A segment from the documentary Tokyo-Ga by Wim Wenders shows the meticulous process by which Japanese wax food samples are made. Molds are made from pieces of real food, and the wax forms produced from the molds are then worked and painted to closely resemble the original items. Another clip posted by YouTube user macdeetube shows a worker forming a wax sample piece of shrimp tempura and a head of cabbage from raw materials.
Posts Tagged ‘Food’
Daily diets very considerably around the world; so, then, do their caloric contents. This interactive graphic from National Geographic breaks it down in a way that makes comparison– country to country, and any country to the world as a whole– easy and clear.
It’s fascinating to observe that the average for the world has risen nearly 30% in the last 50 years, to a level that’s roughly commensurate with the recommended calorie intake for an adult man; as users will see, averages for the U.S. and other developed countries are well above that… Expert opinion on the rise in obesity in the U.S. (and many other nations) is conflicted; still, it’s interesting to note the correlation.
* W.C. Fields
As we pass on the side of bacon, we might pause to note that, while there’s no clarity as to its origin, there’s wide agreement that today is National Bagel and Lox Day, a celebration of the quintessential Jewish-American “sandwich” once found only in New York delis, but now universally popular. Bagels originated in Poland in the early 17th century. Jewish families often ate bagels on Saturday evenings at the conclusion of the Sabbath, perhaps because the they could be baked very quickly. Lox is an entirely American invention. It became a popular sandwich filling in the mid 1800s when the transcontinental railroad began shipping barrels of brined salmon to the East Coast.
Surely coincidentally, today is also National Toothache Day. Some believe the celebration can be traced to the founding of the Hersey Corporation on February 9, 1894. But others (including your correspondent) reckon that it is related to St. Apollonia, the Patroness of Toothaches, whose feast day is today.
“What do we do to things we don’t need/want/like?” Amy Erickson asks on her blog, Oh, Bite It!. “We fry it … that’s what!” In this case, the creator of deep-fried Pumpkin Spice Lattes and, for rougher days, deep-fried tequila shots has put Brach’s famous candy corn inside Pillsbury dough rounds and subjected the whole package to a bath of hot oil. The finished product is dusted with powered sugar, zeppole-style, and allegedly yields “doughy pillows” that are “just a shadow of that seasonal, sad, tooth-buster of a treat.”
In a world in which somebody has already fried every bagged item that comes in a snack size — M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, Twizzlers — no one can really blame Erickson for daring to dream, but the ultimate end-of-October Frankenfood made Rusty Foster’s Today in Tabs (“Two words: DEEP FRIED CORN CANDY”), and now that’s basically what the internet is doing, pretty unanimously and in repulsion:
— Kyla Gardner (@gardnerkyla) October 20, 2014
— F. Thot Fitzgerald (@DaniFantastic) October 21, 2014
Fried. candy corn. LISTEN, MAYNE. pic.twitter.com/djDdrdQW7B
— Laraine Lujack (@therainebeaux) October 21, 2014
Why did the phrase “deep fried candy corn” just crawl across my timeline? Why is that a thing? What is the matter with people?
— H. G. WellActually (@andthenlynsaid) October 20, 2014
Deep fried? Fine. Candy? Okay. Corn? We’ll allow it. But those four words in THAT order? NAW.
— H. G. WellActually (@andthenlynsaid) October 20, 2014
Well, almost. Some blame is getting spread onto others known to fry a thing or two
— Styx (@RenRennyy) October 20, 2014
via Grub Street
* proverbial saying of unknown origin
As we heat up the oil, we might send fertile birthday greetings to Luther George Simjian; he was born on this date in 1905. The son of Armenian parents in Turkey, Simjian escaped the genocide and made his way to the U.S., where he worked initially as a lab photographer at Yale Medical School– and began his career as a inventor, creating a projector for microscope images among many other devices.
In 1934 Simjian moved to New York City, where he invented a self-posing portrait camera, with which the photographed person could see and optimize their own image in a mirror before the photo was actually taken. In order to manufacture and distribute the camera, which became a success for use in department stores, he founded the company Photoreflex. Years later, after selling the invention and the trade name, the company was renamed Reflectone, after another of Simjian’s inventions, a kind of cosmetic chair with movable mirrors, via which one could see one’s own body from all perspectives.
In 1939 Simjian had the idea to build the Bankmatic Automated Teller Machine, probably his most famous invention. Despite skepticism from banks, he registered 20 patents for it and developed a number of features and principles that can still be found in today’s ATMs– including their name. He finally persuaded the City Bank of New York (today Citibank) to run a 6-month trial. The trial was discontinued — surprisingly not due to technical inefficiencies, but to lack of demand. “It seems the only people using the machines were a small number of prostitutes and gamblers who didn’t want to deal with tellers face to face,” Simjian wrote. Hence Simjian missed out on not only the commercial success, but also the fame associated with inventing the ATM. (This credit is often attributed to John Shepherd-Barron, who invented the first true electronic ATM, and Donald Wetzel, who directed a 5 million US-$ project to build upon Shepherd-Barron’s invention in the late 1960s.)
Simjian achieved real commercial success during World War II with another invention, his Optical Range Estimation Trainer, a kind of simple flight simulator, made from mirrors, light sources and miniature airplanes, used to train US military pilots in estimating the speed and distance of airplanes; Simjian sold over 2000 of these devices. Today’s successor of Reflectone (after a number of mergers and acquisitions), CAE, is still selling flight simulation and control technology.
Simjian founded several other companies in the following years and invented a number of very different devices and technologies,including a teleprompter, medical ultrasound devices, a remote-controlled postage meter, a golf simulator, and a meat tenderizer. He never stopped inventing in his laboratories in Fort Lauderdale. At the age of 92, he got his last patent on a process for improving the sound of wood for musical instruments– seven months before his death in 1997.
Everything has a limit – or does it?…
Some maximums will never be surpassed, but as the author Arthur C Clarke once said, “the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
See a larger version of the graphic above at “Ultimate limits of nature and humanity.”
* Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
As we bump up against boundaries, we might send compressed birthday greetings to Aaron “Bunny” Lapin; he was born on this date in 1914. In 1948, Lapin invented Reddi-Wip, the pioneering whipped cream dessert topping dispensed from a spray can. First sold by milkmen in St. Louis, the product rode the post-World War Two convenience craze to national success; in 1998, it was named by Time one of the century’s “100 great consumer items”– along with the pop-top can and Spam. Lapin became known as the Whipped Cream King; but his legacy is broader: in 1955, he patented a special valve to control the flow of Reddi-Wip from the can, and formed The Clayton Corporation to manufacture it. Reddi-Wip is now a Con-Agra brand; but Clayton goes strong, now making industrial valves, closures, caulk, adhesives and foamed plastic products (like insulation and cushioning materials).
Have we reached peak delivery service? Just in case you had a craving for airline food for some reason, there’s now a company in Germany that will bring it to you. Air Food One is a subscription food delivery service that has teamed up with grocery company AllYouNeed.com and LGS Sky Chefs to bring leftover airline food right to the door of anyone living in Germany – the service is only available there for now…
The rest of this tasteless tale at “Air Food One Delivers Airline Food Right To Your Door.”
* Wolfgang Puck
As we ask for the vegetarian option (which is available from Air Food One), we might recall that it was on this date in 1999, at the urging of animal rights activist (and actress) Brigitte Bardot, that the Russian Duma passed legislation forbidding Russians from eating their pets (or slaughtering them for their furs/skins). On January 6 of the following year, Vladimir Putin, in office for less than a week, vetoed the bill.
We’re skating into that time year… the onslaught of celebratory meals and Holiday parties that promise to test our waistbands. But help– or at least a nagging caution– is at hand. The app Calorific uses simple, pastel images to reveal how much of virtually any food adds up to 200 calories.
From God’s condiment…
…to rabbit food…
More at “What 200 Calories of Every Food Looks Like.”
* Erma Bombeck
As we go down for the count, we might send well-digested birthday greetings to William Beaumont; he was born on this date in 1785. An American army surgeon, Beaumont was the first person to observe and study human digestion as it occurs in the stomach. As a young medic stationed on Mackinac Island in Michigan, Beaumont was asked to treat a shotgun wound “more than the size of the palm of a man’s hand” (as Beaumont wrote). The patient, Alexis St. Martin, survived, but was left with a permanent opening into his stomach from the outside. Over the next few years, Dr. Beaumont used this crude fistula to sample gastric secretions. He identified hydrochloric acid as the principal agent in gastric juice and recognized its digestive and bacteriostatic functions. Many of his conclusions about the regulation of secretion and motility remain valid to this day.
“Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road”*…
Introducing the DestapaBanana from Argentina:
In case the images didn’t give you enough information, I’ll explain the device in a bit more detail. The DestapaBanana bores a hole through the length of your banana and then you pour a sweet filling (like caramel, chocolate, or strawberry sauce) into the reservoir. Once sauced, you can eat the banana right away or you can put it in the freezer and eat it frozen later.
For starters, this device does nothing else and won’t work with bananas that have a lot of curve to them. Additionally, I think a straw would do the same thing if you really are fond of this idea. Or, you could dip the banana in a sauce and not waste part of your banana. And, finally, let’s not forget the most obvious thing here that injecting sauce into a banana transforms it from a health food into a tube of pure sugar…
More at Unclutterter.
As we pierce the peel, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that the first consumer microwave oven was introduced to the public. n 1947, Raytheon demonstrated the world’s first microwave oven, the “Radarange,: a refrigerator-sized appliance that cost $2-3,000. It found a some applications in commercial food settings and on Navy ships, but no consumer market. Then Raytheon licensed the technology to the Tappan Stove Company, which introduced a wall-mounted version with two cooking speeds (500 and 800 watts), stainless steel exterior, glass shelf, top-browning element and a recipe card drawer. It sold for $1,295 (figure $10,500 today).
Later Litton entered the business and developed the short, wide shape of the microwave that we’re familiar with today. As Wired reports, this opened the market:
Prices began to fall rapidly. Raytheon, which had acquired a company called Amana, introduced the first popular home model in 1967, the countertop Radarange. It cost $495 (about $3,200 today).
Consumer interest in microwave ovens began to grow. About 40,000 units were sold in the United States in 1970. Five years later, that number hit a million.
The addition of electronic controls made microwaves easier to use, and they became a fixture in most kitchens. Roughly 25 percent of U.S. households owned a microwave oven by 1986. Today, almost 90 percent of American households have a microwave oven.
“The first time you see something that you have never seen before, you almost always know right away if you should eat it or run away from it”*…
Readers have surely encountered the wax models of sushi, tempura, et al. that grace the entrances of Japanese restaurants, advertising the dishes available therein. Here, the story of that faux food:
Via Laughing Squid
* Scott Adams
As we say arigatou, we might note that this is the prime night– Saturday night– of National Curry Week (established 17 years ago, in the UK, to celebrate 200 years of Indian restaurants there) and the first night of National Eating In/Out Week. Dinner, anyone?