Tuesday, April 30, 2013

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ― W.C. Fields

To prepare for the wine tasting in Sensory Evaluation tonight, here are some infographics that will introduce you to they different types of wine and what foods to pair with them. You might just find that your pants are a little fancier after reading these!

Original Source: Different Types of Wine

Original Source: winefolly.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Link Roundup

Happy Earth Day everyone!

As most of you know, I am a tree hugger. While not as extreme as other advocates for sustainability, I try my best to reduce my impact by doing little things such as unplugging unused appliances, biking to school, turning off lights, and taking shorter showers. In honor of the only planet known to support life,  please take a few minutes to browse these food-related Earth Day links to see what little things you can do to maintain the health of this beautiful floating rock that revolves around a star.

This infographic shows the types of produce grown during the various seasons. Lucky for us, lots of these are grown in-state!

If you're looking for a specific state and season, Epicurious provides and interactive map to show you which crops are freshest.

Here are some food swaps that are both good for the planet and your health.

A childhood favorite, worms in dirt!

IFT provides some links to resources that show how food science contributes to sustainability

Don't know what to do with your food trimmings? Come to the composting workshop on campus this week!

And if you still need some motivation to shrink your carbon footprint, here are some crazy cute animals that we share this planet with.

Monday, April 15, 2013

McDouble in America, McArabia in Egypt

Travel destinations? Check. Suitcases? Check. Passport? Check. I have everything I need to leave the U.S., yet I have never stepped foot out of the country before! Just like everyone else, I want to see the Seven Wonders of the World, attempt to speak with people from other countries, and taste exotic foods. However, I also want to try fast-food restaurants in other countries.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would I travel to different countries just to eat at a McDonald’s when I can do that here in the States?
Out of curiosity, I decided to research the international menus of some of America’s most well-known restaurant chains, and I was pleasantly surprised.  The McDonald’s menus from other countries are quite different from ours. While American McDonald’s restaurants sell fried chicken strips and McNuggets, Singapore’s McDonald’s restaurants has fried chicken wings and honey lemon fried drumsticks. Our McDonald’s restaurants boast some tasty desserts, including hot fudge, hot caramel, and strawberry sundaes, and apple pies. In Singapore, sundaes are also on the menu, but taro pies and cinnamon melts are included as well! In Egypt, the McDonald’s restaurants offer “McArabias”, which are basically grilled chicken patties, lettuce, special garlic sauce, tomatoes and onions wrapped in Arabic bread. What’s for dessert? Peach sundaes,  a KitKat McFlurry, or a choco-orange pie.
I also researched Baskin Robbins in various countries. The Baskin Robbins ice cream shops in Japan sell the cutest sundaes-honestly, it would be hard to eat such an adorable dessert!

I also wish that the colorful ice cream float beverages and the ice cream crepes sold in Japan were on the Baskin Robbins menus in America.

Korea’s Baskin Robbins ice cream parlors are equally intriguing.  Their menu includes delectable ice cream rolls, mochi, and chocolate fondue! Korea’s Baskin Robbins definitely won my sweet tooth’s heart.

While I am not suggesting that you should solely eat at American fast-food chain restaurants in other countries, my belief is that you don’t have to feel guilty about walking into a McDonald’s restaurant after touring the pyramids of Egypt. In fact, because the global fast-food restaurants have unique items on the menu that you won’t see in America, I encourage you to give these new foods a try!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We're Not the Bad Guys

When I tell people that I am studying food science, I tend to get a lot of questions like these and the remainder of the conversation always continues on pleasantly. But when I go online to catch up on my food news, I sense a feeling of hostility. Reading discussions and articles about food philosophy or food law and then seeing the comments that follow make me feel like food scientists are not welcome in society. Food scientists are painted as the evildoers responsible for high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and ultimately obesity in America. We're supposedly the ones who put so much salt, fat, and sugar into junk food that it is now being compared to cocaine.

And yes, that's true. Food scientists are the ones who pioneered the process of obtaining a low-cost sugar from corn. Food scientists are responsible for figuring out how to hydrogenate fat. And yes, food scientists are responsible for developing recipes that consumers will like. But we are much more than that.

Physician Mark Hyman recently wrote an article published in the Huffington Post discussing the alliance between the FDA and food industry, accusing the two of being responsible for the current obesity epidemic. He highlights the role of "frankenfoods," which are not food, but "byproducts of industrial manufacturing" made by food scientists and continues to bad-mouth the profession. I could write a novel discussing my feelings about his article, but these two excerpts left an exceptionally bad taste in my mouth:

"The food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy and is controlled primarily by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill, the largest privately-owned companies in the world. They are the creators of "Food Science," Orwellian double-speak for "Frankenfoods." Food used to be just food. Now what we eat is a byproduct of industrial manufacturing."
Food Science is not equivalent to what Hyman calls "frankenfoods." While food scientists are responsible for some of the weird items in the grocery stores, cheese in a can and blue raspberries do not represent the entire food industry. What he fails to acknowledge is that the food industry also includes the microbiologists who work to prevent food borne outbreaks, the engineers who developed the technology to mass produce food, the chemists who assure the quality of food products, as well as the farmers who grow his local organic free-range grass-fed non-GMO soy-free kale!* The food industry does not solely employ scientists who want to create and get you hooked on chocolate-covered pizza-flavored bacon strips; food scientists are responsible for all aspects of food. How else are you supposed to obtain information for a nutrition facts panel? Food science, course!
*I know what I said, I'm just trying to make a point.
"Broccoli, peaches, almonds, kidney beans, and other whole foods don't need a food ingredient label or bar code, but for some reason these foods -- the foods we co-eveolved with over millennia -- had to be "improved" by Food Science. As a result, the processed food industry and industrial agriculture have changed out diet, decade by decade, not by accident, but by intention."
The problem I have with this segment is not is what Hyman wrote, but the manner in which it was written. While the statements are true, Hyman implies that food scientists have maliciously manipulated food with the intention of transforming our diet. I'm going to assume that he is referencing genetically modified foods since that seems to be the hot topic nowadays. After reading through his article, Hyman seems to be under the impression that GMOs were created by the evil food industry in order to take advantage of consumers and deteriorate their health. Riiiiiight. Let's consider the facts, shall we? Food is necessary to feed a population. The earth's population is increasing. An increasing amount of food is needed to feed an growing population. Pest infestation, drought, and disease decrease the yield of quality crops used to feed the increasing population. Genetic modification gives plants their own defense system in order to resist these attacks which yields more food. The intention of genetic modification is not to put consumers under the control of the food industry and industrial agriculture, it is for the general well-being of the planet's population. 

Despite my general feelings about this article, as a nutrition minor, I do agree with a few of Hyman's positions about the relationship between the food industry and our nation's state of health. However, food science is not the sole cause of this obesity epidemic. I believe most of the responsibility relies on the consumer. Companies are not forcing anyone to buy their product. They're trying to market and sell their product in hopes that someone will buy it and like it, but that decision is ultimately up to the consumer. So I want to advise those blaming the food industry for the increase in average human volume to take a closer look at who is responsible for the foods being consumed. Is this really the fault of junk food and soda manufacturers? Or is this a result of a lack of nutrition education and poor decision making?