Food sustainability is a hot topic. Food everything is a hot topic. The most recent episode (#235) of Science for The People (née Skeptically Speaking) is exceptionally good* on this topic. Host Desiree Schell and guests Valentine Cadieux and Emily Cassidy cover standard topics of food sustainability, but address controversial areas like GMOs and “eating local” with nuance that gets beyond simplistic arguments over whether GMOs are safe or if “eating local” is environmentally friendly.
They also raise the issue of honoring food cultures as an important element of pragmatic discussions about feeding the ever growing human population. A potential result of our desire to provide adequate calories and nutrition to impoverished areas of the globe is the destruction of traditional food cultures in poor societies, while promoting those of rich societies – a kind of benign, cultural imperialism. Continue reading
Editor’s Note – Thanks to Michele we now know that today is the inaugural UK Fungus Day. There was a Fungus Day last year, but it was confined to Wales and, therefore, was “National” Fungus Day (and in the minds of the English did not count anyway).
Ben first gave us this recipe over a year ago (18 September 2012) and we thought it would be a fitting tribute to a long overdue day in tribute to fungi.
This week’s recipe is a bit of a two-for-one. The “main” recipe is a fall favorite of mine, mushroom soup (PDF – 770kb). This recipe only has five ingredients (not including salt and oil, which are staples, not ingredients), the most important of which is not, in fact, the mushrooms. It’s the stock (PDF – 115kb). Just replace the mushroom with any number of vegetables and we can still make a delicious soup – as long as we start with good stock. So, if we want to understand the science behind great mushroom soup, we need to understand the science behind good stock. Continue reading
My brother assures me that the title of the post is nerd for “Molecular Gastronomy Ain’t Food Science”. I hope this is true. He’s a very convincing liar.
The term molecular gastronomy has gone from niche jargon to a standard phrase in discussions of food. In many ways, molecular gastronomy is synonymous with modern cuisine. I find this ironic, because it is anything but modern. Techniques have been honed and the array of available chemicals has expanded, but that is a difference in degree, not a difference in kind.
Two hundred yeas ago, if we wanted to make something like an aspic*, you would boil down pig skin to extract the gelatin. Today, we can buy a packet of powder from the store. The source of gelatin, be that a vat of boiled pig skin or a convenient sized packet), does not make the molecular processes that occur during the cooking different. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: My favorite movie food is Dots. That is not the kind of movie food Ben is talking about here.
In the Disney film The Sword in the Stone, Arthur’s stepbrother, Sir Kay, devours approximately 5 pounds of chicken drumsticks by simply sticking the whole drumstick in his mouth and sucking off the meat. My young mind was astonished to learn that you could eat an entire drumstick in one bite. Turns out, you can’t. There’s all this cartilage and stuff in there and its a bit of a choking hazard. Bummer.
You can, however, sometimes pull off Sir Kay’s trick with the meat on the radius* bone when eating buffalo wings. It’s not nearly as impressive, but still oddly satisfying.
*You know the part of a chicken wing that has two bones in it? I’m pretty sure that the radius is the smaller bone in that portion of the wing. It also has less cartilage and connective tissue, which helps with this particular trick.
“prosciutto with melon” by Pen Waggener (CC BY 2.0)
I think everyone has had the experience of taking a bite of food that has transported them. That bite of food that takes them mind and soul back to their childhood or to a special place or to a fond memory. Food has that power. All food. Its part of its magic. I can’t eat prosciutto and melon (Recipe Card: PDF – 88kb) without thinking about The Pirates of Penzance, because my first time trying the delectable salty-sweet duo was while watching a movie adaptation of the play. I haven’t seen the movie since (about 20 years now), but I will almost universally be caught humming “Modern Major General” after eating prosciutto and melon.
Click image for printable recipe card (PDF – 88kb)
In the spirit of food’s nostalgic powers, I thought it would be fun to periodically share those recipes that are close to my heart. In some cases, I was able to lay my hands on the very recipe. In others, I have recreated recipes that never fail to invoke warm remembrances of bygone days.
These are my memories, but I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite nostalgic dishes?