Food Fables

Whole Foods Supermarket – In trouble again?

UK’s Food Standards Agency’s chief scientist has a blog

370 made ill from Salmonella in peanut butter

No big surprise: Prince Charles doesn’t like McDonald’s.

Also in Britain – they’ve had a humus scare. So make your own says the Guardian Leader…but I’ve never peeled my chickpeas. My recipe:

Dried chick peas soaked and cooked.
Drain, retaining some liquid.
Place in blender or food processor.
Add lemon juice, tahini and garlic to taste.
Whirr, add water if necessary
Add olive oil and paprika for texture and color.
Eat with pita.

Last summer they had a chocolate scare: now Cadbury is facing prosecution for producing food unfit to eat. Lots of jokes about British food come to mind and Cadbury is not part of them.

Molecular Gastronomy: Heat Transfer


Friday Food Fables

My blogging energy seems to have been sapped with Tangled Bank. It is also the end of the first week of the semester. I’ll get back into gear soon. In the meantime here are some of the food science links I’ve seen in the last fortnight. Let me know if you see anything you think I would like.

Fundamental Fat Activists fight back

Coke vs. Pepsi who can tell?


Troll Cream – a study in egg white volume


Antifat pills

Acrylamide Update
and gingerbread is high in acrylamide

Citrus prices rising?

Hops – an essential beer ingredient

Friday Food Links

UV/Vis spectrum of pomegranate juice

Haven’t I mentioned this one before? The Beeb finally catches up to the story on capsaicin and cancer prevention

Popular this week – how to annoy most Brits: drinking tea black is better for your health. Being unBritish in this respect as I don’t really like tea! I like herbal tisanes but not tea-tea.

Everything you need to know about citrus from Curious Cooks

Build your own beer opener and server: videos at Khymos.

You should go and say “Hi” to Homebrew and Chemistry. The Chemgeek wants company 😉 And as it is delurking week, say “Hi” here first.

Not science but still food, lots of it, and music to go with it. In fact, this is the video for Banquete de los Sanchez, one of the songs from the CD Que Vaya Bien which I reviewed last month. The food looks delicious, and the music is great too. Mmmm, I’m hungry now.

Magical Sunday Edition of Food Fables

I don’t know I decide not to do a food fables for a few weeks and then everyone starts posting on food issues! So this is an extra one, put together when I should be packing – enjoy.

As a yogic vegetarian who is also a scientist, I am always amused by the “new age” rubbish that I get sent or is in the magazines. So this question of Abel Pharmboy Do Wine and Yoga Mix? amused me.

The final straw for my subscription to one vegetarian magazine was “Vegetarian Horoscopes”. Shudder. I didn’t need to know that Aries should be eating more tofu this month. Actually from what I recall, it wasn’t a spoof and it gave suggestions about how my love life was going to turn out. Bleuh. I do like yogic exercises and I appreciate the philosophy a lot, but theories and therapies should be testable, thanks. Crystals, hmph. So make mine a Merlot.

Studying the wizarding world’s food science could be good fun. How do they produce all that food? How does Hagrid’s engorgement charm work? What effect does it have on the nutritional quality? In the muggles world, food technologists have already recreated Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and Chocolate Frogs. What else should we bring from the wizarding world? Bora reports that some muggle physicians are comparing muggle and wizarding medicine.

Dr Charles reports that there might be a cure for diabetes. That would be magical for diabetics. Capsaicin a new wonder drug?

No magic here, just common sense as vegetarians are smarter.

Even Noroviruses are black magic (sorry, Black Magic is a variety of chocolates from England), but the cure is simple, says Mike the Mad Biologist. Just WASH YOUR HANDS.

Steve from Omini Brain asks if iodine is a magical cure for stupidity? It was, after all, the first nutrient to be added to food as fortification.

Friday Food Fables – December 15 2006

There are a lot of food stories again this week. Lots of yummy food reading for your pleasure. Due to my Xmas vacation, FFF may not be appearing again until Jan 12th 2007. Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay; may your 2007 be bright.

USA chicken unsafe to eat?

Schlosser in NYT on whether politics has contaminated the US food supply (hattip GS)

What is happening to the US food supply (NYT)?

Eating disorder websites – a risk?

Happy Birthday FDA! What does the future have in store for you? Unfortunately, this article is mostly about the drug side of the FDA. Effect Measure has an interesting post on problems with regulation and a safe food supply – what can we do in the US?

Not food, but ever wondered what the right way to sneeze or cough? This video has the answer!

Can wine be artificially aged?

Waddsup with this – Tofu is turning people gay? and here.

Fellow Flecktones fan Sri has been cooking for the last month – 30 vegetarian meals all looking plate licking good. After the holidays I’m gonna be tryin’ some of these. The last one is here.

Don’t forget to visit Eating Fabulous – she has lots of exciting posts about food and health for your reading pleasure.

Food Fables Dec 8 2006

Busy with end of semester stuff. How many parties can students and faculty have in one week?

Now on to final bits of grading. To keep you distracted there have been lots of food links this week. Enjoy.

Taste and genetics

Bulimia more prevalent in cities

Economics and weight [in NYT so subscription might be required] (via FP)

Atkins Chair at Tufts

Chicken & vegetable soup is a good cold cure. Discuss says Revere. Responses by: Janet and John, [sorry, I couldn’t resist – actually J & J start getting into philosophy of science and demaracation etc.] and Abel Pharmboy.

Improving food quality – this is up my alley – better nutrients in beer!

More food poisoning out breaks – Taco Bell in NJ and NY, and Philly. Green onions are responsible

Taste test for depression?

NY bans most trans fats

Is the success of the organic movement leading to its demise?

More reviews on the Ominivore’s Dilemma from Bora and Amanda

Article in NYT on Food Science by Harold McGee (Hattip Abel Pharmboy (thanks))

Food Fables Dec 1 2006

Is the FDA doing enough to remove benzene from soda?

Something new to do with that left over turkey? Look at them down the microscope!

Confused about antibiotics and resistance. Fear no longer, Sandra has a primer and also compares synthetic and natural drugs

Undeclared anchovies – oops, must have mixed up that cheese and turkey with my fish.

Edible cotton?

An old post but new to me – what is in your doughnut?

Watch where you store those Streptomyces cultures

So what do you eat in a week?

A more nutritious variety of wheat. The extra zinc and iron is all very well, but bake with it or does the extra protein change this? Interesting the blurb about the project that did this study does not mention working with food scientists despite being at UCDavis which has a great food science department. I could not create a new food ingredient without trying it!

Do not forget to visit Eating Fabulous – there are new posts on omega-3 fatty acids, resveratrol and chocolate as well as other food health information.

For a longer life keep drinking wine!

Better healthy food labels – will this make it easier to chose what food to eat?

Food Fables: Thanksgiving Edition

No more hunger in the US? Just change the name.

Megnut reports that Hellman’s have changed their formula. My immediate reaction was “how?”. Following the links doesn’t help. Checking out Hellman’s doesn’t help either.

Confused about Calories? You are not alone. I do have a minor quibble with this:

Hargrove notes that one common misunderstanding about the Calorie is why it is spelled with an uppercase “C” rather than a lowercase “c.” Owing to the obscure origins of the measure, there was confusion about whether or not a calorie was defined as the amount of heat required to raise one kilogram of water one degree Celsius or one gram of water one degree Celsius. As the Calorie became popular in nutrition, it became more practical to measure the amount of kilograms. To denote this, a capital “C” refers to a kilogram calorie, while a lowercase “c” refers to a gram calorie.

As a nutrition major I learnt that Calorie = kilocalorie. There had never been any confusion, in my mind.

This one had escaped my attention. Possibly because it is in Canada and the west coast at that:

Boil Water Advisory for Greater Vancouver Area – Update

Residents of Vancouver, the City and District of North Vancouver, West Vancouver (unless served by Eagle Lake or Montizambert) and Burnaby are advised to still use boiled or bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth and washing fruits and vegetables. Tap water is safe for dishwashing and bathing.

It turns out that heavy rains contaminated the water supply as they caused landslides. Further rain this weekend means that the silt still hasn’t settled out.

Sort of food related – certainly is related to dietary supplement use – Orac has been doing a series on the introduction of alternative medicine into the medical school curriculum. His latest rant is against Georgetown University Medical School which has introduced the teaching alternative medicine into it curriculum making learning about it mandatory:

… Georgetown’s program is distinct from CAM initiatives in other medical schools in two ways: The school is integrating CAM education into existing course work across all four years of each student’s medical education, and the initiative includes a mind-body class to help students use techniques to manage their own health and improve self-care.

Orac responds:

My retort would be that it’s not necessary to integrate this woo deeply into the curriculum in order to accomplish this. For the vast majority of CAM therapies, a brief overview would be all that is needed. It is not necessary to teach “acupuncture points” in regular anatomy class, particularly when there is no evidence that these points mean anything on a strictly anatomic and physiological basis.

Teaching unproven CAM modalities so extensively in the core medical school curriculum rather than as electives is neither scientifically nor educationally appropriate, as it puts the imprimatur of scientific medicine as represented by medical schools on therapies that are anything but scientific.

One of the commenters gave this link, which is a list of alternative medicine treatments and why they are wrong.

Starbucks prevents the Ethiopian government from trademarking some of its coffee varieties.

A couple of posts on Thanksgiving dinner and why we fall asleep after it. First up Dr Charles, followed by Bora. Neither post explains why the nonvegetarians fall asleep while I stay awake.

Finally Megnut had a Thanksgiving spectacular all of last week.

Food Fables Nov 17 2006

One day I’ll have time to check these links out myself. Sigh.

Is a burrito a sandwich?

Will hemp seeds in bread make your kids happy?

Do mice like red wine?

Molecule of the Day: Saccharin

Cognitive Daily: Caffeine and concentration

Are red meat and breast cancer linked?

Draft Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards released by the FDA (hat tip IFT)

This week IFT also released Scientific Status Summaries on Organic Food and Food Nanotechnology.

FDA release two programs to help consumers understand the Nutrition Facts Panel: Make Your Calories Count interactive training program and a nutrition facts brochure (pdf). I’ll be using these in my freshman class next year!

Is there a problem with using corn to produce fuel rather than food? What about cost?

Janet reports on a ridiculous reaction to breast feeding. Sign the petition!