Where's the beef?
February 24, 2020

President Trump arrives in India on Monday for a highly choreographed visit that includes stops in three cities, a rally for him in the world's largest cricket stadium organized by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a special visit to the Taj Mahal, trade talks, and several meals, including a lavish banquet at India's presidential palace. "The president, whose diet is often a rotation of steaks, burgers, and meatloaf, faces a potential shock" as his itinerary keeps him in majority-Hindu cities where "cows are revered as sacred" and "in some neighborhoods, meat eating is so taboo that it's not done in public," CNN reports.

Typically, when Trump travels abroad, "his hosts usually try make him feel at home with his favorite meal: steak with miniature bottles of ketchup on the side," CNN reports, "but Modi is a devoted vegetarian and plans to serve vegetarian food to the president." The menus won't be finalized until the last moment, and Trump's aides could try to intervene, as this president is not a willing traveler and aides place a premium on keeping him in his comfort zone, people familiar with the trip tell CNN. Vegetarian food, or anything spicy or mildly exotic, doesn't fit in that category.

One person who has dined with Trump on several occasions told CNN that other than the occasional salad, "I have never seen him eat a vegetable." A former official involved in some of Trump's earlier trips added: "I don't know what he's going to do in this case. They don't serve cheeseburgers." In India, even McDonald's doesn't serve beef.

Luckily, CNN repots, Trump will have food waiting for him on Air Force One, and Modi has gone out of his way to please Trump in other aspects of the visit. In Ahmedabad, the Modi government is building a 6-foot wall to hide a slum along a road Trump may travel — the government insists the timing is coincidental. Peter Weber

August 26, 2019

"Tofurky wasn't keeping cattle ranchers awake at night," Laura Reiley writes at The Washington Post. But now Tofurky is joining the American Civil Liberties Union, the nonprofit Good Food Institute, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund to challenge a new Arkansas law that bans companies from labeling plant-based meat substitutes as burgers, hot dogs, sausage, or other traditionally meat-containing products. Arkansas isn't alone: So far this year, nearly 30 states have proposed such laws and seven — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, have enacted them.

The bills are usually backed by powerful cattlemen's associations, which argue that plant-based, insect-based, or lab-grown meat products can confuse consumers and are not as healthy as suggested, given the level of processing involved. The new legislation was prompted by the soaring popularity of deep-pocketed meat-simulating startups Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Reiley notes, but "'first-generation' veggie burgers and similar products are caught in the crossfire.

"Tofu and seitan have been around for centuries," says Jan Dutkiewicz, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University. "These were not on the mainstream radar — the stuff hippies eat. For Tofurky and Morningstar, customers were more vegans and vegetarians, not mainstream consumers. They weren't trying to compete with meat on taste. ... Impossible and Beyond are not an outgrowth of Tofurky. Their aim is to mimic meat as closely as possible. They are trying to supplant meat entirely."

Tofurkey, which as seen its own sales shoot up as second-generation meat substitutes take off, isn't shedding any tears for the cattlemen and it is ready for its day in court. "If we lose, there's something wrong with our judicial system," Tofurky chief executive Jaime Athos tells the Post. "It's all [the cattlemen's associations] can come up with to censor speech. ... The meat industry's chickens are coming home to roost." Read more about the war on fake meat at The Washington Post.

Peter Weber

August 7, 2014

Wu-Tang forever.

It's been seven years and a lot of drama since their last album, 8 Diagrams, but Wu-Tang is back, baby!

All nine surviving members reunited on The Daily Show Wednesday to talk brotherhood and their new album A Better Tomorrow, out this November.

"It is an honor to have all of you together again. This is historic and I truly appreciate it," Jon Stewart said. Stewart made a light-hearted attempt to press the group about the details of their make-up, but the Clan kept a united front.

"We have something in common with one another, it's a brotherhood, a respect," RZA said, explaining away the group's historic beef. "When we say a better tomorrow we're striving to make a better tomorrow for ourselves but also to inspire a better tomorrow for the world, yo."

We'll take it. Watch the interview and historic performances below. --Lauren Hansen

Watch Stewart's interview with Wu-Tang:

Watch Wu-Tang perform "Ron O'Neal:

Watch the bonus performance, "Triumph":

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