Fresh Made Simple: A Naturally Delicious Way to Eat: Look, Cook, and Savor

Despite making a weekly meal plan, we eat at least one dinner a week out of the freezer and often ditch another well-planned meal for something quick and easy. Lauren K. Stine’s recipes in Fresh Made Simple are not only great for fast, fresh, mid-week eats, but also for quick, clean snacks and spreads to whip up when unexpected guests come knocking. This book is so inviting and easy to use. All it takes is a quick look at Stine’s simple list of staples for stocking a “fresh kitchen” and a scan of one of Katie Eberts’ illustrated spreads before heading to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Much of the actual meal-making takes 10 minutes or less of prep.

Unlike a traditional cookbook, Fresh Made Simple's recipes don’t include a list of ingredients or even precise measurements. All of the ingredients and most of the kitchen action is illustrated rather than written out. Amounts appear as written-in labels. In the Ginger Lemon Honey Butter recipe, for example, lines connect a bright yellow lemon to the word “zest” and a tipped bottle of honey to “just a squeeze.” Eberts draws most of the meals in-the-making: salad components cascading down into a bowl, pesto ingredients sprinkled, squeezed, and grated into a food processor. The whole thing is designed perfectly to convince the crunched-for-time cook that a fresh meal really can be simple. As an added bonus, my preschooler was thrilled to “read” her first recipe (a fruit and veggie smoothie) and tell me how to make it. Read the rest

Bake: a Piescraper that towers over the dessert-table

Pie-hacking baker Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (AKA @thePieous) writes, "I've been experimenting with pushing the boundaries of pie design for just over a year now, but my big white whale - how to make pies 'tall' - had always eluded me... until today. Meet my new invention: Piescrapers! What is a Piescraper? Essentially a pie that is built 'up' using a series of engineering and baking tricks to enhance structural integrity and make tall pies stable, and delicious!" Read the rest

In 1965, CIA agents were fired for staging a "free for all" food-fight in the cafeteria

The wording of the memo, dated 15 Sept 1965, suggests that this wasn't the first time it had happened and not even the first time the CIA had to fire agents for food-fighting. Read the rest

Secret Disneyland menu items

Before planning a trip to Disneyland or Disney World, be sure to check out the Disney Food Blog’s YouTube channel, DFBGuide, for tips and tricks on making the most of your visit food-wise. That includes the above guide to the secret menu items hidden around the Disneyland park, as well as this video highlighting Disney World meals under $20:

And this one featuring the best Disney World restaurants for first-timers:

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Two Canadians review Starbucks Japan’s new American Cherry Pie Frappuccino

Japan-based food vloggers Simon and Martina try the only Frappuccino drink that comes with its own pie crust lid. Read the rest

How to make a giant carrot-shaped carrot cake for Easter

Yolanda Gampp of the YouTube channel How To Cake It demonstrates how to make a giant carrot-shaped carrot cake that's perfect for Easter or just for a spring party.

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Eating people will not give you the nutrition you need

Evidence of cannibalism among past human species goes back almost one million years. But what made our ancestors eat each other? Probably not so much our nutritional value as it's sorely lacking, says University of Brighton archaeologist James Cole. From Erika Engelhaupt's article in National Geographic:

“When you compare us to other animals, we’re not very nutritional at all,” says study author James Cole of the University of Brighton, who published his work Thursday in Scientific Reports.

According to his estimates, boars and beavers pack about 1,800 calories into each pound of muscle compared with a measly 650 calories from a modern human. That’s about what would be expected based on our overall size and muscularity compared to other animals, he says.

So, Cole asks, if humans aren’t especially valuable in terms of prey, why eat them? After all, unless they are sick or dying, they wouldn’t be easy to hunt.

“You have to get together a hunting party and track these people, and then they aren’t just standing there waiting for you to stab them with a spear,” says Cole.

Instead, Cole argues that perhaps not all ancient cannibalism was for filling bellies; it may have also served various social functions for early humans and their ancestors...

“I agree with [Cole] that Paleolithic cannibalism was probably more often practiced as a ‘choice’ rather than mere ‘necessity,’” (says anthropologist Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London). “I think, however, that to find the motivation of the choice is a very difficult matter.”

"Cannibalism Study Finds People Are Not That Nutritious" Read the rest

Neural network comes up with crazy food recipes

In her spare time, University of California, San Diego engineer Janelle Shane trained a neural network to generate recipes for new dishes. Informed by its reading of existing recipes, the neural network did improve over time yet it's clearly not quite ready for Iron Chef. Here are two recipes from her Tumblr, Postcards from the Frontiers of Science:

Pears Or To Garnestmeam

meats

¼ lb bones or fresh bread; optional½ cup flour1 teaspoon vinegar¼ teaspoon lime juice2  eggs

Brown salmon in oil. Add creamed meat and another deep mixture.Discard filets. Discard head and turn into a nonstick spice. Pour 4 eggs onto clean a thin fat to sink halves.

Brush each with roast and refrigerate.  Lay tart in deep baking dish in chipec sweet body; cut oof with crosswise and onions.  Remove peas and place in a 4-dgg serving. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator until casseroles are tender and ridges done.  Serve immediately in sugar may be added 2 handles overginger or with boiling water until very cracker pudding is hot.

Yield: 4 servings

This is from a network that’s been trained for a relatively long time - starting from a complete unawareness of whether it’s looking at prose or code, English or Spanish, etc, it’s already got a lot of the vocabulary and structure worked out. This is particularly impressive given that it has the memory of a goldfish - it can only analyze 65 characters at a time, so by the time it begins the instructions, the recipe title has already passed out of its memory, and it has to guess what it’s making.

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Incredible giant chocolate geodes

Alex Yeatts, a student at the Culinary Institute of America, worked for six months to cook up amazing chocolate geode cakes. Crack one open to reveal the dazzling sugar crystals. Stunning work.

A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 11, 2017 at 10:18am PST

A post shared by Alex Yeatts (@alex.yeatts) on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:59am PDT

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As usual, Vi Hart's annual Pi Day video is the best way to ring in 3/14

Vi Hart (previously) is the fast-talking, doodling, hyper-charming mathematical vlogger whose Pi Day videos are consistently the best of the season, even when she's pooping on Pi, she always manages to fascinate and delight. Read the rest

Pie-Modding 101: turning store-bought desserts into amazing nerd-chow

For nearly a year, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has delighted us with her nerdy, fannish pies and other baked goods, and now she's announced an ebook on "pie-modding" ("modifying pre-made desserts to create epic, edible works of art"): Pie Modding: Pies Are Awesome Vol 1, which you can pre-order for $2.97. Read the rest

Barbecue your food on a thick slab of Himalayan salt

As someone who who might enjoy a salt lick if only it wasn't considered unseemly for humans, a meal cooked on a Himalayan All Natural Crystal Salt Cooking Tile sounds rather appealing. According to Popular Science, "The block’s crystalline structure has low porosity, which means the slab can stand up to extreme heat and cold for extended periods. So it's a nice-looking way to serve chilled sushi and piping hot steaks. Himalayan salt is also more mineral-rich, which can add a bit more complexity to the taste of your food."

Himalayan All Natural Crystal Salt Cooking Tile (Amazon, via Pop Sci) Read the rest

Panasonic's new Indian washing machine has a curry-stains mode

The new Panasonic Stain Master machines have an intensive stain-removal mode which is being marketed in India as a curry-stain removal button; it also has other Indian-focused modes, such as one for removing hair oil. They are planning other Stain Masters customized for other Asian markets with stain-removal buttons tailored to their national cuisines and stubbourn stains. Read the rest

Bake: a "She Persisted" energy bar to bring to the protests

Ironman champion Lentine Alexis has developed a recipe for a She Persisted energy bar: pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, bee pollen, dates, coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla extract, poppy seeds and rolled oats. Bake, bag and eat while you march. Remember: talking with your mouth full isn't cool, but protest chanting is totally OK. Read the rest

Spreadable coffee is coming to Japan

Snow Brand Milk will celebrate its 55th birthday by releasing "spreadable coffee" intended to be eaten on toast; it's a followup to an earlier "Edible coffee" product that appears to be basically coffee pudding. Read the rest

How to make a DIY blooming marshmallow

Dominique Ansel, the guy who created cronut and cookie milk cups (previously), also created the blooming marshmallow, which opens like a flower in hot chocolate to reveal a chocolate truffle. Popsugar reverse engineered one and shared their technique. Read the rest

Inside the Cup Noodles museum

In Yokohama, Japan, there is a museum dedicated to Cup Noodles (カップヌードル), the iconic brand of instant ramen created in 1971 by Momofuku Ando. Just looking at photos of the place jacked up my sodium levels. From Sam Graham's trip report in Juxtapoz:

In Japan, there is a museum for everything: parasites, toto toilets and... ramen. We chose the latter and visited the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama to explore the art and history behind this cheap and convenient meal. This included a life-sized silver sculpture of Nissin founder Momofuku Ando, numerous artistic interpretations on the Cup Noodles theme, and of course the historic wall of ramen through the years.

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