by Amy Reiter in News, July 24th, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, July 22nd, 2014
It’s the end of a long day and you’re craving a thick, juicy steak. Fortunately, you have a nice fresh cut in the freezer, awaiting its big moment. Unfortunately it’s frozen solid as a rock and dinnertime is in less than an hour. Time to surrender your steak dreams and start making pasta instead? Nope, not so fast.
CTi, a Taiwanese cable channel, suggests an electricity-free steak-defrosting hack that will safely thaw a frozen steak about 1 centimeter thick in less than five minutes. How? Take two metal pots or pans, turn one over bottom up and place your vacuum-sealed steak flat on it. Then fill the other pot or pan with water and place it, topside up, on top of the steak. The weight of the water and its temperature, conducted by the metal, will speed thawing. In five minutes, CTi says, your steak should be defrosted and ready to cook. (You can use the time to pick a recipe.)
by Amy Reiter in News, July 21st, 2014
Are we on the cusp of a full-on kelp craze? Not only have magnetic fake kelp forests recently been touted as an eco-friendly way to repel sharks and prevent attacks on beaches, but the nutrition-packed seaweed is also being hailed as the “next big superfood.”
“Eat Kelp. It’s chock-full of nutrients, it mitigates climate change by sequestering carbon, improves oceans by soaking up excess nitrogen and phosphorus, and has potential as a valuable fertilizer and biofuel,” Patrick Mustain, a communications manager at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, recently wrote in Scientific American, in a blog post titled “Move Over, Kale, The New Super Vegetable Comes From The Sea.”
by Amy Reiter in News, July 18th, 2014
Is it you, or does it feel like, no matter how hard you try to pick the shortest, fastest-moving line at the grocery store, most of the time you make the complete wrong call and end up crawling along at a snail’s pace, stuck behind someone who needs a last-minute price check on an item or is fumbling around for his or her frequent-shopper card or is simply bent on chit-chatting the afternoon away with the cashier — while customers who come after you and slide blithely into other lines are out of there in record speed?
It’s not just you.
“When you’re selecting among several lines at the grocery store, the odds are not in your favor. Chances are, the other line really is faster,” science writer Adam Mann explains in Wired. “Mathematicians who study the behavior of lines are called queueing theorists, and they’ve got the numbers to prove this.”
by Amy Reiter in News, July 17th, 2014
Do you remember the good old days — back before supermarkets and shopping centers swept into the suburbs and milk was routinely pasteurized, homogenized and contained in plastic — when the milkman, dressed in his crisp white uniform, used to come in his truck or horse-drawn wagon, glass bottles clanking, and a set fresh daily supply of dairy on your doorstep?
Yeah, me neither. But even those who are too young to have had personal experience with the family milkman may feel nostalgic about the simplicity and the directness of the farm-to-table connection his cap-and-bow-tie-wearing image evokes. That collective sentimentality, as well as an interest in buying local, a commitment to quality and the lure of time-saving convenience, is the driving force behind a new (old) trend: the return of the milkman.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 16th, 2014
To refrigerate or not to refrigerate — that is the question about eggs that several media outlets have been scrambling to answer in recent days.
The recent ovo-interest appears to have been whisked up by a Business Insider article in which writer Dina Spector wondered why we refrigerate eggs here in the United States while people in Europe and the U.K. are weirdly chill about chilling eggs, generally leaving them on the counter with the non-perishable foods. “Why doesn’t anyone in the U.K. freak out over eggs sitting in room temperatures for days on end?” she demanded to know.
It turns out that the different approaches to refrigeration here and abroad stem from differences in the way eggs are treated to prevent salmonella poisoning during farming and processing.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 15th, 2014
It’s a movie cliche: The protagonist, depressed after being dumped by the boy she digs, berated by her boss and blown off by her best friend, sits in the gloomy kitchen half-light, taking a spoon directly to a pint of ice cream or scarfing down a sad-looking cupcake. She’s using sweet treats and highly refined carbs to scuttle the blues and boost her mood — possibly while wearing unflattering pajamas, watching bad TV, and trying to ignore concerned and/or skeptical looks from her cat.
The scene has become a Hollywood trope, in part, because we recognize in it our own impulse to turn to comfort foods to boost our spirits — along with our blood sugar — when life gets us down or stresses us out. But, NPR reports, the relationship between food and mood is likely more complex than that.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 14th, 2014
A show of hands, please. Who here loves tofu? Anyone … anyone?
Tofu, also known as bean curd — which, let’s remember, is coagulated soy milk pressed into a soft block — is a food many of us have learned to accept. Low in calories and packed with protein, iron and other nutrients, it’s undeniably healthy and is a staple of vegetarians and diet-aware eaters.
Still, flavorless and bland and with a consistency that can be hard to pin down, tofu is a food few of us truly adore. “It’s not likely that tofu will become anyone’s favorite food; this we know,” is how Mark Bittman began his defense of tofu in The New York Times last week.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 12th, 2014
Pop quiz: The residents of which country spend the lowest percentage of their household budget on food?
D) United Kingdom
E) United States
The correct answer may surprise you. It’s E.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 11th, 2014
Is a ready-to-bake cake you spray like whipped cream from a can (and then pop in the oven or microwave) “the future” of dessert? That may be an overstatement, but Spray Cake, an award-winning product created by a couple of Harvard University undergrads, does seem increasingly poised to gain some millennial market traction.
Back in April, Harvard sophomores Brooke Nowakowski and John McCallum took top honors in the Harvard Innovation Lab challenge, along with a $10,000 prize, for their innovative cake in a can (not to be confused with cakes you bake in a can).
Nowakowski told the Boston Herald that the team planned to use to the award as a “launchpad” to bring the product, originally created for a science-of-cooking class, to market.
You had a great time at the summer picnic, sampling a little bit of everything. Hot dogs, burgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, fruit salad, buttered corn on the cob — your paper plate was heaped high with them all. You left feeling full and satisfied. But you woke up the next day feeling sick as a dog with food poisoning. How do you know which food was the culprit?
Figuring out the “guilty” food item in a food-poisoning outbreak can be tricky, but IBM scientists have designed a new computer system that aims to expedite the process, the company recently announced. The system uses algorithms, visualization and statistical analysis to parse retail and public health data, and then figure out which products are likely to blame in a food borne disease outbreak. And while it can’t predict an outbreak in advance — at least, not yet — it can shorten the time it takes to locate the source and halt the spread before more damage is done.