It’s Friday afternoon, and that means it’s time for me to give you a little weekend reading from around the web. Here are a few food related items that I thought might interest you.

I thought I’d do a little swine flu round-up and shameless self-promotion in addition to my regular Friday round-up. Remember - don't panic!

On Wednesday, I had the honor of being a guest on the coolest eco-podcast around, More Hip Than Hippie. Dori & Val, the hip co-hosts of the show, asked me to come on and talk about the swine flu for their Swine Flu & You episode. My interview comes in about 1/3 of the way through the podcast right after the Beatles song Piggies. Dori & Val know how to have fun, even with serious subjects.

---------------------------

ABC News offers a Swine Flu Reality Check – with three pages of info from the CDC, statistics on the flu so far, and information on how many people are buying face masks. With the exception of their attention grabbing first paragraph, the article is loaded with facts, not panicky headline making sound bites.

States reporting new cases of swine flu are lighting up the country like election night. Celebrities are wearing masks, thousands of children will be out of school for weeks, and many are canceling their travel plans for fear of a virus that is currently on level 5 out of 6 on the World Health Organizations pandemic alert level.
Click here to read the full story.

---------------------------

Steamboat Pilot & Today has an interesting piece about getting dirty and how it’s good for your soul. That’s great news for us gardeners who seem to be dirty 24/7 this time of year.

Gardeners have always known a certain joy when getting their hands and feet in the soil. But now scientists have made it official that getting dirty is good for your soul.
 

Mycobacterium vaccae is a harmless bacterium found in dirt that recently has been proven to lift your mood as well as boost your immune system. A recent article in the magazine Neuroscience reports on a study done by neuroscientist Christopher Lowry at the University of Bristol in the U.K. Heat-killed inoculations of these bacteria given to cancer patients showed fewer symptoms as well as improvements in the patients’ physical and emotional health.

Click here to read the full story.

---------------------------

Over at The Atlantic, I’ve started following a series by Max Fisher on Vegetarianism. In his first piece, he humorously talks about how his family reacted to his vegetarianism. If all the pieces in the series are this well written, I’ll keep on reading.

My grandmother hides meat in my food. Beef is buried in my mashed potatoes, bits of chicken lurk in my rice like tiny insurgents--edible enemy combatants, undercover and waiting to strike. I love my grandmother dearly, but I've learned never to accept soups from her--the murkier, the riskier--and to keep a sharp eye should we sit next to each other at restaurants. For an 83-year-old, she's got surprisingly nimble little hands.
Click here to read the full story.

Image: Matt Callow

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.