Wednesday, 30 January 2008 by Phil Lees
Seeing the history of war presented as stop-motion animated hamburgers does not in any way make it more palatable.
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 by Phil Lees
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
Fishermen in north-western Banteay Meanchey province on the Thai border, around 450 kilometres from the capital, were luring their prey with fermented fish paste laced with drugs, but their more ethical colleagues were crying foul, the Khmer-language daily Kampuchea Thmey reported.
The bait, which is made in neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, instantly turned popular table species such as elephant fish from fighters into ecstatic love junkies that practically jumped into the boat, the paper said.
Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Orn Sum said by telephone that he doubted the veracity of the reports, but if true, anglers caught dealing drugs to the province’s fish population could face legal consequences.
Saturday, 26 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
Friday, 25 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
The Ark of Taste aims to rediscover, catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors. It is a metaphorical recipient of excellent gastronomic products that are threatened by industrial standardization, hygiene laws, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage.
Ark products range from the Italian Valchiavenna goat to the American Navajo-Churro sheep, from the last indigenous Irish cattle breed, the Kerry, to a unique variety of Greek fava beans grown only on the island of Santorini. All are endangered products that have real economic viability and commercial potential.
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by Dr Maytel
The one thing that is in nobody's interest to say is this: fruit just doesn't provide that much nutrition in the first place. If you believe the nutrition industry, every week produces some new superfood, often a fruit: blueberries, pomegranates, acai berries. The fact is that fruit consists of water, sugars (normally about 10%), some vitamin C, and some potassium (thought to be good for controlling blood pressure). And that's kind of it. Pineapple, for example, has only got about 10mg of vitamin C per 100g (which means a 80g standard portion would only have about 12% of RDA) and is mainly water and sugar. In a typical supermarket fruit medley of 150-200g, at least 15g will be sugar, and the other major constituent water. If it's a citrus medley, there will be about 40mg per 100g of vitamin C, if not, there will be about 10-20mg.
"It's a myth that fruit is packed full of vitamins and minerals," says Tom Sanders, who is director of the Nutritional Sciences Division at King's College London. "The foods packed full of micronutrients are grains, seeds and nuts, the peas and things." Bagged salad? "It's mainly water. Dark green vegetables are a good source of some vitamins, such as vitamin A and folate, but lettuce hasn't got much going for it at all. The really sad thing is that we don't eat enough vegetables, such as cabbage, spinach and broccoli."
In May, the Observer reported that dietitians have become so worried about claims being made for so-called superfoods that they convened a debate on the subject at the Science Museum. It may be claimed that particular exotic berries boost IQ, energy and immunity, but the only science even vaguely backing this up is that they contain folic acid, which does boost brainpower, but is present in many foods. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice, which supposedly fight diseases as different as cancer and arthritis, actually only last in the body for an hour. Wheatgrass, that standby of the trendy juicebar, is said to be rich in detoxifying chlorophyll, but every green vegetable and leaf in the world contains cholorophyll - which is not, in fact, absorbable by our bodies.
"The term 'superfoods' is at best meaningless and at worst harmful," Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George's Hospital in London, told the paper. "There are so many wrong ideas about superfoods that I don't know where best to begin to dismantle the whole concept."
The added irony, in the topsy-turvy world of supermarkets, is that rich desserts often cost very little, while fruit, especially organic, fairtrade, and prepared fruit, is marked up. At the Sainsbury's where I got my lunch, I could have had four 100g creme brulees for 44p, two tiramisu for 98p, and six chocolate mousses for 69p - or a grand total of 11.5p each, making those Pink Lady slices, gram for gram, four times more expensive. We are, more or less willingly, paying through the nose for a particularly 21st-century version of virtue. "You're made to feel worthy, and therefore you're made to pay a premium for it," says Sanders. "Supermarkets have a lot to answer for in the obesity debate."
"The way you've got to look at fruit is that it's better to eat fruit than biscuits, cakes and puddings, because there's very little energy value in it and it's not fattening," he says. "A bit of sugar gives you a lift and takes the pangs of hunger away. But it's not full of all sorts of other nutrients as well. That's a myth"
Thursday, 24 January 2008 by Hock
Tuesday, 22 January 2008 by Hock
Sunday, 20 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
A "gut feeling" is becoming recognised as more than a poetic turn of phrase.
Researchers have discovered that the gut, with its millions of nerve cells, acts as the body's second brain.
by Phil Lees
For some reason, I hear this a lot: "I don't know anything about wine." This is a silly thing to say. Frankly, there is nothing to know. People may try to convince you that wine is somehow like skilled labor or a subject in school, two categories full of things to know, but wine is not like that. You can learn about how wine is made, about the regions and the traditions, but none of this is necessary when actually using wine. I don't know anything about how books are printed and bound, but this does not keep me from reading. You see? The doing has nothing necessarily to do with the knowing.
by Phil Lees
Saturday, 19 January 2008 by kinakoJam
Friday, 18 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
Don’t drink cola if you want to be healthy. Consuming soft drinks is bad for so many reasons that science cannot even state all the consequences. But one thing we know for sure is that drinking Coke, as a representative of soft drinks, wreaks havoc on the human organism. What happens? Writer Wade Meredith has shown the quick progression of Coke’s assault.
The main problem is sugar. It’s an evil that the processed food industry and sugar growers don’t want people to know about. Even dietitians, financially supported by sugar growers and sugary product manufacturers, are loathe to tell us the truth.
When somebody drinks a Coke watch what happens…
* In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
* 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
* 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
* 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
* >60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
* >60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
* >60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.
So there you have it, an avalanche of destruction in a single can. Imagine drinking this day after day, week after week. Stick to water, real juice from fresh squeezed fruit, and tea without sweetener.
Tuesday, 15 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
Fish is now the most traded animal commodity on the planet, with about 100 million tons of wild and farmed fish sold each year. Europe has suddenly become the world’s largest market for fish, worth more than 14 billion euros, or about $22 billion a year. Europe’s appetite has grown as its native fish stocks have shrunk so that Europe now needs to import 60 percent of fish sold in the region, according to the European Union.
In Europe, the imbalance between supply and demand has led to a thriving illegal trade. Some 50 percent of the fish sold in the European Union originates in developing nations, and much of it is laundered like contraband, caught and shipped illegally beyond the limits of government quotas or treaties. The smuggling operation is well financed and sophisticated, carried out by large-scale mechanized fishing fleets able to sweep up more fish than ever, chasing threatened stocks from ocean to ocean.
The Canaries, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco, have become the favored landing point of illegal fish as well as people.
Once cleared there, the catch has entered the European Union and can be sold anywhere within it without further inspection. By the time West African fish get to Europe, the legal fish are offered for sale alongside the ill gotten.
The European Commission estimates that more than 1.1 billion euros in illegal seafood, or $1.6 billion worth, enters Europe each year. The World Wide Fund for Nature contends that up to half the fish sold in Europe are illegally caught or imported. While some of the so-called “pirate fishing” is carried out by non-Western vessels far afield, European ships are also guilty, some of them operating close to home. An estimated 40 percent of cod caught in the Baltic Sea are illegal, said Mireille Thom, a spokeswoman for Joe Borg, the European Union’s commissioner of fisheries and maritime affairs.
Monday, 14 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
by Dr Maytel
Sunday, 13 January 2008 by Hock
Saturday, 12 January 2008 by kinakoJam
Friday, 11 January 2008 by Dr Maytel
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Thursday, 10 January 2008 by kinakoJam
by Phil Lees
the best food blog ever is already dead... everything about it was personal and informative without giving away too much personal information, nothing about it was soulless... i never felt like it was a commercial site, nor that [he] was ever shilling for anyone nor anything. i didn't feel like he was using it as a personal resume, or as a platform to something else. it was just a really great journal about food
When it comes to food blogging, I miss 2005.
There. I've said it. I feel a whole lot better.
This has been on my mind for quite some time, partially exasperated by the fact that Epicurious, was voted 2nd best food blog this year in the Weblog awards. We've come a long way from all of the press the food blogs received in 2004/2005. In two years time we've gone from individuals and private citizens getting acknowledged and read for their writing and their passion for food to that bastion of individuality Condé Nast getting kudos.
This isn't to knock the fine folks over at Epicurious, but I've always felt that food blogging was the anti-Condé Nast - the place where you went to when you wanted to get an individual's opinion on food, not an institution's.
Sunday, 6 January 2008 by kinakoJam
Saturday, 5 January 2008 by kinakoJam
Friday, 4 January 2008 by kinakoJam
You will notice if you pay more attention to your kitchen’s thermal landscape, even in terms of what you can feel, how much heat escapes without ever getting into the food.
Among the major culprits here are inefficient appliances. According to the United States Department of Energy, a gas burner delivers only 35 to 40 percent of its heat energy to the pan; a standard electrical element conveys about 70 percent. Anyone thinking about kitchen renovation should know that induction cooktops, which generate heat directly within the pan itself, are around 90 percent efficient. They can out-cook big-B.T.U. gas burners, work faster, don’t heat up the whole kitchen, and are becoming more common in restaurant kitchens.
Maximizing the transfer of heat from burner to pot produces better food. In deep frying, the faster the burner can bring the oil temperature back up after the food is added, the quicker the food cooks and the less oil it absorbs. In boiling green vegetables, a fast recovery time means better retention of vibrant color and vitamins.
No matter how efficient an appliance is, the cook can help simply by covering pots and pans with their lids. Some of the heat that enters through the bottom of the pot exits through the top, but a lid prevents much of it from escaping into the air. This is especially true when you’re bringing a pot of water to the boil. With the lid on, it will start bubbling in as little as half the time. Turning water into steam takes a lot of energy, and every molecule that flies away from the water surface takes all that energy with it into the air. Prevent its escape, and the energy stays with the pot to heat the rest of the water.
Once a liquid starts to boil and is turning to steam throughout the pot — the bubbles of a boil are bubbles of water vapor — nearly all the energy from the burner is going into steam production. The temperature of the water itself remains steady at the boiling point, no matter how high the flame is underneath it. So turn the burner down. A gentle boil is just as hot as a furious one.
In fact it’s easy to save loads of time and energy and potential discomfort with grains, dry beans and lentils, and even pasta. But it requires a little thinking ahead. It turns out that the most time-consuming part of the process is not the movement of boiling heat to the center of each small bean or noodle, which takes only a few minutes, but the movement of moisture, which can take hours. Grains and dry legumes therefore cook much faster if they have been soaked. However heretical it may sound to soak dried pasta, doing so can cut its cooking time by two-thirds — and eliminates the problem of dry noodles getting stuck to each other as they slide into the pot.
The trickiest foods to heat just right are meats and fish. The problem is that we want to heat the center of the piece to 130 or 140 degrees, but we often want a browned, tasty crust on the surface, and that requires 400 degrees.
It takes time for heat to move inward from the surface to the center, so the default method is to fry or grill or broil and hope that the browning time equals the heat-through time. Even if that math works out, the area between the center and surface will then range in temperature between 130 and 400 degrees. The meat will be overcooked everywhere but right at the center.
The solution is to cook with more than one level of heat. Start with very cold meat and very high heat to get the surface browned as quickly as possible with minimal cooking inside; then switch to very low heat to cook the interior gently and evenly, leaving it moist and tender.
On the grill, this means having high- and low-heat zones and moving the food from one to the other. On the stove top or in the oven, start at 450 or 500 degrees, and then turn the heat down to around 250, ideally taking the food out until the pan or oven temperature has fallen significantly.
Another solution is to cook the food perfectly with low heat, let it cool some, and then flavor its surface with a brief blast of intense heat from a hot pan or even a gas torch. More and more restaurants are adopting this method, especially those that practice sous-vide cooking, in which food is sealed in a plastic bag, placed in a precisely controlled water bath and heated through at exactly the temperature that gives the desired doneness.
All these are two-step processes, but the same principle works for three steps or more. Rotisserie cooking alternates high and low heat many times: as the meat turns on the spit, each area of the surface is briefly exposed to high browning heat, then given time for that dose of energy to dissipate, part of it into the meat but part back out into the cool air. So the meat interior cooks through at a more moderate temperature. Similarly, steaks and chops cook more evenly on high grill heat — and faster as well — if you become a human rotisserie and turn them not once or twice but as often as you can stand to, even dozens of times, every 15 or 30 seconds.
Heat knocks molecules at the surface of food into the air where we can sniff them, so it increases the aroma. Inside the food, agitated molecules make sauces more fluid and hot meat more tender. And the sensation of a food’s warmth is satisfying in itself. The moment hot food is put on a plate, its heat energy begins to flow out into the cooler surroundings. Aromas fade, sauces thicken, fats congeal.
So when you transfer heat’s handiwork from the kitchen to the table, take along some extra. Warm the plates to prolong the pleasure. And encourage everyone to sit down and eat it while it’s hot.