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food, nutrition, and health news



Upcoming Event: CBC Great Pumpkin Festival

Don’t have Halloween plans yet? Then check out the Cambridge Brewing Company’s annual Pumpkin Festival this Saturday! Sample 40 different pumpkin beers and pumpkin-inspired foods for the price of admission ($10, with a free pint glass). We had a great time last year! More information here.

Even better, I’ll add more beers to my list of pumpkin brews – I made an October goal to sample all (well, most) the pumpkin beers Cambridge has to offer and have thus far tried the following:

  • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – Solid choice, but brown ales tend to be a bit too sweet for me
  • Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale – a new-to-me brew that has a more subtle, fresh pumpkin flavor (my favorite so far, available at Meadhall)
  • Shipyard Pumpkinhead – an old standby that’s sure to please
  • Saranac Pumpkin Ale – spicy!
  • Cambridge Brewing Co. Great Pumpkin Ale – tastier than last year’s!

Happy Halloween!

Upcoming Event: National Food Day

On October 24th, 2011, the first ever Food Day will be held across the country. Food Day is a national event advocating for “healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way,” hosted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a long list of partner organizations. The goals of Food Day are:

  • Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  • Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  • Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  • Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
  • Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  • Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

In Boston, the event will be hosted by none other than Tufts University (woo!). Mayor Menino will be on hand to speak about the importance of Food Day’s message, and his vision of the future of Boston’s food systems.

When: October 24th, 2011 from 1-2pm

Where: Tufts University School of Medicine (Sackler Auditorium)

The event is open to the public and registration is here. If you can’t attend in person, you can watch the webcast on the Friedman School website.

Learn more about the event here and check out how other cities, communities, schools, organizations, etc. are celebrating.

Upcoming Events: This Weekend Around Boston

The 22nd Annual Harpoon Octoberfest is TODAY, September 30th, from 5:30-11pm and tomorrow, October 1st, from 2-9pm at the Harpoon Brewery (the waterfront). Tickets are $20 (includes a pint glass and 1 drink ticket), must be over 21 to partake. Details here.

The Boston Local Food Festival is tomorrow, October 1st, from 11am-5pm at the Fort Point Channel. Free and includes local food tastings! More details here.

The 33rd Annual Oktoberfest and HONK! Parade in Harvard Square is Sunday, October 2nd, from 12-6pm in Harvard Square. Includes live music, crafts, and three beer gardens! Details here.

Upcoming Event: Urban Ag Fair this Sunday, Sept. 18th

When: this Sunday, September 18th, 11am-5pm

Where: Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA  – Mt. Auburn and JFK Streets and Winthrop Park

What: “Situated on Mount Auburn Street and Winthrop Park, the site of the first marketplace in Newtowne (1630s), this event will showcase locally grown fruits and vegetables and the people that grow them.  Come sample delicious local fare, purchase locally grown foods, get tips from local experts on composting, community gardening, container gardening, raising chickens and bees and more!  Cooking demonstrations by local chefs will be held throughout the day.  Share your cookbooks or climate/environmental books at our book swap table.  In addition, Grendel’s Den will be on hand to host a beer garden featuring locally crafted brews!  All events are free, open to the public and are family friendly.”

Beer garden? I’m there!

More info here.

Via Grub Street Boston.




Upcoming Event: Boston Local Food Festival

On October 1st, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston will host the Boston Local Food Festival in the Fort Point neighborhood. The mission of the festival is to increase awareness and generate interest in local and sustainably produced food, support the growth of local farms, and increase access to and availability of healthy foods for urban populations. This year’s theme is “Healthy Local Food for All!”

The event includes educational workshops and demonstrations related to nutrition, sustainability, and farming; samples and tastings of locally produced food and drink; and the opportunity to speak with and learn from local farmers, chefs, and local food advocates. The festival also has a zero waste goal!

When: Saturday, October 1st, 2012 11am-5pm

Where: Wharf at Fort Point Channel (by the Boston Children’s Museum)

Tickets: FREE! (although some events, like the Local Craft Brew Tastings, require tickets)

More info here.

Upcoming Event: Boston Restaurant Week, Summer 2011

It’s that time of year: the list of restaurants participating in Boston’s summer Restaurant Week has been released here. During Week 1: August 14-19 and Week 2: August 21-26 (generally no Fridays or Saturdays), the participating restaurants offer a 2-course lunch for $15.11, 3-course lunch for $20.11, and 3-course dinner for $33.11 and some may have additional deals. I’ve taken advantage of past Restaurant Weeks, but usually only manage to squeeze a couple places every time.

Here are the ones I’ve visited:

Upstairs on the Square*  91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, MA

Henrietta’s Table 1 Bennett St., Cambridge, MA

Harvest 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA

Masa 439 Tremont St., Boston, MA

And ones I’m still itching to try:

Sibling Rivalry 525 Tremont St., Boston, MA

Sportello 348 Congress St., Boston, MA

Tremont 647 647 Tremont St., Boston, MA

*(Personal favorite! I’ve already made reservations there.)

Upcoming Event: Clover Food Lab Demo Week

This week, it’s Demo Week at the Clover Food Truck at MIT (right behind the Kendall/MIT T stop). For those of you unfamiliar with Clover, it’s a vegetarian food truck with tasty, locally sourced foods and new menu items every day. My favorites are the chickpea fritters, cinnamon lemonade, and special Friday whoopie pies.

Today’s demonstration is learning how to make agua fresca at lunchtime, 12-1pm.

Tomorrow, 7/19: Knife Skills from 3pm-4pm

Demonstrations are free and open to all, but get there early if you want a good view.

For updates on Demo Week (which is unfortunately not posted on their website), follow Clover Food Truck on Twitter. Or, check their website.

Location: Kendall/MIT
Hours: M-F 8am-7pm

*photo from Clover’s website

Nutrition & Health News, week of July 15

Massachusetts is full of nutrition news this week!

  • Massachusetts released new state regulations on the foods that can be sold in public schools, which are arguably the strictest enacted by any state yet. The rules, approved by the MA Public Health Council, apply to all food sold in vending machines, snack shops, and extra menu items – everything except for federally-subsidized lunches served in the main cafeteria lines – and go into effect in August 2012. Look for a breakdown of exactly what the regulations entail in a later post. [Boston Globe]
  •  A controversial article* written by Harvard researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association argues that parents of severely obese children should be stripped of their custody rights. Arguing that out of medical concern and to protect the interests of the child, such children should be placed in foster care until they lose enough weight. There are so many things wrong (and disturbing) with this argument that I don’t know where to begin. Besides the fact that social services are already overwhelmed and couldn’t possibly handle an influx of obese children (just think about it in terms of sheer numbers), the most upsetting part is that the author places the blame for a child’s obesity solely on “poor parenting,” when obesity is a health condition with a multitude of causes. [The Atlantic, JAMA]
  • As part of Mayor Menino’s Healthy Food Initiative (which recently banned soft drinks from state offices), Boston food trucks will be required to offer at least one healthy option. Perhaps that’s why the 15 newly approved food trucks supposed to launch yesterday but, due to a variety of factors, didn’t – turning the day into a “soft launch” instead, with only 6 of 15 new trucks parked at the city’s new locations. [Boston Globe]
  • Surprise, surprise, ball-pits and other playgrounds at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s are dirty places full of gross germs, including staph bacteria and possibly meningitis. And probably dirty diapers. [Huffington Post]
  • And speaking of Massachusetts, methinks the staff of popular food website Serious Eats was in and around Boston recently given the number of MA-related posts. They ate plenty of lobster rolls, sushi, flatbread, and dumplings, to name a few. [Serious Eats]

*If you would like a PDF copy of the original article, please contact me in the comments with your email address and I’ll send it your way.

Boston Food News, Week of July 8

  • The Fenway area has been approved as the newest site to host food trucks, including Clover (my personal fave), the Cupcakery, and two grilled cheese trucks. [Boston Globe] Update: Apparently, they may not get permission after all, according to an ominous email sent to food trucks today. [Grub Street Boston via Chowhound]
  • Summer weather is here to stay and what better way to enjoy it than by grabbing drinks at a sunny rooftop bar? The Boston Globe rounded up their favorites. [Boston Globe]
  • The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) announced the Talking Taste series, in which renowned Boston chefs (like Joanne Chang, of Flour Bakery) will discuss their signature dishes and provide samples every Friday in July. Unfortunately, tickets are sold out for all of them but extra tickets may become available the day of. [ICA]
  • Have you been following the Jamaica Plain vs. Whole Foods drama? Whole Foods is replacing a discount supermarket in Boston neighborhood Jamaica Plain and the community is concerned about gentrification, among other things. The Committee on Whole Foods group, which opposes the whole thing, recently requested “culturally appropriate” foods at the store…whatever that means. Read for the snarky comments. [Jamaica Plain Patch, Grub Street Boston]
  • Harvard University announced the second annual Science & Cooking lecture series, boasting famous chefs like David Chang of Momofuku and Dan Barber of Blue Hill. With the exception of Ferran Adria’s (El Bulli) talk, lectures are first come, first served and free to the public. If you can’t trek up to Harvard, they will also be available online. Starting September 6th. [Dishing]

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