All Posts In News

Two Theories About How Thousand Island Dressing Came to Be

by in News, September 16th, 2016

Two Theories About How Thousand Islands Dressing Came to BeIt 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.

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There’s a New Basic Taste in Town: ‘Starchy’

by in News, September 15th, 2016

There’s a New Basic Taste in Town: 'Starchy'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?

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The Next Noodle Craze: Udon

by in News, September 10th, 2016

The Next Noodle Craze: UdonTrend 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

Is Pizza the Key to Workplace Productivity?

by in News, September 8th, 2016

Is Pizza the Key to Workplace Productivity?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.)

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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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