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Food

Winter greens
Spring 2015

Winter Greens—Beyond the kale

Kale’s culinary star has certainly enjoyed a recent rise. For a long time this basic brassica was a humble, overcooked, nutrient-rich winter green. But now it has become a salad, a crispy chip, and even a baby green.

It features on the plates of vaunted establishments like Seattle’s iconic Canlis where it serves as a support to the grilled swordfish, but it is equally at home at Tom Douglas’s pizza joint Serious Pie—where it is delivered fresh with parmesan, chilies, and pine nuts in a tangy, spicy vinaigrette.

Now it’s time to look beyond the kale to a whole world of winter greens. WSU researchers … » More …

Caviar and sparkling wine
Winter 2014

Holiday Sparklers and Caviar

Holiday Sparklers

by Hannelore Sudermann

At Karma Vineyards, where grapevines pour down the hillside toward the southern shore of Lake Chelan, a 3,000-square-foot cave holds the next few years’ of sparkling wine.

Three different grapes from the 14 acres of vines go into the bubbly: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. They’re treated much the same way they would be in the Champagne region of France, where the complex and labor-intensive method of making sparkling wine was perfected.

“The méthode champenoise is worth the work,” says Julie Pittsinger ’06, who owns Karma with her husband Bret. They opened Karma’s doors in 2007 and, she … » More …

Gary Meadows food
Fall 2014

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Back in the ’90s, scientists for two major cancer-research organizations reviewed thousands of studies and saw armies of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, and citrus fruits turning the tide on various cancers. Then, just a decade later, the same scientists said the evidence had since become “somewhat less impressive.”

It was a classic case of science coming off as, well, fickle. One minute, chocolate and beer are good for you. The next minute, science says “sorry” and snatches them from your hand.

“It goes back and forth,” says Gary Meadows, a Washington State University pharmacy professor with nearly four decades researching nutrition … » More …

Brussels sprout
Fall 2014

The Brussels sprout

The Brussels sprout is like a tiny cabbage. It is a brassica. It matures just as summer ends and the weather turns cold. It has a tight head made up of a multitude of leaves. And a touch of frost just before harvest really sweetens it up.

It also travels in the same circles as its much larger cousin—adorning holiday plates, a happy companion to all roasts and really any kind of pork, or just delicious braised with butter and dressed with salt and pepper.

But the two vegetables are yet quite different. Where cabbage is hardy and easy to grow, the Brussels sprout is … » More …

Food sensing and Carolyn Ross
Summer 2014

A matter of taste

The human tongue is a pink, undulating, fleshy affair covered in thousands of papillae—all the better for sensory perception. If the tongue weren’t so ordinary, it would be strange to think of such an appendage taking up most of the room in your closed mouth, allowing you to discriminate the foul from the toothsome.

But there it is.

And here I am in Room 150 of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Building on the Pullman campus, one of eight panelists who will smell and drink wine after wine after wine over the course of two weeks. Kenny McMahon, a doctoral student, is our overseer, … » More …

Salmon
Summer 2014

Salmon

Back in 1991, the Snake River sockeye was the first of nearly two dozen salmon populations listed as threatened or endangered. To fishermen, scientists, and wildlife managers it seemed that salmon might soon vanish from the waters and traditions of the Pacific Northwest.

Today, many runs are coming back, while more vibrant populations in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska have continued bringing a steady stream of salmon to our plates through the summer, into the fall, and thanks to flash freezing, the winter. Salmon remain a major part of the region’s culture and cuisine, as five Washington State University faculty and alumni can attest in … » More …

Spring 2014

What about buckwheat?

Oh, no, no, no,” says Sonoko Sakai as she jets across the test kitchen at the WSU Mount Vernon Research Station to school a student on the proper technique of draining a freshly cooked hand-cut soba noodle.

“Don’t stir it. You have to pat it like this,” she says as she firmly whacks the bottom of the strainer.

Sakai, a former film industry executive, changed course dramatically a few years ago and left LA for Japan to learn the art of making soba, a traditional Japanese noodle made primarily of buckwheat.

She found her way to soba master Takashi Hosokawa and now travels the country … » More …