Food cubes, unprocessed, uncooked, but looking irresistible anyway

Friday, 22 May, 2015

Artwork/photo by Lernert & Sander

Working on a commission from a local newspaper, Amsterdam based artists and filmmakers Lernert & Sander, took ninety-eights items of unprocessed foodstuffs, and cut them into two and half centimetre neatly set out cubes. It may be unprocessed food, but it still looks good enough to eat right now.

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Yes, there are people dining on insects as we speak, and enjoying it

Wednesday, 20 May, 2015

Yes, we might all be dining on insects one day, should shortages of the foods we currently consume take hold, but that hasn’t stopped some people getting the jump on the rest of us:

A writing teacher at a community college in Providence, R.I., Gracer consumes insects – “I’ve eaten at least 5,000 insects at this point, and probably 60 to 70 different species of them,” he told me earlier this month – not only because he truly likes them, whether sautéed, filleted, or roasted, but because, he says, they are nutritious and easy to raise without harming the environment.

Now if insects were served up looking more like this, then I might be up for it.

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Popsicles that look dangerous, but hopefully aren’t

Wednesday, 6 May, 2015

Anything in excess can be dangerous, including that favourite summer treat for many of us, popsicles. Well, possibly, I suppose. I doubt though that you’d find too many of these flavoured ice blocks, crafted to resemble cactus plants, and other noxious flora, left unconsumed for too long however.

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After the property bubble, the food bubble?

Wednesday, 6 May, 2015

Asset bubbles, or economic or speculative bubbles, have come and gone over the centuries. Tulips, stocks, dot-coms, and uranium, have been the subject of speculation in the past, while there is some debate as to whether Sydney houses currently fall into this category.

Another bubble however might be forming right in front of us, as we eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner… in the shape of so-called food startups, being food and grocery delivery services, among other such enterprises.

We’re seeing some of that same recklessness creeping into the food industry, as we rush to embrace a new surge of food-related startups. A bubble is coming. Unfortunately, venture capitalists may not be subjecting food startups to the same due diligence that they do for non-food-related startups.

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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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