The New York Times travels to the SVF Foundation, a Rhode Island heritage livestock preservation facility working to safeguard the genetic diversity of American farm animals. The researchers, among other projects, extract embryos from rare or endangered breeds, and then implant them into surrogates. Why? Because, shockingly, "fewer than 20 champion bulls are responsible for half the genes in today's Holsteins," and, as result, the genetic pool has become disconcertingly shallow. Keeping these breeds alive also allows for flexibility as America's eating tastes change and in case of, you know, genetic disaster. Article highlight: Chip, the Tennessee fainting goat, a breed that falls over whenever faced with stress (and deserves its own TV show.)
The Globe and Mail explains the popularity of deep-fried macaroni and cheese (stick-shaped mac n' cheese, coated in batter and plunged into boiling oil): It's tough on the outside, soft on the inside; it's easy to eat; it's a new take on a nostalgic childhood favorite. It's also a fast way to feel guilty about your lifestyle choices.
The LA Times profiles a family business with a fascinating concept: Selling different kinds of coffee specifically to different immigrant groups. Gavina & Sons began by selling beans at Cuban markets across Los Angeles, but then began including Italian consumers, and now grinds, packages and ships Turkish-style coffee, Middle-Eastern coffees and espressos popular with Latin groups, among others. Their current popularity is also tied to the recession: More people are making their coffee at home. It's an interesting look at the way that one drink can have many different cultures -- and how a small company can thrive with a big-tent philosophy.
The Boston Globe argues that its home city, far from being a meat and seafood town, is quickly becoming a health food mecca. Home to the macrobiotic Kushi Institute (founded in the 70s), Boston has seen a spate of new vegetarian and raw food openings in the past few years, spurred, the article claims, by increasing awareness about environmental issues and films like "Food, Inc." New openings: Pulse café, Allston's Peace o' Pie, Red Lentil.
The NYT takes on Seattle's teriyaki obsession -- a whopping 83 of the city's restaurants include the word "teriyaki" in their name, including both "I Love Teriyaki," and "I Luv Teriyaki" (How can I choose?). Why the phenomenon? The city's large Asian immigrant population, the sauce's "cheap and dirty" vibe, and, possibly a pioneering 1976 restaurant opened by a Japanese-born restaurateur. This has made the restaurants "so ubiquitous they're virtually invisible."
Thomas Rogers is Salon's former Arts Editor. He has written for the Globe & Mail, the Village Voice and other publications. He can be reached at @thomasmaxrogers.