Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Campus & Community Council identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012.  Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus, GenHKids, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Rachel Lattimore at 217-206-5094.

It started with a cup of coffee, or more precisely, a hot beverage. Seven years later came fries, the now infamous eggplant and friends. Sandwich lovers waited for their time to come, while begrudgingly sending another drumstick, wishing it were barbecue.

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Ah, the theme for Hidden Kitchens. Producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson, the Kitchen Sisters, explore how communities come together through food. And little did we know, the poet Emily Dickinson had a hidden kitchen.

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It's 7 p.m. and the kitchen is preparing the first orders of the evening. Chef Mario Castrellón puts the finishing touches on a dumpling stuffed with a sea bass escabeche.

"Sometimes, customers get confused. They think, 'This guy [Castrellón] is nuts! I am eating a Chinese dumpling and he says it's Panamanian,' " laughs the chef and restaurateur. "But Panama's cuisine is fusion by obligation."

On my first New Year's Eve in Madrid a few years ago, we went out around 10 p.m., and found the streets deserted. The bars were closed.

It threw me for a loop: Weren't Madrileños supposed to be notorious party animals? Where were they all?

It turns out, I just went out way too early.

Spaniards often spend Nochevieja — literally, the "old night" — at home. They watch the countdown to the new year on live TV, surrounded by family. And only then do they kiss grandma goodnight and go out partying.

One of the most famous delicatessens in New York will slice its last sandwich this week.

The Carnegie Deli opened in 1937 on Seventh Avenue across from Carnegie Hall. But it didn't' achieve notoriety until decades later — around the time that director Woody Allen filmed a table full of off-duty comedians there in his movie, Broadway Danny Rose.

There's still a "Woody Allen" sandwich on the menu at the Carnegie Deli: half pastrami, half corned beef. But the real star is that pastrami.

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Desserts To Help Ring In The New Year

Dec 25, 2016

Pastry chef Aggie Chin returned for the third time this week, this time to talk about dinner parties — in particular, what are some good desserts to make for a small get-together on New Year's Eve?

NPR's Susan Davis and Sam Sanders join the conversation with host Ailsa Chang to talk about eating while on the campaign trail — it's not always fun.

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How Kitchen Sounds Influence Food Flavor

Dec 24, 2016

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My memories of Christmas growing up in New Mexico have grown rosier over the years: lots of lights on all our houses, a neighborhood across the Pecos River from us — which lined all the sidewalks and porches with Luminarias, candles in paper sack lanterns — we would drive over to look. Church services — including midnight mass at the Episcopal church — not our church but we went anyway. And of course food, starting with Christmas baking. My mother's bourbon-soaked fruitcake was famous.

Food was also the reason for most of the Christmas fights we had.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2006.

It's all about the oil.

Through the eight days of Hanukkah, it almost doesn't matter what you eat, as long as it's cooked in oil. A good case could be made for eating potato chips with every meal throughout the holiday.

For many Latinos, the taste of Christmas Eve is a delicious gift of corn masa and filling wrapped up in aromatic leaves: tamales.

The turkey sits in golden splendor on the carving board. The cranberry sauce glows in its cut glass bowl. There's a large dish of Brussels sprouts, shiny with butter; stuffing flecked with sage; and heaps of crispy roast potatoes. But this is not a Thanksgiving feast. There is no green bean casserole, no mac 'n cheese and not a yam in sight. We've crossed the Atlantic, and this is the traditional Christmas dinner that Brits will sit down to on Dec. 25.

For many Americans, Christmas-time baking is filled with the rich, familiar scents of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. But in Sweden, there's another spice that enters the December pantry pantheon — saffron.

It's a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation's swine, cattle and poultry.

Marzipan, The Sweet Taste Of The Holidays In Madrid

Dec 22, 2016

There are three constants during the holiday season in Madrid: tourists ogling light-bedecked thoroughfares; supermarket aisles stuffed with seasonal treats like turrón and polvorón, the Spanish shortbread. And, everywhere, marzipan.

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Maybe this sounds familiar. You've had a stressful day. You come home from work to make dinner or, this time of year, maybe some Christmas cookies. And when you're cooking, you pour yourself a drink - maybe two, maybe three.

flickr/EricHunsaker

A Chicago Tribune investigation found pharmacists often miss potentially dangerous interactions that could occur when mixing prescription drugs.

Early in the New Year, when most people are trying to stick to their resolutions, bakers are finalizing plans for gingerbread house contests nearly 12 months away. There are recipes to tinker with—a choice between "construction grade" gingerbread and the more delicious, softer variety—blueprints to create, and often hundreds of hours of work before houses are ready to be entered in a contest.

Beth Briczinski has been keeping a list of all the things companies are turning into products labeled as a kind of milk. "There's soy and almond and rice," she says. "Hemp, pistachio, macadamia nut, sunflower."

Briczinski is highly annoyed by these products. She's vice president for dairy foods and nutrition at the National Milk Producers Federation, which represents the original milk producers: dairy farmers.

Even in a season spiked with boozy specialties such as eggnog, glögg and hot buttered rum, a cookie dough cocktail might strike the casual drinker as ... well ... slightly gross.

"Well, it's delicious," says Paul Taylor stoutly.

The monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., were making concrete blocks when Father Cyprian Harrison joined the order in 1965. As demand for the blocks waned, the order explored other options to support the men who call the cloistered monastery home.

"After a lot of inner reflection, we decided [to get out of the concrete block business and start making] fruitcake. We only had to change the recipe a little," quips Harrison.

By now, you've very likely heard the case for limiting sugar.

Over the past two years the World Health Organization and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines have begun urging us to consume no more than 10 percent of our daily calories from added sugar. Drinking more than one sugar-sweetened soda a day can put you over that limit.

Located at a crossroads between East and West, Lebanon's culinary traditions have been influenced by Syria, Turkey and even France. The country's international character helps explain why bûche de Noël (yule log cake) is a Christmas staple — a sweet legacy of the French occupation in the first half of the 20th century.

But in traditional Christian homes, Christmas Eve dinner is not complete without meghli, Lebanese-style rice pudding.

Dishing On Next Year's Food Trends

Dec 18, 2016

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We met up with pastry chef Aggie Chin again this past week to bring you her recommendation for a family-style dessert perfect for a holiday dinner: pear upside down spice cake.

She cooked this delectable one in a kitchen with NPR's Ailsa Chang.

Listen to their conversation at the link above, and check out the recipe here.


Pear Upside Down Cake Recipe

2 pears

2 oz sugar

Water

1 oz butter

1/4 tsp Vanilla

2 oz butter, at room temperature

4 oz brown sugar

4 oz sugar

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