Think you know everything there is to know about the brands you love? Maybe not. This infographic (shared by financesonline.com) depicts the reality of the majority ownership of brands in the grocery store aisles. It’s a bit on the salacious side (“dominate”? “disturbing”?) but the information seems sound and pretty interesting. And, if you’re like me, you shop in the produce and fresh protein section more than anything else and might not even care. But it’s good to know. Pass it on.
Read more: The truth about the grocery store brands you love (infographic)
Although it’s been three years since I moved to California, I still wallow in the awesomeness of Trader Joe’s (TJ’s). Their business model of offering only private-branded food and beverage is unique, so you kind of have to test out the merchandise to see what your favorite items are. Not that this is grueling work. They sell an insanely varied line of foods (around 4,000 SKUs), from über gourmet chocolate to some of the best frozen foods you can find. Having the corner on each specialty item appears to be working for them. Based in Monrovia, California outside of Los Angeles (but owned by a German company), TJ’s is privately held and the actual producers of their grocery items remain secret. This is a fantastic story from CNN.com highlighting Trader Joe’s success and reveals some of their inner sanctum. I know my friends in Tampa FL have been anxiously awaiting the opening of their first TJ’s, and I heard there was line snaking around the block when their doors finally unlocked. Wait no longer.
Read more: What to buy at Trader Joe’s: The full guide to their food
My husband and I “went organic” many years ago, figuring that — assuming all the research is correct — spending more money now is better than spending money in the hospital later. Eating real food is way more fun than “eating” from a tube, right? And tastier, I might add. Whether you espouse the “pesticides and fungicides suck” attitude or not, non-profit organizations like the Environmental Working Group have assembled a tome of evidence that recommends staying away from the chemical residue on food. But a huge factor that keeps people from buying organic fruits and vegetables is the higher price. It’s not the farmer’s fault — they have to spend more producing the food so they pass on the added cost to the customer. Although not all conventionally-farmed fruits and vegetables are slathered in chemical residue, there are some worst offenders. To keep track of the pesticides levels on a myriad of fresh food, I recommend a free app called Harvest but here’s a short list of those that should always be purchased from the organic section.
Read more: Fruits and veggies: Buy organic or not? The dirty dozen
In a disturbing 20 minute TED talk about the future of food in America, Chef Jamie Oliver attempts to shock us into becoming more curious about the food we eat. Also watch Robyn O’Brien’s TED talk about our food supply. “Obesity costs the U.S. 10 billion dollars a year.” (Jamie Oliver) “Your child will live a life ten years younger than you because of the landscape of food that we’ve built around them.” (Jamie Oliver)
Read more: Food EDU: Jamie Oliver’s TED Talk
It’s kinda complicated how to introduce what this interesting (yet, admittedly over dramatic) video is about. They provide examples of the shape and make up of food indicate the organ they help. According to the video, the Chinese have been following this wisdom for thousands of years. Perhaps another way we can learn from the wise people in the east?
Read more: Video: How the shape of food provides insight into how they keep us healthy
A disturbing talk presented at the innovative TedX program by Robyn O’Brien, an advocate for food safety. Robyn is a former food industry analyst, Fulbright grant recipient, author and mother of four, who brings unique insight into the impact the global food system is having on our health. Once you watch the video, visit Robyn’s
Read more: Video: How safe is our food supply? Food advocate Robyn O’Brien at TedX
On Monday, the Doughboy came to Mickey Mouse’s turf in Orlando at the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, the premier American cooking competition. Five men and 95 women, aged 25 to 77, all amateur cooks came from cities like Brookline, MA, Beaver Dam, KY, Koloa, HI, and a few miles away in Windermere, FL to debut their original recipes. The prize seekers baked, braised and whisked their dreams and talent in 100 mini-kitchens set up in the Peabody Orlando Hotel ballroom. Each vied for the sweetest bragging rights of all, a $1 million grand prize and $10,000 in GE appliances.
Read more: Pillsbury Bake-Off prize winner is wholly pumpkin ravioli: Recipe and pictures
I went to the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers Festival in San Francisco with one mission: to find out, once and for all, what food pairs with Zinfandel from the people who make the juice. This grapes is often low in tannins and acidity with a reputation for hefty alcohol… what would these winemakers say? I got the goods from nine winemakers and principals, from tiny producers to large. The answers might surprise you…
Read more: Winemakers’ opinion: What foods pair with Zinfandel wine? (video)
Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, I met chef Michael Vaughn who feeds about 200 hungry entertainers who live in some of the 61 train cars parked just outside of town. Chef Michael says he likes the adventure. “It’s definitely the greatest show on earth. We are the world’s largest city without a zip code,’’ he adds. The 16-year saw-dust veteran may have learned to cook in the south but his cuisine spans several continents. His international mix of patrons come from seven continents, including Uzbekistan, Uruguay, Russia, Mongolia and Paraguay. Michael invites the animal trainers, trapeze artists and others to bring him recipes and teach him about their special dishes that personify their home country.
Read more: Food fit for a circus clown: Behind the scenes in Ringling Bros. kitchen
Each year, it can be a struggle to find just the right gift… the right mixture between snarky and original yet useful. Frankly, if someone is into wine or food, gift selections are a bit less challenging and cheaper than an electronics nerd or car enthusiast but if you’re going on ten years with a foodie, the gadgets might have run out. Or have they? I wrote about 25 pretty cool, unique items last Christmas that you might want to check out, but here are five food and wine items new to the market.
Read more: Online holiday and Christmas shopping: Five great wine and food gifts