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The GOP Tax Bill Won't Help Most Farmers

A quick note from Tom Philpott before Food for Thought. 

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that since you're a Food for Thought reader, you're the type of person who is willing to pay a bit more for quality ingredients that you can't find just anywhere, and that you can feel good about supporting.

Sure, I'm talking about the food you eat—but if those same values extend to the news you take in, I hope you'll consider supporting Mother Jones with a tax-deductible donation during our December pledge drive.

Here's how one of your fellow readers put it when we asked folks why they support MoJo when they can get the news for free: "For the same reason that you wouldn’t consume junk food over real food, if resources allow you to. Don't underestimate how toxic the current culture is, consuming the junk out there is bad for our health on every level. I'm happy to support real journalism. There is a difference."

I couldn't have said it better, and I hope you'll help us serve up a heaping of real journalism by pitching in today so we can reach our stretch goal of $350,000 by the end of the month. Our team tells me the numbers are at a slow boil right now, and we're hoping to crank up the heat before the holiday weekend. 

Thanks, and now here's the rest of your newsletter.

Tom Philpott 

December 20, 2017

Top Food News

The GOP Tax Bill Won't Help Most Farmers

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Dicamba drumbeat. This is how badly Monsanto wants farmers to spray its problematic herbicide. (Mother Jones)

The secret to better burgers? Lots of flies. (Mother Jones)

Could a meat tax help the environment? (Civil Eats)

Without pineapple and sugar, what does the future of farming look like in Hawaii? (Washington Post)

"It’s not like you don’t care about cooking." Hilarious life hacks for the reluctant home cook. (The New Yorker)


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This Week in Podcasts

Sri Rao's parents moved from India to the United States in 1959, a time when there were fewer than 12,000 Indians in the country. (Now there are about 3 million.) Rao remembers growing up “a skinny brown kid” in an all-white suburban community, where he nevertheless developed a strong sense of his heritage through Bollywood films and his mother's cooking. On Bite, he talks about how making homestyle Indian food is way easier than you'd think.

Hear it on Mother Jones' Bite, episode 46:
"Dinner and a Movie"

Meet the First Lady of chocolate. And learn her sweet holiday baking tips. (Good Food)

Best damn lemon cake. The history of American food, as seen through some of its recipes. (Backstory)

Exclusive to Newsletter Subscribers

"Bone-in chicken swimming in a luscious tomato gravy.”

“There are countless variations from region to region and household to household, but the fundamentals of every homestyle chicken curry are the same," writes Sri Rao, author of the cookbook The Bollywood Kitchen. Here's Rao's recipe for the savory dish. He recommends pairing it with the film Dor, which is set in the deserts of Rajasthan, India.

Homestyle Chicken Curry, from The Bollywood Kitchen

Serves 4
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), skin removed (of course, you’re welcome to leave the skin on if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1½ teaspoons salt, divided
2 bay leaves
2 Indian green chilies, cut in half (or an additional 1/2 teaspoon Indian red chili powder or cayenne)
3-inch cinnamon stick, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, added with other spices
1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons garlic paste (or minced garlic)
1 heaping tablespoon ginger paste (or minced ginger)
1/2 teaspoon Indian red chili powder (or cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup peanuts
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (2 percent or whole)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Cooked basmati rice, for serving

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large braising pan or Dutch oven (ideally, the pan should be wide enough to fit all the chicken thighs in a single layer) over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, season the thighs with the turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Place the thighs in the pan, meaty side down, and sear for 7 to 10 minutes, then flip and sear for 3 minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the bay leaves, green chilies, and cinnamon stick. Allow them to begin infusing the oil, about 30 seconds.
Add the onion and cook, stirring, until deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger pastes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Then add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the red chili powder, and the cloves and allow the spices to bloom for another minute.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer until droplets of oil separate from the sauce, indicating that the tomatoes are well cooked, 7 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse the peanuts in a spice mill to create a fine powder.
Add the peanut powder to the sauce and stir well. Add the yogurt and stir to create a creamy paste. Then add 1 cup hot water and stir to create a sauce. Bring the sauce to a bubble.­­­­
Place the chicken pieces back in the pan, nestling them into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally rearranging the thighs, flipping them, and spooning over the sauce.
Add the cilantro and coriander. If you’re making the dish a day ahead (which I highly recommend), stop at this point. Cool completely and refrigerate.

Cover the pan and simmer until the sauce has turned from red to deep orange-brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to taste. If it’s too spicy, simply add another spoonful of yogurt. Remove the green chilies, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Take the pan directly to the table and serve family style over basmati rice.

That's all, folks! We'll be back next Wednesday with more.
Maddie and Kiera


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