• So a comedian walked into a gym. No, seriously: Mark Malkoff, who makes his living pulling quirky stunts like living in IKEA for a week – has pulled off his biggest challenge yet: a 28-day vegan diet and exercise plan to go from flabby to fit. A video documents the epic journey.

    Most people would find switching to a plant-based diet difficult enough. Add to that weight training and cardio, and that would make even the funniest comic grumpy.

    Malkoff didn’t let it get him down, especially as he noticed a change. There were “so many positives,” he said. “I physically just felt great. The pounds came off, and I started gaining this muscle.”

    Robert Brace, the tough trainer in the video, who created the 28-day plan, had to educate Malkoff on good vegan (almonds and steamed vegetables) versus bad vegan (unfrosted Pop Tarts). “I don’t think the Coca-Cola-Oreo vegan diet would have worked,” Malkoff told us.

    He also learned about portions. He ate almonds daily but was limited to 20. And fruit

    Read More »from Comedian Not Kidding Around When He Takes 28-Day Vegan Challenge
  • This week, we’re taking a look at those international foods popularly thought of as “gross” and testing that theory. (Yay for us.) How bad are they…really?

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    Photo credit: StockFood

    How can something so beautiful, so very Garden of Eden-looking (if the Garden of Eden were located in Chiang Mai), smell so awful?

    A few years ago, I took a whole durian into a parking lot—I had been warned of the distances its powerful scent could go—and cracked it open with a hammer. (That wasn’t necessary, mind you, but it’s all I could find. And it added to the drama of the whole endeavor.) What emanated from its yellow flesh was a mix of rotten eggs, wet garbage, turpentine, and one thin, tired note of sweet melon.

    It should be noted that the spiky fruit, which hails from Southeast Asia, is banned on mass transit there. At the same time, it is so prized that crimes are routinely committed over it.

    How unfortunate for durian that it’s so stinky. The smell deters many people from tasting what another

    Read More »from Durian: How Bad Is It, Really?
  • By Billie Cohen, CNTraveler.com

    When the Oscars roll around every year, we take you behind the scenes at the Governors Ball—because, let’s be honest, there are some L.A. experiences we’re just never going to have first-hand. As always, our guide is Wolfgang Puck, who this year reveals his celebrity friends’ favorite dishes (Barbra Streisand loves his mushroom risotto with black truffles), as well as details behind his 20th anniversary as the caterer of the big bash. “I remember last year Jennifer Lawrence came up to me and said, ‘I know you, I’ve seen your picture on my soup at home!’” Enjoy the rest of this Oscar deliciousness as we revisit some food faves of the past 20 years…

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    SMOKED SALMON OSCAR MATZO
    "We’ve made this for many years, and it has become popular—they all love them. I remember the first time Michael Caine had one, he came to Spago a few days later and I made him a smoked salmon pizza and he said, ‘No, I want the smoked salmon Oscars!’"

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    VEGETABLE SPRING ROLL, CHINESE

    Read More »from These Are the Foods Celebs Request at the Oscars
  • Danielle Walsh, Bon Appetit

    It’s a small tragedy, that forgotten bunch of once-vibrant parsley. Now it’s wilting and limp, tucked behind the milk in the back of the fridge. Or that loaf of fresh bread you were so proud to pick up from your local bakery—but you didn’t consume it quickly enough before it got rock-hard. Small food deaths occur all the time. Sometimes, however, there are things you can do to resurrect them, giving them one more shot at a delicious life. We chatted with senior food editor Dawn Perry about the foods you can bring back from the dead, and how to perform this wizardry in your own kitchen.

    SEE MORE: 22 Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Cook

    Greens Gone Weak 
    Wilted lettuces, sad herbs, and even wobbly celery can be brought back to life with a quick dip in a cold pool. Fill a large bowl with ice water and drop the produce in. Let sit 5 minutes or so. Drain, dry, and spin dry if appropriate.


    Rice That Ain’t Nice
    Dry, hard, refrigerator rice just needs a

    Read More »from How to Bring Food Back From the Dead
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    Photo credit: Andrea Bricco

    See these little gold guys? Everyone who attends the Oscars this Sunday will go home with one—they’re all winners!—as will some members of the press and some Los Angeles-area restaurants. They were made by chef Wolfgang Puck’s pastry team, with Kamel Guechida at the helm.

    Guechida’s official title is Corporate Director of Pastry for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group (phew!), and he is responsible for the pastry and bread programs at Puck’s 21 restaurants around the world. He’s also creating pastry programs for new properties in Dubai, the Arab Emirates and Asia. And then there’s Oscars prep—there will be “three, eight-feet tables with chocolate fountains, truffles, marshmallows, mendiants, and more”—for which he told us he spent 18-19-hour days in his whites. 

    But back to the sweets. Here are the Oscars, in chocolate, by the numbers.

    It takes:

    1000 pounds of chocolate 

    10 pounds of edible gold dust

    250 polycarbonate molds (each makes two Oscars)

    2

    Read More »from What It Takes to Make Those Little Chocolate Oscars
  • China isn’t exactly known for its cheese, which is why the discovery of the world’s oldest curds in a tomb in northwestern China is particularly surprising.

    The site, which was discovered in 1934 but forgotten until excavation started in 2003, is the final resting place of a mysterious Bronze Age people. The dead were found tightly wrapped and interred in wooden, boat-like structures with mysterious crumbs scattered around their necks. Analysis of the fat and protein content in these crumbs determined it was the world’s oldest cheese; the findings will be published in forthcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

    According to USA Today, the curds date to as early as 1615 B.C.—more than 1,500 years before the Greeks started making feta. The Chinese cheese appears to have been a lactose-free variety (which makes sense considering that up to 90 percent of people of East Asian descent are lactose-intolerant).

    That said, Asia is a diverse continent, and it’s home to many

    Read More »from 5 Asian Cheeses You Never Knew Existed
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    Image credit: StockFood

    "Mead is the new cider,” proclaimed Cameron Larson in The Oregonian this week.

    Mead! How… medieval! Larson has a dog in this fight, so take his word with a grain of salt; he’s operations manager at beekeeping supply store Bee Thinking, and honey is the primary ingredient in mead, which is made from a fermented mixture of honey and water. (Often grains, hops, fruits, and spices are thrown into the mix, too.) He’s right, though, that mead is having a moment. Although it may be disconcerting to those who know it only as the gimmicky beverage of Renaissance fairs and Harry Potter conventions, there’s a lot more to the new mead movement. Everyone from critically acclaimed restaurant Aska to hipster home-brewers are embracing the stuff.

    "The artisanal American mead category has really blossomed on the heels of the craft beer explosion,” Max Kuller told us. Kuller is the wine director at Thai and Vietnamese eatery Doi Moi in Washington, D.C.—and the son of co-owner

    Read More »from We're Seeing It Everwhere: Mead
  • After a quick-rising backlash against Subway’s use of the dough additive azodicarbonamide (ADA), the fast-food giant recentlyannounced that it would stop using the chemical foaming agent — found in items from yoga mats to flip-flops — in its bread. It was a small victory in the fight against questionable food additives — one that feels even smaller this week, as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new report finding ADA in the ingredients of nearly 500 supermarket-brand bread products.

    Some of the many products that contain ADA in their ingredient list include:

    • Wonder light wheat bread

    • Martin’s potato rolls

    • Pillsbury dinner rolls and Toaster Strudel pastries

    • Sun-Maid raisin bread

    • IHOP French toast breakfast sandwiches

    • Little Debbie Honey Buns

    • Mariano’s breads and rolls (42 varieties)

    • Nature’s Own breads (18 varieties)

    • Sara Lee breads and buns (19 varieties)

    • Smucker’s Uncrustables PB&J sandwiches

    • Sunbeam enriched bread

    • Healthy Life whole wheat

    Read More »from Yoga-Mat Chemical Found in Way More Food Products Than Subway Bread, Report Finds
  • Once upon a time, in a magical land called California, presenters and performers at the glamorous Academy Awards received gift bags to thank them for their time and talent. From the 1970s through 2006, this munificent Eden persisted. Then the IRS came along and ruined all the fun, declaring these expensive tokens income and thus subject to taxes. In 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences discontinued the gifts. By then, private companies had already swooped into the coveted swag space, distributing goodies to everyone from award-winning actors to unnaturally tan reality stars.  The most elaborate of these offerings have been put together since 2003 by marketing company Distinctive Assets, whose “Everybody Wins” gift bags ensure that nominees who don’t get a golden statue still walk away with armloads of consolation prizes worth thousands (one year over $100,000).

    The swag bags feature an array of beauty and fashion finds (this year’s most extravagant include a

    Read More »from Oscars Swag Bags: A History of Edible Gifts Since 2003
  • Gold leaf foods! No. Black tie required! No. You’re going to be on the couch, watching TV, likely dribbling bits of popcorn onto yourself.

    Don’t default to the obvious this Sunday. Your 2014 Oscars viewing party will be so much better if you follow our simple tricks:

    1. There’s no time for paper invites what with the Oscars four days away, so do something else that feels funny and personal. Get crafty and layer some text over a shot of one of your favorite nominees. Something like this:

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    Just no eVites, basically. We’re really not down with those. (And yes, you can steal our Adamy Adams invite.)

    2. Make your guests cozy. Grab all the best blankets in your house, fold them crisply, and put them in a wicker basket or whatever you have on hand. Place said basket in the front hallway or just to the left of your front door’s threshold so it’s one of the first things your guests see. Either instruct them upon greeting them or, if you live in the kind of neighborhood where people just let

    Read More »from Throw a Better Oscars Party

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