Another round up of food-related stories for you, some fresh, some maybe not so fresh. And a little bit of a rant.
How did you celebrate World Idli Day? Me too. Some day, though – maybe for 30 March 2020 – I would like to try making idlis (and dosas, but that’s another story). An old-fashioned egg poacher might be a way of steaming them without too much fuss. On the other hand, I suspect I could also find an old bun tray or similar and figure out a way to do it.
If you heard the episode with Martin Jones on Prehistoric food globalisation you’ll know that archaeologists have been developing all sorts of new analytical techniques to shed light on the emergence of agriculture. A new one is to analyse the salts left behind from the concentrated pee of early herders and their flocks. There’s a press release, although the full paper is much more illuminating, not least about the name of the site, which is Aşıklı Höyük rather than A??kl? Höyu?k.
Interesting, in-depth explainer from the World Resources Institute, weighing in on questions of beef and climate change. I absolutely agree that beef, especially when the animals are finished intensively, eating food that people could eat and creating a lot of waste in a small space, is a disaster for the environment. But I also think that cattle can make important contributions to human diets in a much more sustainable fashion, and without necessarily going to the lengths of feeding them 3-nitrooxypropanol to stop them belching methane. A burger and a half per week is the WRI’s recommendation for a sustainable amount of beef each. But the whole question of sustainable diets is riddled with difficulties.
New Food Economy tries to understand how hipster eggs with pretty coloured shells can sell for $1 each when eggs are also available in supermarkets at one twentieth of that price. Conclusion: “Rainbow eggs may not be commercially practical, but they’re an invaluable marketing tool. Because many small farms can’t compete with industrial agriculture’s low prices, they have to market themselves in a way that sets them apart.”
I do recognise the difficulty of making things available on the internet for free, believe me. And I love it that a reader sent me a link to a really interesting article in The Wall Street Journal: The Pastas You’ve Been Missing Out On…And Where to Find Them. Unfortunately, it being the WSJ, unless you subscribe, or get someone who does subscribe to share the link with you, there’s no way to read it. I tried every trick I know, to no avail. And while I know that the battle is probably lost, I continue to dream of an effective, efficient micro-payment system so I could pay to read single items.
I really do welcome comments, criticism and suggestions; send them over.
All the best,