Clarified – trouble sprouts up as 20 are sickened with Salmonella
June 27th, 2011
07:30 PM ET
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In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology and issues we're attempting to do the same.

Another day, another Food and Drug Administration warning - and for what seems to be the millionth time in the past few months (okay - at least the fourth this year), the culprit is sprouts.

In a press release issued on Monday, the agency advised consumers not to eat Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts. The release states that these sprouts are possibly linked to 20 reported cases, including one hospitalization, of Salmonella Enteritidis in Idaho, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota and Washington State.

While the pathogen associated with this outbreak is different from the pathogen associated with the outbreak in Europe, the FDA says it is imperative that elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems not consume the sprouts, as they are are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

5@5 - All about absinthe
June 27th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world.”

This is what Oscar Wilde wrote of absinthe, the high-proof spirit tasting of anise, fennel and exotic aromatics.

Absinthe upholds quite the evocative reputation - it was banned in the early 1900s in most of Europe and the United States after drinkers often experienced visits from la fée verte, or the green fairy. Other legends took it further, claiming imbibers could succumb to insanity, suicide or even murder.

The American ban on the spirit has since been lifted in 2007, and modern varieties contain severely regulated amounts of wormwood, the ingredient linked to its supposed hallucinogenic effects.

Maxwell Britten, head bartender of Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, New York, thinks we may have judged the green fairy too quickly - and that her reputation isn't quite what it used to be.

Five Misunderstandings or Misgivings about Absinthe: Maxwell Britten

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Filed under: 5@5 • Sip • Spirits • Think

June 27th, 2011
01:45 PM ET
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Women in the West Bank town of Nablus are preparing to open a cookery school to teach Palestinian specialties to foodie tourists.

The school will be part of a cultural and social center, called Bait Al Karama, and will be the first women-led cookery school in the Palestinian Territories, according to its organizers.

It has already joined the Slow Food movement, the international association set up to combat fast food culture and concerned with organic, locally-sourced food.

Read Hungry for adventure? Head to West Bank cookery school and get recipes for Knafeh and Makloubet Zaher below.

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Filed under: Cooking • Make • Middle East • Middle Eastern • News • Recipes

Box lunch: Cutesy cupcakes and wine books
June 27th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Honey, I shrunk the cupcakes! The mini cupcake craze is upon us. - Crain's via Eater

  • An eye-opening look at Hormel gutting its workers, just like its pigs. - Mother Jones

  • It's a long accepted thought that New York bagels are so good because of the water - but that's not the only reason. - Slate

  • The Chinese government has tightened up its food safety policies, but in a reversal of fortune, it's made things worse. - LA Times
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

How does your culture use rice?
June 27th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
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Whether it's sushi in Japan, risotto in Italy, paella in Spain, biryani in India or etouffee in New Orleans - nearly every culture on Earth has rice at the heart of some of its most traditional dishes.

Using photographs, stories, recipes or video, using iReport, tell us how your culture uses rice. It may be a story of cooking with your grandmother, a holiday dish, a family gathering, a favorite restaurant or store or a dish that brings you comfort, brings back memories (sweet or bitter) and reminds you of home.

Share your connection to this special grain, and we just might include it in an upcoming feature on our food blog Eatocracy.

iReport: How does your culture use rice?

The deadline for this assignment is Friday, July 1st at 5 p.m. E.T.

Filed under: Buzz • Cultural Identity • Culture • iReport • Rice • Rituals

Berrong on Beer – Going big on West Coast brews
June 27th, 2011
09:45 AM ET
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Nathan Berrong works at CNN's satellite desk and this is the second installment of his beer column. Drink up.

The United States is filled with amazing breweries, but to me, you can’t begin to talk about beer in America without starting out West. Maybe it’s the climate that is ideal for growing hops, or the beautiful scenery that inspires the brewers, or the diverse culture that promotes creativity. Whatever it is, I say there’s no debating that the best region for beer in the United States is the Pacific or West Coast region.

West Coast beers, plainly put, are massive beers. Massive beers that are bursting with flavor, typically high in alcohol, and have unusual names like “Serpent’s Stout” and “Monk’s Blood”. The staple West Coast beer is the hop heavy, India Pale Ale. Commonly referred to as the IPA, it is also a very common beer style across the country, as nearly every brewery in the US has their own version of it. But, no one brews them better than Sierra Nevada in Chico, California, which has been brewing amazing IPAs for over 30 years, long before the craft beer explosion began.

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Filed under: America • Beer • Berrong on Beer • Best in Life • Pacific Northwest • Sip • Travel • West Coast

Breakfast buffet: National hasty pudding day
June 27th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

"As thick as hasty pudding" - June 27 is National Hasty Pudding Day.

You might remember this verse from the rousing opening chorus of Yankee Doodle Dandy, but what exactly is it?  Hasty or Indian pudding is a classic New England dessert made by stirring up milk, cornmeal, molasses, sugar, cinnamon, butter and raisins or nuts into a dish and baking it for hours.

The original hasty pudding, a boiled flour-based porridge, was brought over to America from England. New Englanders decided to dress it up by forgetting the flour, sweetening with sugar and turning it into a delicious dessert. Well played, good fellows.

Coffee klatsch
June 27th, 2011
05:00 AM ET
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Pssst! Got a sec to chat?

We are utterly thrilled when readers want to hang out and talk – whether it's amongst themselves or in response to pieces we've posted. We want Eatocracy to be a cozy, spirited online home for those who find their way here.

Consider the daily Coffee Klatsch post as your VIP lounge – the primary comments thread for readers who'd like to chat about topics not related to the articles we're running. That way, everyone knows where to find each other, and each post's comments section remains on topic.

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Filed under: Buzz • Coffee Klatsch

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