I’ve switched to a new mailing-list manager, for reasons that I may go into at some point in the future. For now, I hope you received the email I just sent from MailChimp and that you either retrieved this message from your spam folder or, better yet, that you didn’t even have to do that.
As ever, comments, criticism and suggestions are truly welcome.
“Throughout two years of dating and our first six months of marriage, my husband and I had never discussed our feelings about beets.”
Is that a great lede, or what?
Another cracking piece from Katherine Preston, The Botanist in the Kitchen. Learn why beets, or beetroots, as my non-botanical self still refers to them, taste like dirt, why their pigments are so bright and why they have rings.
Plenty to discuss if conversation over a romantic, beet-heavy stew starts to flag.
According to this press release, fondue “once a fad of the 1970s … has made a resurgence in recent years.” So of course, one wants to make the best fondue possible.
Now, you may find this hard to swallow, but according to Swiss scientists who studied the matter in depth:
“Many half-truths persist in Swiss kitchens on how to prepare the perfect fondue and achieve ideal structure while preventing phase separation.”
We can’t have that. The paper – Rheology of Swiss Cheese Fondue – offers important take-aways. Starch, usually a slurry of potato starch, is crucial to prevent the fondue from separating into “an unappetizing bowl of separated cheese solids and oils”. But you can also substitute carrageenan gum if you’re so minded. Alcohol itself and the acidity of wine both decrease the viscosity of the fondue, imparting superior mouthfeel. No word on the best bread.
Why did the food media ignore Joanna Gaines’ ‘Magnolia Table,’ the bestselling cookbook of 2018?, from The Washington Post, reveals the sausage making that creates some cookbooks. That there are food stylists and photographers, sure. But that so many cookbooks have “co-writers” or “recipe partners” came, I admit, as a bit of a shock to naive old me. Aside from that, I’m also very grateful to the Post for making some of the recipes and reporting back. On the basis of their comments, I don’t care how many copies it sold; I won’t be buying it.
Speaking of sausage-making, this will be either good news or bad news, depending on your prior expectations: Researcher Finds 14% of Canadian Sausages Mislabelled. Good news because 14% is lower than the 20% of a previous study just a year ago. Bad news because, well, 14% mislabelled. A third of the beef sausages and a quarter of chicken sausages contained more than 1% of something other than beef or chicken respectively. Only the pork sausages did not contain some other meat. But, and again this might be good news, none of the samples this time contained horse meat.
Does it matter? Not to me. But I might be upset if I were eating a beef or chicken sausage because I avoid pork for religious reasons. Then again, I wouldn’t be eating a chicken sausage for any reason.
I can’t (yet) find the published paper, but I did note that last December the lead author showed that almost a third of finfish samples were mislabelled.
And speaking of pork (sometimes a theme emerges, unbidden) … Which of the two little piggies above looks happier to you? Of course they’re identically happy; you spotted that, I’m sure. But 1019 self-selected people who took part in an online survey rated the pig in straw, on the left, happier than the pig on a slatted concrete floor. The welfare of the pig in straw was perceived as better too, and even a “sad-looking” pig was reckoned to have better welfare on straw.
What does this research actually tell us about how members of the general public judge animal emotions or welfare? Beats me.
And finally, for now, in this meat feast of Homeric proportions, a reinterpretation of Homeric meat feasts. Flint Dibble tweetstorms to say that the meat-eating feasts of Homeric heroes were classical food porn. And because I don’t trust the permanence of tweets, I saved a version.
All the best,