Earth Day Dinners, Powdered Alcohol and a Couple of Costly Tacos

Earth Day Dinners

Happy Earth Day: Today, in case you were unaware, is Earth Day. And if you're looking for a way to celebrate it, you might consider hosting an Earth Dinner. Plan a meal that focuses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients, then learn as much as you can about your food — where it comes from, who farmed it, the history of the ingredients and the dishes you're making from those ingredients. Then try to engage your guests — or your family — in a conversation about food and sustainability. You can download a booklet containing great discussion questions — "What's your earliest food memory?" or "Describe your spiciest food experience," for instance — an "Earth Dinner Toolkit" and other information here. [ via Living Green Magazine]

Hard Facts About Food Texture: Texture may play a bigger role in how we consume food — and mess up our diets — than many of us realize. The authors of a new study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, examined "the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming." Participants in five studies were given foods to taste that were hard, soft, rough or smooth. Then the participants were asked to estimate the calorie content. One study found that people who were not asked about calorie count who were given soft brownies ate more of them than those given hard brownies, but people who were asked about calorie content ate more hard brownies than soft ones. "Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice, and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices," the authors conclude. [ EurekAlert via Tech Times]

Powdered Alcohol, a New Way to Wet Your Whistle? Why drink alcohol when you can do whatever it is you do with powdered alcohol? The U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved Palcohol, a powdered alcohol product its makers say is "liquor ... just in powder form," designed to be portable, as well as potable: Just add water. "We plan on releasing six versions sold in a pouch that is the equivalent to one shot of alcohol," Lipsmark, the privately owned company that makes Palcohol explains. So far, the company has made two varieties, one from vodka and one from rum, according to its website. Gluten-free, Palcohol, which will be available at liquor stores and online, can be added to food, which should then not be fed to minors, the site cautions. But don't snort it, Palcohol's official website warns, as snorting is "not a responsible or smart way to use the product." Got that? [, Bevlog via Gawker]

In Other Food News: Kraft Foods is recalling about 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners because the packages may contain Classic Cheese Dogs, which contain milk, to which some consumers may be allergic, instead of Classic Wieners. [] About 150 customers at a Del Taco fast food restaurant in Santa Paula, Calif. were erroneously charged thousands of dollars for items that should have cost only a few. One customer said he was charged $4,050 for one CrunchTada Pizza and two beef tacos — less than $5 worth of food. A company spokesperson blamed a computer glitch and said customers' money would be refunded. [ AP] Kickstarter has introduced new food subcategories, including Food Trucks, Vegan and Bacon; the latter is, like Pet Fashion and Robots, a subcategory that "no one was asking for but that we thought would be cool," the crowd-funding site notes. [ Kickstarter via Eater]

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