Wednesday, October 27
Photo: Tim Morris
The word doritos is supposedly pidgin Spanish for “little bits of gold.” The main ingredient in these bits of gold is heated and steeped in an alkaline solution, usually lye or lime. This frees up the corn’s niacin and balances some of its amino acids, leading to better protein quality.
Each chip is nearly 29 percent fat by weight, and almost all of that is corn oil, sunflower oil, or soybean oil. That’s good, because fat activates the brain’s natural mu-opioid receptors, provoking what scientists call a hedonic response.
Simple pasteurized cow milk, used as the basis for the two cheeses.
Cheddar cheese cultures
Usually Lactococcus lactis cremoris bacteria. They’re injected into the milk during the cheese-making process, and their enzymes break down milk proteins into various smelly/tasty compounds.
Some people swear they can taste ketchup on these chips, even though tomatoes aren’t on the ingredient list. Since the principal component of a tomato’s flavor is glutamic acid, it is possible (Frito-Lay isn’t talking) that the addition of MSG and a few spices is responsible for the taste sensation.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists seven criteria, any three of which makes a substance addictive. Salt has four of them: withdrawal symptoms, the development of tolerance, inability to control level of usage, and difficulty quitting or restricting (even with full knowledge of health hazards).
The last piece of the unholy trinity: fat, salt, sugar. Lab rats given sugar show an increase in their brain’s D1 (excitatory) receptors and a decrease in D2 (inhibitory) receptors. Just like lab rats given cocaine! Over time, they need more and more—blow or sugar—to get high.
Natural beef flavor
If you pressure-cook clarified beef stock and then distill away the water, you’re left with chemicals like 4-hydroxy-5-methyl-3(2H)-furanone, 2-methyl-3-furanthiol, and Bis(2-methyl-3-furyl) disulfide. All the flavor of a hamburger with none of the nutrition.
Swiss cheese cultures
Those bubble holes in Swiss cheese? The acne sores on your face? They’re both the result of gas and acids given off by members of the propionibacterium family, which have been distilled into these chips.
Different kinds of maltodextrin can be used as a fat substitute or fiber supplement, but here its absorptive qualities and lack of taste are put to use as a medium for delivering the beef and cheese flavors to your mouth.
Onions complete the cheeseburger—their sulfurous goodness strengthens the savory flavor of the meaty compounds.
Mustard seed powder
What’s a cheeseburger without mustard? But the most common complaint about this snack is that Frito-Lay went too heavy on the stuff. It’s so hard to fake things just right.
Monday, October 25
Have any of you ever researched for beef that is above the USDA grading system (according to the Food Network)? Kōbé (not koh-bee) beef is known for its beautiful marbling and tenderness.
This is probably the main source of beef that is keeping me from quitting red meat. If you're vegetarian, well, there probably will not be a replacement made up of vegetables for this kind. In the U.S., there are places that say they use Kōbé beef (in the Wikipedia site, they refer to them as "Kōbé-Style") but a lot of them seem to misunderstand it for the general form of Wagyū (Japanese beef) or a mixture of Wagyū and other cow species. I would recommend going to restaurants in Japan since they usually advertise and actually sell true Kōbé beef but I know that it's not very affordable to go to another country just to try one thing and come back. Fortunately there are restaurants in the States that sell the same kind of beef.
The one negative aspect in general: because of the expenses when raising these cows are very high (The cows are massaged and treated to some alcohol, and other pampering) the actual meat itself is way more expensive than people in the States may be willing to pay for. Just a sirloin steak can cost from $80-85, according to Mouriya. (Also since the U.S. as we learned in class today, has lowest prices on any kind of products compared to anywhere in the world, this does also lend a hand in the big surprise of the price) I know that most people would be reluctant to try, I still believe it is definitely worth having at least once in a lifetime.
This link shows the different places and restaurants you can go to have some for yourself. I'm not really sure though, only because they refer Wagyū as a general term. Apparently there is one in Chicago. Good to know! :)
Pictures taken by me at the restaurant, Mouriya, in Kōbé, Japan.
A drink with a viscous alcoholic and caffeinated double punch is being blamed for what investigators at first thought was a mass use of the "date-rape" drug "rufies" at a big off-campus party in Washington state.
The horrible symptoms however seem to be due to a easily obtainable drink called "Four Loko" being imbibed by the party-goers.
This article reports on the recent realization by officials of the cause of the poisoning as well as a call by lawmakers to have the FDA ban the drink nationwide. This revelation follows a report earlier this week of a college student had a heart attack after consuming Four Loko on another college campus.
In terms of the question of food safety (a big topic for this week) we see that the FDA deals with more than just pathogens!
ps. the Four Loko music video...
It also talks about other things that can be made to look like food, like grapes and sausages.
The guy making the various fake foods says that he's not making fake food and is making "artificial food" but it's not his problem how people use it.
I didn't see this one while in Japan, but what I saw also had a clip where they showed the tutorial DVD that talks about how to make fake eggs, and the DVD was sold at an expensive price despite the fact that they didn't show how to make the shells.
I found an article here: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/fake-eggs-china.shtml
by searching for fake eggs and it seems like this was considered a hoax once for cover up. But then they comment that"the fake egg was made from calcium carbonate, starch, resin, gelatin and other chemical products," which was what the tutorial video captured on a show revealed as well. I'm not really sure what to think about the reality behind the fake eggs though if people can make them, we never know what human beings would think of doing with it…anyway, it's certainly unappetizing…
here's a clip from a documentary called "The Gleaners & I", a french film that begins with a bit of a history lesson. gleaners live (or lived) off of what is left in the fields after they are harvested. the film also explores related present day practices. i highly recommend it.
brazillian short-film; "Isle of Flowers"
this photo was taken at caraways in sudbury massachusetts a few years ago.
in the past year, it was demolished and a huge cvs is being built.
caraways was a unique small business that offered quality food,
and this event is an example of a greater pattern.
farming family, logan square farmers market 2009
Sunday, October 24
Thursday, October 21
In 2006 George Bush passed the Great Lakes Compact, a set of agreements that was supposed to safeguard and maintain this area of water that holds 20 percent of the world's freshwater.
The Compact included a loophole that, according to the Michigan Land Use Institute, "undermines the structure and purpose of the Compact by stating that the term “diversion” does not apply to “water produced in the basin and used ‘in or as’ a product and transferred outside of the basin." This sentence opens the door for exports of water as a “product.” This means that if water is produced and labeled as a product, it can go out of the Great Lakes basin without a limitation on the size of the container or quantity. The problem with the loophole is that we’ve created a situation where water can be labeled as a product, transferring its public protection to private control using the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other agreements to suck water out of the Great Lakes Basin."
Basically what the quote is saying is that the loophole allows for Great Lakes water to be labelled a commodity, that our public water supply, Lake Michigan, is being tapped and sold to Nestle for a very low price, flipped for an incredible profit (The Free Press, 2006):
The new Michigan law allows Nestle Corporation to continue its five-year takings of up to 250,000 gallons per day and sell them at a markup well over 240 times its production cost. Nestle's profit from drawing this water could be from $500,000 to $1.8 million per day. A key proviso is that the bottles can be no larger than 5.7 gallons apiece.
I wrote to Nestle, my statement:
I currently live on Lake Michigan. I am interested to know about your practices on our , I would like to know exactly how much water is extracted per day from our lakes, and what the water is used for. Thank you. Tessa
And their reply:
October 5, 2010
Dear Tessa P.,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Nestle Waters regarding if we are receiving water from
All of our spring source locations are from deep underground aquifers. We do not receive any water from Lake Michigan or any other lakes throughout the United States. In the state of Michigan we receive water from Sanctuary Springs inand Evart Springs in .
At Nestle Waters, we are committed to providing you with products that live up to your high standards for taste, quality, nutrition and enjoyment. Your feedback is valuable to us, as it helps us to improve our products and services.
We appreciate your interest in our products and hope you will visit our website www.nestle-watersna.com often for the latest information on our products and promotions.
Consumer Response Representative
Do you think they are telling the truth?
Tuesday, October 19
Please watch this video which made me think of it:
If you dont know the Books, you should look at their other stuff, they are amazing.
One of my favorite quotes was
"All those plants care about is what every being cares about on the most basic genetic level: making copies of itself."
I think its a pretty strong and true claim.
Futher in the excerpt he explains how that our grammar has taught us to divide the world into active subjects and passive objects, but in a coevolutionary relationship every subject is also an object, every object a subject. The relationship being the plants trained us as much as we trained them.
He references later Darwins "The Origin of Species" and how Darwin uses the word artificial and not as in fake (in the term artificial selection) but as in artifcat: a thing relfecting human will. And how theres nothing fake about hybrids, ie a hybrid rose, butter pear, cocker spaniel etc.
The excerpt ends with him explaining how he is trying to close the gap between us and nature, or as he says "put us back in the great reciprocal web that is life on Earth.
It then made me think of this one:
Monday, October 18
More than 54,000 affected by Chinese milk scandal
Chris Buckley, Reuters · Monday, Sept. 22, 2008
BEIJING -- The number of Chinese infants sick in hospital after drinking tainted milk formula doubled to nearly 13,000 as the country’s top quality regulator resigned in the latest blight on the “made-in-China” brand.
Four deaths have been blamed on the toxic milk powder, which causes kidney stones and agonising complications, and a string of Asian countries have banned or recalled Chinese milk products.
The official Xinhua news agency said in a brief statement that the country’s quality chief, Li Changjiang, had quit in light of the scandal. It did not elaborate.
The Health Ministry said the number of children hospitalised due to the milk powder contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine rose from a previously announced total of 6,244 -- which included many who had left hospital -- to 12,892, including 104 who were in a serious condition.
More than 1,500 had already left hospital and nearly 40,000 with milder symptoms “received clinical treatment and advice” before going home. The ministry did not explain the sharp rise.
The jump to more than 54,000 affected children was announced late on Sunday, escalating a scandal that has again shaken trust in Chinese products after last year’s scares over toxic and shoddy goods from toothpaste and drugs to pet food and toys.
Melamine has also been found in cartons of milk and some dairy exports, but no illnesses from those sources have been reported.
Medical experts said on Monday that, as well as causing kidney stones, melamine could potentially cause far more serious complications by crystallising and then blocking tiny tubes in the kidneys.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited hospitals in the national capital in a bid to reassure an anxious public. But he also said the outbreak of poisonings exposed deeper failings.
“Although the ordinary people are very understanding, as the government we feel very guilty,” he said, according to the Xinhua news agency. “This event is a warning for all food safety.”
He also vowed stiff penalties if the problem re-emerges. “If there are fresh problems, they must be even more sternly punished under the law,” Mr. Wen said.
China’s food quality watchdog has said it found melamine in nearly 10 percent of milk and drinking yoghurt samples from three major dairy companies: Mengniu Dairy Co, the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group and the Bright group.
Nitrogen-rich melamine can be added to watered-down milk to fool quality checks, which often use nitrogen levels to measure protein levels.
Past product safety scandals have exposed corruption, influence-peddling and lumbering, feuding bureaucracies overwhelmed by fragmented, cost-cutting producers. The milk scandal has shown a government campaign did not end those woes.
China’s dairy producers faced a “crisis of confidence” that would need strong official steps to cure, said Lao Bing, manager of a Shanghai-based dairy investment company.
“Consumers will start rebuying in a month or two if they feel sure the government is undertaking a vigorous clean-up,” he said. “Exports will take longer. This will have a major impact.”
Japan’s Marudai Food Co. Ltd withdrew buns made with milk supplied by Yili. A spokesman for Japan’s Nissin said that group had also recalled products with Chinese dairy ingredients.
The Japanese government has asked 90,000 companies to check if imports have been contaminated with melamine.
Other markets that have that have banned or recalled Chinese milk products include Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Taiwan banned all mainland dairy products from Sunday.
Dutch dairy group Friesland Foods removed three types of milk products from shelves in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau as a precaution, a spokesman told the ANP news agency.
The products were made by a Chinese company in which Friesland Foods holds a minority stake. Friesland Foods said less than 1 percent of products marketed under its “Dutch Lady” brand were affected.
Even White Rabbit Creamy Candy, a popular Chinese brand of milk sweet, was contaminated with melamine, Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority warned on Sunday.
At the weekend, a three-year-old Hong Kong girl was found to have a kidney stone after drinking a milk product tainted by melamine, making her the territory’s first suspected victim.
But the biggest worry remains in China.
Sanlu, the nation’s biggest maker of infant milk powder, knew about the problem but did not disclose it publicly for at least a month throughout August, when Beijing hosted the Olympics, officials have said.
The revelation brought a surge of panicky parents and children to hospitals, and the government has promised free treatment for stricken children. But some parents said they worried about costs and long-term complications.
Zhou Zhijun, from south China’s Hunan province, said she took her wailing, increasingly thin daughter to hospitals at least three times from June to late August before doctors diagnosed a kidney stone.
“All those visits and checks cost 20,000 yuan ($2,900), and I still don’t know who will pay for that,” she said, adding that her 15-month-old baby had drunk Sanlu milk powder. “Also what if there are complications and problems later? Who’ll pay for that?”
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said despairing farmers were dumping milk and killing cattle after companies stopped buying their supplies. It promised subsidies to help farmers.
© Thomson Reuters 2008
The Persecution of Cats
Cats came under suspicion for a variety of reasons. Unlike dogs, they did not behave subserviently toward humans. This was considered unnatural, because it violated the biblical view that humans should have dominion over animals. Also, cats were very active at night and engaged in loud, raucous mating rituals. Though cats had always behaved in this manner, to the superstitious minds of the Middle Ages, cats were practicing supernatural powers and witchcraft. Most accused witches were older peasant women who lived alone, often keeping cats as pets for companionship. This guilt by association meant that roughly a million cats were burned at the stake, along with their owners, on suspicion of being witches.
In the early thirteenth century Pope Gregory IX (1145–1241) declared that a sect in southern France had been caught worshipping the devil. He claimed the devil had appeared in the form of a black cat. Cats became the official symbol of heresy (or religious beliefs not advocated by the church). Anyone who showed any compassion or feeling for a cat came under the church's suspicion. By the beginning of the fourteenth century, Europe's cat population had been severely depleted. Only semi-wild cats survived in many areas.
In 1347 the bubonic plague swept across Europe. Called the Black Death, it killed twenty-five million people (nearly a third of Europe's population) in only three years. Thousands of farm animals died as well, either from the plague or from lack of care. The death rate peaked in the warm summer months and dropped dramatically in the wintertime because the plague was being spread to humans by fleas on infected rodents. The plague revisited Europe several more times over the next few centuries. In addition, millions of people are thought to have suffered from food poisoning during the Middle Ages because of the presence of rat droppings in the grain supply. Centuries of cat slaughter had allowed the rodent population to surge out of control.
Cats Under Welsh Law
Cats weren’t always persecuted in Europe. In the 900s, the Welsh took the sensible position of assigning value to cats, recognizing their ability to protect human food stores. The Welsh ruler Hywel the Good created laws that imposed strict penalties for stealing or murdering cats. Hywel mandated that if anyone were to kill or steal a cat
Cracked articles that I find amusing and relative to the class, particularly the second one. Title says all. Enjoy. ^_^
- Stephanie Ledesma
According the some recent studies highlighted in this article, it may have to do with the airplane itself:
"The researchers fed 48 blindfolded participants a variety of foods from biscuits to rice crackers to cheddar cheese. At the same time, headphones either canceled out noise or provided various levels of white noise. The subjects then rated the intensity of the flavors and how much they liked or didn't like them.
The result: the higher the noise level, the less the participants tasted salty or sweet flavors. Their sensitivity to the crunchiness of their food was amplified."
Of course, some restaurants on the ground are plenty noisy but still tasty, so what gives? Read the article for more...
Wednesday, October 13
Japanese Ice Cream: in weird flavors
By Geoff Botting
When the world-renowned Fat Duck restaurant in England came out with ice cream with the flavor of bacon and eggs, it caused a huge stir in the world of cuisine. The item was part of chef's Heston Blumenthal's approach of experimenting with people's basic perceptions toward food.
However, anyone familiar with the esoteric ice cream emporiums of Japan would hardly be surprised by bacon and eggs as an ice-cream offering. For the last few years, some of the strangest and most unlikely flavors on the planet have been available in iced form in Japan. How about an ice cream tasting of octopus or squid?
One place to find these and many other mind-blowing flavors is the Cup Ice Museum, which is part of Namco Nanja Town in the Sunshine City shopping complex in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district (access Yamanote and various other lines). Name a type of food you like, and chances are it's available in ice-cream form here. Got a penchant for beef tongue? How about Indian curry? Yep, they are both here, frozen, creamy and ready to be consumed either at the premises or in takeaway form.
This museum (it's actually a retail store) is divided according to region. Hokkaido, a vast land of diary farms and vegetable fields, takes up a large portion of the shelf space, not surprisingly. Here, you can satisfy any craving you might have for iced Jaga Butaa (buttered potato) and a range of other regional delicacies.
Offerings from Miyagi Prefecture, in Northern Japan, are not to be outdone. Prominent is "tan" (beef tongue) flavor ice creams. "Surprise your friends," says the container's label - and if you give it to them you no doubt will!
There's also miso ramen flavored ice cream - a perfect dessert after, um, a hot bowl of ramen, perhaps. How about salt? That's right, just plain old salt. The operative ingredient, the label tells us, comes from a bay famous for its high-grade sea salt - one natural resource Japan has never really run dry on.
Indeed, it seems the role of many of the ice-cream products is to showcase regional delicacies and ingredients. A container of kelp-flavored ice cream advertises itself as a "unique kind of ice." "Made from pure kombu (Japanese for "kelp") that's full of vitamins and created from an especially high grade of kombu," it reads.
Filling out the seafood selections are octopus, squid and a long thin fish called Pacific saury, sanma in Japanese, flavors beyond the threshold of this squeamish writer but all tastes based on popular Japanese seafood dishes, albeit not often found in such a form.
"The weirdest flavor would have to be Pacific saury," nods a young woman employee. "The most popular flavor among the Japanese visitors is beef tongue, and with the foreigners it seems to be the Indian curry" she adds.
The prices here are a tad steep. Cups of 130 milliliters each sell for 350 - 400 yen. But keep in mind, the ingredients are natural and the products, many of which are claimed to be "handmade," are meant to be savored slowly, not gulped down.
Given the plethora of strange flavors, it might come as a surprise that plain old vanilla occupies a prominent place in the Cup Ice Cream Museum. Being a neutral flavor, vanilla seems to be a way for the ice-cream makers to showcase their standards and quality. These products are made from fresh and rich creams, clearly not for those on a diet.
A vanilla cup produced by the Nagato Diary Farm Ice Cream company bears a somber-looking crest featuring a cow in a pasture. The 120 milliliter cup is priced at 440 yen. Clearly, this stuff is for purists and connoisseurs.
Booze is also featured. A cup of amazake (sweet Japanese sake seen in the colder months and at festivals) goes for 350 yen. The fad for shochu, a distilled beverage, hasn't been left out, either. A shochu variety made from rice is on offer, made at a Suntory distillery on Kyushu Island in Southern Japan. Beer-flavored ice cream can also be had.
Yet you needn't be a masochist or a connoisseur of the weird to enjoy ice cream in Japan. Conventional ice cream counters typically have the familiar flavors: vanilla, chocolate, rum and raison, and so on. But a handful of surprises will be thrown in as well. The Blue Seal chain of ice cream counters, for instance, offers Chura Imo (sweet potato flavors from Okinawa) and Shio Chin Sukou (salted biscuits).
Bacon and eggs ice cream never sounded so conventional - did it?
I haven't been here but found out about this place through a korean tv show that I saw months ago. A lot of travelers from all around the country visit here to explore and taste many interesting icecream. It's not on the article but there are also: rose icecream, tofu icecream, miso ramen icecream, dracula(garlic)icecream, salt icecream, black rice icecream, vegetable icecream, pearl icecream, crab seafood icecream, squid icecream, sake icecream, soysauce icecream, astronut icecream, etc.
-So Jung Cho
Excessive Intake of Omega 6 and Deficiencies in Omega 3 Induce Obesity Down the Generations
Omegas 6 and 3 are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids: they are indispensable to the human body, which cannot produce them itself and must therefore source them from food. Omega 6 are normally found in maize, which is itself consumed in large quantities by the farmed animals eaten by humans (half of our lipid intake comes from meat and dairy products). As for omega 3, they are mainly present in grass, linseed, rapeseed and fatty fish such as salmon, sardine or mackerel (which contain very high levels of alpha-linoleic acid). In the past forty years, there has been a steady rise in obesity over the generations in Western societies. During the same period, the diet in industrialized countries has seen a quantitative increase in the calories ingested (lipids account for 35 to 40% of food intake), high levels of linoleic acid (omega 6) and low levels of alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3). Indeed, the amount of omega 6 consumed during the past forty years has rocketed (+250%) while that of omega 3 has fallen by 40%, thus destabilizing the omega 6/omega 3 ratio when compared with the recommended intakes. While the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) recommends an omega 6/omega 3 ratio of 5/1, actual consumption is 15 omega 6 for 1 omega 3. In the USA, this ratio can even reach 40 omega 6 for 1 omega 3.
To perform their experiments, the researchers exposed four generations of mice to a Western-style diet, characterized by these same omega 6/omega 3 ratios. As a result, they saw a gradual increase in fat mass over several generations. They also observed the onset of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, which is the first step in the development of type 2 diabetes and a stimulation of the expression of the inflammatory genes involved in obesity.
Thus, in a genetically-stable animal population, exposure to a diet similar to that of developed or developing countries was sufficient to cause the emergence of transgenerational obesity, in line with the data collected in humans. The beneficial role of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega 6 (linoleic acid) is well-known in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, and that of omega 3 in cerebral function. But when their intake is unbalanced, these fatty acids can enhance the factors inducing obesity and have serious long-term effects on human health. The agrifood industry needs to take greater account of the implications of these findings.
I saw a documentary about corns (omega-6), and how they eventually build up in your body and increase obesity and potentials of diseases. It's not the excessive amount of corn that you consume that give you diseases but the imbalanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 in your body that causes it. The documentary talks about how there are so many people with imbalanced omega-3 & 6 ratios, even in the ones who never really consume corn because they consume products that come from the cow (ex. beef, milk, and butter) who are feed with corn crops(omega-6), not grass. (Farmers choose corn crops over grass because cows grow more faster, get fat quickly, and get marblings in their meat.) (Cows eating corn → fat = humans eating beef(+corn) → obesity) The documentary was kind of perfect for the class but it was in Korean so, I couldn't post info about it but a related article that talked about the same matter.
-So Jung Cho
Monday, October 11
After our conversations about US MREs , foreign MREs and hermetically sealed foods of various kind (40 year-old pound cake or cheeseburger-a-can), another combo to now consider hailing from St. Louis: Krispy Kreme Burgers (video here).
I can't say I'd eat it, but I'm sure it is something special...
This is a 1000 kilocalorie doughnut, close to half of my ideal caloric intake.
Novelty foods are funny, but at the same time one wonders what they do but perpetuate themselves, including as brands - is it "Krispy Kreme" or is it "donut" that matters? Novelty is a good brand-management strategy - not just for Krispy Kreme, but also for the minor league baseball team that is trying to draw the crowds, according the the article.
Monday, October 4
From the website:
"With 66 percent of U.S. adults either overweight or obese, our girth is a serious public health issue. Yet many of us still view being overweight as a character flaw, a lack of self-control, or eve
n a moral crime.
But does fat really equal failure? FAT: What No One Is Telling You explores the myriad psychological, physiological and environmental factors that can make it so tough to shed pounds and keep them off. "