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Posts Tagged ‘pizza

“Do not imagine that mathematics is hard and crabbed, and repulsive to common sense. It is merely the etherealization of common sense”*…

 

Indeed, mathematics can be pretty amazing.  Consider, for example, that a pizza (which is essentially a very short cylinder) that has radius “z” and height “a” has volume Pi × z × z × a.

More marvelous math here.

* William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin

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As we do the sums, we might send relaxing birthday greetings to  Edwin J. Shoemaker; he was born on this date in 1907.  In 1928, he and his cousin Edward M. Knabusch prototyped a porch chair out of some wooden slats taken from orange crates; it would automatically recline as a sitter leaned back.  Since it was a seasonal item, his sales improved when he added plush upholstery for year-round indoor use.  Still, his chairs were for the most part locally/regionally sold.  So he designed a manufacturing facility which utilized the mass-production methods of Detroit’s automotive industry– and in November of 1941 went national with the La-Z-Boy recliner.

Edwin (left) and Edward with their original creation

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Written by LW

June 2, 2017 at 1:01 am

“The thought of two thousand people crunching celery at the same time horrified me”*…

 

Eliminating meat from our diets would bring a bounty of benefits to the planet’s health and to our own – but, a quick transition would not be without its costs: it could harm millions of people…

People become vegetarians for a variety of reasons. Some do it to alleviate animal suffering, others because they want to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Still others are fans of sustainability or wish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

No matter how much their carnivorous friends might deny it, vegetarians have a point: cutting out meat delivers multiple benefits. And the more who make the switch, the more those perks would manifest on a global scale.

But if everyone became a committed vegetarian, there would be serious drawbacks for millions, if not billions, of people.

“It’s a tale of two worlds, really,” says Andrew Jarvis of Colombia’s International Centre for Tropical Agriculture. “In developed countries, vegetarianism would bring all sorts of environmental and health benefits. But in developing countries there would be negative effects in terms of poverty.”…

More at “What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian?

* George Bernard Shaw (vegetarian)

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As we opt for the vegiburger, we might recall that, for all our sins, to day is National Sausage Pizza Day. While pizza dates back (at least) to the ancient Greek custom of covering bread with oils, herbs and cheese (in Byzantine Greek, the dish was spelled πίτα (pita)meaning “pie”), pizza-as-we-know-it seems to have been born in modern Italy as Neapolitan flatbread.  An estimated 3 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. every year, an average of 350 per second; 17% of all restaurants in the U.S. are pizzerias, more than 10% of which are in New York City. [source]

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Written by LW

October 11, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Say it ain’t so, Joe”*…

 

Technology is killing off independent pizzerias in the United States at the rate of roughly 2,549 locations per year (in 2015 alone). The pizza category is being reshaped by both big new tech deployed by chains and fresh threats from sophisticated emerging brands that are taking slices of the pie from tens of thousands of ill-equipped and low-tech independent pizzerias…

The whole sad story at “How Tech is Killing Off Independent Pizzerias.”

* (probably apochrophal) plea from a young boy to “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, as Jackson left Cook County Courthouse where Jackson was testifying in the Chicago “Black Sox” scandal

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As we ask for extra pepperoni, we might recall that it was on this date in 1841 that Orlando Jones received a U.S. patent for making cornstarch.  Derived by grinding the white heart of a corn kernel, and primarily used as a thickener, cornstarch is also used to keep pizzas from sticking to the ovens, pans, or stones on which they are cooked.

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Written by LW

March 22, 2016 at 1:01 am

“There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap”*…

 

Ingrid Kosar always dreamed about running her own business. She didn’t know what kind of company it would be, but she liked to picture herself carrying a little briefcase. As it turns out, a very different kind of bag would define her career. It’s a bag that appears on doorsteps millions of times a week for Friday family movie nights and college study sessions.

It’s the insulated pizza delivery bag, and Ingrid Kosar invented it…

Read Kosar’s captivating tale at “Life of Pie.”

* Kevin James

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As we agree with the King of Queens, we might spare a thought for William Prout; he died on this date in 1850.  A physician and chemist, Prout is probably best remembered for Prout’s hypothesis (an early attempt to explain the existence of elements via the structure of the atom; memorialized by Ernest Rutherford, who named the newly discovered “proton”” in Prout’s honor).  But Prout was also noteworthily the first scientist to classify (in 1827) the components of food into their three main divisions: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

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Written by LW

April 9, 2015 at 1:01 am

“You shouldn’t have to have money to have a luxury fragrance”*…

 

Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.
― Patrick Süskind

Demeter Fragrance Library Introduces Pizza: a scent with notes of “tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella, a touch of oregano – perfectly balanced for the adventurous.”

To judge from the feedback, it pleases…

* Lady Gaga

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As we wear our hearts on our sleeves… and our wrists and behind our ears, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that Alka-Seltzer was introduced to the market.  During a flu outbreak in 1928, Hub Beardsley, the president of The Dr. Miles Medicine Company (later, Miles Laboratories), had visited a local newspaper in Elkhart, Indiana, and learned from the editor, Tom Keene, that the staff seemed to be resistant to the illness. Keene explained that at the first sign of illness, he treated staff members with a combination of aspirin and baking soda.  Beardsley asked his chief chemist, Maurice Treneer, to develop an effervescent tablet with aspirin (a pain reliever) and sodium bicarbonate (an antacid) as the main ingredients; the resulting tablet hit the market with an advertising blitz that has not abated to this day.

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Written by LW

February 21, 2014 at 1:01 am

Like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…

 

As October, National Pizza Month, draws to a close, Flowing Data offers a rigorous examination of pizza chains across the U.S. and the relative proximity of their outlets in different areas.  It’s the handiest of guides– and one to use:  surely Americans can improve on last year’s statistics; surely we can do better than 251,770,000 pounds of pepperoni consumed…

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As we ask for extra crushed red pepper, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 we– the entire population of the earth– narrowly avoided (by twice the distance of the Moon… but that’s only three seconds) obliteration as the 500,000 ton asteroid/planetoid 69230 Hermes failed to collide with our planet. (In 1989, the earth had an even closer approach, but by the smaller 4581 Asclepius.)

69230 Hermes

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Written by LW

October 30, 2013 at 1:01 am

The perfect food, explained…

Jeff Varasano, who learned his craft in NYC, now runs a pizzeria in Atlanta– one that, your correspondent can attest, is very, very good.  While that’s rare enough, what’s rarer still, is that Varasano is willing to share.  And just as Jeff is generous in the preparation of his pies, so he is forthcoming– very forthcoming– in explaining how he makes “the perfect pizza.”

Readers can visit “Jeff Varasano’s Famous New York Pizza Recipe” for everything– and your correspondent does mean everything— one could possibly want to know.  (The page takes a while to load, but it’s worth the wait:  at the bottom is Jeff’s list of top pizzerias around the country.)

As we reach for the crushed red pepper, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that “Porky’s Hare Hunt” was released.  The Warner Bros. cartoon was a remake by Ben “Bugs” Hardaway and Cal Dalton of a 1936 animated short by Tex Avery, “Porky’s Duck Hunt.”  The earlier toon had introduced Daffy Duck; “Porky’s Hare Hunt” was the debut of (the still-unnamed) Bugs Bunny.

While Bob Clampett created the character, Hardaway’s character sheet for (visualization of) Bugs– who became Warner’s biggest star– was chosen from among several; thus, “Bugs’ Bunny”– note the possessive apostrophe…  But as the rapacious rabbit became a hit, he was emancipated from his maker; the apostrophe was dropped.

Porky and “Bugs’ Bunny”

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