FERN’s Friday Feed: What’s in your second fridge?

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

The myth and reality of the second fridge


The “mythos of the second … refrigerator tells many stories depending on where you live around the States, and with whom,” writes Eric Kim. “It tells the story of American consumerism, greed, and excess, to be sure, but it also tracks some of the thriftiest and creative pantry cooking and reveals what a general love and respect for food—and the determined preservation of that food—looks like. If a packed fridge is some kind of symbol for suburban prosperity, cooking savvy, or apocalyptic preparedness (or perhaps a mix of all three), then what does a packed second fridge say about the way those home cooks approach dinner?”

How chef Omar Tate put himself on the plate

Philadelphia Magazine

“There is another world where the pandemic never happened,” writes Jason Sheehan. “Where Omar Tate’s Honeysuckle pop-up went its way, growing and building. Where he met all the right people … stayed in Brooklyn, became a success, continued shifting the conversation about food and Blackness at $300 a table. But in that world, we don’t have this world — the one where Omar came home, married Cybille, started doing his pop-ups out of South Philly Barbacoa for neighbors and friends — smoked lamb marinated in palm oil, chowchow, fried okra and oysters, spring salads topped with snow crab and lemon, whole perch stuffed with callaloo. His menus are all-in for 40 bucks now. They’re meant to feed multitudes.”

New map shows excess nitrogen hotspots in U.S. farmland


“Researchers mapped out nitrogen use and combined it with data on crop production across the country’s roughly 3000 counties,” writes Emma Bryce. “This generated a heatmap of sorts, revealing where the nutrient is being applied in excess of need” and “exposed 20 hotspots — the biggest of which occurred across a spread of 61 counties in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. There, a surplus of 374,000 metric tons of nitrogen is annually applied. By area, that amounts to a striking 63 kilograms of surplus nitrogen per hectare, each year.”

Putting the grizzly bears, and the salmon, first


“When the wild salmon runs around Wuikinuxv, BC, were depleted, the local grizzly bears grew hungry — and dangerous,” writes Jimmy Thomson. “Now, as the salmon are returning, the [First Nation] community is asking a challenging question: can we include the bears in the management of the fishery? ‘The premise is quite radical,’ explains Dr. Megan Adams, a biologist … who has spent the first decade of her career working with the people of Wuikinuxv to answer some of their most pressing questions. ‘There’s this very tangible connection between food security for bears, food security for people, and safety.’”

When the pandemic hit, Cuba’s artists got cooking

The Guardian

“The pandemic has been horrible the world over, but in Cuba it came with economic collapse and food shortages; for artists and musicians it proved existential,” writes Ruaridh Nicoll. So they “found another way to be creative — cooking, baking and selling,” forging a “street food” movement born of necessity and powered by the creativity and resourcefulness Cubans have honed over decades of hustle amid deprivation.