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Posts Tagged ‘Food

“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”*…

 

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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:

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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.

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Via Laughing Squid

* Scott Adams

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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?

 

Written by LW

October 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch”*…

 

Australian photographer T.Q. Lee has thing for food… or at least, for what looks like food…

Waxed Rolled Socks w/ Dirty Hot Shaving Cream  Now with ten times the fibre of regular donuts! It took me a few tries to work out how to get these brown, rolled socks to accept the wax treatment without simply absorbing it. In the end, refrigeration was rather aptly, the key ingredient in my wax frosting.

His series, Inedible, composes a wide– and often revolting– variety of ingredients into appetizing photos of “food.”

Telephone Cord in Papier-mâché Sauce w/ a glass of Betadine  All of my images for Inedible are lit with natural light in contrast to and to highlight the artifical subjects being photographed. At times the distinction between real and fake became indistinguishable, and so I would add a final element that causes the viewer to question what they are seeing. In this instance, I felt the combination of telephone cord, mashed-up serviettes, soap and green cardboard clippings was too convincing alone. I was also coming down with a cold, so I fortunately had access to plenty of sore throat gargle to complete the dish..

Lee explains…

Part visual pun, part social comment on convenience food, Inedible is a still life photographic series of meals made from unconventional ingredients. Every element in these dishes are considered inedible in insolation. Together, do they whet or surpress your appetite?

Kitchen Cupboard Sushi  My first awareness of sushi was from the cult-classic, The Breakfast Club. In the lunch scene, rich-kid Claire (Molly Ringwald) explains that sushi is “raw fish, rice and seaweed” to the disgust of school-criminal, Bender (Judd Nelson) and, supposedly, the audience. How things have changed. Sushi is now a staple lunch for the modern workforce. It was precisely this ordinariness that I wanted to capture in this Inedible work. “Kitchen Cupboard Sushi” is made from ingredients found in a common kitchen cupboard, with just a few additional inedible materials from my craft box. See if you can figure out all of the raw details.

Browse the buffet at Inedible.

* Orson Welles

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As we wonder what he’d do with green eggs and ham, we might spare a thought for Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA “Dr. Seuss”; he died on this date in 1991.  After a fascinating series of early-career explorations, Geisel settled on a style that created what turned out to be the perfect “gateway drug” to book addiction for generations of nascent young readers.

The more that you read,

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

The more places you’ll go.

- I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1978)

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Written by LW

September 24, 2014 at 1:01 am

“The future of the nations will depend on the manner of how they feed themselves”*…

 

 click here (and again) for larger (and legible) version

This map, compiled and published by meat-packing company Armour in 1922, illustrates the extraordinary range of agricultural activities in America at the time.  The broad message of the map is that America’s strength as a nation was substantially based on its strength as an agricultural power.  The huge expanse of American land and the vast number of climates across the country allowed the U.S. to grow a more diverse set of crops and raise more kinds of animals than other nations.  As Armour concludes, “the United States [was] the most self-sustaining nation in the world”…  but lots has changed in the near-century since then.

How nations feed themselves has gotten a lot more complicated. That’s particularly true in the US, where food insecurity coexists with an obesity crisis, where fast food is everywhere and farmer’s markets are spreading, where foodies have never had more power and McDonald’s has never had more locations, and where the possibility of a barbecue-based civil war is always near…

From Vox40 maps, charts, and graphs that show where our food comes from and how we eat it, with some drinking thrown in for good measure.

* French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1826

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As we pick a peck, we might send tuneful birthday wishes to Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie; he was born on this date in 1912.  Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his own songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era of the Great Depression– and earned him the nickname, “Dust Bowl Troubadour.”

‘This Land is Your Land (in D)’By Woody Guthrie

CHORUS: This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

CANADIAN CHORUS:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From Bonavista to Vancouver Island
From the Arctic Circle to the Great Lake Waters
This land was made for you and me

SANIBEL CHORUS:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to Sanibel Island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
O’er the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me, a voice was saying
This land was made for you and me

When the sun came shining and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
As the fog was lifting, a voice was chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I went walking, I saw a sign there
On the sign it said NO TRESPASSING
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
That side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city, in the shadow of the steeple
In the relief office, I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking that freedom highway
Nobody living can make me turn back
This land was made for you and me

 source

Written by LW

July 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance”*…

 

The McIlhenny Family
The Business: Tabasco hot sauce
The Fortune: The company’s net worth is estimated at $2 billion to $3 billion. (At $2.5 billion, that’s 626,566,416 five-ounce bottles of original Tabasco).
A Brief History: In 1868, Edmund McIlhenny of Avery Island, Louisana, crafted a sauce made from salt-fermented tabasco peppers to pep up “bland” Southern food. Two years later, he received a patent and began expanding the business, focusing on restaurants and “men’s clubs.” The fact that there were few competitors at the time helped Tabasco gain ground quickly. The company has stayed within the family for five generations.
Amateur Hour: Consumers originally complained that McIlhenny’s sauce was too hot, because they applied it “liberally,” like ketchup—that’s why the bottle is fitted with a slotted slow-release top.

From well-known eponymous brands like Mars and Entemann’s to more discrete families like the Albrechts (Trader Joe’s) and the Unanues (Goya), Bon Appétit runs down the family dynasties that rule the grocery aisles, restaurant kitchens, and dinner tables of America: “The Richest, Most Powerful Families in the Food Business.”

* George Bernard Shaw

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As we strategize our approaches to the buffet table, we might send epigrammatic birthday greetings to Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra; he was born on this date in 1925.  Berra played almost his entire 19-year baseball career (1946–1965) for the New York Yankees. Berra is one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times; according to  sabermetrician Bill James, he is the greatest catcher of all time and the 52nd greatest non-pitching player in major-league history. Berra went on to manage the dynasty of which he was a crucial part, the Yankees, and then the New York Mets; he is one of seven managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series (as a player, coach, or manager, Berra appeared in 21 Fall Classics). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Berra is also remembered for the “unique”  observations on baseball and life with which he graced reporters during interviews:  e.g., “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical,” “It’s déjà vu all over again,” “You can observe a lot by watching,” and “The future ain’t what it used to be.”  In The Yogi Book, Berra explained, “I really didn’t say everything I said. [...] Then again, I might have said ‘em, but you never know.”

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Written by LW

May 12, 2014 at 1:01 am

“I am sure my music has a taste of codfish in it”*…

 

High-frequency sounds enhance the sweetness in food, while low frequencies bring out the bitterness.  So, could sound replace sugar? And what kind of music should restaurants play?  The Guardian digs in…

Sound is the final frontier in food presentation. Restaurants agonise over menus, crockery, furniture and lighting, yet often any old CD will be stuck on for background music with nary a thought. However, now that we’re starting to understand that everyone has synaesthetic tendencies when it comes to taste, sound is set to play a bigger part in our eating experience. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, is considering a sonic range of ice-cream flavours, with QR codes on the tubs that will allow eaters to access complementary sounds via their phones…

Confirming the hunches of so many ravenous aeroplane passengers, a study published in 2011 found that loud background noise suppresses saltiness, sweetness and overall enjoyment of food. (For flyers, this is compounded by the high altitude blocking nasal passages, and therefore access to aromas.) Incidentally, for those among you who curse that you can’t hear yourself think, or indeed taste, in some restaurants, it isn’t unheard of for the background din to register 90db, which is a tad louder than commercial flights.

However, Charles Spence, director of Oxford’s Crossmodal Laboratory, points out: “Have you ever noticed how many people ask for a bloody mary or tomato juice from the drinks trolley on aeroplanes? The air stewards have, and when you ask the people who order, they tell you that they rarely order such a drink at any other time.” Spence reckons this is because umami may be immune to noise suppression. If he proves his hypothesis, perhaps concentrating on umami-rich ingredients such as tomatoes, parmesan, mushrooms and cured meats in the sky could help obliterate plane-food hell…

Much, much more at “How sound affects the taste of our food.”

* Edvard Grieg

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As we slip on our headphones, we might spare a thought for Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni; he died on this date in 1827.  Widely regarded as “the father of acoustics,” he built on the work of Robert Hooke to create “Chladni figures,” demonstrations of complex patterns of vibration; variations of this technique are still commonly used in the design and construction of acoustic instruments like violins, guitars, and cellos.

Creating Chladni figures

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Chladni measured the speed of sound in various gases by determining the pitch of the note of an organ pipe filled with each gas, and determined the speed of sound in solids using analysis of the nodal pattern in standing-wave vibrations in long rods.

Chladni was an accomplished musician (and inventor of he musical instrument called “Euphon“), and fathered another science–  meteoritics– when, in 1794, he published Über den Ursprung der von Pallas gefundenen und anderer ihr ähnlicher Eisenmassen und über einige damit in Verbindung stehende Naturerscheinungen (“On the Origin of the Pallas Iron and Others Similar to it, and on Some Associated Natural Phenomena”) in which he proposed that meteorites have an extraterrestrial origin.

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Written by LW

April 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

“We all have hometown appetites”*…

 

Lebanon: fatoush (tomato salad), pita bread, and parsley

As part of a promotion for the Sydney International Food Festival, the advertising agency WHYBIN/TBWA designed 18 national flags using foods for which each country is commonly known…

United States: hot dogs, ketchup, and mustard

China: dragon fruit and star fruit

Japan: tuna and rice

 

See other prandial pennants at Marvelous. [Grateful TotH to reader @krasney]

Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, I suppose, any more than we can enjoy theirs. It is not strange; for tastes are made, not born. I might glorify my bill of fare until I was tired; but after all, the Scotchman would shake his head and say, ‘Where’s your haggis?’ and the Fijan would sigh and say, ‘Where’s your missionary?’
-Mark Twain, Roughing It

* Clementine Paddleford (quoted in Charles Wysocki’s Americana Cookbook)

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As we ask for extra mayonnaise, we might recall that it was on this date in 1960 that Elvis Presley was honorably discharged after two years in the U.S. Army; he left with the rank of sergeant.  Presley, whose career had been carefully stoked with banked material during his service, went right back to work: within a month he recorded and released a single, “Stuck on You,” that went straight to Number One, the ballads “It’s Now or Never” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, and the rest of Elvis Is Back!, which went straight to Number Two on the album chart.  And he hit the sound stage as well, making G.I. Blues in time to release it that summer– and watch it climb to Number Two on Variety‘s box office chart.

Elvis entertaining King Mehendra and Queen Ratna of Nepal on the set of “G.I. Blues”

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Written by LW

March 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

Bless you…

 

One of the first “sneeze guards” appeared in Johnny Garneau’s American Style Smorgasbord in Monroeville 1958.

In 1959, the restaurateur and inventor Johnny Garneau patented the “Covered Food Serving Table,” later known as the “sneeze guard,” a means of protecting food on display from bacteria and other germs that may be spread by sneezing.  Today, it’s required by law that retail, self-service food bars have one—no salad bar shall be left uncovered…

At the time of his invention, he owned and ran a chain of American Style Smorgasbord restaurants in Ohio and Pennsylvania—a set price, all-you-can-eat buffet model based off of the the traditional Swedish “smorgasbord,” a celebratory meal, buffet style, with a laid-out table of food. The first example of a smorgasbord in America appeared at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Garneau’s “American Style Smorgasbord” restaurant was one of the first of many self-service restaurants that would pop up in the the United States in the ’50s.

“Being the germaphobe that he was, he couldn’t stand people going down the Smorgasbords smelling things and having their noses too close to the food,” Barbara Kelley, one of five of Garneau’s children says. “He said to his engineers, ‘We have to devise something—I don’t want these people sneezing on the food”…

The saying is that “necessity is the mother of invention.” It took a Midwestern restauranteur to realize that without something to protect them, everyone’s favorite buffet foods were defenseless from the attack of a 40 mph sneeze.

Read the full story, and peruse the patent, at “How the “Sneeze Guard” Changed Buffet Tables Forever.”

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As we reach for the hand sanitizer, we might spare a thought for Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, KCB, FRS, FRGS, MRIA; he died on this date in 1857.  A career naval officer and hydrographer, Beaufort devised, in 1806, a simple scale that coastal observers could use to report the state of the sea to the Admiralty.  Originally designed simply to describe wind effects on a fully rigged man-of-war sailing vessel, it was later extended to include descriptions of effects on land features as well.  Officially adopted in 1838 (and in use to this day), it uses numbers 0 to 12 to designate calm, light air, light breeze, gentle breeze, moderate breeze, fresh breeze, strong breeze, moderate gale, fresh gale, strong gale, whole gale, storm, and hurricane. Zero (calm) is a wind velocity of less than 1 mph (0.6 kph) and 12 (hurricane) represents a velocity of over 75 mph (120kph).

A sneeze of the sort that spooked Johnny Garneau often measures an 8 on the Beaufort Scale: “Fresh Gale.”

 source

 

Written by LW

December 17, 2013 at 1:01 am

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