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 Nick Reynolds at 217-206-9847.

When spirits entrepreneur Steven Grasse considered writing a book about early American cocktails, he already knew it was a subject that had been, in his own words, "done to death."

After the countdown to New Year's, Americans start thinking about upping the intensity of their workouts or making room in their schedule for a boot camp.

But the men and women of the Hadza, a group of hunter-gatherers in Northern Tanzania, have no need for resolutions to be more active.

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In Chicago, war refugees have a hand in the city's most famous handmade cheesecake.

American-Taiwanese chef Eddie Huang's first memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, became a hit TV sitcom. His latest book is a story about his culinary travels in China.

This story originally aired on May 27, 2016, on All Things Considered.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Erica Abad glides down the ancient canals of Xochimilco, a borough of Mexico City, on her gondola-like boat. Her cousin, Efren Lopez, steers their boat — called a chalupa — by pushing against the canal floor with a long wooden pole, while Abad flips a sizzling quesadilla on a steel griddle fitted into the boat. When a group of people on a nearby barge signal to them to order some quesadillas, Lopez navigates the boat toward them. And Abad places a few more quesadillas on the griddle for their customers.

Creatine, a chemical constituent of meat and fish that's legally been sold online, in supermarkets, health food stores and vitamin shops for at least a couple of decades, may be the most commonly used muscle-building supplement marketed.

If you find yourself at a loss to name even one Native American food dish, you're not alone. But a growing number of Native chefs are trying to change that.

Freddie Bitsoie is one of those chefs, working to bring back indigenous foods from centuries ago, and adapting them for today's palate so people can learn not just about their cuisines, but their cultures too.

On New Year's Day, Portland restaurant Ava Gene's will be serving brunch to the hungry and hung-over masses. And amidst the frittatas, French toast, and grits, there will be Chef Josh McFadden's own favorite: pasta carbonara.

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I did not want to join yoga class. I hated those soft-spoken, beatific instructors. I worried that the people in the class could fold up like origami and I'd fold up like a bread stick. I understood the need for stretchy clothes but not for total anatomical disclosure. But my hip joints hurt and so did my shoulders, and my upper back hurt even more than my lower back and my brain would. not. shut. up. I asked my doctor about medication and he said he didn't like the side effects and was pretty sure I wouldn't, either.

For the last installment of NPR's holiday recipe series, NPR founding mother Susan Stamberg lays out her special New Year's Eve recipe for caviar pie.

Here it is, so you can make it yourself.


Caviar Pie

6 hard-boiled egges, chopped
3 tbs mayonnaise
1 cup red onion, minced fine
8-oz cream cheese
2/3 cup sour cream

Mix the eggs with the mayonnaise. Spread on bottom of oiled 8-inch spring pan or pie pan.

Sprinkle with the minced onion.

Soften with the cream cheese.

Eighteen years ago, on New Year's Eve, David Fisher visited an old farm in western Massachusetts, near the small town of Conway. No one was farming there at the time, and that's what had drawn Fisher to the place. He was scouting for farmland.

"I remember walking out [to the fallow fields] at some point," Fisher recalls. "And in the moonlight – it was all snowy – it was like a blank canvas."

New Yorker writer Emma Allen shares her favorite cocktail of 2016 with NPR's Robert Siegel. "The Painkiller" — which Allen calls "a $4 slushie" — is served at Johnson's in Bushwick, N.Y.

The Colorado River is like a giant bank account for seven different states. Now it's running short.

For decades, the river has fed growing cities from Denver to Los Angeles. A lot of the produce in supermarkets across the country was grown with Colorado River water. But with climate change, and severe drought, the river is reaching a crisis point, and communities at each end of it are reacting very differently.

It seems everything today has a flavor wheel, that color-coded, adjective-rich circle used to convey the sensory qualities of a product. There's the popular wine wheel, of course, but spices, oysters, beef, chocolate, coffee, bread and cigars also spin to their own wheels.

Now Edgar Chambers is out to rock the sensory world. What Chambers has in mind is a flavor tree.

Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes. It could be bad for your brain, too.

A tiny pink peanut is not a white rhinoceros. Nor is it a green turtle or a Bengal tiger. But until a few years ago the Carolina African runner peanut — at one time, the South's most praised peanut, packed with flavor and rich with oil — was much like the rhinoceros and turtle and tiger. That is, it was nearly extinct.

Born in Mongolia, raised in Japan, and settled firmly in Shanghai, Moe — her full name — runs one of the tiniest bars in Shanghai. But besides her name, Moe (pronounced "Mo-ee") has little in common with Homer Simpson's favorite barman.

She was 20 when she arrived in Shanghai, Moe says from behind the counter. "I went to many bars, I drank a lot, and I spent a lot of money. One day, I thought to myself: 'With all the money I've spent on drinking, I could open my own bar.' "

Studies of fish oil and health are like studies about coffee — there's plenty of contradictory information out there.

With that in mind, here's the latest turn: A Danish study finds that women who took fish oil supplements during pregnancy reduced the risk of asthma in their children.

At first glance, food policy seems to be an afterthought in the Trump administration. The campaign saw few debates about food or farming. And the president-elect hasn't yet nominated someone to head the Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration.

Vegan schnitzel? Veggie würst? Soy-sauge and meatless meatballs?

There's no such thing, says Germany's agricultural minister. He's crying fowl over product packaging, and is calling for a ban on using meat-centric terms to describe meatless products.

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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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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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