Bacon Explosions, Veggie Eating in the Midwest and Radioactive Food: Food Genius Weekly Roundup

Vegetarian Eating in the Midwest

New York Times writer A.G. Sulzberger talks about the struggles of eating vegetarian in the Midwest. A recent transplant to Kansas City, Mo., Sulzberger finds eating out to be a more frustrating experience than he ever imagined. The article also illustrates the varying definitions of “meat-free” between vegetarians and non-vegetarians:

“During a recent visit to the Ranchito Tex-Mex Cafe in Hugoton, Kan., a small community encircled by feedlots packed with cattle and the plants that process them, I inquired if the beans at the restaurant were prepared with meat.

“There’s no meat,” the waitress replied helpfully. “It’s just pinto beans smashed up with lard.”

Lard, of course, is rendered pork fat.”

A Figurative Explosion of Bacon

On the other end of the spectrum (but still involving Kansas City and pork) the Food Genius staff has discovered Bacon Explosion, a bacon-stuffed, bacon-wrapped Italian sausage covered in Kansas City style BBQ sauce. You can even get a pig-shaped carrying case for your … log of meal, or for even more explosive potential, order it filled with meet or jalapeno peppers. Best of luck to any readers planning to order this.

X Rayed food isn’t radioactive

After an NPR report about how food manufacturers X-ray foods for foreign objects, reader response promoted a follow-up report on the safety concerns of X-rayed food. NPR talked to several experts on food and radiation to explain the difference between radiation used to x-ray food and actual exposure to radioactive materials (which, by the way, is different irradiation of food). Yeah, it’s a bit complicated. Read the whole article for details.

The end of Twinkies?

You’ve probably heard the news: Hostess, maker of Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and other lunch box treats of childhood, is filing for bankruptcy. High production costs and healthier lifestyles have led to declining sales for Twinkies in recent years.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“The iconic status of Twinkies is partly this perception that there’s nothing real in it,” said Ken Albala, professor of history at the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, Calif., who specializes in food history. “It’s this cake filled with an unidentifiable sugary cream filling that never goes bad.”

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