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In which Food52's News Editors Shelly & Fran (not pictured) pass judgment on the week's top food news.
- • Loser: Food Companies.
- As the government makes it tougher for food companies to market to kids, advertisers have a new target in their sights: dads. Fathers are taking on the grocery shopping in ever increasing numbers; and Kellogg's smells an opportunity. Their new TV campaign features a father and son bonding over backyard football and a cozy, post-game bowl of cereal. Looking for quality time with your kids? We think cooking together might bring you closer than a bowl of Frosted Flakes.
- • Winner: School Districts across the country (and their students!).
- Reports now predict half of all US adults will be obese by 2030. Yep, you read that right: HALF. At the same time, more American kids than ever go hungry every day, with as many as 17 million children nationwide struggling with "food insecurity". Could healthy school meals address both these issues? We know when kids have access to quality food, they learn better, develop healthy eating habits and become healthier adults.
- • Winner: Deen Loser: Bourdain.
- This week Merriam-Webster added the word "tweet" to its popular dictionary; so maybe "culinary elitism" won't be far behind. Frank Bruni cried elitist foul when Anthony Bourdain aimed his chef's knife at Paula Deen and her "[expletive] bad for you" cuisine. Deen set aside southern hospitality to voice her opinion: "I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable." While Bourdain made a valid point about the need for Americans to eat more healthfully, he did so in a way that smacked of, yep, culinary elitism. When called on it, he quickly backed off with an explanation and an apology. Sort of.
- • Thrown out for lack of evidence: Commercial composting.
- Demand for compostable and biodegradable products is up, but knowledge about composting has remained, well, stagnant. While the idea sounds like a no-brainer, the reality is not so simple. Finding a commercial composter to deal with all those products is no mean feat. Maybe we need to start thinking about not using disposable containers at all. Maybe we all start carrying our own takeout containers (especially cute ones!).
- • Loser: Twinings Tea (and, unfortunately, its many fans).
- Twinings throws 200 years of steeping history to the wind as it 'alters' its classic Earl Grey tea. Claims that the new mix resembles 'foul-tasting dishwater' prompt a Facebook page for furious fans of the original and result in Twinings tossing out, um, the dishwater. Why mess with a good thing? We remember how New Coke turned out. Though one hated new product that was too short-lived for us was the compostable Sun Chips bag. We'll trade a little noise for a big planetary benefit (even if we're not sure yet where to compost it!).
- • Winner: Alice Waters (and, fortunately, her many fans).
- Chez Panisse celebrated turning 40 this week; and the festivities honoring Waters and her Edible Schoolyard project seemed to last longer than the closing of El Bulli. As news coverage of both Chez Panisse and the approach of Hurricane Irene reached saturation point, Ruth Bourdain joked to the Twitterverse: "Breaking: Chez Panisse 40th anniversary festivities downgraded to a peach on a plate." But 40 years is a dog's age in the restaurant business; and there are probably few food lovers who haven't in some way been inspired by the fruits of Ms. Waters' labor. The alumni she has nurtured and the food wisdom she has imparted will be forever part of our culture.
- • Under Appeal: Hurricane Irene response.
- Speaking of Irene, well, that's pretty much anyone on the East Coast did last weekend: speak of Irene. As we all laid in food supplies and stockpiled flashlights and batteries, the Category 1 storm headed for the beaches of North Carolina and New Jersey. Even worse, Irene seemed destined to land a direct and dangerous hit on New York City. Many of us spent the weekend hunkered down with friends and family, baking, eating and drinking as we waited for what turned out to be both much less and much more than expected (depends on where you live). In the days since the storm, those of us lucky enough to escape unscathed have been bingeing on the (junk??) food supplies, while devastated and, in many cases, isolated residents of Vermont have had to rely on the National Guard to airlift them food and water.
Photo (of the Florida Supreme Court in 2000) by Newhall Photography.