Food & Drink

Beth Lipoff/KCUR

From “weird-beers” to your typical TV dinner, all the processed food we eat has been carefully crafted to taste and smell as appealing as possible.

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we visit a local lab to see how flavors are modified and enhanced to make that morning muffin you enjoy taste so much like fresh blueberries-- even though there aren't any in it. 

Guests:

Stewart Butterfield / Flickr-CC

The Test Kitchen isn't a glamorous place filled with Food Network cameras-- it's Kansas City's own secret supper club.

The location is a secret until the day before, and you're in for new cooking techniques and some interesting ingredients. Picky eaters might want to skip this one, but if you've got adventurous taste buds the Test Kitchen might be the place for you.

In the second part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk with its founder and the chef who will be behind the club's next meal.

Guests:

Kimberly Vardeman / Flickr-CC

Can you name one of the Academy Award nominated short films for this year? Let our film critics help you out. 

On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics look at some of the lesser-known Oscar nominees, plus Spinning Plates, a documentary that gives audiences a taste of what it's like to own a restaurant.

Fifteen percent of Americans received federal food stamp benefits in the 2013 fiscal year, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report. That includes about 936,000 people in Missouri and 316,000 in Kansas. The program is the most controversial issue for negotiators working on a new farm bill.

Bob B. Brown / Flickr - CC

In Kansas City's days of old, enterprising bar owners would offer free food to workers heading home and craving a beer or whiskey. This food was usually very salty, encouraging the patrons to drink even more.

The term “happy hour” didn’t exist at this time, but a mix of food and drink has always been an intoxicating lure that nearly every restaurant offers.

On Friday’s Central Standard, Charles Ferruzza and fellow food critics Emily Farris, Mary Bloch, and Gloria Gale discuss the best happy hours in and around Kansas City.

Beth Lipoff/KCUR

The smell of pie might inspire most of us to get a fork and plate, but for one author, it means a story. 

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with the woman behind the new Kate Winslet-Josh Brolin film Labor Day about writing, pie and more.

Guest:

Jonathan Bender / recommendeddaily.co

Something smells good in Kansas City these days, and the upcoming restaurant week is just the thing to show it off. 

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we get a preview of what’s to come during restaurant week and take a bite of the local food scene with The Kansas City Star’s Jill Silva and Recommended Daily blogger Jonathan Bender.

Guests:

Food Critics: Chicken Or The Egg?

Jan 10, 2014
avrene / Flickr--Creative Commons

You’ve heard the question a million times: What came first, the chicken or the egg? The answer is complicated when you pose it to Kansas City diners who might choose fried chicken over an omelet or eggs benedict over chicken noodle soup.

On Friday’s Central Standard, Charles Ferruzza and fellow food critics, Gloria Gale, Chris Becicka, and Emily Farris consider the possibilities that both the chicken and the egg bring to restaurant menus, from fried livers to egg soufflé – and everything in between. 

Best Egg Dishes:

Eggs Benedict

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.

For a long time, American bread makers have been in a bind. Many consumers like the texture and taste of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole grains.

Food Critics: The 15 Best Dishes In Kansas City In 2013

Dec 27, 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, we raise a glass to Kansas City's dearly departed, and appreciate the best that came to be.

On Friday's Central Standard, Charles Ferruzza is joined  by fellow food critics Emily Farris, Mary Bloch, and Chris Becicka to discuss their favorite meals and restaurants of 2013. They also chat about Kansas City's dearly departed restaurants that left us throughout the year. 

The Food Critics' Favorite Dishes of 2013

theseheavenlyholidays / CC

For many, booze is part of the quintessential holiday experience. But standard wine, beer and spirits can get old. So, this holiday season treat your taste buds to some innovative holiday treats, courtesy of Berto Santoro of Extra Virgin and Scott Tipton of Manifesto.

Winter in Buenos Aires

dirtsailor2003 / Flickr - CC

Since the cattle rustling days of yore, steak has always been an important part of the culinary traditions of Kansas City. We even have a baseball team named The T-Bones. Whether it’s top sirloin, filet mignon, or a big bone-in ribeye, premium cuts matter a lot to this city. With so many varieties and types and restaurants to choose from, where should you go when you want both the sizzle and the steak?

Rural Areas Worry About Food Stamp Cuts

Dec 2, 2013
Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

The next farm bill is all but certain to contain cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. Long championed by legislators from urban districts, the food stamp program isn’t just an urban concern. Families living amid fertile farmland struggle to put food on the table and increasingly rely on SNAP benefits. 

Food Critics: Look To The Sides

Nov 29, 2013
vxla / Flickr--Creative Commons

Many restaurants in Kansas City have signature dishes. Stroud’s is known for its fried chicken, Jess and Jim’s is famous for its steaks. But what about the dishes that complement the main course?

Some restaurants do wonders with the lesser-known side dishes: potatoes, vegetables, greens and rice. In fact, a well executed side dish can draw your attention to the entrée—complementing or contrasting the texture, sweetness or bitterness of other servings. 

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Thanksgiving means turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie… and all the carbs you could want. Although we’ve all got our tried and true favorites, you won’t ruffle too many feathers if you try a couple of new dishes this year.

David W. Oliver / Flickr-CC

Got a beef with the meat industry? You’re not the only one, but it’s taken many decades for the industry to assume the shape it has today.

In the first part of Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk about the history of meat production and distribution in the United States. We examine the shift from family to factory livestock farming, how government intervention has affected the industry and how the popularity of organics is changing the conversation.

Guests:

The federal government’s food stamp program could do more to encourage healthy eating among program recipients, according to a recent analysis conducted by the USDA, which administers the program.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

A new labeling rule that went into full effect Saturday requires meatpackers and retailers to provide consumers with more information about where their meat comes from.

The country-of-origin labeling mandate (COOL) forces retailers and meatpackers to detail where the livestock from which meat came was born, raised and slaughtered. It applies to certain cuts of beef, veal, chicken, pork, lamb and goat sold in the supermarket. Processed, deli and ground meats are exempt from the new rules.

Gabriel Saldana / Flickr - CC

The great thing about the Thanksgiving feast is that the table is groaning with wonderful comfort foods and lots and lots of leftovers.

The less appealing thing about Thanksgiving is that 48 hours after the holiday, you’re sick of cold turkey sandwiches and re-heated mashed potatoes and you’re ready for something else to eat. 

On Friday’s Central Standard, Charles Ferruzza and fellow food critics, Emily Farris, Mary Bloch and Chris Becicka shared ideas for a post-holiday culinary detox, and took calls with listener suggestions. Below are their suggestions.

Charles Haynes / Flickr - CC

A rich, flavorful broth with hardy vegetables can go a long way to raising your spirits. And a hearty soup like a stew or a bowl of Vietnamese pho can actually serve as a meal. In the Depression, home cooks discovered starting a meal with soup took the edge off of hunger so they could serve a more modest entrée. But no matter how you serve soup, it ranks as one of the best dishes ever for surviving cold weather, providing comfortable relief for the common cold, and eating your vegetables.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

The teacher calls the class to order, calling the students “Busters,” short for “Broncbusters,” the college’s mascot and a reminder of this old West town’s history of raising cattle.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

Thome puts 125,000 miles a year on this car, picking up boxes from the food pantry, finding a mattress for a newcomer, delivering a sick soul to a doctor’s appointment. All the while, she fields emergency calls on her flip phone, responding to her mission to serve the poor of Garden City, out on the plains of southwest Kansas.

This day, Thome is teaching her teen parenting class at the alternative high school.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

One student in a bright blue T-shirt – 9-year-old Isac Martinez – has not yet picked up his pencil. He’s clearly sick. When McPherson asks him what’s wrong, Isac’s small voice is barely audible in between coughs. He says he threw up four times last night but did not go to a doctor.

A proposed rule change that would have eliminated food stamp eligibility for about 58,000 Missourians has been withdrawn by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The governor had sought to cut eligibility for unemployed adults without children, citing concerns over the amount of federal funds available for state-run food assistance programs. 

Fellow Democrat and State Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis says she’s elated by the governor’s reversal.

clementine gallot / Flickr

An official with the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) briefed a House Interim Committee Monday on Governor Jay Nixon's proposed rule change to cut able-bodied adults without children from the federal food stamp program (SNAP) if they don't have a job. 

Allison Campbell with the DSS Family Support Division says they initially sought to implement the change on October 1st via emergency rule, but she admits that approach was a mistake.

Food Critics: Diabetic Dining

Oct 18, 2013
cookbookman17 / Flickr - CC

Most of us are very lucky. When we go out to eat, we usually don’t worry about dietary restrictions or fret over missing the delicious food we'd like to eat.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

When a new disease — known as PEDV —turned up in the U.S. hog industry in May and threatened to kill whole litters of piglets, the National Pork Board quickly responded with $450,000 in research funding.

A fast-track review process put funds in U.S. labs in two weeks, said Paul Sundberg, the board’s vice president for science and technology. Normally, it takes months for the board’s volunteer committees to decide research priorities.

Franklin B Thompson / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Lawrence, Kan. is probably best-known to most of us as the home of the University of Kansas, but the beloved college town has also become a dining destination for Kansas City diners. Just 45 minutes outside of the heart of Kansas City, Lawrence boasts one of the best bakeries in the Midwest and at least a half dozen truly excellent restaurants. Charles Ferruzza and fellow food critics Mary Bloch, Emily Farris, and Sara Shepherd  give you a crash course in Lawrence dining. Notebooks ready? 

New and Notable

Food Critics: African Cuisine

Sep 20, 2013
Wikimedia Commons - CC

Over a decade ago, the National Restaurant Association issued a report stating that Italian, Mexican and Chinese cuisines had become so popular, they had moved beyond the ethnic food category and into the mainstream. But less familiar culinary traditions are making an increasingly greater impact on how we eat in America. In Kansas City, for example, there are more opportunities to sample the cuisine of the African continent than ever before, and that's just what Charles Ferruzza and fellow food critics Mary Bloch, Chris Becicka, and Emily Farris will do.

Food Critics: Restaurant Trends

Sep 6, 2013
Pace J Miller / Creative Commons

When you dine out you may have noticed that certain trends have been popping up lately. We're seeing noisier dining rooms, smaller portions, and desserts almost as expensive as the entrees. And whatever happened to salad bars, anyway?

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