Lunch lady slammed for food that is too good

A talented head cook at a school in central Sweden has been told to stop baking fresh bread and to cut back on her wide-ranging veggie buffets because it was unfair that students at other schools didn’t have access to the unusually tasty offerings.

Annika Eriksson, a lunch lady at school in Falun, was told that her cooking is just too good.

Pupils at the school have become accustomed to feasting on newly baked bread and an assortment of 15 vegetables at lunchtime, but now the good times are over.

The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food — and that is unfair.

Moreover, the food on offer at the school doesn’t comply with the directives of a local healthy diet scheme which was initiated in 2011, according to the municipality — via

Soapy taste of coriander linked to genetic variants

Julia Child loathed the stuff, one in six Nature staff (informally surveyed) says it tastes of soap, and a popular website collects haiku poems denouncing it. Now, researchers are beginning to identify genetic variants behind the mixed reception for the herb Coriandrum sativum, which North American cooks know as cilantro, and their British counterparts call coriander.

A genetic survey of nearly 30,000 people posted to the preprint server this week has identified two genetic variants linked to perception of coriander, the most common of which is in a gene involved in sensing smells1. Two unpublished studies also link several other variants in genes involved in taste and smell to the preference23 — via

Malawi school kitchen to be named in honour of school meal blogger Martha

A school kitchen being built in Malawi is to be named in honour of a nine-year-old blogger who has raised £85,000 for charity.

Martha Payne started the NeverSeconds blog six weeks ago, posting daily pictures of, and opinions about, her school lunches.

The blog has received 6m views and won the support of celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Nick Nairn.

On Friday Martha was told by Argyll and Bute council to stop taking photos for her blog as media coverage had apparently left catering staff fearing for their jobs. But the council reversed its decision after a barrage of negative publicity in the media and on social networking sites.

The ban led to thousands of donations flooding in to Martha’s JustGiving site, which she had set up to raise money for Mary’s Meals. The charity runs school feeding projects in communities around the world where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

Martha’s fundraising total rocketed from £3,000 to almost £85,000 in just four days. It means a kitchen will be built at Lirangwe primary school in Blantyre, Malawi, and all 1,963 of the pupils will be fed for a whole year, as part of the charity’s Sponsor a School initiative.

Martha has chosen to name the kitchen Friends of NeverSeconds, in recognition of the worldwide support she has received — via

Nine-year-old critic Martha wins food fight with council

A nine-year-old blogger has won a food fight with authorities in her Scottish town, after an online outcry prompted officials to lift a ban on posting photos of her school lunches.

Martha Payne’s images of uninspiring school meals — one consisted of two croquettes, a plain cheeseburger, three slices of cucumber and a lollipop — drew international attention. The blog, set up about six weeks ago as a writing project and to help raise money for a school-meals charity, has drawn more than two million hits — via

Scottish scientists dicover super barley secret that could feed the world

Scottish scientists have made a world-first breakthrough that could help feed the world by developing a next generation barley seed which inherits disease-resistant qualities from its parent plant.

A research team from the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) has discovered a technique that for the first time allows barley – the fourth most important cereal crop grown across the globe – to pre-arm its seeds against attack in a process that may be passed on to subsequent crops.

The new weapon against agricultural pests will mean that farmers do not have to use so much pesticide, thus cutting costs and reducing the amount of chemicals entering the food chain — via

No EU trademark for chocolate rabbit, says court

A Swiss-made chocolate bunny, wrapped in gold foil and with a red ribbon around its neck, cannot be registered as a trademark, the EU court has ruled.

Lindt and Spruengli have made the rabbit since 1952 and applied for an EU trademark in 2004.

But other firms make Easter chocolate bunnies too and an Austrian company has even wrapped them in gold foil.

Now the European Court has confirmed an earlier ruling that Lindt’s rabbit is devoid of any distinctive character — via

Mad cow disease confirmed in California

The nation’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sometimes referred to as mad cow disease, was found in a dairy cow in California, the US Department of Agriculturesaid Tuesday.

The animal has been euthanised and the carcass is being being held under state authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed, officials said.

The carcass is at a Baker Commodities facility in Hanford, California, according to Dennis Lucky of the company — via

The Red (Meat) Scare

On Monday, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study titled Red Meat Consumption and Mortality and it will not surprise you to learn that when I used Google to check for the fallout, I found some 900 new stories from publications scattered around the planet.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard University, which undoubtedly added to its credibility factor. But it’s important to note that this was not a controlled experiment that established a causal link between red meat and specific causes of death.

In fact, the researchers used a rather broad definition of red meat that included unprocessed sources such as beef, pork, and lamb as well as processed sources such as bacon, pepperoni, hot dogs and baloney slices. This leads the picky science writer to feel argumentative: wouldn’t there be different issues associated with eating these different products? The researchers report that mortality risks are greater with processed meats, possibly due to the chemical preservatives. But to continue being picky: Is this just a red meat issue? What about the possible chemical risks of, say, processed poultry products? — via

Keep Single Serving Microwave Cake Mix on Hand for a Quick Fix

For a quick pick me up at work or at home you can keep this cake mix in a ziplock bag for a fast coffee mug full of cake. You’ll just need to mix one box of Angel Food cake mix with one box of any other cake mix and combine them together in a freezer bag. When you need a shot of cake-y goodness put 3 tablespoons of this mix in your mug with 2 tablespoons water and microwave on high for 1 minute — via Lifehacker

Haiti effort expands production of hunger-busting peanut butter

A special kind of peanut butter has been bringing malnourished children back to life for years. Pharmaceutical company Abbott Labs is hoping it will help revive the Haitian economy, too.

International healthcare organisation Partners in Health (PiH) has distributed Nourimanba, a ready-to-use nutritional paste, to combat malnutrition in Haiti since 2007, and demand has only increased following the 2010 earthquake there, according to The New York Times.

As many as 300,000 children suffer from malnutrition in Haiti, says UNICEF. For these kids, Nourimanba is a lifesaver. Made from peanuts, milk powder, vegetable oil, sugar, and a scientifically formulated mix of vitamins, it’s like a souped-up version of common child favourite peanut butter. This helps to explain why it’s been successful: It actually tastes good — via

Candy Buttons / andiespecialtysweets

Inspired by the heirloom craft of sewing, we hope to have offered a sweet embellishment for those threading memories that last.

Each of our Red and White Cherry and Vanilla Buttons are crafted by hand and lovingly detailed to perfection. And the sweet tart cherry and pure vanilla are an irresistible treat on their own or for a confection embellishment! Even great for decorating cookies — via Etsy

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Smeared Burglar

A deranged burglar was found smeared in peanut butter and chocolate, according to police reports.

Officers in Neon, Kentucky allegedly found 22-year-old Andrew Toothman wearing only a pair of boots when they entered the Food World store at 6.00am on Tuesday morning.

According to the report Toothman had also written sorry on the shop floor using NyQuil pills — via

Church group steps in to save Muslim food pantries in the Bronx

A pair of Bronx food pantries in jeopardy of closing have gotten a reprieve in the form of a large donation.

The Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development has been operating food pantries in Highbridge and Parkchester since 1997, but without $50,000, the organisation would have had to shutter the pantries at the end of the month.

But Monday evening, executive director Nurah Ama’tulla received a check for $100,000. She says she is grateful and relieved that thousands of families in the Bronx won’t have to go elsewhere for assistance.

The lifeline came from the Collegiate Church Corporation — via

Canadian’s lucky iron fish saves lives in Cambodia

The task was to help local scientists try to persuade village women to place chunks of iron in their cooking pots to get more iron in their diet and lower the risk of anemia. Great in theory, but the women weren’t having it.

It was an enticing challenge in a country where iron deficiency is so rampant, 60 per cent of women face premature labour, haemorrhaging during childbirth and poor brain development among their babies.

A disease of poverty, iron deficiency affects 3.5 billion people in the world.

The people they worked with — the poorest of the poor — can’t afford red meat or pricey iron pills, and the women won’t switch to iron cooking pots because they find them heavy and costly. Yet a small chunk of iron could release life-saving iron into the water and food. But what shape would the women be willing to place in their cooking pots?

We knew some random piece of ugly metal wouldn’t work… so we had to come up with an attractive idea, he said. It became a challenge in social marketing — via

Candy Sprinkles Art / Joel Brochu

Untitled, originally uploaded by Joel Brochu.

Joel Brochu is taking hundreds and thousands to a whole new level in this portrait of a pup getting a bath. The piece includes 221,184 hundreds and thousands that are painstakingly placed using jewellers tweezers. Only six colours of sprinkles were used in the picture, giving your brain a colour blending treat when viewed from a distance — via CRAFT

NY’s Oldest Bialy Shop Is Saved by Unlikely Owners

The oldest bialys store in the country is still on a roll. The sweet smell of bread will continue to waft down Coney Island Avenue, as a landmark kosher bakery in Brooklyn gets a whole new lease on life.

Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, teetered and fell in September, after Steve Ross, whose grandfather began the company 91 years ago, called it quits. In a twist of history — and, one might say, a twist of bread as well — the store has been saved by two Muslim businessmen who leased the space and started a corporation under almost the identical name. They’ll keep the kosher shop’s offerings the same, preserving its history.

It’s the same bialys… We are using the same recipe, too, said Peerzada Shah, who now co-owns the business with Zafaryab Ali, who worked with Ross at the bialy shop for a decade. We want to keep the place on track, said Shah. And since re-opening in September, customers have regularly told the pair, We appreciate that you’re keeping the store open, according to Shah — via

Lake City Domino’s managers charged with torching Papa John’s

Two managers of a Domino’s Pizza restaurant in Lake City have been charged with arson in connection with a fire that gutted a Papa John’s Pizza location.

Late Friday, police said they were still looking for an ignition device that the men claimed they made but did not use to start the fire. Instead, the possibly still active device may be lying alongside Interstate 75, police said — via

Can Eating Too Many Hot Peppers Kill You?

In a contest that matches humans against some of the world’s hottest chilli peppers, no one wins. Last week, restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland, held a competition to eat the extra-hot Kismot Killer curry. Some of the competitive eaters were left writhing on the floor in agony, vomiting and fainting.

According to reports, two British Red Cross workers overseeing the event at the Kismot Indian restaurant in Edinburgh but became overwhelmed by the number of casualties and ambulances were called. Half of the 20 people who took part in the challenge dropped out after witnessing the first diners vomiting, collapsing, sweating and panting.

So what exactly are the health impacts of eating really hot chilli peppers? Can eating too much of the spicy stuff kill you? — via

Is the alcohol message all wrong?

Many people think heavy drinking causes promiscuity, violence and anti-social behaviour. That’s not necessarily true, argues Kate Fox.

I am a social anthropologist, but what I do is not the traditional intrepid sort of anthropology where you go and study strange tribes in places with mud huts and monsoons and malaria.

I really don’t see why anthropologists feel they have to travel to unpronounceable corners of the world in order to study strange tribal cultures with bizarre beliefs and mysterious customs, when in fact the weirdest and most puzzling tribe of all is right here on our doorstep. I am of course talking about my own native culture – the British.

And if you want examples of bizarre beliefs and weird customs, you need look no further than our attitude to drinking and our drinking habits. Pick up any newspaper and you will read that we are a nation of loutish binge-drinkers – that we drink too much, too young, too fast – and that it makes us violent, promiscuous, anti-social and generally obnoxious.

Clearly, we Brits do have a bit of a problem with alcohol, but why? — via

Braid A Round Challah For Rosh Hashanah / Creative Jewish Mom

Well, I don’t know much about baking bread or Rosh Hashanah, but this seems like a pretty sweet and timely tutorial for making Round Challah.

Here it is dear readers at long last, a tutorial on how to braid gorgeous round challah loaves, just in time for Rosh HaShana! We have the custom to eat round loaves on Rosh HaShana to symbolise the continuity of life, and on Rosh HaShana we dip the challah in honey (rather than salt) to symbolise our hopes for a sweet new year.

— via CRAFT

Australia’s Kevin Rudd fights to get Vegemite on plane

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd had to talk himself out of trouble after airport officials flagged up a suspicious liquid in his cabin baggage — a jar of Vegemite.

Mr Rudd was heading to New York from Mexico City when he attracted the authorities’ attention.

He explained that the dark brown paste was his breakfast and, with help from local diplomats, was allowed through — via

Butchers targeted by shoplifting gangs

Police say well-organised gangs of shoplifters are travelling across Tasmania to satisfy a lucrative black market that supplies a highly sought after product — meat.

Five shoplifters, who have allegedly stolen more than $1,000 worth of meat each, have been arrested over the past fortnight.

Police say the high cost of living has triggered the unexpected crime wave and say thousands of dollars worth of meat is being stolen from Tasmanian supermarkets each week — via

California lawmakers pass bill banning shark-fin trade

California’s Legislature sent Governor Jerry Brown a bill seeking to ban the sale, trade or possession of shark fins on Tuesday, over the objections of two senators who called the measure racist because the fins are used in a soup considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures.

The bill has split the Asian delegation in the Legislature. It was introduced by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, and was supported by Senator Carol Liu, D-Pasadena, who said it is needed to protect endangered shark species — via

AC/DC launch wine collection

They’ve sold millions of albums as one of the greatest all-time bands and now AC/DC hope to do a similar trade in liquor.

The hard-living Australian rockers have teamed up with NSW-based winery Warburn Estate for a nationwide release of an AC/DC wine collection.

Back In Black Shiraz, Highway To Hell Cabernet Sauvignon and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato are just some of the varieties that will be available — via

Confectioners’ Sugar Lollipop Moulds / King Arthur Flour

This confectioners’ sugar lollipop mould tutorial from King Arthur Flour is one of those great ideas that totally stopped me in my tracks. Instead of getting hard candy stuck in moulds, why not just use confectioners’ sugar to make your own? Plus, depending on what object you use to make the indentations, you can get really creative with shapes and colour layering — via CRAFT

Keeping the peace with the bar-strip lollipop

A City of Victoria councillor is sweet on the idea of handing out candy suckers to late-night, inebriated revellers after leading a successful Canada Day test run.

Following the traditional fireworks display, which drew an estimated 30,000 people to downtown Victoria, Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, her husband, two City of Victoria staff and Victoria Police Department officers doled out hundreds of red and blue lollipops to loud and aggressive, mostly young, men.

Ms Thornton-Joe said after the men popped a lolly in their mouths, their nasty energy all but dissolved. They got calmer after taking the lollipops, she said. It had an immediate effect — via

New method for making human-based gelatin

Scientists are reporting development of a new approach for producing large quantities of human-derived gelatin that could become a substitute for some of the 300,000 tons of animal-based gelatin produced annually for gelatin-type desserts, marshmallows, candy and innumerable other products.

Their study appears in American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry — via

Ginger Cream Cookies / Jote

Jote of Bless Her Heart posted about these amazing-looking ginger cream cookies.

Last month we ran away to the beach with one of my besties and her family for a weekend. While the kids were playing cards she whipped out a bag of cookies that her mother had made for them. They were dark and gingery, but light and spongy rather than a typical crunchy Ginger Snap. Over the course of the next twenty minutes, we devoured them…leaving the kids to pinch the crumbs and fallen icing from the bottom of the bag. These cookies have haunted me since our little trip away.

Read more about the special woman who passed on the recipe for these tasty cookies and get the full recipe over on Bless Her Heart — via CRAFT

Granny Square Cookies / Sugar & Meringue

I’ll admit it: I’m a confirmed hooker. I have an embarrassing number crochet projects running amok in my apartment, and a yarn stash that is threatening to break free from its box at any moment. So, of course, I was absolutely delighted to see this tutorial for Granny Square Cookies from Sugar & Meringue. There’s just something so right about crocheted goodness in cookie form — via CRAFT

The Troubled History Of The Supermarket Tomato

Florida is warm in the winter, and it’s an easy trailer-truck ride to most of the country. But Florida is also about the worst possible place to grow tomatoes. Both the climate and the soil are completely unsuitable, Estabrook says, so farmers must drench their fields in pesticides and fertilizers to have any hope of a crop.

On top of that, the tomatoes you see in those supermarkets have been bred for high yields and durability, not flavor. As a farmer once said — an honest farmer — ‘I don’t get paid a cent for flavor,’ Estabrook says.

There’s an even darker side to the modern commercial tomato, too, he says. Up until recently, workers on many of Florida’s vast industrial tomato farms were basically slaves. People being bought and sold like animals, Estabrook says. People being shackled in chains. People being beaten for either not working hard enough, fast enough, or being too weak or sick to work. People actually being shot and killed for trying to escape. That sounds like 1850’s slavery to me, and that, in fact, is going on, or has gone on — via

Man tried to set petrol station on fire because there were no sausage rolls

A man who allegedly threatened to blow up a service station because it was out of sausage rolls has been bailed by a Brisbane court.

Scott Jason Bryant, 40, of Roma, held his head in his hands in the dock of the Brisbane Magistrates Court after he was charged with making a bomb hoax at the Caltex Service Station’s shop on Toombul Road about 12.30am today.

He also faced counts of committing an act intended to cause grievous bodily harm to the console operator after he allegedly poured petrol on the ground — via

A high-tech ordering system removes the middleman from restaurants

A London restaurant has created a high-tech solution for unpronounceable ingredients and tardy wait staff.

Asian-themed restaurant Inamo, in London’s theatre district is projecting images of dragon rolls, black cod, and other dishes directly onto diners’ plates.

Ready to place your order? Just tap the touchpad — your sashimi will be with you shortly — via

Bananas, Highly Inbred, at Risk

A study retracing the bananas’ family tree has found their wild ancestors have rarely crossbred in the last 7,000 years, strengthening calls to diversify the popular crop.

The standard yellow banana currently found on most supermarket shelves are mass cultivated as infertile clones and are therefore genetically identical.

But this makes them particularly susceptible to disease, pests and ecological challenges, writes a team of European and Australian scientists in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — via