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Monday, April 25, 2011

Food Costs, Diet Drinking, and Buying the Right Fish

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. Pain at the Cart. At the New York Times, Kim Severson surveys the rising costs of food -- beef up 12 percent, tomatoes up 11 percent, milk up 7 percent -- and then puts it in in perspective: Globally, food costs rose 37 percent this year, making our discomfort at the new prices seem like a mild irritation.

2. Who's Calling My Cocktail "Empty"? Last week, the Washington Post's Tim Carman looked at the national regulations the FDA has proposed requiring nutrition labeling on restaurant menus, and found that alcoholic drinks were exempt. What about the Cheesecake Factory's Flying Gorilla milkshake-cocktail, he asked, calculating its calorie count as between 590 and 870 calories. Even a couple of glasses of wine could add 280 calories to a meal. The reason we're not telling people that drinking isn't fat has more to do with interagency politics than public health, he concluded.

On the Post's food blog, booze columnist Jason Wilson responded with a "Not so fast ..." While a frothy chain-restaurant margarita might indeed have 700 calories, Wilson argues, a properly made classic 5-ounce margarita has more like 175. An Old-Fashioned: 148. Negroni: 136. Gin and grapefruit: 91. Drinking, he concludes, can be healthy.


3. How to Pick Sustainable Seafood. Consider this a sidebar to Peter Jamison's current feature in the Weekly: On her website, nutritionist Kate Geagen does a little myth-busting about sustainable seafood, interviewing For Cod and Country author Barton Seaver about common assumptions that keep consumers from finding the best, most inexpensive sustainable seafood. Their advice: Don't fear the freezer section, don't write off Safeway, and don't avoid all farmed fish. 

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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