Michelin three-star restaurant French Laundry serves mushroom soup from a bong

In a New York Times review of celebrity chef Thomas Keller's Manhattan eatery Per Se, critic Pete Wells described the mushroom soup "as murky and appealing as bong water." So now for special guests, Keller's legendary French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley serves their porcini mushroom broth out of a blue and green swirl glass bong. From a column by San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho:

After dinner, I emailed the French Laundry’s public relations people about the bong. In an email, they responded that it’s something Thomas Keller pulls out for restaurant industry folks because he knows we’d get a kick out of it. (This is true. And Keller knows me from a previous encounter during my past life as a New Orleanian line cook.)

“It is clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to past writing and is not on the menu,” they wrote, “but regularly prepared for guests as a fun item.” When I pressed them on where the bong was actually from — obviously not Riedel or Zalto — all they would say was that it was “hand blown by an artisan.”

"The French Laundry’s bong course is a brilliant act of artistry" (SF Chronicle) Read the rest

A visit to Japan's most remote ramen restaurant

Rishiri Ramen Miraku is on one of Japan's northernmost remote islands, Rishiritō (pop. 5,000), and many people go out of their way to eat its famous charred-soy seaweed ramen. The restaurant, which takes 7 hours to get to from Tokyo by plane, train, and ferry, earned the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand award in 2012 and 2017.

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Short video about life on a Japanese wasabi farm

According to this video and article from by The Atlantic, most of the wasabi eaten around the world is horseradish with green food coloring in it. Shigeo Iida, a 75-year-old farmer in Japan, grows the real stuff, and in this beautifully shot video, we get to see him harvest wasabi and make wasabi paste while he waxes philosophical. “Real wasabi, like the ones we grow, has a unique, fragrant taste that first hits the nose,” he says. “The sweetness comes next, followed finally by spiciness.”

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I used Prague Powder to make corned beef

I've been experimenting with curing meat, cause life has been too long already. Prague Powder is the secret ingredient.

While I've tried a couple of different recipes for corned beef I am not ready to recommend one yet. Getting the spice blend right may be a thing of personal preference, but I have to keep working at it. Getting the texture and color right, however, was very simple. I used Anthony's Pink Curing Salt #1.

Curing Salts are not edible on their own. That is why they dye them pink. This is not Himalayan Pink Sea Salt or some other delicacy. Prague Powder (pink salt #1) is a nitrite that inhibits the growth of anaerobic bacteria, thus working to block toxin production and keep meat from spoiling. When added to a brine the curing salts help preserve the meat, and impart that red-pink corned beef color. You'll also find it used in those weird smoked turkey legs at Disneyland and other theme parks.

I'll keep working at it. We have a lot of fun baking rye bread to go along with this favorite.

Pink Curing Salt #1 (2lb Prague Powder) by Anthony's via Amazon Read the rest

New York public school lunch program will have "Meatless Mondays"

Next year, New York City public schools will initiate "Meatless Mondays" as part of their lunch program. Students will be served all vegetarian food for breakfast and lunch. (Note: photo above for illustrative purposes only. Not representative of actual school cafeteria menu.) From CNN:

"Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," de Blasio said at a news conference. "We're expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come..."

School leaders in New York said doing this just makes good sense.

"For those who scoff at this notion, I have some simple advice: Look at the science," Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said. "Look at the data. Look at the childhood obesity. Look at pre-diabetes diagnoses. Look at the fact that 65% of American kids age 12 to14 shows signs of early cholesterol disease. Then, perhaps you will embrace the fact that we can't keep doing things the same way, including welcoming the idea of Meatless Mondays."

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Animals made out of food

Instead of making food out of animals, visual artist Helga Stentzel makes animals out of food. See more of Stentzel's absolutely delightful work on her Instagram feed: made_by_helgal.

(via PetaPixel) Read the rest

Woman realizes her fish dinner can be squeezed like a wet towel

Whether it's fish or not, it's certainly not the fish she was sold. Seafood fraud is quite common, according to envronmental and consumer groups. On the other hand, I hear shamwow is delicious in winter.

Note: The version of the video going viral was obviously ganked by a YouTube reuploader who added obnoxious branding and did not give credit to the creator. So this is just a short excerpt; if you know who filmed this revolting fish dinner, tell me so I can salute them here. Read the rest

Pizza a healthier breakfast than sugary cereals

Not a surprise: cheese, tomato, flour, water, salt, olive oil and yeast do not really bake up a health risk. Boxes of sugar and corn on the other hand?

Delish:

Pizza for breakfast is an American classic. Whether it's cold and taken straight from the box or served after an early morning reheat, it's basically a delicacy all on its own. However, I've never characterized the tradition in any way, shape, or form as healthy. In fact, I'm pretty sure I haven't ever heard 'pizza' and 'healthy' in the same sentence...until now. According to New York-based nutritionist Chelsey Amer, a cheesy, greasy, carb-filled slice is better for you than your favorite breakfast cereal. So, I guess it's time for us all to rethink our a.m. eating habits—and to celebrate.

Amer credits the high sugar content in most cereals for its poor reputation, while The Daily Meal adds the lack of protein and healthy fats are contributing to its "nutritionally bleak" standing. "You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories," Amer told the site. "However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning."

While it still might be a little far-fetched to call your early morning pizza indulgence a healthy option, it's definitely healthier. That counts for something, right!? Amer does credit its protein content and admits, "a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash."

That's not to say all pizzas, or cereals, are create equal.

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Scientists finally explain why microwaved grapes emit glorious bursts of plasma

The mystery of the glorious fireball emitted by microwaved grapes (featured in my novel Little Brother) has been resolved, thanks to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which Trent University researchers Hamza Khattak and Aaron Slepkov explain how they destroyed a dozen microwaves before figuring out that the grapes were just the right size and had enough humidity to set up standing waves that amplify the microwaves -- and anything roughly grape-sized will do the same. Read the rest

An edible "second skin" to preserve fruits and vegetables

Founded with a grant from the from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Apeel Sciences is a California-based startup that's developed a thin "second skin" for fruits and vegetables to preserve them for longer periods. Avocados coated with Apeel will soon hit shelves in Europe. From Technology Review:

The thin coating is made from the pulp, peels, and seeds of other fruit and vegetables. These are turned into powder, which gets mixed with water and then applied to produce by spraying, dipping, or brushing. It's then left to dry. This “second skin” acts like a barrier, slowing down loss of water and exposure to air, the main factors that lead to food spoiling. A lemon that might stay fresh for one month could stay fresh for two or more once it’s been treated with Apeel. And because it’s just made from fruits and other plants, it’s also edible.

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British Prime Minister "scrapes mould off jam and eats what's underneath"

The Telegraph reports that Theresa May saves money by scraping mold off preserves and eating the untainted remains.

The prime minister’s admission emerged during cabinet meeting discussions on how to reduce food waste. Ms May is said to enjoy cooking, and has a particular penchant for jam, even giving a jar to Melania Trump as part of a hamper in 2017.

The cabinet meeting was at the centre of controversy on Tuesday as some government insiders complained afterwards that Brexit had not featured heavily enough in discussions.

On the contrary, there has never been a cabinet discussion more clearly about Brexit.

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Netherlands court strikes down Dutch grifter's patent claim over Ethiopia's ancient staple grain teff

Teff is one of the oldest grains to have been cultivated, a staple for so long that its original cultivation date is lost to history and can only be estimated at between 1000 and 4000 BCE; it is best known as the main ingredient in injera, the soft pancakes that are served with Ethiopian meals. Read the rest

White chocolate is technically not chocolate

Chocolate contains cocoa solids, except when it is white.

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China legalizes eating a pufferfish bred to be nonpoisonous

Chinese fish farms have successfully bred seven generations of Takifugu rubripes and ten generations of Takifugu obscurus that lack the gene that causes normal specimens of these pufferfish species to produce a deadly toxin that means near-instant death for anyone who eats a fish whose poison has not been completely removed during preparation. Read the rest

Of pasta and patents

According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta, there are hundreds of pasta shapes. At Smithsonian, Elizabeth Chu and D. Lawrence Tarazano of the US Patent Office look at relatively recent machinery to crank out the floury forms. From Smithsonian:

The various shapes can be categorized based on the means by which they are formed: by hand, rolled into sheets, or extruded. For each pasta making method, there have been a number of inventions to ease and mechanize the process.

Pastas formed by hand have been the most difficult to replicate by machine because of the complexity of the actions done by hand. Cavatelli, gnocchi and orecchiette, for example, are made by rolling pasta dough by hand into a long snake shape, cutting it into equal sized dough pieces, and dragging the dough to form a cup like shape. With cavatelli and gnocchi, the dough is dragged against a fork or grooved surface with a thumb to form a curled dough piece in the shape of a hot dog bun; the only real difference between the two is the dough. Gnocchi is made from a dough containing eggs, flour and cooked potatoes, whereas cavatelli are typically made from an eggless semolina wheat dough. Orecchiette, Italian for “little ear,” are made by dragging the dough pieces against a flat surface using a small spatula or knife, followed by a little hand shaping to round it out.

Italian inventors Franco Annicchiarico and Adima Pilari, who received U.S. patent no. 4,822,271 on April 18, 1989 for “an improved machine for manufacturing short cut varieties of Italian pasta (orecchiette, etc.),” developed a machine for making these cupped pastas.

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Enjoy delicious Tyson rubber nuggets while you can

Tyson Foods has recalled 36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets due to the presence of "rubber" in them.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service was alerted to the issue Tuesday after Tyson received consumer complaints about "extraneous material, specifically rubber" in the product, the agency said in a statement. There haven't been any confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions from eating the chicken nuggets, but federal health officials say some products may be in consumers' freezers. People are warned against consuming them.

Here's a guide to finding Tyson's nutricious rubber nuggets.

PREVIOUSLY: Enjoy delicious Perdue wood nuggets while you can Read the rest

Enjoy delicious Perdue wood nuggets while you can

Perdue has recalled 60,000 pounds of chicken nuggets due to the presence of "wood" in them.

The 22 ounce packages of frozen “PERDUE SimplySmart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST NUGGETS GLUTEN FREE” with “Best By: Date 10/25/19” and UPC Bar Code “72745-80656” represented on the label were produced October 25, 2018.

Here's a guide to finding delicious wood nuggets. Read the rest

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