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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Too Fat to Fight

Is eating a few KFC Double Downs a day the modern alternative to fleeing to Canada to escape the draft? The military has come to the really-not-new conclusion that America's children are fat. They're not just a little pudgy but "too fat to fight." Stats say 27 percent of youngsters in the crucial military recruitment age (17 to 24 years old) cannot pass the military weight standards, and obesity is ironically leading to shrinkage of the American armed forces. READ MORE

Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"The sturgeon was the star of the meal—firm meat like shark but much more delicate in flavor, and the xao lan curry sauce was like none I have tasted at other Vietnamese restaurants." – recycleit, on Éléve

"The sauceless ricotta pie with anchovies that Robert mentioned is pretty special and rather unusual." – lexdevil, on Lo Coco's

"The al pastor was excellent—little crispy bits and a nice seasoning ... left a little buzz on my lips afterward." – gordon wing, on the tacos at La Luna Market

Hormone-Fed Chickens Make You Impotent; Salt Remains the Demon

Food Network’s Goin' Edgy: More details about the Food Network's new channel, the Cooking Channel, hit this week: a lineup of younger, hipper, more demographically diverse shows. One will feature three Canadian "hoser" guys in plaid jackets, who build taco vending machines. via the New York Times READ MORE

Memoirs of a Troublesome Macaron

When we were planning our Mother's Day recipes here in the test kitchen, we came up with a great assortment of French pastries. The buttery financiers, the crunchy palmiers, the almond-laced croq-télé; it felt like a good list. But one of my favorite memories from France is trying the chocolate macarons at Pierre Hermé's shop on Rue Bonaparte in Paris. They had a crisp outer shell and a chewy, chocolaty ganache center.


Make Your Own Worm Compost

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Reuse your kitchen scraps for good. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Collect Your Own Mussels

By Iso Rabins

Iso Rabins of forageSF is guest blogging for us every once in a while. Read his last post on his underground restaurant. Follow him on Twitter @forageSF.

I love mussel foraging. Gets you up early, on the beach, feet wet ... lunch always tastes great after foraging. Mussel season is open in Northern California from November to April, after which there is a danger of toxins being present in their flesh. Check with your local fish and game department for the season in your area.


How to Grow Your Own Mushrooms

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They do grow on trees. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Preserve Lemons

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A quick and easy method. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Pollinate Indoor Citrus

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Birds do it. Bees do it. You do it. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Maximizing Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap for having little nutritional content or flavor, but its cool, crunchy texture is perfect shredded for sandwiches or served in wedges with a creamy dressing (as in Iceberg Wedges with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Buttermilk Dressing).

According to hounds, iceberg works surprisingly well in hot preparations. chowser likes it stir-fried. "My mom used to do it," she says, "and it was odd at first bite but there's something about it that's addicting." "ANY lettuce is good with chicken broth, chopped onion, and some curry powder in lettuce soup," according to blue room. "Iceberg keeps its crunch much better than others in hot liquid."

Hounds have a couple of nifty tips for prepping iceberg. greygarious explains how to remove the core from the head easily, making it easier to separate the leaves or break into sections: "Hold the head in both hands, core side down, and give it one solid bash onto the counter. Turn it over, twist the core, and it pops right out."

After she removes the core, janniecooks holds the head under the tap, cored side up, and fills it with cold water, letting the water run between the leaves. Then she drains it, cored side down, in a colander for half an hour. Store it in a plastic bag with a folded paper towel under the cored end to absorb any remaining water. Change the paper towel the next day, "and you'll find the lettuce keeps for at least two weeks, staying wonderfully crispy and fresh," she says.

Discuss: Tip for the iceberg