Maria Godoy

Maria Godoy is a senior editor with NPR's Science Desk and the host of NPR's food blog, The Salt. Maria covers the food beat with a wide lens, investigating everything from the health effects of caffeine to how our diets define our cultural and personal identities.

With her colleagues on the food team, Maria won the 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. The Salt was also awarded first place in the blog category from the Association of Food Journalists in 2013, and it won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Blog from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation in 2013.

Previously, Maria oversaw political, national, and business coverage for NPR.org. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with several awards, including two prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Silver Batons: one for coverage of the role of race in the 2008 presidential election, and another for a series about the sexual abuse of Native American women. The latter series was also awarded the Columbia Journalism School's Dart Award for excellence in reporting on trauma, and a Gracie Award.

In 2010, Maria and her colleagues were awarded a Gracie Award for her work on a series exploring the science of spirituality. She was also part of a team that won the 2007 Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Issues.

Maria was a 2008 Ethics fellow at the Poynter Institute. She joined NPR in 2003 as a digital news editor.

Born in Guatemala, Maria now lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with her husband, two kids, and two fat and happy cats. She's a sucker for puns (and has won a couple of awards for her punning headlines).

Hunting down that obscure Vietnamese place that serves up bánh bao exactly like you'd find in Hanoi, or an Indian joint with dal just like the one you had on that trip to New Delhi, is a not uncommon pursuit in these food-obsessed days. But our culinary hunt for "authentic ethnic" food can be a double-edged sword, says Krishnendu Ray.

Hunting down that obscure Vietnamese place that serves up bánh bao exactly like you'd find in Hanoi, or an Indian joint with dal just like the one you had on that trip to New Delhi, is a not uncommon pursuit in these food-obsessed days. But our culinary hunt for "authentic ethnic" food can be a double-edged sword, says Krishnendu Ray.

Recently, we started a conversation about food and race. Specifically, we wondered out loud, who gets to cook — and become the face of — a culture's cuisine?

Our question was prompted by a recent Sporkful interview with Rick Bayless, who has faced criticism over his long career. Although he is an Oklahoman with no Mexican ancestry, he has become one of the most prominent ambassadors for Mexican cuisine in America.

It's been called "perhaps the most contentious issue in the food industry": Should food products be labeled to indicate they contain genetically modified ingredients?

The fight to improve wages for Florida's tomato pickers hit the national stage over the past week, as part of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Americans craving kung pao chicken or a good lo mein for dinner have plenty of options: The U.S. is home to more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants.

One could think of this proliferation as a promise fulfilled — America as the great melting pot and land of opportunity for immigrants. Ironically, the legal forces that made this Chinese culinary profusion possible, beginning in the early 20th century, were born of altogether different sentiments: racism and xenophobia.

Separation of church and state? When it comes to fighting food waste, the U.S. government is looking to partner up with the faithful.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's first stab at offering nutrition advice came in 1894, when W. O. Atwater, a chemist and pioneering nutrition investigator for the agency, published this warning in a Farmer's Bulletin:

"Unless care is exercised in selecting food, a diet may result which is one-sided or badly balanced. ... The evils of overeating may not be felt at once, but sooner or later they are sure to appear..."

Tucked inside the U.S. government's latest update to its official eating advice is this recommendation: "Drink water instead of sugary drinks" — aka soda.

José Anzaldo is a bright, cheerful third-grader in Salinas, Calif. He loves school, he's a whiz at math, and, like lots of little boys his age, he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. He also entered the country illegally, and his parents are migrant farmworkers who harvest lettuce.

Like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time for coming together with loved ones – only the focus is on friends.

The Friendsgiving dinner – usually a potluck affair with plenty of booze — has taken off in recent years, especially among millennials. (Thank the gang from television's Friends for helping to popularize the concept.)

More than 36 percent of American adults and 17 percent of youth under 19 are obese, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this week, several dozen chefs from around the country gathered to hear words of wisdom from Tom Colicchio.

"Have fun with it," Colicchio, a celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur, told them, adding, "Let your passion come through."

But this wasn't the next batch of hopefuls on Top Chef, the feisty cooking show on which he stars. We were in a Capitol Hill restaurant, and this was a new generation of lobbyists.

Thomas Jefferson is known as a founding father and a founding foodie. Less well-known is the remarkable man who once fed his refined palate: James Hemings.

In the 18th century, Hemings was one of America's most accomplished chefs. He was also Jefferson's slave.

"It was a close relationship, a master-slave relationship, but different," says renowned Jefferson historian Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

Most of the kids in the U.S. don't get much time to eat lunch. And by the time those kids wait in line and settle down to eat, many of them feel rushed.

And a recent study suggests that this time crunch may be undermining good nutrition at school.

The wealth gap in America manifests itself not just in our pocketbooks but also in our bellies: The poor are eating less nutritious food than everyone else.

So concludes a new review of 25 studies published between 2003 and 2014 that looked at the food spending and quality of diets of participants in SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

A lot of people seem to want to bite Donald Trump's head off these days. For those riled up by the Republican presidential candidate's incendiary comments of late, artist Lauren Garfinkel offers up this food for thought:

Yep, that's the Donald's likeness carved into a circus peanut — those marshmallow candies shaped like the legume. The orange hue, Garfinkel says, reminded her of Trump's signature tan.

For centuries, cooks around the world have been tapping a powerful secret ingredient. It can bind casseroles, tenderize meats, meld with vegetables and spices as a cooling dip or blend with fruits for a tangy drink.

We're talking, of course, about yogurt.

Fried chicken is a racially fraught food. Historically, it's been associated with racist depictions of African-Americans, and today, some still wield the fried-chicken-eating stereotype as an insult. But in some cases, the food itself has provided a path toward financial freedom for blacks.

On Thursday we told you about an elaborate hoax carried out by a science journalist who wanted to teach the media a lesson about being more responsible in reporting on nutrition science.

Earlier this spring, headlines around the world trumpeted an exciting bit of news that seemed too good to be true: "Eating chocolate ... can even help you LOSE weight!" as Britain's Daily Mail put it.

Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange had a favorite saying: "A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera."

And perhaps no one did more to reveal the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photographs gave us an unflinching — but also deeply humanizing — look at the struggles of displaced farmers, migrant laborers, sharecroppers and others at the bottom of the American farm economy as it reeled through the 1930s.

One of the first life lessons I picked up in college was this: The secret to the shiny crust and chewy bite prized in New York bagels is boiling. Any other way of cooking them, my Brooklyn born-and-raised, freshman-year roommate told me, is simply unacceptable.

We usually hate it when media speculate about whether a celebrity has had a nip or tuck, but it must be said: The Hamburglar has definitely had some work done.

Last week, Amanda Hess at Slate laid out the evolution of a situation truly distressing to our food-loving hearts: Over the past couple of years, it seems, the purple, elongated eggplant found on the emoji keyboard on smartphones "has risen to become America's dominant phallic fruit."

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