FDA Churns Cheese Makers, Wedding Cakes Are Back and "The Bear" Slips Out for Tea

FDA Churns Cheese Makers

Where There's a Will, There's a Whey? The U.S. Artisan Cheese Industry is reeling from a "clarification" of policy from the Food and Drug Administration prohibiting the use of wooden boards for aging or ripening cheeses. According to the FDA, bacteria may "colonize" the surface layer and inside layers of wood due to its "porous structure," making wood boards impervious to cleaning and sanitizing, and making them breeding grounds for pathogenic microorganisms like listeria. Cheese makers note that some of the finest cheeses in the U.S. are produced using wood boards and predict it could have a "devastating" effect on artisan cheese production. Furthermore, the Cheese Underground blog points out, should the FDA extend its no-wood policy to imported cheeses, fans of fine cheeses may have to leave U.S. borders to nibble formidable fromages like Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon. [ Cheese Underground]

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake: The cupcake towers have been toppled. Wedding cakes are back in a big, beautiful way. "Now, even in Brooklyn, the super-casual center of the universe of culinary cool, wedding cakes are resurgent," The New York Times reports. Prices per slice are way up — and couples are picking cakes that are traditional, pretty, and in some cases adorned opulently or whimsically. Bare cakes — unfrosted, their inside layers gorgeously exposed for all to see — are also trending, as are gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan and organic cakes. As for cupcakes, brides and grooms are just saying, "I don't." Manhattan caterer Mary Giuliani told the Times, "I just don't get the cupcake request as much anymore." Macaron towers, yes. "Maybe macarons are the new cupcakes," she said. [ The New York Times]

An Under-Appreciated Powerhouse: A new ranking of "powerhouse fruits and vegetables" — those most-strongly with reducing our risk for chronic diseases — according to their nutrient density may change the way you cook and eat. These 41 foods, which contain 10 percent or more of our daily allowance of 17 essential nutrients (potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K) per 100 calories, include the usual leafy green suspects; you've got your chards and your spinaches and your kales. But the top-ranked food, in terms of nutrients per calorie, is somewhat unexpected: watercress. Yup. So tonight for dinner, perhaps you should serve a Cucumber and Watercress Salad? Or a Watercress, Avocado and Orange Salad? Or a Watercress Salad with Roasted Tomato Dressing? Or how about some Watermelon with Watercress and Feta? [ CDC.gov via Time]

In Other Food News: President Obama and his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, put the slip on the press pool on Monday afternoon and strolled to a Starbucks near the White House for a quick caffeine run. "The bear is loose," Obama declared. White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri then tried to deploy reporters his way, but she mistakenly sent them to a Dunkin' Donuts instead. It sounds like there was a latte confusion! (The president actually had tea.) [ Associated Press, Politico]

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