About Lab Cat

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Apparently this blog has been going for nine years! There is about a four to five year period where I hardly posted. I still post rarely. Trying to write again more regularly, waiting for topics to interest me. I was a food chemist. Now I am more concerned about the food system as a whole, not just how one reaction takes place. I play with yarn – spindle spinning and knitting are my main hobbies.

I initially started this blog to stay in touch with family and friends as they are all over the world. However, they didn’t seem that interested. So I started posting about food science, knitting, my (sadly past) cat, and my photos. As of 2017, I’m using this blog to explore ideas on food systems and equity, food and nutrition policy and advocacy.

I cannot help you develop your new food product. Nor endorse your product.  As a food science consultant my expertise is in shelf life studies especially ingredient stability, Maillard browning and reaction kinetics. However, you need to contact me professionally for this service, for which there may be a fee.

Any opinions expressed in this blog are my own (or the occasional guest blogger’s). All errors are probably mine too.


23 thoughts on “About Lab Cat

  1. Hi,
    I found your website tonight while browsing around food, raw milk, & cat diet websites. I like to learn about nutrition, enjoying food, slow food, traditional foods, raw milk, natural diets for cats, food politics, etc. My husband is a biochemist & researcher, so I borrow him occasionally for explanations.

    Your blog is great, and has a wonderful variety of topics. I’ll admit I found some topics a bit surprising for a food chemist (or what I think would interest a food chemist). But I’ve always got a lot to learn. Oh, I enjoyed the knitting, too (I’m a knitter and spinner).


    Encinitas CA

  2. Bonjour Lab Cat
    I just popped in to see who you are, where you are and what Lab Cat means. I’m going to enjoy browsing here!
    Q. Do you have a favourite molecule?
    Or process?
    I ask because I once knew the structures of all of the molecules in the Kreb’s Cycle
    and mitochondria could have been my middle name once I discovered electron micrographs!
    How sad is that???

  3. Hi,

    I was just joining ravelry and found your name (cd…..) as I was entering a pattern that I designed. For a minute I thought something that my mom had designed was there (she is also cd…..)… Then I looked further. Even weirder – my mom’s birthday is the day before yours, and in a different time, she could have been a woman in a scientific field… as was I until about 7 years ago.

    cheers, and enjoy science and knitting and everything else!

  4. I am seeking to find out several answeres to food storage, mostly almonds.
    life span after harvest raw
    after harvest kept at 45 degrees
    dry roasted and at 45 degrees
    roasted and then covered in chocolate, seealed in box and kept at room temp
    roasted, flavored and canned or in mini plastic container
    honey roasted and same as above.
    Any help would be appreciated ,

  5. Hi Lab Cat! I love your blog.

    Can I pick your brain about something? I’m trying to create a hard coat shell (similiar to a popcorn kernel) that will need to be nutrituous and withstand heat of 400 degrees F. Do you have any ideas around this? I would really appreciate it.

  6. Thanks for the link to my blog! I guess I’d never come across your blog before (still finding my way around), but I’ll be sure to add you as well.


  7. would you by chance be able to recommend something that would keep a frozen pet treat product creamy (like ice cream?). i would be interested in connecting with you professionally. I would prefer to keep my information private. thank you.

  8. Hi, I found your blog through googling “beer allergy.” I once had a flatmate who was a female MCBist. I am also a female graduate student but in the humanities, which I have learned is quite a different animal than being a grad student in the sciences.

    Anyhow, I relate to your starting a blog to stay in touch with family and friends and finding out they rarely look at it. I also have family and friends all over and can count on one hand the number of people who even semi-regularly read it… Anyhow, keep up the great work. I really appreciated your entry on your beer allergy. (By the way, any chance that women might be more prone to alcohol allergy than men??)

  9. Family Chemistry 101: I discovered if you want family to read your wonderful blog you have to start each entry with a favorite warm memory about one family member from childhood and link it to what you’re writing about. Otherwise it can come across as a vanity blog about how spiffy you are. If you do that I found they will google their name and yours and get their favorite articles.

  10. Heya;

    Just got paired of with you by the insanely awesome Kyle Freakin Cassidy.

    I Figured I’d leave you a note here to get things started.

  11. I’m just curious about an old post you did regarding allergies in beer and in particular sinusitis. I’m wondering if you have compiled a list of the beers/ciders that you have tried with no reaction?

  12. Good day

    I am from south africa, I need some way to make starch into a hard solid ,I tried kooking and drying it but takes days to dry completely and is not that solid as I want it.Any help will be welcome.


  13. hello lab cat,

    I am trolling and trolling the Internet looking for a rather obscure piece of information…. and I think you may be able to help. So I am writing you with fingers crossed. (This makes typing difficult, but I am making it work.)

    I am an engineer type, developing a product that is going to need a shear thickening fluid (i.e. like cornstarch and water). So far I found two classes of such materials. The first class is just nasty, using things like ethylene glycol. The other class could not be more friendly…. cornstarch and water. I would love to use the cornstarch in my product but I assume it will degrade rather quickly and soon lose its wonderful shear thickening properties.

    So here are my questions…

    1) Do you have any idea how long cornstarch will maintain its shear thickening properties in water? is it days? weeks? months? years?
    2) do you know of a way to extend the life of the cornstarch so that it maintains these properties for a long period of time?
    3) do you know of other friendly shear thickening fluids?, specifically ones that will maintain their properties over multiple years?

    thank you very much!
    All the best,

  14. Hi David,

    To make a starch- water suspension shelf stable you have to heat it. (There are methods of sterilization but thermal treatments are the most common).

    When you heat this suspension depending on the temperature-time, you are going to have some of the starch gelatinized. Rheologically speaking, gelatinized starch and granular native starch act completely in different ways . I have doubts that a starch gel will keep shear thinning properties.

    Regarding other shear thinning liquids, you need to check food engineering books.

  15. Hello,

    I am Patrice Pages, the editor of ChemMatters, a magazine for high school students published by the American Chemical Society (Web site: http://www.acs.org/chemmatters).

    In an upcoming issue of the magazine, we will publish an article on the chemistry of food, with some details on how to cook french fries. In particular, we explain that potato cells contain starch granules. I found great photos of such starch granules and illustrations of the carbohydrate molecules in them on your Web site: https://cdavies.wordpress.com/2006/10/05/starch/

    Would it be possible to use any of these photos and/or illustrations in our article? Thank you very much.

    Best regards,


    Patrice Pages, Ph.D.
    Editor, ChemMatters magazine
    American Chemical Society
    Education Division
    1155 16th St., NW
    Washington, DC 20036
    Tel: 202-872-6164 | Fax: 202-872-8068
    E-mail: chemmatters@acs.org

  16. This is too funny…I have a blog and I call myself Lab Rat. And I like to knit, too! What are the chances of a knitter called Lab Cat being on the web?

    And btw, I’m also a chemist, although by education only. I graduated with a BS in chemistry, but I’m currently doing work in bio/biochemistry research (so I guess not really a chemist). Crazy!

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