Real wasabi, Wasabia japonica, is apparently one of the most expensive vegetables to grow. That green stuff you're eating? Ground horseradish, Chinese mustard, and, you guessed it, green food coloring. Yum.
According to The Atlantic, "Worldwide, experts believe that this imposter combination masquerades as wasabi about 99% of the time."
Above, meet Shigeo Iida, 75, whose family has grown real wasabi for eight generations.
image: HK 北角 North Point 和田 Wada Japanese Restaurant 放題 Buffet dinner 山葵 green Wasabi Mar-2013 Read the rest
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."
Read the rest
Back in October, Sainsburys grocery chain launched two new questionably-flavored teas based on UK Christmas dinner favorites: Brussels sprouts and pigs in blankets.
Yes, you can now drink meat or vegetable flavoured tea and we’re not quite sure what to think.
In hopes of helping anyone looking for unusual gifts, Sainsbury’s decided to create a green tea which is made using actual Brussels sprouts, as well as a tea which features the smoky flavour of sausages, sage and rosemary.
The supermarket says the tea will make the ultimate stocking filler for any foodie – especially as it’s only £1 for 20 teabags.
Despite the name of the pigs in blankets flavour, it is suitable for vegans and is totally calorie free, and is apparently best enjoyed without milk.
Image via Metro
Thanks, Veek! Read the rest
British grocer Iceland (yes, that's really its name) is not messing around with "autumn" and "pumpkin spice." How pedestrian! They're headed straight for the taste of December 25th with their "Luxury Christmas Tree Flavour Salted Hand-Cooked Crisps." Yup, they've made potato chips that taste like pine trees.
What gives the chips, sorry crisps, that distinctive Christmas tree flavor? Pine salt and pine oil, according to the ingredients.
A bag costs just £1 (approx. $1.30) but it's only available in the UK (for now).
Thanks, Kent! Read the rest
Chocolate frosty pod rot is not a poorly conceived cereal brand. Instead, it's a fungus that devours cocoa pods — turning them to nasty mush while still on the branch. Quietly spreading through Central America, chocolate frosty pod rot can devastate cocoa crops, wiping out entire plantations. Read the rest
An actual chemist looks at claims made about "toxic foods" in a recent Buzzfeed linkbait post and calmly explains why the whole thing is ridiculous. Of the 8 foods (actually, mostly food additives) mentioned, one is hardly used anymore, another was withdrawn from the market two years ago, two only sound scary if you failed chemistry, and four have had their risks vastly overstated. It's the sort of situation where some studies show a risk, some studies don't, and there's good reasons to think the risk — if it exists — isn't that big, to begin with. Read the rest
Tom Fassbender went camping with his daughter and cooked bacon and eggs in a paper bag set over campfire coals. He says it was a "mixed success" but the results look tasty!
An Experiment in Campfire Cooking Read the rest
Volcano Dust is a brand of powdered bhut jolokia chili peppers. Also known as ghost chills, bhut jolokias are mind-bendingly hot. For example, an average jalapeño pepper measures about 5,000 on the Scoville heat scale; a bhut jolokia measures 1,000,000 Scovilles.
The manufacturer of Volcano Dust sent me a box of samples, and I carefully tried them out. They are certainly the hottest powdered chili peppers I've ever tasted, but I like them. A slight dusting of the Hot Italian Blend on my easy-over eggs or chicken soup turns them into an exciting culinary experience. Here's to blown-out capsaicin receptors!
(I gave Cory a jar of the pure powdered bhut jolokia when he came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully he'll share his thoughts on it.)
Volcano Dust Read the rest
Living in Southern California, we have an abundance of citrus nearly year round — lemons, limes, kumquats, grapefruits, and more. I also have a household of beverage enthusiasts, from my kids who love to make lemon-, lime-, etc. -ades, or “kid drinks” as they call them, to my wife and I who are crazy about cocktails, flips, fizzes, and sours. This is why I graduated from my fine, but slow, hand juicer, to the monstrous, restaurant-calibre Ra Chand J210 Bar Juicer. It makes quick, efficient work of juicing tons of citrus. Rather than dread all the labor, I’m now happy to juice enough fruit to make a full pitcher of Ginger Limeonade with my kids to sell in their DIY juice stand.
The Ra Chand is dead simple. No motors or fragile plastic parts to break — in fact it only has six parts, made of cast aluminum, plus a wire return spring and a few bolts. The mechanical advantage it provides is tremendous. With its long lever and offset pivots, even my six-year-old daughter can use it to easily squeeze a half-lemon dry. The Ra Chand is big enough for me to juice a medium grapefruit — when I have a larger-sized one to contend with I quarter it (and secretly wish I had the even-larger model, the J500).
The straining cone (which looks like a half beehive) allows juice and the occasional small seed through, but very little pulp. This is also due to the fact that pressing (rather than twisting like a motorized juicer) bursts the cells of the fruit, but doesn’t shred the membranes. Read the rest
At the Smithsonian's Smart News blog, a fun post looking at historic debates in America's science media about whether it's okay to eat horse meat, with links to some Scientific American articles from the 1860s and 1870s.
One such article published in 1875, "Shall We Eat The Horse?," argues that "in not utilizing horse flesh as food, we are throwing away a valuable and palatable meat, of which there is sufficient quantity largely to augment our existing aggregate food supply. Supposing that the horse came into use here as food, it can be easily shown that the absolute wealth in the country would thereby be materially increased."
A decade later, SciAm published this piece screengrabbed above, on the shifting cultural norms that made eating horse totally not cool.
London mayor praises horse meat - Boing Boing
French gourmands: don't say "nay" to horsemeat - Boing Boing
U.K. "beef lasagne" made entirely of horse meat - Boing Boing
Horsemeat found in burgers - Boing Boing
How To Eat a Horse - Boing Boing Read the rest
This completely edible Dexter-themed cupcake would go well with the Carrie cake I saw several years ago at a craft fair. Read the rest
K0re on YouTube had a genuinely wonderful day in Switzerland that included the HR Giger museum, lashings of absinthe, and a good deal of time in the company of a machine that patiently rotates wheels of cheese.
I wanted to see the Giger Museum and Bar in Gruyeres about an hour away from Montreux.
The driver Pascal suggested the cheese factory and took me on a mini-tour of how they make gruyere and how the cows are treated, etc. after an afternoon of absinthe and grotesquerie.
(via Kottke) Read the rest