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In which Food52's news editors, Shelly and Fran, weigh in on the week's top food news.
WINNERS: Food bloggers and Simpsons fans
The multitudes of bloggers slaving away over stoves and keyboards got their 15 minutes of fame (well, more like 22 minutes, really) last weekend, as Marge, Lisa and Bart took the plunge into food blogging. With celeb-foodie guest stars Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsay (not to mention many mentions of food-world stars), the episode gave foodists a chance to both celebrate and laugh at themselves. It also gave them some Simpsons-quality quotes that may last longer than Marge's blog. And the food blog rap? PHO-nny! Aspiring bloggers inspired by Marge's new hobby had to look no farther than Irvin Lin's popular Eat The Love blog. This week, he offered a 'Food Blogging 101' post to help guide those just getting started. Maybe Lin could offer those Simpsons bloggers some tips should another food episode be in the offing. We feel certain that New York Times food editor Pete Wells will be invited to the next animated party. His appointment this week as the paper's dining critic puts him squarely in the ranks of food royalty – and worthy of a comic alter ego.
LOSERS (and GAINERS??): Hefty dads and the kids who admire them
Moms have been taking the rap for kids' poor eating habits since, well, meal times began. In fact, studies have pinned everything from children's food allergies to their obesity on mom's eating habits. But now a new study claims that children of overweight dads are four times more likely to be overweight themselves and that mom's diet and weight don't seem to be much of a factor. Phew! Moms are off the hook (for this week, anyway). Meanwhile, more men are also fessing up to suffering from eating disorders, a health issue previously associated mostly with women. Maybe if dads spend enough time in the kitchen with their kids, they can avert total disaster. It seems to have worked for Jamie Oliver's dad. And Darth Vader.
WINNERS: Those committed to eating close to home
Eating locally – once considered something of a fringe movement – has never been easier. And not just for denizens of Portland, OR, where farmers bike between plots they've planted in various urban backyards (can it get more local than subscribing to a CSA for produce produced in your neighbor's garden?). The Seattle Times notes that a young Canadian couple who tried a '100-Mile Diet' quickly found themselves shut out of 9 of 10 supermarket aisles. But that's no longer the case, as the food industry scrambles to catch up with demand for locally grown and produced foods. In fact, the USDA announced this week that locally grown food is now a $4.8B business (and that number is only for 2008; doesn't it seem like it must be even higher now?). But not everyone considers this a clear win-win situation. The Center for Consumer Freedom takes issue with Mark Bittman's recent argument in favor of local foods. In a Comparative Advantage column, editors fault 'trendy activists and first-world foodies' with trying to 'turn back the clock' on agriculture and put the world's 7 billion inhabitants at risk of being unable to feed themselves.
WINNERS: Newbie homecooks prepping for the holidays
No matter that we've been celebrating Thanksgiving for centuries. That last Thursday in November throws even the most confident home cooks into a frenzy of self doubt and angst. When we're not debating which kind of turkey to buy, or how to cook it (we're considering attempting a salt brine this year. Anyone?), there's also all that fretting over food safety. Stuffing in the bird or in the pan? Or maybe we should ditch the bird altogether?? And don't even think of deep frying without proper use of the dingle dangle. Lucky for us all there are so many helping hands to guide the lost and frantic (ahem, yours truly) through mealtime. Now, if someone could just help us get all those dishes done, we'd have a truly historic holiday.