Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Food of the Future?

Back when I was a middle schooler, I would go to the to the candy store every so often to get root beer barrels and popcorn-flavored jelly beans. Next to the register would always be a little display of Hotlix, lollipops with an insect inside of them. Each time I paid, I would think, "One day I'll have the guts to try one of those weird things."

Unfortunately, that day still hasn't come. But according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), entomophagy, the consumption of insects, may soon become the norm. In a 200-page book, the FAO writes that eating insects such as ants and grasshoppers could be the key to solving global food insecurity.

The book, titled "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security", stresses not only the nutritional value and availability of insects, but also considers the additional benefits of insect farming and eating. They include lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower water requirements than livestock, higher efficiency in converting feed into edible meat, and culinary versatility. They can be eaten whole, or ground into a powder or paste and incorporated into other foods.

But while insects supplement the diets of 2 billion people who live primarily in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, it is obvious that insect eating as a culturally acceptable practice in the West is going to take quite some time. Perhaps we should enlist some celebrity chefs to create insect-centric dishes to entice the population into trying this new form of protein. But then again, we've been eating parts of insects our whole lives. The Food Defect Action Levels published by the USDA allows certain levels of insect fragments into our food supply. For instance, peanut butter is allowed to have up to 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of product. However, there are many other things to consider before entomophagy can even begin to go mainstream, such as large scale farming techniques and possible allergies.

While I love the fact that eating creepy crawlies has environmental and nutritional benefits, I don't think I could incorporate mealworm meatballs or grasshopper burgers into my diet. The ick factor is just a little too much for me. But who knows, maybe I'll change my mind if I finally try a Hotlix.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

National Flags Made from the Country’s Traditional Foods

And I thought the pasta portrait of Johnny Depp I made in high school was a big deal...

Source: theChive

THAILAND - Sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut, blue swimmer crab
Thailand: Sweet chili sauce, shredded coconut, blue swimmer crab

UNITED STATES - Hot dogs, ketchup and mustard
America: Hot dogs, ketchup, mustard
UNITED KINGDOM - Scone, cream, jams
Britain: Scone, clotted cream, jam
TURKEY - Turkish Delight (Lokum)
Turkey: Turkish delight
SWITZERLAND - Charcuteries and emmental
Switzerland: Charcuteries, emmental cheese
VIETNAM - Rambutan, lychee, starfuit
Vietnam: Rambutan, lychee, starfruit
SPAIN - Chorizo and rice
Spain: chorizo, saffron rice
SOUTH KOREA - Kimbap and sauces
South Korea: Kimbap, sauces
LEBANON - Lavash, fattoush, herb spring
Lebanon: Lavash, fattoush, herb
JAPAN - Tuna and rice
Japan: Tuna, rice
ITALY - Basil, pasta, tomoatoes
Italy: Basil, pasta, tomatoes
INDONESIA - Spicy curries and rice (Sambal)
Indonesia: Spicy curry, rice
INDIA - Curries, rice, pappadum wafer
India:Curries, rice, papadum
GREECE - Kalamata olives and feta cheese
Greece: Kalamata olives, feta cheese
FRANCE - Blue cheese, brie, grapes
France: Bleu cheese, brie cheese, grapes
CHINA - Pittaya/dragon fruit and star fruit
China: Dragon fruit, starfruit
AUSTRALIA - Meat pie, sauce
Australia: Meat pie, sauce
BRAZIL - Bana leaf, limes, pineapple, passion fruit
Brazil: Banana leaf, limes, pineapple, passion fruit

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Strawberry Tour & More on These Heart Berries

Thanks to the Chapman University FSNSA Club, students got to take a strawberry tour at Tanaka Farms and pick strawberries...for just $2!!! The farm is located in Irvine, CA and it offers various tours, including strawberry tours, cookout tours, watermelon tours, and pumpkin patch tours. The first strawberry tour started back in 1998 because the people of Tanaka Farms wanted to educate children about where fruits and vegetables come from and how they are grown.

The farm tour was led on a tractor pulled wagon ride. 

Students had the chance to see how various fruits and vegetables grew on the farm. Additionally, everyone got to sample freshly picked vegetables, such as carrots, sugar snap peas, green onions, cilantro, and spinach.

The last stop of the tour was at the strawberry fields, where students got to pick and eat strawberries. Best of all, everyone got to pick a one pound basket of strawberries to take home and enjoy.

And of course, pictures of the FSNSA Club members were taken to capture the fun memories of the tour.

After the strawberry tour, I wanted to learn a little bit more about the fruit and I was pleased to have stumbled upon some interesting facts. Referred to as the sweetheart of fruits, the fragrantly sweet strawberry is one of the most popular fruits around the world. Although they are delicious as whole, fresh fruits, strawberries are also frequently used in a wide array of toothsome recipes. Some delicious strawberry desserts include strawberry fool, strawberry buckle, and strawberry flummery. 

These fruits specked with seeds were also historically significant. In fact, the ancient Romans used strawberries for medicinal purposes to alleviate inflammation, fevers, and gastrointestinal discomforts. Throughout the medieval times, strawberries represented righteousness and perfection. The stonemasons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals. During the same time period, the fruit also symbolized peace and prosperity. As a result, they were always served at important state functions.

So how did strawberry get its name? There are actually several theories that surround the origin of the fruit’s name. One theory is that English children from the 19th Century strung strawberries together on grass straws and sold them as “straws of berries”. An alternative theory is that the name may have derived from the practice of placing straw around the strawberry plants to protect the ripening fruit.

Fun Facts about Strawberries:

1. Have any of you tried counting the seeds on the strawberries? There are approximately 150-200 seeds on a strawberry. Of course, the seed numbers will vary by the size of the fruit.
2. The external, fleshy part of the strawberry actually derives from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. The “seeds” that you see on the outside are the ovaries, with a seed inside them.
3. The strawberry is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family.
4. The fruit belongs to the genus Frugaria, which means “fragrance” in Latin.
5.  If you haven’t noticed, strawberries bear a resemblance to a heart. The Narragansett North American Natives called the fruit "wuttahimneash", which means "heart berry."
6.  Did you know that over 80% of the strawberries produced in the United States are grown in California? In order to grow well, strawberries require warm, sunny weather and cool nights.
7. Strawberries are hand-picked because they are very fragile and tend to bruise easily.
8. If you lined up all the strawberries grown each year, they would circle the Earth about 17 times!
9.  Since the times of ancient Rome, strawberries were touted as an aphrodisiac fruit. In mythology, the strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love because of its beautiful heart shape and succulent red color.
10.Traditionally, newlyweds in France were served strawberry soup to celebrate their love…and to help promote the aphrodisiac of honeymoon romance.
11. During Napoleon’s reign, a French social figure named Madame Tallien bathed in the juices of fresh strawberries because she believed the fruit will preserve her beauty.
12. According to folklore, if you split and share a double strawberry with the opposite sex, you will both fall in love.
13. Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
14. Botanists do not consider strawberries a “berry” simply because “true berries” such as blueberries have seeds inside.
15. Queen Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII. People claimed she was a witch because of the strawberry-shaped birthmark on her neck.

Photo Credits: Crystal Lin,