PBS to Air Restored Version of ‘The Civil War’ in September

PBS says it will air a newly restored version of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” this fall, 25 years after the documentary’s debut.

The high-definition “Civil War” will air on five consecutive nights in September, PBS said Thursday.

Viewers will be able to see more details in the film’s images, according to Daniel J. White, who handled the restoration. In a statement, filmmaker Burns called the new version “truly remarkable.”

“The Civil War” proved a blockbuster when it debuted in September 1990, drawing an audience of nearly 39 million. It remains the highest-rated PBS series broadcast to date, according to the TV network.

The announcement of the film’s rebroadcast coincides with the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s April 14, 1865, assassination, and the end of the Civil War. (AP)

Obama Personal Chef to Hang Up Apron After 6 Years

Sam Kass cooked up policy as well as meals for President Barack Obama and his family for six years.

He was not only their personal chef but also their senior adviser for nutrition policy, something new for a White House chef. The title gave him a seat at the table where administration officials hashed out everything from updated food labels to new requirements for healthier school lunches.

But Kass is also a newlywed. And he’s leaving the White House at the end of the month to join his wife in New York City.

The 34-year-old Chicago native also helped first lady Michelle Obama develop her garden.

The plot led to her signature anti-childhood obesity campaign, which Kass eventually came to oversee as executive director — his third White House title. (AP)

France Reclaims Title as World’s Largest Wine Maker

France has reclaimed its crown as world’s biggest wine producer after a poor 2014 harvest saw Italy’s wine production plunge 15%.

French vignerons will produce around 46.2 million hectoliters of wine — about 6.16 billion bottles — this year, up 10% from a year earlier. Italy, whose winemakers have out-produced France’s for the last two years, will produce 44.4 million hectoliters of wine in 2014, according to figures released Thursday by the Paris-based International Organization of Vine and Wine.

Total world wine production is set to fall 6 % this year to 271 million hectoliters. Spain, which leapfrogged France into second place in 2013, will see its wine production fall 19% this year to 37 million hectoliters, the organization said. (AP)

New Mexico Chile Gets Certified-Product Safeguards

New Mexico is looking to a new certification program to protect the reputation of one of its signature crops: chile.

Gov. Susana Martinez and other officials unveiled the program before a packed room of chile aficionados gathered Tuesday at The Range in Bernalillo. The Range is the first restaurant to sign up.

New Mexico Certified Chile joins other well-known trademarked products such as Vidalia Onions and Idaho Potatoes.

Martinez says chile is a way of life in New Mexico and contributes more than $400 million every year to the state’s economy. She says people shouldn’t have to ask whether it’s really New Mexico-grown chile.

The program builds upon on existing law that makes it illegal to advertise any product as New Mexico chile unless it’s actually grown in the state. (AP)

USDA Overhauls Decades-Old Poultry Inspections

The Obama administration is overhauling poultry plant inspections for the first time in more than 50 years, a move it says could result in 5,000 fewer foodborne illnesses each year.

The final rules announced Thursday would reduce the number of government poultry inspectors by around a fourth. But those that remain will focus more on food safety than quality, requiring them to pull more birds off the line for closer inspections and encouraging more testing for pathogens. There would also be more inspectors ensuring plants are clean.

The changes would be voluntary, but many of the country’s largest poultry companies are expected to opt in.

USDA originally proposed the rule in January 2012. Consumer groups criticized that proposal, saying it would shift too much of the inspection burden to industry. (AP)

Lay’s Newest Flavor: Cappuccino?

American palates have changed considerably over the years, but is the country ready for cappuccino-flavored Lay’s?

Frito-Lay, the snack division of PepsiCo Inc., will announce on Wednesday the coffee-flavored chips as one of the four finalists for its second annual “Do Us a Flavor” contest in the U.S., which gives people a chance to create a new potato chip that is sold nationally and win $1 million. The other three finalists are Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger.

Frito-Lay says the four flavors are expected to start hitting shelves in late July. People will then be able to vote online for their favorite through Oct. 18.

The promotional stunt is intended to boost customer engagement online and send fans to stores in search of the flavors.

But it also reflects how Frito-Lay is trying to keep up with changing tastes, with its ever-evolving lineup of potato chips now including several Hispanic flavors. Later this month, it also plans to roll out Lay’s Stax chips in a Korean barbecue flavor and Lay’s Stax in Thai Sweet Chili flavor.

That would make them the first Asian flavors of Lay’s chips sold nationally in the U.S., not counting the flavors it has introduced as part of the “Do Us a Flavor” contest. Last year, Cheesy Garlic Bread beat out Chicken & Waffles and Sriracha, a sauce commonly used in Thai cuisine.

“I can’t imagine us 10 years ago doing a wasabi ginger flavor,” said Ram Krishnan, Frito-Lay’s senior vice president of brand marketing.

Despite the growing popularity of ethnic flavors, the top four Lay’s flavors remain the same: Original, Barbecue, Cheddar & Sour Cream and Sour Cream & Onion.

Frito-Lay notes that its cappuccino flavor doesn’t contain any actual coffee or caffeine. The company last year discontinued a variety of Cracker Jack that contained caffeine after the Food and Drug Administration said it was concerned about the proliferation of caffeinated food and drinks. Frito-Lay says it halted production because of weak demand, rather than regulatory concerns. (AP)

Fight Rages Over Definition of Tennessee Whiskey

A battle between two worldwide liquor companies — owners of rival brands Jack Daniel’s and smaller rival George Dickel — is being waged over who has the right to label their whiskey as following authentic Tennessee style.

It’s among the epicurean battles being waged around the world over what food and drink should carry special status as local and unique.

British-based liquor conglomerate Diageo PLC on Tuesday prevailed in getting state regulators to drop an investigation into allegations that Dickel violated state law by aging its whiskey in neighboring Kentucky.

The calm is likely to be short-lived. State lawmakers this summer are expected to once again consider changes to the legal definition of Tennessee whiskey, which is as entwined in the state’s identity as Maine lobsters and Maryland crab cakes. (AP)