Bits and pieces: Hunger legislation, white versus wheat and other food news from the web, 8.9.10

One bread reigns supreme.
  • Shoppers, watch our for some white-on-wheat violence in the bread aisle. Consumers are buying more wheat bread than white bread for the first time, according to the Chicago Tribune. And some of the best performing of these breads are produces with buzz words such as “whole grain” and “natural” in the name. I have a confession: my favorite bread is Nature’s Own. Am I just a sheep in the big ol’ food pasture?
  • A Georgia woman is using cornbread in an attempt to fight the foreclosure of her home, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Beverly Davis lost her job and eventually her $134,000 home. So she’s started cooking up recipes based around cornbread and selling her goods. Here’s her blog and website.
  • The U.S. Senate recently passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a bill that will provide an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years to federal child nutrition programs, including school lunches, according to the Washington Post. The bill has not only received bi-partisan support, but First Lady Michelle Obama touted the measure in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Here’s some key points about the bill, which the senate passed by unanimous consent on Thursday, Aug. 5:
    • The bill allocates $1.2 billion to increase the number of children receiving food, an effort to meet President Obama’s pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015. The remaining $3.2 billion would be used to improve the quality of school meals. This includes an extra 6 cents per meal per student for schools that meet new, stricter nutrition standards and funding for schools to establish school gardens and to source local foods. (Washington Post)
    • The need for Federal food assistance has increased dramatically in recent years.  According to USDA’s November 2009 report, Household Food Security in the United States, 14.6 percent of U.S. households (17 million households representing 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children) were food insecure at least some time during the year. Of that number, 6.7 million households were classified as having very low food security, meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. (Democratic Policy Committee)
    • The House of Representatives would need to pass its version of the bill in time for President Obama to sign the legislation before Sept. 30, when it is set to expire, or the programs risk losing the newly found funding. (Washington Post)
    • Money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) will be reallocated if the hunger-free kids act is made into law. (Politico)

*Photo courtesy of doitsunosensei via Flickr

Bits and pieces: Stadium food, meat lovers and other food news from the web, 8.2.10

Happy August. *fingers crossed that the weather will go from scorching to somewhat tolerable*

On to the news.

Mmmmm, meaty meat meat.*

  • Folks whose diet consists of hearty portions of meat are more likely to gain weight than their counterparts who eat less meat, according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. The European study, conducted by the Imperial College London and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that “for every additional 250 grams of meat a person ate daily, their 5-year weight gain would be 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) greater,” the article states.
  • Some of Louisville’s most neediest neighbors to the north aren’t getting the government aid that they need because they receive food stamps — a practice that violates federal law. An article from the Associated Press states that Indiana’s current aid system allows state officials to cut grocery allowances when the federal government raises food stamp amounts so that a person’s total food benefits do no exceed $200 each month. “But since 1964, federal law has barred states from counting food stamps as income or using them to reduce any other public benefits,” according to the AP.

The policy has affected people with developmental disabilities who need financial help to live independently and who receive additional assistance to buy groceries.

  • Health.com has posted a list of the fattiest foods in each state. Some of the winners (or losers?) include the donut-as-a-bun Luther Burger in Georgia, the fried-brain sandwich in Indiana and chicken-fried steak in Oklahoma. Kentucky’s fattest food? Why, the KFC Double Down, of course.
  • This article from CBS News will change the way you look at stadium food. A report from ESPN shows that there are “critical” health code violations at food vendors in some of the nation’s most popular professional sports stadiums and arenas, according to CBS. “Violations ranged from dirty equipment to insect infestations to mouse droppings,” the article states. This story also includes a slideshow that highlights some of the scariest violations at places like Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Blech.

*Photo courtesy of Flickr

Former critic shares his story of food stamp living

More people in this country need government aid to meet their basic nutritional needs than ever before.

For the first time, more than 40 million Americans receive food stamps as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to news reports released today.

From an article in the Boston Globe:

An average of 40.5 million people, more than an eighth of the population, will get food stamps each month in the year that began Oct. 1, according to White House estimates. The figure is projected to rise to 43.3 million in 2011.

Ed Murrieta is one of those people.

Murrieta is a culinary school-educated former restaurant critic, baker, culinary consultant and food writer who is unemployed. Murrieta relies on food stamps while he searches for a job.

Murrieta’s account of his life on food stamps has been popping up all over the Internet, and rightly so. It gives readers a look into the often tough circumstances that more than an eighth of our population face.

Murrieta’s story is jarring because of his descent from an employee with an expense account for meals to a food-insecure unemployed writer. His situation shows that anyone can be a lay-off away from needing government’s help to eat.

Bits and pieces: food stamps, upside-down produce and other food news from the web, 5.24.10

  • It’s an amazing thing when stuff on infomercials actually get some mainstream attention. In this case, products like the Topsy Turvy, which allow gardeners to grow their veggies upside down, have become very popular among amateur horticulturists, according to the NY Times. (story)
  • The government is encouraging grocery stores and other retailers to accept customers who use benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, according to the Associated Press via ABC News. The encouragement is an attempt to de-stigmatize using food stamps, especially in the tight economy in which we are all suffering. According to the article:

Government food aid has grown in record levels over the last several years as the economic downturn has hurt families’ bottom lines. Estimated spending on all domestic food assistance programs has increased more than 80 percent over the last three years, and the SNAP program served more than 6.6 million additional households between October 2006 and February 2010

(story)

  • The Association of Food Journalists announced the recipients of its annual award competition recently. “The awards recognize excellence in reporting and writing in all media, newspaper food section design and content, food illustration and food photography,” according to the group. (list)
  • Corporations have gotten more creative with their benefits during the recession. Companies such as PepsiCo, Google and even the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Ky., are providing employees with organic gardens at their workplaces, according to the NY Times. The gardens allow employees “to take a break from their desks and take home fresh produce.” Me = jealous. (story)