Does Roman bread improve with age? It looks like it might

Wednesday, 18 November, 2015

What did Roman bread taste like, exactly?

Thanks to the efforts of British Museum researchers, who analysed the remains of loaf of bread buried in the Roman town of Herculaneum, when Mount Vesuvius erupted in the first century, they were able to supply Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli with a list of its ingredients. He was then able to bake a more or less identical loaf, two thousand years later.

The recipe is here if you wish to make your own Roman era bread as well.

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Who will farm once today’s farmers become too old to continue?

Thursday, 12 November, 2015

Farming is an industry that is perhaps taken for granted by more than a few people. As long as food reaches the table, why have much concern for the process that helps bring this about?

While I’m no expert, here is a line of work, it seems to me, where more stands to go wrong, than right. Farmers are often at the mercy of the weather, their crops and livestock are vulnerable to all sorts of diseases, and I doubt that the hours are conducive to attaining any sort of so-called work/life balance. And that’s just for starters.

With the average age of farmers increasing, it’s sixty-five in Canada for instance, it is also an industry that is literally at risk of dying out. That’s not to say farming holds no appeal to younger people, it does, as Age of The Farmer, a short film by Spencer MacDonald shows, just not many.

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One bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Hold the bacon. No, wait…

Wednesday, 28 October, 2015

Monday must have been worse than usual for bacon lovers, who would have woken to news that the World Health Organisation had seemingly declared that bacon, and other processed meats, such as sausages and hot dogs, to be cancer causing, or “probably carcinogenic”, to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

The announcement certainly caused a stir, and there were early suggestions that the fast food, and farming, industries could be turned on their heads, and that packets of bacon might soon have to bear health warning labels, possibly a little like those seen on cigarette packs.

It’s now apparent that these sentiments may have been somewhat overcooked, and do little more than show that bad news sells. The risks from the consumption of bacon, and other processed meats, are perhaps no where near as dire as some of the early reporting suggested:

The main thing the IARC established was a casual link between eating processed meat and certain types of cancer in humans, chiefly colorectal cancer. But the actual risk is quite modest – and far, far smaller than the cancer risks from smoking. Munching on the occasional bacon strip simply isn’t that dangerous.

So it comes down to moderation, a point Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s new chief scientist, also makes. Gorge yourself on bacon, or anything for that matter, and problems will strike sooner or later. And now that we’ve cleared up that matter, hopefully, let normal programming resume.

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To make a new sort of chocolate, the chocolate must look new also

Tuesday, 29 September, 2015

chocolatexture, by nendo

Tokyo based design studio nendo was asked to create a new chocolate concept. I think you’ll agree that chocolatexture ticks all the boxes in that regard.

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How long does it take to earn enough for a hamburger on your pay?

Monday, 31 August, 2015

A good measure of your salary, or otherwise… how long, as in what number of minutes, hours, days, weeks, and so on, does it take you to earn enough money to buy items such as a hamburger, a pair of running shoes, a flat screen television, a new car, and a house.

For those living in Melbourne or Sydney, the estimated time to buy a house however may be just slightly out.

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There’s milkshakes, then there’s extreme milkshakes

Tuesday, 25 August, 2015

Photo by Alana Dimou

I hate to complain about the cafes in Sydney, but I’ve had the trend of preserve jars as drinking glasses, up to my eyeballs. This, I think, calls for one of Sydney photographer, and food blogger, Alana Dimou’s extreme milkshakes:

And the Oreos, my god the Oreos, they’re everywhere, and everyone’s got one, and everyone’s holding one of these extreme milkshakes, gnashing at food for the sake of social media, exchanging calories for notifications, it’s 8 o’clock in the morning and everybody’s drinking them to avoid the hour long lines from the brunching hour onwards to attain the Thing. The cult. The cult of Extreme Milkshakes. It’s here and we’re all trapped in a vortex of milk and Nutella and garnishes the moment we open Instagram.

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Beer as a spreadable food… is this the breakfast of champions?

Friday, 21 August, 2015

Beer as food spread? Sounds like tempting fate to me. I don’t know about anyone else, but I couldn’t imagine eating something I’m more accustomed to drinking. That’s obviously not a prospect that bothers some people though.

The oatmeal stout jelly is the most intimidating, with its dark brown color and heady smell. But it’s actually sweet, and a lot fruitier than you’d expect. The roasted, yeasty flavors you want from a stout are there, but it’s not like chomping into Marmite by any means. With sliced juicy figs and a cracker, it was delicious. On a tear of Brie, even better.

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The sushi craze before the sushi craze

Friday, 14 August, 2015

It seems US residents were enjoying sushi, and other Japanese dishes, not fifty years ago, but one hundred years ago. At least for a time, that is. Until other restaurateurs, and labour unions, of the early twentieth century, felt the cuisine’s popularity was detrimental to their livelihoods:

The truth is that two generation earlier, in the first two decades of the 20th century, Americans knew all about Japanese food and enjoyed it so much that labor unions and American restaurant owners conspired to run the Japanese out of business and out of the country. Worse, these angry agents of change were mostly successful in that effort, launching a thirty-year-long campaign of hysteria, intimidation and misinformation, one that ended in 1924 with the passage of the Japanese Exclusion and Labor Act.

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Spice may be the spice of a long life

Wednesday, 12 August, 2015

Injecting ourselves with the blood of someone younger can, apparently, play a part in reversing the ageing process. That, to me, though seems like a process fraught with difficulty. Much difficulty. Think about it.

When it comes to anti-ageing, and by definition, extending longevity however, there may be another possibility. A diet that includes a little more spicy food. A Chinese study recently found that people who ate a spicy dish, at least once a week, experienced fewer instances of fatal respiratory, cardiac, and infective diseases:

Men who ate spicy food at least once a week were 10 percent less likely to die during the seven-year study period than were those with a more bland diet. Women had a mortality decrease of 12 to 22 percent during the study period with regular spicy food consumption, and eating it three or more times a week was associated with the biggest decrease.

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If something tastes like fat, should I actually be eating it?

Wednesday, 5 August, 2015

Up until now the food we eat has fallen into one of five basic taste categories… sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami. Umami, being a “pleasant savory taste”, had been the last addition, since its identification last century. Now there may be a sixth basic taste, fat. Yes, fat:

“Fat is likely another one of the basic tastes. I think we have pretty clear evidence for this,” said Richard Mattes, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, and the lead author of the study. If people learn to manipulate the taste of fat correctly, he says, it will allow us to make tons of food taste better by either reproducing the taste of fat or introducing substitutes that successfully mimic it.

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