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

#TacosForTeachers: crowdfunding to feed LA's teachers as they strike against privatization and austerity

Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (America's largest district) are walking the picket line this week in the pouring rain, demanding an end to the billionaire dark-money backed privatization movement that funnels public education funds to the shareholders of racially segregated, underperforming charter schools. Read the rest

Chuck Wendig, Apple Reviewer

Chuck Wendig isn't just a fine novelist, he's also got a discerning sense of what distinguishes good apples from bad, and what elevates apples to true greatness. Read the rest

Court strikes down Iowa's unconstitutional ag-gag law

"Ag-gag" laws -- which ban the collection of evidence of wrongdoing on farms, from animal cruelty to food-safety violations -- are a sterling example of how monopolism perpetuates itself by taking over the political process. Read the rest

McGingerbread Hell: bakers celebrate McMansion Hell with delicious monster houses

Last month, he amazing architecture-snark criticism site McMansion Hell (previously) announced gingerbread house contest to create "the most nubtastic, gawdawful gingerbread McMansion in all of McMansion Hell!" Read the rest

Zombie Dancing Squid!

I hate to yuck you out before the holidays …

… and I really love Japan …

… but this is just gross.

It’s a Japanese delicacy called “Katsu ika odori-don.”

The squid is deceased when the dish is served. A little soy sauce and he appears to return to life; in other words, a zombie.

Yuki, one of my friends in Japan, assures me that "dancing sashimi" such as this is delicious, and one of the reasons food is eaten this way is to ensure its freshness. Varieties including shrimp and octopus, in addition to squid. But if I saw this in a restaurant, I would run screaming out the door.

And here it is with lobster.

And this is the one that will give you nightmares!

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Medieval peasant food was frigging delicious

Hollywood would have you believe that if you lived during medieval times and didn't have the good fortune to be born into a noble family, you were forced to survive by eating thin soup, gruel and the occasional rabbit. In this video, the good folks at Modern History TV set the record straight. Read the rest

Disgusting Food Museum coming to Los Angeles

Sweden's Disgusting Food Museum is opening a touring exhibition in Los Angeles's Architecture and Design Museum. The exhibit runs from December 9 to February 17. "What we find disgusting has to be learned -- it's purely cultural," says curator/psychologist Samuel West. This is a fine opportunity to taste foods you've been curious about, like fermented shark, durian, maggot-infested cheese (above), bull penis (seen below), or mouse wine (also below). From CNN:

...American favorites such as root beer and Jell-O salad sit in the museum alongside fried tarantula and cooked guinea pigs. "If you give root beer to a Swede they will spit it out and say it tastes like toothpaste, but I think it's delicious," he notes...

While many food-related "museums" of late have mostly just been opportunities for novel selfies, West is adamant that the Disgusting Food Museum is there to help people learn and think critically, not just to pose for photos. The downside? "One of my worries that it will start stinking in here," West says.

Also see posts about Samuel West's previous Museum of Failure here and here.

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Wild tricks advertisers use to make food look appealing

Even though now I know how it's done, that food still looks so damned delicious. (via Kottke)

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Make: a gingerbread house zoetrope

Andrew Salomone writes, "I work as a preparator for The George Eastman Museum at the Kodak founder's historic estate in Rochester, NY. It's the world's oldest photography museum and has an extensive collection of early photographic and moving image objects, like zoetropes. The house itself is a local landmark and has put on an annual gingerbread house display for decades. This year, a couple of my colleagues and I decided to make a gingerbread house zoetrope and then wrote a tutorial about it. Read the rest

Cranberry orange-bread, 50 years later

Patrick Costello (previously) writes, "My mom shares her recipe for cranberry orange bread with help from my dad. They have been married for fifty years and they are still crazy for each other. The full recipe is in the video description." Read the rest

Diners use chest-mounted robot arms to feed each other in unusual social experiment

Researchers at Melbourne, Australia's RMIT University devised these bizarre "third arm" chest-mounted"robots to experiment with what they call "playful eating." For science. Video below. From RMIT University's Exertion Games Lab:

In this experience, all three arms (the person’s own two arms and the “third” arm, the robotic arm) are used for feeding oneself and the other person. The robotic arm (third arm) is attached to the body via a vest. We playfully subverted the functioning of the robotic arm so that its final movements (once it has picked up the food), i.e. whether to feed the wearer or the partner, are guided by the facial expressions of the dining partner...

Mapping of the partner’s “more positive” facial expression to the feeding of food to the partner (via the wearer’s third arm) we hoped would elicit joy, laughter, and a sense of sharing based on the knowledge of feeding one another that is associated with positive emotions, however, this could also result in the perception of a loss of agency over what one eats. Through to-and-fro ambiguous movements of the third arm in the air (when sensing a “neutral” facial expression of the dining partner), it gave an opportunity to the diners to express their reactions more vividly, as we know that facial expressions become a key element to engage with a partner while eating.

"Arm-A-Dine: Towards Understanding the Design of Playful Embodied Eating Experiences" (PDF)

More at IEEE Spectrum: "Feed Your Friends With Autonomous Chest-Mounted Robot Arms"

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Hot Cheetos Thanksgiving Turkey

Do you like Flaming Hot Cheetos? Well, heck. Why not enjoy a Flaming Hot Cheetos Thanksgiving turkey dinner with the whole family this year. Read the rest

My Life on the Road: Headed to Texas - chicken and booze in Bozeman

We left Claresholm after eating a continental breakfast of terrible coffee and decent muffins. The hotel’s owner chatted lazily with us as we noshed. He had been a manager of Woolworth's department stores, from Toronto, Ontario to Terrence, British Columbia. He served the chain loyally for decades of his life, never questioning when they sent him north, east or west. They fired him after 27 years of service. He’d become redundant.

I told him that I remembered eating grilled cheese sandwiches at the Woolworth’s lunch counter where I grew up. There was pride in his voice as he told me that, before McDonald's came along, the department store’s lunch counters were the biggest restaurant chain in the world.

The sun was high for it being so early in the day. We heated the RV’s engine for a half hour before wheeling south.

It’s a strange time to write for a living. Where normally I expect to raise an eyebrow when I tell folks what I do, my vocation of late has roused opinions and suspicions. I wasn’t sure if I would stand up to questioning at the border. I needn’t have worried: the border guard was more concerned about where we were going, how long we’d be there and whether we had any contraband onboard. In her rear view mirror, my wife saw our border guard staggering through a pee-pee dance from her booth to the border patrol facility a few feet away as we drove off.

Montana.

The mountains are different here than they are in Alberta. Read the rest

Why you should store your plastic wrap in the freezer

When I was young, my mom banned plastic wrap from our kitchen because it frustrated her so much when it would invariably cling to itself. Apparently you can avoid this problem though just by storing the plastic wrap in the freezer. The cold temporarily reduces its clinginess. From Mental Floss:

The cold temperature alters the polyethylene at the molecular level, which helps to remove the static and stickiness...

The freezer only temporarily changes the properties of the plastic wrap, giving you enough time to rip a sheet off and cover your leftovers with it while the material is still cool. Once the plastic wrap warms up, it will go back to its old, clingy self.

Carolyn Forte of the Good Housekeeping Institute tried it out and gave the freezer method a thumbs up. "The plastic wrap was a lot easier to unroll and use," she tells Good Housekeeping. "It doesn't stick to itself when it's cold, but still works to cover up a dish. As it warms up, it goes back to being sticky, but it's definitely easier to handle when cold."

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