Food news antipasto

Usually when I sit down to write the daily post of what’s happening in the world of food and cookbooks, it follows a lengthy session of social media and food website browsing as I search for news that will be meaningful or useful to our readers. As I scroll through various posts, many offbeat news items will catch my eye but I pass on by because I know there isn’t enough depth there to make it worthwhile.

Today I decided to share several items that drew my attention in the last week but were not worthy of a full-length post. We’ll begin with a dubious marketing decision by Kraft Foods. The food conglomerate has rebranded its ranch salad dressing as “salad frosting” in an attempt to make it more attractive to kids. In a press release, the company says “Kids will eat anything with frosting, right?” I predict therapy in some kid’s future for trust issues. 

Moving on to the snowballing vegan trend, IKEA has announced that beginning in 2020, it will offer vegan meatballs in its stores. The product is still under development, with a team dedicated to working on the meatballs and pursuing wheat-, soy-, peas-, and oat-based versions to find the most appealing. In other vegan food news, Impossible Burger shortages are cropping up at various eateries. Both White Castle and Red Robin say they can’t keep up with demand. Impossible Foods recently secured new funding to address the problem, but it will take a while to ramp up production. 

A discrimination lawsuit proceeded to trial earlier this month against celebrated chef Thomas Keller and his restaurants Per Se and The French Laundry. Former employee Vanessa Scott-Allen claims she was denied a transfer to TFL and was ultimately let go because she was pregnant. Keller and the restaurant group deny the claims and say that performance issues prompted the termination. I have not seen any reports on the outcome of the trial yet.

Food companies often have rivalries, but they rarely escalate in the way a feud between energy bar companies Clif and Kind recently did. It all began in March when, for reasons unknown, Clif took out a full-page newspaper ad challenging Kind to go all organic. Kind retaliated last week (I guess it took them a while to come up with a suitable retort) with a campaign accusing Clif of being high in sugar. Unlike other rivalries that involve self-deprecating humor – or humor of any sort – this one just sounds like two cranky people arguing with each other. 

The strangest item I encountered this week involved food as art. As part of an effort by a nonprofit organization that promotes the state of Kentucky, artist Coleman Larkin preserved a Kentucky Fried Chicken drumstick in resin. Actually he preserved 50 of them; you can purchase one for $100 for the ultimate dinner party conversation piece. 


Finally, cooking tips that I have recently spied:

Photo of onigiri from Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes

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One Comment

  • mjes  on  June 18, 2019

    And as an alternative to the Los Angeles Times:
    – Simply Onigiri: Fun and Creative Recipes for Japanese Rice Balls
    by Inada Sanae
    – Rice Craft: Yummy! Healthy! Fun to Make! by Sonoko Sakai

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