Thursday, September 26, 2013

We're Famous! (Sort Of)

Along with its usual articles, the September issue of Food Technology contained recap of everything that happened at the AMFE in Chicago this summer. The segment included poster presentations, professional development sessions, and award ceremonies. Speaking of award ceremonies, on page 33 of the magazine is Chapman's own Jessica Hallstrom, receiving a Poppy award from John Ruff for first place in the video competition!

She was also mentioned on page 122 along with Crystal Lin, Karen Thang, Natasha Quailes, Amber Skaretka and myself for leading Food Science 101, the fist program in Feeding Tomorrow's initiative to foster interest in food science careers. The photo on the left shows some of the girls who were sponsored to attend the AMFE, and the photo on the right was taken in June when we showed them how you can make ice cream quickly with liquid nitrogen!

Click for larger view.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Food Matters

Science-focused news website Scientific American devotes part of its content to Food Matters, a blog that combines food, science, and politics. It covers everything from the bacteria in our bodies, astronaut nutrition, USDA food guidelines, and the relationship between sound and taste. Check it out!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Food for Thought: Blue Eggs

Around Easter you may see pastel colored eggs or even wacky colored ones! But if you come across blue eggs from chicken breeds from Chile or China guess what? It has a retrovirus!!!!!

Apparently "Araucana, a chicken breed from Chile, and Dongxiang and Lushi chickens in China lay blue eggs." The blue eggshell color is controlled by an autosomal dominant gene SLCO1B3 mapped to a part of chromosome 1. An avian retrovirus EAV-HP is inserted upstream of the gene and in different locations in the various breeds. It is thought that this came about independently of each other, but after its appearance, was selectively bred to continue the production of blue eggs.

Check out the original article posted on a virology blog here:

To support it, here is a scientific article:

Have a great week!

- Charles Quinto

Friday, September 13, 2013

FOODucation: Cacao

Hey everyone,

Happy Friday!! Patricia Tsai is a chocolate maker who recently opened ChocoVivo in Culver City. She has her own supplier of cacao beans and uses the age old tradition of stone grinding cacao beans to produce chocolate products. Nothing in her store contains milk powder, soy lecithin, or additional cacao butter meaning all her food items are as natural as possible.

Given that National Chocolate Milkshake day was yesterday, September 12, it seems appropriate Patricia is hosting "Frozen Hot Chocolate Nights" through this weekend only (September 12 - 15). If you're interested in checking it out send an RSVP to with the Subject: "Frozen Hot Choco." It costs $20 BUT you get to try the following four items: 75% Cacao, Shangri-La (black sesame + goji berries), Mayan Tradition (Cinnamon + Spicy), Coffee + Vanilla Bean all topped with Organic Strauss Creamery Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!

Here's the link to her website and more info.

Now for the FOODucation! (information based on her website and Ted Talk)

Patrica was on Tedx where she discussed the bitter side of cacao and her journey as a chocolate maker. As with most crops, they have specific environments with which they can grow. Since the cacao bean can only grow 20 degrees North and South of the equator, 70-80% come from Africa. Unfortunately large companies dominating the chocolate industry take advantage of this, without naming businesses and just knowing a few things, it's easy to see why Patricia is an artisan chocolate maker. In Africa, child slavery remains an issue and often times children are sold as slaves to carry bags of cacaos until there are visible signs of injury such as open wounds. (more info on this inhumane labor found here,

Unwilling to compromise her morals, she cares about the way the beans are sourced, the way it is processed and how she can give back to the community. She took the time, 5 years to be exact, to get to know her cacao supplier and understand the process. Patricia wants her customers to understand how she gets her beans and how it is processed to make her products.

ChocoVivo uses techniques that were once practiced by the Mayans and Aztecs, stone grinding. The heat generated by the stone grinding heat and melt the natural cacao butter creating a paste. The outcome is a pure product that has not been adulterated. One of the chocolate bars she produces only has four ingredients: cacao nibs, unrefined cane sugar, black sesame and goji berries.

The result of Patricia's hard work and dedication to chocolate is a business that produces quality products while still being socially conscious.

If you want to watch the Ted Talk here's a link!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Funday Monday Links!

A lengthy but well-written article regarding the truth about MSG. A good read for those who are skeptical about the additive.

The perfect example of combining cooking with science.The International Culinary Center's blog, Cooking Issues, covers the latest cooking techniques, ingredients, and equipment and also provides recipes. The ingredient list uses the metric system, so you know it's legit science.

From the NY Times, the work it takes to create the perfect tomato. Getting the right balance between flavor, texture, and the right amount of sweetness is harder than it sounds.

Speaking of tomatoes, the history of ketchup and the Heinz bottle. Fun fact: when flowing naturally, it travels 147 feet per hour.

Want to know what ingredients to pair together? Use this interactive flavor map!

And finally, EGGCEPTION.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Food for Thought: Cookie Dunking Science

Hey Everyone,

Here we go heading into another week of the semester! It looks like the heat is finally easing up on us, phew! I read this article the other day, and some of you may have read it since it posted a few months ago, but for those who have not it's an interesting read!

It was posted on NPR and discusses the tradition of dunking cookies in drinks and whether or not there is a biochemical reaction causing it to taste better! Cutting to the chase for those who don't have time to read the entire article, a device known as the MS-Nose was developed at the University of Nottingham to conduct tests on the levels of flavor released! In the end, it is suggested that a flavor known as "methylbutanol" is increased when something such as a biscuit is dipped in tea! (Though I am curious if it is a result of the tea or if it's merely a result of the biscuit being broken up prior to consumption thereby increasing the amount of flavor binding to for thought!)

Here's the article!

Unfortunately, the website of the company performing the test did not post any research article links, but it's still something interesting to read!

- Charles Quinto

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recipe: Cookie Mint Ice Cream

Hey everyone!

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! We're already halfway through the second week of the semester, the weekend is close by again! With the constant heat and humidity I've been trying out all sorts of ice cream recipes so I thought I'd share!

For a base I've found that the following recipe (adapted from David Lebovitz who also wrote a book!) is great! The original recipe does ask for egg yolks, but I've left them out (mainly because I left my thermometer with my parents and did not have it on hand) and the ice cream was still incredibly creamy - just make sure to churn it a bit longer and minimize the amount of water content through your additions to the base.

Ingredients (Adapted list, amount cut in half and removal of egg yolks)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 and 1/8 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh mint leaves (entire -pre-packaged container of organic mint)
Pinch of salt
6 Oreo cookies
Note: Base recipe taken from

Mint Cookie Ice Cream Recipe
1. Warm milk, sugar, half of the heavy cream, salt and mint
2. Once the milk mixture is steaming, remove from heat, and cover for an hour
3. Strain mixture and mint into a bowl and remove excess liquid from leaves
4. Add remaining heavy cream and mix
5. Store base in fridge overnight and place container to store ice cream in freezer
6. Place mixture into ice cream maker and allow to churn
7. While ice cream churns, crush Oreo cookies into large chunks and toss into a mesh strainer to remove tiny cookie bits and chocolate powder (if you choose to keep them in, it may turn your ice cream base gray)
5. When the ice cream base has the consistency of soft serve yogurt (for my ice cream maker 10-15 minutes) add in the cookie pieces
6. When ice cream is ready, transfer to cold container (stored in the freezer) and freeze for a few hours

Additional Variations
Note: For these recipes the base would be slightly changed, but similar! Let me know if you are interested in any of them!
- Cookies and Cream with Brandy
- Black Sesame
- Chocolate Cake with Strawberries