Friday, December 10, 2010

Food Science @ TED

Many of you may be familiar with the TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference. It features talks about "ideas worth spreading," and these talks are available free from Recently, a post at was brought to my attention that has collected many of these talks relating to food science, called 20 Great TED Talks for Total Foodies. Some of them are really interesting, including a talk that I featured earlier on this blog by William Li called "Eating to Starve Cancer." There are also talks by talented and famous food people, including Michael Pollan among others. Go check them out!

(Thanks to Jasmine for the tip!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Case of the Mummified Burger: Update

I posted earlier about an experiment occurring at the Burger Lab (at Serious Eats Blog) testing the ability of home made and McDonalds burgers to rot under a variety of conditions. This is all in order to test the hypothesis, often stated among internet folk, that there is something strange about McDonalds hamburgers that prevents them from rotting. Well, the results are in!

Not to toot my own horn too much (just enough, I hope), I was right. The McDonalds burger doesn't rot if you leave it out - but neither does a home made burger. A McDonalds quarter pounder, however, as well as an equivalent home made burger, rot a little more and also lose moisture at a slower rate due to their larger size (there's even a graph! See, science!). Most conclusively, if you keep the moisture in the burger by putting it in a zip-top bag, both the McDonalds and the home made burger will mold and rot quite nicely (nastily?).

So, the take home message is twofold 1) McDonalds burgers are not bad for you because of mysterious mold-inhibiting additives or processing (they're bad for you for completely different reasons) and 2) Scientific testing of hypotheses can be informative! (This point is illustrated nicely below in a sign at the recent Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in DC.)  Don't believe everything you read on the internet, folks!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cooking Meat: Thermodynamics and Biochemistry

Yesterday I attended Cooking For Geeks: Chemistry From the Kitchen, a talk given by Jeff Potter, at the New York Academy of Sciences. Mr. Potter is the author of Cooking for Geeks, a book about science and cooking. Although I haven't read it, I really enjoyed the talk, so I have every hope that the book will be just as funny and enlightening.

One topic addressed in the talk was the science behind cooking steak. As you may know, meat is mostly composed of muscle tissue from animals. In the case of steak, it's the muscle tissue of a cow. Here is a schematic of the type of muscle (skeletal muscle) that we most like to eat:
Schematic of skeletal muscle - what meat is made of!
As you can see, muscles are made up primarily of fibers made of two proteins called Actin and Myosin. Although opinions vary, most people prefer their steak to be cooked somewhere between rare and well done. In order to figure out why this is the case and what is it people enjoy about steak at the medium temperature (130-155F), we have to look at what is happening to this tissue at theses temperatures. Potter points out that at these temperatures, the Myosin in steaks has reached the temperature at which it denatures, or unfolds. Thea Actin, however, is a more thermostable protein and has not yet denatured. He concludes that, although this is just a correlation, it's too striking to be a coincidence. People, he believes, like the taste of denatured Mysoin and native (non-denatured) Actin.
Mmmm.... denatured Myosin.
However, as someone who is familiar with protein biochemistry, I have an alternative explanation. Could it be, instead, that people like the taste of meat that has been partially denatured because it affects the juiciness of the steak?

When proteins are in their native state, the long chain of amino acids that make up a protein cause it to fold up into a characteristic conformation. Some amino acids are hydrophillic (water-loving) and some are hydrophobic (water-hating). Like oil and water, these residues only get along with others of their kind. Generally, hydrophobic residues are folded into the inside of the protein, where they can interact with each other, while hydrophillic residues are on the outside of the protein, where they can interact with the surrounding liquid. When a protein denatures, this chain unfolds, exposing many hydrophobic residues. If there are other unfolded proteins around, the denatured proteins tend to stick together because their exposed hydrophobic residues interact with those on a neighboring protein. This often causes the proteins to become much less soluble, and they are no longer dissolved in solution, meaning that they no longer interact well with liquids.

If a steak is cooked so that some of the proteins are denatured, it becomes much less "chewy," partially because cells break down and proteins are denatured, allowing the muscle fibers to be more easily broken apart. However, if you cook a steak until it is "well done," people often complain that it is dry and tough. My hypothesis is that this dry, chewy texture occurs because the steak has reached a temperature where all of the proteins are denatured and are insoluble, so they can no longer hold on to moisture within the steak. This, combined with the fact that water evaporates faster at higher temperatures (and will convert to steam above 212F), results in massive moisture loss from the meat. A raw steak is too tough because the muscle is completely intact, but a steak that has been partially denatured (where, perhaps, Mysoin but not Actin proteins are denatured) is broken down somewhat, making it tender. Some of the proteins have been denatured, but there are still a sufficient number of native proteins to hold on to some moisture, resulting in a juicy piece of meat. At least, I think that's one good explanation. At this point, no one knows for sure - this hypothesis is fairly difficult to test, given the number of other variables. If one of my readers can think of a good experiment to test this, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

What is the take home message of all of this? Don't under or over-cook your meat. Different meats (different cuts and species) have different forms and ratios of Actin and Myosin (and also different potential food borne pathogens) and need to be cooked differently. Chicken needs to be cooked to a higher temperature to be sure that there is no Salmonella contamination, but cooking it too long will also cause it to be dry for the same reason that overcooked steak is also dry - you have denatured all of the proteins and forced out all of the water from the meat.

For more interesting discussion of how to cook meat, also check out this timely post about frying Thanksgiving turkey (spoiler alert: don't do it!) from Food Lab.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kitchen Science

I was tipped off (thanks, Emma!) to a cool post with 100 cool food science experiments that you can do in your kitchen at the Accredited Online Colleges blog. Most (if not all) of these use readily available materials to illustrate some basic science principles. They would be great for geeky cooks or anyone that wants to get kids interested in science.

They're taken from a variety of sources and provide quite a wide breadth of ease and level of serious science. Also included are a variety of DIY projects, like making your own yogurt, that illustrate some science principles but might also appeal to those of us who want to try to make home-made versions of things you'd normally buy at the grocery store.

They make me a little nostalgic, as I remember doing some basic kitchen science experiments as kid from Mr. Science experiments-for-kids type books.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Case of the Mummified Burger

It's true - if you have read the internet (at least the gossipy, meme-ridden parts that I read) in the past week or so you have come across the case of the Mummified McDonald's Burger. The evidence so far in this case consists of several accounts of McDonald's hamburgers mysteriously failing to rot or in any way decompose after long periods of storage at room temperature. See examples here, here, and here. Conclusions that McDonald's burgers are full of strange chemical preservatives and don't actually contain any food have become so widespread that McDonald's actually issued an official response, stating that their burgers are actually made of 100% beef. Do McDonald's burgers actually spit in the face of normal decomposition, or is this a scare tactic used by those who aim to convince consumers to eat less fast food (an aim I support, I assure you)?

I, for one, think that McDonald's is probably not lying to us about the contents of their burgers, urban legends about worm meal aside. I think that a McDonald's burger is probably actually made of 100% beef, although it's probably full of processed meat scraps from factory farmed cattle that have been pumped with antibiotics and corn for most of their lives. Still, the FDA still calls that "beef," and it should rot, no?

I suspect that what's happening here is that the non-rotten burgers are full of salt and fat, two things that don't decompose quickly and tend to inhibit microbial growth. Add to that a very low level of moisture, and you have a mummified burger. Ancient Egyptians didn't rot, either, even though they weren't full of new-fangled chemical preservatives. Some Egyptian mummies were preserved with natron, a mixture of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate (aka baking soda) used to remove moisture from the bodies, and others were preserved by the hot dry environment alone. I would guess that a Mickey-D's burger has enough salt to preserve a measly quarter pound of cooked beef pretty well. Importatly, however, I don't have any evidence to prove this, so it's not a scientific conclusion.

What we need is a controlled experiment! Enter our heroes at Serious Eats Blog A Hamburger Today, where the Burger Lab is putting it's money where it's (and my) mouth is (are?) by testing burgers of the same size and shape, some from McDonald's and some home-made, to see if they rot any differently. I eagerly await the results of this experiment. We'll see if there is something magical about the McDonald's hamburger that preserves it so well, or if we're going to have to come up with a less simple way of explaining to consumers that fast food is bad for you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Name That Food!

Alright, people of the internet, it's time to play Name That Food!

Here is your clue:
Guess what this stuff is, then find the answer under the fold. (Hint: ewwww.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Coffee Day!

Happy national coffee day, readers! Actually, I didn't realize it was a holiday, until this morning, when I saw (via BoingBoing) this story from CBS news about the caffeine content of different drinks and the medical effects of caffeine. I suppose it's not news that Dunkin Donuts brew is high test stuff. And it's also not news that caffeine isn't great for your stomach. However, unlike (seemingly) almost everything else we consume, it won't give you cancer, so drink up!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name...

Sorry I have been absent for so long, fair readers, but I return to you with a victorious new title: Dr. ScienceandtheCity! Now that the thesis writing is over, the science can re-commence.

Interesting news comes to us from all over the interwebs, that the US Corn Refiners Association (USCRA) has petitioned the FDA to change the name of "High fructose corn syrup" to "Corn sugar." This move angers many who are against the corn industry and highly processed foods, many of which contain this highly processed sweetener. HFCS has been in the news many times before, and has been covered previously on this blog.

Although HFCS is, as BoingBoing points out, not particularly high in fructose and so not really well named, this name change is obviously a rebranding effort by HFCS producers now that the majority of Americans think that HFCS is not desirable in their food. In spite of its already misleading name, allowing the USCRA to rename corn syrup is just allowing them to further confuse an already confused food-consuming populace.

HFCS is made by milling and processing corn to produce corn starch, then further processing this starch into syrup by breaking up the starch into its component sugars with the enzymes alpha-amylase and glucoamylase. This corn syrup is composed mostly of glucose, a mono-saccharide. Xylose isomerase is then added, which is an enzyme that converts the glucose into fructose, another mono-saccharide. The syrup is now about 42% glucose, and it is subjected to liquid chromatography to further purify the fructose-rich portion so that is it about 90% fructose. This syrup, now called HFCS 90, is then back blended with higher-glucose syrups to the desired fructose concentration (usually 42 or 55%). There are also several other filtration and purification steps that I have left out.

Of course, any refined sugar is bad for you in excess. Some groups have called for banning HFCS, but I think that's going too far. Far be it from me to say the government should tell us all what to eat. So, what is so bad about HFCS, and why is it seemingly in everything?

Let's be clear: HFCS, no matter what it is called, is bad news. In terms of health effects, it has been linked to obesity over the course of the past three decades that it has been in use (1), and studies in laboratory animals have suggested that it is less healthy than sucrose (2) (table sugar), although it remains to be seen if HFCS is any worse than any other refined sweetener in humans. It has also been linked to mercury contamination, possibly from the manufacturing process. However, no refined sweetener is good for you in excess, and eating too much sugar of any kind can increase your risk of diabetes. From a health standpoint, I don't think a little HFCS is going to make you sick. The problem is, it's in almost every type of processed food, so Americans have trouble eating just a little bit of HFCS. Because it is so cheap, some suggest that this causes overconsumption of HFCS-sweetened foods (a bottle of soda is often cheaper than a bottle of a healthier beverage).

Why is HFCS so prevalent? There is a simple answer: it's cheap. However, as with most things, there is also a more complicated answer. The root cause of HFCS's inexpensiveness, and thus its overuse, is grossly bloated corn subsidies paid to the one or two companies that control all of the corn production in the US as well as tariffs on import of sugar. In effect, US taxpayers are paying to subsidize something that has become so overused that it makes us sick. However, another effect of these subsidies is to allow us all to enjoy cheap beef, dairy and processed foods, which most Americans like. The issues surrounding the politics of the corn industry are worth discussing, but are too complex for me to to justice to  here, so I'll leave that for another post.

So, what can we do? The only real solution to this problem is to educate and encourage consumers to purchase more non-processed foods and also to cut corn subsidies. The first part of this plan is already at work. More and more people are paying attention to what they purchase and eat. The USCRA's response is to try to pull the wool over our eyes one more time by renaming HFCS, but consumers have already been tipped off. Hopefully public pressure to stop our tax money from funding this questionably ethical business is on the horizon, as well as a solid federally-funded nutrition education program in all of our public schools. After all, HFCS, by any other name, still tastes as sweet, and still is bad for all of us.

(1) Hilary Parker (March 22, 2010). "A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain". Princeton University.
(2) Hilary Parker (March 22, 2010). "A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain". Princeton Unveristy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Caffeine and the Brain

Over at Lifehacker there is a really informative post about what caffeine actually does to your brain. Basically, it prevents your brain from slowing down. It isn't actually a stimulant, but a de-depressant. Also, you get acclimated to it pretty completely, so that it doesn't affect you anymore, except when you don't have it. Sigh. Still, it's a great addiction to indulge in on a rainy New York day like today.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

CSA Box Recipe: Beet Risotto

Well, internet friends, I hope you're enjoying the summertime. Here in NYC where I live, it's approximately one million degrees outside and very humid. We're officially in the midst of a "heat wave," the likes of which NYC has not seen in a decade. Yay. Even though it's hot outside, my CSA keeps giving me tons of veggies (oh, glorious veggies!) to cook, and so I shall. Hopefully with the aid of my trusty air conditioner, I won't melt.

For the past couple weeks, I have gotten a very nice bunch of beets in my CSA share. Beets are really cool veggies, partly because they're brightly colored (in fact, they'll stain your clothes, countertop, etc. if you're not careful). They're also great because you can eat the whole beet - greens, roots, and even stems, if you like, and they're good for you.

 (Betanin, via Wikimedia Commons)

Beets are red (and sometimes yellow) because they contain pigments called "betalains," named after the latin word for beet (beta). These are water soluble red to yellow pigments that occur in plants including beets, Swiss chard, and some cacti, among others. Betanin, one of the betalains derived from beets, is used as an industrial food dye. These dyes are also powerful antioxidants, and may help protect your body from oxidative stress that occurs naturally and causes aging and cancer, but there isn't a lot of scientific evidence to back that up. About 10-15% of the population has a higher level of oxalic acid in their intestines, protecting betalins from being broken down. This allows them to be absorbed by the body and passed as red or pink urine, a condition called Beeturia (it's not harmful, so don't worry if this happens to you). TMI? I think not... it's science!

Anyways, beyond the ubiquitous roasted beet and goat cheese salad (which is admittedly tasty and good for hot weather), my favorite thing to do with beets is make risotto. This dish takes a little while to prepare and it uses the oven more than you might like in summer, but I think it's worth it. It's creamy and delicious and a delicious summertime dinner paired with a glass of dry white wine. Also, bright pink!

Recipe and pic after the fold...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fish stories

 (Delicious Tuna, via Wikimedia commons)

Just a quick bite...

Soon we may have genetically engineered salmon as an option in the grocery store. According to the NYT, the FDA is looking into an atlantic salmon that grows faster than regular salmon for use on fish farms. I'm glad it's being investigated, and I am even a little optimistic about this as an alternative to overfished wild salmon.

On the other hand, apparently the bluefin tuna is not doing so well. Also from the Times, it seems that we are in the process of hunting this valuable fish into extinction. It doesn't help that one of only two spawning grounds of this fish is in the Gulf of Mexico, where it has Deepwater Horizon as a neighbor.

Speaking of the oil spill, I, personally, am going to miss eating shrimp. It looks like I'm not getting any from the gulf coast anytime soon, and farmed shrimp (often from southeast Asia or South America) are notoriously terrible for the environment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Over at the Sociological Images blog (always a great and thought-provoking read), I came across a post including a video of an American (that is, United States of American) "ethinic" foods section at a German supermarket. I it's a little window of opportunity to see what foods other cultures identify with my culture. Basically, in this case it looks like it's boxed baking mixes for sweets, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, and TONS of BBQ sauce. I was happy to also see maple syrup and some cajun/creole spices, as I think those are some truly American foods. But where (oh where?!) are the peanut butter and ketchup?

Here is the video:

Anyone's ideas of what foods represent a culture are shaped by their personal experiences and biases about that country. Still, I can't help think I would do a better job of making up this section. Maybe it's because culturally, I'm American, and as is pointed out in the post, what other countries associate with your culture might not be an accurate representation.

What foods would you put in the American foods section of this supermarket?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chemical Weapons in Your Kitchen

(Leeks via Wikimedia Commons)

In the recent NY Times Dining section there is a great article (by noted food author Harold McGee) about a new book by Harold Block called Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science. A
apparently it's a little technical (and a little pricey), but McGee's article breaks down some interesting stuff about these ubiquitous kitchen-dwellers.

Alliums, the plant family that includes onions, garlic, and leeks (among others), have been used by humans as food for... well, a long time. But did you know that they can damage the red blood cells of dogs and cats? Or that the sulfur-based compounds that give garlic its distinctive taste can get into your mouth if you rub a clove on the bottom of your foot? Go try it RIGHT NOW! (And tell me how that works out for you...)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pardon the Interruption...

I know I've been slacking off on posting lately. It's been mostly due to the impending end to my graduate student career and related thesis writing activities. Basically, posting is going to be very sparse until August. Until then, I'll try to keep you updated with the goings-on in the food interwebs. Also, my CSA is starting next week, so I'm planning to have some related posts on seasonal veggies.

For now, please entertain and inform yourselves with the following items of interest:

Snake Oil in Your Snacks - Don't believe everything you read on food packaging, or How yogurt isn't going to solve all of your bowel problems.
The Bisphenol A Saga Heats Up - This endocrine disrupting compound is showing up more and more places - previously, in Nalgene bottles and other plastic bottles, and now in most canned food, too.
Dismal Reports on Dietary Supplements - In other snake oil news, food supplements are mostly bunk.
Your Fetus Can Taste Your Food - Turns out, what you eat while pregnant has an effect on what your baby will prefer to eat once it's born.
Why Bananas Turn Black in the Fridge - Cold damages these tropical fruits and causes their cells' vaculoles to leak causing phenol oxidation. Got that?
Do Spices Really Only Keep For Six Months? - Unsurprisingly, they don't spontaneously go bad after this period, but ground spices do lose flavor over time.
Keep 'Em Separated - Why you have to keep egg whites and yolks separate if you want to whip up some nice foamy egg whites. You don't want lipids in your protein foam do you? DO YOU?!
Eat Your Way to a Better Tan - Science says, eating your veggies can help give you a healthy, sun-kissed glow.
Vodka Watermelon - Okay, there isn't much science in this post, but there should be. Osmosis, anyone? Also, delicious boozy watermelon... mmmmm....

Finally, because it is awesome, this video on DIY Plum Wine and Plum Syrup. Japanese green ume plums are in season now, if you can find them:

Speaking of "in season," its finally getting into real summertime here in the Northeast, so get thee to a farmer's market! Radishes and snap peas and strawberries, oh my!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More on the HCFS debate...

A story in the New York Times says that Hunt's Ketchup is rolling out a new high fructose corn syrup (HCFS)-free formulation this month. Hunt's is joining other companies (including Gatorade, Ocean Spray, Pepsi, and Kraft) in introducing HFCS-free products, largely in response to public pressure.

Interestingly, Hunt's is owned by ConAgra (which also owns PepsiCo, among many other compaies), one of the largest food production companies in America, which is a heavy user of genetically modified crops as well as HFCS and has lobbied against labeling of genetically modified ingredients.

It seems that the backlash against HFCS is in full swing, and companies are beginning to bow to public pressure. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Although I'm still on the fence about the health effects of HFCS (a little about that here), I am opposed to the corn subsidies that effectively mean that taxpayers are paying for a product that contributes empty calories to processed food and helps create public health problems.

(via The Kitchn)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DIY Bacon Part II: The Smoke

It's time! After a week or so of anxious waiting while your pork belly cures, the time has come to seal the deal and smoke your bacon!

Previously, I showed you how to cure fresh pork belly to begin making your own American-style bacon. What really separates American bacon from other types of cured pork belly, like Italian Pancetta, for example, is the smoking process. In this post I'll tell you how to smoke your cured pork belly to complete your bacon!

First, a little bit on smoke. Smoke is a collection of airborne solids, liquids, and gases that arise from incomplete combustion (burning) of a material. The composition of the smoke depends on what material you are burning. In the case of smoke used for food production, we are talking about wood smoke, specifically from burning hardwood, including oak, maple, or hickory wood.

(some smoke)

Human beings have been smoking meat for pretty much as long as they had meat to smoke. Dating back to prehistoric times, humans have used the smoking process as a means of preserving meat. This happens by a couple processes. First, chemicals that are present in wood smoke (including phenols) help to prevent fats from going rancid and others (including formaldehyde) prevent bacterial growth. However, since the smoke only gets at the outside of the meat (or whatever you're smoking), it doesn't completely prevent the food from going bad. Since smoking meat over a fire is often accompanied by heating and drying of the meat, this also helps the meat from going bad, as long as you've heated and dried it enough to prevent bacterial growth. Unfortunately, what you end up with in this case is something like beef jerkey. For a moister smoked meat, like the bacon we're making, curing the meat beforehand with salt and sodium nitrate will prevent bacterial growth within the meat, so we don't have to heat or dry it as much. However, because the meat is not thoroughly dried and salted, and because it is so available to us in our modern kitchens, bacon should always be stored in the refrigerator.

After the fold, Materials and Methods for smoking your bacon, with pics...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What you don't know about OJ

At the Smithsonian Magazine website, there's an interesting article about where your year-round supply of "fresh" orange juice comes from, including some surprising facts. For example, the article, based on Alissa Hamilton’s book "Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice," claims that most orange juice is not at all "fresh" or "natural"- it can be stored for up to a year before anyone drinks it, and contains basically unregulated flavor additives.

(via BoingBoing)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DIY Bacon Part I: The Cure

It's that time of year again - the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the farmers' market has the very first things that actually grew this year (hooray ramps!), and those of us with access to one are itching to use our outdoor grills. The rental Gods have bestowed upon me and my apartment a "backyard" (actually more like an alley with two spindly trees in it) in which I can grill things to my heart's content. As a kickoff to this grilling season, I decided to do a DIY food project I have tried once before (with much success): curing and smoking my own bacon.

It may seem a like a lot of work, but actually making your own bacon is very manageable (and, I think, fun and rather satisfying). I have found the most difficult part of the whole process has been to find the primary ingredient: raw, uncured pork belly. I was recently delighted to find this at my local Fairway Market, but it can also be found at Asian or Latin markets or ordered from your friendly local butcher.

The next steps to make American-style bacon are to 1) cure the meat and 2) smoke it. The first part, the cure, is the subject of today's post. Curing meat is a process that preserves meat by treating it with salt, sugar, and a preservative like sodium nitrate. Salt is of primary importance when curing meat, since high levels of salt are the primary method of preservation here. Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms by absorbing all available water by osmosis, preventing spoilage. Sugar and other ingredients in the cure add flavor to the meat.

The use of sodium nitrate (or nitrite) serves several purposes, including inhibiting bacterial growth (including the growth of toxic botulinum bacteria, the cause of botulism) and giving cured meat its characteristic flavor and pink color.  Sodium nitrate or nitrite causes this color by breaking down into nitric oxide (NO) within the meat and binding to the heme group within myoglobin, an oxygen-binding protein present in muscle tissue. This prevents oxidation of the iron-containing heme and causes it to appear a red color. We will add sodium nitrate to our cure in the form of pink salt or curing salt, which is 93.75% table salt combined with 6.25% sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite and dyed pink for identification. It's available for purchase here.
(pink salt)
Materials and Methods for curing the pork belly, as well as pics, after the fold:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hexane in Veggie Burgers


Here's an interesting story about how non-organic soy protein isolate (commonly used in foods like vegetarian burgers) is made using a neurotoxic solvent called hexane (somewhat ironically, hexane is an organic solvent - in this case "organic" means carbon-based instead of the food production designation). The FDA does not monitor or regulate hexane levels in food.

I think it's time to stop assuming that anything made with soy protein is automatically healthy - stories like this, information about how soy monoculture is harming the environment as well as the farming industry, and questions about the biological activity of soy isoflavones (chemicals present in soy and soy products) make me think that soy is not a panacea for our health problems, but just another food that should be eaten in moderation as part of a varied diet.

(via BoingBoing)

Update: There have been some rumors going around that this study was funded by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a pro-meat anti-vegetarian group, but this turns out not to be the case. For an update and interesting FAQ on hexane and veggie burgers, check out More on Veggie Burgers and Neurotoxins (from Mother Jones) and also take a look at  Hexane and Soyburgers: A retraction (from BoingBoing) for info on the rumors. Also, several other news sources have picked up the story.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Urban foraging

Over at BoingBoing, a neat post about urban vegetable foraging. Now that the weather has (finally!) warmed up here in the northeast, all sorts of greenery is poking its head out of the soil. If you're in NYC and interested in urban foraging, you can take an inexpensive walk with "Wildman" Steve Brill in an NYC park to forage for edible plants.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peep-a-palooza 2010!

In honor of the upcoming Easter holiday, Food/Science offers a science-tastic and marshmallow-riffic celebration of Easter candy offerings!

First, let's start off with a handful of Peepy-links:
Furthermore, here are some Easter recipes for all of your Easter cooking needs:
 And, for those of you who love to dye eggs, did you know that all you need is white vinegar and food coloring? It's true - DIY Easter Egg Dye instructions to the rescue! You can also dye Easter eggs with Natural Egg Dyes that you can find at the grocery store. Vinegar is often used when dyeing eggs because it helps to achieve a deeper color. Egg shells are about 95% calcium carbonate. This mineral is dissolved by the acidic vinegar and water solution, removing the outer surface of the eggshell and allowing the dye to adhere to the egg. In fact, if you leave an egg in pure vinegar long enough, you can dissolve the entire eggshell, leaving you with a "naked egg".

Finally, if you still have room after your brunch, Easter meats, and tons of colored eggs, I will gift you with this recipe for the Ultimate Easter Sammitch:

The Peepernutter S'more Sandwich:

1 hollow chocolate bunny
2-3 marshmallow Peeps
2 slices of white bread
peanut butter (or other nut butter)

  1. Cut Peeps in half lengthwise and arrange in a single layer on one slice of bread.
  2. Spread peanut butter on other slice of bread.
  3. Chop or crush chocolate bunny into small chunks and sprinkle evenly over peanut butter. Gently press them into the peanut butter so they stick.
  4. Assemble the sandwich by placing the peanut butter and chocolate topped bread over the Peep topped bread.
  5. Heat in toaster oven, sandwich press, or George Foreman grill until bread is golden brown and peeps and chocolate are soft. Alternatively, you can melt a little butter in a nonstick skillet and heat the sandwich for 1-2 minutes per side (a la grilled cheese) for a similar result.
  6. Enjoy your sugar rush!

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

DIY Kombucha

There's a cool story over at the New York Times about homebrewing kombucha, a fermented tea. This stuff has recently become popular in bottled form at many health food and grocery stores, but apparently it's not so hard to make yourself.

(via BoingBoing)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Top 5 Songs About Food

At FiveTracks, check out the Top Five Songs About Food and rock out! I would have several songs to add to this list, including but not limited to:

"Cherry Pie" by Warrant
"Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones
"Peaches" by Presidents of the United States
"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow
"Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" by Rufus Wainwright

You could make a solid argument that any or all of the above listed songs aren't really about food, and I might not argue with you. For your enjoyment, here is, IMHO, possibly THE most artfully metaphorical song/music video of all time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pi Bakeoff

The winners for Serious Eats' Pi Day Bakeoff (on 3/14, of course) have been announced. Nerdtastic deliciousness!

New research on HFCS

Researchers at Princeton have released the findings of their studies on the effect of High Fructose Corn Syrup on lab animals and it's not pretty. In studies published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, they show that male rats gained much more weight when fed water sweetened with HFCS compared to rats fed water sweetened with sugar (sucrose). They also performed the first long-term study of the effects of HCFS on rats and found increased weight gain and fat deposits as well as increases in circulating triglycerides, which in humans are risk factors for diseases including coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

This info is sure to add to the already existing debate on the pros and cons of HFCS, which seems to be omnipresent in our foods. Over at The Kitchn there is a summary of the study as well as some interesting HFCS links, although I take exception with the title of their post - I don't think you can say that scientists have "proved" the risks of HFCS with this study, although it certainly does support the theory that HFCS is worse for you than sugar.

This study also doesn't address what I see as a separate but equally valid criticism of HFCS - that is is a highly processed and inefficiently produced food that is only popular because government corn subsidies have made it a cheap alternative to sugar. Basically, our tax dollars are going to companies that produce this stuff.

On a bright note, it's that special time of year when you can get wonderful, HFCS-free Passover Coke! For those who observe Passover, HFCS or any corn products can not be eaten during this time. So, Coke and other soda companies make sodas sweetened with sucrose - cane sugar - for passover. Look for a yellow cap on plastic bottles of Coke and the "OU-P" symbol that means it's kosher for passover.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick and the Irish (just for today, that's everyone on earth), I present you with Ten amazing facts about Guinness, everyone's favorite Irish beer. Well, my favorite Irish beer, anyway. Sláinte!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I've heard that fat is flavor...

... but apparently fat may also have a flavor. According to Australian researchers at Deakin University, people can taste certain fatty acids in an otherwise flavorless solution. This suggests that people can taste fat as a flavor, in addition to the previously known flavors: salty, bitter, sweet, sour, and umami (savory).

Receptors for the compounds that are responsible for these flavors have been found on the tongue, and before now, researchers have thought that these are the only things we can actually taste. Everything else we perceive as "taste" is actually processed by receptors in the nose - it's actually smell. That's why everything tastes flat and flavorless when your nose is stuffed up from a cold. The reason that the addition of compounds like fat and alcohol are often said to increase flavor is because many compounds that our noses detect are more easily dissolved in fat or alcohol than water (they are fat soluble rather than water soluble). So, adding fat or alcohol to dishes that contain these flavors allows them to be more easily vaporized and distrubted to our smell receptors while we chew. Hence, people say "fat is flavor" but no one wants to eat pure lard or down a shot of vegetable oil.

Incidentally, most fats we use in cooking are not pure fat and do contain compounds that we can smell, so we perceive them as having a flavor. Things like butter and extra virgin olive oil contain fat in addition to a complex mixture of compounds from their previous lives as milk or fruit that give them a discernible flavor when we eat them. However, this study is the first to show that we can actually taste fat on our tongues.

This study has to be followed up on, but I wonder if this means that there's another taste receptor (or more than one?) on the human tongue that is yet undiscovered. Exciting!

(study via BoingBoing)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Alcohol and cooking

I know I've been a very naughty food blogger lately and haven't been posting as much as I should. Be assured that I have not forgotten you, dear readers - I will have something original soon!

In the meantime, check out this neat article about alcohol's role in cooking from Fine Cooking magainze.
(via the Kitchn).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The booze of the future!

...will make you feel less hungover the next day. Or, at least it's possible. So says a recent publication from Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. They show that oxygenating alcoholic drinks helps them be processed more quickly and efficiently by the body. Best line from this story?
However, until hangovers can be isolated and eliminated, regular alcohol will probably remain popular.
...Probably? History suggests you are right, madam! You can find the original publication here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The origin of cheese stretchiness

There's a great post today over at Serious Eats about what makes cheese stretchy and melty when heated, which is an important consideration when making pizza and other melty-cheese-based applications.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chilling your wine with salt

The Kitchn recently had a post about how to chill a warm bottle of wine quickly using salt.

There is an interesting little debate in the comments section about the science behind this phenomenon and the use of an ice/water mixture vs. ice in cooling wine. I'll take the liberty of giving you the DL on what's up.

First off, a ice/water mixture will cool the bottle of wine faster than ice alone. Why? It has to do with energy transfer (thermodynamics to the rescue!). In order to chill the wine, the heat in the bottle of wine needs to be transferred to its surroundings. This will only happen if the surroundings are colder than the bottle (obvi.). Liquids are better at transferring heat energy than gases (like air). If you pack some ice around a wine bottle, there are many pockets of air insulating the bottle from the ice. If you add some water, the liquid flows into these pockets, contacts the wine bottle, and begins to absorb the bottle's heat energy, cooling it.

So why add ice at all? Basically, to cool the water that's cooling the wine bottle. Ice is a crystal of water molecules. Melting of ice requires breaking up the ice crystal, which requires energy. This energy is taken from the surrounding water, dropping the temperature of the water to about the melting point of the ice. Good contact with this cold water will quickly chill the wine bottle.

Where does the salt come in? Well, adding salt to this system lowers the temperature, cooling the bottle faster. This is the same principle at work when you make ice cream in an old-fashioned hand crank machine or when you salt your driveway when it's icy. Adding salt to the water lowers the freezing point of the mixture. Once you add salt, the freezing point is now lower than the temperature of the mixture. More melting than freezing begins to occur, which means that the system is absorbing more energy than it releases, so the mixture cools. That's why ice water with salt is colder than ice water without.

Another note: the water will cool the bottle faster if you re-distribute the warmed water by agitating the bottle a little as it cools. This ensures that the bottle is always in contact with cool water by mixing up the water and ice in the container. It's also why a frozen item will thaw much more quickly in moving cold water than in will hot water, but perhaps that's another post...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ode to a prune

I'll let you all in on a little secret - prunes are awesome, and I love them. I know the have a bad rap - as nature's laxative and food for old people, but they can be spectacular.

I say this especially of Pruneaux D'Agen, which are prunes from the south of France near a town called Agen where they take their name. These babies are large, tender, and delicious - they remind you that they used to be a fruit. I firmly believe that even prune haters should at least give them a shot. Unfortunately, they can cost quite a bit - a brief internet search comes up with prices around $16/lb. (!!). Luckily for New Yorkers, Fairway market sells them in bulk for $6.99/lb. Sweet. Literally. They're worth it, too - one taste of these and you'll never go back to Sunkist.

Pruneaux (that's French for "prunes") D'Agen have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the E.U., meaning that if they are labeled "Pruneaux D'Agen" they are from a specific region in France and are subject to production oversight. They are naturally dried with no added preservatives, so I recommend keeping them in the fridge and warming them up to room temperature before serving, but keeping them at room temperature is okay, too.

Like all prunes, if you eat a bunch of them, they can have a laxative effect. This is because they contain a good bit of dietary fiber (about 6% by weight) like most dried fruit and also contain a naturally occurring laxative called dihydrophenylisatin.

I love to just eat them, but they are also great in recipes. They can be cooked with red wine or liquor and used as a topping for ice cream, a filling for pastry, etc. Maybe my favorite prune recipes is this one for Brandied Prune and Chocolate Chunk Cookies from The Kitchn. It mimicks a candy that I loved as a kid and still adore - chocolate covered prunes. We used to get them from the Polish shop in our neighborhood and called them Sliwka (pronounced schleev-ka) - Polish from plum. These cookies have that great chocolate and prune taste, with just a little added booziness. Yum!

Enjoy your prunes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Science Cookies!

I get so excited when I find people combing my favorite (and only) livelihood (science) with my very favorite hobby (cooking). There is a super crafty and exciting example of these two worlds colliding at Not So Humble Pie, where Ms. Humble, blog proprietor, has amassed an awesome assortment of science themed cookies (from herself and other geeky bakers). Can you recognize the ones above? They're little electrophoresis gels. Squee! Check them all out here.

(via The Kitchn)

Marion Nestle and the Future of Food

The Kitchn has a rundown of a recent talk by Dr. Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. Apparently, good news - she thinks we (meaning our society) are not all doomed to die of diabetes, as long as we stop eating so much processed corn by-products. Word.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eating to Starve Cancer

There is an interesting summary of a presentation by Dr. William Li from the TED conference at BoingBoing. His talk discussed foods that prevent angiogenesis and thus prevent cancer from becoming deadly. File under: more good reasons to eat your fruits and veggies.

DIY Chicken Stock

(this is NOT chicken stock)

Once you figure out that making home made chicken stock isn't difficult, you'll look back with shame and sadness at all of the wasted roast chicken carcasses of your pre-enlightenment days.

Home made chicken stock is full of finger-licking goodness due to the presence of gelatin. Gelatin is formed when collagen, a protein found in animal connective tissue, is hydrolyzed (broken down). This process takes some heat and time to occur. That's why bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, though not tasty on their own, become tasty through the miracle of a long, slow simmer. It's also this finger-licking-goodness that you miss when you use powdered stock - it generally contains salt and chicken flavor but lacks delicious hydrolyzed proteins. Stock that comes in a can or carton is better, but still can contain some artificial ingredients and is generally inferior to homemade stock.

Lucky for us, homemade stock is easy and cheap to make! The Kitchn has a great DIY guide to making home made chicken stock, but here is my take (somewhat similar, with some hacks to make it easier and a little cheaper).

Chicken Stock Protocol

Materials: roast chicken carcass, vegetable scraps, garlic (optional), whole black peppercorns (optional), 2 pots large enough to hold everything, strainer, cheesecloth, several containers to hold finished stock ( about 1-2 quarts per chicken)

1) Take the remains of one or more roast chickens (bones, cartilage, and bits of meat, avoid the skin) and put it into a pot that fits snugly.
2) Add in several handfuls of vegetable detritus. I use celery ends, carrot ends and peels, onion ends and skins, herb stems, etc., but use whatever you have got on hand. This makes great use of what is otherwise garbage and saves more useful veggies for another meal. Add in a couple crushed cloves of garlic and some whole peppercorns if you have them.
3) Cover the solids in the pot with about an inch of water. Bring to a low simmer for 3-4 hours - you will see some bubbles, but try to avoid a real boil.
4) Line a strainer with cheese cloth and place that inside another pot to catch the finished stock. Pour the chicken stock and solids through the strainer.
5) Aliquot stock into containers to be refrigerated (about a week) or frozen (indefinitely). For this purpose I like the re-usable twist-top storage containers or re-used takeout soup containers.

- If you notice that there is a lot of fat floating on top of the stock, refrigerate overnight then remove the solidified fat with a spoon and then freeze or use the stock.
- If you don't have enough time or materials to make stock after roasting a chicken, put the parts in a bag or plastic container in the freezer until you do have time. In the mean time, toss any veggie scraps that you generate into the container for making stock.
- This method can be used for any amount of chicken leftovers - just scale up.
- You can also make other kinds of stock this way - try turkey stock after Thanksgiving, or buy a bunch of soup bones and make beef stock.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Topless Robot presents a list of essential cookbooks for the nerd kitchen. I want all of them. Especially number two. I can hear someone, somewhere, yelling, "NERD!"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Food Fab

That's fab as in fabrication, not fab as in AB-solutely FAB. Or maybe it's both?

Salon has an interesting piece up about a concept food fabrication machine called the Cornucopia that is the idea of two MIT grad students. Basically, it uses tubes of ingredients that it can heat, cool, and otherwise manipulate into meals using a program.

It all seems very interesting, but I think in reality the best that this technology will achieve is being the centerpiece of a gimmick restaurant. Maybe I'm biased as a cook, but I think a machine will never replicate the experience of a meal well-cooked by a caring human. It still has to be programmed by a person and it seems cost-prohibitive into the foreseeable future. Plus it doesn't exist yet except in the minds of its creators. But maybe there's a place for this in a space station somewhere where some government or another can foot the bill?

For the mean time, you can build this DIY open-source CandyFab from Evil Mad Scientist and print yourself out some cool 3D sugar sculptures for just $500 and some precious spare time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is your bread the same species as you pasta?

(image via wikimedia commons)

Have you ever wondered about the genetics of dinner at an Italian restaurant? Probably not. Chances are, though, that the species of wheat in your garlic bread was different than the one used to make your spaghetti.

Humans have a complicated relationship with wheat. We've been cultivating many species for thousands of years and have molded these species' characteristics using selective breeding. Many wheat species are polyploid, meaning that they have more than two sets of chromosomes (that's how many humans and most animals have), which generally makes genetic manipulation difficult. However, Monstanto, the largest producer of genetically modified crops, is developing genetically modified wheat, although it won't be on the market for several years.

Some people have a severe intolerance to wheat gluten, a protein found in wheat, called Celiac disease. People with this disease have a severe immune reaction to wheat gluten that damages the intestinal lining, causing a host of symptoms. Related proteins found in rye and barley will likely also cause these symptoms. Since all species of wheat are related and produce similar proteins, Celiac sufferers must avoid all species of wheat in their diets. Currently, there is no cure for Celiac disease, although it can be managed with diet. The exact mechanism is still under investigation.

In case you've ever wondered, here is the 411 on some common species of wheat that you will encounter at your grocery store or neighborhood restaurant:

1) Common wheat or Bread wheat (T. aestivum) is a hexaploid species that is the most commonly cultivated in the world.
2) Durum wheat (T. durum) is a hard wheat used to make semolina flour for pasta.
3) Spelt (T. spelta) is a wheat species that is recently gaining in popularity but still less prevalent than other types.
4) Emmer wheat (T. dicoccum), also known as Farro, was widely cultivated in ancient times but is less prevalent now. It was specifically referred to in several ancient texts.
5) Einkorn wheat (T. monococcum) is a rarer type of wheat that may be less toxic to Celiac sufferers1

Additionally, there are many, many other species of wheat that I don't have the space (or frankly the willpower) to go into here. Interested parties are referred to this excellent Wikipedia article.

Wheat is usually ground into flour, using all (in the case of whole wheat) or part (in the case of white) of the wheat kernel. In general, "hard" wheats contain more protein, which makes dough made from their flour more chewy and elastic. They are best for bread and pasta, whereas "soft" wheats contain less protein and are best for cakes, biscuits, etc. "All-Purpose" flour is usually a mix of these two types and can be used for a wide variety of purposes, hence the name.

1Pizzuti D, Buda A, D'Odorico A, D'Incà R, Chiarelli S, Curioni A, Martines D (November 2006). "Lack of intestinal mucosal toxicity of Triticum monococcum in celiac disease patients". Scand. J. Gastroenterol. 41 (11): 1305–11.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cooking Up Bad Ideas

A few days ago I took a class at the Brooklyn Kitchen labs called Cooking Up Bad Ideas. Hosted by the friendly and talented Tom (pictured above, who I had previously met at a pig butchering class he taught also at Brooklyn Kitchen) and Millicent, I knew it was my kind of class when the first thing they did when I walked in was handed me a PBR and a Koozie.

The class was super fun - we were fed all sorts of glorious and inglorious food concoctions and learned the five pillars of CWBI, which I will share with you here:

1) Re-appropriating prepared food items and combining them in novel and unexpected ways (ex: Hormel chili + fritos = frito pie).

2) Stuffing (or injecting) one food item into another (ex: the lauded and feared turducken).

3) Making junk food out of otherwise totally unadulterated and high quality foodstuffs (ex: Kobe beef Big Mac), while being careful not to attempt to re-engineer foods which are already the Platonic ideal of that food (ex: Heinz ketchup).

4) Brazenly adding flavors to food by soaking, salting, brining, marinading, injecting, or otherwise applying flavoring agents (ex: Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, Frank's Red Hot, or any kind of seasoning salt or rub).

5) DEEP FRY IT. I feel that this needs no explanation, but one useful tip was provided that I will point out: have a fry buddy. Someone needs to ask, "Yes, we can deep fry this, but SHOULD we?"

Tasty examples and lively discussion were provided. I would recommend this or any of the other classes at Brooklyn Kitchen - I have taken two and they were both great. Additionally, it has been a great cooking shop (on 616 Lorimer St. in Brooklyn, NYC) for some time now. The location of my most recent class was the bright and shiny new Brooklyn Kitchen Labs (100 Frost St., around the corner and up the block from the old store, which still exists), which includes, in addition to classroom spaces, a butcher shop with real, live, knowledgeable butchers (the Meat Hook) as well as HOMEBREW SUPPLIES! (In case you can't tell - I'm excited. Finally a well-stocked homebrew supply shop in NYC!)

I appreciated how casual and fun the class was, and it helped me rediscover the fun part of cooking (remember fun? it used to be your primary occupation in 2nd grade?). Food is a complicated mixture of sustenance, personal preference, history, and culture. After CWBI, I am going to try to ask myself more often while I am cooking: how can I make this more fun, and does it taste good?

P.S. My experience at CWBI has also inspired an upcoming series of posts unapologetically celebrating uniquely American concoctions. Await them with mouthwatering anticipation!

Friday, January 22, 2010

E. Coli and Grass-Fed Beef

We've heard lots of reports in the past few years about how grass-fed beef, although more expensive than conventional feed lot beef, is better for you/the environment/the cattle. All this seems to be true, but here Slate has an discussion about why grass-fed beef is NOT free from pathogenic strains of E. Coli like O157:H7.

Let's go over safe handling instructions for raw meat again, shall we?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Science Behind Poaching an Egg

(via Tastespotting)

Poached eggs are delicious – at least I think so. I suspect that a number of other people do, as well, yet they remain relatively unpopular when compared to other methods of egg preparation. This may be because oftentimes the result of boiling an egg without its shell resembles Egg-drop soup more than Eggs Benedict.

Science to the rescue! Actually, poaching an egg is not that difficult, especially if you think a little bit about what’s going on inside your pot. With a little bit of know-how behind you, preparing perfect poached eggs, without space-hogging and expensive unitaskers, is no problem.

What’s going on when you cook an egg? The answer is all about proteins. Egg whites are made of proteins and water. Proteins themselves are large (macro) molecules that consist of long chains of smaller molecules called amino acids folded up into complex structures. When proteins are subjected to heat, they denature, that is, the chains unfold and lose their structure. This often causes the proteins to lose solubility (they can no longer be dissolved in liquid). In the case of ovalbumin, the main protein component of egg whites, this causes the egg white to solidify and look white and cooked. The key to perfect poached eggs is to have this happen as fast as possible when cooking the egg, before the egg white has a chance dissipate into the water in the pot.

How to do this? Well, it has been shown that ovalbumin is more easily denatured at acidic pH1. This is the science behind why vinegar is often added to egg poaching water. This recipe outlines the basic approach I take. A simple experiment shows that adding 1 tsp. (4.9 mL) of white vinegar (5% acetic acid v/v) in 2 quarts of NYC tap water (1.9L) changes the pH from 6.75 to 3.43 at room temperature (25C) (Remember that pH 7 is neutral, lower pH is acidic, and higher pH is basic or alkaline). At a simmer (95C), the pH of tap water is changed from 6.84 to 3.87. This more acidic pH, combined with the heat of simmering water, rapidly denatures the ovalbumin in the egg whites, creating a coating of cooked egg that the interior of the egg is trapped in while cooking. This prevents the egg from falling apart and the result is a perfectly poached egg.

Poached Egg Protocol:

Materials: 1-4 fresh eggs (egg white proteins break down over time, resulting in a runnier white that spreads out more in the pot), 2qt or larger pot, small bowl, white vinegar, slotted spoon, paper towel

  • Bring ~2qt. water to a low simmer (NOT a vigorous boil) and add 1 tsp. white vinegar.

  • Crack one egg into a small bowl before sliding it into the simmering water so as not to break up the egg on it’s way into the water.

  • Repeat for subsequent eggs, spacing eggs out from each other so that they heat quickly and evenly and don’t stick together.

  • Cook eggs 2-3 minutes (or until desired done-ness level). Eggs will continue to cook as long as they are hot, so expect them to cook a little more after they have been removed from the pot.

  • Evacuate eggs to a paper towel on a plate using a slotted spoon.

  • Bon Appetit!

1Koseki et al. Conformational Changes in Ovalbumin at Acid pH. J Biochem.1988; 103: 425-430

Carl Sagan's Apple Pie


(via Serious Eats)

Hello World!

Hello world!