https://stanfordpress.typepad.com/blog/2018/05/why-cavemen-needed-no-braces.html, posted 2 Mar by peter in food health science
At its root, the problem we face is that we have entered a space age world with Stone Age genes – genes that evolved to produce jaws adapted to a hunter-gatherer diet. Today's jaws epidemic is concealed behind the commonplace. Its most obvious symptoms are oral and facial: crooked teeth (and the accompanying very common use of braces), receding jaws, a smile that shows lots of gums, mouth breathing, and interrupted breathing during sleep. A bother, but hardly an 'epidemic' – at least until one recognizes the relationship between malocclusion and a veritable host of downstream health consequences.
https://www.vox.com/2015/7/28/9050469/watermelon-breeding-paintings, posted Jun '20 by peter in art food history nature
The watermelon originally came from Africa, but after domestication it thrived in hot climates in the Middle East and southern Europe. It probably became common in European gardens and markets around 1600. Old watermelons, like the one in Stanchi's picture, likely tasted pretty good — Nienhuis thinks the sugar content would have been reasonably high, since the melons were eaten fresh and occasionally fermented into wine. But they still looked a lot different.
That's because over time, we've bred watermelons to have the bright red color we recognize today. That fleshy interior is actually the watermelon's placenta, which holds the seeds. Before it was fully domesticated, that placenta lacked the high amounts of lycopene that give it the red color. Through hundreds of years of domestication, we've modified smaller watermelons with a white interior into the larger, lycopene-loaded versions we know today.
Of course, we haven't only changed the color of watermelon. Lately, we've also been experimenting with getting rid of the seeds — which Nienhuis reluctantly calls "the logical progression in domestication." Future generations will at least have photographs to understand what watermelons with seeds looked like. But to see the small, white watermelons of the past, they too will have to look at Renaissance art.
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/4/22/21228158/coronavirus-pandemic-risk-factory-farming-meat, posted Apr '20 by peter in environment food health
That’s because we eat a ton of meat, and the vast majority of it comes from factory farms. In these huge industrialized facilities that supply more than 90 percent of meat globally — and around 99 percent of America’s meat — animals are tightly packed together and live under harsh and unsanitary conditions.
“When we overcrowd animals by the thousands, in cramped football-field-size sheds, to lie beak to beak or snout to snout, and there’s stress crippling their immune systems, and there’s ammonia from the decomposing waste burning their lungs, and there’s a lack of fresh air and sunlight — put all these factors together and you have a perfect-storm environment for the emergence and spread of disease,“ said Michael Greger, the author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching.
To make matters worse, selection for specific genes in farmed animals (for desirable traits like large chicken breasts) has made these animals almost genetically identical. That means that a virus can easily spread from animal to animal without encountering any genetic variants that might stop it in its tracks. As it rips through a flock or herd, the virus can grow even more virulent.
Greger puts it bluntly: “If you actually want to create global pandemics, then build factory farms.”
Not so long ago, we found out that Tokyo’s Akihabara Station has a bank of vending machines stocked with a huge array of delicious milk-based drinks, with all sorts of fruit, tea, and coffee flavorings to tempt you. But while those are great for quenching your thirst or satisfying your sweet tooth, what about when you’re feeling hungry?
https://earther.gizmodo.com/defying-international-community-japan-resumes-commerci-1836023427, posted Jul '19 by peter in environment food japan
https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/01/ask-the-food-lab-the-truth-about-msg.html, posted Mar '19 by peter in food health science
So where does that leave us in terms of using it for cooking? In the end, it seems that the subgroup sensitive to MSG is small enough and the adverse reaction rare enough that in all likelihood you’re gonna be just fine using it in your own food, especially if you make sure to eat a little MSG-free stuff to lay down a bed in your belly before getting to the goods. Moreover all evidence suggests that the effects are at worst a short-term discomfort with no long-lasting consequences.
https://boingboing.net/2018/06/25/italian-chefs-watch-in-horror.html, posted 2018 by peter in food humor video
In this video, three reputable Italian chefs are subjected to severe moral injury by being forced to watch the top five 'how to cook carbonara' videos on YouTube. Their emotions range between outrage, disappointment, dour amusement and absolute horror in under 13 minutes. Be sure to turn subtitles on for this one before settling in.