My family informs me that they don’t much like my Turkey Loaf. As a matter of fact the exact quote was “It tastes like leftovers just before you pitch them in the garbage.” Thanks guys. Now you know why I’m in Therapy. As it turns out what they object to is the concept of Ground …
Nov 20 2018
Mar 16 2014
When the fruit and nut trees wake up from winter, they first let their dazzling flowering sexual organs hang out for a few weeks of rampaging intermingling before slowly getting dressed in leaves to fuel their pregnancies with sunlight. Nothing wrong with that! Calling in the flying insects to do half the yeoman’s work of dating and mating is a little kinky, but there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Nature is the most creative and hardest-working sexual machine on the planet. Adam & Eve dressed in fig leaves were stone dullards by comparison.
I can tell you that the oak trees here on Gullyvornya’s central coast breathed a sigh of relief after the recent rainstorms. They looked like dead ducks after another “mild winter,” which more resembled a protracted Indian summer, but now they look refreshed for the time being. We’re sadly looking at blue skies for the foreseeable future. It’s getting so you can’t even have polite conversation about the weather with the cash register clerks. Great weather we’re having! No, not really.
“What digby said” about the drought, but let me add that it ain’t just the water that’s a problem. My understanding is that in autumn the fruit and nut trees synthesize a growth inhibiting hormone that lays them dormant through winter, and cold weather slowly breaks down this growth inhibitor in anticipation of the open-orgy when Spring is sprung. The trees require a certain number of hours of chill-time (say 300-1500 h below 45 degrees F) in order to properly set their fruit, depending on the species.
In general, drought + short chill-times is not a good combo for happy, proliferative sex between our brothers, sisters, and selfers (Geschwister) in the Kingdom of Humanly Edible Green Things, not to mention their kinky little flying match-makers in our own Less-Sessile Kingdom.
Apr 09 2012
Last time we discussed lean finely textured beef, commonly referred to as pink slime. Tonight we shall finish this short series by discussing two other forms of recovered meat.
Mechanically separated meat is derived from a process that dates back to around forty or a few more years. A newer process is called advanced meat recovery and has certain advantages over the older processes for some applications, but the older process is still used in others.
These products are in LOTS of prepared foods and interestingly are subject to a higher degree of regulation than lean finely textured beef, at least for beef products. Please join for the discussion to follow.
Apr 02 2012
Pink slime is a slang term, and not a terribly inapt one for what is technically known as lean finely textured beef or boneless lean beef trimmings. Although I used the term pink slime in the title to get your attention, I think that it is a bit pejorative and shall use the term “the product” henceforth.
Since this is a meat product, it is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and not the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This seems to me to have a bearing on how it has been approved.
There are a LOT of politics and hype surrounding the product, and I think that it serves my readers to look at the technical issues before we examine the political and PR issues. You might be surprised where I come down on the safety and wholesomeness of the product.
Feb 27 2012
This is the forth and final installment on my short piece about milk. This time, instead to focusing on human consumption of milk from other species, in particular from cattle, to the importance of human infants being given human milk until at least six months of age. The first three installments can be found here, here, and here.
Human milk was universally used up until comparatively recently as the sole food for infants. However, it was not always the mum of the child that supplied the milk. Throughout history, surrogate women have supplied milk for other women’s children, a practice know as wet nursing. This was pretty much confined to the wealthy class when the mum chose not to breastfeed her child and either hired other women to feed them or made slaves to that. Although not explicitly said, the Mammy character in the book and motion picture was assumed to be Scarlett’s wet nurse. In other cases friends of relatives of women who for some reason or another could not nurse a baby would fill in for her. More on that later.
In the 1950s many countries began to encourage the use of infant formula as the “scientific” successor to natural breast milk. While formula can be a wise choice in many circumstances, the latest research is pretty much a consensus that natural breast milk is superior in almost all ways to formula. More on that later as well.
Feb 20 2012
This is the third part of a four part series about milk. The first and second parts are here and here. The final installment will be about human milk with emphasis on its importance to the development of infants.
Cheese is one of the oldest processed food products known. Whilst the origins of cheesemaking are obscure, it is fairly easy to speculate on how it got started, and we shall look at that in due time. Archaeological evidence indicates that cheesemaking was an established art at least 4000 years ago, and the actual date of regular production is likely to be much older than that, but no records exist.
Because of the tremendous variety of cheese, I am sure not to mention one of your favorites. Please pardon that oversight, but I like to keep under 5000 words! However, I found an expert source that is likely to mention yours, and it appears directly under the fold.
Feb 13 2012
Two weeks ago we began a short series on milk, in particular cow’s milk, used as a food by humans. We mentioned that humans are the only species to drink any kind of milk after infancy (unless we feed it to animals). We also mentioned that human milk is the very best food for human infants. Next week we shall end the series by talking about the advantages of real milk to infants unless readers would rather see a discussion of cheese first.
Last time we pretty much focused on fresh milk and few derivatives of it. This week we shall look at some of the derivatives of milk, either fresh or fermented. There is a marvelous variety of liquid milk derivatives available, and some are very delicious. In addition, there is butter which obviously is not liquid.
For a product as perishable as milk, it is amazing that so many wholesome fermented products can be made from it. There are reasons for that, and we shall get to them in due course.
Jan 30 2012
Of all foodstuffs, milk is unique in that it provides all of the nutritional needs for infant mammals. In addition to nutrition, it also supplies essential antibodies the first few days to newborns. Milk is unique to mammals, and is one of the reasons that mammals had the evolutionary advantage that they had when they arose during the age of reptiles.
However, humans are also unique in that we are one of the few mammals who continue to take it after infancy, and the only species that continues to take it after adolescence and into adulthood. Milk is far from the perfect food for adults, but certainly can be part of healthy diet.
Humans are also unique in that we are the only species that takes milk in a natural setting from other species. By that I mean that we actively collect it, not like giving the cat a saucer of milk. The nutritive value of milk is species specific, and our habit to taking cows’ milk (for the most part) is quite unnatural.
Oct 03 2011
We hear a lot about trans fats in food and the negative health effects of them. However, most folks without a background in chemistry do not really know what that means. Tonight the object is to clear that up, and to point out sources that are high in them so they can be avoided.
Contrary to the opening statement, not all trans fats have deleterious health effects. There are a couple that seem to be beneficial, but unfortunately they are sort of rare. They are also some of the few trans fats that occur naturally. By a huge margin, most trans fats consumed are artificially produced, and we shall get into that as well.
To understand the topic well, a chemistry lesson will first have to be given. However, this IS Pique the Geek!
Jul 12 2011
Peas are full of vitamins and they are good for you – even the frozen ones. Plus a bag of frozen peas can be used for that black eye you may have received at the hands of some crazed individual in the grocery mart who fought you for the last two-for-one gourmet coffees – once ordinary – selling at $10.50. Gosh, two for one. But as I reached my hand over to the coffee, a wild eyed woman pushed it aside and grabbed the last two. I let it go because I am a small woman, in my seventies, and she was a obese woman in her thirties – I could outrun her but really why waste the energy.
But back to peas – I’m a rice eater, and not only brown rice. No, in my rice madness I even eat jasmine and white. We are continually told by the likes of Dr. Oz that white stuff is really bad for you. However, I put green peas in any rice dish while cooking – it’s a good duo.
I also like green peas in potato salads and some pasta dishes. It not only gives cold salads a good flavor but it actually has a nice look – the green denoting nature and largesse and all.
I am a vegetarian, so eating peas doesn’t bother me but I occasionally would like asparagus (now selling at $6.25 a pound) or avocados (now selling for $2.95 each). Avacados are really good for you – they have the good fat.
Anyone have any pea recipes you want to share. Of course now that it has some cache – Green Giant will prolly raise prices … again.
Austerity – bring it (as he will).