CREDIT: Steve Termine

While the blessed and food-obsessed among us are craftily plotting how to be even more selective about what we eat in 2011, nearly 17 million American children (roughly one in four) are “food insecure,” meaning they do not have access to food that meets basic nutritional needs due to their home’s financial situation.  It’s a sobering thought, especially next to our prattling on about local, organic, seasonal and blah blah blah privilegedcakes.

In response to this challenge, Sesame Workshop – the nonprofit arm behind the classic show – rolled out Food For Thought: Eating Well on a Budget. This bilingual media outreach is designed to support families with children between the Sesame Street wheelhouse ages of 2 and 8 who have limited access to nutritious and affordable food.

We had the opportunity to speak to Elmo – THE Elmo! Who only needs one name! Like Cher! Or Pele! Suck on THAT Boutros Boutros Ghali! – recently so he could share his tips on helping kids eat well and nutritiously on a budget.  Elmo is much more interesting on the phone than transcribed, so we went all 2003 on your asses and recorded the interview. Behold! Capital Spice’s first podcast-type-thing, in several shorter sections:

Elmo explains the difference between a sometimes food and an anytime food.

So what is a “Super Food,” anyway?

More of our conversation with Elmo after the jump. (more…)

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Check out our map of sites associated with Top Chef DC, updated each week

Top Chef is playing with our emotions.  Or at least they’re trying to, though many Washingtonians seem less than enthralled by the current season despite its being filmed right here in our backyard.  After a week where there was next to no Washington connection, we’re back in full force with a lobbyist-influenced Quickfire and a “power lunch” elimination challenge, both of which featured famous-for-DC types.

So why doesn’t this season have folks on the edges of their seats?  This may be Top Chef’s most diverse pool of cheftestants, but they still come across as pretty vanilla.  The field is still too unwieldy to care about everyone, and the Angelo vs. Kenny drama really isn’t all that compelling.

But we here at Capital Spice are watching with a different eye, looking out for the ways in which the producers remind viewers that they spent six weeks or so filming in the Nation’s Capital this spring.  The clips of landmarks and monuments help, sure, but we all know that DC provides near limitless fodder for challenge themes and pun-heavy episode titles.

This week we opened with a challenge that did a great job of marrying “official Washington” with Top Chef in the form of a “Toothpick Rule” challenge judged by a Member of Congress.  Afterwards, it was on to one of Washington’s storied white tablecloth restaurants, the Palm, for a Power Lunch served to a Senator, a top lobbyist and a host of NBC hosts.

After the jump find out more about the Toothpick Rule (we’ll keep it short, we promise) and all the special guests (more…)