Food

Secretive Foragers Are Cashing In On A Mushroom Bonanza

Oct 7, 2017
Max Whittaker

There, not a dozen yards from the road, was an enormous downed oak tree and, growing from it, about 50 pounds' worth of orange-gold chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms.

It was, she said, the "mother lode." So Bischoff, 42, pulled over and got to work. "I had a pry bar. Some of those sections were like two feet across. They were huge!" It was enough not only to fill her refrigerator but also to sell (for an amount she declined to disclose) to friends, strangers on Facebook, and even a local restaurant.

Northside Food Pantry

It was the holiday season of 2012 when Central North Side resident Jana Thompson first asked her neighbor, Darlene Rushing, to join her in volunteering at the Northside Food Pantry.

Rushing agreed, and came in to help on the pantry’s last day of operation before closing for the holidays.
 

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

Kevin Sousa / Studio for Spacial Practice

A long-awaited restaurant in Braddock is set to start taking reservations this weekend.

Superior Motors is the latest venture of Chef Kevin Sousa. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

On a breezy Wednesday morning, a tour group of gardeners and members of Pittsburgh's nonprofit community visited all the green spaces the neighborhood of Homewood had to offer. They saw the personal gardens of resident Amir Rashad, walked through shared plots and the garden manned by Operation Better Block.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Chopsticks clink against bowls over hushed conversations in Chinese, as the unmistakable smells of stir fries and rich sauces greet customers at the door of the Taiwanese bistro, Café 33, in Squirrel Hill.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

New research from the Rand Corporation shows that who you are – including your race, education and income – is a big predictor of how healthy you eat. But where you live matters, too.

Since 2011, Rand has compared the health of residents in Homewood, a food desert, with the Hill District, which went 30 years without a grocery store before finally getting one in 2013.

Raif Smallkaa / Flickr

Get out your best green garb for the parade and St. Patrick’s Day parties this weekend. But before guzzling down some green beers, Social Club’s Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh check out Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip District.

Syma Hajian joins us to talk about what’s new at the winery – and how they don’t actually make wine by stomping grapes with their feet (yes, she’s heard that “I Love Lucy” joke already).

East End Brewing / Instagram

This week, 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh travel to East End Brewing’s new tap room in the Strip District.

While sipping on some brews, owner Scott Smith talks about all the work that goes into his carefully crafted beers and the delights of being in the Strip District (hello Gaucho takeout!)

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gina Merante grabbed a banana bunch from a red wall lined with gradually ripening fruit. She shuffled past boxes of apples and red peppers and pointed outside, past the large display window at the front of her store, Linea Verde Green Market.

This Pittsburgh Group Is Pioneering The 'Uber Of Food Recovery'

Dec 22, 2016
412 Food Rescue

Chances are,  all that leftover food from your office party or wedding might end up in a dumpster—and eventually the landfill. Unless a hero swoops in.

Because it’s the 21st century, that hero is a new app. It’s called Food Rescue Hero, and 412 Food Rescue—a nonprofit in Pittsburgh—has been working with local developers over the past 18 months to get it off the ground.

In the wake of the presidential election, many in the LGBTQ community are organizing to protect legal progress they've made in recent years. For Kirsten Adorian, a home cook and nutrition specialist living in Brooklyn, New York, the call to help her community came naturally: She wants to feed them.

Uniontown McDonald's Franchise Owner & Creator Of The Big Mac Dies

Nov 30, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The Pittsburgh-area McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago has died. James Delligatti was 98.

McDonald's spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed that Delligatti died at home surrounded by his family on Monday night.

Delligatti's franchise was based in Uniontown, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain's signature burger with two all-beef patties, "special sauce," lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

Why You Can Ditch That Non-Stick Skillet For Cast Iron

Nov 8, 2016
Mark Bonica / Flickr

Skillets and pans with non-stick coatings, like Teflon, have had a prime place in American kitchens for decades—and for good reason. They make it a cinch to flip pancakes and slide omelettes onto our plates. But some consumers have worries about the safety of the chemicals used to make non-stick coatings.

Gruel, glop, cooked mush. The English language has been less than kind in describing porridge. Which seems a tad ungrateful, really, considering that grains cooked in water or milk fed our earliest civilizations.

But now, this stalwart dish is staging a culinary comeback.

Think steaming, cumin-scented millet topped with coarsely grated Gruyere cheese. Buckwheat cooked in coconut milk, with buttered dates and cinnamon. Teff polenta garlanded with diced dandelion greens and freshly grated parmesan.

Netflix

Good news if you like your cup of coffee with a serving of snark from your favorite grumpy diner owner. Two Pittsburgh cafes are turning into Luke’s Diner of Gilmore Girls fame on Wednesday.

Early-rising Gilmore Girls fans can nab a free cup of coffee starting at 7 a.m. at Big Dog Coffee in the South Side and Bookshelf Café in Morningside, in addition to coffee shops and cafes across the country.

Until Sept. 19, if diners had wanted to see Yelp reviews for Elizabeth, N.J., restaurant First American Fried Chicken, they would have found just two of them, praising the food, wide selection and late hours. Now, the majority of reviews give the restaurant one star, refer to the owners as "terrorists," talk about "72 virgin bucket specials" and mention — repeatedly — that their chicken is "the bomb."

Canon McMillan School District

  A public school cafeteria worker has quit over what she considers a "lunch shaming" policy in one western Pennsylvania school district.

Stacy Kotiska says she quit last week after she had to take a hot lunch away from a child because their parent had fallen more than $25 behind in paying for his school lunches.

The Canon-McMillan School District enacted the policy to deal with a backlog of about 300 parents who owed tens of thousands of dollars. Now fewer than 70 parents owe money, and the district says the policy isn't meant to shame students.

Rose Tileston / Hidden Harvest

There are 600 fruit-bearing trees in Pittsburgh, according to the most recent municipal forest analysis in 2008. They line streets and grow in parks, but Hana Uman with the nonprofit 412 Food Rescue said much of that fruit rots.

“When we go and check out some of these trees, there’s just often fruit all over the ground,” she said. “So that is fruit that could have been used and just goes to waste.”

Many efforts to address the food waste crisis hinge on getting consumers to buy fruits and vegetables that are adorably ugly — the bumpy tomato, the bulbous carrot, the dinged apple. Taste and nutritional value aren't compromised by their irregular appearance.

In 1977, Deborah Barsel, a bored assistant registrar at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, N.Y., decided to try a fun side project. She would create a cookbook made up of recipes and images from famous photographers of the day. She sent letters to various artists and put an ad in the museum's magazine asking for submissions. In return, she received 120 photos, recipes and even a postcard from urban photographer John Gossage saying simply: "I eat out."

We're living at a time when more than 80 percent of Americans fail to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. At the same time, many Americans overeat refined grains and sugar.

This may help explain why the obesity rate seems stuck. The most recent estimate is that 36 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese.

Pittsbrugh VegFest

VegFest returns to Pittsburgh on Saturday, with local businesses and enthusiasts sharing information about living a vegan lifestyle.

Though, non-vegans are encouraged to check out the event too, which starts at 11 a.m. at Allegheny Commons Park East on the North Side. 

It's a balmy Sunday night in late June in San Francisco, post-Pride parade, and I'm about to eat dinner in a pristine blue dumpster in a dead-end SOMA (South of Market) street. The event, Salvage Supperclub, seeks to draw attention to food waste and encourage home cooks to not throw out less than ideal, yet still edible stuff.

A glance at the menu and the evening looks promising. The hosts are gracious, the guests friendly and the organizers earnest. The dumpster is simply but tastefully decked out: glass tea lights, long wooden benches, bar towel napkins.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Faced with a citation and the threat of losing their liquor license for noise violations, the owners of James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy are crowdsourcing to afford costly soundproofing renovations this summer. 

You probably know Neil deGrasse Tyson as an astrophysicist with a seemingly endless stream of science fun facts at his command. You might not be aware that he is also a great oenophile and lover of food.

Some 16 years ago, before I was a journalist and illustrator, I worked with Neil at the American Museum of Natural History. He would sometimes carry around a small canvas tote bag. As I recall, the bag would contain one of two things: either a weighty, mango-sized meteorite to show to guests of the museum, or a bottle of wine to gift to a colleague.

Over the past few years, so-called ugly fruit and vegetables have been gaining a host of admirers.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

In its second year running, Picklesburgh attracted new visitors and vendors to its celebration on the Rachel Carson Bridge on Friday, July 15, 2016.

When we think about the good life, art and food rank pretty high in importance. (OK, we at The Salt might be a little biased.) So it seems only natural that the two mix. Foods crop up in all kinds of art — from ancient Egyptian tomb walls to European still life paintings.

But in art, an apple isn't always just an apple. Many foods carry specific meanings for different global artistic traditions, and those meanings can change over time.

How well do you understand the secret language of foods in art? Take this quiz to find out.

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory?

Jun 29, 2016

For the past few years, my friends and I have noticed two trends when dining. First, seemingly every high-end menu rebukes factory farming with an essay about locally sourced pork belly, and second, just about every one of these restaurants looks so much like a factory — with exposed light bulbs, steel details and brick walls — that I'm constantly looking over my shoulder for the foreman.

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