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Cat Vasko
About Me:
Professional word nerd, amateur francophile, home cook, carbohydrate enthusiast and person who is obnoxious about yoga.
My KCET.org Activities
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    In the movie "Swingers," Jon Favreau's character famously observes that all the cool places in L.A. don't have signs, so that telling someone you've been to one is like bragging that you were able to find it. But that wasn't always the case.
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    In 1939, Fortune magazine asked Ansel Adams to get some photos of the burgeoning aviation industry in L.A. Like any good photographer, however, Adams found his attention wandering,
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    L.A.'s dining and nightlife have always attracted the fashionable set, though the fashions have changed considerably over the years.
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    Bringing the flavors of Mexico's varied regions to American palates was something of a challenge in the twentieth century,
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    L.A. has never had any shortage of venues for the art of cooking--and, if the number of pictures taken of kitchen interiors over the years are any indication, fascination with the culinary arts is nothing new to us.
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    From strikes by supermarket workers to Cesar Chavez and the UFW, here are eight photos depicting L.A. food protests over the decades.
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    These snapshots of grocery stores in the last century are a great look into Southern California history.
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    Are chia seeds the cure-all we seem to think they are? And where do they come from?
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    L.A.'s always boasted a unique dining scene, but novelty restaurants were once a particular specialty of our fair city.
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    These photos from L.A. over the years show restaurant workers sporting some serious finery -- the headgear tends to be particularly amazing.
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    Food trends come and go more quickly than you might think. These old-school menus from fancy L.A. dining institutions show that much more has changed in the restaurant world over the years than the prices.
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    Here are ten photos that show the state's agricultural life in evolution, from the flower farms of old Los Feliz to the UFW protests of the eighties.
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    As Huy Fong, the maker of that ubiquitous red rooster sriracha sauce, ponders a move, we look at sriracha's role in SoCal culture.
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    These photos, ranging from 1921 all the way to 1988, depict hip and trendy Angelenos of yore in the restaurants that shaped the dining landscapes of their generations.
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    The current vogue for everything coconut seems to have begun about a decade ago, when two brands of coconut water began targeting a very specific consumer niche: women who do yoga.
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    By 1893, California's citrus industry was so successful that growers formed a cooperative (today, we know it as Sunkist Growers) to promote and sell their fruit. Marketing, of course, was critical, and fruit crate labels contributed.
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    The "food desert" in Los Angeles is being reconsidered: does the grocery store solution already exist in underserved neighborhoods?
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    As these photos of old-school eateries reveal, L.A. has long been a great place to get good ol' American classics like burgers and sandwiches, but its roots are deep in cuisine imported from the rest of the world as well.
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    California's agricultural roots run deep, especially when it comes to citrus. Spanish missionaries settling the state in the 1700s cultivated oranges and lemons, and their popularity boomed during the Gold Rush, during which time they were coveted for their scurvy-preventing properties.
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    As industrialization took root throughout the world, and the distance between cow and consumer kept getting bigger, milk grew into a major source of disease. Is that still the case?
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    I compared a block of cheddar cheese with a bag of pre-shredded cheddar from the same company. The shredded cheese contained -- in addition to the ingredients also listed on the block of cheese -- potato starch, powdered cellulose, and natamycin.
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    "You know we have chickens for sale up at the front of the store that have already been cooked, right?"
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    If you've ever wandered through a grocery store in another country, you've likely scratched your head over the cartons of eggs sitting unrefrigerated on pallets or shelves. Here in America, we'd never dream of letting eggs sit out for more than a few minutes. So what's the difference?
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    A bottle of freshly prepared juice, from the right purveyor, isn't just a healthy choice -- it's also a fashion statement.
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    If you've been thinking of trying your hand at an edible garden, no need to wait for spring. SoCal's perpetually sunny climate means planting can continue year-round, according to Tara Kolla, owner of Silver Lake Farms.
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    Here at the intersection of countless cultures, food isn't just sustenance -- it's also a map, with roads that originated all over the world intersecting in strip malls, food trucks and sidewalk griddles.
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    Gustavo Arellano's chronicle of how multiple culinary traditions collided to create the bagged tortilla chip, the chicken fajita, and the frozen margarita.
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    Thanksgiving, as a holiday, is simultaneously marked by rigid adherence to tradition and infinite room for variation. This Thursday, there's no doubt that more variations on the meal will be eaten in LA than anywhere else in the country.
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    A step-by-step guide to preparing the perfect Thanksgiving turkey (with tips for the more advanced cook, too).
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    For those meals that require a shopping trip somewhere a little more focused than Trader Joe's.
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