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What’s new: Whole Foods alters language policy, Austin co-ops thriving

Addie Broyles

I was so impressed with Michael Pollan’s new book, “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation,” that I turned my book “review” into this week’s lead food story. Contrary to what critics have said, some in an effort to draw attention to their own books, Pollan is not insisting that we cook every single meal from scratch or that women are supposed to get back to the kitchen and be in charge of dinner. Instead, he makes a persuasive case that transforming raw ingredients of nature into something to eat keeps us connected to the environment and to each other, and it helps us fully understand what it means to be a human on this planet.

Having just finished that book and being of the general mindset that eating at fast food restaurant isn’t exactly an ideal way to fuel your body, I was surprised to see some of the language in this New York Times story about how millennials aren’t eating at fast food restaurants as much as baby boomers. “The statistics alone are stark,” the writer states. Really? I’d say a 16 percent drop in the number of people ages 18 to 30 eating at fast food restaurants is encouraging.

Austin musician and songwriter Michael Fracasso has a new autobiographical cookbook that came out earlier this year, and in tomorrow’s food section, you can read about how he has turned his love of food and cooking into a new revenue stream.

Restaurant critic Matthew Odam officially launches a new restaurant column and blog this week called The Feed. Many of the tidbits of restaurant news that I’ve been posting here over the past few years, including openings and closings, will shift over to Odam’s blog, and his column will run in the new Friday Austin360 entertainment tab, which starts this Friday.

Central Texas is home to almost 70 cooperatively owned businesses, and many of them revolve around food, including Red Rabbit, Wheatsville, Black Star and the 4th Tap. In Sunday’s business section, reporter Dan Zehr explains why co-ops thrive here, and how they are creating a network to support on another.

Remember the controversy last month when two Whole Foods workers in New Mexico were chastised for speaking Spanish on the job? The Austin-based retailer has now changed the wording in its official policy, which now allows non-English conversations in certain situations.