by Amy Reiter in News, September 20th, 2016
by Amy Reiter in News, September 18th, 2016
Next time you call a food “scrumdiddlyumptious” — and there should be a next time, even if there has never been a first time — and someone tells you that’s not a real word, you can tell them with assurance that it absolutely is.
Who says? The Oxford English Dictionary, actually. The august linguistic arbiter has seen fit to mark what would have been author Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday by including and/or revising the definitions of a bunch of Dahl-related words — those he coined or popularized in his vast and beloved collection of written works — in its latest quarterly update.
by Amy Reiter in News, September 16th, 2016
Pop vocabulary quiz! A “coffee cabinet” is: A) a piece of furniture in which you store your coffee, your trusty coffeemaker and all the other coffee-related paraphernalia you never use but are certain you will someday; or B) a milkshake-like beverage people drink in Rhode Island.
by Amy Reiter in News, September 15th, 2016
It was the best of dressings, it was the worst of dressings; it has an origin story that is, frankly, in some dispute. The story of how Thousand Island dressing — that creamy-sweet salad-and-sandwich-topping mix of mayonnaise, ketchup and a handful of other ingredients (though recipes vary) — came to exist is a tale of two theories.
by Amy Reiter in News, September 10th, 2016
It may seem like only last year (actually, it was only last year) that scientists were celebrating the discovery of a sixth “basic taste” — something to join the ranks of sour, sweet, salty, bitter and that Johnny-come-lately, umami, as a fundamentally distinct and discernable flavor.
Well, fat, we hardly knew ye, because now there’s a new sixth primary taste in town: starchy.
Could this explain humanity’s common craving for carbs?
by Amy Reiter in News, September 8th, 2016
Trend alert! If you still think ramen is the only hip noodle in town, udon know what you’re missing.
The toothsome wheat-flour noodle from Japan has a history that dates back anywhere from 900 to 1,200 years (depending on whom you ask), when Buddhist monks are said to have introduced it. Now Mashable has dubbed udon “your newest midnight craving” and “the heir to ramen’s throne.” Read more
by Amy Reiter in News, September 6th, 2016
Oh, pizza. You vexing vixen. You mealtime minx. You saucy (cheesy, crusty) food fatale. Is there nothing we wouldn’t do to devour you, piece by piece?
Researchers have found that the promise of pizza can prompt people to be more productive at work — even more than cash incentives can. In an experiment outlined in his forthcoming book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, and highlighted in New York magazine, Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, offered workers at an Israeli semiconductor manufacturer one of three incentives for completing a certain amount of work in a given day: a cash reward, a voucher for a free pizza or a big pat on the back from the boss. (Some workers served as the control group and received no promise of a reward at all — poor schlubs.)
by Amy Reiter in News, September 1st, 2016
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.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 30th, 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.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 29th, 2016
Nothing 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:
Taking 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: