Antidote to Cool Video

So this week, as promised, I’m going to be providing some resolution to the conflicts presented in the video from last week’s blog post.  As you may remember, the video was broken up into eight different key points:

1. “Pink Slime” – What a way to open the video, with a description of how 70%  of market ground beef is made with finely textured lean beef, or “pink slime” as critics refer to it.  My advice for how to avoid this disgusting “ingredient” is to check in with the store’s butcher about  the meat products in your cart before you purchase them.  Ask him/her  to direct you to meat that does not contain finely textured lean beef.  FYI – I know that Costco and Whole Foods do not utilize pink slime in their products.

2. Chickens Fed Arsenic – Large scale chicken manufacturing plants will feed their chickens arsenic in order to make the birds’ flesh pinker, or more “appetizing,” to potential consumers.  Obviously, when you’re eating chicken, you just want to be eating the CHICKEN, (what a concept!) so I’d say that a portion of your organic budget should definitely go to organic, free range chicken because it doesn’t contain any added chemicals or antibiotics.  If you can’t go organic every time, look for chicken that states “antibiotic free” on the packaging.

3. Hotdogs – As the video mentioned, most hotdogs contain a hodge podge of random and unhealthy ingredients: meat trimmings, fat, and cereal fillers/oatmeal.  This food would just not be one that I’d indulge in everyday.  However, when you really, really want a hotdog this summer try the Applegate brand, made with just four ingredients:  beef, salt, water, and spices.

4. Pollen-Free Honey – Most commercial brand honey is basically just a mixture of additives and corn syrup.  To ensure pollen in your honey, and other key nutrients, buy local.  Not only is farm fresh honey more nutritious, I’ve also been told that it helps to tame hayfever allergies.

5. Greek Yogurt – Okay, this one makes me really sad…I love Greek yogurt so it’s very unfortunate that the manufacturing process generates millions of pounds of toxic waste and is a hazard to our environment.

I’m working on a solution to this and am going to try and get my hands on a Yogurt Maker this summer.  In the meantime, I’ll provide more information about this “acid whey” waste that is produced and the Greek Yogurt manufacturing process next week.

6. Contaminated Imported Shrimp -To avoid these contaminants, you want to ask your grocer if the shrimp has been imported.  Also, check to see if the shrimp you’re buying was raised on a farm or caught in the wild and harvested from the ocean.  The more local, the better!

7. Maraschino Cherries – Well, there’s really not much to say about these…and I doubt that if you are a subscriber to this blog that you ever ate maraschino cherries in the first place! 🙂

8. Packaged Grated Cheese – Please consult my May 29, 2013 blog post, “Ingredient Profile #4: Cellulose” for an in depth explanation about wood pulp in shredded cheese.

A lot to take in, but it’s great to know that we can limit “unwanted extras”  in our diets.  Let me know if you make any changes to your shopping lists!

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Cool Video

With finals in full swing, this week’s blog is going to be short and sweet.  A really good friend of mine shared this video from BuzzFeed called 8 Facts About Food That Will Totally Creep You Out.  

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXJSmxi2buc

It’s very eye-opening and touches upon some of the other ingredient profiles (like cellulose) that I’ve blogged about in the past.  I’ll give my antidote to this video next week. 🙂   In the meantime, I’d love to know what you think!

Until Next Time…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

The 3D Food Printer…(And Solution To End World Hunger???)

For the next six months, engineer Anjan Contractor will be embarking upon the adventure of a lifetime: creating a prototype for a universal food synthesizer, a.k.a. “the 3D food printer.”  As a member of the Systems and Materials Research Corporation in Austin Texas, Contractor has been awarded a $125,000 grant from NASA to further develop the printer.  Here’s how this over-the-top device would work:  First, Contractor would devise a series of “cartridges,” each containing different types of proteins, carbohydrates, macro-nutrients, and micro-nutrients.  The moisture would be extracted from each of these substances, and then the “cartridges,” free of all liquids, would be inserted into the actual food “printers.”  After this, the preparation of the food (yes, it would be edible food!) would begin.  Contractor believes that the “3D food printer” would work best for foods that have a few layers or levels of sophistication to them, for example, pizza.  To make the base of the pizza, the dough layer would first be printed (and a heated plate sitting on the bottom of the printer would bake it to a desired temperature.)  Secondly, a layer of tomato would be printed and then added to the dough.  To finish the pizza pie, a protein layer would be placed over the top of the entire thing.

Although NASA initially contacted Contractor in the hopes of him creating something that would preserve food for elongated periods of time for astronauts, Contractor firmly believes that people on Earth, not just in space, could reap the benefits of this device.  In fact, he states that the “3D food printer” could be one of the ways we end world hunger.  “I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” Contractor told Quartz (a business news blog) “so we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”  The universal food synthesizer would most definitely change the way we perceive food.  Can you imagine going to the grocery store, purchasing a cartridge of powder, and inserting it into your “3D food printer” for dinner?

I would be very interested in hearing how you feel about the development of this kind of a device.  How do you think people would react if every time they went to the store, their options were limited to certain types of cartridges filled with powders?  Is this a feasible approach to ending hunger, or do you think that the cost of constructing the printer and the cartridges themselves would be more expensive than simply buying regular food?  Whatever your opinion is about this particular device, you do have to admit that the innovation and thought behind it is pretty cool.  It will be exciting to see how NASA and the world reacts to Contractor’s completed prototype.

Unit Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Dicker, Ron. “3D Printed Food Could End World Hunger, Says “Universal Food Synthesizer”Anjan Contractor.” Huffington Post. 22 May 2013: Web. Huffington Post.com, Inc. 11 June 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/3d-food-hunger_n_3319696.html>

Harris, Jen. “3-D “Printer” Aims to End World Hunger Starting With Pizza.” LA Times. 21 May 2013: Web. Los Angeles Times. 11 June 2013.

Peckham, Matt. “NASA-Funded 3-D Food Printer: Could It End World Hunger?” Time. 24 May 2013: Web. Times Inc. 11 June 2013.

Everything Old is New Again

Remember Home Ec?  Well in Southern California, it has been reinvented at the Institute of Domestic Technology.  The Institute was founded by author Joseph Shuldiner and their mission is to “reignite the passion of how we make food, the ingredients we source and the farms on which they originate.”  Now that’s a statement I can get behind.  Instead of merely teaching cooking classes, Shuldiner has taken it upon himself to teach people how to unleash their “inner food crafter.”  At the institute, students can take a variety of courses, including: bacon curing, cheese making, and artisanal cracker creation (Institute).

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on whether or not you think these types of classes and initiatives are worthwhile.  In the meantime, you don’t have to travel to Southern California to learn how to make artisinal crackers.   The recipe below is one of my favorites, easy to make and impossible to eat just one!

Gruyere & Rosemary Crackers – (Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

1.5 cups coarsely grated Gruyere

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup unbleached flour

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1/4  teaspoon fine sea salt

Method:  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all ingredients in food processor until crumbly.  Empty onto a piece of plastic wrap and combine into a long cylinder.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 25 minutes or until slightly firm.  Thinly cut cylinder into thin slices and place on baking sheet layered with parchment paper.  Dock each cracker with a fork then lightly brush with water and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool and enjoy!

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

InstituteOfDomesticTechnology. Institute of Domestic Technology, LLC. 2012. Web. 4 June 2013. <http://instituteofdomestictechnology.com>