Nature Queen's Blog

News from the world of Food and Beverages

Mario Batali taking leave from restaurant empire after claims of sexual misconduct

The celebrity chef said ‘I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain I have caused’ after at least four women reported incidents

The chef Mario Batali has surrendered oversight of daily operations at his restaurant empire following reports of sexual misconduct over a period of at least 20 years.

The online site Eater New York, part of Vox Media, reported on Monday that the incidents involve at least four women, three of whom worked for Batali. One of the women, none of whom were named in the story, said Batali groped her chest after wine had spilled on her shirt. Another said he grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body.

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Meat tax ‘inevitable’ to beat climate and health crises, says report

‘Sin taxes’ to reverse the rapid global growth in meat eating are likely in five to 10 years, according to a report for investors managing over $4tn

“Sin taxes” on meat to reduce its huge impact on climate change and human health look inevitable, according to analysts for investors managing over $4tn of assets.

The global livestock industry causes 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and meat consumption is rising around the world, but dangerous climate change cannot be avoided unless this is radically curbed. Furthermore, many people already eat far too much meat, seriously damaging their health and incurring huge costs. Livestock also drive other problems, such as water pollution and antibiotic resistance.

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Ho ho hold back … why you should go easy on the festive cheer this year

Christmas without a drink is a more or less unthinkable, but excess is a real danger. So how much alcohol is safe? And can it ever be good for you?

Can you imagine a Dry December? The very thought of getting through the grim, grey days, manic bouts of shopping and emotional overload of the festive holidays without a drop of alcohol is surely unbearable for many. So, is there any such thing as safe drinking? Can we ensure we don’t slide into addiction? And is it true that it is actually bad to be teetotal?

I love a drink but don’t want to end up addicted. What do you suggest?
The only way to avoid being dependent on alcohol is not to drink at all, says David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. “We talk about capture rate, the percentage of users who end up addicted to a substance. Tobacco is the most addictive, with a capture rate of about 40%, then heroin at 30%, crack cocaine about 25% and alcohol at 12%. But you can’t know if you’re going to be one of the 12% who is susceptible to becoming addicted to alcohol. And in the UK, 85% of adults drink alcohol, so that’s potentially around 4 million people who are at risk of addiction.”

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Mince pies taste test: seasonal sensation or festive flop?

We buy about 370m mince pies each year in the UK. Once upon a time, supermarket varieties were ‘generally unspeakable’ – have they improved?

There is a Premier Foods factory in Barnsley that, in the runup to Christmas, fires out 2.3m mince pies a day. That’s 180m each season. A staggering figure, yet it accounts for less than half of the 370m mince pies sold in the UK each year.

These days unrecognisable from its medieval origins as a spiced ox tongue and beef suet pastry, the mince pie, clearly, still occupies a very special place in Britain’s affections. This, despite 17th-century Puritan purges (mince pies were condemned as a sign of Catholic gluttony), and the old, mass-produced supermarket versions, which for decades – their shrunken fillings a chaos of sugar, dank fruits and shrill spices – threatened to do what Cromwell failed to, and destroy our love of mince pies for ever. Chef Jeremy Lee told the Independent in 2011 that commercial mince pies are “generally unspeakable”.

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Dunking sweet and salty osmania biscuits in Hyderabad, India

Fresh from the ovens, osmania butter cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Irani chai. At Nimrah bakery, thousands of both are consumed every day

In front of the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, India, is an ordinary-looking bakery selling cakes, bread and biscuits.

It’s easy to miss: all around is the bustling Laad Bazaar, with locals selling everything from cheap bangles and strips of gum to piles of pomegranates. The air hums with the call to prayer. Scooters purr around the 16th-century Charminar – a monument built by the architect of Hyderabad, Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah.

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Weed and wine tours in California

With recreational use becoming legal in January 2018, visitors to the state can join trips matching cannabis with the more established grape-based legal high of the region

The wine was pale garnet, with notes of smoke and blackberry giving way to a lingering, slightly tart, finish. One sip sent my head spinning.

But then this particular vintage was more potent than your usual Californian red. The grenache, from Know Label wines in Arroyo Grande on the central coast, is infused with cannabis flowers.

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