View Post

Watch out M&M’s! Now Ravioli “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”

In # 9: Molecular Gastronomy by JenniferLeave a Comment

At the beginning of the semester when I was looking over the lecture schedule and saw that one of the topics we would cover was “Molecular Gastronomy,” I immediately thought “Huh?” So naturally I did what anyone my age would do, I googled the term.  After I briefly looked at the images, I quickly decided that this topic was when chefs used liquid nitrogen in food, and since I had seen that done before on The Food Network, I moved on with my day and didn’t investigate any further. A few months later, as we began talking about molecular gastronomy in class, I realized that this aspect of the food industry is much more than simply adding liquid nitrogen to food; it’s using real scientific instruments such as pipettes, beakers, syringes, tubing, vacuum sealers, and even blow torches to make eating conventional foods into unconventional experience. One of the most creative recipes that I could find claimed to be a “Disappearing Transparent Ravioli”.  This dish first became popular on the menu of el Bulli in 2009, where world-renowned chef Ferran …

JenniferWatch out M&M’s! Now Ravioli “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”
View Post

Want Safe Food? Consumers, Prepare Safe Food!

In # 8: Food safety: who is responsible? by JenniferLeave a Comment

A few summers ago when I moved to Texas to work for a turkey harvesting plant, I met a fellow intern who determined the doneness of his chicken by how white the exterior of the breast looked.  In that instance, it finally dawned on me that even though there are suggestions about how to cook meat and poultry, the average consumer doesn’t always follow those recommendations. With this example, if he got sick with any type of illness, I believe the blame should go to him.  Since there are guidelines for how to properly handle, store, and cook meat (and these are all easily found on the Internet), I honestly believe that when it comes to fresh meat and poultry, the only time the consumer isn’t at fault for their foodborne illness is when it comes to food prepared by a restaurant or deli.  If the consumer cooks their food to the proper temperature, which is 165°F for poultry, Campylobacter and Salmonella will both be destroyed.  Similarly, if the consumer is preparing ground beef, the meat should be cooked to …

JenniferWant Safe Food? Consumers, Prepare Safe Food!
View Post

Sustainability: “Going Whole Hog”

In # 6: Sustainability by JenniferLeave a Comment

$12.6 million. That’s what Smithfield Foods was fined back in 1997 for releasing illegal levels of pollutants from their processing plant into the Pagan River.  This was the largest Clean Water Act fine a company had received until the mid-2000s. Almost two decades later, this company has become one of the leaders of sustainability in the animal protein industry.  In fact, according to the report “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: How the Food Industry is Managing Global Water Risk”, which was published by Ceres and gave scores to food sector companies across four categories of water risk management, Smithfield Foods’ score was almost triple that of their nearest competitor, JBS. The major environmental targets of Smithfield Foods include reducing water use by 10%, reducing energy use by 5%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5%, and reducing solid waste sent to landfills by 10%.  These goals were set in 2014 and need to be completed by 2020.  The results from 2015 show that Smithfield Foods reduced water use that year by 2.6%, energy use by 4.0%, greenhouse gas emission use by 6.1%, and …

JenniferSustainability: “Going Whole Hog”
View Post

New Method to Detect Allergenic Substances in Food?

In # 4: Food allergens in the news by Jennifer1 Comment

As I was doing my weekly scroll through Science Daily, I came across this intriguing article called “Food Allergies: Allergic to Soy?” Now, this might not have been all that captivating to the regular student, but to someone who has a close family member with a soy allergy, I wanted to know more about this new development. The reasoning behind this research is that currently there are very few food products (really only baby food) that are completely hypoallergenic because of the possibility of cross-contamination.  The article states that even though the components of food ingredients that are allergenic can be detected, the exact allergenicity cannot be determined.  However, with the research being done amongst four Fraunhofer Institutes, scientists have helped to solve that problem by developing a method to identify the allergenic components of proteins that are recognized by antibodies in patients.  This components are being called epitopes, and with soy alone, scientists identifies 374 allergy-relevant epitopes.  This group of researchers further used that information to modify soy proteins so that they are less allergenic.  The scientists found success …

JenniferNew Method to Detect Allergenic Substances in Food?
View Post

21 Years Old and Still Likes Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets

In # 1: You are what you eat by JenniferLeave a Comment

“Jennifer, why do you still eat like a 5 year old?”  This is the answer I got from my brother after he asked me where I wanted to go out to eat one night.  When he asked, I simply replied “anywhere that has chicken strips” and apparently to him, chicken strips are only for children.  (I must have missed that on the package.) But to be completely honest, I would agree with him and say that my preferences when it comes to food have been similar to that of children.  My favorite foods still include macaroni and cheese, chicken strips, pizza, grilled cheese, cheeseburgers, and French fries.  Even when we go to family gatherings and people make food “for kids,” I’ll be that one adult that chooses a Jell-O square over tuna salad, or a hot dog over a barbeque pork sandwich. I would say that growing up in a small town in Wisconsin really shaped what I eat.  We never had any real ethnic food restaurants and the entire population in my area is Dutch or German, so the …

Jennifer21 Years Old and Still Likes Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets