by Amy Reiter in News, July 12th, 2014
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.
by Nikhita Mahtani in News, July 10th, 2014
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.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 10th, 2014
Fresh off of Bobby Flay’s win in the Outstanding Culinary Host category for Barbecue Addiction at the 2014 Daytime Emmy Awards comes another prestigious nomination for Food Network – Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Structured Reality Program category. This is the second time in a row that the show, featuring Guy as he travels the country locating the best bites in every city imaginable, has been nominated. Winners will be announced at the ceremony on Monday, August 25, 2014.
For a full list of nominees, click here.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 9th, 2014
It can be challenging to bake a birthday cake that will meet the demands of a 1-year-old or someone with strict dietary constraints. But even those of us who are especially good at baking cute confections or have a file full of vegan and gluten-free cake recipes have probably never faced quite the same birthday-cake challenge zookeepers at the Taipei Zoo confronted this past weekend: What do you make for the panda who has everything on the occasion of her first birthday?
by Amy Reiter in News, July 8th, 2014
You’ve thrown a party and have a ton of leftovers — there’s no way you’re going to be able to work your way through them before they go bad. You’ve begun to bake brownies and suddenly realize you’re short on flour. You’re on your way out of town for a few weeks and the groceries in your fridge will surely spoil by the time you return. What do you do?
People who find themselves presented with those dilemmas now have a new high-tech way of resolving them: food-sharing websites and apps. A website is now up and running in Germany that facilitates the sharing of leftovers, helping individuals or businesses pass them along to those who need or want them — for free. Once you sign up — as more than 43,000 registered users across 240 European cities have done — you can post a “basket” of food that’s available by listing its contents or scan the site for a basket you’d like to claim. Then you arrange to meet — the site’s founders have set up “hot spots” — and voila! It’s like Airbnb crossed with borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 7th, 2014
If you frequently find yourself trading breakfast for a granola bar, skipping lunch and hitting the vending machines, or passing up dinner and grabbing a quick bite on the way to your evening activity, you are hardly alone. Increasingly, over the last three decades, the Wall Street Journal reports, America has become a nation of snackers. And if the trend continues, the three square meals we Americans have long prided ourselves on may go the way of the electric typewriter, the rotary phone and the passenger pigeon.
Back in the late 1970s, only 10 percent of Americans snacked three or more times a day. By the 1990s, that number had risen to about 20 percent. In 2010, 56 percent of us were snacking that frequently, the Journal reports, citing the most recent government data. What’s more, a 2013 survey by consumer tracker The Hartman Group found that 48 percent of Americans passed up meals at least three times per week, and the majority of us — 63 percent — didn’t decide what we were going to eat until about an hour before we ate it. And while in the morning we tend to reach for healthy snacks like fruit, in the evening, as willpower wanes, we’re diving into the candy jars and ice cream bowls with abandon.
by Debra Puchalla in Family, News, July 3rd, 2014
I scream, you scream. Everyone seems to be screaming about ice cream right now. And as the mercury continues its seasonal climb, the cries may grow louder, the cravings stronger.
The New York Times dedicated its Dining section last week to frozen treats. The new and trendy, soft and custardy, shaved and crushed, fancy and French, malted and milky, the ethnic and exotic all get their shivery due. The paper’s tribute to local ice cream parlors may inspire some readers to make nostalgic trips home and prompt others to make previously unscheduled stops during summer road trips. And Melissa Clark’s DIY tips and recipes — and her urging to experiment and taste — may inspire a new generation of ice cream tinkerers.
by Amy Reiter in News, July 2nd, 2014
Watermelon’s always been the coolest fruit of summer. When I cut into a watermelon, it’s either for a last-minute barbecue contribution or an instant “side dish” for the kids — seed-spitting contests are just a bonus. It has plenty of vitamins A and C, and it’s ready in two minutes flat. Wedges, cubes, balls of sugary-sweet juiciness — the options are endless and there’s no oven required. But maybe I need to hone my knife skills and take a slice from Vancouver’s Clive Cooper, a government worker by day and artist by night whose latest extreme watermelon carvings give fruit-platter party planners something to, well, chew on.
I thought Cooper and his fabulous menagerie were the “why” of a spike in watermelon searches reported by Yahoo web trend expert Lauren Whitehouse a week or two ago; since then his fierce alligator carving and the latest, the triceratops above, have been stomping their way through food news and Facebook. He’s not the only one; Pinterest is ripe with countless carved characters. Why, after all, should food fans have to wait for pumpkin season to make faces? As to folks searching “watermelon,” they wanted to know how many calories are in the fruit (about 50 per cup) and how to cut it (try Alton’s cut-the-ends-first method); there was also a 500+ percent increase in searches for “watermelon cake” (not a cake at all but a trompe-l’oeil fun fruit dessert), plus plenty of people pondering perennial favorites likes drinks and refreshing salads with watermelon (with feta as a partner; here is Ina’s take, one of my go-to’s for summer guests).
by Amy Reiter in News, July 1st, 2014
When you think of state fair food, you probably think of things that are deep-fried, sugar-dusted, perched on a stick or served in a cone: You’ve got your corn dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream — with which you can fortify yourself as you gaze upon your wall of blue-ribbon pies and, especially in the Midwest, your life-size cows carved out of butter.
But, of course, those fairground staples are only the beginning. State fairs are also famous for debuting foods that are new and different — innovative, imaginative, exotic and often deliberately excessive. Who can forget the deep-fried stick of butter on a stick that made its debut at the Iowa State Fair a few years back?
Many of us enjoy a summer cocktail or two, sharing a bottle of wine over dinner, a few beers while watching the game. No one — at least no one I know — enjoys the hangover that often follows. But what is causing all those miserable symptoms the morning after? Why, exactly, do we get hangovers? And what, if anything, can you do about them?
The Atlantic magazine recently published an interview with Richard Stephens, a psychology professor at Keele University in the U.K. and a member of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group, a group of scientists who study hangovers that convened this past weekend. He offered some insight that may prove useful before you head out to those Fourth of July barbecues and wake up the next day with fireworks going off in your head.