The Science Behind Grilling the Perfect Steak

Summer has arrived, and it’s time to fire up the backyard grill. Though many of us are trying to eat less beef for environmental reasons, it’s hard to resist indulging in an occasional steak — and you’ll want to make the most of the experience.

So, what’s the best way to grill that steak? Science has some answers. Meat scientists (many of them, unsurprisingly, in Texas) have spent whole careers studying how to produce the tenderest, most flavorful beef possible. Much of what they’ve learned holds lessons only for cattle producers and processors, but a few of their findings can guide backyard grillmasters in their choice of meat and details of the grilling process.

Let’s start with the choice of meat. Every experienced cook knows that the lightly used muscles of the loin, along the backbone, have less connective tissue and thus give tenderer results than the hard-working muscles of the leg. And they know to look for steaks with lots of marbling, the fat deposits between muscle fibers that are a sign of high-quality meat. “If you have more marbling, the meat will be tenderer, juicier, and it will have richer flavor,” says Sulaiman Matarneh, a meat scientist at Utah State University who wrote about muscle biology and meat quality in the 2021 Annual Review of Animal Biosciences.

From a flavor perspective, in fact, the differences between one steak and the next are mostly a matter of fat content: the amount of marbling and the composition of the fatty acid subunits of the fat molecules. Premium cuts like ribeye have more marbling and are also richer in oleic acid, an especially tasty fatty acid — “the one fatty acid that frequently correlates with positive eating experience,” says Jerrad Legako, a meat scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Sirloin, in contrast, has less oleic acid and more fatty acid types that can yield less appealing, fishy flavor hints during cooking.

That fatty acid difference also plays out in a big decision that consumers make when they buy a steak: grain-fed or grass-fed beef? Grain-fed cattle — animals that live their final months in a feedlot eating a diet rich in corn and soybeans — have meat that’s higher in oleic acid. Animals that spend their whole life grazing on pasture have a higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids that break down into smaller molecules with fishy and gamy flavors. Many consumers prefer to buy grass-fed beef anyway, either to avoid the ethical issues of feedlots or because they like that gamy flavor and leaner meat.

The biggest influence on the final flavor of that steak, though, is how you cook it. Flavorwise, cooking meat accomplishes two things. First, the heat of the grill breaks the meat’s fatty acids into smaller molecules that are more volatile — that is, more likely to become airborne. These volatiles are responsible for the steak’s aroma, which accounts for the majority of its flavor. Molecules called aldehydes, ketones and alcohols among that breakdown mix are what we perceive as distinctively beefy.

The second way that cooking builds flavor is through browning, a process that chemists call the Maillard reaction. This is a fantastically complex process in which amino acids and traces of sugars in the meat react at high temperatures to kick off a cascade of chemical changes that result in many different volatile end products.

Most important of these are molecules called pyrazines and furans, which contribute the roasty, nutty flavors that steak aficionados crave. The longer and hotter the cooking, the deeper into the Maillard reaction you go and the more of these desirable end products you get — until eventually, the meat starts to char, producing undesirable bitter, burnt flavors.

The challenge for the grillmaster is to achieve the ideal level of Maillard products at the moment the meat reaches the desired degree of doneness. Here, there are three variables to play with: temperature, time and the thickness of the steak.

Thin steaks cook through more quickly, so they need a hot grill to generate enough browning in the short time available, says Chris Kerth, a meat scientist at Texas A&M University. Kerth and his colleagues have studied this process in the lab, searing steaks to precise specifications and feeding the results into a gas chromatograph, which measures the amount of each volatile chemical produced.

Kerth found, as expected, that thin, half-inch steaks cooked at relatively low temperatures have mostly the beefy flavors characteristic of fatty acid breakdown, while higher temperatures also produce a lot of the roasty pyrazines that result from the Maillard reaction. So if your steak is thin, crank up that grill — and leave the lid open so that the meat cooks through a little more slowly. That will give you time to build a complex, beefy-roasty flavor.

And to get the best sear on both sides, flip the meat about a third of the way through the expected cook time, not halfway — that’s because as the first side cooks, the contracting muscle fibers drive water to the uncooked side. After you flip, this water cools the second side so it takes longer to brown, Kerth’s team found.

When the scientists tested thicker, 1.5-inch steaks, the opposite problem happened: The exterior would burn unpleasantly before the middle finished cooking. For these steaks, a moderate grill temperature gave the best mix of volatiles. And sure enough, when Kerth’s team tested their steaks on actual people, they found that diners gave lower ratings to thick steaks grilled hot and fast. Diners rated the other temperatures and cooking times as all similar to each other, but thick steaks cooked at moderate temperatures won out by a nose.

That might seem odd, given that steakhouses often boast of their thick slabs of prime beef and the intense heat of their grills — exactly the combination Kerth’s study found least desirable. It works because the steakhouses use a two-step cooking process: First, they sear the meat on the hot grill, and then they finish cooking in a moderate oven. “That way, they get the degree of doneness to match the sear that they want,” says Kerth. Home cooks can do the same by popping their seared meat into a 350°F oven until it reaches their desired doneness.

The best degree of doneness, of course, is largely a matter of personal preference — but science has something to say here, too. Meat left rare, says Kerth, doesn’t receive enough heat to break down its fatty acids to generate beefy flavors. And once you go past medium, you lose some of the “bloody” flavors that come with lightly cooked meat. “A lot of people, myself included, like a little bit of bloody note with the brown pyrazines and Maillard compounds,” says Kerth. “It has a bigger flavor.” For those reasons, he advises, “I wouldn’t go any lower than medium rare or certainly any higher than medium. Then you just start losing a lot of the flavor.”

Kerth has one more piece of advice for home cooks: Watch the meat closely when it’s on the grill! “When you’re at those temperatures, a lot happens in a short period of time,” he says. “You start getting a lot of chemical reactions happening very, very quickly.” That’s the scientific basis for what every experienced griller has learned from (literally) bitter experience: It’s easy to burn the meat if you’re not paying attention.

Happy scientifically informed grilling!

Source: The Science Behind Grilling the Perfect Steak | Innovation | Smithsonian Magazine

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Critics:

Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above, below or from the side. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly. Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill (an open wire grid such as a gridiron with a heat source above or below), using a cast iron/frying pan, or a grill pan (similar to a frying pan, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill).

Heat transfer to the food when using a grill is primarily through thermal radiation. Heat transfer when using a grill pan or griddle is by direct conduction. In the United States, when the heat source for grilling comes from above, grilling is called broiling. In this case, the pan that holds the food is called a broiler pan, and heat transfer is through thermal radiation.

Direct heat grilling can expose food to temperatures often in excess of 260 °C (500 °F). Grilled meat acquires a distinctive roast aroma and flavor from a chemical process called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction only occurs when foods reach temperatures in excess of 155 °C (310 °F).

Studies have shown that cooking beef, pork, poultry, and fish at high temperatures can lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines, benzopyrenes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogens. Marination may reduce the formation of these compounds. Grilling is often presented as a healthy alternative to cooking with oils, although the fat and juices lost by grilling can contribute to drier food.

References:

  • AngryBBQ. Not sure what about barbecue makes Mike and Jannah Haas angry, but they have a nice little blog.
  • Barbecue Master. Based in NC barbecue country, Cyndi Allison has been writing about barbecue and teaching it for more than a decade. Check out the links to her other websites and blogs.
  • Barbecues & Grilling at about.com. Derrick Riches is a self taught cook who has learned a lot and he passes it along in this large and deep reference.
  • Barbecuen. Articles and ideas on everything from grills to cooking elk.
  • BroBBQ. A blog of recipes, product testing, fun by Jack Thompson.
  • BBQDryRubs. The site is a nice hobby site from David Somerville covering more than rubs. He focuses on Weber gear and the sausage section is good.
  • BBQ FAQ. An astonishing compilation of wisdom from scores of serious cue’ers. The only problem is that the mailing list of participants has been dissolved so you can no longer sign up. Also, a lot of the links are broken. Still, the knowledge there is timeless.
  • BBQ Sauce Reviews. He likes sauce. Some better than others. See if you fave is on his 5-star list.
  • Braai 4 Heritage. In South Africa they call it braai, and everyone barbecues. They even have a National Braai Day!
  • BBQ Specialties. A nice little blog with recipes.
  • Cooking Outdoors. Gary House is fearless as he cooks everything on his grills, even pies and bread. There are sections on barbecue, cast iron cooking, Dutch oven, fire pit, and foil cooking. Lots of recipes well illustrated with photos.
  • Food Fire Friends. Mark Jenner’s site explores many aspects of outdoor cooking, including recipes, techniques, and product guides, as he works his way toward mastering cooking with live
    fire.
  • GrateTV. This frequent video show stars Jack Waiboer, a talented BBQ cook and competitor based in SC, and co-host Bill West (above). They teach tips, technique, tools, toys, secret ingredients, beer drinking, and answer viewer email questions. They know their stuff, and teach it with a smile. That’s them above, and one of the gadgets they feature.
  • GrillGirl. Robyn Medlin Lindars knows how to cook, and she can do it outdoors. She blogs about her adventures and recipes. Her specialty is making barbecue fun for women. She also cooks on her sailboat! Fun stuff!
  • A Hamburger Today. Gently patted together by Robyn Lee, this site is made of prime restaurant commentary, stuffed with burger lore, topped with good humor, and held together with beautiful drippy photographs. She is aided by a handful of burgerphiles who know their stuff.
  • Home BBQ. Message boards that discuss just about anything barbecue.
  • The Ingredient Store.com. Home of the FAB injections and marinades. FAB is the stuff most of the brisket champs inject (into the meat, not themselves).
  • Live Fire Online. Curt McAdams can cook and takes nice pix in Ohio. He focuses on barbecuing and grilling, but often digresses on local foods, markets, baking, and dining.
  • Mark Stevens. I met Mark in one of the online message boards and have learned a thing or two from him and his tips. You can too. His home made website has great links, and some good recipes and tips.
  • Naked Whiz. This may be the most inaccurate and inappropriate name for a website on the net, but don’t let it deter you. This is the go-to site if you have any questions about charcoal, how it is made, and what is the best.
  • Nibble Me This. Chris Grove is in Knoxville and he works his Big Green Egg and other cookers hard. He has also written a book about kamados.
  • Grillocracy. Our lead writer Clint Cantwell’s personal BBQ and grilling blog.
  • Patio Daddio BBQ. John Dawson brings his analytical IT mind to the patio and tests new techniques, equipment, and recipes with an unusual thoroughness and sharp sense of humor. He also competes. This is one of my faves.
  • Postcards from Scotsylvania. Scot Murphy is a very smart, witty, fella, and a pretty good cook too. His blog covers barbecue, gardening, politics, comics, and “ruminations about the universe, occasional whining, snarkiness, stuff like that.”
  • Real Truck. Accessories and gear for your truck.
  • She Smoke. Julie Reinhardt is the author of the book She-Smoke, a Backyard Barbecue Book, and co-owner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle. This blog is an extension of the book, the restaurant, and how she rolls with two kids in tow.

Your Weird Pandemic Meals Are Probably Fine

woman eating

For the first 34 years of my life, I always ate three meals a day. I never thought much about it—the routine was satisfying, it fit easily into my life, and eating three meals a day is just what Americans generally do. By the end of last summer, though, those decades of habit had begun to erode. The time-blindness of working from home and having no social plans left me with no real reason to plod over to my refrigerator at any specific hour of the day. To cope, I did what many Americans have done over the past year: I quasi-purposefully fumbled around for a new routine, and eventually I came up with some weird but workable results—and with Big Meal.

Big Meal is exactly what it sounds like: a meal that is large. It’s also untethered from linear time. Big Meal is not breakfast, lunch, or dinner—social constructs that no longer exist as such in my home—although it could theoretically occur at the traditional time for any of them. Big Meal comes when you’re ready to have it, which is a moment that only you can identify. For me, this is typically in the late afternoon, but sometimes it’s at breakfast. Generally, Big Meal happens once a day.

In the dieting (excuse me, biohacking) trend known as intermittent fasting, people compress their calories into a limited window of hours. But that’s not what Big Meal is at all. It’s not a diet. I snack whenever I feel like it—Triscuits with slices of pepper jack, leftover hummus from the Turkish takeout place that sometimes provides Big Meal, a glob of smooth peanut butter on a spoon. The phrase started as a joke about my inability to explain to a friend why I was making risotto in the middle of the afternoon, or why I didn’t have an answer to “What’s for dinner?” at 6 p.m. beyond “Uh, well, I ate a giant burrito at 11 a.m. and grazed all afternoon, so I think I’m done for the day.” Now I simply say, “It’s time for Big Meal,” or “I already had Big Meal.”

This curious change in my own eating was just the beginning. The pandemic has disrupted nearly every part of daily life, but the effects on how people eat have been particularly acute. Dining closures and weekend boredom have pushed a country of reticent cooks to prepare more of its own meals. Delivery-app middlemen have tightened their grip on the takeout market. Supply shortages have made flour, beans, pasta, and yeast hot commodities. Viral recipes have proliferated—can I interest anyone in sourdough, banana bread, shallot pasta, baked feta, or a truly excellent cast-iron-pan pizza?

Even for people who have had a relatively stable existence over the past year, pandemic mealtime changes have been chaotic. Which isn’t to say that they’ve been uniformly negative. Big shifts in daily life have a way of forcing people into new habits—and forcing them to figure out what they actually want to eat.

If you pore over the food-business news from the past year, there’s little question that lots of people have changed their habits in one way or another. For instance, many people are buying more snacks—in January, Frito-Lay said that some of its marquee brands, such as Tostitos and Lay’s, had finished the year with sales increases of roughly 30 to 40 percent. The entire “fruit snack” category has more than doubled its sales, according to one market analysis. Frozen-food sales are up more than 20 percent, and online orders of packaged foods as varied as chewing gum and wine have also seen a marked increase.

But sales numbers and trend reports tell only part of the story. Underneath them are people trying to mold their individual circumstances to survivability, or maybe even pleasure, however they can, and the biggest unifying factor is that “normal” hardly exists anymore. For millions of people who have lost income during the pandemic, just getting groceries is often a hard-fought victory. Among the wealthy, constant Caviar deliveries and access to private, pandemic-safe dining bubbles at fine restaurants have kept things novel. Households in the middle have scrambled to form new, idiosyncratic routines all their own.

Wendy Robinson, a community-college administrator in St. Paul, Minnesota, told me that working from home most of the week has had the opposite effect on her than it did on me: It added more meals to her life. Before the pandemic, “a lot of my eating was really convenience-driven, and I didn’t have a dedicated lunchtime, because I just was so busy,” she said. Food came erratically—from a co-worker’s desk, from the campus cafeteria, from Starbucks, picked up on the way home after a late night at work. Now she eats a real lunch most days, and she cooks more—a hobby she has always enjoyed—because she can do it while she’s on conference calls and during what used to be her commute.

Kids have necessitated their own set of pandemic adaptations. Robinson and her husband, who also works from home most of the time, have two kids who attend school remotely. Despite a rough first few months and plenty of ongoing stresses, Robinson says the at-home life has also given her more opportunity to cook with her kids and teach them the basics. Lately, her 12-year-old son has begun to enthusiastically pitch in during the family’s meals. “He makes a legit great omelet and delicious scrambled eggs, and he makes himself grilled cheese,” Robinson said. “Sometimes, when I am really busy, he will make me lunch now.”

With younger kids, things can be a little trickier. Scott Hines’s sons, 4 and 5, aren’t yet old enough to manage many cooking tasks for themselves, but they are old enough to seek out munchies. “I swear there are days where they’ve eaten snacks and no meals,” Hines, an architect based in Louisville, Kentucky, told me. “The days that they’re doing online learning, it’s impossible to control that, just because they’re bored.” On the upside, Hines, an enthusiastic cook who runs a newsletter for sharing his favorite recipes, said that working from home for part of the week has allowed him to try more types of cooking projects this year. Before, he often relied on foods that could be microwaved or otherwise prepared quickly. Now, he said, “I can make a soup; I can make something that goes in the pressure cooker or sits in the Dutch oven for hours, because I can start it at lunchtime.”

For people without kids, and especially those who live alone, the pandemic’s impact works out a little differently in the kitchen. When it’s just you, there’s no bugging your partner to wash the dishes or trading off cooking duties with a roommate or letting a budding teen chef chop the vegetables. It’s all you, every time you’re hungry. “The amount of effort is immense,” Ashley Cornall, a 30-year-old project manager in San Francisco, told me. “It’s spending my entire life washing dishes, or in my kitchen, prepping something.”

Before the pandemic, many of Cornall’s meals were social occasions, or something quick picked up from the zillions of restaurants built to feed the Bay Area’s office workers in their offices. She still orders takeout occasionally, but often feels bad about asking a delivery person to ferry food to her. Because constant Zoom meetings during the day make it hard to slip out to pick something up, she tends to find herself cobbling together a meal out of snacks.

Even so, Cornall told me she has grown to enjoy cooking when she does have the time for it. “There is something kind of nice about putting on music and cooking a meal in the evening and having half a glass of wine, taking a moment to enjoy it,” she said. Having more control over what’s in her food has also helped her get closer to a longtime goal of switching to vegetarianism; she’s not totally there yet, but she eats a lot less meat than she used to.

Splintering the three-meals-a-day norm might at first feel unnatural, but in the long arc of human history, that eating schedule is both extremely recent and born almost entirely of social convenience. According to Amy Bentley, a food historian at NYU, eating three meals a day is not something we do because of nutritional science or a natural human inclination. Instead, it’s largely a consequence of industrialization, which formalized the workday and drew much of the population away from home on a regular basis.

Preindustrial America was more rural and agrarian, and people worked during daylight hours, pausing midmorning and later in the afternoon. “It was more like a two-meal kind of schedule that was based on outdoor physical labor and farm labor, and those meals tended to be quite big,” Bentley told me.

Over time, more and more Americans were drawn into daily life outside the home—more kids were sent to school, and housewives and domestic workers, whose presence was once common in middle-class American homes, joined the formal labor market. Industrialized food processing began to provide an array of products marketed as quick-and-easy breakfast foods—products that had never previously existed but whose ubiquity accelerated after World War II. Industrialized breakfasts such as cornflakes and instant oatmeal make for meals that are generally small and nutritionally hollow, which meant that people then needed to eat again during the day before commuting home for a later dinner, which was—and often still is—important for its role in family social life.

You can probably see the fault lines already. Of course vanishing commutes, remote schooling, and the flexibility to make a sandwich during a conference call would change how people eat. The three-meal-a-day axiom was created to bend human life around the necessity of leaving the home to work elsewhere for the whole day, and now people are bending once again, around a whole new set of challenges. Our old eating schedules are no more natural than sitting in a cubicle for 10 hours a day.

But food is a fraught emotional topic, and people often worry that changes in their behavior—even those that feel natural—are somehow unhealthy. Rachel Larkey, a registered dietitian in Yonkers, New York, who specializes in treating eating disorders among her mostly low-income clients, has heard this worry frequently over the past year. “Folks are feeling like their routines are kind of nebulous now, and they don’t have a lot of structure in their day,” she told me. “If we have a routine, our body starts to say, Okay, it’s noon; it’s my lunchtime. I’m hungry now.” Without that expectation, people notice their hunger at hours of the day that aren’t necessarily mealtimes, or find themselves without much of an appetite when they think they’re supposed to eat.

These challenges hit everybody differently. Adapting to your own shifting needs is easier if you have money to buy kitchen equipment and food, or if eating isn’t a stressful, emotional minefield for you. But Larkey said that much of the scaremongering about the “quarantine 15” is silly. People naturally gain and lose weight as the conditions of their life change, and extreme reactions to gaining a few pounds right now can compound the harm of the pandemic’s other stresses on physical and mental health. What matters, Larkey told me, is whether the changes in your eating habits make you feel good and healthy—whether they fit your current life and your needs better than what you were doing before.Screenshot_2021-01-27-www-bevtraders-com-25-1-1-2-1-2-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

New or worsening food compulsions, such as eating far more or far less than you used to, are cause for alarm. But what’s not cause for alarm, Larkey said, is adjusted eating patterns or mealtimes that are more useful or satisfying in the weird, stressful conditions people are now living in. “We’re really not taught that we can trust our body’s cues,” she told me. “It can feel so destabilizing to have to think about them for maybe the first time ever.”

In some of the new routines created to make the past year a little less onerous, it’s not hard to see how life after the pandemic might be made a little more flexible—more humane—for tasks as essential as cooking and eating. For now, though, go ahead and do whatever feels right. There’s no reason to keep choking down your morning Greek yogurt if you’re not hungry until lunch, or to force yourself to cook when you’re bone tired and would be just as happy with cheese and crackers. You might not make it all the way to Big Meal, but you don’t have to be stuck at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

By: Amanda Mull

Source: Your Weird Pandemic Meals Are Probably Fine – The Atlantic

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So with this Covid-19 AKA The Coronavirus has swept across the world and sent a lot of people into a panic, and the shops are empty of non perishable goods, which is Pasta, Rice and most tinned goods. But if you have these things then you can take part in the Pandemic Meals lol. So we have Pasta, Cream of Mushroom Soup(Heinze) Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs. #COVID19 #coronavirus #pandemic #teamctb #christhebutcher #virus
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S.F.’s Meals on Wheels opens new, bigger kitchen
http://www.sfchronicle.com – November 24, 2020
[…] At the height of the pandemic, Meals on Wheels added 100 to 150 new clients a week, compared to 50 before the pandemic […]
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Aztec Senior Community Center offering drive-thru Thanksgiving meals
http://www.daily-times.com – November 18, 2020
[…] Center will offer drive-thru Thanksgiving meal services to the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals will be distributed to Aztec residents from 11 a […]
17
Feeding America: How A Couple Is Using Backpacks To Curtail Hunger
http://www.forbes.com – November 18, 2020
[…] And because of the pandemic, meals are needed more than ever […]
8
How pizza became the MVP of pandemic meals
http://www.225batonrouge.com – November 17, 2020
We’ve all been there: No idea what to make for dinner. Not in the mood for this, that or the other. “Let’s just order a pizza.” That longstanding solution took on new meaning in quarantine times as more families turned to the simple comfort of pizza.
1
La Vergne Middle School’s Project Feed giving Thanksgiving meals to go
http://www.dnj.com – November 17, 2020
[…] Due to the pandemic, meals will be provided to-go this year […]
2
Farmington Salvation Army offering free to-go meals on Thanksgiving
http://www.daily-times.com – November 16, 2020
[…] branch will be offering only to-go Thanksgiving meals during this holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis at Daily Bread, a soup kitchen located at 405 […]
3
How to Help Ease Pandemic Impacts
http://www.fidelitycharitable.org – November 14, 2020
[…] Many also lack resources to maintain physical and mental health during a pandemic. Meals on Wheels programs nationwide have been serving an average of 77 percent more meals to 47 percen […]
3
Families Helping Others in Times of Uncertainty
[…]  When they were looking for an opportunity to volunteer together during the pandemic, Meals on Wheels ended up being a good fit […]
0
UTO grants help feeding ministries expand to meet needs of communities hit by pandemic –
[…] At the onset of the pandemic, Meals on Wheels and other local feeding ministries suspended or reduced their services, so “these peopl […]
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This terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year desperately needs to end on an up note. We at ’s Give!Guide are here to help.
http://www.wweek.com – November 4, 2020
[…] Since the beginning of the pandemic, Meals on Wheels People has made over 50,000 wellness checks and remained true to its commitment to neve […]
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| Dallas Area Rapid Transit
txn20.org – November 2, 2020
[…] DART and their employees are supporting North Texas communities during the pandemic: Meals for North Texas Students: DART bus operators made sure that Dallas Independent School Distric […]
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Scarlett Johansson & Colin Jost Married: Couple Ties The Knot –
hollywoodlife.com – October 29, 2020
[…] got engaged in May 2019 after two years of dating, had to postpone their 2020 nuptials due to the pandemic. Meals on Wheels, a charity beloved by the Black Widow and Saturday Night Live stars, broke the news o […]
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October 27, 2020 – Local spooky podcasts, pecans + Asheville golf
avltoday.6amcity.com – October 29, 2020
[…] specialty, multi-course menus as a way to collaborate + support local food professionals during the pandemic. Meals feature ingredients from local farms that depend on area restaurants for sales […]
1
Misophonia Treatment: Here’s How I’m Dealing With Misophonia
http://www.self.com – October 28, 2020
[…] Now, after eating countless pandemic meals, snacks, and desserts together over the past six months, my boyfriend’s chewing has me feelin […]
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Meal Reminder from Superintendent Susan Enfield | News Details – Highline Public Schools
http://www.highlineschools.org – October 23, 2020
[…] Superintendent Enfield encouraging everyone to take advantage of meals provided by USDA during the pandemic. Meals are for everyone, regardless of family income […]
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‘I’ve put on a stone and my kids smell of oregano’: Guardian readers on their weirdest pandemic meals | Food | The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com – October 8, 2020
Being at home so much this year has led to some of us getting a bit more, well, experimental in our cooking.Here are 10 of the oddest offerings shared by readers…
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Indoor Dining Returns to New York City, but Will Customers? – The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com – September 30, 2020
[…] at 25 percent capacity and must keep their tables spaced six feet apart — a far cry from pre-pandemic meals where diners could be packed cheek by jowl in some cramped neighborhood eateries […]
2
Meals On Wheels’ Grocery Shopping Assistance Program aids homebound seniors
http://www.wsfltv.com – September 30, 2020
During this pandemic, Meals on Wheels South Florida has made sure homebound seniors across our community have meals on thei […]
1
2020 Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner shifts to meal delivery in lieu of sit-down dinner
http://www.ksat.com – September 30, 2020
NEWS 2020 Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner shifts to meal delivery in lieu of sit-down dinner Published: September 29, 2020, 5:28 pm Tags: Tradition, News, Covid-19, Local News, Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner, Coronavirus Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meals will still be prepared, but volunteers will deliv

Plant-Based in a Pinch: The Frozen Food Aisle Is Turning Vegan, Organic, and Nutritious

Frozen food holds an interesting position in modern food history. Flash freezing has been hailed as a technological marvel that made nutritious vegetables accessible to urban and suburban Americans virtually anywhere, at any time of year. But TV dinners have also been pinned as a symbol of the domination of processed foods over the American diet — a move away from natural, wholesome foods from the earth and instead toward laboratory-made sugar and salt bombs that are shortening our lifespans. 

The frozen food industry is rapidly growing

Like with any complicated subject, the conclusion to be drawn isn’t as simple as “frozen food is good” or “frozen food is bad.” It’s true that flash-frozen fruits and vegetables were and continue to be a helpful innovation that allows people to get vitamin and nutrient-dense foods into their diets. It’s also true that some frozen food brands sell meals that are incredibly high in calories, sugar, and cholesterol, with very few necessary vitamins and minerals to balance it out.

Related: The Best Way to Brand Your Plant-Based Business

But people today are busy, and with the continuing effects of the global health crisis on supply chains, access to fresh food is challenging in a way many of us have never experienced before. The frozen food market, globally, was valued at $291.3 billion in 2019, and was expected to continue growing even before the pandemic. Frozen, ready-to-eat meals make up a significant portion of that figure. The time-saving, long-lasting, satisfying and potentially nutritious properties of frozen foods are just too tempting to pass up right now.

Expect more from the frozen aisle 

Fortunately, there are lots of producers branching out beyond trays of chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes, to offer more diverse flavors and healthier options in the frozen food aisle.

Amy’s Kitchen, the well-established vegetarian food brand, has been on this beat for some time. They have a hefty array of frozen, prepared foods, including veggie burger patties, pizzas, and microwaveable breakfast burritos. Lots of their products are vegan, as well as organic and non-GMO, making them great snacks or no-effort dinners for busy people looking for healthier options in a pinch. And some popular plant-based brands didn’t start off in the frozen food aisle but have since expanded there. Daiya, best known for their vegan cheese shreds and slices, now sells ready-to-cook pizzas and microwavable burritos.

Kashi, the health food brand you might know better for their cereals and granolas, also offers a line of frozen prepared meals —  all of which are vegan and non-GMO, and come in globally-inspired recipes like chimichurri quinoa bowls and mayan harvest bake.

Related: Make the Most of Your Frozen Fruit and Vegetable Supply With a Nutribullet

Even brands that do sell meat and other animal products seem to be making a concentrated effort to keep up with consumers’ growing interest in plant-based eating by offering clearly labeled, vegan-friendly meals. Frontera, which sells a variety of Mexican-inspired snacks and meal starters, has a full line of frozen meals and skillet kits in traditional, meaty varieties, but also plant-based ones that center beans and veggies, like their three bean taco bowl that includes lively ingredients like plantains, chard, fire-roasted peppers, and kale. Similarly, Saffron Road is a brand that sells snacks, meals, and accouterments mostly inspired by Indian cuisine. Their frozen selection, like Frontera, includes meat-centric options as well as totally vegan ones, like their pre-made vegetable biryani.

Frozen prepared meals offer the convenience of TV dinners to consumers with special dietary needs and interests, like vegetarianism or veganism, and in many cases offer gluten-free, soy-free, or otherwise allergen-free options as well. But well-established, as well as up-and-coming plant-based food brands, also offer sides and dinner helpers, in addition to full, TV dinner-style meals.

Quick plant-based meals are increasingly available

Since, as research shows, much of the frozen food market is still dominated by meat, it only makes sense that plant-based companies in the freezer aisle would offer mains and sides to help complete a vegan dinner, too. When you have time to do a little cooking, but going from scratch just isn’t going to happen, plant-based and environmentally conscious consumers can throw on something like frozen cauliflower wings or spinach bites to have on the table quickly.

One such brand offering meal accouterments would be Strong Roots, offering delectable cauliflower hash browns. Their line of sides/snacks and burger patties are very veggie-centric and made from unique ingredient combinations, like their beetroot and bean burger or broccoli and purple carrot bites. With their simple, easily-pronounceable ingredient lists, they’re proving that not all frozen food is laden with heaps of salt, sugar, and mystery ingredients.

Related: ‘One Email From Whole Foods Launched My Entire Business,’ Says the Co-Founder of a Gluten Free Frozen Food Brand

Similarly, RollinGreens offers slightly elevated, healthier alternatives to kid favorites like tater tots and wings. Instead of potato, their tots are made of millet, vegetables, and spices, making for a snack or side that boasts a simple ingredient list and low glycemic index. The simplicity factor goes for their cauliflower wings as well, which come in teriyaki, sweet mustard, and spicy green buffalo varieties.

Plant-based startups and old standbys alike are putting options onto the fast-growing frozen food market that are changing the character of the category. No longer is frozen food confined to its reputation as a convenient but overall unhealthy and unnatural product. Shelves are now stocked with meals, sides, and snacks that balance the health and environmental concerns of modern consumers with their busy schedules and need for quick, easy options. At a time when we’re all overworked and stressed, a quick and wholesome dinner might be exactly what we need.

By: Brian Kateman Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Chicken Wings With Traces of COVID Reignite Questions About Food Borne Transmission Risks

Daily Life In Dalian Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak

Officials in China’s southern metropolis Shenzhen reported Thursday they had found traces of COVID-19 on a batch of chicken wings imported from South America. Media reports soon claimed chicken wings had “tested positive” for coronavirus, stoking fears the virus has found its way into the world’s food supply. However, the World Health Organization says that’s not a concern.

“We have no examples of where this virus has been transmitted as a food-borne [disease], where someone has consumed a food product [and become infected],” WHO head of emerging diseases unit Maria van Kerkhove said during a regular press briefing Thursday.

Although COVID-19 is a zoonotic virus, meaning it originated in an animal before transferring to humans, it likely didn’t do so through consumption. As Van Kerkhove points out, if the virus was in our meat supply it would be killed when the meat is cooked. Raw food, like sushi or even runny eggs, poses more of a risk, but so far the virus has not been found inside those products.

The original outbreak of COVID-19 at a market in Wuhan more likely occurred because humans had close contact with both live and dead animals and didn’t take proper hygiene precautions, such as washing their hands.

Still, a recent flurry of incidents connecting coronavirus outbreaks with food markets has caused concern. In June Beijing shut down a seafood market after a cluster of COVID-19 cases were traced to one of the stalls there. Officials speculated the virus had been imported along with fish from Europe, prompting a sudden boycott of Norwegian salmon.

This week, New Zealand reinstated a nationwide lockdown after a COVID-19 cluster emerged in Auckland. The island country had gone 102 days without a single local transmission case before the cluster emerged. Local authorities are investigating whether the virus could have been imported along with frozen food since one of the patients worked at a cold storage unit.

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Chinese officials also suspended meat imports from three Ecuadorean companies this week after COVID-19 was found on packages of frozen prawns. Samples taken from inside the packages and from the prawns themselves tested negative for coronavirus.

“The results show that the container and the packaging of these companies are under the risk of becoming contaminated by the novel coronavirus. Experts said that while this does not mean they can transmit the virus, it shows that the management of food safety is not ideal,” Bi Kexin, director general of China’s Import and Export Food Safety Bureau, said about the suspect prawn imports.

In the case of the Shenzhen chicken wings, too, COVID-19 was found only on the surface of the chicken and the packaging of the meat—not inside the chicken itself……

Read More: Fortune

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Côte at Home Shows How To Do Home Delivery With Flair Assuming Dinner Turns Up

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A Saturday night and my phone pings. It’s an email from a well-known courier company. Earlier that day they’d confirmed that my delivery from a high-street restaurant chain would arrive the next day. Now they were telling me it was cancelled: “Contact the sender directly for more information.” At 9.30pm on a Saturday night? Gosh, thanks. Last month, when I wrote about the enduring appeal of French food in Britain, I was emailed by a senior person from the high street bistro chain Côte. They had just launched their Côte at Home range, available nationwide. Would I like to try it?

I turn down over 95% of the freebies offered to me. Partly this is because I am drenched in enough privilege as it is. Wet through, I am. Also, where would I put it all? Mostly, though, I decline such because I’d prefer to experience products as other customers would. I’ve never eaten in a branch of Côte, but many people have told me they rather like them: a fair price point, reliable food and good service. (Complaints in 2015 about the unfair use of tips to top up wages led to a change in policy.) Accordingly, I declined the offer of Côte at Home for free and instead booked it myself. Now, here I was very much experiencing the gorgeous life of a valued customer: it was a Saturday night, I’d spent £85, and my planned dinner for Sunday night had disappeared, along with the contents of this column.

‘A generous portion of for £4.95’: roasted asparagus.

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‘A generous portion of for £4.95’: roasted asparagus.

Sod that. What’s the point of being thickly glazed in privilege if you don’t use it? I emailed the Côte exec. Much hand wringing. Apparently six packages had been lost by the couriers. It would be reorganised. Of course it would. Five other people probably have me to thank for their delivery turning up that Sunday, because I do wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t made a stink.

I mention this partly because it would have been far less than full disclosure not to, but mostly because I want them to sort it out. The thing is that Côte at Home is really good. Not just “good considering they’re a high street chain”, or “not bad at the price”. It’s proper good, in the way you tell your neighbours about over the garden wall while dissing the government’s latest knuckle-dragging stupidity. The online selection is so extensive – not just ready meals but cheeses, wines and butchery – that I wondered whether a food service company was involved. Apparently not. Côte introduced a central kitchen for some of their dishes a while back and, with the additions of a few buy-ins, it all comes from there.

Be prepared for packaging that recalls hardcore M&S: recyclable film-sealed plastic trays with cardboard sleeves bearing the legend “Handmade in the UK.” The labelling is supermarket ready, from allergens, through nutritional advice to ingredients and barcodes, with a chilled shelf life of a week. Look closely at those ingredients. It’s what those in the food business call a “clean dec” (short for clean declaration). It’s all words you would recognise, rather than the sort of preservatives and emulsifiers that allow certain foods to outlive that kitten you just acquired. The pokey vinaigrette, with a generous portion of roasted asparagus for £4.95, is made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and oil, just as mine is. The gazpacho, more than enough for two, and again for £4.95, is made with such exotic ingredients as tomatoes, cucumbers, red and green peppers, garlic and olive oil. It tastes as if it has just been blitzed in my own kitchen. I check. I hadn’t blitzed it in my own kitchen. There are brioche croutons and basil leaves to add. It’s bright and fresh with a strident peppery kick.

Have you ever stood in a supermarket aisle peering at ready-meal portion sizes, muttering: “Which two people is this for? A couple of four-year-olds who are off their food?” No? Just me then. These dishes pass that test. The most expensive is the beef bourguignon at £13.95 for two including a portion of their mash, the arrival of which shames me. But then it’s part of the deal and I’m working, OK? It’s a proper serving for two of me, made with long-cooked boulders of shin, glugs of cabernet sauvignon, lardons, veal jus and a fat old dollop of time. It is ripe and unctuous and could stick your lips together on a chilly day. It gives Tom Kerridge’s recent beef cheek bourguignon serious competition.

‘It’s a proper serving for two of me’: beef bourguignon.

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‘It’s a proper serving for two of me’: beef bourguignon.

Other highlights: a lamb parmentier that the packaging translates as a shepherd’s pie, made with both mince and pieces of lamb that have disintegrated graciously. There is salmon with ratatouille, and to finish, an impressive lemon and Armagnac posset spun through with zest for £3.50, or a classy apple tarte fine for £4.50. Home preparation has been considered. The oven needs to be at 200C for all of it, and cooking times are in multiples of 10 minutes, making it straightforward to get the dishes out in the right order. A slight niggle: the mash that I hated myself for having and the minted peas, required a microwave, which I don’t own. I did them on the hob. They were fine. I’d be very surprised if this service didn’t continue once the crisis ends, and far less surprised if the products turned up in supermarkets, though they’ll be hard pushed to maintain the current price point once retailers take a cut.

One other delivery: the small Mumbai-inspired group Dishoom have launched a kit enabling you to make their rightly famed bacon naans at home for £16, delivered via Deliveroo from their three London outposts. This did come to me for free, because I was then outside the catchment area, but I made a donation to the charity Magic Breakfast, which provides breakfasts in schools to kids who need them. (Dishoom makes a donation to Magic Breakfast for every kit sold).

‘Rightly famed’: Dishoom bacon naans.

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‘Rightly famed’: Dishoom bacon naans. Photograph: Charlie McKay

It’s a lot of fun, and is now available nationwide. You get the three pots of dough, so you have one to screw up (or fill yourself). Roll the dough out, put it into a fiercely hot dry pan for 30 seconds then under the grill for a minute. Works a treat. There’s cream cheese, tomato chilli jam, coriander and very good streaky bacon from Ramsay of Carluke. The good things to have come out of this crisis are few, but a Dishoom bacon naan at home is one of them. Next week this column should find me eating in an actual restaurant. Or just outside one. Fingers crossed.

Visit coteathome.co.uk and dishoomathome.com

News bites

A London-based wine company, Nice, was due to launch an Argentinean Malbec in recyclable cans for the 2020 music festival circuit, to go with their sauvignon blanc and rosé that went on sale in 2019. Now, with a lot of sturdy red wine on their hands, they’ve bottled it and are selling it with all profits going to NHS charities. ‘Wine for heroes’ is available via selected retailers, Amazon and their own website, nice-drinks.co.uk.

One issue of the furlough scheme for the restaurant trade has been that income from service charges through ‘tronc’ schemes was not regarded as the salary upon which government payments were calculated. Many employees, already on modest salaries, saw incomes cut in half during the crisis. It’s shone a light on what many see as the problematical nature of restaurant staff depending upon tips, by their nature variable, to get by. Now London restaurants Oklava and Hill and Szrok have joined a few others by announcing the scrapping of all service charges. The headline price of dishes will go up, but there will be no extra to pay and staff salaries will be guaranteed. Let’s hope it catches on.

A survey of 2,000 people by research company Perspectus Global has found that Lady and the Tramp sharing spaghetti is the most loved movie restaurant scene of all time. The top ten also includes Meg Ryan’s faked orgasm at Katz Deli in When Harry Met Sally and Mia and Vincent going for a burger in Pulp Fiction.

 

By:

 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com

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Big Food Proves That Reinventing Itself Is Good For Its Immunity

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As the Covid-19 pandemic appears to ebb in many areas of the world, governments, businesses and consumers are grappling with how quickly they can return to “normal.” I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen for the food industry.

The coronavirus pandemic forced many food companies to rethink what they sell, how they make it, and how they deliver it – all with the public good in mind. Some have changed their practices in all three areas, and in ways many did not think was possible before.

The takeaway: Food companies are capable of profound change if they have the will. If Big Food companies don’t learn this lesson – if they don’t vow to keep innovating and embedding social impact into their mission without the pandemic’s gun to their head — they may not succeed long term. Here’s why: The pandemic only accelerated trends well under way in consumer behavior. Those trends include a growing awareness of the link between food and health, a deep concern for the environment and a disdain for companies that don’t consider stakeholders beyond stockholders.

During the pandemic, the halos around the noblest food companies have only grown brighter. Chobani donated more than 3 million cups of yogurt to food banks around the U.S. and ramped up production to do so, buying more milk from dairy farmers hit hard by the decline in the restaurant business. Unilever gave more than 100 million Euros worth of soap, sanitizer, bleach and food to national health organizations and non-government bodies to distribute to communities in need. Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B – one of the first supermarket companies to implement safety measures and impose limits on shopper purchase quantities for some foods — is offering prepared foods from local restaurants in its stores and giving the restaurants all of the profits. And Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola are making hand sanitizer and donating it to Covid-19 health care workers.

But for other companies, the pandemic only made them look worse. Behemoth meat packers Smithfield, Tyson and JBS were hit hard by the coronavirus outbreaks, and drew comparisons to Upton Sinclair’s 1906 muckraking novel, “The Jungle,” because of their crowded factory floors and harsh working conditions that fueled the virus’ spread. In March, a South Dakota Smithfield plant reportedly became the nation’s largest cluster of Covid-19 cases, with 518 employees testing positive and in turn infecting 126 non-employees. Shutdowns and reduced operations at meatpackers resulting from Covid-19 outbreaks are causing  shortages that will likely persist for a while.

Consumers are not likely to forget what certain companies did during the epidemic. The pandemic is turbo-charging an overall concern for health, economic inequality and the environment that was already in place. Here are some shifts in thinking that were pushed further as a result of the crisis:

Food and Health

More people around the world are thinking more carefully about the link between food and health. In a survey of consumers in 18 countries regarding their attitudes about food as a result of the pandemic, 73% said they are changing the way they eat to improve their health and immunity. An International Food Information Council (IFIC) survey of American consumers showed that more than half of Millennials, the largest generational cohort, prioritize health when choosing food. They will now be more deliberate about their food choices.

Income and Health Inequality

The pandemic has also laid bare the health gap between the haves and have-nots. The World Economic Forum recently pointed out the tragedies of food waste, food insecurity and food overconsumption. It urged food companies to rethink how they make and distribute their products. “We have a food-storage and distribution problem, alongside a systemic and growing gluttony problem, not just a production problem,” the WEF says. Among Millennials 83% state that businesses should be involved in societal issues.

Food and the Environment

With disruptions in the food supply and evidence of lower pollution as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the food industry’s environmental impact will undergo even more scrutiny as its supply system contributes to 24% of all greenhouse gas emissions. As shutdowns at meatpacking plants continue to add to shortages, companies like Beyond Meat are making inroads. According to a University of Michigan study commissioned by that company, a plant-based burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 45% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land use than a quarter pound of traditional U.S. beef. Sales of meat alternatives like Beyond Meat have nearly tripled, according to Nielsen sales tracking reports.

Food companies everywhere must recognize that their customers have changed. The companies that don’t incorporate social impact into their corporate missions will lose out. Some things they must do:

  • Embrace purpose as the new profit. Companies that demonstrate social impact leadership and that imbue their employees with a sense of purpose are seeing that doing the right thing is good business. Consider that Unilever’s “Sustainable Living” brands grew 69% faster than its other businesses in 2018. Over the past few years, 85% of companies with a clearly articulated and understood purpose experienced positive sales increases, and 58% saw growth of at least 10%, according to a LinkedIn survey. And according to PwC’s Workforce of the Future survey, 88% of Millennials say they want to work for a company with a purpose.
  • Lead in providing healthier foods that are sustainable. The success of meat alternatives during the pandemic is likely to continue even when meat supplies return to normal. Newly aware of the impact that meat production has on the environment, consumers will likely keep buying plant sources of protein. Food companies must find a way to capture business from the growing number of these “flexitarians” and continue to add new products that promote better health.
  • Fix your own house. Consumers are not likely to forget the images of cramped meat production lines, exhausted supermarket workers and overworked Amazon warehouse employees. Social media will help them remember. Demonstrating care for your employees during both good and bad times will help consumers want to buy more of your products.

Over the next few months, as the U.S. and other parts of the world cautiously re-open, leaders of food companies making products that impair our health must examine their consciences. Their innovative responses to the pandemic prove they are capable of making rapid, big and beneficial-to-society changes.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a former food industry executive turned author, speaker and public health champion whose mission is to guide corporations on how to profitably transition their businesses to drive positive social change. Dubbed a “pragmatic revolutionary,” I currently serve as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a policy think tank in Washington, D.C., where I direct its Food Policy Center which has been supported by sponsors such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. I am the author of the book Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat and the landmark report “Better-for-you Foods: It’s Just Good Business.” Most recently I served as architect for the confections industry commitment to reduce portion sizes and sell fewer calories and have moderated expert panels at the White House, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Partnership for a Healthier America, among others.

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Food industry leaders from Wegmans, Rosina Foods, Rich Products, Tops, Clorox, and the Affinity Group discussed the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the food industry. The event was sponsored by the Niagara University College of Business Administration’s Food Marketing Center of Excellence, Center for Supply Chain Excellence, and Family Business Center, in partnership with the Office of Career Services.

France’s Burger ‘King’ Asks For Help To Avoid Ecosystem Collapse

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Olivier Bertrand, one of France’s biggest restaurant owners has asked the government for assistance to ensure the sector doesn’t collapse. Bertrand owns over 850 eateries across France, ranging from Burger King to high-class brasseries such as Bofinger and Lipp in Paris.

In an interview with BFM TV, Bertrand said that if French restaurants had to reopen tomorrow it would lead to the collapse of the sector and the entire food ecosystem that supports it. He added that customers aren’t looking for a culinary experience which has a waitress in a safety visor and plexiglass between each table.

Bertrand has called on the government to introduce a package to help the industry, similar to the recent €18 package introduced to help the tourist sector. He has asked for four things:

Brasserie Lipp in Saint-Germain-des-Pres Square, Paris.

  1. That restaurants shouldn’t have to pay rent and property charges while they are closed.
  2. That as restaurants open, they should begin paying rent and charges on an incremental basis until they are operating at full capacity.
  3. That the government should keep its system of chomage partiel in place until the end of 2020 (where the government supplements up to 84% of normal incomes for people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic).
  4. That VAT should be reduced from 10% to 5.5%.

Bloomberg reported that the French restaurant industry currently counts more than 1 million people unemployed with the shutdown causing a loss of 13 billion euros ($14 billion) in sales. Bertrand said that the impact is being felt by big and small players and across the agriculture, animal raising and fishing sectors.

While France has emerged from lockdown, citizens cannot travel further than 100 km (62 miles) except for specific exceptions and restaurants, cafés and bars remain closed (although many are operating take away and delivery services). The government will take a decision on May 25 to see if they can reopen on 2 June.

I have lived in Provence ever since I exchanged my London city life for the charms of the south of France. I have a background in research, business and finance.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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In The Time Of Coronavirus, Daily Harvest Is Reinventing Mealtime For A Generation That Hates To Cook

The pandemic is causing people all over the world to look at their freezers with newfound appreciation. Government mandated coronavirus lockdowns have millions of households stocking up for extended home stays – and a large supply of non-perishable but nutritious food suddenly feels as essential as abundant heating oil in the dead of winter.

That rush to hoard has been a jolt for Rachel Drori’s Daily Harvest, a subscription-based healthy food startup which sells frozen smoothies and veggie bowls. When the crisis started in the U.S. three weeks ago, the 37-year-old CEO began doubling up on inventory and has since appealed to her network of 400 farming suppliers to keep produce flowing to Daily Harvest kitchens. Sure enough, as more and more states began mandating residents stay home to avoid spreading the virus, sales have surged.

Source: In The Time Of Coronavirus, Daily Harvest Is Reinventing Mealtime For A Generation That Hates To Cook

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Rachel Drori, Founder of Daily Harvest, talks to us about how she built a direct to consumer company on a mission to take care of food so that the food can take care of you! Check out how she is using technology to iterate on different tastes, nutrients based on input from the community! She is building a company to help nurture those of us always on the go.

Up Your Food Sustainability Smarts And Try These Tips To Fuel The Cause

Young Woman Harvesting Home Grown Lettuce

As we enter a new decade, many communities and consumers are rethinking the way we produce and use resources. We may see increasing focus on how factors like land degradation, overfishing and declining soil fertility are impacting the environment’s ability to meet our current needs. The United Nations reports that if the global population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, we’ll require almost three planets’ worth of resources to live the way we do today.

No wonder the sustainability movement is building momentum. And as it does, education among consumers is crucial. What qualifies as sustainable food? What changes can we make as individuals to improve environmental stability and help protect our planet for generations to come?

The Three Pillars Of Environmental Sustainability

“Sustainable food is produced in a way that will allow you to keep producing it over time,” says Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. “That means it will not deplete the soil, pollute the air or destroy the waters around it.”

What exactly is the definition of sustainability? According to the advocacy group Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming, sustainable food typically describes food that is produced, processed, distributed and disposed of in ways that:

  • Contribute to the economy
  • Protect biodiversity of plants and animals
  • Ensure environmental health by maintaining healthy soil; managing water wisely; and minimizing air, water and climate pollution
  • Provide social benefits and educational opportunities
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Together, these environmental, economic and social pillars provide a robust foundation for producing and consuming food in eco-friendly ways that are safe for the land and its billions of inhabitants.

Why Should We Care?

As the UN describes it, the global impact of nonsustainable practices is alarming. Its website reports that less than 3% of the world’s water is drinkable; humans are polluting water in rivers and lakes faster than nature can purify; and the food sector accounts for about 30% of global energy consumption, and 22% of greenhouse gas emissions.

(Farming) Practice Makes Perfect

The good news is that sustainable farming practices can offset some of the damage being done to the planet. One example is crop rotation—or planting a variety of crops. According to Hanson, many “agricultural programs really encourage the growing of corn all the time, anywhere it can be grown.” That’s a mistake, he says, as crop rotation is critical to improving pest control, preventing the spread of disease and protecting soil fertility for future food production.

Another farm sustainability practice entails reducing or eliminating tillage. The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests that by reducing reliance on traditional plowing (tillage) techniques, which often lead to significant soil loss, and inserting seeds directly into the soil, farmers can minimize erosion and enhance soil fertility.

A growing body of research shows that animal welfare also plays a key role in more sustainable agricultural development. For example, many farmers are adopting innovative grazing management strategies, such as alternating periods of grazing, matching animal numbers to predicted forage supply and ensuring plant diversity, reports the Beef Cattle Research Council. These practices not only prevent overgrazing, but also ensure productive pastures and greater animal health and productivity.

You Have The Power To Make Change

Farmers aren’t the only ones responsible for supporting the sustainability movement. Those outside of the agriculture industry also have the power to embrace social responsibility and work toward creating a more sustainable future.

“One of the things people can do is support their local farmers market,” says Hanson. That’s getting easier to do. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, there are now more than 8,600 farmers markets—up from nearly 2,000 in 1994.

What food you buy is just as important as where you buy it—which means it’s time to support organic farming. Hanson recommends buying organic produce when possible. And when it comes to fish, consider opting out of farm-raised options: “If you have a choice between a farm salmon or a wild salmon, take the wild one. It costs more, but it’s worth it.” Other strategies include cutting back on processed foods and heavily packaged products.

And finally, buy only as much as you’ll consume. According to the UN, we produce 1.3 billion tons of food waste each year. However, by spreading awareness around environmental issues and educating consumers about food production, we can improve social responsibility and create an environmentally sustainable future.

Amway helps people live healthier, more confident lives through innovative nutrition, beauty, personal care and home products. Find ways Amway can help you live your best life at www.amway.com/en_US/amway-insider/amway-voice

Source: Amway BrandVoice: Up Your Food Sustainability Smarts And Try These Tips To Fuel The Cause

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This Just Might Be The Best Pizza In The World

World Champion Pizza Maker Tony Gemignani with his Pizza Romana.

As former New Yorkers, my husband and I are very snobby about pizza.

So, although we hate to admit it, we may have found the best pizza in the world in … San Francisco?

The pies at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, are so good, they’re worth a trip from anywhere in the world. And you’d have to stay for a couple of days so you can really taste them all.

Owner Tony Gemignani has won many prestigious awards, including Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, and Best Pizza Romana at the World Championship of Pizza Makers in 2011. He was the first and only Triple Crown winner for baking at the International Pizza Championships in Leece, Italy, and was the first American and non-Neapolitan to win the coveted title of World Champion Pizza Maker at the World Pizza Cup in Naples in 2007. He was also a pioneer in bringing several different styles of pizzas and other Italian dishes to the Bay Area.

Since discovering Tony’s, my husband and I have come up with creative excuses for visiting San Francisco on a regular basis because we literally dream about his pizzas and can only go so long without one.

Today In: Lifestyle

Here’s what Gemignani himself had to say when I asked him about all things pizza. Warning: Do not continue reading if you’re hungry. 

How did you get started making pizza? 

I’ve been involved in the pizza industry since 1991. I started making pizza at my brother’s acclaimed Pyzano’s Pizzeria in Castro Valley. Eventually I began working with different independent pizza shops and later went to Italy and traveled a ton. After winning multiple world pizza competitions, I made my way back to the U.S. and started to learn regional styles (think New York, Chicago, St. Louis, New Haven, and more).

Leading with my mission statement, “Respect the Craft,” I’ve devoted myself to learning everything there is to know about pizza, and I’ve aimed to showcase my knowledge and passion with each person that comes in to experience our menu of thirteen regional styles of pizza. This craft has taken me on a great journey that I’m excited to continue.

Did you know right away you wanted pizza to become your life’s work? 

I always loved cooking. Even in high school I took Home Economics courses. Back then I didn’t think anything of it. Then, quickly after high school I started working at my brother’s pizzeria and fell in love with it right away.

I ended up getting my pizza certification in Italy and am an official U.S. Ambassador of Neapolitan Pizza by the city of Naples – a prestigious title only given to three people in the entire world. I am also the first Master Instructor in the United States from the Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli and am the proprietor of the International School of Pizza where I certify chefs from around the world—all through Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching so many great pizza makers, who have gone on to open up their own great pizzerias and make incredible pie. In a sense, they carry on the work for me and it’s a very special process to be a part of.

What is about pizza that makes it so beloved to people?  

Growing up, pizza is every kid’s favorite food. It’s communal, fun, and easy—you can make it your own, whether that’s creating something simple or complex. You can make round, square, thick, or thin.

I think that sense of nostalgia stays with you as you become an adult. Pizza brings people back to when life was a bit simpler. And let’s face it, pizza is delicious no matter how old you are.  

One of the things that makes your restaurant so unique is the variety of ovens. Can you give readers a quick education, please?

Our menu offers a wide variety of Italian and American pizza styles, all cooked in one of seven different ovens. We have the true Neopolitan pizza made in a burning wood up to 900 degrees, to a blistering 1000 degree coal oven, along with an assortment of gas and electric ovens, each perfectly suited to the particular style of pizza cooked in it.   

What are the most popular pizzas at Tony’s? 

That’s a tough question. We have multiple award-winning pies on the menu, including our popular Margherita Napoletana (we only make 73 of them each day), Pizza Porto, Cal Italia, La Regina, Burratina di Margherita, and New Yorker which is coal-fired in our 1000 degree oven.

Which pie is your personal favorite?  

That’s like asking a father who his favorite son is. You know I have one, but I’ll never admit it. And, honestly, I love everything. That’s why I like to explore so many different styles of pizza.

Let’s talk about some other dishes like those incredible squash blossoms. How did you come up with those?

Being in California, we are very lucky to have access to some of the best seasonal produce. The California-style pizzas on our menu are a nod to these seasonal ingredients, and we have fun getting creative with surprising pairings. Last year, we launched the squash blossom & burrata pie inspired by the spring season featuring ricotta stuffed squash blossoms, burrata, prosciutto di parma, crushed red pepper, mozzarella, and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

Other than pizza, what are some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes? 

We make our own pasta and case sausages in-house, and offer a wide selection of pastas, antipasti, salads, and desserts. A few stand out crowd-favorites are the Coccoli (delicious rounds of sea-salted fried dough that can be filled with your favorite ingredients), Meatballs Gigante, Peroni Battered Fried Artichokes, and Housemade Bucatini Pasta.  

We should mention your wine awards, as well. What are they and what do they mean to you?

We recently received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the 5th year in a row, which is such an honor. Wine Director Jules Gregg ensures that our wine list is as thoughtful and expansive as our food menu. We offer 65 different varietals and 185 wines, highlighting intentional selections from Italy and California.

Mixologist Elmer Mejicanos also provides a full bar program featuring hand-crafted artisan cocktails and an extensive tequila and beer collection.  

Tell us about the process of coming up with recipes. How do you experiment?

To make the perfect pizza, it’s all about the ingredients. I start with flour as the foundation; it’s  the heart and soul of pizza. Balance is important, but it’s really about your dough, sauce, and cheese. I always want to make sure that my dough balances with the other pizza flavors, while taking you through a journey with each bite.  

Describe those award-winning pizzas so we can drool a little.  

·     One of our most popular pies is the Margherita Napoletana (we only make 73 per day), a World Pizza Cup winner in Naples, Italy. It features dough finished by hand using Caputo Blue flour then proofed in Napolitana wood boxes, San Marzano tomatoes, D.O.P., sea salt, mozzarella for di latte, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.

·     Pizza Porto, my most recent award-winning pie, won the 2018 All-Stars Pizza Championship in Porto, Portugal. It features Portuguese chorizo, nduja, micro greens, mozzarella, top Sao Jorge cheese, port reduction, crema di port, and smoked sea salt.

·     Cal Italia, a gold medal winner of Food Network’s Pizza Champions Challenge, features asiago, mozzarella, Italian gorgonzola, Croatian sweet fig preserves, prosciutto di parma, parmigiano, balsamic reduction, and no sauce.

·     La Regina, a gold cup winner at the International Pizza Championships Parma, Italy, features soppressata picante, prosciutto di parma, mozzarella, parmigiano, provolone, and arugula.

·     Burratina di Margherita, a gold cup winner at the International Pizza Championships Lecce, Italy, features burrata, cherry tomatoes tossed with fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic reduction.

·     New Yorker, a gold medal winner Las Vegas, features mozzarella, hand crushed tomato sauce, natural casing pepperoni, sliced Italian fennel sausage, calabrese sausage, ricotta, chopped garlic, and oregano.  

How does it feel to have your pizzas named best in the world? How do you top that?! 

It is truly an honor and a blessing. It’s also a bit surreal—especially to have won internationally. It’s one of the best feelings ever, but I’m always trying to make it better. After I win a championship, I look at that pizza and think to myself—how can I make it better?  

What’s next for you?  

I hope pizza lovers will come visit us at our Bay Area and Las Vegas locations in exciting new venues. We also have Tony’s locations in San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium and Tony G’s within the new Chase Center, and there are more to come soon.  

Do you ever get sick of pizza?

Never.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I believe the world would be a better place if we all traveled more, and I write about everything from luxury spas, cruises and hotels to quirky museums and street food in order to encourage people to get out and explore. When I’m not traveling around the globe—and even when I am— I blog at Midlife at the Oasis, my award-winning website. Over the past 20 years, I’ve written for dozens of magazines and was a Contributing Writer to Entertainment Weekly for more than a decade. In 2010, I was one of the Ultimate Viewers selected by Oprah Winfrey to accompany her to Australia. Since then, I’ve won three BlogHer Voices of the Year awards and become a Travel Expert at USA Today 10Best and a regular contributor to AAA Midwest Traveler and Southern Traveler. I’m a member of Society of American Travel Writers and North American Travel Journalists Association. Join me on my journeys on Instagram and Twitter @loisaltermark.

Source: This Just Might Be The Best Pizza In The World

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