food

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The food industry wants the government to give the okay for calling products using genetically engineered ingredients “natural” foods.

I went to my local grocery store looking for the term “natural” or “naturally” and I didn’t have to go very far.

In the cereal aisle I found products labeled “naturally flavored,” “100% natural,” and an “all natural pancake mix.” A couple aisles over, looking at the chips there were “all natural” pretzels, “naturally sweet” popcorn, and then there was a drink with a label that read “naturally flavored beverage with other natural flavors blended with vitamins.”

Stateside: Historic Christmas feasts, festivities

Dec 17, 2013
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

(Editor's note: The piece originally aired on December 20, 2012) 

Holiday feasts have increased in both complexity and decadence since their 19th century beginnings.

Bill Loomis of the Detroit News spoke with Cyndy about some historic festive spreads.

Courtesy of the University of Michigan Library

 

There's an exhibit going on now  through December 8 at the Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan. It's entitled "American Foodways: The Jewish Contribution."

Janice Bluestein Longone is the co-curator of the university's new exhibit.

She has spent more than four decades creating a 25,000-item library of American culinary literature -- one of the largest, most acclaimed private collections in the world.

But, Jan says she was surprised by the outpouring of support she received from the Jewish community.

jamesjyu / via flicker

There's much talk in Michigan---and across American---about the local food movement.

For many food activists, eating locally sourced foods isn't just a pleasure, it is a moral obligation. They maintain locally sourced food is better for the entire planet than shipping food thousands of miles across oceans, across continents.

Is eating local always worth it? What works and what doesn't?

Dr. Margot Finn is a lecturer at the University of Michigan. She specializes in food, popular culture, and class, and she joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Twitter

It’s time to talk food, and who better to turn to than Michael Stern of Roadfood.com?

He and his wife Jane drive around the country searching for good food and exploring popular culture, and sharing the news with the rest of us through their writing and conversations on public radio's The Splendid Table.

Michael Stern joined us today to tell us what is cooking in the Upper Peninsula along U.S. Highway 41, starting in Marquette and working up to Copper Harbor.

Michael's piece in  Saveur Magazine is called "Upper Crust: The Culinary Glovry of Michigan's Route 41."

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater. Did you know Michigan once had more than 100 drive-ins? Today just a hand full are still in operation.

Also, Amtrak is making some improvements. We spoke with Tim Hoeffner of the Michigan Department of Transportation about what Michigan train passengers can expect.

And, Michael Stern from Roadfood.com, and frequent guest on The Splendid Table, stopped by to tell us about his recent trip to the Upper Peninsula and the culinary marvels he found up there.

But, first on the show, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown. In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the impasse.

Grocery cart
user mytvdinner / Flickr

The federal shutdown is hitting struggling Michigan families where they live.

At first, panicked calls flooded into Washtenaw County health services, says Karen Lewis.

She helps run the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), which help low-income moms get milk, bread, vegetables and fruit for their kids.

Every month, the county serves some 5,000 families who look to WIC, says Lewis.

Lead in text: 
John Gonzalez, David Kutzko, and Fritz Klug spent 6 days sampling 33 hamburgers to find the best of the best in Michigan. They revealed the winner this morning: Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur. A noteworthy finalist was Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor. Blimpy Burger, which took 10th place, will be closing at the end of August. Many locals hope that they will find a new location for sometime soon.
Offbeat
rawmustard / Flickr

This coming Sunday isn’t just Father's Day -- it is also National Fudge Day.

By most accounts, the first batch of fudge was concocted in Baltimore in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, fudge-making arrived on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, which today has a legitimate claim as the modern day fudge capital.

Tourists pile off ferries and onto Mackinac Island by the thousands every day during the summer. For many, one of the first stops when they arrive or the last stop before they board a ferry back home, is one of the island’s 15 or so fudge shops. 

Island-wide, the favorite is plain, unadulterated chocolate fudge.

Logan Chadde

It has been a good year for maple syrup in Michigan. Farms produced twice the amount of syrup as they did last year, thanks to prime weather conditions that extended the tree-tapping season into April.

Syrup production ended in the Lower Peninsula in early April, and the Upper Peninsula continued production until the end of April. The official numbers of gallons produced will be released in early June. 

Website screen shot. / http://tonitiptonmartin.com/

For many people, the name Aunt Jemima immediately brings a certain image to mind - pancakes anyone? The image -- with the broad smile, round face, and hair wrapped in a bandana -- is powerful, and often controversial.

Author Toni Tipton-Martin examines the image of Aunt Jemima through the recipes and histories of real-life African-American cooks. The Jemima Code is a blog, book project, and traveling art exhibition that looks beyond the bandana.

Tipton-Martin will be a special guest at Zingerman’s 8th Annual African-American dinner tonight. She will also present a special talk on food and diversity on Wednesday January 23rd at 7:00pm. You can visit this link for more information.

Blimpy Burger searching for new location after U of M buys building

Dec 7, 2012
Blimpy Burger / blimpyburger.com

The passage of right-to-work legislation in the state House and Senate may have Lansing in turmoil, but residents of Ann Arbor learned yesterday of  a more immediate concern.

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, a staple for U of M students and townies alike, is looking for a new home.

AnnArbor.com has more:

Owner Rich Magner said a deal between the University of Michigan and the property’s owner, Patricia Shafer, means he will have to close Blimpy Burger in summer 2013. He wants to find a new location for the restaurant.

Shafer is the widow of Blimpy Burger's original founder, Jim Shafer.

“I don’t know what the plans are,” Magner said. “But basically, in a nutshell, we will be able to operate in this location into summer 2013 and we will be trying to put a deal together and look for a new location.”

Magner said the University made Shafer an offer "she couldn't refuse."

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio


With the exception of a few wild selections, the Thanksgiving spreads of today closely resemble those of the 1800’s.


Bill Loomis, author of “Detroit’s Delectable Past,” claimed our ancestors had a taste for animals of considerable size- such as the bear.


During the 19th century, animals were killed specifically for the Thanksgiving meal.


Cuts of chicken, duck, fish, quail and squirrel were served with mounds of squash and other root vegetables.

European Parliament / flickr

For Seeking Change, Christina Shockley spoke with Tracie McMillan. She is a journalist who went undercover to find out why we eat the way we do in America, and what it would take for everyone to eat well in this country.

To learn more about the food industry, she lived and worked in three different communities across the country, including Detroit.

She wrote about her experiences in her book, "The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table."

She says we need to ensure that quality, healthy foods are available in all neighborhoods.

NMU Center for Native American Studies

Imagine eating the same foods that Native Americans in the Great Lakes region ate before European settlers arrived. That’s the idea behind a one-year study at Northern Michigan University.

Kellogg's

Three days ago, Battle Creek cereal maker Kellogg's announced a voluntary recall of Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats.

From Kellogg's:

We have initiated a voluntary recall due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part. Recalled products include only Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size with the letters KB, AP or FK before or after the Best If Used Before date.

You can see a list of UPC codes on the Kellogg's website.

The Wall Street Journal reports on how much the recall will cost the company:

Kellogg Co. K +0.54% said Wednesday it would take a charge of up to $30 million to cover the recall of Mini-Wheats cereal in the U.S. due to possible contamination by pieces of metal mesh.

Retailers have been contacted about the recall of 2.8 million packages of Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite-Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size, which are being pulled from store shelves. Kellogg blamed the contamination on "a faulty manufacturing part," and said no injuries had been reported.

The WSJ reports the metal mesh problem comes after the company went through another recall in 2010 for a variety of cereals.

The paper reports the company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fix its supply chain, "which suffered deep cost cuts, leaving several manufacturing facilities overworked and too few people overseeing operations."

Clagett Farm CSA Week 10 / thebittenworld.com

There is an explosion of locally made jams, sausages, salsas and granolas filling the shelves of grocery stores and farmers’ markets. People like Frank Gublo, an Innovation Counselor at the Michigan State University Product Center, are largely responsible for local food’s prevalence.

A CDC graph showing the number of people infected by the current Salmonella outbreak by date. 28 cases on shown on this graph.
CDC

Michigan state health officials are warning consumers that Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter made with sea salt and a variety of almond butter and peanut butter products from Sunland Inc. might be  linked to a multi-state bacterial outbreak of "Salmonella Bredeney."

The Michigan Department of Community Health says so far, one child in Michigan has been affected along with 28 people in 18 other states (as of Sept. 22). 

More from a press release from the Michigan Department of Community Health:

The product comes in a 16 ounce, plastic jar and was sold in Trader Joe’s stores nationwide as well as on the Internet. Testing of the product is under way. Customers with questions may contact Trader Joe’s Customer Relations at (626) 599-3817 Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5 pm Pacific Time....

Most individuals infected with Salmonella bacteria often experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after infection.  The duration of illness is typically 4-7 days and most people recover without treatment. Sometimes a Salmonella infection can be more severe and may spread to the bloodstream, resulting in hospitalization. Young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

You can also check the Sunland Inc. recall online. The PDF document contains a list of products, the UPC codes, and best-if-used-by dates. Or consumers can contact Sunland Inc. at (866) 837-1018.


The Food and Drug Administration encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the www.fda.gov website.

The CDC has more about the ongoing CDC investigation on its website.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what do you do when there are no apples? It's a question western Michigan's apple growers are dealing with this season after strange weather earlier in the year decimated the state's apple cultivation.

Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S. after New York and Washington, but the state's apples will soon be in short supply. Now in the middle of harvest season, growers are picking only 10 percent to 15 percent of their normal crop.

user Jonathunder / Wikimedia Commons

In a recent Michigan Radio Facebook post, we asked followers:

If you could only eat three basic foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Responses filled up our wall, ranging from the responsible:

Alison- Kale, eggs, and nuts...if I had to chose one I would say almonds

...to the indulgent:

Kyle- Pizza, Donuts, and McDonalds

...to the bizarre:

Paul- Bacon, wrapped in ham, wrapped in bacon

Bacon, it turns out, was the most popular food item with 13 votes.

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