All Posts In News

Can We Trick Our Noses and Brains Into Enjoying Healthy Food?

by in News, September 6th, 2016

Can We Trick Our Noses and Brains Into Enjoying Healthy Food?Could the secret to making healthy yet bland dishes taste as decadently delicious as craveworthy comfort foods be as plain as the nose on your face? Quite possibly.

A team of chemists at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research’s Center for Taste and Feeding Behavior, led by Thierry Thomas-Danguin, Ph.D., has developed a device that uses smell to trick the brain into thinking the fat, sugar and salt content of desserts and other foods — the stuff we yearn for even as we try to limit our consumption of it — is much higher than it truly is.

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Your Caffeine Addiction May Be Genetic

by in News, September 1st, 2016

Addicted to coffee? Unable to raise even one eyelid in the a.m. — let alone lift your head off the pillow (mmmm … nice, soft pillow) — without a few sips from your mug, or to get through your afternoon meetings without a quick hit of espresso? Don’t blame yourself. Blame your genes.

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How Pink Lemonade Got Its Color

by in News, August 30th, 2016

How Pink Lemonade Got Its ColorNothing quenches your thirst quite like a tall, icy glass of lemonade on a hot day. And somehow it feels even more delicious and treatlike when that lemonade is pink. It’s not that pink lemonade tastes different — at least, not usually. Still, something about its gently blushing, sky-at-sunrise hue makes every sip just a bit more special.

But did you ever pause to wonder how pink lemonade came to be? After all, lemon juice — even the juice from pink lemons, which do exist — is not pink.

The history-minded people at Smithsonian magazine have recently recounted the tale of pink lemonade’s origins. Or should we say “tales”? Because there are two different versions of how pink lemonade originally got its color — and they both involve the circus.

A brief timeline, with dates plucked from the Smithsonian article:

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The Infinite Perfection of Taffy Pulling

by in News, August 29th, 2016

The Infinite Perfection of Taffy PullingTaking a break from the sun, the sand and the squeals of wave-jumping children to pad over to the saltwater-taffy “shoppe” and watch the complex apparatus do its pully-twisty thing is, truly, one of the great joys of summer.

It also turns out to be one of the great joys of mathematics. In fact, a professor of fluid dynamics at the University of Wisconsin, Jean-Luc Thiffeault, whose field of study mixes mathematics and physics like the air and sugar that are taffy’s chief ingredients, has written an entire research paper — “A mathematical history of taffy pullers” — about the mathematical efficiency of taffy-making machines and the innovations over the years.

In a report on Thiffeault’s research, the Washington Post highlights some interesting tidbits about taffy’s history to chew on. Among them:

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Trending Now: Savory Jams

by in News, August 26th, 2016

Trending Now: Savory JamsMost of us, when we conjure the flavor of jams in our mind’s eye (or maybe our mind’s mouth?), probably think of sweet berries and sugary fruits. But a new generation of jams is upon us, and they are more savory than sweet, featuring ingredients like peppers, onions, garlic and herbs.

According to NPR’s The Salt, in 2015 savory jams — some may consider them “spreads” — edged out Sriracha as “the fastest-growing condiment for sandwiches and burgers.” The food blog, citing numbers from menu-trend market research firm Datassential, noted that “bacon jam” showed the biggest sales growth, with “tomato jam” (don’t call it ketchup) right behind, and peppers, flowers and extracts of various sorts finding popularity as well.

Here are five “savory jam” takeaways from NPR’s thoughtful consideration to savor:

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Fairy Bread: So Basic, So Brilliant

by in News, August 25th, 2016

Fairy Bread: So Basic, So BrilliantIt may not be (OK, it definitely isn’t) the healthiest thing to serve your kids, but the latest Internet-pleasing food trend to emerge from Australia is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit with them: Fairy Bread.

What, you ask, is Fairy Bread? It’s so basic yet so brilliant: white bread smeared with butter or margarine, then liberally covered with rainbow sprinkles and cut into triangles.

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Boxed Wines Are Back and Bigger Than Ever

by in Drinks, News, August 22nd, 2016

Boxed Wines Are Back and Bigger Than EverBack in the ’80s, wine in a box was pretty much the opposite of a status symbol — an indication that you clearly favored quantity and convenience over quality, when it came to wine. Boxed wines were a bottom-of-the-barrel, bulk affair. (You millennials will have to take your elders’ word for it.) Serious sippers wouldn’t go near anything that didn’t come in a bottle, with a cork.

In recent years, of course, a lot has changed when it comes to wine packaging, and now boxed wines are a different breed than they used to be. That is to say that many of them are actually quite good.

Here are a few things to know about wine in a box — then and now:

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Cocktail Bar Battles Cell-Phone Zombies with Foil-Lined Walls

by in News, August 18th, 2016

Cocktail Bar Battles Cell-Phone Zombies with Foil-Lined WallsEver find yourself at a restaurant feeling frustrated that your tablemates — friends, family, co-workers — are all glued to their phones, texting, emailing or posting images and messages on social media instead of, you know, actually making conversation with the people sitting directly across from them?

A British cocktail bar owner has taken aim at this problem in a big, bold way: by installing copper wire mesh in the ceiling and silver foil in the walls of his establishment in order to block access to the internet. Apparently, this sort of metal-wrapped signal blocker has a name: a “Faraday cage.”

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Let Them Eat Prosciutto (and Pepperoni and Salame and Soppressata and Capicola)!

by in News, August 17th, 2016

Let Them Eat Prosciutto (and Pepperoni and Salame and Soppressata and Capicola)!Should parents who raise their children on a vegan diet go to prison: si o no?

A lawmaker in Italy is pressing for legislation that will make feeding your child a strictly vegan diet, which precludes the consumption of animals and animal products, including eggs and dairy, punishable by one year in prison. The law proposes steeper sentences for cases where veganism has been deemed to have led to a serious health issue (up to four years) or death (up to seven years).

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Bottled Water’s Big Year, By the Numbers

by in News, August 16th, 2016

Bottled Water’s Big Year, By the NumbersThe year 2016 has the potential to go down in history for various reasons. One of them: It’s the year bottled water will outsell soda in the United States for the first time.

The national beverage-preference milestone, which has been on the horizon for a while, stems not only from health concerns about soda — which, Bloomberg recently noted, drove consumption to a 30-year low in 2015 — but also a large uptick in Americans choosing bottled water over tap. Bottled water is valued because of its portability as well as its potability. After lead contamination issues in places like Flint, Mich., Washington, D.C., and Newark, N.J., made headlines, people became concerned about the safety of the H2O flowing from their taps.

Here are a few illuminating numbers plucked from Bloomberg’s recent report about bottled water’s big year:

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