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Better Tomatoes, Hot Breakfast, Cuban Ingredients, and More Long Reads

Worthy weekend reading material

Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Creativity manifests itself in many edible mediums, from breakfast to available ingredients in Cuba. While the Amish and indigenous Canadians make an effort to maintain their culture’s food, tamales have historically been sold by varying nationalities in Wyoming. Candy manufacturers may influence how nutrition is understood, but it’s hipsters driving the price of kale in LA, and the taste of tomatoes influencing the grocery shelves elsewhere. Enjoy these eight great food-inspired stories from this week.

When You’re Broke, Breakfast Is Hot, Buttered Hope

Extra Crispy

I was a well-stuffed Little Lord Fauntleroy and I had thoughts about what should be served at The Greatest Breakfast Ever! My grandfather loved all of his grandchildren. But I hope this member of the Greatest Generation looked upon his son’s chubby prince and saw that the Depression had been soundly defeated. The new generation were plump, happy weaklings who would never know what it meant to go to bed hungry.

For Cuban Home Cooks, Ingenuity and Luck Are Key Ingredients

NY Times

We bought a mamey, a creamy, vanilla-scented tropical fruit that tastes and looks something like a sweet potato. Ms. Horruitiner would blend it with ice, water and sugar for a shake called a batido. She balked at the price, about 84 cents, telling me in no uncertain terms that I had just been taken for a ride.

How Amish Foodways Became Pennsylvania Dutch Country’s Main Attraction

Eater

The hundreds of items that make up the smorgasbord at Bird-in-Hand are all identified with laminated markers denoting family recipes (like ham croquettes) and house specialties (like egg noodle-topped chicken pot pie, labeled "Grandma Smucker's Recipe"). There's a theme that follows throughout: an abundance of dishes that are carb-y, meaty, sweet, and sour — in other words, recipes that were built to feed generations who worked the land and needed the energy to do it.

Breaking Bread

The Walrus

Yes, sacks of flour entered the trade routes and mingled with oolichan grease and dried salmon. And bannock was feasted on, with whale meat and broiled seal and the steamed roots of springbank clover, in the longhouses along the northwest coast. But to talk about food is to talk about land, and bannock occupies a conflicted territory.

Citizen Khan

The New Yorker

The only people he refused to serve were the drunk, the foulmouthed, and the brawling, whom he personally threw out on their ears. He was five feet six and weighed a hundred and twenty pounds, but nothing and no one intimidated him. For one thing, he had got himself all the way to Sheridan from the Khyber Pass. For another, he was the one holding the foot-long knife. Also, he had good aim with an onion.

How Candy Makers Shape Nutrition Science

Stat

The thinner-children-ate-candy research is an example. It was drawn from a government database of surveys that asks people to recall what they ate in the past 24 hours. The data "may not reflect usual intake" and "cause and effect associations cannot be drawn," the candy paper authors wrote in a section about the study’s limitations.

What’s the Cheapest Way for Hipsters to Make a Vegan Kale Caesar Salad?

Eater

The Oh She Glows vegan kale caesar salad calls for 15 ingredients in total, from chickpeas to lacinato kale. Assuming that you have a totally bare pantry (which means you'd need to supply even basics like salt and olive oil if you plan to make this meal, and thus save the world), I priced out the cost of this meal at four different grocery stores: 365 by Whole Foods, regular Whole Foods, a Vons (known elsewhere as Safeway), and Trader Joe's.

The Search For Tastier Supermarket Tomatoes: A Tale In 3 Acts

NPR

To accomplish that feat, this tomato has to be tough. In the field, it has to deal with wind, rain, insects and plant diseases. After picking, it has to survive sorting, packing, trucking, and the supermarket shelf. Consumers like tomatoes that are big. And growers, to stay in business, need to ship as many of the fruit as possible.

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