Posts tagged food

A history of Singapore, explained in 10 dishes

singapore, food, culture, history, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, Peranakan, Hainanese, British

Singaporeans are obsessed with food. We can expound ceaselessly on where to find the best bak chor mee (minced meat noodles) and will queue for hours for a good yong tau foo (surimi-stuffed tofu and vegetables). Perhaps because most of us are descendants of immigrants thrust into an artificial construct of a nation, or maybe because we live in a country that is constantly renewing and rebuilding, one of the few tangible things that connects us to the past and our cultural identity is food. There are many facets of Singaporean cuisine: Malay, Chinese, Indian, Eurasian (a fusion of European and Asian dishes and ingredients) Peranakan (combining Chinese and Malay food traditions), and catch-all Western, which usually means old-school Hainanese-style British food—a local version of Western food adapted by chefs from the southern Chinese province of Hainan, who worked in British restaurants or households.


Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

climate, diet, environment, vegan, Agriculture, deforestation, meat, dairy, food, 2018

Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet. The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife. The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent research shows 86% of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.


All the meaningful things Kim Jong-un will eat when he meets with South Korea’s president

korea, menu, gastronomy, diplomacy, food, 2018

When North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets with his South Korean counterpart this week to talk peace on the peninsula, he’ll also be getting a history lesson in inter-Korean relations as told through gastronomy. As the leaders prepare to meet on April 27 at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Seoul’s presidential Blue House today (April 24) released the menu for the post-summit dinner. The ingredients used represent meaning to those attending the summit, and also honor those who have worked to reunify the Koreas in some way, according to the Blue House


This Army of AI Robots Will Feed the World

Bloomberg, food, LettuceBot, automation, AI, robotics, Agriculture, 2018

Heraud researched the scourges of agriculture: hypoxic dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and Baltic Sea, the colony collapse of bees, soil degradation, and human health problems from allergies to cancers. “Everything tied back to the blind, rampant, broadcast spraying of chemicals,” Heraud says. He and Redden figured they could teach machines to differentiate between crops and weeds, then eliminate the weeds mechanically or with targeted doses of nontoxic substances. The two first considered hot foam, laser beams, electric currents, and boiling water. They’d market the robot to organic farmers, who spend heavily on chemical-free weeding methods including mechanical tillage, which can be both fuel-intensive and damaging to soil. After months of research, they faced a disappointing truth: There was no way around herbicides. “Turns out zapping weeds with electricity or hot liquid requires far more time and energy than chemicals—and it isn’t guaranteed to work,” Heraud says. Those methods might eliminate the visible part of a weed, but not the root. And pulling weeds with mechanical pincers is a far more time-intensive task for a robot than delivering microsquirts of poison. Their challenge became applying the chemicals with precision.


Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year

spiders, biomass, ecology, humans, food

Spiders mostly eat insects, although some of the larger species have been known to snack on lizards, birds and even small mammals. Given their abundance and the voraciousness of their appetites, two European biologists recently wondered: If you were to tally up all the food eaten by the world’s entire spider population in a single year, how much would it be? Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer published their estimate in the journal the Science of Nature earlier this month, and the number they arrived at is frankly shocking: The world’s spiders consume somewhere between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey in any given year. That means that spiders eat at least as much meat as all 7 billion humans on the planet combined, who the authors note consume about 400 million tons of meat and fish each year.


“A Chinese office lady has risen to internet stardom in China for making viral videos documenting her novel yet bizarre ways of…

food, cooking, improvisation, china, pancakes, popcorn, CPU, Little Ye in the Office

video link

“A Chinese office lady has risen to internet stardom in China for making viral videos documenting her novel yet bizarre ways of preparing meals at her workplace. In each video, Little Ye improvises her meal preparation equipment using things commonly found around the office.”

(via )

To Flavour Our Tears – The Center for Genomic Gastronomy

Genomic-Gastronomy, food, art, tears, moths, domestication, 2016

Some species of moths and bees have evolved to land on mammalian eyelids (including humans) and drink our tears. In times of relentless human tragedy and environmental catastrophe, are we creating the perfect conditions for these tear-drinking insects to flourish? What do these insects want from our tears anyways?


The Best Kitchen Gadget of the 1600s Was a Small, Short-Legged Dog

automation, cooking, history, food, animals, domestication

For hundreds of years the now-extinct turnspit dog, also called Canis Vertigus (“dizzy dog”), vernepator cur, kitchen dog and turn-tyke, was specially bred just to turn a roasting mechanism for meat. And weirdly, this animal was a high-tech fixture for the professional and home cook from the 16th century until the mid-1800s. Turnspit dogs came in a variety of colors and were heavy-set, often with heterochromatic eyes. They were short enough to fit into a wooden wheel contraption that was connected to ropes or chains, which turned the giant turkey or ham on a spit for the master of the house.


Fuchsia Dunlop on Chinese Food, Culture, and Travel

Medium, food, china, history, culture, Fuchia Dunlop

China has the world’s preeminent cuisine, absolutely unparalleled in its diversity and its sophistication. You can find practically everything you could possibly desire in terms of food in China. From exquisite banquet cookery, exciting street food, bold spicy flavors, honest farmhouse cooking, delicate soups, just everything, apart perhaps from cheese, although they do actually have a couple of kinds of cheese [laughs] in Yunnan province. Also, because China is such a food-orientated culture, and it has been since the beginnings of history, that if you want to understand China, almost more than anywhere else, food is a really good window into the culture, into the way people live, into history, everything.


Our burger is made from simple, all-natural ingredients such as wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes. What makes the Impossible…

food, food science, heme, meat, meat substitutes, molecular gastronomy, burger

Our burger is made from simple, all-natural ingredients such as wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes. What makes the Impossible Burger unlike all others is an ingredient called heme. Heme is a basic building block of life on Earth, including plants, but it’s uniquely abundant in meat. We discovered that heme is what makes meat smell, sizzle, bleed, and taste gloriously meaty. Consider it the “magic ingredient” that makes our burger a carnivore’s dream.

(via The Burger Formerly Known as Plants)

Meal-replacement drinks were made popular by US firm Soylent in the past few years. Founded in 2013 by Rob Rhinehart, the…

SCMP, food, soylent, china, food substitutes, food like, future of food, like rice, Ruffood, Meal replacement

Meal-replacement drinks were made popular by US firm Soylent in the past few years. Founded in 2013 by Rob Rhinehart, the company was shipping 30,000 “meals” a month a year later and Rhinehart told Bloomberg in January this year that sales were up 300 per cent. Soylent is now valued at more than US$100 million.

Its success has seen similar start-ups springing up around the world. India’s SupermealX, Australia’s Aussielent and British-based Huel all claim to offer nutritionally complete drinks.

Shao Wei, who was working as a programmer in Hangzhou, was also intrigued by the idea. As a start-up worker, he had been looking for healthy meal options for those who had little time away from their computers. In 2014, he quit his job and set up his own meal-substitute brand, Ruffood. Its Chinese name – ruo fan in pinyin – means “like rice“.

(via )

“What’s that?” says the friend. “That,” I say, “is the future of food.” She sips it and makes a face. “Is it supposed to taste…

food, fuel, huel, future of food, meathook futures, synthetic, solutionism

“What’s that?” says the friend. “That,” I say, “is the future of food.” She sips it and makes a face. “Is it supposed to taste like that?” It’s a good question. It claims to be vanilla flavour but it’s like no vanilla I’ve ever tasted – cloying, artificial, incredibly sweet. The texture is of a thin suspension of powdered grit in water. And then there’s the aftertaste, which manages to be both sweet and bitter and lingers unpleasantly on the roof of the mouth for several minutes.

Huel, a contraction of “human fuel”, is the latest in a long line of products that are tapping into the idea that food is old fashioned, inconvenient and boring, and there’s a more hi-tech, whizz-bang way of delivering the same nutrients more efficiently.

What Astronauts in Space Eat in a Day

food, NASA, spacefood, space food, nutrition, ISS


There was a time when even NASA didn’t know if humans could eat in the microgravity environment of space. Thankfully for the future of long-term crewed missions, John Glenn proved that it was indeed possible when he ate applesauce from an aluminum tube while orbiting the Earth in 1962.


Since then, the research conducted at our Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center has resulted in improved taste, variety and packaging of foods intended for space travel. Current-day astronauts are now given a standard menu of over 200 approved food and drink items months before launch, allowing them to plan their daily meals far in advance.


So, with such a variety of foods to choose from, what does the typical astronaut eat in a day?  Here is an example from the International Space Station standard menu:


Sounds tasty, right?


However, these are only suggestions for astronauts, so they still have some choice over what they ultimately eat. Many astronauts, including Tim Kopra, combine different ingredients for meals.


Others plan to eat special foods for the holidays. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren did just that on Thanksgiving last year when they ate smoked turkey, candied yams, corn and potatoes au gratin.


Another key factor that influences what astronauts eat is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are delivered via resupply spacecrafts.  When these foods arrive to the space station, they must be eaten quickly before they spoil. Astronaut Tim Peake doesn’t seem to mind.


Nutrition is important to help counteract some of the effects spaceflight have on the body, such as bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular degradation, impairment of immune function, neurovestibular changes and vision changes. 

“Nutrition is vital to the mission,” Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., manager for NASA’s Nutritional Biochemistry Lab said. “Without proper nutrition for the astronauts, the mission will fail. It’s that simple.”


We work hard to help astronauts feel less homesick by providing them with food that not only reminds them of life back on Earth, but is also nutritious and healthy. 


Here are some unusual space food inventions that are no longer in use:

  • Gelatin-coated sandwich and cookie cubes
  • Compressed bacon squares
  • Freeze dried ice cream

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

Characterization of the major odor-active compounds in Thai durian ( Durio zibethinus L. ‘Monthong’)

Pubmed, durian, food, flavour, chemistry, taste, smell, AEDA, SHGCO

An aroma extract dilution analysis applied on the volatile fraction isolated from Thai durian by solvent extraction and solvent-assisted flavor evaporation resulted in 44 odor-active compounds in the flavor dilution (FD) factor range of 1-16384, 41 of which could be identified and 24 that had not been reported in durian before. High FD factors were found for ethyl (2S)-2-methylbutanoate (fruity; FD 16384), ethyl cinnamate (honey; FD 4096), and 1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethanethiol (roasted onion; FD 1024), followed by 1-(ethyldisulfanyl)-1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethane (sulfury, onion), 2(5)-ethyl-4-hydroxy-5(2)-methylfuran-3(2H)-one (caramel), 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethylfuran-2(5H)-one (soup seasoning), ethyl 2-methylpropanoate (fruity), ethyl butanoate (fruity), 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol (skunky), ethane-1,1-dithiol (sulfury, durian), 1-(methylsulfanyl)ethanethiol (roasted onion), 1-(ethylsulfanyl)propane-1-thiol (roasted onion), and 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethylfuran-3(2H)-one (caramel). Among the highly volatile compounds screened by static headspace gas chromatography-olfactometry, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg), acetaldehyde (fresh, fruity), methanethiol (rotten, cabbage), ethanethiol (rotten, onion), and propane-1-thiol (rotten, durian) were found as additional potent odor-active compounds. Fourteen of the 41 characterized durian odorants showed an alkane-1,1-dithiol, 1-(alkylsulfanyl)alkane-1-thiol, or 1,1-bis(alkylsulfanyl)alkane structure derived from acetaldehyde, propanal, hydrogen sulfide, and alkane-1-thiols. Among these, 1-(propylsulfanyl)ethanethiol, 1-{[1-(methylsulfanyl)ethyl]sulfanyl}ethanethiol, and 1-{[1-(ethylsulfanyl)ethyl]sulfanyl}ethanethiol were reported for the first time in a natural product.


How an Army of Ocean Farmers are Starting an Economic Revolution

aquaculture, farming, food, sea, seafood, environment

After my farm was destroyed, it was clear to me that I had to adapt because I was facing a serious threat to my livelihood. I began to re-imagine my occupation and oyster farm. I began experimenting and exploring new designs and new species. I lifted my farm off the sea bottom to avoid the impact of storm surges created by hurricanes and started to grow new mixes of restorative species. Now, after 29 years of working on the oceans, I’ve remade myself as a 3D ocean farmer, growing a mix of seaweeds and shellfish for food, fuel, fertilizer, and feed.


Soylent (it’s made of Lead and Cadmium)

food, soylent, food science, nutrition, pollution, bioaccumulation

Test results commissioned by As You Sow, conducted by an independent laboratory, show that one serving of Soylent 1.5 can expose a consumer to a concentration of lead that is 12 to 25 times above California’s Safe Harbor level for reproductive health, and a concentration of cadmium that is at least 4 times greater than the Safe Harbor level for cadmium. Two separate samples of Soylent 1.5 were tested. According to the Soylent website, Soylent 1.5 is “designed for use as a staple meal by all adults.” The startup recently raised $20 million in funding led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.–300128427.html

Piracy and Politics At the Ports

Medium, Christine Haughney, fish, marine conservation, fishing, fisheries, IUU, trade, food, crim

In regulator-speak, this portion of the fish trade is dubbed IUU: Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated. IUU fish can include everything from a striped bass that local fishermen offload to friends after they catch more fish than quotas allow to a live lobster that comes in at less than one-eighth of an inch below regulation. But by far the biggest IUU problem is the many tons of international fish that pass through multiple foreign ports and are intentionally mislabeled to fetch a higher sales price or avoid detection as an overfished commodity. The former is an issue that exists at the species level: It’s likely that haddock filet you bought for dinner isn’t haddock at all.–20f55a681ce5

A Plea for Culinary Modernism

food, cooking, history, local, slow food, fast food, ethics, globalism, industrialisation, labour

Culinary Luddites are right, though, about two important things. We need to know how to prepare good food, and we need a culinary ethos. As far as good food goes, they’ve done us all a service by teaching us to how to use the bounty delivered to us (ironically) by the global economy. Their culinary ethos, though, is another matter. Were we able to turn back the clock, as they urge, most of us would be toiling all day in the fields or the kitchen; many of us would be starving. Nostalgia is not what we need. What we need is an ethos that comes to terms with contemporary, industrialized food, not one that dismisses it, an ethos that opens choices for everyone, not one that closes them for many so that a few may enjoy their labor, and an ethos that does not prejudge, but decides case by case when natural is preferable to processed, fresh to preserved, old to new, slow to fast, artisanal to industrial.

Wine and insect pairing guide

wine, insects, food, food pairing, wine paring, taste, flavour, UN, locusts, scorpion, crickets, ant

BBQ Locusts: To offset the punchy flavors of barbecue, one of the more popular ways to prepare locusts, you need a wine with a hint of sweetness, say experts at Laithwaite’s. A light bubbly pink like the Hacienda de Lluna Moscatel would work well, they suggest.
Asian Forest Scorpion: To offset the strong, bitter flavor of this venomous critter, in Asia scorpions are often prepared with a sweet chili sauce. Try a rosé that’s bold enough to cut through sweet and sour flavors, like a Paris Street Rose, made with Pinot Noir.
Crickets: One of the most common flavorings for crickets is a simple garlic and salt rub. A Spanish Albarino is the perfect match, experts say, as the full-bodied white brings out the nuttiness of crickets while its terroir, the seaside of Galicia, is also evocative of the salty sea air.

You Call This Thai Food? The Robotic Taster Will Be the Judge

thailand, food, robot, taste, automation, algoritmics, deliciousness, gastronomy, thai food

The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as “an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic.” In a country of 67 million people, there are somewhere near the same number of strongly held opinions about Thai cooking. A heated debate here on the merits of a particular nam prik kapi, a spicy chili dip of fermented shrimp paste, lime juice and palm sugar, could easily go on for an hour without coming close to resolution.

How Food Stole the Avant-Garde: Letter From Copenhagen

food, art, MAD4, Noma, cooking, avant garde, the new black, culture, fashion

So here’s what I would say to my taxi driver if the meter weren’t running: The revolution begins at the kitchen table. The desires of the artist and the chef are not so different: to nourish humans and perhaps hold up the mirror to those who consume our products. Change the world. There will always be a new black. But that is because black is eternal. It’s what fashion wants to be. Let’s reduce “the new” to fashion. Let’s call black “culture.” Black is never the old black. It just can’t be. Black is always the black. In this sense, food is always the black. Art is always the black. What is cooking? What is the avant-garde?

Fruits and Vegetables Are Trying to Kill You

hormesis, xenohormesis, antifragility, food, vitamins, antioxidants, exercise, health, diet, excess

Implicit in the research is a new indictment of the Western diet. Not only do highly refined foods present tremendous caloric excess, they lack these salutary signals from the plant world—“signals that challenge,” Mattson says. Those signals might otherwise condition our cells in a way that prevents disease. Another variant of the hormetic idea holds that our ability to receive signals from plants isn’t reactive and defensive but, in fact, proactive. We’re not protecting ourselves from biopesticides so much as sensing plants’ stress levels in our food. Harvard scientist David Sinclair and his colleague Konrad Howitz call this xenohormesis: benefitting from the stress of others.

The Singapore Solution

Singapore, National Geographic, NatGeo, place, pyschogeography, food

Singapore can be a disconcerting place, even to the people who call it home, though they’d never think of leaving. As one local put it, “Singapore is like a warm bath. You sink in, slit your wrists, your lifeblood floats away, but hey, it’s warm.” If that’s so, most Singaporeans figure they might as well go down the tubes eating pepper crabs, with a couple of curry puffs on the side.

The Future Of Food, Mapped Out For The Next 10 Years

food, futures, future of food, IFTF

For the appetizer, the long table of guests shared bowls of seasonal salad from Graze the Roof, a vegetable garden located on the roof of Glide Memorial Church. The main course was a frittata with onions (served in a compostable box) from Sprig, a new dining-on-demand service founded by Nate Keller, Google’s former executive chef. Dessert consisted of lemon curd mousse with strawberries and mint, prepared with Nomiku, which bills itself as the first immersion circulator made for home cooks. These dishes have little in common, except for one thing: They all provide hints of our collective food future, as imagined by the Institute for the Future, which collaborated with Nomiku and Suppershare to put on the dinner.–10-years

IFTF: Global Food Outlook

food, food futures, IFTF, futures

The Global Food Outlook Program’s research and forecasts explore the tensions and possibilities of food futures, from people’s everyday food habits and choices, to the dynamics of global food markets, to the complex environmental issues that sustain food production. For seven years, we’ve worked with organizations and the public to bring systematic futures thinking to food system efforts around the world. Our long-term view encompasses multiple scales, levels of uncertainty, and radically different possible futures. We develop foresight to help others develop insight and take action toward impactful, transformative, resilient change.

Cryptoforestry: Food pairing / gastronomy with a telescope

food pairing, food, cryptoforestry, open sauces, data, cooking, geography, gastronomy

The number of foodpairs a recipe generates increases exponentially with the number of ingredients. A typical cookbook (and the ones we use here are all modest one) yields anywhere between 700 and 2500 pairs, the number of connections when comparing three books is large and a really meaningful way to visualize a foodpair comparison we have not yet found. Instead we have turned to using the Jaccard Index, a simple formula for comparing similarity in datasets. If two book are absolutely similar (a book compared with itself) the index is 1, if the books are completely dissimilar the index is 0. So how higher the number how greater the similarity.

How IBM’s Watson Will Make Your Meals Tastier

food, data, flavour pairing, hedonic psychophysics, food chemistry, open sauces, IBM, Bon Appetit

This week, Bon Appetit and IBM are releasing the beta version of a new app called Chef Watson with Bon Appetit that will help home chefs think up new and inspiring ways to use ingredients. Think of Watson as an algorithmically inclined sous chef that gently suggests hundreds of flavor combinations that you’d probably never come up with on your own. To do this, Watson crawled a database of 9,000 Bon Appetit recipes looking for insights and patterns about how ingredients pair together, what style of food it is and how each food is prepared in an actual dish. When the computer combines this information with its already robust understanding of food chemistry and hedonic psychophysics (the psychology of what people find pleasant and unpleasant), you get a very smart kitchen assistant.

Cryptoforestry: Food pairing as gastronomy with a telescope

food, food pairing, flavour-pairing, cuisine, data, ingredients, recipes, culture

The theory of food pairing inspires little faith but when moving away from culinary applications perhaps it can be used to differentiate cuisines and cooking styles. How Chinese is Jamie Oliver? How similar are Mexican and Indian cuisines? How do French and Indian cooking differ? How unique is Rene Redzepi? The aim is to find a way to reveal the inner structure and logic of a cuisine, if such a thing exists, by comparing the way a cuisine or a cook combines ingredients with other cuisines and cooks.

Could Soylent Replace Food?

food, food futures, futures, soylent, soylent green, supliments, diet, reductionism, food as fuel

Rhinehart removed the Soylent. In the formula that he and his teammates have settled on, the major food groups are all accounted for: the lipids come from canola oil; the carbohydrates from maltodextrin and oat flour; and the protein from rice. To that, they’ve added fish oil (for omega-3s; vegans can substitute flaxseed oil), and doses of various vitamins and minerals: magnesium, calcium, electrolytes. Rhinehart is reluctant to associate Soylent with any flavor, so for now it just contains a small amount of sucralose, to mask the taste of the vitamins. That seems to fit his belief that Soylent should be a utility. “I think the best technology is the one that disappears,” he said. “Water doesn’t have a lot of taste or flavor, and it’s the world’s most popular beverage.” He hoisted the pitcher of yellowish-beige liquid. “Everything your body needs,” he said. “Do you want to try some?”

Speculative Design and Contemporary Food Cultures

food, food design, spectacle, culture, fibre culture, Carl DiSalvo

Although public interest in food is not new, there seems to be a reinvigorated attentiveness to food in contemporary society. Multiple factors are at play in this. In part this reinvigorated attentiveness to food stems from an increasing awareness of the connection between kinds of food, modes of food production, and health. In part it stems from the topic of sustainability and the realization that changes in agricultural practices could help foster a more sustainable society. For some, this attention to food is as an act against previous paradigms of domestic convenience. And, in part this reinvigorated attentiveness to food stems from access to a greater diversity of food and thereby an ability to experiment with different foodstuffs and cuisines.–142-spectacles-and-tropes-speculative-design-and-contemporary-food-cultures/


food, taste, data, flavour

The Gastrograph system uses 18 Broad Spectrum Flavor Categories, and 6 sensations (trigeminal & somatosensory), which together fully encompass gustatory flavor space; such that anything you can taste, you can graph. The GG System allows you to compare amalgamated flavor profiles of consumer and Quality Control based reviews on all of your products, in order to determine Correlates of Quality, consumer preference, and analyze changes in products over time (ageing), all independent of reviewer variables such as socio-economic background, ethnic background, age, sex, and flavor sensitivity.

A Brief History of Drinking in Space

Arts Catalyst, space, drinking, alchol, food, moon, skylab, Bompas & Parr

To date, there has been relatively little consumption of alcohol in space and on the Moon, but that could be set to change. With space tourism taking off, new lunar missions on the horizon and manned expeditions aiming further into space – with all its stresses – could a new era of zero gravity libations be next?

Join Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr and David Lane of The Gourmand for a speculative look and the past, present and future of alcohol in space. From Buzz Aldrin’s legendary Holy Communion on the Moon to sherry experiments aboard Skylab and ceremonial ‘vodka’ consumption aboard the ISS, we’ll discuss the secret history of a slightly tipsy space age and ask what role our favourite poison will play in the future colonisation of the moon.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Harrowing, Chemical-Filled Daily Routine

routine, Hunter S. Thompson, food, breakfast, drugs, gonzo

HST outlines his ideal breakfast. It consists of “four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned-beef hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of key lime pie, two margaritas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert.” All eaten naked and alone. Naturally.

Meet the Mad Scientists Who Invented Edible Fireworks

wired, Bompas and Parr, food, experience design

People like to call Sam Bompas and Harry Parr the Willy Wonkas of the 21st century. The two Londoners do have some distinctly Wonkalian qualities: the distinct sense of style, the larger-than-life personalities and most notably, a penchant for creating fantastical, logic-defying food experiences. Like Wonka himself, Bompas and Parr once built a 10-foot waterfall flowing with chocolate and have even invented a flavor-changing chewing gum. Even so, the knee-jerk description might be selling the mad food scientists a bit short. As Bompas puts it: “Wonka was a bit of a sadist, and I’d like to think our events are a lot more open and democratic than his approach.”


food, flavour pairing, art, SFPC, simona derosa

TASTED is a project that investigates the way we taste food and its flavor. Nowadays it is possible to identify a product’s flavor profile through gas chromatography. Starting from a data set of 1000+ ingredients and their flavor compound profiles, Tasted combines ingredients in pairs resulting in over a million combinations. Looking for intersections of compounds between ingredients, food pairs are mapped from most similar to most dissimilar.


food, online, elBulli, cuisine, creativity, design

The ini­tial idea of Bul­li­pedia was to cre­ate a the­matic ency­clo­pe­dia from elBulli by using all the infor­ma­tion that we had in our Gen­eral Cat­a­logue. In fact, in a press release in Jan­u­ary 2010 where we announced the trans­for­ma­tion of elBulli, we already talked about cre­at­ing an ency­clo­pe­dia of tech­noe­mo­tional cuisine. In order to turn this project into a real­ity we started doing the­matic works for the dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies of the evo­lu­tion­ary analy­sis. How­ever, already in Feb­ru­ary 2012, we real­ized that in order to do a cor­rect evo­lu­tion­ary analy­sis, we needed infor­ma­tion ear­lier than elBulli itself. At that moment we decided that Bul­li­pedia was not going to be just about elBulli. In fact we decided to extend the project to include all the west­ern culi­nary art.–2

A Work in Progress: Notes on Food, Cooking and Creativity

Noma, René Redzepi, books, food, cooking, work in progress

Like the restaurant on which it is based, A Work in Progress is unconventional with a mix of both high and lowbrow elements. It is packaged as a plain looking three-volume set that is bound together by a rubber band. Unwrapping the package, you will discover in ascending size, Snap Shots, a pocket sized book of candid photos taken at Noma; René Redzepi Journal, a plain paperback designed to look like a composition notebook set in typewriter font; and finally the end product, Noma Recipes, a hardback book with beautifully photographed dishes—each one a presentational masterpiece—that were created during the 12-month journaling period.

Soylent 1973 vs Soylent 2013

food, soylent, soylent green, sci fi, eating, sensuality, georgina voss

Soylent Green (1973) explores the political dimensions of food substitution, industrialised food production and rapidly growing populations in a way that the coverage of Soylent (2013) has not. Soylent’s invention was borne of Rhinehart’s desire not to have to clean his dishes after he had eaten, and this desire - of a young, employed male in California who finds no pleasure in the purchase, preparation or consumption of food - is not necessarily the desire (or need) of other populations. Abstracting the culture of food into the nutritional qualities of fuel is not just an efficiency process; it imposes a version of reality where eating is no longer a satisfying, social, even sensual activity to be shared with friends and loved ones.

Chinese Cuisine Patterns Revealed By Food Network Analysis

food, cuisine, regionality, locality, flavour, open sauces

Regional cuisines often differ substantially in their cooking methods, their food preparation and above all their ingredients. But they can also be closely related. So here’s an interesting question: what factors determine the links between regional cuisines?

Geography and similarity of regional cuisines in China

food, china, cuisine, food network, data analysis

Food occupies a central position in every culture and it is therefore of great interest to understand the evolution of food culture. The advent of the World Wide Web and online recipe repositories has begun to provide unprecedented opportunities for data-driven, quantitative study of food culture. Here we harness an online database documenting recipes from various Chinese regional cuisines and investigate the similarity of regional cuisines in terms of geography and climate. We found that the geographical proximity, rather than climate proximity is a crucial factor that determines the similarity of regional cuisines. We develop a model of regional cuisine evolution that provides helpful clues to understand the evolution of cuisines and cultures.

Flavor network and the principles of food pairing

network analysis, food pairing, flavour pairing, food, cuisine, open sauces, research

The cultural diversity of culinary practice, as illustrated by the variety of regional cuisines, raises the question of whether there are any general patterns that determine the ingredient combinations used in food today or principles that transcend individual tastes and recipes. We introduce a flavor network that captures the flavor compounds shared by culinary ingredients. Western cuisines show a tendency to use ingredient pairs that share many flavor compounds, supporting the so-called food pairing hypothesis. By contrast, East Asian cuisines tend to avoid compound sharing ingredients. Given the increasing availability of information on food preparation, our data-driven investigation opens new avenues towards a systematic understanding of culinary practice.

The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

heath, food, supliments, Linus Pauling, vitamins, cancer, flu, science

Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives. Still, in 2012, more than half of all Americans took some form of vitamin supplements. What few people realize, however, is that their fascination with vitamins can be traced back to one man. A man who was so spectacularly right that he won two Nobel Prizes and so spectacularly wrong that he was arguably the world’s greatest quack.

Edible Insects: future prospects for feed and food security

food, food security, UN, FAO, insects, diet

The book “Edible Insects: future prospects for feed and food security” was launched at the conference, after years of compiling a database of the insects people eat around the world. The protein in many insects can be about the same as lean red meat or fish, but the insects require far less feed to produce the same quantity of meat as a cow, for example.

Engineering the $325,000 In-Vitro Burger

meat, tissue culture, food, biotech, biology

The hamburger, assembled from tiny bits of beef muscle tissue grown in a laboratory and to be cooked and eaten at an event in London, perhaps in a few weeks, is meant to show the world — including potential sources of research funds — that so-called in-Vitro meat, or cultured meat, is a reality.–325000-in-vitro-burger.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1368418364–9BbUl9iWpNavnGGiS9Hqxg&

Ferran Adrià and experiments in design

food, design, Ferran Adrià, dialogue

Then you can see how old we are, we still have this discourse of separate disciplines of art, design and cinema. I want a dialogue between these disciplines. With regards to innovation, cooking has a very important character, which is its immediateness. If you go to a café and order a coffee, you want it now. When you apply that to innovation, cooking can be brutal. All the designers with whom we have worked at elBulli are very surprised, because we work 10 times faster than they do. In cooking you can’t do things later, you need to do them now. Designers pick up this characteristic from us and that’s achieved through dialogue.

Spatzle in space: Fellows Friday with Angelo Vermeulen

HI-SEAS, mars, food, space

The Mars simulation we’re setting up is called Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation or HI-SEAS. It’s primarily a food study. One of the main problems during long-term space travel is so-called menu fatigue. It’s basically astronauts getting tired of their food and losing appetite. By the way astronauts do not eat out of tubes and do not swallow food pills. That’s an old persistent cliché which is still in a lot of people’s minds. It’s almost an archetype of astronaut life. However this dates to the ’50s and ’60s, and has been long abandoned. The food that astronauts currently eat is pretty good, but it’s all pre-prepared. It’s add-water-and-heat, and you have your meal. But even those meals, even when they try to make variations, after a couple of months people get tired of that, and so they start to eat less. As a consequence they might also perform less, and jeopardize the mission.

Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly

science, organic, food, drosophila, experiment, health

The research, titled “Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster,” tracked the effects of organic and conventional diets on the health of fruit flies. By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.

Vegan Ortolan

recipe, vegetarian, vegan, edible, cooking, food, vegan ortolan, ortolan

The traditional preparation of the ortolan bird in France demands that they are captured alive, force-fed, drowned in Armagnac and eaten whole. Although it is illegal to prepare and eat, the dish retains a forbidden attraction for some adventurous eaters. What better way to challenge the skills of a chef than to create a vegan recipe which simulates the experience of crunching through the skin, guts and bones of a small bird, without using any animal products? This dish is intended to be consumed in the traditional way — with a large napkin covering the head and the face — to keep the flavours in, and to hide one’s shame from God.

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy

ecology, art science, art, DIY Bio, genomics, future, food

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an independent research institute engaged in exploring, examining and understanding the genomes and biotechnologies that make up the human food systems of planet earth. We are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge at the intersection of food, culture, ecology and technology. The Center presents its research through public lectures, research publications, meals and exhibitions.