Page & Perspective: The Food Network, Raw And Unchopped

Food costs drive up inflation, odds of RBI rate hike rise

Putnam’s Sons, $28) by Allen Salkin is a biography of the 20-year old channel and backstage look at many of its stars. The author will discuss his book today at 7:30 p.m. at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. When the Food Network was launched in 1993, Salkin says it was inspired far more by profit potential than by a love of food. Its first 10 years on air were geared toward foodies, “godfather” Emeril Lagasse had a nightly cooking show, and advertising grew quickly. Programming started to change course in 2003 with a new network president and increased demand for reality TV. The lower costs and higher ratings of dramatized cooking competitions ended up driving out shows like Lagasse’s. Familiar names like Deen, Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, and Bobby Flay became the channel’s centerpiece. From Scratch is about a business venture-turned-“corporate monster” that has experienced many ups and downs with many personalities in the mix. Salkin shows how combining corporate and hospitality cultures has brought out the ambition, savvy, aggression and vulnerability of those involved. It reads almost like fan fiction, if you really have a thing for celebrity chefs, except it’s purportedly true. You’ll learn about the minority groups that might make Guy Fieri uncomfortable, Rachael Ray’s tank-like tolerance for booze, and why Anthony Bourdain probably won’t get invited over for fried cheesecake anytime soon.

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The event was the fourth rodeo this year, but some were experiencing the food truck craze for the first time. While downtown Durham has food trucks nearly every day, Raleighs rules tend to push the trucks to office parks and breweries away from the city center. Larry Sanders of Raleigh says he works downtown and would like to visit the trucks more often, though he understands the need for restrictions. Having a zone set up seems like it makes sense, he said while standing in a 50-person line for the Chirba Chirba dumpling truck. Thats the idea petition organizer Logan King, owner of Raleigh Screen Print, plans to bring to the city council this fall. Hes taken the model from Portland and envisions three food truck zones along side streets in the Warehouse District. One could be near the Red Hat Amphitheater to serve concert crowds, while others might be next to the Contemporary Art Museum and the new headquarters of technology company Citrix. Its going to change a lot down here once Citrix is here, King said. Most of their offices have food trucks there Monday through Friday. I want to make sure thats not something they miss when they come down here. David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said Raleighs current food truck rules no trucks parked on the street or within 100 feet of a restaurant make sense. But hes interested in opening up sleepier areas of downtown where shops and art galleries could benefit from having food available. If theres not much activity there, we should find a way to modify our food truck approach to benefit from the activity a food truck can provide, he said. Races and roadblocks Raleigh leaders also will balance the benefits of road races with the hassles of street closures.

Food trucks, road races among ‘growing pains’ for downtown Raleigh

Police were called as entire shelves were being cleared out, until the glitch was fixed and low-income residents using the cards were no longer allowed to make purchases. From news station KSLA: “Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Wal-Mart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Wal-Mart was so packed, ‘it was worse than any black Friday’ that he’s ever seen. Lynd explained the cards weren’t showing limits and they called corporate Wal-Mart, whose spokesman said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Wal-Mart said they wouldn’t press charges if she left the food. Lynd says at 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts full of food in the aisles and left.” No arrests were made. “Just about everything is gone. I’ve never seen it in that condition,” Mansfield Wal-Mart customer Anthony Fuller told KSLA. More from InvestorPlace

Food stamp glitch leads to Wal-Mart stampede

“The pickup in inflation is testament to the lingering inflation risks and underscores the need for the RBI to keep its inflation guards up,” said Leif Lybecker Eskesen, Chief Economist for India & ASEAN at HSBC in a note. Federal bond yields posted their biggest advance in three weeks after the data firmed up expectations for a second consecutive rate hike in as many months. The benchmark 10-year government bond yield ended up 8 basis points on the day at 8.57 percent, its highest since September 23. Other data showed consumer prices rose 9.84 percent year-on-year in September, the fastest pace in three months. Economists in a Reuters poll last week had forecast an annual 9.60 percent rise in retail prices. India is not the only major emerging market wrestling with inflation and high food costs – China’s consumer inflation hit a seven-month high of 3.1 percent in September. But the pace of growth in food prices in India stood out, rising to an annual 18.40 percent last month, the fastest clip since July 2010 and triple the 6.1 percent rise seen in China. Inflation data comes on the heels of Friday’s disappointing industrial output numbers. Output grew a much-slower-than expected 0.6 percent in August, hurt by weak investment and consumer demand, dashing hopes of an economic rebound by the end of the year. STAGFLATION? The data fills out a picture of high inflation and weak growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, which some analysts define as akin to stagflation. India is struggling to lift its economic growth rate, which hit a decade-low of 5 percent in the fiscal year that ended in March.