Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Turkeys, Wild and Otherwise

November 25, 2014

Turkeys, Wild and Otherwise
There may or may not have been turkey at the first thanksgiving, but there will probably be one on your holiday table. Centuries before Columbus, the Aztecs domesticated wild turkeys, and Spanish conquerors took some birds home to Europe where they became popular, reaching England between 1524 and 1541. That means the New England “pilgrim” Puritans were as familiar with turkeys as their Wampanoag dinner guests, but neither would recognize the over-bred bird you bought this week.

A wild tom turkey usually weighs about 20 pounds and can fly for up to a mile with speed bursts up to 55 miles per hour. It’s dark-feathered, sly, slim, tall and long-legged, and can run like the devil through the brush. It can live up to 10 years if it doesn’t get an infection and can be found in any of the contiguous 48 states.

A domestic tom turkey can weigh up to 40 pounds, has white feathers, stumps around on short legs, and sports a huge breast. Most market turkeys come from Minnesota or North Carolina. A domestic turkey can’t fly or reproduce normally, is treated with antibiotics, and only lives for 2 or 3 months before it gets slaughtered for your dining pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving!

 More:

“Head To Head: Wild Vs. Supermarket Turkeys (Infographic),” World Science Festival

“Wild and domestic turkeys: birds of a different feather,” South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Related:

“Look How Much Bigger Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Today Than in the 1930s,” Kiera Butler, Mother Jones 

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Turkey Carving Tips for Real Guys

November 24, 2014

Turkey Carving Tips for Real Guys
Oh no! Despite reading Turkey Torching Tips for Guys you have a great big, fully cooked, deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey on your hands. You examine it minutely and discover there’s no little red zip tab to open so you can take out slices. What now?

That’s some big old avian cadaver you got there, buddy. There’s only one manly way to divvy it up. That’s right: chainsaw.

Step 1: De-grease the chain and call the manufacturer to see if you can safely spray it with Pam or a similar food-grade lubricant. Use a clean bedsheet as a dropcloth to gather the “sawdust” for making turkey salad.

Step 2: Observe all chainsaw safety rules, including use of protective eyewear. Imagine having to answer the question “Hey, what happened to your eye?”

Step 3: Start ‘er up. Slice away. Man, that sounds great!

Step 4: Clean out your Shopvac; use it to remove pulverized turkey shreds from the bedsheet drop-cloth before sneaking the linen into the laundry hamper. This may save your marriage. Reserve meat shreds for turkey salad.

Step 5: Chow down, dude!

Remember: Clean the saw completely before using it to prepare the winter woodpile or those goofy lawn sculptures.

Disclaimer:The above is provided for amusement, not actual cooking. Chainsaws have been known to malfunction when used on small objects and/or soft matter. NotionsCapital is not responsible for interpretations by the humor-impaired, mentally challenged, or emotionally disturbed. If English is not your native tongue, please ignore this post. Yes, we are aware that people are injured while improperly using chainsaws, so keep it to yourself. Jeez, what a country.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Turkey Torching Tips for Guys

November 23, 2014

Turkey Torching Tips for Guys
The National Fire Protection Association claims “turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.” Wimps! Thursday is Thanksgiving, when we give thanks for college football and a four-day weekend. That’s when Real American Men generate Code Orange air quality by incinerating poultry on the patio. Yeah, buddy!

Any pantywaist can cook on those SUV-sized natural gas, propane, electric, or gelignite-powered barbecue grills with all those fancy features (good subwoofers can help spread sauce evenly, though). Nah, let’s get ready to deep-fry us some turkey. Here’s how:

1. Put Fire Department on Speed-Dial. Keep your cell phone in your welding apron pocket. It is unwise to enter a flaming residence to use the telephone.

2. Purchase more equipment. You can never have enough Real Guy outdoor cooking gear. Buy some new stuff at Home Depot first. Forget about those electronic gizmos from Leading Edge, you can never read their LCD screens outdoors anyway. Williams-Sonoma? Isn’t that the California wine the wife likes?

3. Don’t forget the turkey. It should be big enough to bother messing with. Double-check to make sure you are not buying a goat or lamb.

4. Check interior compartment of poultry (note: light does not go on automatically; use your Maglite). Any paper-wrapped parcels inside will not contain Surprise Creme Filling. Remove; give to wife or cat. If the bird is frozen, use your Benz-0-Matic torch judiciously or the meat will be dry. At this point you may marinate the turkey in any fluid mixture as long as it contains beer.

5. Equipment check list. This will vary but should definitely include safety equipment (welding apron, Kevlar™ gloves, safety glasses, fire extinguisher, cell phone, well-stocked beer cooler or full beer keg with ice), fire ignition tools (lighting chimney, matches, butane torch,  highway flares, flamethrower, etc.), food manipulating tools (tongs, skewers, forks, knives, pneumatic jack), cooking implements (meat thermometer, meat hygrometer, count-down timer, 55-gallon deep-fry container, perforated deep-fry container insert with turkey stand and handle, caulking gun for stuffing insertion, brushes, sprayguns, and hypodermic needles for applying sauce, tattoo gun for decorations, crane), deep-fry medium (vegetable oil is better than animal fat; Marvel Mystery Oil is not recommended), sauces, rubs, marinades, condiments, spices, and essential vegetables (potato salad, cole slaw, ketchup). Anything missing? See Step #2. Got everything? Cheers! Begin beer consumption.

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Food Chains

November 21, 2014

Food Chains,” a film by Sanjay Rawal, documents where your produce comes from, who makes it available to you, and the cost. Executive Producers: Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser. In theaters and also on iTunes.

More:

“Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser take on fairness for farmworkers in ‘Food Chains,’” Soraya Nadia McDonald, Washington Post

“Sanjay Rawal’s New Film ‘Food Chains’ Asks “Is My Food Fair?” Big Think

“‘Food Chains’ Looks at the Real Cost of Your Cheap Tomatoes,” Maddie Oatman, Mother Jones

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Unilever Sues Over ‘Mayo’

November 14, 2014

Unilever Sues Over 'Mayo'
Hellman’s mayonnaise is suing the maker of egg-less sandwich spread Just Mayo for calling its vegan product “Mayo.” “Under federal regulations, common dictionary definitions and as consumers understand it, ‘mayonnaise’ or ‘mayo’ is a product that contains eggs,” according to the “false advertising”complaint. “That ingredient does not exist in Just Mayo.”  Unilever, the parent company of Hellman’s, is also owner of Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, and Just Mayo has taken market share from both. Hampton Creek, maker of Just Mayo, isn’t worried, and is counter-suing. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern started an online petition against Hellmann’s claim, calling Unilever a “bully.”

Unilever probably won’t sue ORS, maker of “Hair Mayonnaise.” That black haircare product contains olive oil and egg powder.

More:

“Hellmann’s Maker Sues Company Over Its Just Mayo Substitute Mayonnaise,” Stephanie Strom, New York Times

“Mayo mess calls sandwich spread into question,” Lee Brodie, CNBC

“Big Mayo Vs. Little Mayo: Which Brand Has Egg On Its Face?” Allison Aubrey, NPR

“Start-Up Aims to Replace Eggs with More Sustainable Vegetable Proteins,” Rachel Feltman, Scientific American

Update:

“Big Mayo Wants You to Know There’s Only One Way to Make Mayo, Dammit,” Rowan Jacobsen, Mother Jones

“Mayonnaise Manufacturer Sues ‘Mayo’ Maker: On Definitions, Sustainability and Start-Ups,” Maryn McKenna, National Geographic blog

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Photo by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com  Note: Product pictured is not made from hair.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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National Sandwich Day

November 3, 2014

National Sandwich Day
November 3rd is National Sandwich Day, maybe because the 4th Earl of Sandwich was born in November. The Earl’s birthday is generally listed as November 13th but that might be an old (Julian) calendar date for what we call November 4th today. Anyhow, consider eating stacked slabs of bread with stuff between them today.

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Pumpkin Products Plague 2014

October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Products Plague 2014

Pumpkin products are proliferating this year. Is pumpkin the new kale? Could be. Foods and beverages without pumpkin in them are heavily adulterated with “Pumpkin Spice.” What is that magical substance? Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Allspice, the stuff you put in pumpkin pie so you don’t have to taste the pumpkin squash.

More:

“10 products that have absolutely no business being pumpkin-flavored,” Lindsay Abrams, Salon

“Enough with the bleeping pumpkins!” Cristina Alesci and Paul R. La Monica, CNN Money

The greatest trick capitalism ever pulled was making you want a pumpkin spice latte
Updated by Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

“The Company That Tested Pumpkin-Spice Foie-Gras Mashed Potatoes,” Tanya Basu, The Atlantic

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Dr. Oz and The Baloney Diet

October 21, 2014

Dr. Oz and the Baloney Diet

Produced by Joss Fong, Joe Posner, Alex Hawley; narrated by Julia Belluz.

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Fast Food

October 9, 2014

Fast Food

“It’s no coincidence that fast-casual restaurants are on the rise; we don’t even have time to eat anymore.

Nor, it seems, does anyone have time to cook. The publishing world has created a whole genre of cookbooks designed to help the harried put food on the table during a workday that seems to end only when head hits pillow.

Now one of the most influential and prolific voices in food has joined a crowded field of meals-in-minutes celebrities: New York Times columnist and author Mark Bittman has just released How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food  (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35), the fifth in his series of dense, recipe-rich tomes that place an emphasis on food preparation, not food-porn photos. ‘Fast’ spans more than 1,050 pages, most packed with recipes (approximately 2,000 of them, including variations), techniques and tips for working smarter in the kitchen.”

– “Mark Bittman’s ‘How to Cook Everything Fast,’ reviewed,” Tim Carman, Washington Post

Related:

“The Truth About Home Cooking,” Mark Bittman, TIME

Mark Bittman will talk about his new book with Joe Yonan on Saturday, October 11th at 7 PM at GWU’s Marvin Center (tickets here). He’ll also be at the Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market Sunday morning at 10 AM.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Perfect Pizza Through Science!

October 8, 2014

Perfect Pizza Through Science!

Researchers at the University of Auckland (in partnership with Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy products exporter) used a machine to measure the integral elements of possible pizza ingredients as precisely as possible, and then published a paper about it in the Journal of Food Science. … ‘Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality.’”

“For cheese to brown, the paper explains, it needs to lose moisture first. For the moisture to evaporate, blisters need to form, because where they lift the surface of the cheese, free oil can run off and expose the surface to raw heat. And for a blister to form, steam needs to collect in a pocket and push up the cheese.”

“This is why mozzarella makes for good browning. First, it doesn’t have much free oil. Second, it is very elastic. Third, it contains a lot of moisture. So steam pockets form easily, which create healthy blisters, which quickly expose the surface to browning.”

– “Here is the recipe for perfectly browned pizza cheese as established by science,” Sonali Kohli, Quartz (links added)

More:

“Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese,” Maanvi Singh, NPR

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