Food Banks That Churches Count On Are Challenged By Rising Demand, Spoilage Issues

There’s no need for a mixer or food processor. Keep the fridge for drinks, and maybe the blender. Eating has never been easier. The trick? Bars, bars and more bars. Vegan, chocolate, gluten-free, low-glycemic, raw, sugar-free, nutty, crunchy, gooey, for kids, for weightlifters, familiar old granola bars. Packed with protein, fiber, super-fruits even some with sugar and fat. Bars for pregnant women, and the YaffBar that’s for you and your mutt to share. Larabar’s Alt gets its protein from peas; another company harvests crickets for protein. Also PHOTOS: A comparison of what’s really inside the wrapping About a fifth of Americans will eat a bar today, says Harry Balzer, chief food industry analyst for the NPD Group. (The only bigger change in our eating habits over the last decade? The explosion of yogurts.) The market research firm Packaged Facts said in an April 2012 report that the bar business approached $5.7 billion in 2011 and is still growing. “They’re their own food group,” says Terry Walters, a cookbook author and natural foods advocate. What’s more, bars are wrapped in the cachet of something that’s good for you and many of them are fine nutritionally, even though most bars have opaque packaging so it can be hard to judge. And energy bars sound pretty healthful, right?

World Food Prices Continue to Decline on Cheaper Cereal

What is fusion food? asks food writer Rushina Munshaw Ghildyal rather rhetorically, before answering the question herself. Because of the past, it has got a negative connotation, but it literally means to infuse distinct flavours or techniques from more than one cuisine in a measured manner, into a new dish. Years ago, the mighty Italians did not have access to spices. But after some of their explorers travelled to India and China, they embraced spices into their age-old recipes, without recognising the act of fusion, she adds, explaining that however scary or vague the term, the results of fusion can bring landmark changes in food history. The bad name that the term fusion got, was chiefly due to the demand of inward-looking palates of Indian diners in the past, who forced chefs to play it safe, as they wanted their patrons to return to their restaurants. As a result, they infused every cuisine with a hint of Indianness. Today, much like the Indian tourist, even the chefs are well travelled and many of them have degrees from Europe and the US. They take the time out to recce regions across the world to update their knowledge.Some, in fact, argue that the term fusion needs to die a natural death now. Fusion doesnt mean anything, argues Rahul Akerkar, celebrity chef and restaurateur. It is all part of good evolution, as with time, different ingredients are coming into local markets, people are open to exploring their palate preferences and the chefs are confident to follow their culinary passions. Here and now Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are predictably the first cities to have stepped up to the plate. There will always be patrons who swear by the authentic kebab, tikka or burrah kabobs, but theres an open-mindedness and willingness to try new flavours that one didnt see as much before. Its superb because it means that eating out has become interesting again, says Verma.At places such as Le Bistro du Parc in New Delhi, the new menu is thoroughly French, and yet its light, fresh and modern — a world away from the souffles and Escoffier recipes that so many associate with Gallic food. They reference classic French techniques and preparations, but like Indian Accent, the ideas and flavours are from everywhere.

Harris , E-mail the writer From the loading dock of the cavernous Capital Area Food Bank, Bishop Godfrey Nwaneri and members of the Divine Grace Mission loaded several carts of frozen meat and fresh vegetables that they would take back to the church and offer to those in need of food. Once at the church, Nwaneri said he would make sure that the meat and vegetables were distributed quickly after all, such precious food shouldnt go to waste. Video Bishop Godfrey Nwaneri of Divine Grace Mission discusses what it’s like to work closely with a food bank to feed those in need. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post) – Gerri Magruder, executive director of Helping Hands Ministry at the First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights, is pictured at the Capitol Area Food Bank. We try to shop very close to the distribution day so the perishables would not spoil, said Nwaneri, who hands out food on the first Saturday of every month. The Maryland pastor is part of a network of more than 500partner agencies that distribute 45 million pounds of food to more than 500,000 people across the Washington area each year. And although the distribution includes bread, cereal and canned goods, there is increasing focus among church food banks to supply fresh vegetables and meat for the good health of those in need. Fresh food thats the key to lowering high blood pressure and diabetes, said Jeri Bailey, director of the food pantry at the Dupont Park Seventh-Day Adventist Church, who was at the food bank the same day as Nwaneri. We prepare bags for 130families a week that includes a meat, fresh greens, canned goods and other items, Bailey said. But the distribution of fresh food means extra attention must be paid to ensuring that the donated perishables dont spoil. Nearly 36 million tons of food were wasted nationally in 2011, said Nancy Roman, president of the Capital Area Food Bank. Roman recently helped organize a summit in Alexandria to address how local churches and organizations can reduce food spoilage. Participants included Ben Simon, founder of the Food Recovery Network at the University of Maryland; Elise H. Golan, director for sustainable development at the Department of Agriculture; Tom ODonnell, an environmental scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency; and Meghan Stasz, director of sustainability for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents such major brands as Kraft, General Mills and Nestle.

Dieter, beware: Weight-loss fads can be bad for your health

The FAO index averaged 199.1 points in September, 1% lower than in August and 5.4% lower since the start of the year. Global cereal production, which includes wheat and corn, is expected to be 8% higher over 2012s level, at 2.49 billion tons. The U.S., the worlds largest corn producer, is responsible for the bulk of the increase, expected to harvest a record crop of 348 million tonsthats 27% higher than the previous year. U.S. corn supplies have been tight since the size of last years harvest was hit by severe drought. But after high acreage seeded with corn this spring and largely favorable summer weather, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts record U.S. corn output this year. That should push corn prices lower. Current levels mark a drastic turnaround since food prices soared to new heights in early 2011 amid global supply constraints for cereals, sugar and cocoa. Rising food prices helped spark the unrestknown as the Arab Springthat analysts say ultimately ousted the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The London-based International Grains Council this month said world corn production during the 2013-14 crop year will hit 943.2 million tons. It also predicted that world wheat production will increase to 692.6 million tons, reflecting better prospects for the European crop than previously expected and a larger harvest out of Russia and Ukraine. Still, despite ample supplies of cereals, the UN warned that food shortages continue to plague certain countries. Syria, because of the ongoing political tension has 4 million people which are in need of humanitarian assistance.