The Salt The Salt is a blog from the NPR Science Desk about what we eat and why we eat it. We serve up food stories with a side of skepticism that may provoke you or just make you smile.
How A Venezuelan Chef Is Teaching Women To Make Chocolate And Money

Entrepreneurs sort cocoa beans on a tray at Cacao de Origen, a school founded by Maria Di Giacobbe to train Venezuelan women in the making of premium chocolate. Zeina Alvarado (left) later found work in a bean-to-bar production facility in Mexico.Courtesy of Cacao de Origenhide caption

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Courtesy of Cacao de Origen
This Test Can Determine Whether You've Outgrown A Food Allergy

Food allergies are tricky to diagnose, and many kids can outgrow them, too. A test called an oral food challenge is the gold standard to rule out an allergy. It's performed under medical supervision.Michelle Kondrich for NPRhide caption

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Michelle Kondrich for NPR

This Test Can Determine Whether You've Outgrown A Food Allergy

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Gassy Cows Warm The Planet. Scientists Think They Know How To Squelch Those Belches

Researchers have won a prize for discovering that a cow's genetics determine which microbes populate its gut. Some of those microbes produce the greenhouse gas methane that comes out of cow belches and farts and ends up in the atmosphere.Charlie Litchfield/APhide caption

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Charlie Litchfield/AP
Arkansas Defies Monsanto, Moves To Ban Rogue Weedkiller

David Wildy, a prominent Arkansas farmer, in a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba. He says that "farmers need this technology. But right is right and wrong is wrong. And when you let a technology, a pesticide or whatever, get on your neighbor, it's not right. We can't do that."Dan Charles/NPRhide caption

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Dan Charles/NPR

Arkansas Defies Monsanto, Moves To Ban Rogue Weedkiller

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Is Fondant Free Speech? Chefs Show Support For Gay Marriage As Court Case Looms

"Equality cupcakes" by Georgetown Cupcakes are just one of several baked creations in support of same-sex marriage that were on display this week at the Chefs for Equality, a fundraising event for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C.Kelly Jo Smart/NPRhide caption

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Kelly Jo Smart/NPR
At Duke University, A Bizarre Tour Through American History And Palates

Archivist Amy McDonald invited some co-workers to help her re-create cherries jubilee from a university cookbook. But even with a historical paper trail, there were still things they couldn't figure out, like what to do after it starts flaming.Jerry Young/Getty Imageshide caption

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Jerry Young/Getty Images
Lessons From Katrina: How Restaurants Can Be Beacons In A Catastrophe

Betsy's Pancake House on Canal Street in New Orleans announces its return to business after Hurricane Katrina.Ian McNulty hide caption

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Ian McNulty
Global Plan To Streamline 'Use By' Food Labels Aims To Cut Food Waste

Confusion over "sell by" and "use by" dates is one big reason why billions of tons of food are tossed each year. A new global initiative of food giants, including Amazon, Walmart and Nestle, aims to tackle that.mrtom-uk//iStockphotohide caption

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mrtom-uk//iStockphoto
Rise Of The Beerbots: Is Tech Taking The Craft Out Of Homebrewing?

The Pico C is an automated beer-brewing device, or "beerbot," that can be monitored remotely from a smartphone or tablet.Courtesy of PicoBrewhide caption

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Courtesy of PicoBrew
Guess What's Showing Up In Our Shellfish? One Word: Plastics

Oysters, shown out of their shell, collect tiny plastic particles while in the water. These microplastics can eventually make their way into your dinner.Ken Christensen/KCTS Televisionhide caption

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Ken Christensen/KCTS Television
One Of America's Biggest Food Banks Just Cut Junk Food By 84 Percent In A Year

Dorothy Boddie runs the outreach ministry at Allen Chapel AME, one of the Capital Area Food Bank's nonprofit partners. The D.C.-area food bank is part of a growing trend to move toward healthier options in food assistance, because many in the population it serves suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes.Courtesy of Capital Area Food Bankhide caption

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Courtesy of Capital Area Food Bank
Dolores Huerta: The Civil Rights Icon Who Showed Farmworkers 'Sí Se Puede'

United Farm Workers leader Dolores Huerta at the Delano grape workers strike in Delano, Calif., 1966. The strike set in motion the modern farmworkers movement.Jon Lewis/Courtesy of LeRoy Chatfieldhide caption

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Jon Lewis/Courtesy of LeRoy Chatfield
Grilled Cheese Cooked On Shutters? After Irma, Floridians Got Creative With Food

Greg Gatscher, left, and his son, Evan, prepare the house for Hurricane Irma. Little did they know these metal shutters would later become a cooktop.Tara Gatscherhide caption

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Tara Gatscher
Nobody Takes The Bodega Out Of The Corner. Not Even A Startup

Mini Market is a bodega in Ridgewood, Queens, that sits on the corner of Seneca Avenue and Woodbine Street. Writer Angely Mercado says these stores aren't just about convenience — they feed the spirit of a community.Angely Mercadohide caption

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Angely Mercado
Warriors Against Waste: These Restaurants And Bars Are Aiming For Zero

Chef Douglas McMaster is committed to a "zero waste" ethos in his restaurants. Here, he plates up his creations at Silo, his flagship restaurant, in Brighton, England, about an hour south of London.Xavier Buendia/Courtesy of Doug McMasterhide caption

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Xavier Buendia/Courtesy of Doug McMaster
At Bug-Eating Festival, Kids Crunch Down On The Food Of The Future

Tennesee Nydegger-Sandidge (left) and Holly Hook try chowing down on some crickets. "People should eat them because they're good for the planet," says Tennessee.Melissa Baniganhide caption

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Melissa Banigan
Pacific Northwest Winemakers Worry Wildfire Smoke Could Ruin Harvest

At the Cathedral Ridge Winery in Hood River, Ore., smoke has poured into the property and there are worries it could alter the taste of the grapes.Molly Solomon/OPBhide caption

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Molly Solomon/OPB
Organic Industry Sues USDA To Push For Animal Welfare Rules

The organic industry is suing the government, demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture implement new rules that require organic egg producers to give their chickens more space to roam.Charlie Neibergall/APhide caption

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

Organic Industry Sues USDA To Push For Animal Welfare Rules

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