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"bbc" news and stories
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"Pick up a dozen eggs" is familiar supermarket shorthand the world over, but if legislators in the European Union get their way, it might become an outdated expression. In an effort to standardize labeling, the European Parliament wants to stop labeling foods by number. To protect consumers, they say, labels should display weight or volume -- not the number of items in a pack.
Makes sense in theory, but in practice, it goes against years of consumer habits, and English politicians are fighting back. "We know what customers want," UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told the BBC. "They want to buy eggs by the dozen and they should be allowed to -- a point I shall be making clear to our partners in Europe."
EU countries currently have exemptions that allow some pre-packed foods (like eggs or rolls) to be sold by number alone. Changing this practice could cost business owners in a big way. Conservative MEP Syed Kamall warned that "millions of pounds could be wasted by shops and bakers having to change packaging just to comply" with the new legislation, and the UK Federation of Bakers is protesting that bakeries would have to invest in expensive new weighing equipment. It says customers understand that "no two rolls are the same."
Purple sprouting broccoli, a flavorful, deep plum-colored English variant of the standard green stuff, begins its short season in February. It's taste is similar to regular broccoli, but can be milder and more tender depending on when it's harvested. You can eat the whole plant, from stems to leaves to the loose, stalky florets. Cook purple sprouting broccoli as you would regularly broccoli, but reduce the cooking time slightly.
The BBC has a list of recipes to try, including purple sprouting broccoli with leek and shallot farrotto, purple sprouting broccoli pesto, pasta with purple sprouting broccoli, and prawns and purple sprouting broccoli with chili and lemons. Purple sprouting broccoli can be tricky to find in the U.S. - big-city farmer's markets or your own garden may be your best bet. If you can't find it, substitute regular mature broccoli heads.
Filed under: Ingredients
Want to celebrate the Year of the Ox in proper fashion? The BBC has a simple guide to the Chinese New Year, which begins today. Traditional foods - which vary greatly depending on the region - include Northern Chinese dumplings resembling gold ingots, said to bring wealth for the coming year; big family meals called "poo choi," in which everyone eats out of the same giant bowl to promote togetherness; Southern Chinese turnip cakes given as a sign of respect and honor; and glutinous rice cakes whose sticky nature is said to help families stick together in the new year.
Plus, there's a link to a bunch of the BBC Food's Chinese recipes - think red-cooked pork belly, ginger fish, stir-fried salt and pepper prawns.
Filed under: Holidays
Modern science is an amazing thing. Scientists are working on coding the DNA sequences of just about everything, nowadays. You can add cacao to that list.
According to the BBC, the Mars Company, in conjunction with IBM and the US Department of Agriculture, is working on coding the DNA of cacao, which is the tropical tree that we get chocolate from. They're calling it the Cacao Genome Project, and it should take about five years to complete. Some of the aims of the project include finding ways to make the trees more disease resistant and less susceptible to water shortages, as well generally improving crop yields.
One thing about this research project that is particularly admirable is that all of the information will be publicly available as the information comes. Everything they learn will be put into the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture, so researchers all over the world will have access to the information.
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