The largest concentration of older people living in poverty is in Los Angeles County. The number of people over 65 will double in 10 years. The numbers existing on social security alone will explode. We want to help redefine what senior meals look like, and where they are served. We’re committed to using food to get older people out of their homes into more social situations.”
Read our Q&A with Egger to learn more…and to be inspired.