Category Archives: food

America’s Raisin Regime: De minimis curat lex # Gosplan’s Sour Grapes in the USA

Repeat after me: state regulation is always a sane and desirable thing…

WHETHER the obscure statute that governs America’s raisin trade is constitutional, Elena Kagan is not sure. She and her fellow Supreme Court justices are pondering that question at the moment, and will rule shortly. But she sounds reasonably confident that the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 is “the world’s most outdated law”.

Since the 1940s raisin farmers have been obliged to make over a portion of their crop to a government agency called the Raisin Administrative Committee. The committee, run by 47 raisin farmers and packers, along with a sole member of the raisin-eating public, decides each year how many raisins the domestic market can bear, and thus how many it should siphon off to preserve an “orderly” market. It does not pay for the raisins it appropriates, and gives many of them away, while selling others for export. Once it has covered its own costs, it returns whatever profits remain to farmers. In some years there are none. Worse, farmers sometimes forfeit a substantial share of their crop: 47% in 2003 and 30% in 2004, for example.

Participation in this Brezhnevite scheme is mandatory. […]

Read the rest at America’s raisin regime: De minimis curat lex | The Economist.

BEST. NIGELLA. QUOTE. EVAR.

This is apparently from some US TV food show that is currently airing; there’s Tony Bourdain, Brian Malarkey, this French chef Ludo Lefebvre, and … Nigella.

The video comes from a behind-the-scenes clip, posted by Bourdain, of Ludo and Nigella sipping champagne on a sofa:

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Craig: “Are you a libertarian or something, because I’m not sensing any clear political philosophy behind your position?”

Alec: “No, I’m not a libertarian. I’m from the Internet. I’m here to help.

Haz.

I just made Black Soup

  • mug puy lentils
  • large handful black wild rice
  • large handful dried button mushrooms
  • large handful dried black fungus
  • whole dried lemon
  • rosemary
  • pinch salt
  • guesstimate water

into saucepan. simmer/cook. blend. enrich with butter.

Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa? | Joanna Blythman | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Starvation by unintended consequences:

But there is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

via Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa? | Joanna Blythman | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

BBC News – Norway goat cheese fire closes tunnel

There’s a fondue joke in here somewhere…

About 27 tonnes of caramelised brown goat cheese – a delicacy known as Brunost – caught light as it was being driven through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway, last week.

The fire raged for five days and smouldering toxic gases were slowing the recovery operation, officials said.

The tunnel – which is said to be badly damaged – is likely to remain closed for several weeks, they added.

“We can’t go in until it’s safe,” geologist Viggo Aronsen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Police officer Viggo Berg said the high concentration of fat and sugar in the cheese made it burn “almost like petrol if it gets hot enough”.

The lorry driver had noticed the fire in his trailer and abandoned it about 300m (1,000ft) from the southern entrance. No-one was hurt.

Kjell Bjoern Vinje, of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said it was the first time he could remember cheese catching fire on Norwegian roads.

“I didn’t know that brown cheese burns so well,” he said.

via BBC News – Norway goat cheese fire closes tunnel.

North/South Food — Eating across the North/South divide # Feeding 2 people on £20 / week Food Blog

As sure as day follows night, if the subject of food is mentioned at all, it will inevitably touch on the debate between processed and cooked from fresh food in the UK today. And unless you know everyone in the discussion well and get side tracked into swapping recipes or discussing one’s favourite deli, someone will take the chance to opine on how poor people just need to try harder, be less lazy, just read the labels and realise you can buy a week’s veg for two quid if you’re a good enough member of society. These people are at best out of touch and at worst, running our country.

They are also idiots and liars. What you eat may have an impact on your dietary fibre, but it has bugger all to do with your moral fibre. It’s patronising and reductive to suggest otherwise and to focus on the actions of an individual, rather than those of the food industry, helps no one and hinders many, while causing massive divisions in society. But what would I know? I’m a nice middle class food blogger who grew up on homemade yoghurt and makes their own bacon. Surely I’m part of the problem?

I’m also poor. Not in a pretend can’t afford to split the bill including cocktails for a friend’s birthday or using Orange Wednesday vouchers for Pizza Express way. I’m properly poor. Due to ill health that stretches back to my early teens, I’m currently unable to work and live on benefits. Thanks to the welfare state (for which I could not be more grateful) I have the basic amount of money to live on each week and do just that. I can afford to live and eat well enough to write about it once a week simply due to careful budgeting, being a good and resourceful cook, having time and the generosity of friends and family who shout me lunch and bring wine to dinner. If you buy one Starbucks medium latte a day, picking up a muffin even once, you spend the same in a week as my entire food budget for 7 days.  I think this qualifies me to talk about cooking and eating on a long term low income rather than a summer between uni where you have to make money stretch.

…continues at North/South Food — Eating across the North/South divide.

See also.