food

Radio Readers BookByte: Six Degrees of Separation

Oct 9, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Hello, Radio Readers.  This is Valerie Brown-Kuchera, talking to you again from Quinter.  I’m introducing our final selection, Edible Stories by Mark Kurlansky.  You might recognize the author because he’s also responsible for the Federal Writers’ Project collection The Food of a Younger Land, which was our first book in Food and Story. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Edible Stories

Oct 5, 2017

Hello Radio Readers!  Now that we’ve explored the food described by Federal Writers’ Project authors in The Food of a Younger Land, and mulled over Joanne Harris’s novel of food, family, and a community caught up in the complexities of wartime occupation, Five Quarters of the Orange, it’s time to move on to the third book in our Food and Story series, Edible Stories: A Novel in Sixteen Parts

Mark Kurlansky, a noted food author with best selling books on salt, cod, and oysters, throws us a real curve with Edible Stories.  His mining of the Federal Writers’ Project depression era essays in our series opener, Food of a Younger Land, did not prepare this reader for the wacky, disjointed-but-not-disjointed series of stories he creates in Edible Stories: A Novel in Sixteen Parts.  I found these fictitious short stories (or are they chapters?) both delightful and baffling.  Kurlansky presents us with a parade of characters who are odd, to say the least.  He organizes this book with a motif of, yes, food, but in a most unexpected way.  Each of the sixteen stories bears the title of a specific food: “Muffins,” “Hot Pot,” “Orangina,” “The Icing on the Cake.”  The exception is the last story, titled “Margaret.” 

Radio Readers BookByte: Something to Chew On

Oct 1, 2017
Jason Harper/Hays Kansas

Hello, Radio Readers – I’m  Jason Harper, food and fiction connoisseur (as well as a solely self-proclaimed chef and author) coming to you from Hays, Kansas. I’ll be talking about High Plains Public Radio Reader's Fall 2017 theme – Food and Story, delivering the final segment of my four-part Book Byte about Five Quarters of the Orange, a novel by Joanne Harris.

Wikimedia Commons

The State Fair of Texas gets underway next week in Dallas, and every year the list of edible oddities seems to get stranger.

And that’s no mean feat, as it will be hard to top last year’s deep-fried Doritos bacon mozzarella cheese stick.

Radio Readers BookByte: Food Becomes Currency

Sep 19, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Hello, Radio Readers – I’m Jason Harper, food and fiction connoisseur (as well as a solely self-proclaimed chef and author) coming to you from Hays, Kansas. Food is used in several ways throughout Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange, fictional WWII exploration of a set siblings. On multiple levels, food peppers this novel and leaves the reader with quite a lot to chew on. 

In my first Book Byte, I discussed how creating a great book is a bit the same as baking a delicious dessert, and then I compared recipe steps from Five Quarters of the Orange to the elements of storytelling.

Today, another food angle in Five Quarters of the Orange is how these characters in the novel use food as a kind of currency — partly as a currency of collusion with German soldiers. Chocolate, oranges, bread, and many more examples feed the storyline.

For centuries, food has been used as a form of money. I would like to serve up the following three morsels of trivia of how food was historically a kind of currency that might tantalize our Radio Readers: 

Radio Readers BookByte: Food as Metaphor

Sep 13, 2017
Garland, Kansas / Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

I was six years old when I realized that food can be dished up in two categories:  food that proves someone loves you, and food that proves someone doesn’t love you.

Let me explain.

Imagine that you go to your grandmother’s kitchen in the morning. Breakfast at your grandmother’s—crispy bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs, warm, tender cinnamon rolls—lets you know that the day will be good.  Life is good.  Someone loves you.

Food & Story - Throughout Time

Aug 8, 2017
Smithsonian Virtual Tour / Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

I’m Wayne Hughes with a brief appreciation how we eat and its place in the hierarchies of food-taking, shelter seeking, reproduction.

Renee Comet / Wikimedia Commons

After Sunday-Go-to-Meeting and Friday Night Football, Taco Tuesday is perhaps the most hallowed of weekly traditions in Texas.

But, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, you might be surprised to learn that taco joints in the Lone Star State are forbidden from using the words “Taco Tuesday.”

Luca Nebuloni / Flickr Creative Commons

A Texas man has garnered hundreds of signatures on a petition that would designate the taco as the official food of Texas.

As Vice.com reports, the current official food is chili, but taco aficionado Mando Rayo believes it’s time for a change. The chili designation officially occurred in 1977, with a state decree that began:

Creatures of habit

Jan 7, 2017

The other day, I watched our Jack Russell fidget impatiently by the bedroom door, waiting for someone to let him into the hallway. Directly behind him was an alternate path that led through the bath to the living area on the other side of the house. Because he’s in a new home, he never considered exiting via this route. After I released him from his self-imposed trap, I began thinking about how I, too, am a creature of habit locked into boundaries established only my mind.

Carlos Pacheco / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve ever wondered where Texas’s first barbecue joint was, Daniel Vaughn may have an answer for you. Vaughn is the barbecue editor for Texas Monthly. His research has discovered what might have been the first-ever barbecue location in the Lone Star State. The location was in Bastrop, Texas, reports KUT. At least, says Vaughn, this is the oldest documented barbecue site.

Katharine Du / NPR

NPR.org recently took a look at the connection between genius and food. And they discovered that some of history’s greatest minds had some very peculiar dining habits. The French writer Honore de Balzac, for example, drank 50 cups of espresso a day. He died at age 51 . . . of caffeine poisoning. The Greek mathematician Pythagoras hated beans so much that he forbade his followers from even touching them.

WeFood / Facebook

A new supermarket in Denmark has come up with a novel way to fight food waste, reports Quartz.com. In the United States, people toss out 50% more uneaten and expired food than they did in 1990. That’s a lot of wasted food. And it’s a problem worldwide, though the US is one of the worst offenders. Countries around the world throw out 1.3 billion metric tons of food each year.

Flickr Creative Commons

For the past few years, the case against GMOs has grown and companies like Monsanto have entered the spotlight as activists call for labeling of genetically modified foods.

A Texan Weighs in on the Great Guacamole Debate

Jul 5, 2015
Nikodem Nijaki / Creative Commons

Last week The New York Times sparked a controversy about whether it was kosher to put peas in guacamole.

Forum Sows Big Ideas about Tiny Seeds

May 12, 2015

People from nine countries and seed librarians from across the country were busy sowing big ideas about tiny seeds during the first The International Seed Library Forum reports the Daily Yonder. The gathering was held in Tucson last week. The group shared ideas and inspiration for improving local access to diverse seeds. The conference also included discussion of climate change and the role agriculture diversity and seed saving play. Cary Fowler is an agricultural pioneer and a former executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. He says in the past circumstances were adapted for the crops we wants to grow using things like irrigation and pesticides. He says in the future we’ll have to adapt the plants themselves.