food

In this encore presentation, we explore KC's diverse Latin American food scene. A local chef shows us how to prepare cactus (and cooks his specialty dish, chicken with cactus, in the studio), then KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Latin American dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

The Rising Energy Costs Of Convenience In The Kitchen

Jan 21, 2016
Leigh Paterson / For Harvest Public Media

To make or not to make a homemade pie?  That is a classic holiday dilemma. Do you take the easy way out and buy a fairly decent frozen pie, or do you risk making your own, resulting in a potentially burnt and lumpy version?

While there is something special about that homemade option, every cook knows that it takes a lot of your own time and energy.

File: Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

New federal guidelines for healthy eating announced Thursday do not urge Americans to eat less meat, delivering a big win to Midwest meat farmers and ranchers.  

Harvesters

Kansas City-based Harvesters Community Food Network has seen its elderly clients more than double in the past few years.

The organization says today about 20 percent of those receiving food from  the agencies Harvesters serves are seniors.

Harvesters provides food to more than 600 not-for-profits in 26 counties in Kansas and Missouri.

Pipestone Veterinary Services

Veterinarian and researcher Scott Dee doesn’t much look the part of a detective, in his jeans and company polo shirt.

But when a virus never before seen in North America swept through the network of hog farms where he works, Pipestone Veterinary Services, in January 2014, he had his first clue.

“These farms had the same pattern of infection,” Dee said.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

A fast-spreading virus never before seen in the United States hit the pork industry more than two years ago, racking up roughly $1 billion in losses and spiking prices for consumers.

While researchers are still trying to track the culprit, it appears to be an intrepid world traveler that may have been delivered directly to farmers’ barn doors, creating an intriguing international back story traced to China.

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

EBT. For some Kansas Citians the acronym has no particular meaning, but for long-time residents it's a reminder of the former downtown department store, Emery, Bird, Thayer & Company — or the restaurant that takes its name and some of its decor from this former Kansas City institution. EBT the restaurant announced to staffers Monday that it would close on December 31.

Fuel: It's What's For Dinner

Nov 30, 2015
Stephanie Joyce / Harvest Public Media

There are few places where the connection between energy and food is more obvious than at the Bright Agrotech warehouse in Laramie, Wyo.

Most of the building is filled floor to ceiling with giant shelves of cardboard boxes and tubing—equipment Bright Agrotech sells to farmers—but in one corner of the warehouse, there’s a small farm: rows and rows of greens and herbs, growing in white vertical towers under dozens of bright LEDs. The hum of electricity is palpable.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Let's be clear, pierogi is not a Thanksgiving food. But you may notice that in some spellings of the word (like the one used in the previous sentence), it has the word 'pie' in it.

That's not a sorry joke. The Slavic origins of the word pierogi, or pirogi (as it is also commonly spelled) yields the translation "pie." Really, they're dumplings but consider them little Slavic pies, too, and they become an eminently appropriate Thanksgiving dish. 

What Is The Carbon Footprint Of A Typical Thanksgiving Dinner?

Nov 24, 2015
Jack Amick / Flickr -- CC

Mike Berners-Lee may not be an expert on the American Thanksgiving. A native of the UK, he’s never actually had the pleasure of experiencing one. But as one of the world’s leading researchers on the carbon footprint of—well—everything (he even wrote a book subtitled “The Carbon Footprint of Everything”), he’s plenty familiar with the impacts of the foods that star in the traditional Thanksgiving Day spread.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Move over turkey. Step aside stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year and it’s as popular as ever.

Love it or loathe it, the classic Midwestern casserole has come to mean more than just a mashup of processed food sitting next to the mashed potatoes.

Jen Chen/KCUR

Sandwiches — they’re portable, and practically anything can go between two slices of bread (or even atop just one piece of bread).

From banh mi to Cubans to Reubens, local restaurants are offering traditional versions and riffs of the good ol’ hand-held.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pickling is a trend picking up all over the country, and Elise Landry, sous chef at Ça Va in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood, is pickling everything. Turnips, husk cherries, shallots … you name it, she’s pickled it.

“The other day I was called a pickled petunia by a customer, which I’ll always remember,” she laughs.

Initially, Landry started pickling to keep the seasonal produce she got from the Brookside Farmer’s Market fresh. But it’s gone far beyond practicalities.

A local blogger has collected and published photographs of the little corner grocery stores that used to fill Kansas City's midtown neighborhoods. It elicited a passionate response. What is it about the history and demise of mom n' pop groceries that touches a nerve?

Guests:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Martin Heuser, an eighth generation chef, grew up in Bonn, Germany, where corn is eaten, but not a traditional part of the cuisine. He grew to appreciate fresh, local corn as an ingredient when he lived in Canada. 

"For me, corn is summertime," Heuser said it adds another component and flavor to a dish.

At his restaurant Affäre in the Crossroads, he features it in special recipes when it's in season.

If there's a sandwich of deli meat and processed cheese in your lunchbox, you might have the military to thank for it. On this edition of Up to Date, we talk about how convenience foods leaped from combat zones to your kitchen.

Guest:

  • Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the Military Shapes the Way You Eat
Courtesy photo / Snow and Co.

If your stomach is grumbling in the Kansas City area, the Missouri River plays a big role on how to satisfy those hunger pangs.

“It’s very much a psychological thing, you think you’re crossing into another country (when you cross the Missouri River),” said Jerry Nevins, co-owner of Snow & Co., an upscale frozen cocktail bar that started in the Crossroads Arts District. “Most everybody goes south.”

Just south of the river, you’ll find a plethora of dining options at independent restaurants in Kansas City on both sides of the state line.

Bake-Off

Jul 24, 2015
Katie Knight/KCUR

We explore the landmark case of pie vs. cake. Two baking experts — one pro-pie, the other pro-cake — defend their desserts in a lively debate, then our Food Critics search for the best pies and cakes in Kansas City.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Food companies the world over are paying close attention to the groundswell of support for food transparency, the “know where your food comes from” movement.

JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, is beginning to take notice as well.

But executives with JBS USA, the North American arm of its Brazilian parent company, at the same time acknowledge that the very nature of their business is grisly, gory and sometimes unpalatable.

Do you clean your plate? Should you keep a chicken that's been in your freezer for 10 years? We visit farms, a meat processing plant, a compost heap, grocery stores and Kansas Citians' kitchens to explore the issue of food waste.

File photo

It’s over.

Republican legislators from the House and Senate mustered just enough votes to pass a $400 million tax increase Friday and end the historic 2015 session.

The session traditionally lasts 90 days. Friday was the 113th, as both chambers struggled to get Republican supermajorities to approve a substantial tax hike.

The final plan raises the state sales tax from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent. Senators ultimately gave up on a quest to tax groceries at a lower rate.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

Walk down a grocery store aisle today and you’re likely to find lots of food…and lots of marketing claims. Whether a product’s label says its low in fat, produced without hormones, or a good source of protein is largely governed by consumer demand and corporate profit.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The packaged foods found in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are full of ingredients you often can’t pronounce.

They’ve been carefully developed and tested in a lab and likely have been shipped long distances. They can hold up to weeks or even months on the shelf. But most of them began with fresh food you might cook with at home.

Just how risky is eating poultry? On this edition of Up to Date, we look at salmonella contamination in poultry processing and the health risks to consumers.

Guests:

  • David E. Hoffman is the correspondent for Frontline's The Trouble with Chicken. He is also a Pulitzer Prize winner and a contributing editor at The Washington Post.
  • Peggy Lowe is the investigative editor for KCUR and Harvest Public Media that follows agricultural issues in the Midwest.
Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

For customers stepping inside Abarrotes Delicias, the noise, traffic and heat of the surrounding Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood seem to disappear.

The small store offers everything from tacos to snacks to money transfers – or just  an air-conditioned place to hang out and watch TV on a lazy afternoon.

Owner Graciela Martinez says she tries to provide a welcoming personal touch when serving her customers, who comprise a diverse sample of nearby residents.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Whatever someone’s route to gluten-free living might be, they soon find out it’s a bigger change than just giving up baked goods.

“It’s expensive,” says Karen Miller, a retired dietitian who helped out at the Wednesday open house of the ReNewed Health Allergy Friendly and Gluten Free Food Pantry in Overland Park, Kansas.

The boxes and bags of gluten-free flour, pasta, pancake mix and other food that line the pantry’s shelves cost two to four times as much as their gluten-rich counterparts.

Poison in your mouthwash? Roach killer in your coffee? On this edition of Up To Date, we discuss some of the ingredients in everyday products that may surprise you. 

Guest:

  • Patrick Di Justo is a former editor at WIRED and author of This Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth? From Eggnog to Beef Jerky, the Surprising Secrets of What’s Inside Everyday Products.

For the estimated 15 million Americans with food allergies, what they eat can be deadly. On this edition of Up To Date, we discuss how food intolerances develop in children and adults and how to treat them.

Guest:

Dr. Jeffrey Wald is an allergist with Kansas City Allergy & Asthma Associates.

Mother-Son Duo Are Reluctant Restaurateurs

May 1, 2015
Jen Chen / KCUR

Kashif Tufail is the owner of Chai Shai, a little Pakistani restaurant on the corner of 59th Street and Holmes in Brookside. Besides all the neighborhood regulars, it’s become a gathering spot for Pakistani students at UMKC. 

And before they eat, Tufail says, they always ask him, “Are these samosas as good as my mom's?"

“And I say, 'Yeah, I believe so.'”

Once they eat them, and agree on how good they are, Tufail reveals, “You know whose samosas those are? Those are my mom’s.”

Tony Cenicola / Michael Moss

For decades, food companies have been deliberately bumping up the salt, sugar and fat levels in processed foods to get us hooked. And those unhealthy foods have played a big part in our current epidemic of health problems, including obesity and diabetes. So argues Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Moss in his 2013 book “Salt, Sugar and Fat: How The Food Giants Got Us Hooked.” KCUR caught up with Moss recently when the author was in town to speak at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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