An aerial shot of chopstick production in Jiangxi, China.

Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items—a few popular favorites from the week, as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.


A Fancy Fork for Instant Ramen Weather
Just in time for cold weather comfort food season, Nissin has released an ergonomically designed fork for scooping up Cup Noodles. Designed by nendo, the team “derived the optimal angle – 128 degrees – for scooping up noodles. But they didn’t stop there. The tip and sides of the fork are the exact same angle as the circular cup that holds the noodle. Small bumps along the teeth of the fork to help hook noodles. The fork itself is shaped like a small pocket to catch toppings and just the right amount of soup.”


To Shrimp or Not to Shrimp
While American consumption of shrimp has been escalating to over 1.5 billion pounds per year, stories about its sustainability are calling into the ethics of farming, catching and eating our favorite shelled seafood. NYTimes food reporter Melissa Clark considers “which are the best shrimp to buy, both in terms of sustainability and flavor?”


If Food is Medicine, Why Isn’t it Taught in Medical Schools?/a>
Looking at a new report published by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic that shows that medical schools spend less than 1% of lecture time learning about diet, the New Food Economy examines the ways that medicine, policy, education and nutrition are failing to coalesce in coherent ways.


Vandana Shiva on the future of cities
The Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva spoke at last week’s domusforum’s conference on the future of cities on ways that design can center the wellbeing of both the environment and its inhabitants. As she urged, “to escape Earth is not a good idea: it is better to take care of it and transform it into a beautiful Godddess.”


Beer Me
In this episode of NPR’s 1A, the Smithsonian’s brewing historian (yes, the Smithsonian has a brewing historian!) discusses the ways that “the history of beer and brewing…serves as a lens to look at other issues…immigration, transportation, changes to our technology, business as well as consumer culture.”


Package-Free Refills, now on Wheels
Chilean startup Algramo is using mobile refill units mounted to electric tricycles for product refills. As Fast Company reports, the company is now planning to expand to the United States. Although Algramo primarily sells household cleaners like dish soap and laundry detergent, the model could be an interesting one for package-free food vending.


Chopsticks from Above
Although bamboo chopsticks might seem like a forgettable single-use disposable, their production is both labor-intensive and beautiful. As reported by Atlas Obscura, Getty photographer Li Fusun captured these incredible aerial shots of a chopstick factory in Jiangxi province.