First the bad news, then the good news, floating around the internet:
In Austrialia, scientists breed "booster broccoli" and other vegetables for higher antioxidant content. Is there some point at which flavor, and not marketability, will matter to ag scientists?
On the Cold Truth, investigative journalist Andrew Schneider writes about how sockeye salmon have disappeared from the Fraser River in Canada, one of the West Coast's largest sockeye runs. Scientists speculate that juvenile salmon making their way to the ocean have to pass by a belt of salmon farms teeming with sea lice, and all it takes is a couple of the parasites to kill a young fish. This post makes us at Voracious keenly miss, for the gazillionth time, Schneider, Leslie Kelly, and Rebekah Denn, the talents behind the Old P-I's food coverage.
Now for the middling-to-good news:
For those of you with OCD-slash-one-upmanship tendencies, the LA Times has discovered that there is a higher level of tea conoisseurship out there: dan cong, or single-tree teas. The biggest selection of dan cong teas outside China can be found at a strip-mall shop outside Los Angeles. This knowledge inspires a pungent blend of intrigue and defeat in the tea duffer just learning to savor high-mountain oolongs.
Sorry to link to two NY Times stories today -- there's far more news out there that's fit to print -- but both are great. In the first, outgoing restaurant critic Frank Bruni discusses the part of the review experience that only critics and their guests get to see: how diners can be divided into hoarders and sharers, how repeat guests monitor to make sure they're not being invited to too many one-stars (SO true), and how humans need to claim ownership of our entree, no matter what we've been assigned to eat. Bruni's clearly reviewing restaurants on the East Coast, because he doesn't mention the mental database we West Coast critics must keep of our friends' dietary restrictions.
Kim Severson writes about the great change happening in the realm of school lunch. With the Child Nutrition Act up for reauthorization, and both Obamas committed to improving the quality of school lunches, suddenly the fringe elements -- people who've been agitating for more fresh fruits and vegetables, and even local and sustainable food -- are moving to the center of the debate.
And the best news of the week, for a certain segment of the population: New research discovers that lady beer drinkers have stronger bones.