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Food headlines: Haitian rum, a death in the family and hide your Fritos

February 9, 2010 | 11:03 am

Headlines from today's L.A. Times

-- Reporting from Port-au-Prince: Since Haiti's founding, its important institutions have had foreshortened lives: The presidential palace has been burned down twice and again lies in ruins. Thirty-two rulers have been toppled. One leader was thrown out, returned and was sent packing again. U.S. troops ran the country for nearly two decades, left, came back and left again. Over the last century and a half, though, against considerable odds, one national institution has survived intact -- Rhum Barbancourt.

-- William "Bill" Binder, who for years ran Philippe's, the Los Angeles eating institution famous for its sawdust-covered floors and trademark French dip sandwiches, has died. He was 94.

-- Farm Aid: Meet the volunteers of the Santa Monica farmers market.

-- Hide your Fritos. First Lady Michelle Obama might be coming for them. Just joking. The White House officially launched its fight against childhood obesity Tuesday morning, and a task force that will help bolster Obama's national public awareness campaign. "I love burgers and fries, and I love ice cream and cake, and so do most kids," the first lady told Robin Roberts on ABC News' "Good Morning America." "We're not talking about a lifestyle that excludes all that...The question is how do we help people balance that out..." OK, we can live with that.

-- Edible art: Fallen Fruit teams with LACMA to encourage fellowship surrounding food.

-- Rene Lynch
On Twitter @renelynch

Photo: Haitian sugar cane growers have been hard hit by the Jan. 12 earthquake, as have Barbancourt's own workers. One-fifth of the rum maker's employees were left homeless. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times