Foods are rarely hated, just better enjoyed in extreme moderation

Monday, 3 June, 2013

The perennial question, how can one people love, say, pickles, while someone else can loathe them? Loathe, as it happens though, is a strong word, if that is, I’m reading this article on the subject correctly.

In the phenomenon known as “sensory specific satiety,” the body in essence sends signals when it has had enough of a certain food. In one study, subjects who’d rated the appeal of several foods were asked about them again after eating one for lunch; this time they rated the food’s pleasantness lower. They were not simply “full,” but their bodies were striving for balance, for novelty. If you have ever had carb-heavy, syrup-drenched pancakes for breakfast, you are not likely to want them again at lunch. It’s why we break meals up into courses: Once you had the mixed greens, you are not going to like or want more mixed greens. But dessert is a different story.

So, we don’t hate a particular foodstuff per se, it seems we simply choose to limit our intake of certain fare – sometimes quite drastically – instead. So for some people a serving of pickle the size of a pinhead is quite sufficient, while others prefer a little more.

I don’t know, as a child, do you think your parents would have bought that sort of argument, while they were serving you broccoli for dinner?

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For best results eat canned food that has aged, if you dare that is…

Tuesday, 12 March, 2013

Tinned fish, photo by Nikol Lohr

I’m pretty sure your mileage would vary here, but it seems some varieties of canned food, that are consumed well after their use-by date, acquire a certain, mature or aged I guess, taste, that may not be appreciated if the food were eaten earlier. I’m not sure how you’d determine, however, what was actually safe to eat, and what was not…

The WSU dairy students make a regular cheddar curd and then seal it right away in cans, which are kept and sold refrigerated. The various lactic acid bacteria don’t need oxygen to survive, and their enzymes slowly develop the cheese’s flavor. Fans of Cougar Gold age their cans for years, sometimes decades. But because everything stays in the can, moisture included, the flavor and texture are unlike a true cheddar’s. My first bite reminded me of the aroma of canned chicken spread. Incongruous, but it grew on me.

Assuming such aged foodstuffs present no health issues, some sort of guide that matches aged wine with aged canned food could become handy.

(Photo by Nikol Lohr.)

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The chef who spent seven years cooking up a storm in the kitchen

Wednesday, 20 February, 2013

Sashimi by Curtis Duffy

It took Chicago chef Curtis Duffy seven years to bring the dish he had long envisaged to the dining table. Getting the ice casing, consisting of ginger liquid, just right was however the biggest stumbling block:

What Duffy needed wasn’t necessarily complicated – it was just a silicone ice tray with a PVC pipe sticking out. But functionally, it required incredible precision to get just right. If the ice was too thick, it’d water down the dish (which was meant to be just four to five bites). If it were too thin, the ice would melt before the kitchen could plate the dish. So Duffy simply kept the vision in the back of his mind for a long time.

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May 2013 be the year of the dim sum

Friday, 11 January, 2013

Who doesn’t enjoy dim sum, or yum cha, as it is also known? Here’s a handy guide to making the best of this most enjoyable style of dining.

Via Kottke, who by the way, will be speaking at Webstock, in Wellington, next month.

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What goes into making a twinkie is not as good as what comes out

Monday, 26 November, 2012

I don’t encounter Twinkies all that often – they’re not too common in this part of the world, if you want them here they have to be freighted in – but with a cloud over the future of their production at the moment, in the US at least, now might be the time to order some in.

Failing that, we may have to resort to making our own, and Dwight Eschliman’s photos of the ingredients used in their preparation will make for a good starting point.

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From the farm (sort of) to your plate, how hot dogs are made

Thursday, 15 November, 2012

A fascinating process but sometimes you’re better off not knowing too much about how some foodstuffs are made…

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Timing breakfast just right is the best way to do away with jet lag

Thursday, 8 March, 2012

Resetting your “food clock” looks to be the most effective way of overcoming jet lag, with the idea being not to eat for twelve to sixteen hours prior to whatever time breakfast is served in the overseas destination you are travelling to.

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How much should we pay for the perfect hamburger?

Friday, 3 February, 2012

It is worth paying top dollar, say $26 rather than perhaps $8, for a hamburger? Very possibly, if data collected in the US is anything to go by:

So we have one vote for a $26 burger being worth it. We also wanted to take a slightly more scientific approach by examining our spending data for 30 of the top burger joints in America. We plotted out all 30 restaurants by the price of their cheeseburger, and by their Bundle score, which is based on the popularity of a restaurant, the number of repeat visits by customers to a restaurant, and the amount people are willing to pay when they eat at the restaurant.

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Sharing meals, a great way to expand your social network

Tuesday, 12 April, 2011

Super-Marmite combines social networking with home cooking, and either lets you serve the extra meal portions you’ve prepared to neighbours, or dine on another local’s surplus food:

Here’s how it works: Next time you whip up a tasty meal at home, make a few extra servings then log on to Super-Marmite to sell your genius creations to hungry folks in your neighborhood. Sick of your usual take-out? Check out Super-Marmite to see what’s cooking down the street.

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Food is better than sleep, but only in your dreams

Monday, 14 March, 2011

If you had to choose between going without food or going without sleep for a week, giving up food would be the better option… sleep deprivation over that sort of time frame would be far more harmful than going hungry.

Say you decide to go on a fast, and so you effectively starve yourself for a week. At the end of seven days, how would you be feeling? You’d probably be hungry, perhaps a little weak, and almost certainly somewhat thinner. But basically you’d be fine. Now let’s say you deprive yourself of sleep for a week. Not so good. After several days, you’d be almost completely unable to function.

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