Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. Desk Jockeys Get Heavier. Both USA Today and the New York Times wrote about a new study that shows that as Americans have shifted from manufacturing or agricultural jobs to sedentary ones, we're expending 120 to 140 less calories a day than we did in the 1960s -- one more reason the obesity rates have risen from 13% of the population to 33% in the same amount of time. Time to take jogging breaks, or perhaps replace the plastic keys in your computer keyboard with lead ones so you're pressing down harder.
2. Portola Tamales. When I was in Portola last week, I stopped in at the Salvadorean Bakery (2684 San Bruno Ave., at Burrows) to look over the cakes, pastries, and cookies in the case. Before I could overspend on fruit pies, I spotted a stack of tamales, wrapped in banana leaves and paper, in the refrigerator. I picked up a couple -- one bean, one chicken, each $2.50 -- for lunch the next day. The masa in the chicken tamal, my favorite of the two, was made in that fluffy, moist Salvadoran style, a sort of savory mousse. Rolled up inside the corn were strips of chicken breast meat, cooked in a simple tomato sauce, as well as a little egg, olives, and green peppers. A great light meal.
3. Zuckerberg likes fresh meat. Fortune reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has embarked on a new challenge this year -- his previous annual challenges have included wearing a tie and studying Mandarin -- to be more conscious of how he eats. With the help of Flea Street Cafe's chef, he's been learning to kill all the animals he eats. Reading between the lines of the story, it sounds like he's primarily going vegetarian. But that's not the sexy part of the story: Last month, Zuckerberg slaughtered a pig and a goat, and Fortune reports that he actually ate a chicken heart! My goodness. I'm hoping the privacy fence around his back yard is high.