Tuesday starters

FregolaHow did they know?

I stopped by Mozza 2 Go–the latest addition to the LA eatery/pizzeria/pizza school co-owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich–to pick up a mushroom pizza to go. While waiting for my pie, I couldn’t help picking up a few other goodies, including Silverton’s heavenly butterscotch budino and a sack of fregola (the toasted, pebble-shaped Sardinian pasta that’s making its way onto American menus). A couple days later, Gina DePalma, the pastry chef at Batali’s Babbo in New York, posted a tempting recipe for Saffron Fregola with Potatoes and Peas on Serious Eats. I tried it this weekend, and, yum. It does the pricey pasta justice.

Lean cuisine

Picture 4Fresh may be best, but for cheap eats, shopping the day-old shelf can save a lot of cash.–Recessionwire

Eating better for better health

Picture 6Good-for-you foods are expected to burgeon over the next decade, according to an NPD Group survey. That includes organic fare, low-cal foods, and shifting habits like enjoying petite appetizers as entrees. NPD experts chalk this up to an aging population that wants to take better care of itself. Expected to drop: quick-assembly lunch and dinner foods.

I suspect our ailing health-care system may be contributing to this trend, as aging boomers realize a healthy diet may prevent–or at least minimize–costly ailments in their golden years. And there’s mounting evidence that lifestyle measures, such as diet and exercise, do indeed work. A 20-year study of nurses found those who maintained a healthy body weight, exercised at least 30 minutes a day, and ate a DASH-like diet were less likely to have hypertension than nurses who didn’t.

Shameless self-promotion

Picture 5Looking for ideas to use up the last of summer’s strawberries? Check out my story on LifeScript.com.

Oy vey ich schmear

Picture 7Can a doll’s lunch stir up controversy? It can if it’s the bagel toted by Rebecca Rubin, American Girl’s new doll whose story is rooted in the early-19th-century  Jewish tenements of New York’s Lower East Side. The orange substance on the bagel in Rebecca’s school lunch looks suspiciously like…Kraft American Cheese Singles. The Food Section‘s Josh Friedlander is following the case. Too bad my own grandma, who would have been Rebecca’s contemporary, isn’t around to clear up the question, what would be appropriate on a circa-1914 bagel? Come to think of it, she probably spent her school lunch breaks making deliveries of the family’s bathtub hooch during Prohibition.