In which Food52's news editors, Shelly and Fran, weigh in on the week's top food news.
LOSER: French school kids who eschew meat
A new law detailing nutritional requirements in France's school cafeterias doesn't quite outlaw vegetarianism, but it does seem to point to a meat-based diet as the ne plus ultra. Vegetarian groups have cried foul, saying the law makes serving meat-free meals illegal and serving vegan meals impossible (thanks to the dairy requirement). This is only the latest wrinkle in France's bid to maintain its lunchtime culinary culture. Recently, the state banned ketchup from school cafeterias (why muck up a perfectly good boeuf bourgignon?) But thousands of years of gastro history might prove no match for today's go-go schedules. It seems the famously long and langorous French lunch is getting shorter and, well, more American.
WINNER: Caffeine addicts (who also might be sun worshipers)
The news that coffee could help keep the most common cancer (basal cell carcinoma) at bay had to cheer java lovers (who probably were fairly upbeat anyway, given earlier news that coffee can ward off depression). While the magic elixir sometimes gets a bad rap (jitters, sleeplessness, pricey gourmet brews), its health stock seems white hot. In recent years, coffee has been shown to help fight Parkinson's disease, type-II diabetes and liver cancer (not to mention helping shift workers make fewer mistakes on the job). We'll drink to that.
LOSER: Consumers who believe everything they read on a label
In a two-part series in the Boston Globe, reporters detailed the widespread fish fraud being perpetrated in the Bay State. Roughly 48 percent of fish the reporters tested (from restaurants, markets and grocery stores across the state) was mislabeled. They focused on red snapper, white tuna, local cod and haddock (because those are the most likely to be replaced with cheaper fish such as perch, catfish or escolar – called the 'ex-lax fish' because of its link to gastrointestinal problems), a reporter told NPR. While those fraudsters were caught red (snapper) handed, other food purveyors playing fast and loose with labels have managed to mostly stay under the radar ('artisan' Tostitos chips, anyone?).
WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT: The 2011 California wine crop
With heavy rains and unseasonable cold plaguing much of California this fall, many of the state's grape crops may not survive. If they haven't already succumbed to the wicked weather, many of the grapes are now falling victim to rot and mold. While some fear California's wine production may be drastically reduced, others expect the quality to be high. Warren Winiarski, founder and former owner of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, stands firmly in that camp. "Anyone who has a problem producing an outstanding Chardonnay this year should be in a different business," he told Decanter. While Winiarski picked his grapes before the worst of the autumn weather, we're still hoping his argument holds water (and wine).
Sign up now and get $10 when we open.