5@5 - How to pick a food vendor
February 27th, 2012
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.

Knowing where your food originates from is an essential part in knowing what you're actually consuming. As the USDA touts: "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food."

But unless you're buying straight from the farmer at the farmers market, chances are there's a middle institution - like your local grocery store - involved, and they're just as important to acquaint yourself with.

Jason Tilmann is the executive chef of Triomphe, and chooses every ingredient on his menu based on the season, and more importantly, the source - and thinks you should follow suit.

Five Ways to Ensure Top Quality Food Products: Jason Tilmann

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Filed under: 5@5 • Shopping • Think

Last chance! Enter the fair trade chocolate challenge
February 27th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
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Tens of thousands of children toil in cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast, some against their will, to create the chocolate bars that many of us enjoy.

In a CNN Freedom Project investigation, David McKenzie traveled to the West African country and discovered that despite promises the global chocolate industry made a decade ago to end forced labor, there are still child slaves harvesting cocoa, even though some have never tasted chocolate and some don't even know what the word "chocolate" means.

It can be hard to find ethically produced cocoa, but the "fair trade" designation helps ensures that farmers receive a fair price and prohibits the use of slave and child labor.

We invite you to create a dish using fair trade chocolate, with bonus points to those who make a delicacy that’s special to their country or region.

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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • Chocolate • Dishes • Food Politics • iReport • News • Slavery

Box lunch: Popcorn pandemonium
February 27th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • Once you pop(corn), the fun don't stop: 10 variations, well, popping with out-there flavors. - Serious Eats

  • Speaking of kernels, gourmet popcorn is one of the top five trends to watch in the coming year. - NPR

  • We give this two hooves up: Food service giant Bon Appétit Management Company is demanding drastic changes in animal ethics from its producers by 2015. - The Atlantic

  • The CEO of Yum Brands - which includes fast food heavyweights KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut among others - actually took his dates to Pizza Hut. - USA Today

  • The Gurgling Cod has a lot to chew on from a recent AP piece about ladies in the food world. - The Gurgling Cod
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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

Meatball mania across America
February 27th, 2012
10:00 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

No doubt, the weather has been pretty weird lately. Someone’s even coined a genius label for it: Marchuary. We won’t get into any prospective causes here; instead, let’s talk about how to react when it’s technically February but feels like March.

Fashion-wise the answer is simple - wear ankle boots (you probably already have them on). Food-wise, there’s also an easy solution and that is to eat meatballs. Aren’t meatballs a terrific winter food, so comforting? But they're also perfect for spring - not as heavy as a stew or a big, fat burger.

Here then are some great places for meatballs nationwide. And happy Marchuary, everybody.


National strawberry day
February 27th, 2012
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.

Seeds on the outside, sweet on the inside - February 27 is  National Strawberry Day!

Even if these little red fruits bursting with sweet perfection aren't in season, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them today!

A gift from Chile in the 1700s, garden strawberry plants made their way to North America in the 1750s. The plant is fairly easy to grow and doesn't seem adverse to flourishing anywhere in the world. If you'd like your own homegrown strawberries this summer, make sure your plant has full sun and sandy soil - and your dogs don't eat off all the berries before you can pick a few.

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