November 8, 2013 |
Is there such a thing as too many tacos? Twenty years ago, there was nary an authentic tortilla to be found in this city. Ten years ago, we got our first taste of the real deal with the expansion of the local Mexican population and mom-and-pop shops in South Philadelphia. In 2013, the new school has arrived: three taquerias (Shifty's Taco, Taqueria Feliz, Union Taco) opening in a span of six months, with at least one more (Calexico) slated before the end of the year. We could blame Roy Choi.
November 5, 2013 |
When Brett Kratchman started out in the food business in 1986, his biggest concern was fitting his vending carts on Philadelphia street corners where planters were placed to discourage food trucks. At the time, Kratchman was selling frozen-fruit bars and ice cream novelties. Today, his space needs run a tad larger. The warehouse at BK Specialty Foods holds 875,000 bottles of beverages, and more than 7,000 varieties of consumable products, from cheese to sushi rice, ravioli to hummus.
November 2, 2013 |
At the stroke of midnight on Halloween, food-stamp benefits were cut throughout America for the first time in history. People woke up Friday in unknown territory, having to figure how the loss of $5 billion in benefits - the equivalent of 1.9 billion meals nationwide in fiscal 2014 alone - will play out on the kitchen tables of the 47 million Americans who get food stamps. "This is nothing short of catastrophic," said Bill Clark, executive director of Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief agency in the region.
November 1, 2013 |
The manager of a Camden store pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of fraudulently redeeming nearly $3 million in food stamp benefits. Alexander Vargas, 34, who managed Eddie's Grocery, accepted a plea agreement Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release. Vargas faces up to 10 years in prison, but is likely to serve less, according to a spokesman for the office. Vargas was a cosigner on the store's account beginning February 2012.
October 25, 2013 |
Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion met in 2004 at Saveur, the gourmet food magazine in New York, where they spent just about every moment indulging their passion for all things culinary. "I was being paid in bacon and cheese. It was my dream job," said Campion, like Brennan a senior editor. The pair also wrote stories, exploring family-owned wineries in New Zealand or experiencing the grape harvest in Beaujolais. No surprise, then, that these two foodies - retired from Saveur, but still working in the food world and cooking for their families - finally did their own cookbook.
October 25, 2013 |
On weekdays, Peter Singley, 28, of Pine Hill, works in the Herr Foods warehouse in Egg Harbor, N.J., doing usual warehouse functions - controlling inventory, unloading trucks. And he gets paid the usual way, by the hour. On weekends, though, it is different - and possibly illegal - motivated, Singley said in a lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Camden on Tuesday, by Herr's desire to avoid triggering health-care coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Singley said Herr Foods Inc., the Chester County snack-food manufacturer, had him working more than 50 hours a week, but jiggered his duties and pay to make it look as if he were working less than 30 hours.
October 25, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Gov. Corbett said Wednesday he would take into consideration the state public welfare secretary's announcement that she was "rethinking" the food-stamp asset test, a measure that links federal benefits people receive to their bank accounts and car ownership. He made the comments when asked about the issue at a news conference promoting his "Healthy Pennsylvania" initiative. On Tuesday, Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth told members of The Inquirer Editorial Board she was rethinking the asset test, adding: "My focus is not on waste.
October 24, 2013 |
A Corbett administration official said she is "rethinking" the food-stamp asset test, a controversial measure that ties the federal benefits people receive to their bank accounts and car ownership. Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth made the statement during a meeting with The Inquirer's editorial board Tuesday. Her remark represents a potential sea change in how the administration views dealing with the poor, advocates say. "We are thrilled," said Julie Zaebst, policy manager for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.
October 21, 2013 |
Ben and Sharneka Hunter are a fast-food family. The Wilmington husband and wife work at Burger Kings in different cities - Ben, 43, in Wilmington, Sharneka, 30, in New Castle. Both earn hourly minimum-wage salaries of $7.25. And both need food stamps and Medicaid to augment their combined $17,000 yearly salary - $2,500 under the federal poverty line - so that they and their 9-year-old daughter can survive. "I don't think it's fair to be underpaid," Ben said. The Hunters' plight is shared nationwide, according to a report released last week by the University of California Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
October 14, 2013 |
The electronic system retailers use to process food stamps shut down Saturday, affecting shoppers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and 15 other states. Officials at Xerox, which runs the Electronic Benefits Transfer system, said it crashed during a routine test Saturday morning. The system lets retailers process Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women, Infants and Children benefits from customers. The shutdown potentially affected hundreds of thousands of families across the region who buy food with EBT cards.