Friedman School in Ras Al Khaimah

by Leila Nilipour

We all know it exists, but to most of us at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, the sister teaching location in Ras Al Khaimah seems like an abstract concept that exists somewhere in the Middle East.

The initiative started in 2006, when the Ras Al Khaimah government decided that it wanted to be known as the education and health care hub of the Gulf States and South Asia, in addition to a tourist destination. Among other projects, their plan was to develop a graduate degree in nutrition based in Ras Al Khaimah. Their research led them to the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University as the ideal institution to partner-up with. That’s when the first Friedman visit to Ras Al Khaimah took place, and only a year later, Tufts University and the Ras Al Khaimah government were already hiring distance learning and instructional design experts.

Dr. Lynne Ausman, the “Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Professor in International Nutrition”, is the director of the Master of Nutrition Science and Policy program, in the Ras Al Khaimah teaching location, which officially opened its doors to students in 2009.

The Master of Nutrition Science and Policy program uses a revolutionary model of teaching known as hybrid learning, which braces the best features of face-to-face teaching with those of online learning. According to Dr. Ausman, this teaching model has a better record of learning than face-to-face or online, since it promotes active and independent learning.

The program consists of eight courses, which are conducted over four semesters, including an intensive residency period of about ten days per semester, in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. The remainder of each course is done through distance learning. Students are able to get involved in projects, activities, and group discussions through the web, and professors stay in contact with them via Skype -a popular software that allows users to chat and make voice or video calls over the Internet for free-, for feedback, and to make them feel like a part of a community. The program culminats with a project or research-based thesis.

When asked about the teaching experience, Dr. Ausman said it is a lot more work to prepare for lectures, because they need to know everything before class. Their face-to-face time is very limited so, unlike the Boston classes, professors can’t go back and look up the answer to a challenging question for the next class.

The Ras Al Khaimah students are very diverse. This year’s class has twelve students, and like the Boston campus, the population of women is larger, with only one man enrolled in the program. They come from many different countries, and are mostly mid-career students with significant work experience. Dr. Ausman is very enthusiastic about teaching people who would never be able to quit their jobs and leave their families to attend school in a different continent. She said that “Education should be for everyone and they [Ras Al Khaimah students] need education as much as everyone else. So meeting a group of students who are really happy to have a chance to improve, and watching them grow and nurture is very catalytic.”

The nutritional problems in the Middle East region -obesity, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies- reflect those prevalent in the U.S. The cities in those regions are very spread-out and the extreme temperatures throughout the year do not make it enjoyable to walk outdoors. So the populations in these regions get little or no exercise. In addition, vitamin D deficiency is common, because the heat keeps people indoors. Not only that, but women in the region cover up their body for traditional and religious purposes, further reducing the amount of sunlight the skin receives. There is also a lot of iron deficiency among kids. Dr. Ausman commented, “It’s going to take something major to try to make some big changes; a whole community to change things.”

In creating opportunities for Boston and Ras Al Khaimah students to interact, Dr. Ausman mentioned that it has been discussed. The students might be introduced to one another through Skype, and the dietitians at Ras Al Khaimah could meet the Tufts Frances Stern Nutrition Center students to compare practices. There is also talk about offering the Ras Al Khaimah students the opportunity to do a semester in Boston, as well as giving Boston students the opportunity to visit Ras Al Khaimah.

“Students seem the same worldwide, eager to learn, and that makes the faculty excited. It doesn’t matter where they are from, how they dress or what their age is. They’re all there to try to make a difference.” she added.

Dr. Robert Houser is an Assistant Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. This year is his second year teaching statistics to the Ras Al Khaimah students. On Tuesday, September 21st, he got up at 3:30 am to get to the Boston Logan International Airport on time for his flight to New York. From there, he took a direct 13-hour flight to Dubai, where he arrived at 8:00 am local time. He was greeted by 100F weather after 24 hours of travel. Wednesday was off, and offered time to adjust to the time difference, and to prepare for lectures. The new student orientation took place on Thursday and classes began on Friday.

The statistics course that Dr. Houser teaches in Ras Al Khaimah is comparable to the one taken by the Tufts Frances Stern Nutrition Center students. He noted that it is a rewarding teaching experience, because the Ras Al Khaimah students are very enthusiastic about learning. Many Boston students have not worked a full-time job yet, so they’re not used to having long days, but Ras Al Khaimah students are used to working hard, and being in class from nine to five doesn’t really bother them.

Last year, when he visited the United Arab Emirates for the first time, he didn’t know what to expect from such a different country. However, he mentioned that it was a very enjoyable experience, and added that meeting the new cohort of students was exciting. He said, “There are a lot of misconceptions about the culture, and people in the U.S. don’t realize how small the world is and how similar we all are.”

I spoke via Skype to Fatemeh Sahrapour, a first year student of Persian descent in the Master of Nutrition Science and Policy program. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, she worked in a clinical lab for two years and then moved to the UAE for a year. While searching for graduate schools in nutrition in the UAE, she came across the program offered through Tufts. She moved back to Texas and applied to the program, with the intention of going back to the Middle East eventually. So, in the morning, when you’re thinking about how long your commute takes to the Boston campus, think about Fatemeh, who commutes to Ras Al Khaimah from Texas. “It is a great option for people who have ties to both the Middle Eastern region and the West, since the Masters degree is accredited in both the UAE and the US.” Fatemeh said.

For Fatemeh, the whole experience so far has been wonderful, whether it was traveling every day from the hotel to the medical school classrooms where classes are held in Ras Al Khaimah, or all the one-on-one time they get with each professor. She hasn’t decided on a topic for her thesis project yet, but mentioned that a food policy focus seems interesting at this point.

When I asked her what she thought would be the biggest challenge of the program, she replied: “Having no nutrition background, the subject in itself will be a challenge to learn. A positive challenge. I have taken online classes in the past, so it takes a lot; you have to be on top of the game.”

In addition to the Master of Nutrition Science and Policy program, the Tufts University and Ras Al Khaimah partnership also includes continuing education courses for health care and public health professionals, as well as the design of a nutrition and wellness centre in Ras Al Khaimah. This is hopefully the first of several future partnerships with international governments. Nutrition problems are present worldwide, but they vary by region. Training the local professionals in other regions of the world is key to tackling the nutrition problems that are unique to them.

If you would like to learn more about the current Tufts and Ras Al Khaimah partnership, make sure to visit http://rak.nutrition.tufts.edu/

Leila Nilipour is Panamanian/Iranian with a passion for food and nutrition. She has a dream of becoming the next great Latin American novelist.

Editorial – The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: As White as Wonder Bread

Originally published in The Tufts Daily on November 1, 2010.

By Rebecca Nemec

On Nov. 5 and 6, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, based in Tufts’ Health Sciences campus, will host its annual Friedman Symposium. The symposium brings together policymakers, food industry leaders, public−health experts and sustainable−food advocates to discuss nutrition challenges through both a science and policy framework.

Kathleen Merrigan, current deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and former assistant professor and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School, is this year’s keynote speaker. Merrigan is an outspoken advocate for local and regional food systems, and we should certainly be proud that she will address our school to discuss the achievements she has made in her new leadership post.

The broader purpose of the symposium, as described on its website, is to serve as “a forum where all parties who have influence or interest in the outcome of nutritional wellbeing may share ideas and gain knowledge that will affect the direction of policy, the advancement of scientific understanding, and improve the quality of nutrition and physical activity for populations in the US and worldwide.”

But something is missing from the symposium this year.

It’s people of color.

Of the 27 confirmed speakers, only one is a person of color. But the whiteness of Friedman goes much deeper than this Symposium. Indeed, the faculty, staff and student body are, as I’ve observed, predominately white.

So, we students ask: With all that continues to swirl around us about racism and the long−term struggle that people of color have faced against oppression, why does the Friedman Symposium look the way it does?

It can’t be because there aren’t any people of color who have something important to say. People of color have risen to influential leadership positions in the so−called “sustainable” or “good−food” movement.

Will Allen, Gerardo Reyes, Van Jones, Michelle Obama and Mas Masumoto are just a few of the leaders in this movement who are effecting change on rooftops, in schools and on farms throughout the United States. Lest we forget the Boston−based leaders like Glenn Lloyd, Julian Agyeman, Mel King, Vivien Morris and Barbara Ferrer, who are all doing tremendous work to change the landscape of our own local food system.

And what about all the people on the ground who suffer most from the inequities of our food system? What about the growing numbers of young people all over the United States who are rethinking how we grow, distribute and eat food? Shouldn’t they be at the symposium to share ideas, gain knowledge and shape policy?

We know people of color were not intentionally excluded from the symposium. But it doesn’t appear that they were intentionally included, either. Herein lies the problem. Many of the problems in our current food system are deeply rooted in institutionalized racism.

In President Barack Obama’s March 2008 speech on race, he made clear to the American people that racism is still a strong and ugly force that shapes our country. This force explains economic inequalities, health disparities and the pervasive achievement gap among black and white students. In his speech, the president quoted William Faulkner, who once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.”

In order to combat the racism that still persists in America, it is necessary that we take steps to actively and intentionally address the issue of race and engage in potentially uncomfortable conversations.

This opinion piece is a starting point for change at the Friedman School, and we students are committed to sustaining this conversation. Accordingly, we have already submitted a proposal to our school to form a Committee on Diversity and Racial Equity, which will help bring diversity to the forefront of our school’s practices and culture.

Together, let’s address the present in earnest. Let’s create a school that reflects the diversity that constitutes both our food system and our country.

A group of Friedman students, including Lindsey Ripley, Oni Tongo, Ronit Ridberg, Eva Agudelo, Amelia Fischer, Elana Brochin, Elizabeth Whelan, Molly McCullagh, Nicole Tichenor, Lauren Parks, Jackie MacLeod, Lauren E. Wood and Tina Galante — a group that is predominantly white — also supports the ideas conveyed in this opinion piece.

Prior to attending the Friedman School, Rebecca Nemec worked at the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness and was the Policy Coordinator at The Food Project in Dorchester. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvest Co-Op.

The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: As White as Wonder Bread

By Rebecca Nemec

 

On November fifth and sixth the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, based at the Tufts University Health Sciences Campus, will be hosting its annual Friedman Symposium. The Symposium brings together policymakers, food industry leaders, public health experts and sustainable food advocates to discuss nutrition challenges through both a science and policy framework.

 

Kathleen Merrigan, current US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and former Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Friedman School is this year’s keynote speaker. Merrigan is an outspoken advocate for local and regional food systems, and we should certainly be proud that she will address our school to discuss the achievements she has made in her new leadership post.

 

The broader purpose of the Symposium is to serve as “a forum where all parties who have influence or interest in the outcome of nutritional wellbeing may share ideas and gain knowledge that will affect the direction of policy, the advancement of scientific understanding, and improve the quality of nutrition and physical activity for populations in the US and worldwide.”

 

But something is missing from the Symposium this year.

 

It’s people of color.

 

Of the 27 confirmed speakers, only one is a person of color. But the Whiteness of Friedman goes much deeper than this Symposium. Indeed, the faculty, staff, and student body are predominately White. so are the majority of the students who signed this letter.

 

So we students ask, with all that continues to swirl around us about racism and the long term struggle that people of color have faced against oppression, why does the Friedman Symposium look the way it does?

 

It can’t be because there aren’t any people of color who have something important to say. People of color have risen to influential leadership positions in the so-called “sustainable” or “good” food movement.

 

Will Allen, Gerardo Reyes, Van Jones, Michelle Obama, and Mas Masumoto are just a few of the leaders in this movement who are effecting change on rooftops, in schools and on farms throughout the US. Lest we forgot the Boston based leaders like Glenn Lloyd, Julian Agyeman, Mel King and Barbara Ferrer, who are all doing tremendous work to change the landscape of our own local food system.

 

And what about all the people on the ground who suffer most from the inequities of our food system? What about the growing numbers of young people all over the US who are rethinking how we grow, distribute and eat food? Shouldn’t they be at the Symposium to influence, share ideas, gain knowledge, and shape policy?

 

We know people of color were not intentionally excluded from the Symposium. But it doesn’t appear that they were intentionally included, either. Herein lies the problem. Many of the problems in our current food system are deeply rooted in institutionalized racism.

 

In President Obama’s March 2008 speech on race, he made clear to the American people that racism is still a strong and ugly force that shapes our country. This force explains the pervasive achievement gap among Black and White students, economic inequalities, and health disparities. In his speech, the President quoted William Faulkner, who once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.”

 

In order to combat the racism that still persists in America it is necessary that we take steps to actively and intentionally address the issue of race and engage in potentially uncomfortable conversations.

 

This letter is a starting point for change at the Friedman school and we students are committed to sustaining this conversation. Accordingly, we have already submitted a proposal to our school to form the Committee on Diversity and Racial Equity, which will help bring diversity to the forefront of our school’s practices and culture.

 

Together, let’s address the present in earnest. Let’s create a school that reflects both the diversity that constitutes our food system and of our country.

 

A group of Friedman students, including – Lindsey Ripley, Oni Tongo, Ronit Ridberg, Eva Agudelo, Amelia Fischer. Elana Brochin, Elizabeth Whelan, Molly McCullugh, Nicole Tichenor, Lauren Parks, Jackie MacLeod, and Lauren E Wood – also support the ideas conveyed in this letter and look forward to the work that lies ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Rebecca Nemec

On November fifth and sixth the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, based at the Tufts University Health Sciences Campus, will be hosting its annual Friedman Symposium. The Symposium brings together policymakers, food industry leaders, public health experts and sustainable food advocates to discuss nutrition challenges through both a science and policy framework.

Kathleen Merrigan, current US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and former Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at the Friedman School is this year’s keynote speaker. Merrigan is an outspoken advocate for local and regional food systems, and we should certainly be proud that she will address our school to discuss the achievements she has made in her new leadership post.

The broader purpose of the Symposium is to serve as “a forum where all parties who have influence or interest in the outcome of nutritional wellbeing may share ideas and gain knowledge that will affect the direction of policy, the advancement of scientific understanding, and improve the quality of nutrition and physical activity for populations in the US and worldwide.”

But something is missing from the Symposium this year.

It’s people of color.

Of the 27 confirmed speakers, only one is a person of color. But the Whiteness of Friedman goes much deeper than this Symposium. Indeed, the faculty, staff, and student body are predominately White. so are the majority of the students who signed this letter.

So we students ask, with all that continues to swirl around us about racism and the long term struggle that people of color have faced against oppression, why does the Friedman Symposium look the way it does?

It can’t be because there aren’t any people of color who have something important to say. People of color have risen to influential leadership positions in the so-called “sustainable” or “good” food movement.

Will Allen, Gerardo Reyes, Van Jones, Michelle Obama, and Mas Masumoto are just a few of the leaders in this movement who are effecting change on rooftops, in schools and on farms throughout the US. Lest we forgot the Boston based leaders like Glenn Lloyd, Julian Agyeman, Mel King and Barbara Ferrer, who are all doing tremendous work to change the landscape of our own local food system.

And what about all the people on the ground who suffer most from the inequities of our food system? What about the growing numbers of young people all over the US who are rethinking how we grow, distribute and eat food? Shouldn’t they be at the Symposium to influence, share ideas, gain knowledge, and shape policy?

We know people of color were not intentionally excluded from the Symposium. But it doesn’t appear that they were intentionally included, either. Herein lies the problem. Many of the problems in our current food system are deeply rooted in institutionalized racism.

In President Obama’s March 2008 speech on race, he made clear to the American people that racism is still a strong and ugly force that shapes our country. This force explains the pervasive achievement gap among Black and White students, economic inequalities, and health disparities. In his speech, the President quoted William Faulkner, who once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.”

In order to combat the racism that still persists in America it is necessary that we take steps to actively and intentionally address the issue of race and engage in potentially uncomfortable conversations.

This letter is a starting point for change at the Friedman school and we students are committed to sustaining this conversation. Accordingly, we have already submitted a proposal to our school to form the Committee on Diversity and Racial Equity, which will help bring diversity to the forefront of our school’s practices and culture.

Together, let’s address the present in earnest. Let’s create a school that reflects both the diversity that constitutes our food system and of our country.

A group of Friedman students, including – Lindsey Ripley, Oni Tongo, Ronit Ridberg, Eva Agudelo, Amelia Fischer. Elana Brochin, Elizabeth Whelan, Molly McCullugh, Nicole Tichenor, Lauren Parks, Jackie MacLeod, and Lauren E Wood – also support the ideas conveyed in this letter and look forward to the work that lies ahead.

Prior to attending the Friedman School, Rebecca Nemec worked at the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness and was the Policy Coordinator at The Food Project in Dorchester. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvest Co-Op.

Introduction to the HNRCA Series: The Longest Title in the World

The HNRCA is where I will be spending the next five to six years of my life, along with 12 other Friedman students. This series of articles will explore the cutting-edge research that’s currently taking place at the Center.

by Hassan Dashti

The HNRCA is an abbreviation for by far the longest title I have ever come across, the Jean Mayer United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging at Tufts University. All of the research conducted at the Center explores the relationship between nutrition and aging. Dr. Sarah Booth, the HNRCA co-director and principal investigator of the vitamin K laboratory, says that the center is an international leader in the field of nutrition and aging. The research conducted at the HNRCA attempts to answer questions like, what foods and nutrients will promote health and make us live longer? and which foods should we avoid or encourage to delay the degenerative conditions of aging?

There are over twenty active research laboratories housed within the center, each working to explore the effect of a nutrient or certain aspect of nutrition on aging. “People in the HNRCA are experts in their respective fields, and each has contributions in their own field,” Dr. Booth said. Found down the many hallways of the Center are labs for bone metabolism, lipid metabolism, vitamins and minerals, and numerous other topics related to nutrition and aging.

The nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics laboratory, tries to determine how genes and diet interact. Here researchers explore questions like, are there certain foods that affect our genes and make us live longer? If so, what food interacts with what gene, and how is longevity affected? This can sound far-fetched, but in theory, research in nutrigenomics could reveal gene patterns that interact with food in a particular way. Previous research in this field demonstrated how unique gene patterns interact differently with food. For example, eating strawberries might have a more profound effect on your vitamin C serum level than that of your friend, due to the differences in your genetic makeup. Once these differences are better understood, we would ultimately be able to generate food recommendations based on our individual genetic makeup. Think of it as a Dietary Guideline, or a Food Pyramid, just for you. That’s pretty sweet.

You may be wondering how this research is conducted, and what role the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plays in all of this. “The HNRCA is really a cooperation and partnership between Tufts University and the government,” Dr. Booth said. The USDA provides the core-funding and additional funding can be obtained from other sources. Each lab is run by a principal investigator leading a group of post-docs, lab technicians, doctoral students, and Friedman students, from both the science and policy departments. Some labs are more molecular- and cellular-oriented, which means a lot of bench work dealing with test tubes. Other labs, however, depend on human subjects and human volunteers.

Since it is a center based on “human nutrition”, much of the other research is conducted through the use of volunteers enrolled in studies at the Center and the examination of how a specific aspect of nutrition affects their aging. One of the current studies is looking at multivitamin and mineral supplement absorption. When you look at the nutrition label of a multivitamin pill, you assume that the percentages stated on the pill are exactly what you will absorb by ingesting the pill. However, it turns out that that isn’t always the case. Many things could affect the “bioavailability” of the nutrient from the pill, such as the actual gel capsule or the age of the pill. This study is looking at how your body absorbs these different vitamins and minerals from common over-the-counter multivitamins and mineral supplements. Those results could significantly impact the way we take our multivitamins and mineral supplements.

Now, what will my upcoming articles look like? In ensuing issues of the Sprout, I will be reviewing several unique labs in the center. I will briefly summarize the work conducted at each lab, but more importantly, I will focus on how their research will impact the field of nutrition studies. By doing so, I hope to draw your attention to you some of the most impressive nutritional research taking place right here on our campus.

Hassan Dashti is a student in the Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition program. He is an international student from Kuwait, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Even since he started learning about nutrition science at Penn, he has been excited by the research taking place in this field.

Inaugural Boston Local Food Festival Proves There is a Market for Local Food…and it’s a Big One

by Meghan Johnson

The clouds cleared just in time for the sun to break through to the tips of the 100-plus vendor tents lining the Fort Point Channel. The first-ever Boston Local Food Festival (BLFF) was off to a sunny start, despite some initial hurdles.

Although planning for the festival had begun many months before October 2nd, zoning issues led to some last-minute changes. Most notably, the loss of the Congress Street Bridge due to permit restrictions caused vendor locations and demo stations to be re-mapped during the wee hours of the morning. The Boston Children’s Museum came through with additional space for tents and children’s activities, allowing the festival a little more breathing room.

The idea for a local food festival was born out of the belief that local food should be accessible to all, regardless of geography or income. The festival had set out to prove a number of things: that there is a market for local food in Boston, that there are restaurants with local options in the city and surrounding areas, and that eating local doesn’t have to mean exceeding your budget.

The first goal was easily surpassed as local food advocates, college students, city residents and fortunate passers-by wandered into the festival starting as early as 10am, eager to sample the freshest bites from the many restaurants and vendors. Predictions for festival attendees hovered around 20,000 people, but a packed boardwalk pushed final estimates of attendees to over 30,000.

It was quite clear during the festival that restaurants and food vendors have heard the call of the local, and that they have been listening. Over 100 vendors were featured, including 3 Little Figs, Blue Heron Organic Farm, Daily Catch (who also hosted a beer tasting), Sportello, Four Star Farms, and M&M Ribs, to name a few. Restaurants and vendors learned, if they did not already know, that there is a market for local food in Boston, and that people are willing to travel to find it.

To demonstrate the affordability of eating local, almost nothing at the festival cost more than $5 per serving (with a few exceptions for seafood dishes). The festival drew attendees from various socioeconomic backgrounds and attracted a diverse array of restaurants and vendors from Boston neighborhoods.

An additional benefit of the BLFF was the show of the community support for local food initiatives. Almost 200 volunteers donated their time to help vendors set up, staff information booths, monitor recycling stations, and clean up around the hungry and often very messy masses. Volunteers met in-person once a month leading up to the festival date and again early on the day of the event to ensure everything ran smoothly. Volunteers ranged from supporters of the Sustainable Business Network (who sponsored the festival), to community members to college students. The Friedman School was well represented in both volunteers and attendees of the festival. Kitchen Thinkers sponsored the Stir a Memory art project that encouraged festivalgoers to share their favorite food memories, rekindling the connection between food and culture. Food memories are available to read on the Stir a Memory blog.

Not only was the festival able to demonstrate the demand for good, local, food and its affordability, it did so while going GREEN! To encourage overall environmental health, organizers enacted a Zero Waste policy. Zero Waste goes beyond recycling to minimize overall waste and reduce consumption. A Zero Waste event is one that has 90% of waste recycled, reduced, or reused and strives to have the least amount of impact on the environment. To qualify for this designation, forks, spoons, and plates used were all biodegradable and the festival itself distributed very few printed materials. Even though the festival worked with Save That Stuff, a leading Zero Waste company, it still came up slightly short of the 90% threshold- with Zero Waste estimates around 76%. This can most likely be attributed to vendors or attendees who brought their own plates or utensils that did not adhere to zero waste guidelines.

The inaugural BLFF sought to act as a conduit for local food seekers to connect with local food providers, under the sun, along the river, with live music and entertainment. They set lofty goals indeed, but all involved put their best foot forward. I can’t wait to see what next year’s festival will have to offer.

Meghan Johnson is a first-year FPAN student with a specialization in Health & Nutrition Communication. She relocated to Boston from Washington DC and is doing her best to acclimate to the lingo, the bitter winds, and clam chowder.

Keepin’ It Local: Boston’s First Local Food Festival and the Man Who Helped Make it Happen

by Katie Andrews

In the past three years that I’ve lived in Boston, I’ve realized that it is a city composed of passionate foodies, especially when it comes to our local New England grub. And, as we Beantown locals know, Boston certainly loves a street festival. Thus the Boston Local Food Festival was born, held for the first time on a gorgeous October 2nd morning in the newly developed Fort Point Channel area of downtown Boston.

Having been one of the hundreds of volunteers, including many Tufts students, I have my own reviews of the most amazing bites, interesting characters, and impressive displays of fresh produce. But rather than torture you with descriptions of the delicious local fare, I sat down with one of Boston’s local food celebrities, who has helped build the legacy of a festival that will hopefully live a long life here in Boston.

Jamey Lionette, a consultant to the Sustainable Food Network who coordinated the event, was co-owner of Garden of Eden Cafe and owner of Lionette’s Market in Boston’s South End. An organizer of Slow Food events and an outspoken supporter of local food sourcing, Jamey’s role in the festival was to bridge the gap between restaurants wanting to source local foods and Boston-area farms and restaurants wanting to source local foods. Festival vendors were required to source all meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables locally with some vendors even sourcing local grains.. So, Jamey had his work cut out for him.

My first question for Jamey: “So how did it go?”

Knowing Jamey from our first meeting regarding the festival earlier in the summer, I knew even this would prompt more than a simple “Great!”

He told me that some things didn’t go down as smoothly as hoped; the festival was overcrowded as the police had moved half of the vendors off the Congress Street the night before. In addition, the turnout was more than double what was expected and some vendors ran out of food.

However, the overall goal was to expose Boston to more local food vendors and introduce the vendors to local farms. With that being said, the festival was most definitely a success. Jamey excitedly shared some of the relationships formed through the festival:

Singh’s Roti in Dorchester, who had previously only used local peppers, is now going completely local – all the way down to using flour grown and milled in MA.

M&M Ribs of Roxbury, who had a line over a half-hour long for brisket and BBQ, has teamed-up with City Growers of Dorchester as the restaurant’s exclusive provider of collards beginning next year. They will also no doubt have new customers traveling out for some seriously tasty BBQ (myself included).

Batch ice cream of Jamaica Plain, one of Jamey’s personal favorites, was actually sold out of their delicious Salted Caramel flavor the next three times he attempted to buy a pint after the festival. Maybe too much success can be a bad thing.

These are not the types of restaurants you normally expect to see in food festivals, but Jamey knew the value of diversifying the vendors and involving ethnic restaurants in sourcing local food. These “unusual suspects,” as Jamey calls them, may not have previously seen value in providing their diners with local foods, but given the turnout at the festival, they almost certainly do now. “There is too much food in Boston,” as Jamey says, “but buying locally can make you stand out.”

And as for us local foodies, we can only hope to see the festival again next year. Continued sponsorship and support will be key to the festival’s future. More than anything, Jamey spoke about the importance of remaining local rather than recruiting the larger national and international brands as sponsors.

In the meantime, our job as consumers is to support the businesses that are buying locally, reminding us that tomatoes do not grow year round in the northeast but that our environment does provide us with plentiful sources of diverse food. Keep the local food movement going throughout the year. Travel outside of your neighborhood and comfort zone to try new restaurants or seek out new products. Or, for the very brave, visit your local farms to show your support. As Jamey says, “If you can know your chef, why can’t you know your farmer?”

Katie Andrews is a first year Nutrition Communication student and is also enrolled in the dual Simmons program to pursue her Dietetic Internship. Like many students at Friedman, she loves nothing more than food – cooking it, eating it, talking and writing about it!

Whole Values, Whole Foods, Whole Communities

by Emily Mitchard

Wholesome. That’s the word that instantly springs to mind as I pass through the Rose Gate and into the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. You can see it in the laughter and enthusiasm of kids sledding down the grassy knoll on recycled cardboard boxes; in the mounds of obscure varieties of colorful squash brought for sale from local Maine farms; in the composting toilet, called the “Common Throne”; and in the milling crowd dotted with plaid shirts and sundresses, suspenders and skinny jeans, overalls and fleece vests, students, urbanites, gardeners and famers, all coming together for food, music, arts and crafts, and a celebration of sustainable organic agriculture.

Ellen, Julia, and I have arrived on Saturday and the fair is in full swing. At any given time, there are at least a dozen and upwards of forty different activities going on for all backgrounds and interest levels. Farmers share experiences in low impact forestry, urban gardening, small scale irrigation, seed cleaning and saving, bee keeping, animal rearing, and sustainable pest control. Crafters provide tips on weaving, basket making, spinning, felting, and cutting stone. Activists and advocates spread information about bike commuting, recycling, composting, solar energy, and biodiesel. And that’s just scratching the surface. I have a flashback of being a kid in the bulk candy store, holding my little bag open, ready to fill, absolutely paralyzed by the overwhelming selection. I finally settle on basics of home composting, something called full cycle farming, productive conservation, and a lecture on the raw milk revolution.

Hours fly by as I scribble down notes, excited to complement my nascent classroom-based understanding of agriculture with personal experiences of farmers. Most noticeably, I’m aware of my lack of knowledge about actual practices and techniques that form the basis of sustainable, small-scale, organic farming. Mark Fulford, an expert in biological agriculture, delves into the topic of full cycle farming, or the nutritional pathways from the soil to the plant to the table. His deep admiration for the amazing natural coordination between soils and plants is palpable as he shares tips on how to coax your soil and plants into perfect harmony in a natural and closely managed way. It strikes me as the epitome of precision agriculture. Having learned in class predominantly about synthetic fertilizers, compost, and manure as the primary amendments to soil, I am surprised to learn of the range of rock and mineral ingredients (gypsum, montmorillonite, zinc sulfate, aragonite calcium) that can be crushed, combined and added as a dry amendment to the soil.

While the lectures on techniques and best practices draw together casual observers as well as enthusiastic gardeners, the lecture on the raw milk revolution brings together a core of more serious activists. The journalist, David Gumpert, author of “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights” and the blog www.thecompletepatient.com, lays out the history of the government’s regulation of the raw dairy business and describes the increasing number of battles over raw milk taking place today. He points to the unusual behavior of the FDA in targeting small businesses and individual farmers engaged in herd-shares and private individual contracts as evidence of a vicious government vendetta to eliminate the sale and consumption of raw milk nationwide. The presentation and nature of the topic elicits strong reactions from the audience and provides a glimpse into the depth of many fair-goers values and beliefs around issues of food sovereignty and food rights.

In between lectures we wander through animal stalls, arts and crafts tents, and demonstration plots of cover crops and gardens. I linger around the cover crops, finally getting the chance to see in real life what hairy vetch looks like after those countless references in ASP I. Our wallets thin as we eagerly taste the selection of foods, all products of Maine organic farms, and stuff our bags with farmers’ market produce. As the sun begins to set, the warmth of the farmhouse beckons and we amble between rows of tables displaying prize-winning fruits, vegetables, flowers, and bowl after bowl of colorful beans.

Finally it’s dark and we retreat to our tent pitched in the heavily forested campground. Snuggled in my sleeping bag and deeply satisfied, I reflect on the day’s activities, noting that all of them, from the lectures to the sheepdog trials to the cooking demos, built off the notion of reclaiming the value of time and taking joy in the small things in life. They encouraged you to take that time to engage in sewing, knitting or carving wood; to learn about the unique characteristics of your soil, the particular needs of the crops you plant in it, and the opportunities for natural fertilizers; to rediscover food varieties that long ago disappeared from our industrial food system; to stop and think about where our food comes from; and most of all, to learn from each other and strengthen community ties.

Emily Mitchard is a second year dual MS/MPH student doing the AFE program at Friedman and an Epi/Biostats concentration in the PHPD program.  She enjoys spending her free time going on long bike rides and spending any time outside.

A Healthy Appetite: Unctuous, Wacky, Worth a Splurge

A Healthy Appetite is a restaurant review column for the fun-loving, nutrition-minded gormand.

by Caroline Carney

Towne Stove and Spirits

900 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215

(617) 247-0400

Type of Food: American with Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and British accents

Price Range: $ $ $ $

Vegetarian Friendly:

Beer or Wine List: 

Lydia Shire, grande dame of the Boston restaurant world, was quoted in Boston Magazine, saying “Some nutritionists make out food to be the enemy, and that’s wrong. …[my menu] basically says to hell with those people.” When I read this quote I was both offended and intrigued. I had never dined at one of her restaurants and found myself compelled to investigate this nutrition-hater.

The Scene: Towne’s hipness is undeniable, albeit a bit like a meat market. Many days I walk by the restaurant weighed down by a backpack, only to catch glimpses of well-appointed businessmen and women clinking glasses after a day at the office. It seemed a place where people wanted to see and be seen. They appeared relaxed, so pleased to be drinking wine and nibbling on fancy bacon-wrapped dates. I gathered my group for a girls’ night out to see if Towne lived up to the hype.

Dapper men with slicked-back hair welcomed us to Towne, graciously opened the door, and ushered us into a dimly lit, dark wood bar. While we were making our way to the dining area, our host flashed a well-rehearsed smile and took us to our table. We were seated near the kitchen, which I highly recommend since you get a behind-the-scenes view of the bustling kitchen. Behind a thick glass wall we saw a sous chef frantically preparing meat for the monstrous grill. There is also a rotisserie spit that looks like it could fit the whole hog for some good nose-to-tail dining. Next to this area is a showpiece: an antique copper and ceramic stove that is a marvel of industrial design.

Although I resisted liking a place owned by a woman so clearly anti-nutrition, I could not help but admire the parade of beautiful dishes that emerged from the kitchen. The system functioned like a choreographed dance between chefs, sous chefs, food runners, and servers. In the kitchen, chefs twirled around each other in a sort of culinary flamenco, flipping seared fish, peeking into ovens, stirring sauces, and delicately seasoning sautéed vegetables. There was a hand-off at the interface between kitchen and dining room where elegant dishes were plated for the servers to deliver to an expectant diner.

Menu: I was half-expecting everything on the menu to be fried, drenched in butter, smothered in cheese, or otherwise nutritionally sabotaged. But instead, what first made me gasp were the high prices. So my fellow diners and I decided sampling the bread basket might ease the strain on our wallets. As someone who works in the field of nutrition, people often ask me for strategies to eat healthfully at restaurants. One of those strategies is to avoid the bread basket: it’s usually full of white, refined bread, accompanied by butter. I disregarded my own advice and dove into the basket. The soft, buttery roll with a hint of cheddar cheese won by a landslide. It was divine. The waiter brought not only a pure, creamy butter, but also a house-made hummus and baba ganoush to complement the bread. All were delicious.

Having taken the edge off our hunger, we turned our attention to the menu. It didn’t appear like a menu that would say “to hell” with nutritionists. Then again, it didn’t say, “I love nutritionists” either. Like most menus, the scale tipped in favor of unhealthy temptations: fried soft shell crab, lobster bisque, and myriad cuts of fatty pork. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The razor clams, veggie sides, and arugula salad with lima beans all sounded delightful. Unfortunately for vegetarians, the menu sneaks meat in all over the place. Even the avocado, radish and pea shoot salad comes with “pork crackling.”

We decided to skip appetizers and then motioned to the waiter that we were ready to order. The waiter, an entertaining fellow who was a former Marine and wine aficionado, was helpful in shepherding us to the most popular menu items. He highly recommended the duck crisp basted with sugar and citrus and drizzled with a huckleberry jus, a concentrated form of the berry’s juice. It did not disappoint. The dish presented a gorgeous plate of juicy sliced duck breast, a savory leg, and turnip puree that was light, silky smooth, with a distinctive carrot-like flavor. I advise you to order this generous portion as a dish to share.

The charred wild king salmon sounded rather healthful and lived up to that assumption. I am sure there was plenty of butter hidden somewhere, but on the surface it seemed like a nutritious choice. Alongside the fish came a puree of purple Okinawa yam- a sweet, starchy accompaniment to the simple fish. Bright green baby bok choy perfectly garnished the fish. The cruciferous bitterness of the bok choy countered the yam and tangy sweetness of the gastrique, a reduction of sugar, fruit, and vinegar. I felt there could have been more bok choy- why skimp on the vegetables? The fish itself was rather simply prepared, but of high quality and expertly seared.

The succulent Colorado lamb chops were a hit at our table as well. They had a rich, meaty taste mellowed by the creamy yogurt raita. The chef had cooked them just right—with a hint of pink inside. The only disappointing part of the plate was the puffed “poori,” a deep-fried Indian flatbread. It was bland, greasy, and added nothing to the otherwise fabulous dish.

For the sides, I voted for the yellow split peas, prepared in the British style (i.e mushy). The menu described them as being “unctuous.” We asked our waiter about the unctuousness of the peas and he explained that they are cooked in duck fat. Of course, why not cook beans in duck fat especially when you have duck on the menu?! Lydia is one sly anti-nutritionist and knows how to get the most out of a mallard. Apparently duck fat does make everything taste better.

Lydia: The grande dame herself stopped by our table mid-meal to ask us how it was. With our mouths full and our bellies getting there, we grinned, nodded our heads, and agreed in a muffled unison, “Mmm it’s all really good.” She smiled. She was eye-catching with her bright orange, puffed up hair and face adorned with magenta lipstick and blue eye shadow. I would not be surprised if she had been sleeping at the restaurant and overseeing every last detail to make sure her progeny’s first few weeks were successful ones. Under the haze of blue eye shadow, Lydia was glowing. She was clearly proud of her creation, as she should be: the meal was delightful.

Dessert: Taking the recommendation of our waiter, we chose the sorbet layer cake and the angel food cake. The sorbet came in about eight layers of different sorbet flavors with a handful of frozen blackberries. All flavors were sweet and tangy. Their creamy texture provided a refreshing end to the meal. The angel food cake was visually stunning: a thick slice of fluffy white angel food cake, topped with ethereal cotton candy. I haven’t had cotton candy since ’96 and it made me feel like a kid again. On the side was some kind of crunchy, coconut-y, decoration. We all wished there were more of that.

Drinks: Like any successful Boston restaurant, Towne has a full liquor license. You can order just about any cocktail your heart desires. As with the food menu, you will pay for the quality. Expect to shell out about $12 for a cocktail. Your waiter can help you navigate the extensive wine list. Be prepared: there are not many bottles under $30.

Towne is a must-visit restaurant. The food is inventive and beautifully created with only a few less-than-stellar menu items. The atmosphere is lively and will give your mind a respite from the stress of academia. Go for a drink and if you’re feeling indulgent, stay for dinner. Maybe, if you’re really lucky, Lydia and her flurry of orange hair will come say hi.

Score Key:

Price Range:

$ Average entrée is $10, Highest price is <$18

$$ Average entrée is $15, Highest price is <$25

$$$ Average entrée is $20, Highest price is <$30

$$$$ Average entrée is $25, Highest price is <$40

$$$$$ Average entrée is $30, Highest price is whatever you can dream of

Vegetarian Friendly:

NOT Pack a lunch

A few token items available

Great selection

A vegetarian paradise

Beer or Wine List:

Mass breweries and wineries only

Standard beer or wine list with a few local twists

A large and interesting enough selection to keep the connoisseur busy

Off the chart amazing; a large selection of both local and international options

Caroline Carney is a second year Nutrition Communication student and is also working towards her Dietetic Internship. She likes to go running along the Charles with friends and to cook elaborate meals.

Seasonal Sprouts: Pumpkin Patch

Seasonal Sprouts is a column dedicated to exploring new and local ingredients, testing new recipes, and highlighting the culinary side of Friedman!

by Kelly A. Dumke

October may be done, but pumpkin season has just begun! Beyond the typical jack-o-lantern variety, pumpkins come in countless shapes, colors, sizes and flavors. As members of the cucurbita family, pumpkins are close relatives of squash, watermelons, and cucumbers. Cucurbita moschata (i.e., commonly canned and slapped with a Libby’s label) is used in your autumn pumpkin pies, while the Cucurbita pepo is the go-to jack-o-lantern.

This fall staple may only grace your doorstep or follow your Thanksgiving dinner enveloped in a tender pastry crust, but you might be surprised by the countless guises of this versatile vegetable. Whether you’re carving or cooking, here are some tips on picking the perfect pumpkin and some new recipes for a fall classic.

Picking Pumpkins

Smaller varieties with denser flesh often have higher sugar content, making them perfect for baking and roasting. Common varieties include the Small Sugar Pumpkin or ‘Sugar Baby’ and New England Pie Pumpkin.

Pumpkin shells typically dull as they age, but the flesh gets sweeter. When purchasing a pumpkin just make sure to avoid ones with bruises or blemishes on the outer shell.

Winter squashes, such as butternut, acorn, or kabocha, can often be great substitutes for pumpkin . They work well roasted, in soups, or sautéed.

Don’t shy away from canned pumpkin (i.e., pure canned pumpkin, not the sugary pie filling). It can be a great addition to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, a perfect filling for pasta when mixed with creamy ricotta, or even a fall swirl in a classic brownie.

Recipes

Pumpkin Ravioli

Make my own ravioli?! Yes indeed! With help from easy-to-use wonton wrappers ($1.50 for 50 wrappers at the Asian Markets on Harrison Ave. near the Friedman campus), you can have homemade savory pumpkin ravioli on the table in 20 minutes! Garnish with a warm apple pesto or thyme butter sauce for a savory fall feast.

Ingredients (about 10 ravioli per person):

40 wonton wrappers

1 cup pure canned pumpkin

½ cup ricotta cheese (or try half ricotta, half goat cheese)

½ tsp. dried sage

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Combine pumpkin, cheeses, and spices. Fill a small dish with water and lay out your wonton wrappers (square or round). Brush the edges of the wonton wrappers with water and scoop about 1 to 2 tsp. of filling into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press to seal. Continue with remaining wonton wrappers.

Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil and season with a good amount of salt. Cook ravioli, about 5-6 at a time, until they float to the top. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm while you cook the rest. Serve with one of the two sauce varieties spooned over the top and enjoy!

Warm Apple Pesto

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized apple (any variety you like), chopped with peel

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup red onion, chopped

2 Tbs. lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup packed fresh spinach

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper

½ to 1 cup reserved pasta-cooking water, to thin the sauce

Directions:

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they start to caramelize. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Add the apple, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and sauté about 3 minutes until the apples are just tender.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the remaining olive oil, balsamic, and spinach. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Before serving, stir in about 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta cooking water until the pesto is your desired consistency. Serve over the Ravioli and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Thyme Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. butter

½ Tbs fresh thyme (1/2 tsp. dried)

½ tsp. salt

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter and thyme together. Add the salt and allow to simmer for 2 minutes, turning off the heat before the butter begins to brown.

Toss the hot pasta with the butter sauce and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Hummus

Add a fall flare to a Mediterranean favorite with this pumpkin hummus.

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp tahini (or double the olive oil)

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ to ½ cup water

Directions:

Add all ingredients, except the water, to a food processor. Blend and slowly add water, one tablespoon at a time until hummus is creamy. Scoop it up with pita, slather it on a sandwich, or dish it out on veggies.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Take fall desserts to a whole new level with these tender, fluffy whoopie pies filled with a classic cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients (for the pies):

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

1 2/3 cup flour

Ingredients (for the cream cheese filling):

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ stick butter, softened

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

Directions (for the pies):

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Fold in the flour.

Using a tablespoon, drop about 24 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Directions (for the filling):

Cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Use a mixer or some strong arms to combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Kelly Dumke is a second year nutrition communication student and aspiring chef at heart.

October may be done, but pumpkin season has just begun! Beyond the typical jack-o-lantern variety, pumpkins come in countless shapes, colors, sizes and flavors. As members of the cucurbita family, pumpkins are close relatives of squash, watermelons, and cucumbers. Cucurbita moschata (i.e., commonly canned and slapped with a Libby’s label) is used in your autumn pumpkin pies, while the Cucurbita pepo is the go-to jack-o-lantern.

 

This fall staple may only grace your doorstep or follow your Thanksgiving dinner enveloped in a tender pastry crust, but you might be surprised by the countless guises of this versatile vegetable. Whether you’re carving or cooking, here are some tips on picking the perfect pumpkin and some new recipes for a fall classic.

 

Picking Pumpkins

  • Smaller varieties with denser flesh often have higher sugar content, making them perfect for baking and roasting. Common varieties include the Small Sugar Pumpkin or ‘Sugar Baby’ and New England Pie Pumpkin.

 

  • Pumpkin shells typically dull as they age, but the flesh gets sweeter. When purchasing a pumpkin just make sure to avoid ones with bruises or blemishes on the outer shell.

 

  • Winter squashes, such as butternut, acorn, or kabocha, can often be great substitutes for pumpkin . They work well roasted, in soups, or sautéed.

 

  • Don’t shy away from canned pumpkin (i.e., pure canned pumpkin, not the sugary pie filling). It can be a great addition to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, a perfect filling for pasta when mixed with creamy ricotta, or even a fall swirl in a classic brownie.

 

Recipes

 

Pumpkin Ravioli

Make my own ravioli?! Yes indeed! With help from easy-to-use wonton wrappers ($1.50 for 50 wrappers at the Asian Markets on Harrison Ave. near the Friedman campus), you can have homemade savory pumpkin ravioli on the table in 20 minutes! Garnish with a warm apple pesto or thyme butter sauce for a savory fall feast.

 

Ingredients (about 10 ravioli per person)

40 wonton wrappers

1 cup pure canned pumpkin

½ cup ricotta cheese (or try half ricotta, half goat cheese)

½ tsp. dried sage

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

 

Directions

Combine pumpkin, cheeses, and spices. Fill a small dish with water and lay out your wonton wrappers (square or round). Brush the edges of the wonton wrappers with water and scoop about 1 to 2 tsp. of filling into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press to seal. Continue with remaining wonton wrappers.

 

Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil and season with a good amount of salt. Cook ravioli, about 5-6 at a time, until they float to the top. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm while you cook the rest. Serve with one of the two sauce varieties spooned over the top and enjoy!

 

Warm Apple Pesto

Ingredients

1 medium-sized apple (any variety you like), chopped with peel

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup red onion, chopped

2 Tbs. lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup packed fresh spinach

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper

½ to 1 cup reserved pasta-cooking water, to thin the sauce

 

Directions

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they start to caramelize. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Add the apple, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and sauté about 3 minutes until the apples are just tender.

 

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the remaining olive oil, balsamic, and spinach. Blend until smooth and creamy.

 

Before serving, stir in about 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta cooking water until the pesto is your desired consistency. Serve over the Ravioli and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 

Thyme Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. butter

½ Tbs fresh thyme (1/2 tsp. dried)

½ tsp. salt

 

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter and thyme together. Add the salt and allow to simmer for 2 minutes, turning off the heat before the butter begins to brown.

Toss the hot pasta with the butter sauce and serve immediately.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Hummus

Add a fall flare to a Mediterranean favorite with this pumpkin hummus.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp tahini (or double the olive oil)

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ to ½ cup water

 

Directions

Add all ingredients, except the water, to a food processor. Blend and slowly add water, one tablespoon at a time until hummus is creamy. Scoop it up with pita, slather it on a sandwich, or dish it out on veggies.

 

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Take fall desserts to a whole new level with these tender, fluffy whoopie pies filled with a classic cream cheese frosting.

 

Ingredients (for the pies)

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

1 2/3 cup flour

Ingredients (for the cream cheese filling)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ stick butter, softened

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

 

Directions (for the pies)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Fold in the flour.

Using a tablespoon, drop about 24 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Directions (for the filling)

Cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Use a mixer or some strong arms to combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

 

Overheard @ Friedman

by Mari Pierce-Quinonez

Mari is a third year AFE/UEP student who frequently avoids her work by drawing pictures.  If you’ve heard something funny at Friedman and would like to see it illustrated, email maripqz@gmail.com.

Friedman Sprout Nutrition News Bites

We are pleased to announce a new feature of the The Friedman Sprout: Nutrition News Bites! Every week, we’ll bring you a healthy digestion of the week’s most important nutrition news, composed by new writer Lindsey Toth, plus a glimpse of what our staff has been reading.
Let us know what you think of this new feature by writing to friedmansprout@gmail.com. We appreciate your feedback!


Does Paying with Credit Make Us Fat? Researchers say credit cards lead to poor food choices

Researchers analyzed the shopping habits of 1,000 households and found that those using credit or debit cards shopped more impulsively than their cash-carrying counterparts, and impulsivity lends itself to unhealthful foods.  There may be a correlation between how we pay for food and obesity in the U.S., noting that 40% of all purchases in the U.S. were paid with credit in 2006, and that 34% of Americans are obese.

Researchers find discrepancies in weight and behavior among women
attending two-year and four-year colleges

In one set of schools, sales of fruit increased by 100% when it was moved to a colorful bowl. Salad bar sales tripled when the cart was placed in front of cash registers.

Guiding Stars adds a search engine for online comparisons
The Guiding Stars nutrition ranking system has teamed with Wellness Layers to launch the Food Finder search engine for its website, allowing users to compare foods, review nutrition information and comment on products. The partnership is also developing a food-shopping tool called The Smart Shopping Planner, which will be available as a portal on partner websites.

New dietary guidelines address overweight, obese population
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans contain distinct differences from 2005 recommendations, especially in the area of reducing excess body weight, says Linda Van Horn, who heads the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. She says the new guidelines are entirely evidence-based and address vulnerable population subgroups — such as pregnant women and infants — for the first time.

Foods high in bad fats may reduce sperm count in men
Men who eat a lot of foods high in saturated and monounsaturated fat may produce fewer and less active sperm, according to Harvard University researchers. On the flip side, those who eat foods with polyunsaturated fats may produce healthier sperm, the study suggested.

Study: Whole grains may cut diabetes, heart risks
People who eat whole grains instead of refined ones develop less of the fat associated with heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, researchers say. In a study of 2,800 people ages 32 to 83, they found 10% less visceral adipose tissue in those who ate three or more servings of whole grains a day compared with those who ate less than one serving a day.

Trade groups announce front-of-package nutrition information
The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute have issued a joint statement saying that a number of large food manufacturers will put nutrition information on package fronts in a “fact-based, simple and easy-to-use format.” The voluntary labeling system will be launched in early 2011.

Gut bacteria affect calorie absorption, study shows
Microorganisms in the gut affect calorie absorption and possibly weight gain and loss, researchers said. The study, which included lean and obese men, found rapid changes in gut microbiota when the men were overfed relative to their body size.

2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report Offers Food And Nutrition Practitioners Insights On Helping Americans Combat Obesity Epidemic

Key features and findings of the 210 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report announced in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Report addresses an unhealthy American public, includes evidence for specific sub-populations, and two new chapters including “Total Diet” and “Translation/Implementation.”

Large study sees no breast cancer benefit from green tea
No link was found between green tea consumption and reduced risk of breast cancer, according to a Japanese study of 53,793 women, contradicting previous research suggesting a benefit. The study followed women over 14 years and “found no overall association between green tea intake and the risk of breast cancer among Japanese women who have habitually drunk green tea,” said the lead researcher.

IOM to issue new vitamin D, calcium guidelines
The Institute of Medicine will release new recommendations next month on how much vitamin D and calcium people need each day. Data show many Americans may be deficient, and studies are looking into the role of vitamin D in preventing cancer and other diseases.

Lindsey Toth is currently finishing up her time in the joint Dietetic Internship/MS Nutrition and MS Nutrition Communications program. Boston’s beautiful scenery has turned Lindsey into an avid runner, and she just recently finished her first half marathon in September.  When Lindsey isn’t yogging, she is content sitting down with a close group of friends, baking some delicious treats, and watching a classic Disney movie.

What’s on the Sprout staff’s plate this week?

Culled from the Friedman’s Sprout Delicious news feed www.delicious.com/network/thefriedmansprout

Meghan Johnson is watching Barton Seaver: Sustainable seafood? Let’s get smart | Video on TED.com.

Katie Andrews is reading The Food Industry’s Preemptive Strike Against Stricter Labels – Marion Nestle – Food – The Atlantic.

Jeff Hake is reading Brazilian scientists turning nation into an agro-power.

Rachel Perez is reading The Boston Food Revolution.

Sarah Gold is reading Carole Carson: Obesity In America: How the Social Norm on Weight Has Shifted.

Read along with us at www.delicious.com/network/thefriedmansprout.

Quote of the week

“Often [people's] idea of a juice fast is having nothing but orange juice or apple juice for a week. In which case, you might as well call it the Toblerone diet, because that’s how much sugar you’re pouring into your system.”

–Author and internist Dr. David Colbert, as quoted by The New York Times

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