Food & Food Culture

2:00am

Mon April 2, 2012
The Salt

What's Inside The 26-Ingredient School Lunch Burger?

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 9:23 pm

Maggie Starbard NPR

Thiamine mononitrate, disodium inosinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride.

Why are these hard-to-pronounce ingredients added to everything from a burger served in schools to veggie burgers in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store? We try to answer that on this edition of Tiny Desk Kitchen.

It turns out the answers are as varied as the ingredients. But as we yearn to know what's in our food and how it's made, these kinds of ingredients with unfamiliar names make people suspicious.

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3:26pm

Fri March 30, 2012
The Salt

Is That A Crushed Bug In Your Frothy Starbucks Drink?

The tiny white insects that feed on cactus turn into red cochineal when crushed. Starbucks uses the dye in some of its products.
Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Call it the tempest in the Frappuccino. Some Starbucks patrons have been distressed to learn that the chain's Strawberry and Creme Frappuccino owes its pink coloring to crushed insects.

The coloring in question, cochineal, is made from a tiny white insect, Dactylopius coccus. When crushed, its body exudes a brilliant red color. Cochineal has been used as a coloring for foods and makeup for centuries.

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11:24am

Fri March 30, 2012
The Salt

How Your Grill Brush Could Make You Sick

A radiologist says more research is needed before everyone throws out their grill brush.
Stephan Zabel iStockphoto.com

2:00am

Fri March 30, 2012
Business

Intrigue For Monday's Show: Mystery Powders

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 5:25 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is, can you eat that?

You've heard of mystery meats, right? Well, how about mystery powders - courtesy of the ever-innovative food industry?

NPR science correspondent Allison Aubrey asked me to come up and have a sneak peek at what she's cooking up for Monday's MORNING EDITION.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Allison Aubrey, you always get me into trouble somehow. Why am I up here at your desk?

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Anything standing out here?

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3:06pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Salt

Battling 'Red Tide,' Scientists Map Toxic Algae To Prevent Shellfish Poisoning

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

An oyster shucker on Samish Island, Wash. on Puget Sound. The state is frequently forced to close beaches to oyster gatherers because of the risks of harmful algae blooms.
Ted S. Warren AP

Public health officials have their hands full keeping your clam chowder and raw oysters safe. That's due, in part, to red tides.

Red tides happen nearly every year as coastal waters warm, killing fish and poisoning shellfish along U.S. coasts. They're not actually tides; they're huge blooms of naturally occurring toxic algae.

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