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FoodLink Roundup: 11.17.08

Cupcake's Link Roundup
Last week, Cupcake was handily spotted in the grand hall of Grand Central Station. Where in the world is Cupcake this week? Post your guess in the comments.

Spam Spikes
Apparently, in hard times (like now) Spam production (the meat kind) goes into overdrive.

Talking chocolate with Damian Allsop
Man breaks back and morphs into modern Willy Wonka. Culinary magic ensues.

What the World Leaders Ate
Planet Money posts the White House menu for G-20 world leaders. Mmm... Lamb, Quinoa and Huckleberries.

The Math on the Starbucks Gold Card
Bottom line: you have to be an addict to make it pay.

Scientists turn tequila into diamonds
My high school chem class definitely didn't feature this experiment.

McDonald's sales rise 8.2 percent
"McDonald's is likely benefiting from diners who might ordinarily go to pricier sit-down restaurants but are gravitating to fast food to save money — a phenomenon called 'trading down.'"

New food links — and another postcard from Cupcake — every Monday morning on missginsu.com

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FoodLink Roundup: 05.19.08

Cupcake's Link Roundup
Last week, Cupcake was hiding out at historic Rye Playland in Westchester County, NY. Where in the world is Cupcake this week? Post your guess in the comments.

A chicken in every pot belly
"it is I think one of the very best of the ancient, rustic slow-cooked standards, and everybody should have it at least once or go to the grave wondering why they hadn't"

Sneaky restaurant tricks
I know this article is supposed to be spun as a consumer rights piece, but I kind of view it as "How restaurants stay in business during tough times." It ain't easy, folks.

Liberians drop rice for spaghetti
High rice prices drive a new interest in spaghetti... with lots of chili sauce, of course.

The cost of food: Facts and figures
It's dismal data... but oh how I love an infographic!

Ideas We Love: The Donut Cake
Wedding? We don't need no stinkin' wedding... Let there be donut cakes for everyone!

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FoodLink Roundup: 03.17.08

Link Roundup
Last week, Cupcake turned up in Muir Woods, CA. Where in the world is cupcake this week? Got it nailed down? Post in the comments...

Guinness good for you... officially!
Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Guinness gets the backing of some scientific research. Sláinte!

Roundup Bonus: Check out the glowing ad copy in this old-school Guinness advert.

Can the World Afford A Middle Class?
Consequences of the global consumption boom? We all pay more for bread, milk and chocolate.

Restaurants Feel the Bite
The stay-at-home mom trend hits the restaurant industry.

More Than Salad
This looks to be a great travel resource for veggies on the wing.

Jack: an occasional restaurant
A fellow NYC food blogger opens an "occasional restaurant" in the totally cool Brooklyn Lyceum.

How the World is Eating...
As food costs rise, some families share how they're dealing with dinner.

10 New York classics
The Guardian fires back after New York Magazine issues its latest list of food & drink favorites.

Red Hook Vendors Get 6-Year Permit
Hooray! Soccer tacos for everyone! Or at least, everyone in Brookyn...

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Nibbling at the Front Line

When I returned to the Upper Midwest last summer for a visit, I couldn't help but notice a change in the fields. The vast oceans of wheat and the fields of sunflowers were gone. In their place grew soybeans and corn.

And according to the National Corn Growers Association, spring planting trends will continue to favor corn.

So what's wrong with lots of corn? For one thing, it means that other crops become more scarce as corn prices go up and farmers turn to the big corn payoff.

Films like King Corn have attacked the environmental and dietary risks of our national corn obsession.

And on the topic of corn-fed beef, food writer Michael Pollan says: "The industry can always make the popular arguments, because they certainly make things cheaper. But is it really cheap? Think of the taxpayer, who's actually subsidizing every one of those burgers. All that corn requires an immense amount of fossil fuel. Corn requires more fertilizers and pesticides than other crops. It takes the equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline to grow every bushel of corn. [Almost] everything we do to protect our oil supply ... is a cost of that burger."

A very active athlete, J consumes New York City like Galactus chews through planets. Thus, he's bound to notice the effects of agricultural policy on food costs (and small-scale businesses) a little more quickly than I would.

Herein J reports on how things are going for those on the front lines: old-school vendors on the Lower East Side.

A moist, tasty muffin (for $2.25) from the Tra La La Juice Bar.
1. There's a fantastic dumpling shop in my neighborhood that has sold their pork & chive fried dumplings at 5/$1 for the last ten years. When I went in last night, the price had gone to 4/$1. I mentioned the change to the owner. She said, "flour tripled, $18/bag to $60/bag, and my other ingredients are up too."

2. A guy in the local covered market makes muffins. My favorite one has been $1.75 since I moved to NYC. It went to $2.25 a couple weeks ago. Explanation: "All of my ingredients have gotten more expensive. Using corn for fuel was the stupidest thing anybody could have come up with, 'cause now the price of corn — the root of all US agriculture — has shot up, taking everything else with it." He went on a tirade, talking about how biofuel has to be shipped in trucks that burn more biofuel rather via pipelines, &c.

I just stood there, listening and chewing my $2.25 muffin.

Just a little something to chew on the next time you see high-fructose corn syrup in your sports drink or corn ethanol at the gas pump.

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