How do you stretch your food dollars?
November 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Cuts to SNAP benefits in November 2013 have left 47 million people with $36 a month less to spend on food. That cut (based on a family of four) is a 5% reduction to an already stretched budget.

The February 2014 presidential approval of the Farm Bill entails an $8 billion cut from SNAP over the next 10 years. This means 850,000 families will see an average $90 monthly drop in their food budget.

Millions of others who don't qualify for benefits, but who still struggle to feed their families, are finding the aisles of their local food banks more crowded with fellow shoppers than ever before.

We asked our readers, via our comments and Facebook, to share their strategies for making the most of their limited food funds. Here's what they had to say.

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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments • Hunger • Shopping • SNAP

'We are servers not servants!'
April 10th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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His name is The Bitchy Waiter and he'll be taking care of you folks this evening. Earlier this week, the popular blogger served up five ways that customers get in the way of their food arriving in a timely fashion.

And a whole lot of folks bit back, with more than 1100 comments about the role of waitstaff in getting meals to people in a timely fashion - and even their value in society. Here's a sampling menu of some of the most popular sentiments.

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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments • Restaurants • Service • Tipping

Autism, dining out and a side of kindness
April 1st, 2013
03:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: April 2, 2014 is World Autism Awareness Day, and we're sharing this story to continue the conversation about autism in public spaces.

Things are not always as they appear to be. Our recent story "The waitress, the autistic girl and the broken hamburger" shared the experiences of Anna Kaye MacLean, a young woman who was deeply touched by the kindness of a Chili's server to her seven-year-old sister Arianna, who has autism.

While many people interpret Arianna's behavior - sometimes involving violent tantrums and grunting - as uncontrolled brattiness, her older sister will take the time to explain the condition if asked. Occasionally, fellow restaurant patrons will ask to be moved to other tables, give dirty looks, or criticize MacLean's handling of the situation. While the family has never been asked to leave a restaurant, they're keenly aware of other patrons' comfort and will leave of their own accord.

Scenes like this play out in public every day, as evidenced by the over 650 comments that poured in when we posted the story. In observance of National Autism Awareness Month and April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, we're sharing insight from some of our commenters who have experience weathering the minefield that is a restaurant meal.

This Thanksgiving, gather up the strays and orphans
November 13th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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Even the most adventurous eaters often give their inner food warrior the day off on Thanksgiving – nothing but the same turkey, stuffing (or dressing!), cranberries, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie they've been eating since childhood. If one of those dishes goes missing, the whole meal just doesn't feel right.

Other families stray away from the standards (some friends of ours have to have collard greens, whiskey sours and banana pudding for the day to feel right, while another family dives into duck) and develop their own must-indulge traditions.

And for some, like our commenter traveldoc, it's less about what's on the table than who's gathered around it.

Comment of the day: how to cook opossum
July 12th, 2012
07:15 PM ET
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From Barbecue Digest: Cook the opossum, spare the bear, a reader named Simon advises:

I gotta say, I've had opossum, and it was delicious. You gotta parboil it first – let the grease rise to the top, but then you take it out and smoke it, basting it as you go in a part vinegar part tomato sauce, kind of like Piedmont of Western North Carolina style BBQ sauce. It might be OK with just a vinegar base like in Eastern North Carolina, but I haven't tried that.


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Filed under: Barbecue • Buzz • Comment of the Day • From the Comments • Taboos

Sorry about my muddy boots - a word from your local farmer
July 4th, 2012
03:15 PM ET
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Yesterday, we posted a plea to get consumers and farmers talking to each other, and by gosh, they did. This comment by a farmer named M.A. really stood out to us, so we're sharing.

Who needs farmers? All we are is a bunch of dead-beat, lazy, filthy loons. Some of us sporting big goofy hats that work all of our dreaded lives sacrificing time with those we love only to be condemned.

The weeds are getting bigger as are some folks pocket books. Bugs are getting stronger too. Vegetables aren't as nutritious as they once were and the meat does not even taste the same. Not to mention the salt and sugar laden foods we're all being presented with. We need more hormones, antibiotics and chemicals! Just to "keep up."

Comments: the cost of immigrant kitchen labor
June 26th, 2012
09:15 AM ET
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Chef John Currence's recent essay on the use of immigrant labor in restaurant kitchens sparked a debate that's still raging in the article's comments section. Hundreds of people weighed in, and over 1000 comments later, several themes emerged: work ethics of immigrants, why Americans don't seek restaurant jobs, and who bears the cost in the end.

But first, the results from our poll, which received over 21,000 votes:

If you knew a restaurant hired undocumented workers, would you still eat there?

Commenters chew over Paula Deen, chocolate slavery and food stamps
January 23rd, 2012
09:30 AM ET
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Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Some of the biggest talkers in the news last week were stories revolving around food that might make you look at your menu a little differently.

Paula Deen, change your diet

Lots of our readers have been talking about Paula Deen's type 2 diabetes revelation. The popular foodie has had the disease for three years, and is now a paid spokesperson for a diabetes medication. Andrew Weil issued her a challenge to change her eating. Some folks were outraged.

Here's what readers had to say - "Overheard on Paula Deen's diabetes, chocolate slavery, food stamps"

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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments

PB & pickles, moose nose and other wacky sandwiches from the peanut (butter) gallery
August 22nd, 2011
12:30 PM ET
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Our commenters are on a bit of a roll.

Last week, our colleague Jo Parker extolled the virtues of her childhood sandwich favorite the peanut butter and Vidalia onions sandwich. She wrote in part, "The cool, crunchy sweetness of Vidalias pairs terrifically with the peanuttiness. Smooth or crunchy – up to you. I remember eating these as a girl in Illinois, but I really don’t know the sandwich’s pedigree."

In response, more than 200 readers served up love letters to their favorite non-traditional ‘wiches. They ranged from strawberry preserves paired with mayonnaise to peanut butter and…well, everything under the sun, stackable between two buns.

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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • Dishes • From the Comments • Sandwiches

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