Dallas Fighting West Nile Outbreak
Dallas County officials have declared a state of emergency while fighting a particularly nasty West Nile outbreak. At least 190 people have been infected and 10 have died in Dallas alone, and the virus is spreading quickly—in some areas, 95 percent of tested mosquitoes are carrying it. As of Monday, 381 infections and 16 deaths had been reported in more than two dozen Texas counties, compared with 27 infections reported statewide last year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The emergency declaration allows for state money and resources to help combat the outbreak. For example: The county has deployed aerial insecticide spraying for the first time since 1966. West Nile is spread by infected mosquitoes, which pick up the virus by feeding on infected birds. Symptoms typically include a headache, joint pain, fever, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. Those with a more severe infection could experience disorientation, coma, tremors and convulsions, loss of vision, numbness, and paralysis. Less than 1 percent of infected folks develop neurological illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.
America's Food-Truck Fixation
These days, a date who suggests cuisine that's at least mildly exotic—Thai for a safe standby, Burmese to show some edge—might signal a bit of hipness unattainable by recommending, say, a run-of-the-mill diner. In fact, some 70 percent of singles "appreciate a date who is knowledgeable about food and wine pairings," according to a survey published last month by Match.com and Today.com.
It seems that this country, especially its urban dwellers, has become a nation of foodies, connoisseurs of cuisine among a range of regions and distant lands. Part of the phenomenon reflects new immigrant populations, who have introduced a range of ethnic food far more expansive than Chinese take-out. Plus, the Food Network has brought every kind of cookery into the living rooms of every kind of American. So perhaps we should not be surprised by the trend that embodies this hunger for hip cuisine by and for the masses: the food truck. If you live in any number of American cities, you know all about this. You've seen the packs of people lined up at food trucks as if for concert tickets, their cool factor rising in relation to the length of time they'll wait for that perfect pouch of dim sum or extravagantly layered taco.
And yet, for fare that's by definition, pedestrian, street food has been getting the attention of the most elite arbiters of culinary excellence. In 2010, Food & Wine named among its "Best New Chefs" Roy Choi, whose Los Angeles-based Korean barbecue truck, Kogi, arguably spawned the food truck movement and put Choi at its helm. It was the first time the magazine had ever bestowed the title, awarded to 10 up-and-comers each year, on someone known for truck food. He's "transcendent," says Kate Krader, Food & Wine restaurant editor. [Read more: America's Food-Truck Fixation]
Watermelon, Three Ways
If summer were a food, it would be large, round, dark green on the outside, and vibrant pink on the inside—that's right, it would be a watermelon. Every aspect of biting into this refreshing fruit, juice dripping down your chin and all, just screams summer. From its syrupy sweet taste to its crystal-like texture, resisting a fresh cold slice on a hot summer day is near insanity.
Watermelon isn't just the face and flavor of summer, this fruit also does wonders for your health and beauty. That messy juice is loaded with antioxidants—such as vitamins A and C. These nutrients travel through your body, eliminating free radicals that increase inflammation and damage our cells—all of which can lead to heart disease and cancer. Both vitamin A and C may prevent dry, flaky skin, sun spots, and wrinkles, common byproducts of summer.
Watermelon has more in common with tomatoes than just a vine to grow on. It too contains the powerful phytonutrient lycopene made famous by the tomato. Lycopene protects us against multiple types of cancer and slurping and/or noshing on watermelon is a sweet way to get a healthy dose of this antioxidant.
Watermelon isn't just for seed-spitting kids, either—it can take on a more mature role in a summer cocktail or add a sweet kick to a savory salad. These recipes show a different side to watermelon. Truth be told, it is hard to do anything but eat a fresh slice once you cut it open, let alone have the patience to cook with it. [Read more: Watermelon, Three Ways]
Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.