HandPicked 8–Stuff That Matters

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There’s always a lot going on in the space we call ‘real food’, but not every story generates a whole post on its own.

That’s why we’ve created the HandPicked 8–to give you a quick idea of some of the things happening in the wide world of food.

It’s already July 23rd! The summer is rushing by so quickly!

What has arrived at your farmers’ market that you can’t cook without? What are your go-to summer dishes? Tell us in the comments.

Here are some good things to check out–this week’s HandPicked 8.

1. Summertime means, more than normal, being around the table with friends. Who wants to stand over a hot stove when everyone else is enjoying a chilled adult beverage? David Tanis, writing in The New York Times has a delicious solution to the dilemma. A ‘cold supper’ to the rescue. Read on.

2. OK, so this might be seen as a bit silly, but, heck, it’s fun! A scientific experiment showing that people who ate a salad arranged like a Kandinsky painting said it tasted better and was worth more money than a typical pile of greens. That inspired NPR’s The Salt blog to challenge their listeners (and readers) to arrange their food to mirror great works of art. And lots of people took up the challenge. Worth a look.

3. Grist.org tells us how the California drought is bad for most everything else, but that olive trees can work with little or no water. Olive trees are being planted on marginal land in record numbers. Rejecting fraudster, foreign olive oil for a more locally-grown oil could support a more resilient crop for the uncertain and increasingly dry future.

4. The folks over at food52.com are very smart about the who, when, where, what and how of food. Since we are right in the middle of the delicious corn season their post, Everything You Need to Know About Corn, is a great tutorial on how to make the most of this versatile vegetable.

5. The Meadow is a great store featuring salt, bitters, and chocolate (among other delicious things). Mark Bitterman has become the go-to salt guy. He’s a trained salt professional and academic (called a seemlier). Kinfolk magazine has put up a very readable and entertaining interview with Mr. Bitterman. This guy knows his salt!

6. 10 common, scary sounding food additives and what you need to know about them is the subject of a post on alternet.org. Such as; Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. Yuck.

7. Chef Thomas Keller has been at the top of the heap for quite some time because he cares deeply about the food he is cooking. His French Laundry in Napa Valley in California is marking its 20th anniversary. The Los Angeles Times has a great article about where Mr. Keller has been and more important, where he’s headed.

8. Well, this is different. A group of artists are building audio bee booths to really listen to what the bees are telling us. Sarah Peebles, a Toronto-based sound and installation artist who works with the project, says the booths are not about saving the bees; they’re about biodiversity. Modern Farmer has the buzz.

And that’s some of the good stuff on our plates, July 23, 2014!

Have an idea for a story? Send it to us, we’ll try and use it.

Photo credit: Craig McCord