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FROM THIS EPISODE

Hearty foods take center stage this week.  Mark Schatzker has a primer on picking out a perfect steak, David Graulich traces the history of French fries and Joanna Pruess takes everyday bacon to new heights. Sociologist Barry Glassner talks about how Americans loves to eat, yet have created a culture of deprivation; and Jodi Kantor reports on the state laws that now require Body Mass Index (BMI) testing in elementary schools. Two bloggers join the show this week: "The Waiter," the anonymous author of WaiterRant.net, tells us exactly what he thinks of his customers; and John G, of Quaffability.com, teaches us about the wines of Trader Joe's (beyond Two Buck Chuck, that is). In this week's market report, Laura Avery tells us what's fresh and Evan Kleiman shares her recipe for Turkish Tarator -- a sauce for fish and vegetables.

One Good Dish

David Tanis

Producers:
Bob Carlson
Jennifer Ferro
Thea Chaloner
Candace Moyer

Guest Interview BMI Testing in Schools 7 MIN
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Jodi Kantor wrote an article for the New York Times about the laws in some states that require BMI (body mass index) testing of elementary school students.  As the epidemic of childhood obesity continues to grow, it seems logical that the impact of early detection would be positive.  The testing could potentially curb the health risks and social stigmas associated with obesity.  However, simply sending home a note to the parents of overweight children may not be enough – education, health resources and support are not readily available once a child has been labeled at-risk.  Problems can also arise from the complicated nature of the solution – some children may need more exercise, some may need to change the kind of foods they eat and others may need to be treated for underlying emotional issues.  It’s not as simple as other programs implemented by schools, such as the “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign.  Jodi discusses the laws’ potential for controversy and how they are affecting families.
Guest Interview The All-American French Fry 7 MIN


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French fries have become the stuff of legend.  Not only are they a mainstay in the American diet, this delectable, deep-fried finger food has a long, international and sometimes controversial history.  David Graulich is a French fry expert and is the author of The French Fry Companion:  All About the Foods We Love to Eat.   He traces the history of the French fry, tells us how it became such a large part of our culture, the quest for the perfect frozen fry and some of his own recipes.

Guest Interview The Waiter 7 MIN

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Complaints about restaurant service are common, but what do the waiters have to say about us?  The award-winning weblog Waiter Rant has become so big, that the identity of its author – anonymously known as “The Waiter” -- must be protected or heads will roll.  Started in April 2004, Waiter Rant has bi-weekly accounts of the lives of the wait staff and its customers at an unidentified restaurant in New York.  The Waiter’s humorous tales give us a backstage pass to the world of fine dining -- he reveals what makes a customer “good,” the ongoing war between waiters and customers, his thoughts about tipping and his own experiences as a customer with a bad waiter.

Guest Interview Where's the Beef 7 MIN

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Mark Schatzker is a Canadian-based writer who is obsessed with steak.  He has put his journalistic skills to good use, by assembling a team of tasters to find out what beef makes the best steak.  He tells us how breed, feed, the aging process and use of hormones affect different kinds of cattle.  The winner?  Grass-fed beef.  At an average cost of $21.50 per pound, grass-fed beef is one of the more economical choices but still incredibly flavorful and juicy.  And because grass-fed beef tends to be lower in saturated fats and higher in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s a good choice for health conscious meat eaters.  The drawback is that grass-fed beef is sometimes inconsistent in its taste, depending on the variety of grasses the cattle are fed.  The beef from Mark’s experiment came from a ranch in Idaho, where the cattle grazed on orchard grass, alfalfa, clover and smooth brome in the summer and chopped hay in the winter.

The complete results of Mark’s research are available in his article at Slate.com.

Mark Schatzker is a freelance magazine writer. His humor, travel, adventure, and food stories have appeared in many publications including Toro, Slate.com, McSweeneys, Toronto Life, Saturday Night and Cottage Life. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Laura.


Guest Interview Cheap Wines... Beyond Two-Buck Chuck 7 MIN

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Our wine expert this week is affectionately known to his followers as simply, John G.  His wine blog, Quaffability is wildly popular among wine enthusiasts, which gives tips on how to pick a delicious, yet affordable wine that’s readily available.  The primary focus is on wines from Trader Joe’s – the grocery-store chain that’s famous for its Charles Shaw (a.k.a., “Two Buck Chuck”) wine.  We go beyond Charles Shaw to discover John’s favorite picks -- he describes his system of grading, how price relates to quality and whether or not there’s any truth to labels and bottle shape providing clues to the quality of a wine.

Guest Interview Bringing Home the Bacon 7 MIN

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Long thought to be little more than a hearty and savory morning treat, bacon is breaking out of its shell, thanks to author, Joanna Pruess.  In her cookbook, Seduced by Bacon, she’s created enormously creative recipes that put bacon back in the spotlight.  Bacon ice cream, anyone?

Joanna Pruess has written for the food column of the New York Times Magazine, Food & Wine, Food Arts, Saveur, and The Washington Post, and was a regular contributor to the AP syndicate. She develops recipes for specialty food manufacturers in the U.S. and France. She lives in the Bronx, NY, with her husband, Bob Lape.


Guest Interview The Gospel of Food 7 MIN

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Our culture is food obsessed.  Ironically, we also celebrate deprivation -- taking the joy out of our food experiences through dieting and bland food substitutions.

The author of seven books on contemporary social issues, Barry Glassner is Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. His book, The Gospel of Food, argues that by discarding food trends and fad diets, Americans will become happier, healthier and more educated about the foods they eat.  Because foods are heavily marketed by food producers, grocery chains and restaurants, we are bombarded with information about how and what to eat.  Barry talks about debunking the current trends in food marketing and how we have become so preoccupied with denying ourselves.

Evan Kleiman will be interviewing Barry Glassner in-person as a part of the Aloud L.A. series at the Los Angeles Public Library.  The Event will take place on Tuesday, April 17th at the Los Angeles Central Library.  Sculptor Lloyd Hamrol will simultaneously be building a “junk food pyramid” on stage, created with acquisitions from a 99¢ store.  More information is available at the Aloud L.A. website.


Guest Interview The Market Report - Turkish Tarator 7 MIN

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In this week’s market report, Laura Avery tells us what’s fresh and Evan Kleiman shares her recipe for Turkish Tarator – a traditional sauce for fish and vegetables that’s made with walnuts, bread, olive oil and water and a little vinegar.

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