Posts Tagged ‘food’

Robo-Chef Chooses What You Eat, Then Cooks It

December 8, 2014

Robo-Chef Chooses What You Eat, Then Cooks It
“A futuristic new food system aims to make convenient food that still uses fresh produce from a local farmers market,” writes Adele Peters:

“In the new system, a set of appliances is connected to an app that answers the perennial question of what to eat for dinner, and then makes it for you. The app considers the basic facts—maybe you ran for 32 minutes earlier in the day, the fridge is well-stocked, and you’re recovering from a cold, so you need a little extra vitamin C. Then it calculates the perfect meal.

‘Flavor pills,’ tiny water-soluble pods filled with organic spices and nutritional supplements, get added to one of the appliances along with fresh produce and some water. Using sensors and a microprocessor, the appliance cooks the food for exactly the right amount of time and at exactly the right temperature.

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Park Avenue Food Drive for Walmart Workers

November 29, 2014

Park Avenue Food Drive for Walmart Workers
On this Thankgiving holiday, many low-paid Walmart employees held food drives — for each other. They typically make under $25,000 a year, have no medical benefits, and many must use food stamps. Activists thought Walmart owner Alice Walton might want to pitch in, so they put a giant food drive bin outside her $25 million Park Avenue condo.

Robert Reich has some background:

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Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs

A holiday poem from Williams S. Burroughs: “Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons …”

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Pizza, a Thanksgiving Tradition

November 26, 2014

Pizza, a Thanksgiving Tradition

Fun Food Fact: The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days for take-out pizza, right up there with Super Bowl Sunday.

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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

“On This Thanksgiving, Celebrating The Wild Turkey,” Barbara J. King, NPR

Related:

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

“How Turkeys Got Broad, White Breasts,” Sara Bir, Modern Farmer

“How America’s Thanksgiving turkeys got so huge,” Svati Kirsten Narula, Quartz

“Benjamin Franklin praises the virtues of the turkey,” from a 1784 letter to his daughter via Lapham’s Quarterly

“Get to Know the Turkey Species You Don’t Eat,” Matt Somiak, Mental Floss

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

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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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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

Related:

“What Is Kewpie Mayonaise?” Kitchn.com

ULTIMATE UPDATE:

“Hellman’s owner Unilever cracks over egg-free Just Mayo lawsuit,” The Guardian

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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.

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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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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

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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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