Food Sustainability – Science for The People

Science for The People, Episode #235: Food SustainabilityFood 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 “Food Sustainability – Science for The People”

Sense Memories: Prosciutto & Melon + The Pirates of Penzance

“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)
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?

Macarons: The Sexiest Cookie Known to Man

Macaron (Photo Credit: Ben Witten CC BY-NC-SA)
Macaron (Photo Credit: Ben Witten CC BY-NC-SA)

I grew up in the Midwest. There are some wonderful things about growing up in the Midwest: friendly neighbors, sense of community, Big 10 football. Quality food experiences, however, does not make the list. As I started to explore the world and its food, I made some amazing discoveries. Near the top of that list was the macaron.

A little “o” can make a big difference. As a kid I was drawn to these spongy lumps that glued my tongue to the roof of my mouth and left coconut in my teeth for days called macaroons. Then, I discovered a true macaron, with a delicate, crisp outer layer that gives way to a soft, slightly chewy inside sandwiched around smooth, sweet, creamy buttercream. It was an epiphany. I am not saying that macarons are better than macaroons1. I am simply saying that they are not the same.

Macaroon: chunks of hastily prepared stickiness to adorn a middle school pot-luck table.
Macaron: colorful bites of Parisian decadence that can make women swoon, bring men to their knees, and cause unicorns to weep.

Continue reading “Macarons: The Sexiest Cookie Known to Man”

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