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Rising food costs leave little room for festive splurge

Rising food costs meant consumers had little left over to spend on a festive splurge, industry figures suggest. Like-for-like retail sales, which exclude new store sales, rose 0.6% last month, down on December 2016’s 1% rise. Food sales accounted for most of the rise, with spending on non-food items such as clothing down sharply. The British Retail Consortium, which produces the data with consultancy KPMG, said shoppers’ spending power “had been absorbed by essential items”. It said this had forced shops which did not sell food to discount heavily in…

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America’s First “Food Spy” Traveled the World Hunting for Exotic Crops

For practically a century after its founding, the United States still couldn’t lay claim to any distinct cuisine. The emergent nation generally relied on a meat, potatoes and cheese diet, with fruits and vegetables often left off the dinner plate. Moreover, commonly held wisdom said that too many spices or condiments might just ruin one’s moral character; plain, boring graham crackers were the cure for sexual urges. All the better, then, to keep the palate plain and food flavorless. But starting in the 1870s, America began to shift towards seasoning…

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Behind the Scenes of Food Photography with Manca Jevšcek

Manca Jevšček dances around a plate of food that has been placed on the floor of the terrace of the restaurant. She kneels beside the plate, a sheaf of laminate samples in her hand – thin sheets dyed to look like rusted iron, marble, gun metal. Behind her lay an array of plates, a wild cacophony of sizes and materials, few of which seem ideally designed to eat off of: an undulating black plate that looks made of lava, a frisbee-like disc of concrete, square-cut slate that would not appear…

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Meet Sam, the Winner of Future Food Design Awards 2017

This year the first Future Food Design Awards was presented at the 2017 Dutch Design Week, one of the most important international prizes for innovative design for sustainable future food. Supporting the work of artists and designers since 1998, the Dutch Design Week pushes them to “to challenge their comfort zones”, rewarding revolutionary ideas and innovative solutions for the future. And the Winner is… SAM, the Autonomous Soda Maker The winner of 2017 Future Food Design Awards comes from the Netherlands: the design duo Marie Caye & Arvid Jense who conquered the…

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'Armenian Pizza' Is the Comfort Food You Didn’t Know You Were Missing (Recipe)

The New Yorker in me always feels at home in Armenia, a country where thin-crust pies reign supreme and everyone folds their slice. Folding is the only mess-free way to eat lahmacun (“lah-ma-joon”), the inhalable, hubcap-sized flatbread spread with spiced meat that’s sometimes called Armenian pizza. Like its Italian counterpart, lahmacun is soul-satisfying desert-island fare, hitting most of the major food groups. Its bubbly, wafer-like crust crackles between your fingers yet remains as soft and bendy as a fresh tortilla. This inevitably droops under the weight of hot, succulent ground…

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How the food of Charles Dickens defined Christmas

Charles Dickens was a serious foodie and his literature introduced a festive menu that has barely changed since the Cratchits gathered round their table in A Christmas Carol. “The thing about Dickens,” says food historian Pen Vogler as she takes a tray of caraway seed biscuits out of the oven, “is that he knew what it was like to be hungry.” She’s explored how cuisine shaped his writing in her recipe book, Dinner With Dickens. In it she recreates dishes that the literary giant wrote about, and shows how he…

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