In today's Media Mix, restaurant chains might be disappearing, plus the income problems in the fast-food industry
The Daily Meal brings you the biggest news from the food world.
Pasta, Bread in Danger: According to this lengthy article, our wheat sources may be in danger, meaning pasta and bread might drop as a staple. [The Daily Beast]
Pay Gap in Fast Food: While CEOs and higher-ups might be getting bonuses and pay raises, Bloomberg reports that corporations are still fighting to keep minimum wage low. [Bloomberg]
What's Happening to Chains? Then again, some of America's biggest chains like Big Boy and Bennigan's have been losing more than 50 percent of their sales in the last 10 years. [USA Today]
John Mariani Takes on Bastianich, René Redzepi, Bourdain: In his "Worst food Moments of 2012," Mariani rags on Redzepi for his ant dish, and Big Gay Ice Cream for their "wretched excess, ice cream edition." [Eater]
Nigel Slater’s recipe for orecchiette with peas and bacon
Bring a deep pan of water to boil. Salt it generously. Add 200g of orecchiette and cook for 9 minutes or until just tender.
Put a pan of water on to boil. When the water boils, salt it and add 350g of peas (podded weight) and cook for a couple of minutes. Drain the peas, keeping back 100ml of the cooking water. Set a couple of tablespoons of the peas to one side.
Grill 8 thin rashers of bacon or pancetta until crisp, then drain them on kitchen paper. Break or cut the bacon into small pieces – about the size of a postage stamp.
Put the peas, together with their cooking liquor, into a blender and process until smooth, then stir in 3 tbsp of olive oil. Season – you’ll need salt and black pepper. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Pour in the pea sauce, add the reserved peas and the bacon, and fold them gently through the pasta.
Divide between 2 shallow bowls. Trickle over a little more olive oil and serve. Enough for 2.
'Stop this madness': NYT angers Italians with 'smoky tomato carbonara' recipe
The New York Times has cooked up a controversy in Italy after tinkering with the recipe for the classic Roman dish pasta carbonara.
Called “Smoky Tomato Carbonara”, the recipe, by Kay Chun, was published by NYT Cooking. To be fair to Chun, she did preface her version of the recipe by saying that “tomatoes are not traditional in carbonara, but they lend a bright tang to the dish”.
But it wasn’t just the tomatoes: the recipe replaced guanciale with bacon, “since it’s widely available and lends a nice smoky note”, and used parmesan cheese instead of pecorino.
The indignation began among passionate foodies on social media – “This isn’t remotely close to being a carbonara. Stop this madness,” wrote one – before attracting the ire of top Italian chefs and the farmers’ association Coldiretti, which described “Smoky Tomato Carbonara” as the “tip of the iceberg” in the “falsification” of traditional Italian dishes.
This isn’t the first time an interpretation of an Italian recipe has sparked outrage, with foreigners often mocked for adding pineapple to pizza or chicken to pasta. But that the recipe was published by the NYT came as a shock.
“I follow the NYT on Instagram and thought it was a fake,” Alessandro Pipero, a chef in Rome known as “the carbonara king”, told Corriere della Sera. “It would be like putting salami in a cappuccino or mortadella in sushi. OK, fine, but then let’s not call it sushi, similarly with this one – carbonara with tomato is not carbonara. It’s something else.”
Coldiretti was sterner in its reaction. “The real risk,” the association said in a statement, “is that a fake ‘made in Italy’ dish takes root in international cooking, removing the authentic dish from the market space, and trivialising our local specialities which originate from unique techniques and territories.”
Coldiretti added that pasta carbonara was one of the most “betrayed” Italian recipes abroad. But the association is keeping track of plenty of others.
“Caprese is served with industrial cheese instead of mozzarella di bufala or fior di latte, while there are also cases of pasta with pesto served with almonds, walnuts or pistachios instead of pine nuts.”
The NYT also triggered outrage in the UK in 2018 after publishing a recipe in which it described the yorkshire pudding, a roast dinner staple, as a “large, fluffy pancake” that was excellent for “breakfast, brunch, lunch and dessert any time of the year”.
One more tip…
Note this caution largely applies if your beans are totally uncooked. If you bought them canned, then they've been cooked—which may lessen your chances of slow cooker food poisoning.
The season of effortless food prep is almost here—don't miss Doing This With Pasta May Actually Make It Deadly, Science Says. (Super important ahead of picnic season!)
Viral Feta Pasta Is Now A Dessert And We Can't Even! Try This Yummy Recipe
From the frothy Dalgona Coffee to the sumptuous Banana Bread, we have seen so many recipes go viral in the past year. These were simple preparations with a hassle-free cooking method that even beginner cooks could easily ace. Feta pasta is also a creation which thrilled novice cooks with its easy cooking technique. Just pop in the oven a few ingredients - tomatoes, feta cheese and olive oil - then add boiled pasta and your yummy pasta dish is ready to dig in! Instagram bloggers have now given a sweet spin to your favourite viral feta pasta recipe. Wondering how? Take a look:
Dessert-lovers rejoice, as this sweet treat is about as easy to make as the viral feta pasta recipe. All you need are a couple of ingredients and your hassle-free indulgence is ready. There have been multiple versions of the Feta Pasta-inspired dessert recipe being shared all over social media, but one that caught our attention would be the recipe by @celiacynsydney. She combined sweet ingredients such as a bar of dark chocolate, a banana and peanut butter to make a sinfully delicious dip. She suggested that this dip could easily be paired with waffles, pancakes or even a bowl of oats. The process of making this dessert is quite similar to the Feta pasta recipe - simply line up the ingredients and pop the dish in the oven to be baked.
Here Is The Full Recipe For Viral Feta Pasta Inspired Dessert Recipe by Celia Sydney:
1. Place chocolate, sliced banana and peanut butter in oven tray.
2. Drizzle in coconut oil and maple syrup.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon on banana slices.
4. Bake at 250F/120C for 10-12 minutes.
5. Mix and add to your favourite treat.
So, what are you waiting for? Try this amazing dessert which is ready in minutes, and dig right in!
About Aditi Ahuja Aditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.
Mr. Anderson added that Annie’s had been discussing how to implement the changes with suppliers and was developing a “supplier confirmation tool” but that it would take time to assess its effectiveness.
Other companies have taken steps to limit the chemicals in their packaging, including Taco Bell, which has pledged to remove phthalates from its packaging by 2025. Ahold Delhaize U.S.A., which operates grocery chains such as Stop & Shop and Hannafords, announced a “sustainable chemistry commitment” to restrict phthalates in its private label products.
Maine will begin banning food packages that contain phthalates “in any amount greater than an incidental presence” starting in 2022.
But other than Annie’s, few companies have publicly committed to removing phthalates from the manufacturing process.
The Organic Trade Association is convening a task force this winter to begin looking at how to help its members deal with the issue. “But they need packaging and suppliers along there with them,” said Gwendolyn Wyard, the trade group’s vice president of regulatory and technical affairs.
Phthalates have powerful defenders, including Exxon Mobil, a leading producer of the chemical. The chemical industry dismisses some of the studies into phthalates in food as “bad science” designed to generate alarmist headlines but not grounded by rigorous research.
Kevin Ott, the executive director of the Flexible Vinyl Alliance, a trade group that includes Exxon, said many consumers and advocates are too quick to condemn certain substances. “Any chemical you can’t see, smell or spell has got to be dangerous,” he said.
Mr. Ott criticized how some studies have measured the presence of phthalates in macaroni and cheese in parts per billion. “It’s like a thimble in an Olympic-size swimming pool,” he said.
In 2008, Congress restricted many phthalates from use in children’s toys and directed the Consumer Product Safety Commission to study the effects of several other phthalates.
Today, after all the scrutiny, “phthalates have been basically phased out of toys,” Mr. Ott said. “No astute business person is going to make toys with phthalates.”
Food is a different story. The Food and Drug Administration has studied the presence of phthalates in food packaging and manufacturing equipment. In a paper published in 2018, a group of the agency’s researchers concluded, “There have been no studies to date which show any connection between human dietary exposure to phthalates and adverse health effects.”
But the F.D.A. has not yet officially ruled on the issue, even though researchers say food is a major area of concern.
“Phthalates are coming into our body through our skin, through our nose — we get them from everywhere,” said Shanna Swan, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who has studied the chemical’s effect on reproductive health. “But the primary source is food.”
In a statement, an F.D.A. spokeswoman said the agency was currently reviewing two petitions, including one filed by several environmental groups five years ago that asks regulators to restrict phthalates from “food contact” materials.
“Completing our review of these petitions and publishing our response in the Federal Register is a priority for the F.D.A.,” the agency said on Friday.
In a book being published this month, “Count Down,” Dr. Swan argues that a range of chemicals have contributed to a 50 percent decline in sperm counts over the past 40 years and that exposure to certain phthalates may be playing a role in reproductive problems.
“This alarming rate of decline could mean the human race will be unable to reproduce itself if the trend continues,” Dr. Swan writes in the book.
These issues are not caused by “something that is inherently wrong with the human body, as it has evolved over time,” she writes.
How To Ration A Limited Food Supply
Even if you do your best to prepare for the worst, sometimes things just go wrong. There may be a natural disaster in which you lose all of your canned goods, or stuff could actually hit the fan leaving you with limited resources for replenishing your food supply. Whatever the reason, if you don’t have much food to make it through an emergency or season, it is a good idea to know how to ration what you have. Of course, this process will vary based on how many people you are feeding and how long you will need to feed them. Hopefully though, with a little bit of math and a lot of will power, your family’s survival can weather even the most extreme situation.
How Much Do You Have?
As soon as you know you won’t be able to get more food in the near future, you need to take stock of what you have. So many people wait until the last minute to start rationing, but by then, they’ve eaten way too much of their reserves, making what they have left far from what they’ll need to survive. Gather all of the food you have into one location and create an inventory. Group it into categories that will help you determine which foods need to be eaten first and which will keep until the very end. Consider using categories such as:
- perishable fruits and vegetables
- dairy products
- meats and other perishable proteins
- canned, cured, and dried goods
- grains and pasta
- baking/cooking supplies
Next to each item, you’ll want to count how much you have. However, counting how many bags, jars, items, etc. of each type of food you have will be too laborious for the rationing process. Most experts recommend weighing foods and keeping track of them that way. Although the density of the food will affect the weight, you can still generalize that one cup is often equal to eight fluid ounces. For dry goods, the weight of one cup will vary greatly, so it’s best to have a conversion chart on hand. Once each food has been accounted for, add up how much you have in each category. It’s a good idea to update this list frequently. That way, you can see how fast you are consuming what you have, which will then help you determine whether or not you need to revise your rationing plan or take note if food is disappearing without being accounted for.
How Many People Are You Rationing For?
The next step in the process is taking into consideration how many people you will be feeding over this difficult period of time. If it will just be you and your dog, then the math won’t be too difficult. If you are taking care of an entire family though, rationing can get a lot trickier. In many cases, when entire communities are affected, some families will help out others who were not so prepared for the disaster. In this case, you could be feeding many more than you expected, which is yet another good reason to make sure everything is rationed.
How Much Food Will Each Person Need?
When you know whom you will be feeding, you can start creating portions. Don’t forget to include the family pets and/or livestock— although if things get too extreme, they may have to be sacrificed in order to protect the family. You will need to consider the minimum amount of calories needed for each individual in your rationing plan. Although these needs will differ based on the age, size, and activity level of each person, in general, you can follow these bare minimum calorie intake guidelines for the average person:
- Adult male: 1700
- Adult female: 1328
- Elderly male: 1475
- Elderly female: 1100
- Teenage male: 1655
- Teenage female: 1486
- Youth male: 1230
- Youth female: 1165
- Baby/Toddler: 500-1000
Remember, these amounts are minimums, and if someone in your household is out chopping wood or hunting all day, they will definitely need more calories than the bare minimum. Also, everyone has different metabolic rates, and not taking in enough calories could be extremely dangerous, so be sure to adjust your rations accordingly.
Once you know how many calories each person needs, you’ll need to determine how many calories each food item can give them. Of course, if you have any packaged goods, there will be calorie and serving counts right on the box. If you have a barrel of rice, corn, or other food though, you will need to determine this for yourself. There are thousands of possible foods you could have on hand, so it is impossible to list them all here. If at all possible, you should try to keep a record of conversions on hand in the pantry so you don’t have to do the math each time you eat. Most people portion everything out into meals from the very beginning, so they only have to worry about the math once. Some of the most common and basic foods will generally follow these guidelines:
- White rice: 1 cup = 686 calories
- Oats: 1 cup = 147 calories
- Spaghetti: 1 cooked cup/2 oz. dry = 221 calories
- Egg: 1 Egg = 75-100 calories (depending on the size of the egg)
- Milk (2%): 1 cup = 138 calories
- Ground beef: 100 g = 164 calories
- Pork: 100 g cured = 541 calories (250 if fresh)
- Chicken: 100 g = 200 calories
- Corn: 3.5 oz. = 354 calories
- Potatoes: 17 oz. baked = 255
- Spinach: 3 oz. = 20 calories
- Carrots: 1 cup = 52 calories
Getting the right amount of calories isn’t enough to stay healthy. You will also need to make sure you maintain a balanced diet, including protein, dairy, fruits and veggies, and carbs. Since carbs are easier to store and many basic carb-loaded foods can be baked from bulk baking supplies, you will probably eat a lot more of those. Also, unless they’re canned or frozen, fruits and vegetables will go bad. For this reason, your protein and vegetable portions will likely be much smaller than they would be when food is not scarce.
How Long Will It Need To Last?
After determining how much food you have and how many people you’ll need to feed, you can do the math to figure out how long the food you have will last. Simply consider what one meal will look like. Will it be for two adults, two kids, and one elderly person? If so, you can count up the calories needed and how much from each food group will be consumed. Then, that total will tell you how much food you will lose from one meal. From there, you’ll need to divide your food totals by that meal total. That will tell you how many meals you have. Of course, depending on the length of your situation and the needs of your family, this could go faster than expected or could even be stretched longer. It all depends on how strict you are with your rationing. It’s a good idea to have one person in charge of rationing, to make sure things are consistent and so that nobody takes too much for any one meal. Although we can’t always prepare ahead of time, the more food you can raise, grow, and store, the longer you will be able to survive and the better the health of your family will be when it’s finally time to stop rationing.
How Mare of Easttown’s Evan Peters Used His Real-Life Admiration for Kate Winslet
Last week on Mare of Easttown, Evan Peters stole the show with his emotional, drunken meltdown in front of Kate Winslet’s Mare. This week Detective Colin Zabel took a back seat as other aspects of the case flooded in. But those who guessed that the title of last week’s episode, “Enter Number Two,” was a reference to the Gordon Lightfoot song “If You Could Read My Mind” and predicted Zabel was entering the picture as love interest number two for Mare, are likely feeling pretty smug right now. Zabel made good on last week’s whiskey-soaked flirtatious overture by asking Mare out on a date. Peters tells Vanity Fair that accessing Zabel’s admiration for Mare was pretty easy based on his professional esteem for Winslet.
In this week’s episode of Vanity Fair’s podcast Still Watching: Mare of Easttown, Richard Lawson is dubious about Zabel’s motivations. In fact, he offers a theory that both Peters’s Zabel and Guy Pearce’s Richard may have ulterior motives.
But for Peters the reason for Zabel’s interest in Mare is obvious. There was one thing about Mare of Easttown that pushed the actor to step out of his comfort zone and tackle a character much more grounded in reality than the heightened Ryan Murphy-verse roles he’s been playing for years. “It was definitely something different,” he says. “I was sent the project and it said, ‘Kate Winslet starring,’ and I was just like, Uh, yeah.”
There was the potential to play Zabel as more of a cocksure, hotshot detective type, but Peters says that in chewing over the role with series director Craig Zobel, they decided it was a better choice to make Zabel more of an eager-to-learn admirer of Mare’s. Just as Zabel enters the story in awe of Mare’s detective work, Peters entered the HBO series hoping to observe Winslet and her process. “It was really cool to work with her,” Peters says. “I found it really, really helpful to see her balance, juggle, and carry this whole show and work insane hours and still be a delightful, lovely person.”
Peters is disinclined to give away too many of Winslet’s acting secrets, but he does note how incredibly detail-oriented she is in preparing for every scene sometimes: “She would walk up to me and be like, ‘Okay, so it’s 2:38 p.m. We just came from the deacon’s place, and we probably stopped for a coffee and lunch. Now we’re here and we’re doing this thing.’ I would look at her and be like, ‘Was I supposed to do that? I didn’t prepare like that.’”
So yes, Peters had no trouble playing Colin as someone dazzled by Mare’s extreme competence on the job. “I hate the word meta,” he says, laughing. “I don’t even know what it means. But you sort of go in there thinking, I’m going to try to learn from Kate. I’m gonna try to do the best job that I can. Colin is also going in there trying to learn from Mare and realizes that she’s really good at her job and really in tune with her instincts.”
For Zabel, of course, that professional admiration spills over into something more. Despite Mare’s gruff demeanor and fondness for baggy flannels, Zabel wants that date: “He really likes Mare. The whole show for me, and Colin, is about Mare. There’s something about her that lifts him up and brings him out of his funk. She’s such a good detective, and he wants that.” Surely it doesn’t hurt that Mare looks like Kate Winslet.
Don’t Worry, Chick-fil-A’s Sauce Packet Shortage Is Only Affecting Certain Restaurants
But if your local spot is running low, there’s an easy way to fix it.
Photo by: Andrew Renneisen/Getty
Another shortage is impacting the food industry. This time, the sparse items in question are sauce packets from Chick-fil-A.
Word of a sauce shortage began circulating after an email apparently from a West Virginia Chick-fil-A owner stated that sauce packets for customers should be limited. The restrictions included one sauce packet per entrée, two sauce packets for every meal and three sauce packets for each 30-piece order of chicken nuggets.
Additionally, a Reddit user shared what appeared to be instructions for a Chick-fil-A team regarding sauce packet distribution, seemingly limiting sauce packets to four per meal.
While Chick-fil-A locations across the country haven’t been impacted by the ongoing chicken shortage, many outposts are experiencing sauce-related supply issues. This means that customers at many locations may find that they are only receiving one dipping sauce cup per entrée ordered, instead of several more.
However, a Chick-fil-A rep told Food Network that limits placed on sauce consumption are directives from specific restaurant operators to their team members, and not a company-wide mandate. The rep also noted that Chick-fil-A employees are doing the best they can to ensure customers have the sauces they want and are working to resolve any supply issues as quickly as possible.
“Due to industry-wide supply chain disruptions, some Chick-fil-A restaurants are experiencing a shortage of select items, like sauces,” the rep told Food Network in a statement. “We are actively working to make adjustments to solve this issue quickly and apologize to our guests for any inconvenience.”
This Chick-fil-A sauce shortage follows a string of recent food shortages that have been another unfortunate side effect of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, there was a shortage of single-serve ketchup packets that stemmed from a massive hike in take-out orders. Before that, Grape Nuts were in short supply, as was beloved pizza topping pepperoni.
If you simply can’t chow down on a chicken sandwich or nuggets from Chick-fil-A without some of the chain’s honey mustard or special Chick-fil-A sauce, consider purchasing the condiment on Amazon.
Soy and Cancer Risk: Our Expert’s Advice
There’s a lot of conflicting information going around about soy: Is it healthy? Is it dangerous? And if it’s OK to eat, why do some people say it isn’t?
Some of the misunderstandings come from the fact that studies in people and studies in animals may show different results. In some animal studies, rodents that were exposed to high doses of compounds found in soy called isoflavones showed an increased risk of breast cancer. This is thought to be because the isoflavones in soy can act like estrogen in the body, and increased estrogen has been linked to certain types of breast cancer.
But rodents process soy differently from people, and the same results have not been seen in people. Also, doses of isoflavones in the animal studies are much higher than in humans. In fact, in human studies, the estrogen effects of soy seem to either have no effect at all, or to reduce breast cancer risk (especially in Asian countries, where lifelong intake is higher than the US). This may be because the isoflavones can actually block the more potent natural estrogens in the blood.
So far, the evidence does not point to any dangers from eating soy in people, and the health benefits appear to outweigh any potential risk. In fact, there is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso, and soymilk may lower the risk of breast cancer, especially among Asian women. Soy foods are excellent sources of protein, especially when they replace other, less healthy foods such as animal fats and red or processed meats. Soy foods have been linked to lower rates of heart disease and may even help lower cholesterol.
According to Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, soy foods are healthy and safe. But she advises against taking soy supplements – which contain much higher isoflavone concentrations than food – until more research is done.
Wear a mask
"The CDC and the Surgeon General have said that everyone going out into public for any reason to cover their nose and their mouth," said Nguyen. "That doesn't have to be an official surgical mask." But everyone, including store employees, should be wearing masks.
The self-checkout might be a good idea right now, too, in terms of limiting contact with other people. "Just remember you're going to be touching a lot of things. You don't want to touch your face," said Nguyen. "But you're limiting your contact with that cashier. That protects them that protects you."