Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!
1) The U.S. Department of Agriculture said no to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the purchase of soda and other sugary drinks using food stamps. According to CBS News, “The ban would have applied to any sweetened beverage that contains more than 10 calories per eight ounces.” The proposal was turned down due to issues like the time it may take to decide what would or wouldn’t qualify and that it might make those using the stamps feel stigmatized.
2) Once known for his affinity for fatty foods like McDonald’s hamburgers, former president Bill Clinton has decided to go vegan. USA Today reported that Clinton, “…is following this eating plan to improve his heart health.” The former president has had surgery on his heart twice since 2004. For more information on living the vegan lifestyle, check out our post on vegan and vegetarianism.
3) Morton’s The Steakhouse took customer service to the next level using social media. After Peter Shankman, a public relations professional, tweeted about wanting a steak dinner, a Morton’s staff member actually met him at the airport with a 24-ounce Porterhouse steak, Colossal Shrimp and potatoes. Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Morton’s, Roger Drake, told Smart Blog on Restaurants, “These things don’t happen unless it’s part of your culture, and that is really what Morton’s is all about: noticing little details, making it a memorable dining experience and wowing our guests.” It also doesn’t hurt business that all of Morton’s and Shankman’s Twitter followers witnessed this act of kindness.
4) A report done by the Union of Concerned Scientists has found that the amount of U.S. farmers markets has almost tripled within the last decade. According to an article on Triple Pundit the markets went from, “2,863 in 2000 to 6,132 in 2010 and over 100,000 farmers are selling their products to customers directly.” This boom of markets has help to boost local economies, but the report’s author, Jeffrey O’Hara, believes that if more government assistance were provided to these types of farming practices instead of more industrial farms, it could generate “tens of thousands of new jobs.”
5) With a new school year comes a new, healthier menu for 480 school districts being provided with food by the Sodexo company. In order to help the fight against obesity and expand the tastes of students, Sodexo will now offer items like Mediterranean Lentil Soup and Tropical Vegetable Tofu. According to a press release, “Sodexo’s team of culinary experts, including chefs at school districts nationwide, developed recipes that entice students and meet USDA’s National School Lunch Program guidelines.”
If you’d like to try out a version of the Mediterranean Lentil Soup, check out this version from Epicurious.