What We’re Reading: April 26, 2014

jam Flickr Iryna Yeroshko.jpg

This week, our editors are getting ready for spring (finally! finally!) with good reads on jam, craft beer and gardening. Dig in!

Caroline Lange: Click to Enlarge: Popcorn — NPR (above)
I’m afflicted with a spring cold this weekend, which means I’ll be in bed with a movie and popcorn. If you’ve never watched popcorn pop in slow motion, now’s your chance. You’ll learn some cool popcorn chemistry and history, too.

Lauren Wilson: I Placed a Jar in TennesseeLucky Peach
I’m still recovering from winter. I know I should get over it, but really, that one hurt. Thankfully my mama knows me well and eased my cold weather woes by mailing me some of her berry preserves from North Carolina. Much like the subject in this story from Lucky Peach, the contents of these jars also made me romanticize what it was like to grow up in a place where “everyday reality [was] in sync with the natural world in a way that went beyond daytime/nighttime.” I feel you, Kevin, and need to get my hands on a copy of your book.

Amy Zavatto: The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbreweries Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink by Steve Hindy
I just dove into the barrel of historical sudsy stories by Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy in his book. The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbreweries Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink. To be perfectly honest, prior to a few years ago I just didn’t give a handful of hops about beer – but reading Hindy’s book, I’m starting to understand how that happened. I was brought up on beach parties where tasteless, cheap beer like Meister Brau was king and the rich, robust ales or nuanced lagers or purely indulgent porters that I love now weren’t anywhere to be found. So of course I didn’t like it. It took my homebrewing friend Mark Zappasodi, formerly of Staten Island (he’s now moved to Massachussetts to raise hops and start a farm brewery – so awesome) and the affable Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 to turn me onto what great beer could really be, and how it deserved the same kind of attention and enjoyment that I give to wine. Hindy was an out and out pioneer in Brooklyn – when that Brewery opened I remember heading out to that once barren place, thinking, whu? A brewery in Brooklyn? I had no idea of the brewing history there and in other boroughs, and what an icon and thorough success story it would become thanks to Hindy and his partner Tom Potter, and the delicious crusading suds of brainy brewer Garrett Oliver. Brooklyn Brewery isn’t an oddball exception, but an iconic success story in the micro-brewing world that others look toward for inspiration. Cheers to that. If you want to more about how we got from there to here, Hindy’s book is an insider’s view that’s well worth boning up on. I highly recommend it.

Brian Halweil: Edible Long Island
With the weather warming, I’ve been reading the inspiration on EdibleLongIsland.com for planting and expanding your home veggie patch, including this piece on building raised beds, this piece on a home gardening service, and this Throwback Thursday piece on edible landscapers on the East End. ” “Lawns are so out… The true avant-gardener on the East End has abandoned the idea altogether in favor of trellised fava beans, motley beds of cooking greens, medicinal herbs, berries, cold-frames and mini-orchards.”

Gabrielle Langholtz: Eye on Marketers — Berkeley Media Studies Group
Where has the Berkeley Media Studies Group been on all my life? Their excellent media monitoring reports on how food corporations lure us, with an emphasis on getting vulnerable populations to eat and drink the foods that are best for private profit and worst for public health. That includes Kellogg using Spider Man to sell kids Frosted Flakes, Jay-Z to sell Bud to young men of color, and Taco Bell using SnapChat to push Doritos tacos onto youth. All of which begs two questions: 1) when will we get serious about regulating marketing, and 2) why does @bmsg have fewer than a thousand followers on Twitter?  Let’s change both of those.

Feature photo: Flickr/Iryna Yeroshko

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