Vintage photos of L.A. restaurants that were shaped like the food they served

With L.A.'s iconic Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand set to reopen, LAist posted a brief photographic history of the city's fantastic history of "'programmatic architecture,' buildings designed to look like food, animals or other items."

"LA's Awesome History Of Weird, Food-Shaped Restaurants" (via NextDraft)

images: Los Angeles Public Library Collection Read the rest

How rainbow sprinkles are made

From Food Insider:

Rainbow cake sprinkles have been around since the late 18th century, when French candy chefs used them as decorations. Today, liquid food coloring, shortening, and sugar are mixed in hot water to form the sprinkle's colorful dough. Long strands of the dough are broken into the tiny shapes we see on cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and ice cream.

(via Laughing Squid)

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We're going to be eating bugs really soon now, again

Whether or not you've ever chosen to eat insects, you've eaten insects, or parts of them, in the grains, legumes, fruits and nuts you've consumed (not to mention the occasional inhaled kamikaze mosquito). Read the rest

Watch this cute dog help scientists study truffles

Lucy the truffle-sniffing dog is helping Professor Ulf Büntgen and other researchers learn more about the ecology of truffles, which despite their great value remain enigmatic to scientists. Read the rest

Impossible Burger totally possible according to the FDA

Last month, while I was in Boston on assignment, my EIC took me out for lunch. Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger was on the menu at the joint we went to. I had my doubts, as I ordered the thing, but it seemed like a rare opportunity to try the hard-to-find lab-grown burger that I shouldn’t pass up. It was absolutely delicious. Thanks to the FDA’s declaration that all of the ingredients in the Impossible patty are safe to consume, for most everyone, we might start seeing the plant-based meat in the wild a whole lot more often.

It’s not that there was anything poisonous or specifically dangerous in an Impossible Burger patty. Rather, to make their ‘meat,’ Impossible Foods used a part of the soybean plant that no one’s every really thought to eat before: the root.

From Engadget:

Impossible Foods submitted the meat substitute for review back in 2014, but the FDA responded with concerns that its key ingredient, a protein known as soy leghemoglobin, might cause allergies and other adverse effects. The protein is commonly found in soy plants' roots, but since we don't typically eat that part of the plant, the FDA had reservations about its safety. In response, the company sent in more info, including results from a rat-feeding study, which convinced the agency to declare that the plant-based meat (and soy leghemoglobin) is "generally recognized as safe" for human consumption.

This is great news as it’s soy leghemoglobin that makes an Impossible Burger what it is. Read the rest

Study: Eating beef jerky could lead to mental illness

Apparently, for some people, snapping into a Slim Jim could result in snapping in a much more serious manner.

According to Gizmodo, while looking for connections between food-borne infections and mental illness, researchers accidentally discovered that a correlation between the routine noshing of cured meats and symptoms of mania, depression, arousal and hyper excitement began popping up in individuals in the scientist’s test subjects far more often than those who refrained from eating the snacks. The same issues were not noted as being consequential to eating any other foods.

From Gizmodo:

Hoping to confirm that it was the jerky at fault, Yolken [the scientist conducting the study] reached out to other researchers and started experimenting with rats. Because jerky and similar products are cured using nitrate salts, they theorized that nitrates might be the key driver of a mania effect.

They first fed rats store-bought jerky every day (the equivalent of one snack a day in humans) and compared them to a control group. The jerky-fed rats began showing symptoms of hyperactivity and poor sleep within two weeks, while the control group didn’t. Next, they fed specially made dried meat without nitrates to another group of rats, finding these rats didn’t develop any symptoms. And lastly, they gave rats a typical rat feed loaded with nitrates, and found the same pattern.

So, if you make your own jerky or cured meats at home, chances are that you’re likely safe. On the other hand, if you pick your cured meats up at a grocery store, there’s a possibility that, if your meat treat is full of nitrates, that you’re slowly chewing yourself insane. Read the rest

Watch how to make hard candy shaped like a sushi roll

Montreal-based CandyLabs is back after far too long with a lovely demonstration of how they make hard candy that looks like a sushi roll. Read the rest

Fish suddenly eats tankmate

Since moving in, Ted had done nothing to help with the housework. The household tasks assigned to him on the whiteboard in the kitchen have always gone undone. Despite demands that he pick up after himself, Ted leaves food scraps everywhere and never pays the rent on time. On Friday, after finding the leftovers she'd left in the fridge eaten, Sally decided to put an to Ted's bullshit.

The quiet of her and Dave's wee flat had been disrupted for long enough. Read the rest

SpongeBob bread and other carb-based delights

Konel Bread specializes in bread that depicts animals, cartoon characters, and other fun stuff when it's sliced. Read the rest

Check out these gorgeous edible earths

Dutch pastry/dessert chef Daniel Jongsma created this beautiful confection that looks like earth, replete with continents and clouds. Read the rest

The history of the S’more

When my son was very young, he referred to S'Mores as "ores," as in, "I really want an ore. Can we make some ores?" We always laughed but apparently the original name is indeed a "Some More," at least according to the 1927 edition of the Girl Scout manual "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts" where the treat was first mentioned. From Smithsonian:

The oldest ingredient in the s’more’s holy trinity is the marshmallow, a sweet that gets its name from a plant called, appropriately enough, the marsh mallow. Marsh mallow, or Althea officinalis, is a plant indigenous to Eurasia and Northern Africa. For thousands of years, the root sap was boiled, strained and sweetened to cure sore throats or simply be eaten as a treat.

The white and puffy modern marshmallow looks much like its ancient ancestor. But for hundreds of years, creation of marshmallows was very time-consuming. Each marshmallow had to be manually poured and molded, and they were a treat that only the wealthy could afford. By the mid-19th century, the process had become mechanized and machines could make them so cheaply that they were included in most penny candy selections.

"Let Us Tell You S’more About America’s Favorite Campfire Treat" (Smithsonian)

image: Kevin Smith/Flickr Read the rest

This 4,000-year-old recipe has had a long time to stew

Sure, the recipe for hotdog fried rice your mom passed along to you may have been brought over from Ireland by your grandfather but, tasty as it is, it can’t come close to touching the lineage of a 4,000-year-old stew recipe scrawled onto an ancient cuneiform tablet that dates back to the heyday of Babylon. No, not even with green onions thrown in for good measure. Respect where respect is due.

From Open Culture:

While cookbooks containing Mesopotamian fare do exist, to be really authentic, take your recipes from a clay tablet, densely inscribed in cuneiform.

Sadly, there are only four of them, and they reside in a display case at Yale. (Understandable given that they’re over 4000 years old.)

When Agnete Lassen, associate curator of Yale’s Babylonian Collection, and colleague Chelsea Alene Graham, a digital imaging specialist, were invited to participate in a culinary event hosted by New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, they wisely chose to travel with a 3D-printed facsimile of one of the precious tablets.

At the competition, the Yale team cooked up three different one-pot dishes from ancient Mesopotamian as described on the tablets they brought with them. Apparently, the weight of ages didn’t make them taste none too great. One of the dishes, Broth of Lamb, uses blood as a thickening agent, which doesn’t sound too appealing — and I like blood pudding. Unwinding Stew, a vegetarian dish, apparently looked as bad as it tasted, let along what its name implies it might do to the imbiber’s bowels. Read the rest

Chef shows how he eats for less than $25 a week

Eco chef Tom Hunt says the secret to eating well and cheap is to buy food in season and buy it in bulk. In this Guardian article, Hunt reveals his weekly and monthly lists, along with ovo-lacto vegetarian recipes such as "Porridge with roasted rhubarb, hazelnuts and molasses" and "Spiced rice, roasted broccoli, carrot and peanut salad." The photos of the dishes look tasty.

From The Guardian:

Affordability is a key element of what a sustainable diet looks like. I call my approach Root to Fruit eating. It is a philosophy that aims to make it easier for people to cook good food, blending a little chef’s knowhow with academic research, and making it applicable to home cooks and professionals alike. My shopping list comes in at just over £18 a week – cheaper than the average national weekly spend per person of £24. Over a year, that’s a saving of about £300 while still enjoying top-quality food (I buy everything from my local independent health-food shop or market, or organic items from the supermarket. Of course, if you need to bring the cost of your shopping down further, buy non-organic). I’m a vegetarian, so there is no meat on my shopping list, and eating less meat is certainly a good way of keeping costs down. However, if you are buying meat, opt for cheaper cuts of higher-welfare animals.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Bread can be made from a gangrenous wound's bacteria

Atlas Obscura just added an interesting new section on strange and wondrous foods, like salt-rising bread leavened with bacteria that cause gas gangene. Read the rest

IHOP isn't really changing it's name to IHOb, but here's what the "b" stands for

IHOP caused quite a stir last week by claiming they are changing the restaurant chain's name to IHOb. They aren't. It's (duh) a marketing stunt and the "b" stands for "burgers." From the New York Times:

Many people said they were distressed, some because they hate the sound of the new word, others because they love pancakes. (Pancakes remain on the restaurant’s menu.) Still others pointed out that the “changed” logo, with its lowercase b, resembled that of o.b. tampons....

Brad Haley, IHOP’s chief marketing officer, said that the idea had been proposed by the marketing firm Droga5 in November. He said that only one IHOP location, on Sunset Boulevard, had undergone a design change in response to the new (fake) name, which is meant to promote a product line of Ultimate Steakburgers.

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Watch Anthony Bourdain eat at Waffle House and fucking love it

"This is better than The French Laundry, man."

RIP, Anthony Bourdain.

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Salad Cream renamed

The Heinz condiment Salad Cream—a homogenous beige slime similar to Miracle Whip that has become a traditional staple of British home cuisine—is to be renamed Sandwich Cream to keep with the times.

Its maker, Heinz, says that only 14% of those who buy the sauce use it on salads, with many more preferring to use it in sandwiches. A spokesman for Heinz told trade magazine the Grocer that the name no longer "fairly represents the product's ingredients or usage occasions." It would be the first name change for the product since its launch in 1914.

Fans of the traditional name went on social media to express their anger.

Even cheap mayo substitutes have aggrieved, entitled fans. Read the rest

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