Sunday, October 13, 2013

Food news from campuses on the campaign trail


At the end of Drink and drive with "The Walking Dead", I told my readers what I'd be doing tonight.
I know where I'll be 9 PM Sunday--watching "The Walking Dead" with my wife.
We'll be doing that, as well as watching a new episode of "Once Upon a Time" at 8 PM, as I mentioned in Entertainment news from campuses on the campaign trail.  I forgot that AMC is marathoning all of last season's "The Walking Dead" right now.  I'm going to take advantage of that to correct some papers.  I'll see you all after 10 PM.

In the meantime, follow over the jump to enjoy this update to Food news from campuses on the campaign trail, which features stories and videos originally included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (ACA and shutdown on campus) and Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (2013 Nobel Prizes).  As I've written before, I can't be all doom all the time, especially while I'm watching arguably the most popular post-apocalyptic show on TV.

First, some biodiversity of food in unexpected places from Virginia Tech: Edible plants.

Virginia Tech's campus is lush and verdant, but did you know that some of those campus plants have edible fruits and nuts? Lele Kimball, a graduate student in the Urban Forestry program, created a map for those who are interested in tasting truly local produce. Be sure to take a guidebook if you decide to try some of these natural delicacies.
Next, some more conventional food news from Rutgers University: New Jersey Wine Industry Gets Rutgers Education.

Wine enthusiasts from New Jersey may be surprised to hear that some of the top wines in the world are produced right here in the Garden State. As new vineyards and wineries pop up across the state, Rutgers experts are helping the industry grow by advising new grape growers on the varieties they should be growing, and offering up-to-date, scientific information they can use to control pests and optimize their production practices.

The results speak for themselves, especially at Unionville Vineyards winning a gold medal & governor's cup at the NJ wine competition, a gold medal in an international wine & spirits competition and received high marks from Gilbert & Gaillard.
Rutgers University: Flavor and Fragrance Event at Rutgers Highlights Innovative Research for Key New Jersey Industry
At Rutgers’ recent Second Annual Flavor, Fragrance, and Perception Symposium, a team of the university’s faculty members presented their research and discoveries in aroma, taste, and sensory sciences to nearly 400 people from industry and academia and shared their perspectives on the state of the associated industry.

More than 120 companies from across the country sent representatives to the symposium, including a wide array of leading flavorists, perfumers, and product and business developers. The event's Gold Sponsors were Chromocell Corporation and Q Research Solutions. Matthias Guentert, president of Symrise's Flavor and Nutrition Division NA, was the keynote speaker.

The flavors and fragrances industry is a significant element of the state’s economy, with more than 125 companies in the sector. About 34,000 people in New Jersey, which is 1% of the workforce, are employed by those companies, according to a recent study by Rutgers analysts. These jobs pay an average of $88,000, far above the statewide average. The companies in this sector contribute over $4.2 billion in economic activity to the state.
Yes, I interpret "food news" broadly.  After all, this article was about flavors as well as fragrances.

Boston University has more food news in unexpected places in Cooking Tips from the Ancient Maya.
Clay balls were used to retain and distribute heat
Archaeologist Stephanie Simms was digging at the Escalera al Cielo site in a hilly region of rural Yucat√°n, Mexico, when she discovered a trove of clay balls the size of plums. There were hundreds of them, buried at the edge of what functioned as a Maya kitchen 1,000 years ago.

Ball-shaped artifacts are not uncommon, and Simms (GRS’13) likes to joke that male researchers tend to theorize that they are ammunition, while women envision domestic uses. In this case, the location and appearance of the balls—they were found with burn marks in what was presumably a cooking area—indicate that they were used for distributing and prolonging heat in pit ovens.

Months later, at the College of Arts & Sciences Laboratory of MicroStratigraphy, an analysis of the balls’ mineral composition strongly supported Simms’ theory. The ancient narrative etched into their material properties suggests that the balls, crafted from the local, clay-rich earth, were dried in the hot sun and then cooked, like reusable coals, again and again and again, at heat as high as 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finally, Auburn University features a Food safety expert: Athens outbreak underscores importance of safeguarding against Salmonella.
October 11, 2013
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – An Alabama Cooperative Extension System food safety specialist says that the recent salmonella outbreak that resulted in dozens of people reporting to the Athens-Limestone Hospital, in Athens, Ala., last weekend complaining of diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and fever is not only a reminder of the insidious nature of the potentially deadly pathogen, but also why people should take proactive steps to protect themselves from exposure.

Food safety specialist Jean Weese, an Auburn University professor of poultry science who heads Alabama Extension’s food safety team, said salmonella is insidious in terms of how readily it can infect food and ultimately people.

One of the common sources of foodborne illness in the United States, salmonella is the name of a group of bacteria found in the intestines of animals. However, when the excreta of the animals get in the soil, bacteria can be carried to almost any food, Weese said.
This last story interesects with the shutdown, as CDC's Samonella experts were recalled from furlough to deal with the outbreak.  That reminds me; I have some shutdown stories to share.  Stay tuned.

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