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Creating a Better Food System, One Dinner at a Time

The 30 Project launches in San Francisco with a simple mission: have dinner, change the world.

As often happens when one turns 30, Ellen Gustafson hit the major milestone and realized she wanted to do something more meaningful with her life. A co-founder, with Lauren Bush, of the successful FEED Project, which creates projects to help feed the world, she realized that she didn’t want to be providing food for hungry children 30 years from now. She wanted to help eliminate hunger altogether by then instead. So Gustafson started The 30 Project which aims “to be the table that brings the best people together to work towards creating a truly healthy and sustainable global food system.”

Gustafson introduced the project here on GOOD, and we'll be calling on our readers to host their own dinners as the project develops.

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Dietary Supplements: Ball Jars and Medicinal Beer

Burnt coffee, medicinal beer, and Ball jars are on the menu in today's daily roundup of what we're reading at GOOD Food HQ. Enjoy!


The key to better cafeterias? The author of Mindless Eating makes the case for school lunch with a side of behavioral psychology.

Lay off the burnt coffee. Tasting bitter drinks has been linked to harsher, more judgemental behavior—and apparently affects conservatives more than liberals.

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Food for Thinkers: Synthesizing Food Safety Politics Into Something Edible

Helena Bottemiller makes sense of U.S. food policy—and shares a behind-the-scenes peek at the preparations for a White House State Dinner.

Helena Bottemiller writes daily for Food Safety News and can be found on Twitter @hbottemiller. She is my favorite guide to the Kafka-esque ins and outs of US food policy, managing to write stories about federal oversight and judicial wrangling that not only make sense of how our food system is shaped at the government level, but are actually interesting to read too. I invited her to share what food writing means to her as part of Food for Thinkers week back in January, but a back injury (and subsequent heavy doses of morphine) put her out of action. Now she's back up on her feet, and I'm thrilled to be able to post her belated contribution!

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Food for Thinkers: Online Advertising, or Where Toaster Strudels and Chez Panisse Meet

Kristen Taylor examines the incongruous side dishes of corporate copywriting that adorn most food blogs.

Kristen Taylor is the founder of Galvanize.us, a mobile app you can use to hide real gifts for your friends, and Culinaesthete, a new magazine of stories and food launching in February 2011. She blogs at kthread.com and has been known to throw elbows on Saturdays at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.

For GOOD's Food for Thinkers week, Taylor looked at the incongruous side dishes of corporate copywriting that sit, critically unremarked but—the advertisers hope—not unnoticed, next to many a food blogger's lovingly homemade posts.

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Food for Thinkers: What if Your Food Hired an Architect to Redesign Your Kitchen?

Architect Nick Sowers asks why high-end kitchen design relegates food behind smooth, generic, and glossy surfaces.

The kitchen has been a favored site for architects to implement their theories for modern living for more than a century, as MoMA's current "Counter Space" exhibition makes clear. In the hands of designers, changing ideas about the role of women, new space-age technologies, and the spread of consumer culture have all inspired new kitchen layouts, fittings, and even implements.

The results of these kitchen experiments have been fascinating, occasionally beautiful, and sometimes useful. They have also been widely adopted, shaping our vision of what the kitchen can and should be.

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Food for Thinkers: Panic In Aisle Five

Feedlots and chicken fried steak: James Reeves on the moral grey zone at the heart of his relationship with food.

James Reeves is a man with a passion for Panda Express, a professional interest in the Divine Right of Louisiana Fishers regarding riparian servitudes, and an abiding regret for the terrible coffee he sold as a teenage gas station attendant. He is also a writer, designer, teacher, and partner at Civic Center, whose first book, The Road to Somewhere: An American Memoir, will be published by W. W. Norton in July 2011. I read his blog, Big American Night, and follow him on Twitter, and was delighted when he agreed to join in Food for Thinkers week.

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