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  • Jamie Oliver and Create a Foodie Dating Site

    Jamie Oliver, the naked chef, is collaborating with to create a place "where food lovers meet," called Dating on Jamie Oliver (at

    Though Oliver's site has been up and running for ten years, it has now incorporated into the mix in a tab on his site called "dating." This section also features recipes, articles ("Foods to Make you Fall in Love") and dinner date tips from waiters and (daters). Basically it is with a food element tied to it.

    He gives a pretty convincing pep-rally speech on the site too. Personally, I believe this is a genius idea. I know what you are thinking: "Well why don't you sign up and check it out for yourself, Carolina?" Fine then! I guess I will.

    But first we want to know: Do you think adding a food niche to will help food-focused singles meet the chefs/gourmands of their dreams? Or should food lovers stick to meeting romantic prospects off line? Like in restaurants and bars.


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  • How to Help Feed People in Need on Thanksgiving

    Most of us associate Thanksgiving with being stuffed to the gills with delicious cooking, but it's also a good time to think about those who don't have enough on their tables. If you'd like to share a bit of your bounty this year, there are several organizations that make it easy:

    Feeding America (formerly called "America's Second Harvest") is a national "food bank." What this means is that they help collect food and get it to people who are hungry, through a network of more than 63,000 local organizations. Because they're national, they can also advocate for hunger relief with the government. They're a highly respected, well-run organization, with 97% of each donated dollar going directly to programs.

    This Thanksgiving, Feeding America is running a drive called the Thanksgiving Feast for Nine Million. The goal is to raise the money to feed nine million meals to hungry Americans. Every dollar donated provides seven meals.

    If you prefer to get more directly involved, your

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  • What is the best packaged stuffing you can buy?

    Judges tasted a dozen packaged stuffings, including traditional, herbed, and cornbread varieties, and found three winners

    While nothing beats homemade stuffing, when the Thanksgiving time-crunch hits, even some of the most dedicated from-scratch cooks among us reach for a box, bag, or can of packaged stuffing-either as a stand-alone side or as a base for fresh herbs, vegetables, and other seasonings.

    Thanksgiving on a budget? Find out how to feed 8 people for less than $80

    To determine which store-bought stuffings can pass for homemade, Epicurious tested three stuffing categories: home-style (also called traditional or country-style), herb-seasoned, and cornbread.

    First we set the criteria for not-made-from-scratch stuffing: The ideal stuffing would have to be quick and easy to make. The bread pieces should be moist and crunchy, not dry or soggy. They should retain their shape and not dissolve into a gummy or mushy paste. The dressing should be well seasoned with

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  • Exposed: Bogus Claims on Food Labels

    Every time I go to the grocery store I seem to leave ranting about another dubious or downright bogus health claim on packaged food. Take, for example, the now-pulled assertion that Frosted Krispies "Now Helps Support Your Child's Immunity," which Michael Y. Park reported on here in the Epi-Log a few weeks ago. Questionable claims were dealt a blow when the "Smart Choices" food labeling system, which had given a thumbs up to sugary cereals such as Froot Loops, suspended operations a few weeks ago (read the full story, Food Label Program to Suspend Operations from The New York Times).

    Now the editors of ShopSmart magazine (published by Consumers Union, which also publishes Consumer Reports) are striking out against dubious claims. The December issue of the magazine highlights amd debunks common food label myths. Read on, below, for a list of "Tricks vs. Truths" shared by ShopSmart. (Full disclosure: I am a former employee of, also published by Consumers

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  • Dark Chocolate May Help You Handle Stress

    Who doesn't love dark chocolate? (And we know Lauren Salkeld definitely digs the peanut-butter version.)

    Now there's reason not to feel guilty about dark-chocolate obsessions: A new study says that the stuff may help you handle stress. (For four other foods that mess with stress, check out Megan Steintrager's recent post.)

    "The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams of dark chocolate during a period of two weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of free living and healthy human subjects, as per variation of both host and gut microbial metabolism," according to the researchers, whose study will be published in the Journal of Proteome Research.

    In other words: "Consuming dark chocolate daily can positively impact the metabolism of people that report having high-stress levels," lead scientist Sunil Kochhar said.

    Now, you should take this with a grain or two of salt. (Which, by the way, tastes fantastic if you take it literally.)


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  • Dark Chocolate Dreams: My New Afternoon Snack

    As much as I try to avoid it, I just about always need an afternoon snack. My first impulse is usually for a sweet treat but what I should be noshing on is something with a little protein or complex carbs so that my hunger is actually satiated. A handful of nuts or some low-fat yogurt and fruit are good options and ones that I turn to quite frequently. But lately my go-to afternoon pick-me-up often involves Dark Chocolate Dreams, Peanut Butter & Co's peanut butter and dark chocolate spread ($6).

    Made with chocolate and peanut butter (two staples of my diet), I'm not exactly surprised by how much I like this stuff. Dark Chocolate Dreams also reminds me of two of my favorite indulgences: Nutella (it's a bit like an American take on the classic chocolate-hazelnut spread) and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But, regardless of the yummy factor, Dark Chocolate Dreams makes an excellent snack because it satisfies my sweet tooth while also providing some much-needed protein. At work, I like

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  • Holiday Season Healthy-Eating Tip: Go To The Farmers' Market

    I try to visit one of New York City's green markets once a week to buy milk, eggs, meat, and whatever produce happens to be in season. And while I'm always a little sad to see summer's berries, tomatoes, and tender lettuces disappear, I'm excited by the appearance of fall's hardy greens and root vegetables. While some critics of locavorism argue that it can't be proven that fresh, seasonal food is healthier than the shipped-around-the-world stuff, nobody can tell me it doesn't almost always taste better. And vibrantly-flavored foods require very little adornment: No need to overload them with tons of cheese, butter, or sugar.

    As I related in our Holiday Healthy-Eating Guide, one of my favorite things to make for Thanksgiving potlucks is a big batch of roasted root vegetables. I buy whatever squashes and roots look good at the market, chop them into chunks, toss with a little olive oil, course sea salt, and minced herbs, spread them out in a roasting pan, and bake at 400 degrees

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  • How to Make a Thanksgiving Meal for a Small Group

    Continuing our series of answers to readers' Thanksgiving questions, today I'm going to address a query from pavlina20: How to make a nice Thanksgiving meal for a very small group (in her case, just two adults and two children). The biggest challenge in this situation is the turkey: Even a small bird would be far too much food. There are several ways around this problem:

    -Cook just a turkey breast. This works well if your group particularly likes white meat. This recipe explains how to roast two turkey breast halves, on the bone, over a mound of stuffing to create an attractive dish that will provide some of the same visual appeal as a whole bird. The recipe will serve four people generously.

    -Roast a turkey in pieces. This is great because you can choose exactly how much white and dark meat you want. This recipe serves eight, but it could easily be adapted for a smaller group simply by cooking fewer pieces.

    -If your group is up for a bit of an adventure, why not skip

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  • Thanksgiving Predicted to Cost Less This Year?

    A recent report from the American Farm Bureau Federation suggests that costs for some Thanksgiving staples will be down slightly this year compared to 2008. The AFBF, a farm advocacy organization that has conducted an informal annual survey of Thanksgiving food prices since 1986, suggests that lower costs for milk (down $.92 per gallon from last year) and turkey (down about 3 cents per pound from last year) may add up to a more wallet-friendly, if not waistline-friendly, holiday dinner for grocery shoppers in 2009.

    A few other items that may be on your shopping list are expected to cost a bit less this year. Packaged rolls are down 12 cents per dozen, and fresh cranberries are down 5 cents per 12-ounce package. But the prices for pumpkin pie mix and pie shells are up a bit: 11 cents and 8 cents, respectively.

    As the saying goes, mind the pennies and the dollars will mind themselves. The American Farm Bureau Federation's report suggests that the average, classic Thanksgiving

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  • An Easy Thanksgiving Menu for Beginners

    Hosting your first holiday feast? It can be daunting: A menu of familiar dishes for which everyone will have expectations, plus the pressure of executing a complicated meal in a timely manner, can make even the most experienced cook wish someone else would take over.

    But there's really no need for this trepidation. Armed with good planning and some delicious, dependable recipes, you can calmly serve a wonderful holiday meal to friends and family. I've put together this menu of solid classics, plus I've shared tips drawn from my years of cooking, teaching, and writing about Thanksgiving. Finally, I've added a shopping list and a timeline to help you pull everything off with ease. Who knows-even seasoned cooks might pick up a few pointers here.


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