FERN’s Friday Feed: Conbini to the rescue!


welcome to FERN’s Friday stream (#FFF), where we share this week’s stories that got us thinking.

How Japanese 24/7 supermarkets fed the Olympic press

The New York Times

“Japan is in a state of emergency. Coronavirus cases are on the increase. To unleash thousands of foreigners like me, an American journalist covering the Games, in a city – towards its restaurants, bars and shops – would be reckless, ”writes Andrew Keh. “But we need to eat. Step into the saving grace of these Olympics, the glue that holds it all together: Tokyo’s 24-hour convenience stores, or conbini, as they’re called in Japan. They quickly became a primary source of sustenance – and, more surprisingly, culinary delight – for many visitors to one of the strangest Games in history.

We can’t leave the Ziploc, and that’s a problem


“Reclosable bags are a $ 1.6 billion industry today, and their size and variety continues to grow. There are sandwich bags, miniature snack bags, gallon storage bags and freezer bags, ”writes Mari Uyehara. “This convenience is not free. According to the United Nations Environment Program Single-Use Plastics Report, between 1 and 5 trillion plastic bags, including re-sealable bags, are consumed around the world each year … As plastic breaks down into microplastic particles and potentially toxic chemicals, these also enter food. chain. But the story of plastic bags began as a story of innovation and hope for immigrants.

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The strange and sustainable alcohol of the future


“This alcohol is sui generis, made from substrates as varied as plum kernels, Pasilla Mixe peppers and kombucha, distilled not in a steampunk copper pot but in a vacuum still torn from a chemistry laboratory” , writes Adam Rogers. “It’s weird, yeah, but maybe the strangest thing about all this atypical, unclassifiable alcohol is how normal it is.” Spirits are going through a kind of biotechnical revolution, an application of new methods and a rediscovery of old ones, applied to both classic and unknown ingredients… And these products too (bonus!) Support sustainability in the face of climate change.

Rethinking what it means to be a ‘Jewish’ restaurant

New York magazine

“The only thing I’m sure is that ‘Jewish food’ isn’t a thing – it’s not just bagels, bialys or pastrami – but, lately, it’s too often. what I see when a new Jewish restaurant opens, ”writes Jason Diamant. “We started to think that all you needed was an account at Acme Smoked Fish, someone with a brisket recipe and a few vintage glass soda water bottles for decoration and really anyone can. open a “Jewish restaurant”. It is the golem of my culture, the soullessness dressed in white subway tiles. And it’s a problem other cultures face as their food makes its way into the American diet. “

California wildfires hit insurers, insurers abandon farmers


California insurance companies have taken a terrible hit with the wildfires – the industry’s losses in 2017 and 2018 eclipsed its total profits of the previous 25 years – and began to lose customers by the thousands, leaving wineries and ranches unable to find insurance for properties. worth millions of dollars, ”writes Jake Bittle. “Hundreds of farm owners… found themselves forced to go without insurance coverage last year, whether they were ranchers on the Central Coast, nut growers outside of San Diego and winery owners… in Sonoma and Napa Valley. “

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