Dining and Restaurants / Eating / Food and Cooking

Sprechen sie Trader Joe’s?; Bucket o’ berbere-spiced popped sorghum with those Milk Duds?

Reported at http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/20/news/companies/inside_trader_joes_full_version.fortune/

You’d think Trader Joe’s would be eager to trumpet its success, but management is obsessively secretive. Few customers realize the chain is owned by Germany’s ultra-private Albrecht family, the people behind the Aldi Nord supermarket empire. Famous in Germany for not talking to the press, the Albrechts have passed their tightlipped ways on to their U.S. business: Trader Joe’s and its CEO, Dan Bane, declined repeated requests to speak to Fortune, and the company has never participated in a major story about its business operations. Some of that may be because Trader Joe’s business tactics are often very much at odds with its image as the funky shop around the corner that sources its wares from local farms and food artisans. Sometimes it does, but big, well-known companies also make many of Trader Joe’s products. Those Trader Joe’s pita chips? Made by Stacy’s, a division of PepsiCo’s (PEP, Fortune 500) Frito-Lay. On the East Coast much of its yogurt is supplied by Danone’s Stonyfield Farm. And finicky foodies probably don’t like to think about how Trader Joe’s scale enables the chain to sell a pound of organic lemons for $2.

Reported by www.tastingtable.com:
Sorghum, a heritage grain that’s prevalent in African diets, can be popped just like corn kernels. And unlike corn, the fiber-rich grain has a nutty flavor, so butter is unnecessary. Until it appears in movie theaters, curious tasters can get popped sorghum from the new, Virginia-based, all-organic Popghum, which just debuted its first two flavors ($18 for six bags). One comes dusted with gray sea salt, while the other is a smoky, Southwestern combination of chili powder and Cheddar cheese. Forthcoming flavors include Ethiopian berbere, apple-pie spices and Caribbean adobo. The stuff further trumps popcorn by boasting smaller kernels (less room for air pockets and sogginess) and a popping process that completely removes the hulls (no more annoying bits stuck in your teeth).

Reported by Juliet Wittman at http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2010/08/top_chef_dc_round_eleven.php

It’s time to put Top Chef out of its misery. At this point the show has deteriorated so wretchedly that half the time I forget to watch and have to play catch-up later. I didn’t find myself rooting for any of the remaining six chefs this week, or hoping anyone would get sent home, couldn’t I didn’t find myself rooting for any of the remaining six chefs this week, or hoping anyone would get sent home, couldn’t bring myself to care either way. … The producers seem to think we’ll be so thrilled at seeing the inside of CIA headquarters that we won’t care about all the show’s tawdry, overworked gimmicks: the slivers of scenes showing the chefs relaxing and implying that perhaps there’s a little hanky-panky going on at the house); the dumb challenges; the portentous music as chefs march in to face the judges at the end; the giveaway moments that signal who’s going to be in trouble this episode and who might win. Was there anyone who didn’t know Amanda was going home after she decided to cut up her tuna for the Elimination Challenge–which involved making food for a concession stand on a baseball field–the night before? Of course it turned gray.

www.slashfood.com/2010/08/10/pop-tarts-world-nyc:

Just when we thought Times Square had it all — Pop-Tarts introduces Pop-Tarts World, a 3,000 square-foot sugar metropolis with a Café that lists 30 menu items divided into four sections: 1. Pop-Tarts served toasted, frozen or room temperature), D2. small bites such as Pop-Tarts Sushi, ice cream mixed with Pop-Tarts bits) and a bakery section with things like cobbler and blondies with Pop-Tarts pieces. Customers can take any of flavor of Pop-Tarts and add additional vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon frosting, candy, sprinkles, dried fruit and nuts and finish it with a drizzle of raspberry, chocolate, vanilla or caramel. Pop-Tarts sushi with three kinds of Pop-Tarts pulverized and rolled inside a fruit wrap is possibly too sweet.

Reported at www.Salon.com:
“As a recent immigrant, I’m frequently overwhelmed by the media frenzy around the next new flavor, by the e-mails in my in box every morning aiming to keep me on-trend. I’m confused by the conflation of food and fashion and amazed that food trends change as often as a clothing house’s collections. In India, where I grew up, food is either the transmitter of tradition or pure body fuel, sacred custom or a simple means of sustenance. Even when I lived in London — a city as given to consumerism as New York — I didn’t see the kind of food fetishism I’ve encountered here.”

Radio Nibbles: 8:25 a.m. Thursdays, KGNU – 885 FM, 1390 AM http://www.kgnu.org/
Eat In Eat Out: Business-to-business food trend forecast magazine: http://americanforecaster.com/
http://www.JohnLehndorff.com
Colorado’s top ice cream: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2010-08-26-best-ice-cream_N.htm?csp=34
The Kombucha Report: http://www.teareport.com/

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