Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food News Roundup

Hostess files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK (AP) -- The maker of Twinkies, Sno Balls and Wonder Bread is trying to lose the fat.

Hostess Brands is hoping to cut its high costs as it heads back into bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than a decade.

Hostess has enough cash to keep stores stocked with its Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other snacks for now as it battles rising labor costs and increased competition. But longer term, the 87-year-old company has a bigger problem: health-conscious Americans favor yogurt and energy bars over the dessert cakes and white bread they devoured 30 years ago.

Last year, 36 percent of Americans ate white bread in their homes, down from 54 percent in 2000, according to NPD Group. Meanwhile, about 54 percent ate wheat bread, up from 43 percent in 2000. MORE

Romania's "Meatball King" dies

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP (AP) -- Meatballs are not taken lightly in the Balkans. Recipes are prized. Favorite restaurants and chefs are endlessly debated. The merits of regional variations can fuel an argument as sizzling hot as a grill itself.

But only one man in Romania was known as "the Meatball King" - Ion Oita - and his death has left a swath of mourners far beyond the small confines of "The Hunchback," his eatery in northern Bucharest.

Brazilian best-selling author Paulo Coehlo, Romanian soprano Mariana Nicolaesco and President Traian Basescu are among those who have eaten at his nondescript restaurant. All were drawn by its hefty claim to fame: some of the best meatballs in the Balkans.

Co-owner Oita, after years of welcoming politicians, writers and fashionistas through his doors, was found hanged in a restaurant annex Dec. 5 at age 64. Oita allegedly killed himself over the outcome of a court case involving his son, who has used a wheelchair ever since a car accident. His death was top news across Romania. MORE

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