Bits and pieces: Jewish soul food, food-safety bill and other food news from the web, 12.6.10

Like matzo ball soup? How about matzo ball gumbo? Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Tastes via Flickr.
  • A University of North Carolina professor has written a book that takes a look at how Jews in the South have blended Jewish dishes with Southern staples. Marci Cohen Ferris recently appeared on NPR to discuss her book, Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South. Some interesting hybrids that Ferris discusses include lox and grits, sweet potato latkes and, of course, matzo ball gumbo. I can dig it.
  • A store clerk recently stopped a robbery by throwing a package of empanadas, a Latin American pastry, at the would-be robber, according to a story from the Associated Press.
  • Weight Watchers has changed its Points system, and some folks over in the Gawker comment section aren’t happy about it. According to ABC News, the biggest change to Weight Watchers is that fruits and vegetables have zero points. This probably means nothing to anyone who hasn’t done Weight Watchers, but as a two-time former Weight Watcher, this is pretty major. Thoughts?
  • The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, the first major overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration’s food-safety provisions since 1938, is working its way through Congress. USA Today provides a really good overview of the bill and the changes that would take place if it passes, such as the FDA having the right to order companies to recall tainted food and the first federal oversight of produce.