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Meet the Real-Life Crime Boss Who Controls the Fish You Eat

The rise and fall of the "Codfather."
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March 15, 2017

Top Food News

The Case of New England's "Codfather"

"The Codfather" is the local media's nickname for Carlos Rafael, a stocky mogul with drooping jowls, a smooth pate, and a backstory co-scripted by Horatio Alger and Machiavelli. "I am a pirate," he once told regulators. "It's your job to catch me." Here's how this fishy impresario finally ran afoul of the law. (Mother Jones)

"Everybody gets exploited equally." Will a ramp-up of H-2A farmworker visas make life easier for farmers—or is it an invitation for immigrant abuse? (Mother Jones)

Tut, tut. Looks like Trump's plan to slash weather forecast funding is terrible news for farms. (Mother Jones)

Nommin' on some nyama choma—Kenya's unofficial national dish. Too bad climate change is ruining this delicious grilled goat meat. (Mother Jones)

How tainted nut butter stays hidden. Why the FDA protects the names of stores and schools stocking recalled products. (Washington Post)

Gas station gourmet. Convenience stores are capitalizing on a growing taste for fresh, healthy road food. (New York Times)


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One Great Tidbit

Hope you had a great Pi Day yesterday. We at Mother Jones certainly did!

Ivylise Simones

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This Week in Podcasts

When journalist and physician James Hamblin investigated the world of gluten-free products, he found a $23 billion industry of "detox courses," custom blood tests, and specially formulated foods. What he didn't find was medical evidence that avoiding gluten is good for people who don't have celiac disease. In fact, the many gastroenterologists that he interviewed agreed that gluten-free diets can actually be less healthy than those that contain gluten. So how did the craze take hold if there's essentially no science to back it up? We interviewed Hamblin about medicine's role in perpetuating fad diets.

Hear it on Mother Jones' Bite, episode 26:
"The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Food Science"

The United States of Barbecue. When Southern food gets so generic you forget where it came from. (Gravy)

Prego or Ragu? Malcolm Gladwell explores whether more choices really make us happier. (TED Radio Hour)

Exclusive to Newsletter Subscribers

And the winner of Best in Show at Mother Jones'  Fourth Annual Pi(e) Day competition yesterday...

...was a blood orange curd tart with a gingersnap crust. It's a great one to make right now, when the blood oranges are especially sweet and flavorful. Here's the recipe:

Blood Orange Curd Tart
Original recipe by Jam Lab

Blood orange curd:
Zest or thin peels from one blood orange
Juice of 3 blood oranges
1/8 cup lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces

Gingersnap crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
5-6 gingersnap cookies (about 1/2 cup when crushed)
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger powder
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces


In a medium saucepan, combine all blood orange curd ingredients except the butter and whisk constantly, on medium heat, until the mixture thickens, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately strain the mixture through a sieve over a medium bowl. Once strained, stir in the butter pieces, and keep stirring until well blended and smooth. Let it cool for about 30 minutes. Put it in a container and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour at least.

Make dough: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pulse flour, gingersnap cookies, ginger powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Add yolk and pulse just until incorporated and dough begins to form large clumps.

Put dough in a nine-inch tart pan and pat out with well-floured fingers into an even layer over bottom and up sides so it extends about 1/4 inch above rim. Chill 30 minutes. Lightly prick tart shell all over with a fork, then line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake shell until golden around edge, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the paper and weights and bake until shell is golden all over, about 15 minutes more. Cool shell completely in pan on a rack.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour in the blood orange curd and smooth it out onto the baked tart crust. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the tart is set. When you shake the pan, it should wobble a bit. Remove it from the oven and let rest out for an hour. Cool in the fridge for another two hours to let it set before it is ready to eat.

That's all, folks! We'll be back next Wednesday with more.
Maddie and Kiera


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