vobios.tumblelog

i hate the internet, but these are the pieces i like

Posts tagged food

Sep 4 '13
An apple fruit is a disposable womb of the mother tree, but the seeds it encloses are new individuals, each containing a unique combination of genes from the mother tree and the mystery dad, whose contribution arrived in a pollen packet inadvertently carried by a springtime bee. If that seed grows into a tree, its apples will not resemble its parents’. Often they will be sour little green things, because qualities like bigness, redness, and sweetness require very unusual alignments of genes that may not recur by chance. Such seedling trees line the dirt roads and cellar holes of rural America. If you like the apples made by a particular tree, and you want to make more trees just like it, you have to clone it: Snip off a shoot from the original tree, graft it onto a living rootstock, and let it grow. This is how apple varieties come into existence. Every McIntosh is a graft of the original tree that John McIntosh discovered on his Ontario farm in 1811, or a graft of a graft. Every Granny Smith stems from the chance seedling spotted by Maria Ann Smith in her Australian compost pile in the mid-1800s. The fine points of apple sex were lost on most US colonists, who planted millions of apple seeds as they settled farms and traveled west. Leading the way was John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, who single-handedly planted hundreds of thousands of seeds in the many frontier nurseries he started in anticipation of the approaching settlers, who were required to plant 50 apple or pear trees as part of their land grants. Even if they had understood grafting, the settlers probably wouldn’t have cared: Although some of the frontier apples were grown for fresh eating, more fed the hogs or the fermentation barrel, neither of which was too choosy. Every now and then, however, one of those seedling trees produced something special. As the art of grafting spread, those special trees were cloned and named, often for the discoverer. By the 1800s, America possessed more varieties of apples than any other country in the world, each adapted to the local climate and needs.

An apple fruit is a disposable womb of the mother tree, but the seeds it encloses are new individuals, each containing a unique combination of genes from the mother tree and the mystery dad, whose contribution arrived in a pollen packet inadvertently carried by a springtime bee. If that seed grows into a tree, its apples will not resemble its parents’. Often they will be sour little green things, because qualities like bigness, redness, and sweetness require very unusual alignments of genes that may not recur by chance. Such seedling trees line the dirt roads and cellar holes of rural America. If you like the apples made by a particular tree, and you want to make more trees just like it, you have to clone it: Snip off a shoot from the original tree, graft it onto a living rootstock, and let it grow. This is how apple varieties come into existence. Every McIntosh is a graft of the original tree that John McIntosh discovered on his Ontario farm in 1811, or a graft of a graft. Every Granny Smith stems from the chance seedling spotted by Maria Ann Smith in her Australian compost pile in the mid-1800s. The fine points of apple sex were lost on most US colonists, who planted millions of apple seeds as they settled farms and traveled west. Leading the way was John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, who single-handedly planted hundreds of thousands of seeds in the many frontier nurseries he started in anticipation of the approaching settlers, who were required to plant 50 apple or pear trees as part of their land grants. Even if they had understood grafting, the settlers probably wouldn’t have cared: Although some of the frontier apples were grown for fresh eating, more fed the hogs or the fermentation barrel, neither of which was too choosy. Every now and then, however, one of those seedling trees produced something special. As the art of grafting spread, those special trees were cloned and named, often for the discoverer. By the 1800s, America possessed more varieties of apples than any other country in the world, each adapted to the local climate and needs.

Tags: food history america

Sep 27 '12

Tags: food health

Mar 29 '12

Tags: dog food

Feb 8 '12

Tags: food squirrel time

Feb 7 '12

Tags: food

Sep 8 '11

"The basic idea behind the sodium in the soy sauce causing the legs to move has been covered in the comments, but there’s still some question as to whether or not it’s officially "dead" at the time of serving. The brain is probably still in the body, but a significant part of its nervous system, the giant axon, I believe extends into the mantle, which has been cut. I’m not an expert on squids so I can’t really come to a definite conclusion about that."

(Source: youtube.com)

Tags: food squid

Aug 25 '11

"Another basic ingredient found in most kitchens is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3). It’s used as a leavning agent which requires addition of an acid to function. Since it is a weak base, it can be used to increase the pH and hence the speed of the Maillard reaction, for instance when browning onions. This basic task, which isn’t always so easy after all, benefits greatly from a pinch of baking soda (and surprisingly it seems that this hasn’t been done before!)."

Speeding up the Maillard reaction

(Source: youtube.com)

Tags: food onion science

Jun 14 '11
"Interestingly, when the Oreo was first introduced by Nabisco in 1912, it used a much more organic wreath for its emboss, later augmented with two pairs of turtledoves in a 1924 redesign. The contemporary Oreo stamp was introduced in 1952, and it has remained unchanged, and, in the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger, “the stuff of legend,” ever since. Writing in 1986, to mark the cookie’s seventy-fifth birthday, Goldberger declared that the Oreo “stands as the archetype of its kind, a reminder that cookies are designed as consciously as buildings, and sometimes better.”"

"Interestingly, when the Oreo was first introduced by Nabisco in 1912, it used a much more organic wreath for its emboss, later augmented with two pairs of turtledoves in a 1924 redesign. The contemporary Oreo stamp was introduced in 1952, and it has remained unchanged, and, in the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger, “the stuff of legend,” ever since. Writing in 1986, to mark the cookie’s seventy-fifth birthday, Goldberger declared that the Oreo “stands as the archetype of its kind, a reminder that cookies are designed as consciously as buildings, and sometimes better.”"

Tags: cookie food design history

Jan 12 '11
Lind Bird was recently stopped at the U.S. border and selected for a random search of her vehicle. She was warned she could have faced a fine after the customs official found — and seized — her $2 Kinder Surprise egg as illegal contraband. Bird learned U.S. authorities have banned the candy because they come with a plastic toy inside that could, if eaten, choke a small child. “It’s just a chocolate egg,” Bird said. “And they were making a big deal. They said ‘if you were caught with this across the border you would get charged a $300 fine,’” she said. … The U.S. takes catching illegal Kinder candy seriously, judging by the number of them they’ve confiscated in the last year. Officials said they’ve seized more than 25,000 of the treats in 2,000 separate seizures.

Tags: food canada law

Dec 15 '10

Tags: food language

Nov 16 '10
The Burger Lab: Revisiting the Myth of The 12-Year Old McDonald’s Burger That Just Won’t Rot (Testing Results!)
"A few weeks back, I started an experiment designed to prove or disprove whether or not the magic, non-decomposing McDonald’s hamburgers that have been making their way around the internet are indeed worthy of disgust or even interest. … The problem with coming to that conclusion, of course, is that if you  are a believer in science (and I certainly hope you are!), in order to  make a conclusion, you must first start with a few observable premises  as a starting point with which you form a theorem, followed by a  reasonably rigorous experiment with controls built in place to verify  the validity of that theorem. Thus far, I haven’t located a single source that treats this McDonald’s hamburger phenomenon in this fashion. Instead, most rely on speculation, specious reasoning, and downright obtuseness to arrive at the conclusion that a McDonald’s burger "is a chemical food[, with] absolutely no nutrition." … the burger doesn’t rot because it’s small size and relatively large surface area help it to lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there’s no mold or bacterial growth. Of course, that the meat is pretty much sterile to begin with due to the high cooking temperature helps things along as well. It’s not really surprising. Humans have known about this phenomenon for thousands of years. After all, how do you think beef jerky is made?"

The Burger Lab: Revisiting the Myth of The 12-Year Old McDonald’s Burger That Just Won’t Rot (Testing Results!)

"A few weeks back, I started an experiment designed to prove or disprove whether or not the magic, non-decomposing McDonald’s hamburgers that have been making their way around the internet are indeed worthy of disgust or even interest. … The problem with coming to that conclusion, of course, is that if you are a believer in science (and I certainly hope you are!), in order to make a conclusion, you must first start with a few observable premises as a starting point with which you form a theorem, followed by a reasonably rigorous experiment with controls built in place to verify the validity of that theorem. Thus far, I haven’t located a single source that treats this McDonald’s hamburger phenomenon in this fashion. Instead, most rely on speculation, specious reasoning, and downright obtuseness to arrive at the conclusion that a McDonald’s burger "is a chemical food[, with] absolutely no nutrition." … the burger doesn’t rot because it’s small size and relatively large surface area help it to lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there’s no mold or bacterial growth. Of course, that the meat is pretty much sterile to begin with due to the high cooking temperature helps things along as well. It’s not really surprising. Humans have known about this phenomenon for thousands of years. After all, how do you think beef jerky is made?"

Tags: food mcdonalds science

Nov 16 '10
In a perverse way, Jamie Oliver has highlighted many of the shortcomings of the U.S. food system. But it was like taking a wrecking ball to a termite-infested house to show the rot inside at the cost of smashing the structure. That he failed to meet the nutritional guidelines, went way over budget and put the school district at risk of losing federal funding is bad enough. The fact that so many children stopped drinking milk, dropped out of the program and appeared to be eating less food, strongly suggests they were worse off under his program. As Cabell County has sidelined his menu it’s more evidence that the “Food Revolution” collapsed at the barricades.

Tags: tv food health

Sep 3 '10
It all began about 16 years ago when Mike Yurosek of Newhall, Calif., got tired of seeing 400 tons of carrots a day drop down the cull shoot at his packing plant in Bakersfield. Culls are carrots that are too twisted, knobby, bent or broken to sell. In some loads, as many as 70% of carrots were tossed. And there are only so many discarded carrots you can feed to a pig or a steer, says Yurosek, now 82 and retired. “After that, their fat turns orange,” he says. … The farmer continued growing carrots — and throwing them out — for decades. But in 1986, Yurosek had the idea that would change American munching habits. California’s Central Valley is dotted with farms, fruit and vegetable processors, and freezing plants. Yurosek knew full well that freezers routinely cut up his long, well-shaped carrots into cubes, coins and mini-carrots. “If they can do that, why can’t we, and pack ‘em fresh?” he wondered. First he had to cut the culls into something small enough to make use of their straight parts. “The first batch we did, we did in a potato peeler and cut them by hand,” Yurosek says. Then he found a frozen-food company that was going out of business and bought an industrial green-bean cutter, which just happened to cut things into 2-inch pieces. Thus was born the standard size for a baby carrot. Next, Yurosek sent one of his workers to a packing plant and loaded the cut-up carrots into an industrial potato peeler to take off the peel and smooth down the edges. What he ended up with was a little rough but still recognizable as the baby carrot of today. … Today, these babies come from one place: Bakersfield, Calif. The state produces almost three-quarters of U.S. carrots because of its favorable climate and deep, not-too-heavy soil.

Tags: food carrot california

Jul 2 '10

Tags: chicken food fox