This week our favorite articles revolved around the business of food—how it is evolving, for better (read Mario Batali's take on food as pop culture) or worse (rainbow foods, anyone?). We read about the "Whole Foods effect" in which smaller companies scale up, the gradual disappearance of NYC's Jewish delis and the staying power of spice mecca Kalustyan's.
We hope you find these eight stories as insightful as we did. Happy reading.
The BBC laments the exodus of Jewish delis New York has witnessed over the years, due in part to shifting dietary trends, the evolution of the American Jewish immigrant experience and the economic limitations of running a meat-centric business.
In a closer look at "the Whole Foods effect," the New York Times highlights a couple small businesses faced with the choice of scaling up and considers the conflicting forces at play.
Tom Philpott of Mother Jones went behind enemy lines when he found himself at Monsanto's global R&D center outside of St. Louis, or "in the bosom" of the agrichemical industry he critiques for a living. He left optimistic that an open dialogue between the mega-company and its critics would continue and also stunned to see the company's closed-loop approach at play with a fungus and a fungicide being sold in the same package.
Food writer Regina Schrambling writes about New York's Kalustyan's, "one of the food temples of the city," and one of our favorite places to get lost.
Mario Batali pens an essay in Lucky Peach about "how food culture became pop culture," chronicling the evolution of food TV, which helped highlight the individual voice of chefs and the double-edged sword of chefs' increased visibility. Ultimately, Batali decides that food as pop culture is "a win-win;" you're going to want read about how he personally arrives at this conclusion. There may or may not be a reference to Marco Pierre White hitting Batali with a pan of risotto.
On the dark, or, er, rainbow side of food as pop culture, Gizmodo asks the question we've all been thinking: "Why are we turning our favorite foods into rainbow-colored nightmares?"
Finally, in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, The Salt investigates what theatergoers ate while watching his plays. Archaeologists unearthed signs of various fruits, chicken bones and the most common debris: oyster shells. The website also examines how the bard used food references in his work as "racey code."
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