What We’re Reading: February 1, 2014

Flickr / malias

This week, our editors consider what’s next: for overfished oceans, threatened and necessary insects, locavores, and undeniably “scrappy” farmworkers. Read on.

60 Second Tasting Menu: Bouley, Winter 2014 — Eater

Carrington Morris: Bloomberg Sees the Upside of OceansNational Geographic
Less than a month out of office, our former mayor sets out to save global fish stocks from the looming consequences of overfishing, polluted waterways and lax regulations. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ambitious five-year $53 million Vibrant Oceans Initiative is partnering with environmental organizations and working with fishing operations large and small to boost fish stocks in Brazil, the Philippines and Chile, which is good news for burgeoning populations that depend on the protein and also for those who make their livelihood from the sea.

Betsy Davidson: Twelve Months of Monastery Soups: International Favorites Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette
The cost of home heating oil just seems to keep on rising. At our last fill-up, the per gallon price increased by 20 cents. Yikes. So, we are staying warm from the inside-out and eating lots of soup. I recently rediscovered the cookbook, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourette. With 175 soups, we should be warm till spring…just around the time I whip up some St. Patrick Irish Cheddar Soup (from the March chapter).

Amy Zavatto: Genetic Weapon Against Insect Raises Hope and Fear in FarmingNYTimes
If coming off of recently reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I know—finally) hasn’t left me with enough nightmares, this article in the New York Times about “a Nobel Prize-winning discovery to kill insects and pathogens by disabling their genes” is definitely keeping me awake. The natural order and genetic make-up of agricultural environments has been so thoroughly messed with on a large scale, that apparently, now we’re going to mess with the genetics of the insects that buzz around them, too. Let me state for the record: This is HORRIBLE idea! But a really good article to read if you want to know what’s going down.

Caroline Lange: The Best Food Writing of 2013 — Holly Hughes
My favorite subway read of the moment is this annual collection of magnificently edited food writing. The anthology is diversely sourced, with essays and articles from Edward Behr on slow food and Slow Food (“Slow Cooking, Slow Eating”); Gabrielle Hamilton on home cooking (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”); and an article by Todd Kliman that is making me rethink what “local” means (“The Meaning of Local”)—among others. This year’s collection has a distinct emphasis on those local food economies and cultures, and many of the authors take a refreshingly critical stance on the topic.

Eileen M. Duffy: Farmworkers Win an Extra Penny From the Ultimate Penny Picher, WalmartTom Philpott, Mother Jones
This happened before President Obama announced he was raising the minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 per hour, but I’d like to think the two are connected and inspired by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which started in 2000 by demanded an extra penny per pound from fast food chains and other bulk produce buyers. Finally Walmart has joined the ranks of corporations to sign the penny pledge. As Philpott says, “scrappy workers, sufficiently organized, can win concessions from even the most ruthless companies.”

Featured photo credit: Flickr / malias

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