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The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: its fibers are among the planet’s strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it’s been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States–even though Betsy Ross wove the nation’s first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry. This week's guest is Doug Fine, a man who knows his hemp. In his latest book, Hemp Bound:Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, Doug embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching, and pioneering hemp’s applications for the twenty-first century. Tune in to this episode of What Doesn't Kill You as Doug goes from A-Z on hemp and makes a serious case for this serious crop. This program was brought to you by Consider Bardwell.

"Hemp is any variety of the cannabis plant that has .3% or less of THC." [02:00]

"There are farmers making money growing hemp and americans know it know - that's why it's coming back." [08:00]

"I think we're going to have a world leading [hemp] industry here very very soon." [10:00]

--Doug Fine on What Doesn't Kill You


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Did you know that gangsters controlled nearly all of the food distribution in Depression-era New York City? This week on A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio invites Andy Coe to talk about racketeering in New York City food history. Learn how something as innocent as an egg cream was the cause of major crime. Find out what products were controlled by specific gangsters, and how the food rackets weren't eliminated from the Big Apple until the days of Giuliani! Learn about Murder Inc., and how competition was dealt with in the 1940s. Calling all fans of The Godfather: you don't want to miss this installment of A Taste of the Past! This program has been sponsored by The Heritage Meat Shop. Music has been provided by SNOWMINE.

"Today we have supermarkets and bodegas, and the food appears on the shelves and we don't really know where it comes from... Back then, food distribution was much more spread out." [7:45]

-- Andy Coe on A Taste of the Past


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On this episode of A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio is joined in the studio by Rebecca Federman of the Culinary Collections at the New York Public Library. Today, they are discussing the NYPL's old menu collection and the new What's on the Menu? program. Hear about old menus from the inauguration of President McKinley to the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Help out the NYPL by helping to digitize some of these menus to create a searchable database! Tune in to learn about some of the more obscure NYC menu items, as well as the role of midday lunch in building the restaurant business in the city. This episode has been brought to you by White Oak Pastures.

"There are the everyday menus that I find very graphically beautiful and interesting. Or there are children's menus that I find really adorable."

Restaurants are such a huge part of our social history, that to not have these documents is such a loss."

-- Rebecca Federman on A Taste of the Past


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