Awards time

Congratulations to the Taste staff, which won twice in the features competition of the Association of Food Journalists. Editor Lee Svitak Dean won first place for her story on making popcorn the old-fashioned way. Rick Nelson won third place for his story on a wild boar farmer. Find both stories at under related items.

In honor of coupons

In 1887, the first coupon was issued -- for a free glass of Coke to market the new soft drink. Last year, consumers received $4.6 billion in coupon savings. September is National Coupon Month, with the scissoring now being supplemented by online and mobile coupons, and going far beyond grocery stores. Three of the top coupon resources, according to a press release, are:, with coupons and codes for more than 10,000 top brands;, with more than 20,000 coupons and codes organized by category, and, a comparison search engine just for women's shoes.

Joia gets spicy

Boundary Waters Brands, makers of the popular Joia All Natural Soda, which debuted in the Twin Cities in 2011, announces two new flavors (and we like them both): ginger/apricot/allspice and orange/jasmine/nutmeg. As always, the sodas are all-natural, lower sugar products with stevia and monk fruit, both natural zero-calorie sweeteners. For a list of retailers, visit

Guilt over the garbage disposal

More than forgetting the reusable bags at the grocery store, more than not recycling, more than using lawn chemicals, Americans say they feel most guilty about wasting food. That's according to Eco Pulse, a study by the Shelton Group about engaging the public in sustainability efforts. Despite the admonition to "waste not, want not," the average U.S. household throws out about 470 pounds of food each year. The national survey found that almost four in 10 people felt guilty about what they leave on their plates, compared with 6 percent who felt guilty about using chemical lawn or plant fertilizers. Food waste in the United States has risen 50 percent since 1974, according to the study, and costs the average family of four about $600 a year. The authors say there's no earth-shattering solution here, just common sense: Be more careful about buying what you need, and using what you buy.

Nuts to you

Here's a tidbit to drop at the next cocktail party: According to a recent issue of Biology of Reproduction Papers-in-Press, healthy men between ages 21 and 35 who ate 2.5 ounces of walnuts (a couple of handfuls) per day experienced improved sperm vitality. The report noted that of the 70 million couples worldwide experiencing subfertility or infertility, 30 to 50 percent of these cases are attributed to the male partner. So get crackin'.