In vitro meat

Researchers in London served the first hamburger patty that came not from an animal but from genetic engineering.  Those who sampled it which consisted of protein generated from cattle stem cells, said that it tasted “almost like meat.”  Yum, yum.

But many people are heralding the development as the beginning of a new era in food.  No more need we kill animals.  No more will livestock operations pollute the land.  We will be able to generate cheap food for all.   Read about it after the jump, whereupon we will consider the implications. [Read more...]

Taxing calories

In yet another example of using taxes to control people’s behavior, it is now being proposed (not by lawmakers so far) to battle obesity by taxing food based on its number of calories. [Read more...]

Bee summit

Back in 2007, about three different servers ago when this blog was with World, I wrote a post entitled The Rapture of the Bees.   Honeybees were disappearing, which is a major concern, since they are so important in the pollination of crops.  Since then, I’ve read several pieces that purportedly solved the mystery of why that’s happening, but I guess there is still controversy over the causes, and the problem remains.  Thanks to Pete Muller, who sent me an account of a “Bee Summit” sponsored by pesticide-maker Monsanto.

Some are blaming pesticides for the die-off of bees, while others are blaming a kind of mite that preys on bees and that presumably could be controlled by. . . pesticides.  Anyone want to guess what the diagnosis will be from the Monsanto summit?  Or from environmentalists?  Notice how science, though supposedly objective, is not free from conclusion-shaping presuppositions. [Read more...]

Food as the new rock ‘n’ roll

Odd and questionable–but unintentionally amusing–cultural commentary from Chris Richards in the Washington Post:

Over the past decade, we’ve seen the rise of the foodie class and decline of the record industry. Are the two related? When did we start talking about new food trucks instead of new bands?. . . .

Today’s gastronomical adventures provide the thrills that rock-and-roll used to. New restaurants appeal to our sense of discovery. Our diets can reflect our identities, our politics. For fans of thrash metal and/or live octopus sashimi, food is a way to sate cravings for the maximal, visceral and extreme. [Read more...]

Locusts, hold the wild honey

In the course of their remarkable life-cycle, cicadas come to the surface only every seventeen years.  This is the year.  Going along with that new culinary trend I blogged about, some people tare planning on eating them, including a frozen custard stand in Alexandria that will feature a flavor called Cicada Crunch.  The link in the Washington Post gives advice from a chef on how to prepare them.  (Take off their legs and wings and sautee them in butter.)  I guess if it’s good enough for John the Baptist. . . .

Meanwhile, the UN has published a document calling on the world’s nations to start utilizing insects as a nutritious and environmentally-sound food supply.  Details why after the jump. [Read more...]

Your Local Attractions

We are getting ready to set forth on an epic road trip, going the length and breadth of this great land of ours.  I’ve always wanted to do that.  To get our minds ready for summer vacations and as an experiment in localism, I would like to ask you this:

If I or any other reader of this blog were to come through your neck of the woods, what should we see?  What should we do?  Where should we eat?  And if we eat there, what should we order?  Is there any historical fact, cultural curiosity, or quirky inside information that we should know about?

I realize that some places may not have all that much to them, but I have found that if you scratch the surface, interesting things are everywhere.  Other places, like big cities, have an overabundance of things to do, and what visitors need are recommendations and inside information.

I’d like to hear about natural vistas, odd museums, and local industries.  And food:  I’m a diners, drive-in, and dives kind of guy.  Particularly serious BBQ.  Chicago has deep-dish pizza and otherworldly hot dogs.  What food stands out in your city, region, or locale?  As for tourist traps, well, I’m going to be a tourist.

HT:  Jackie

UPDATE:  Everybody, these are priceless suggestions.  I will make a pilgrimage to some of these places.  Some I’ve been to already and concur about how great they are.  And some actually will be on our route this summer!   I urge all of you to refer to this as an online travel guide.


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