Among friends, competitive eater Suzanne "Suzilla" French is known for extreme behavior. Whatever she does, she does big, be it eating or drinking, showing her love for country or pro-football.
She's the fourth-ranked competitive eater in the world - the kind of person who parties hard on Flag Day and decks her Facebook profile picture with the New Orleans Saints' logo. The last time I saw her, before she left Atlanta for her hometown of Houston, was in the back of a stretch limo that she'd rented for a mutual friend's birthday. I joined them after they'd spent the day at Medieval Times - a gorge-fest in its own right. Bottles of booze spilled forth as the car flew around town, making stops at bars where French knew everyone. I can't remember how it ended.
For its new extreme eating special, Discovery's Planet Green channel capitalized on her "girl-next-door consumes gargantuan portions of food" shtick. "Suzilla: The Mouth That Roars" follows the 28-year-old as she takes on men at least twice her size in eating competitions in some of the country's greasiest spoons and short-order eateries.
She took a few minutes out of her day job as a contract lawyer for an oilfield services company to talk about how she manages to not look like a competitive eater and the two kinds of food she refuses to eat.
To help keep the peace with her in-laws during holidays, Julia Smith adopted a rule several years ago about talking politics: Don't do it, and don't take the bait if anyone starts in.
Her relationship with her father-in-law in particular had always been fraught with tension, said Smith, who asked that her name be changed to preserve family relations. She was the "screaming liberal from New York" who'd corrupted his Texas-bred son into moving to "Taxachusetts" and voting Democrat. As far as she was concerned, he was a good ol' boy who didn't like to talk politics as much as preach his views.
Her resolve was put to the test three years ago at Thanksgiving dinner, right after Barack Obama was elected president. She was picking at her turkey when, she says, her father-in-law suggested an act of violence toward Obama.
She attempted to keep cool by gathering her children and leaving the table. But then he repeated it at dessert.
Most of the honey sold in chain stores across the country doesn't meet international quality standards for the sweet stuff, according to a Food Safety News analysis released this week.
One of the nation's leading melissopalynologists analyzed more than 60 jugs, jars and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia for pollen content, Food Safety News said. He found that pollen was frequently filtered out of products labeled "honey."
Take one part pub crawl and one part contest mixed vigorously with 10 bartenders on a mini bus, and what do you get? One spirited competition to determine who makes the best drink using pisco, the South American brandy making a comeback in the United States.
Long a fixture in liquor cabinets and bars in Peru and Chile, pisco is popping up in the United States amid an obsession with craft cocktails. From January to July, export sales of the South American grape brandy grew to $2.3 million, up 139% over the same period in 2010, fueled by increased sales in the United States, Peruvian news agency Andina reports.
A Chinese delicacy may soon disappear from California restaurants if a bill to ban the sale of shark fins makes it through the state Senate.
A symbol of wealth and luxury, shark fin soup was once prized by Chinese emperors for its rarity. Today, it's typically served at weddings and banquets to demonstrate a host's good fortune.
But it comes at a high price, for one's wallet and the environment. Shark fins, which fetch up to $600 per pound, are sometimes acquired through the controversial practice of finning: a shark's fins are cut off and the rest of its body is tossed into the ocean.
California, home to 1.1 million Chinese-Americans, is one of the largest importers of shark fins outside Asia. The California Shark Protection Act would make it illegal to possess, sell or trade shark fins.
The state Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.
Hosting a dinner party is not for the faint of heart. All the shopping, cleaning, cooking and schmoozing, followed by more cleaning, can suck the verve out of the most enthusiastic party planner.
Then there are people like Jen and Ryan Hidinger, who have 10 strangers over for dinner about twice a month. For them, it’s a labor of love with a specific goal: to create an experience that will make guests come back for more. That way, the Atlanta couple will have an instant following by the time they open a restaurant, if all goes planned, by the end of the year.
World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles' Koreatown in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, April 21, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook. This story ran in 2011, and we're sharing it again as Bourdain explores the role of food in the Korean community.
Sitting over a steaming bowl of bibimbap, Helen Kim Ho recalled her father's cardinal rule when it came to food.
"He didn't feel like he'd had a good meal unless it made him sweat," Ho said as she held a chunk of the mixed rice between chopsticks over her bowl and waited for it to cool.
Piping hot dishes with an extra spicy kick are staples of Korean cuisine that transport the first-generation Korean American to her parents' kitchen. While her heart may be linked to the traditions of her family, her palate has been tempered by nearly a lifetime in the United States.
"I love Korean food but I feel just as much at home with American food," said Ho, whose family moved to the United States when she was three.
Not all eggs are created equal in the eyes of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Kinder Eggs, a popular European chocolate egg that contains a toy inside, is banned from importation into the United States because it contains a "non-nutritive object embedded in it."
With the Easter holiday around the corner, the agency issued the reminder this week, warning that the candy is considered unsafe for children under 3. Last year, Customs and Border Protection seized 25,000 of them in 1,700 incidents.
Read the FULL STORY: "Easter reminder: Kinder Eggs banned in the United States"
The nation’s leading vegetarian news and lifestyle magazine has admitted it “screwed up” by attempting to pass off meaty recipe photos as meatless in the pages of its magazine and online.
VegNews issued a mea culpa last week after a blogger outed the publication for using images of chicken and hamburgers from a royalty-free image service to illustrate recipes such as “veganized” Brunswick stew and “Magical Meatball Burgers.” The VegNews team defended its actions, attributing them to a lack of images of vegetarian dishes and the high costs associated with image-gathering, especially for an independent publication like VegNews.
This week, the magazine went a step further, vowing to never again let images of cooked animals carcasses grace its pages and promising to host a photo bank of vegan stock images.