Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. Do you have your food handling card? The Chronicle's Michael Bauer delivers a real inside scoop: Thanks to a new law that no one in California knows about, by July 1 -- that's Friday -- all restaurant workers in the state must have a Food Handling Card, which requires them to take a $15 class. This isn't an egregious demand; other states, such as Washington, have similar requirements. For several reasons, the health department isn't going to start enforcing the law until January. But they have yet to start publicizing it, too.
2. Diet Coke makes you fat. Several national news sources -- here's Time magazine's report -- are reporting on new studies that have found that diet sodas actually contribute to weight gain and risk for diabetes. The researchers don't know exactly why, but adults who drank two diet sodas a day showed 500% more growth in their waist circumference than people who didn't drink any diet soda. Dear science: I gave up my Diet Coke addiction six weeks ago, and have yet to shrink to a 28-inch waist. I'm waiting.
3. The science of hangovers. In 7x7 Magazine, Ian White interviewed several winemakers to find out exactly why some wines provoke hangovers more than others. Higher alcohol, problematic ferments (I'm going to need to use that phrase again), sulfites, oak chips -- your wine bottle isn't a source of pleasure, it's a headache trap.