by Amy Reiter in News, October 31st, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, October 29th, 2014
Soon, when you’re ordering a beer at a bar or restaurant, you won’t need to ask your bartender or server for a recommendation. Neither, when you’re scanning the store shelves in search of a six-pack perfectly suited to your taste, will you have to make a split-second decision based on label alone.
We’ve all had memorable instances when we’ve plunked down our hard-earned money for a beer that sounded cool but left us cold. But there’s a new free app in the works that will take the guesswork out of beer buying.
A Wilmington, N.C.-based company called Next Glass is currently putting in the legwork to scientifically map the DNA of every single kind of beer sold in the United States in order to scientifically determine — based on beer you’ve liked in the past — what beer you’re likely to enjoy next. The app’s tagline: “It used to be subjective. Now, it’s personal.”
by Amy Reiter in News, October 27th, 2014
Anyone waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive this year can at least settle for a great big pumpkin pie.
Chefs in Changsha, China, recently baked a 1,894-pound pumpkin pie measuring more than 13 feet in diameter. According to China View, the pie — which, judging from this video, doesn’t appear to have much in the way of crust — was steamed in a gigantic pan that had “eight burners working simultaneously.”
by Amy Reiter in News, October 26th, 2014
Bracing for the onslaught of itty-bitty bite-size Halloween candy that’s about to descend upon your home? Dreading the kitchen-storage issue it presents and wondering precisely how to portion it out to your children (and OK, sometimes, when no one’s looking, yourself)? Then this cool refrigerator hack will not leave you cold.
A Redditor named Deric Peace has turned his refrigerator’s automatic icemaker into a frozen candy dispenser: All he did was put candy where the freshly made ice usually goes. (Important note: Be sure to turn off your freezer’s ice-making function before attempting this.)
Peace, who calls the hack the “best thing” he’s ever done for himself, told Reddit commenters the idea came to him “in a flash,” explaining, “I thought of it while grabbing my last bit of Peanut Butter M&M’s from the bag, and as I looked at the freezer door, I said, hmmm. If this thing spits out cubes of ice, why not candy?!”
by Amy Reiter in News, October 25th, 2014
Ugh. Fruit flies — so annoying. All it takes is one forgotten banana or neglected tomato and suddenly the airspace in your kitchen is more crowded than O’Hare on a holiday weekend. The little flying pests seem to arrive and multiply out of nowhere, leaving you wondering where, exactly, they come from and what is the best (and fastest!) way to get rid of them.
Let’s take those questions one at a time.
by Amy Reiter in News, October 23rd, 2014
You’re probably pretty sick of hearing about whatever food trend seekers are currently dubbing the “new Cronut.” I know I am. But the latest food item upon which the label has been bestowed does sound rather tasty, though it has nothing to do with Dominique Ansel, the New York City pastry chef who created the croissant hybrid — the original Cronut — that started it all.
OK, OK, “the latest croissant hybrid that actually deserves a line around the block,” as Brooklyn Magazine describes it, is at the epicenter of self-aware Brooklyn hipsterism — Bushwick — and, more specifically, Roberta’s, maker of delish (albeit ultra-hyped) artisanal pizzas, which just started a takeaway outlet for those hoping to skip the long waits for a table. But the local mag calls the takeout joint’s new garlic knots “revelatory.”
by Amy Reiter in News, October 22nd, 2014
For most of us here in the United States, rice may not always have seemed like the most-inspiring food: Plain, white, bland, sometimes mushy, the stuff our mothers served us was something we may have eaten with little relish. (Sorry, Mom.)
Recently, however, rice’s rep has been changing. Increasingly, American consumers’ palates are expanding to encompass more sophisticated (and more expensive) varieties — like jasmine, basmati, brown and black rice, wild rice, red rice and other exotic blends. Rice sales are growing, the Wall Street Journal reports, and while white long-grain rice is still preferred by many, “specialty” rice is starting to soak up more of the market.
So what, exactly, is driving this trend toward exotic grains? Factors may include our growing interest in foods that are “authentic” and unusual, as well as our desire to make healthier choices — opting for varieties that are higher in fiber or protein, according to the Journal. Plus, the fact that rice is gluten-free probably isn’t hurting sales, given the current popularity of avoiding the protein found in wheat and many other grains.
by Amy Reiter in News, October 21st, 2014
You’re sitting in your office, your car, a hotel room or the middle of nowhere, or you’re on a biking or camping trip — or heck, you’re just lounging around at home — and you crave an espresso, bigtime, but you’re too far from a fancy machine to make you one. What do you do?
A startup industrial design firm in Hong Kong, Wacaco, is now offering a new way to answer that question: a small, hand-powered portable espresso machine that allows people to “pull their own drink on the go,” the Minipresso.
According to the Minipresso website, the cleverly designed DIY machine extracts at 116 psi, which, the site says, “is exactly the pressure produced by traditional piston-driven espresso machines.” Temperature has also been carefully considered. “Minipresso produces at ambient condition (75 degrees F), an espresso at perfect temperature (152 degrees F in cup) with a nice compact and persistent crema on top,” the machine’s makers maintain.
by Amy Reiter in News, October 18th, 2014
On the flour-tortilla-wrapped face of it, finding America’s best burrito sounds like an impossible quest. For starters, how, given all the burrito-serving restaurants across the United States, do you taste all possible winners? And how, given the myriad permutations of burritos — the sheer volume and variety of techniques and fillings and flavors — do you compare different prospects? And then, how exactly can you quantify which is the best?
You’d have to be full of beans and un poco loco to even try such a thing, right?
Well, we don’t want to pass any judgments, but the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight.com recently flung itself full-force at the challenge, biting into burritos and crunching numbers — as only the site founded by statistician Nate Silver can — to arrive at a quantifiable winner.
by Amy Reiter in News, October 17th, 2014
Who knew brunch — that seemingly innocuous meal that ambivalently straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, that daytime gathering opportunity for those who stay out late and sleep in on weekends, that blood-sugar boon for those enamored of eggs Benedict and fancy frittatas, Bloody Marys and mimosas — could spark such controversy?
“Brunch Is for Jerks,” The New York Times declared on Friday (just before the weekend’s brunch-eating commenced), in a headline atop an opinion piece in which writer David Shaftel declares that he’s “through with brunch” and gripes that the hybrid meal has “spread like a virus from Sunday to Saturday” and “jumped the midafternoon boundary.”
The simmering “brunch backlash,” Shaftel observes, broke through to the mainstream after Strokes front man Julian Casablancas blamed brunch (and those who eat it on Saturdays) for his departure from New York City for parts less urban.
Oh, ho, ho, Shaftel, a former brunch admirer who traces his conversion to hitting 40 and having a kid, has some choice words for brunch. He calls it “a twice-weekly symbol of our culture’s increasing desire to reject adulthood” by throwing three-meal-a-day convention to the wind and “reveling in the naughtiness of waking up late, having cocktails at breakfast and eggs all day.” It is, he says, “the mealtime equivalent of a Jeff Koons sculpture.”
We have no myth-busting news to impart about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but we do have one bubble to burst: That little ball of green stuff you’ve been mixing into your soy sauce and calling wasabi all your life is, in fact, not wasabi at all, reports Washington Post Wonkblogger Roberto A. Ferdman. So, um, what is it?
Ferdman quotes sushi expert Trevor Corson: “ … it’s just plain old horseradish, plus some mix of mustard extract, citric acid, yellow dye no. 5 and blue dye no. 1. It comes in big industrial bags as a powder, and the chefs mix it with water before dinner to make that caustic paste.”