A sampling of recent food-related news stories that caught my interest:
- Cows with names produce more milk than those without names, according to Scientific American—which, incidentally, just introduced me to an entire scientific field I'd never heard of. They found the named-cow study in the latest issue of Anthrozoös, a British-based quarterly which seeks to "address the characteristics and consequences of interactions and relationships between people and non-human animals."
And thus I fell down a rabbit hole and whiled away half my morning reading papers with titles like "Visceral disgust motivates concern for animals" and "Problematic knowledge in Finnish wolf policy."
What was I talking about?
- Oh right, milk. Which there's a national surplus of right now, driving prices down and hitting dairy farmers hard. But a proposal to "retire" some of the nation's dairy cows into hamburgers was skimmed out of the latest economic stimulus bill after some wrangling by beef lobbyists. (I propose a much less bloody solution to the surplus: Pass a law against naming dairy cows.)
- Speaking of both beef and dairy (sheep's milk this time), did you notice this story in the Washington Post about Roquefort cheese? One of the last acts of the Bush administration involved raising the 100-percent import tax on the stinky French cheese to an astounding 300 percent—a measure meant to punish the European Union for its ban on imports of hormone-treated beef (as most U.S. beef is).
And, buried in the federal register, the news that punitive tariffs (100 percent, starting March 23) will also affect imports of many other European edibles (complete list here), including lingonberry jam, chocolate, chewing gum and most types of meat from any EU country except the United Kingdom. So yes...that includes Belgian chocolate, sadly.
- If all this food fighting leaves you wanting a drink, Newsweek sums up the latest reasons to have a glass of red wine, highlighting studies that suggest moderate consumption may help fight Alzheimer's, promote cardiac health, and lower lung-cancer risk. (Who drinks the most wine in the world? Unsurprisingly, the French—but that may be changing. The Economist offers a nifty chart.)