Climate change may soon be changing the fish in your fish ‘n’ chips

Wednesday, 22 April, 2015

Fish and chips wouldn’t be be fish and chips without the fish, a prospect that could well eventuate if ocean temperatures continue to rise, doing away with, so to speak, the more popular fish-and-chip-fish species.

The report notes that the North Sea will warm by 1.8 degrees within the next 50 years. With the warming temperatures, the haddock and other traditionally native fish could all but disappear from England’s Northern shores.

Ok, sure, there’d other sorts of fish that we may be able to use as substitutes, but that shouldn’t distract us from the more serious problem at hand.

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Use reusable shopping bags? Enjoy junk food? I thought so…

Tuesday, 21 April, 2015

There’s a whole psychology to using reuseable shopping bags, as opposed to their single shot plastic counterparts, that I was unaware of, despite being a reuseable user myself.

Such people, it seems, are not only more likely to buy organic versions of their usual foodstuffs, since they’re trying to be a little more environmentally conscious, but they also tend to load up on the junk food, snacks, ice cream, chocolate bars, and the like.

It was clear that shoppers who brought their own bags were more likely to replace nonorganic versions of goods like milk with organic versions. So one green action led to another. But those same people were also more likely to buy foods like ice cream, chips, candy bars, and cookies. They weren’t replacing other items with junk food, as they did with organic food. They were just adding it to their carts.

Apparently this desire to indulge comes down to the feeling among reuseable bag users that they are doing the right thing, and feel they deserve a reward. As I say, this was all news to me.

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A spoonful of wasabi may one day be the medicine going down

Friday, 17 April, 2015

Wasabi in dish, photo by Taku Kumabe

Wasabi is a condiment I love to hate. It must be consumed in just the right quantity to be appreciated. Despite the not-so-pleasant sensations it is capable of causing though, a recent in-depth analysis of its chemical structure may help in bringing about new medicines that will alleivate pain.

It’s not the onion’s fault you’re crying. The wasabi isn’t to blame for jolting your sinuses. And don’t curse the hipsters outside the bar for the burning cough you got walking through their cloud of cigarette smoke. Those things are actually all your fault. Or rather, those uncomfortable sensations all trace back to special proteins on neurons inside your body. Those wee tangles are why you cry, cough, sting, itch, swell up, or burn whenever you encounter something noxious.

(Photo by Taku Kumabe)

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So few meals, so many thoughts of food

Wednesday, 15 April, 2015

We may only eat three meals a day, but that doesn’t stop most of us thinking about food up to two hundred times a day. Many of these thoughts are unconscious apparently – however anyone is supposed to be able to count those, who knows – so I guess that accounts for the seemingly high number.

Research by Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and the author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” suggests that the average person makes more than 200 decisions about food every day, many of them unconsciously, including the choices made from reading menus.

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Top chefs are pushing hamburgers towards the top shelf

Tuesday, 14 April, 2015

I read last week that a certain global hamburger restaurant closed an outlet in Sydney’s CBD (I think the shop in question actually closed some time ago, so it was hardly breaking news). Thankfully, one hamburger shop closing does not the end of the bun and patty meal make.

Happily though even if every hamburger joint on Earth closed, it wouldn’t spell the end of the burger either… it’d simply mean we’d have to cook our own. That’s something even I could manage, if push came to shove.

And when it comes to making them, there’s plenty of good advice, by way of chefs who are at the top of their game.

Five-time Burger Bash champion Josh Capon of NYC’s Burger & Barrel spreads a smoky bacon jam with caramelized onions to ensure each bite is packed with porky essence. In Atlanta, Linton Hopkins of Holeman & Finch believes two thin patties, as opposed to a single thick one, optimizes the crust-to-meat ratio.

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Cheese, a result of Earth’s first artificial environmental disaster

Monday, 13 April, 2015

The first known environmental disaster to be precipitated by humanity occurred eight and half thousand years ago, as a result of poor crop farming practices.

The crisis is however thought to have played a part in the invention of cheese, as people living in the middle east turned to farming sheep and goats, and discovered the milk of these animals would form an edible substance if it were left sitting in vessels for a certain amount of time.

The real dawn of cheese came about 8,500 years ago, with two simultaneous developments in human history. First, by then, over-intensive agricultural practices had depleted the soil, leading to the first human-created environmental disaster. As a result, Neolithic humans began herding goats and sheep more intensely, as those animals could survive on marginal lands unfit for crops. And secondly, humans invented pottery: the original practical milk-collection containers.

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Cooking, but lacking an ingredient? Try the cook’s thesaurus

Friday, 3 April, 2015

One for those who like to cook, who might find themselves lacking a particular ingredient that the recipe calls for… the Cook’s Thesaurus. I’m not exactly well versed in such matters, but this looks to be one extensive resource, that will suggest, usually several, substitutes, for whatever you’re missing.

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Some of us can profit from the gimmicks restaurants use on diners

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015

This article listing the ways restaurants find ways of making customers eat less, while paying more for the privilege, might make for useful reading if you’re thinking of opening a dining establishment yourself.

Time is money, but that principle means different things for different types of restaurants. Unlike fast-food and all-you-can-eat places, fine-dining establishments prefer customers who linger and spend. One way to encourage patrons to stay and order that extra round: put on some Mozart. British researchers found that when classical, rather than pop, music was playing, diners spent more.

What about when you want to close up shop, and go home? How do you encourage patrons to go, you know, pay up and get out? Change the music, of course:

Another study found that fast music hurried diners out.

That’s an old one, shops, especially supermarkets, often start playing up-tempo music as closing time approaches.

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The whole universe could just dissolve into a glass of water…

Monday, 23 March, 2015

Image by Navid Baraty

What have we here? The first photo of what looks to be a habitable planet in a solar system other than ours? It may well look that way, but the above image was created by US based photographer Navid Baraty, with basic cooking ingredients, such as food colouring and salt, among other items.

Using olive oil, flour, garlic powder, sesame oil, cumin, baking soda, together with the likes of chalk, baby powder, cat fur, and makeup, Baraty has produced an impressive collection of images that look more like they were photos taken by, say, the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Selfies on toast, for a whole new definition of dining with yourself

Monday, 9 March, 2015

I’m not sure what to make of this. I hope it’s not a sign of the apocalypse. What would we be up to here? The ten thousandth? But here we have a bread toaster that toasts selfies onto bread.

Would you want to eat that? Photos of yourself? Then again, I guess it depends whose selfie is cooked onto the toast. They’d have to be pretty hot though wouldn’t they?

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