Focus

WILL - Focus - March 10, 2014

Encore: Sriracha, the Movie!

Have you tried Sriracha hot sauce?

Listen

(Duration: 51:29)

Bottles of Sriracha

David Tran, the owner of Huy Fong Foods, started making his sriracha-style hot sauce after his family immigrated to California from Thailand. Thirty years after he made the first batch, he’s nearly tripled the size of his operation and sold a reported 20 million bottles in 2012. Who is Tran, and where did the recipe for the wildly popular hot sauce come from?

This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to host Jim Meadows' talk with Griffin Hammond, a Bloomington-based documentary maker, about his newest film “Sriracha.”  We’ll hear about the origins of the hot sauce and about the lack of a a marketing team for advertising the sauce. Despite that, Sriracha still has a large enough fan base to have inspired several cookbooks, tattoos of the rooster logo on the bottle, a Lay’s Potato Chip flavor and even themed air fresheners. We will hear from Randy Clemens, author of “The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Rooster Sauce Recipes” and “The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook."

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - February 26, 2014

In Battle against Asian Carp, the culinary solution

Have you, or would you, eat Asian carp for dinner? 

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(Duration: 51:44)

bighead Asian carp

The Army Corp of engineers recently proposed a barrier to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. It would take more than two decades and billions of dollars to build. The time and money that would go into a project like that has long had some looking for other ways to control Asian carp populations. In Illinois, there has been a push to harvest Asian carp and market the fish as food. So far, fishermen and those trying to develop that industry have been met with skepticism.

Categories: Environment, Food

WILL - Focus - February 04, 2014

Craft Distillers and the “Whiskey Renaissance”

Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen and two local distillers.

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(Duration: 51:31)

In the last decade, craft beer and wine industries across the Midwest have blossomed. This is especially true in Illinois when it comes to the wine industry. New, locally owned distilleries are also starting to pop up. Between 2008 and 2012, craft distilleries in the US more than doubled. Today on Focus, we’ll investigate. Host Jim Meadows talks with author and whiskey connoisseur Clay Risen about the changing definition of an “American whiskey” and about his book “American Whiskey Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to The Nation’s Favorite Spirit.”

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - January 23, 2014

Encore: In Meat We Trust - An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

In her new book “In Meat We Trust,” author Maureen Ogle argues the reason the meat industry has evolved into what it is today, is because that’s what consumers asked for.

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(Duration: 51:40)

Meat tenderized the old-fashioned way. The industrial method is a mechanized process involving needles.

When it comes to the meat industry, there is no shortage of opinion about whether large meat producers and packers are good or bad, but how and why did meat production become so controversial? How did we arrive at the production model we use today?

Author Maureen Ogle says that early in American history eating meat was a symbol of status and that consumers demanded low cost meat for their families. That, in addition to industrialization and the move of many Americans from rural areas to cities, is all a part of the very complex history of meat production in America. This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a conversation she had about her new book “In Meat We Trust,” with host Jim Meadows. We'll hear more about why most of the meat we consume comes from a large factory farm rather than from a small family owned farm and about why Americans eat so much chicken.

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - January 15, 2014

Sriracha, the Movie!

Have you tried Sriracha hot sauce?

Listen

(Duration: 51:56)

The Sriracha production line at Huy Kong Foods in Irwin, California.

David Tran, the owner of Huy Fong Foods, started making his sriracha style hot sauce after his family immigrated to California from Thailand. Thirty years after he made the first batch, he’s nearly tripled the size of his operation and sold a reported 20 million bottles in 2012. Who is Tran, and where did the recipe for the wildly popular hot sauce come from?

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Griffin Hammond, a Bloomington based documentary maker, about his newest film “Sriracha.”  We’ll hear about the origins of the hot sauce and about the fact that even though there is no marketing team behind advertising the sauce, Sriracha has a large enough fan base to have inspired several cookbooks, tattoos of the rooster logo on the bottle, a Lay’s Potato Chip flavor and even themed air fresheners. Randy Clemens, author of “The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Rooster Sauce Recipes” and “The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook,” also joins us.

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - December 18, 2013

In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

In her new book “In Meat We Trust,” author Maureen Ogle argues the meat industry has evolved into what it is today because that’s what consumers asked for.

Listen

(Duration: 51:44)

When it comes to the meat industry, there is no shortage of opinion about whether large meat producers and packers are good or bad, but how and why did meat production become so controversial? How did we arrive at the production model we use today?

Author Maureen Ogle says that early in American history eating meat was a symbol of status and that consumers demanded low cost meat for their families. That, in addition to industrialization and the move of many Americans from rural areas to cities, is all a part of the very complex history of meat production in America. This hour on Focus, Ogle talks about her new book “In Meat We Trust,” with host Jim Meadows. She’ll tell us more about why most of the meat we consume comes from a large factory farm rather than from a small family owned farm and about why Americans eat so much chicken.

Categories: Agriculture, Food

WILL - Focus - December 03, 2013

Growing urban agriculture

A lot of our food grows in expansive, rolling fields that make up the Midwest. But with more and more people living in cities, that is changing. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Will Allen, CEO of Milwaukee’s urban farming project “Growing Power.”

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(Duration: 51:28)

Will Allen at Growing Power's urban farm in Milwaukee

After he retired from the NBA, urban farmer and author Will Allen returned to his roots. He was born to sharecroppers in South Carolina and grew up on a small vegetable farm. Today, he’s CEO of Milwaukee’s urban farming project, “Growing Power” and is working to help eradicate food deserts, places where it’s hard to find affordable, fresh produce. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Allen about the project and its mission to help more people, especially those living in cities, gain access to healthy food.

Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, Meadows talks with Sam Wortman, an Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. Wortman studies urban agriculture and says projects like Allen’s are helping accessibility problems but warns that the model for how to create a sustainable urban agriculture system varies from place to place.

Categories: Agriculture, Food

WILL - Focus - November 28, 2013

In Memory: A Thanksgiving Feast with Doyle Moore

This hour on Focus, we remember our "Chef-in-Residence," Doyle Moore.

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(Duration: 51:24)

David Inge and Doyle Moore

Doyle Moore loved to cook, and what he craved most was a chance to share the food he made and stories about the food he made with family and friends. That’s probably why he joined former Focus host David Inge to talk cooking on Focus580 for more than 30 years.

This hour on Focus, we pay homage to WILL’s "Chef-in-Residence." Join host Jim Meadows as we listen back to conversations Doyle had with David and Focus' listeners about pumpkin pie, the Thanksgiving turkey’s supporting cast, and what Doyle liked to call “gifts from the kitchen.” We'll also hear from former Focus producers Jack Brighton and Harriet Williamson, and WILL’s Dee Breeding about their favorite Doyle stories and recipes.

Do you remember Focus' cooking show? Did you ever make a recipe Doyle shared over the air? We'd love to hear from you about it! Post in the comment section below or find us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580.

Read more to find recipes from the show (and a few extras)!

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - October 14, 2013

May Berenbaum on entomophagy and giant hornets

Have you ever eaten an insect? Would you consider making them a regular part of your diet?

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(Duration: 52:00)

May Berenbaum with an insect

Every year in one of the graduate classes she teaches, University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum hosts a meal … prepared from a variety of different insects. She says the giant waterbugs have been very popular in the past.

But aside from eating an insect to try it, would you ever consider consuming insects for their protein as a regular part of your diet? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Berenbaum about entomophagy and if it will ever catch on in the United States. We’ll also hear about giant hornets, that can grow to be larger than your thumb, that have killed more than 40 people and injured more than 1,000 in recent months in An Kang, China.

Categories: Animals, Food

WILL - Focus - September 05, 2013

A History of Food in 100 Recipes

What’s your favorite dinner dish? Ever wondered where it came from? This hour on Focus, we’ll learn more about the history of food from the first real writings about cheese to how and why the fork became commonplace in Western culture.

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(Duration: 51:28)

book cover

How we think about food, how we prepare food and how we eat food is constantly changing. It’s mind blowing to think about how much food changes over the course of a decade, let alone several hundred years. What are your favorite dinner dishes? Have you ever wondered how they evolved into the recipes you know and love? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with author William Sitwell about the history of food….and when we say history, we mean deep history. We’ll go back to the 1400’s when royals were eating feasts prepared from recipes calling for an entire pig, and we’ll learn more about when the fork became a fixture in Western culture. 

Why 100 recipes you ask? We’ll find during this episode of Focus.

Due to technical problems, WILL AM580 was off the air Thursday morning. Our interview with David Inge has been rescheduled for Tuesday, September 10. 

Categories: Food
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