If We Feed Them, Will They Come?

If the "vending machine" delivers free fruit instead of six bits' worth of Fritos, will kids respond? Nutritionists and cafeterians in 25 school districts around the state of Washington are getting a chance to find out, thanks to a program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Schools in four states—those with more than half their students qualified for reduced-price or free lunch programs—were invited to nominate themselves for a program offering free fruit and veggie snacks throughout the school day, in machines, cafeterias, or even in classrooms. In the immediate area, the schools chosen were Seattle's T.T. Minor and Lake Hills Elementary in Bellevue. Instead of an apple for the teacher, an apple for the student? We shall see. Roast in real time This time of year, everybody wants to teach you how to roast a perfect turkey, but those enterprising folks at America's Test Kitchen are, as so often before, one jump ahead of the pack. This year, they've set up a Web site entirely devoted to the encyclopedic resources developed over 10 solid years of experimentation on literally hundreds of birds. You'll find there answers to questions arcane—"What's the basic formula for brining?"—to just plain dumb—"I don't have a roasting rack! What should I do?" (Our suggestion: Eat out, honey.) Check out turkeyhelp.com now, before you find yourself standing in the kitchen watching smoke pouring out of the oven. Hot links We've become so politicized and digitized that it isn't at all surprising to find a Web site like Sustainable Table (www.sustainabletable.org). The campaign is run by a larger organization called Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE), and the principle goal is to teach consumers "how to shop smarter, eat healthier, and enjoy the abundance of fresh, nutritious meat and produce grown by local family farmers." So how does a New York City–based organization help you eat locally in the PNW? With good, old-fashioned links, of course. In the "Shop Sustainable" section, under Farmers Markets, a link to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's online directory of farmers markets lists plenty in Washington, and a link to a co-op directory site gives addresses for PCC-type groceries across the state. And it's never been easier to express your concern regarding the safety of your meat supply: Sustainable Table also provides downloadable PDFs of wallet-sized cards that they advocate you clip out and leave with your tip at restaurants. (Whatever happened to just speaking with the manager? We're not quite sure.) Reviews of sustainability-minded cookbooks and recipes aimed at responsible eating are also provided, as are helpful ideas about how to get involved and inspired. It's only a matter of time before this stuff is available in text-message format. Stop the presses! "PROSSER, Wash., November 3, 2004—Prosser, Washington, located in Eastern Washington's Yakima Valley, received its first full stoplight last week. Hogue Cellars co-founder Gary Hogue notes, 'I was born, raised, and educated in Prosser, and in all of my years, I never thought I'd see the day that a full stoplight would be installed in my home town. This is a testament of greater visitor attraction to our prominent wine country area.' The town's second traffic light will be added next spring." Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@seattleweekly.com.

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