FERN’s Friday Feed: Can I speak to the rice sommelier?


welcome to FERN’s Friday stream (#FFF), where we share this week’s stories that got us thinking.


The quest for the best rice in the world

To taste

“[T]The concept that a person’s palate can be trusted to assess and grade batches of plain white rice, such as single-origin coffee or producer champagne, has become mainstream in Japan, ”writes Kenji Hall. “National newspapers, lifestyle magazines, food websites, radio shows, daytime TV shows – there’s no shortage of print pages and airtime filled with in-depth commentary from” rice sommeliers’ on the types that are best for a light breakfast of fermented soybeans and seaweed or as fried rice for dinner. In addition, traders certified “five-star rice gentlemen” demonstrate their expertise with their house mixes and taste cards.


Mexico’s wheat fields have a laughing gas problem

The Washington Post

”[S]scientists who have studied this valley for decades know that at these precise times and conditions – when water mixes with nitrogen fertilizer and when no crops are in the soil to absorb it – huge pushes nitrous oxide gas is released into the atmosphere, ”write Joshua Partlow and Chris Mooney. “As a contributor to climate change, nitrous oxide remains a mysterious villain, crudely measured and less studied than carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But it is responsible for 6.5% of current global warming, and its concentration in the atmosphere is increasing at an accelerating rate.


Why Chinese restaurants have become a Christmas staple, and not just for Jews

LAist

The tradition probably originated in Manhattan, where Jewish and Chinese immigrants congregated in neighborhoods close to each other, ”writes Fiona Chandra. “In addition, Chinese restaurants tend to stay open every day of the year, damn the holidays. Whatever initially drew diners to Chinese restaurants over Christmas, they have become a popular holiday destination on both coasts, and everywhere in between. “


For rich and poor alike, partying is a matter of joy

The New York Times

“Chastened US lawmakers for wanting to ban the use of food stamps to buy junk food are part of a long line stretching back to the Victorian workhouses, who ensured that food was never enticing enough to encourage laziness, “writes Abhijit Banerjee. “The pleasure of eating, to say nothing of cooking, has no place in this story. And the idea that if workers knew what is good for them, they would simply seek out more food for fuel is a woefully limited view of the food experience in most countries of the world. As anyone who has been poor or has spent time with the poor knows, eating something special is a source of great excitement. As for everyone.


How aquaculture and conservation can coexist

High Country News

“A self-proclaimed genetics nerd, [Stuart] Thomas is responsible for reviving the Olympia oyster for the Swinomish Shellfish Company, ”writes Sarah Sax. “The Englishman had spent years working in the commercial shellfish industry in Washington before joining the company, which is owned by the Swinomish Indian tribal community. Now it operates under a different set of rules, with one main directive: do not disturb the eelgrass beds.


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