Thinly sliced: Kraft string cheese factory dries up a small New York town’s water supply

This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.

Still working on that? “Old retail,” according to one marketing professor, is all about keeping shoppers in stores as long as they can. The longer they linger, the more likely they are to buy something. Which is why brick-and-mortar clothing stores, cell phone companies, and banks are luring shoppers back with in-store restaurants, just like the department stores of yore, The Washington Post finds. Sadly, there’s nary a mention of the former Beverly Hills outpost of Barney Greengrass, once glamorously located on a Barney’s rooftop.

String cheese incident. Kraft, the dairy company, is sucking the water dry in Lowville, New York. Since relocating the production of string cheese to the small village two years ago, it’s dominated the town’s water supply, drawing the reservoir to dangerously low levels. As a result, the villagers have been banned from washing cars and watering their lawns. The Wall Street Journal explains this heated battle for local water resources.

Nice to meat you. There are 80,000 Muslims in the greater Houston area, but just eight halal slaughterhouses—meat processing plants that kill livestock according to Islamic dietary laws. Hira Halal Meat is one of those plants, but it looks strikingly scenic for a slaughterhouse. Here, Houston residents can swing by for halal meat, but also pet animals and ride the miniature horses that live there. (The horses do not get processed.) The point of it all? Hira’s owners want to give Muslim eaters in Houston a place to buy halal meat, while defying perceptions about what a slaughterhouse looks like. The New York Times has the story.

Bittersweet cocoa. It’s been almost 20 years of pledges from chocolate companies to eliminate child labor from their supply chains. Yet it doesn’t seem like Hershey, Mars, or Nestlé are any closer to meeting that goal, The Washington Post says in a bombshell report. “In few industries, experts say, is the evidence of objectionable practices so clear, the industry’s pledges to reform so ambitious and the breaching of those promises so obvious,” write Peter Whoriskey and Rachel Siegel. Why can’t the companies fulfill those promises? Because they often don’t know where their cocoa comes from.

Leonardo Delicious. With the help of food-artist Carl Warner, a British restaurant chain paid its homage to the 500th death anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci by putting together a tasty riff on the artist’s self-portrait. As Laughing Squid reports, the restaurant had its psuedo-Italian menu items—including chicken wings—artfully positioned in the place of the artist’s beard, hat, eyebrows, and nose. It’s like they say: Art is in the beard of the beholder.

Also tagged

The Counter Stories by our editors.