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Archive for February, 2007

I’m creating a brand new category for this post and I’m calling it:
What the F#@k?!’

Apparently when the Chinese aren’t too busy sending missiles into space to destroy satellites/create space debris they do like to mutate the occasional vegetable seed with cosmic radiation. One of these seed mutating missions brought back a potato seed from space that has been successfully grown to produce a purple potato.

I shit you not.

crazy-purple-spuds.pngFrom fitsugar.com:

Apparently they are all the rage in Shanghai. Slightly sweet and purple in color, they are known as the Purple Orchid Three.

The Chinese space program claims that they have produced other fruits and veggies from other seeds that have been exposed to radiation, capsule pressure, and weightlessness.

From yumsugar.com

Last year China’s second manned space mission (shown during take off) included many plant experiments. During the five day flight, some onboard sweet potato seeds mutated. When they returned to Earth they were planted on the beaches of southern Hainan Island. The end result? A purple potato (dubbed “Purple Orchid III”) that tastes and smells the same as its Earth brethren, but is more “glutinous.”

Want more? Here’s a CNN article.

I tend to agree with the author of the yumsugar article who says this all sounds a little bit too much like ‘the plot to a rather bad B horror film’. A better name for this potato might be “Purple Orchid III: The Reckoning”.

Thanks AndyP for the heads up on this.

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While I’m going to keep right on eating french fries despite their alleged health risks, I feel it my duty to keep the more health conscious reader(s) abreast of the latest research on the healthification of french fries. I’ve posted about acrylamide in fries before, you may remember it from such posts as:
Acrylamide…delicious but deadly.
and
Mmmm…Sciencey

Well the latest research, by a Chinese team, has shown that…

Soaking potato pieces in a bamboo extract prior to cooking can limit the development of acrylamide—a potential carcinogen—in french fries.

That’s all well and good, but I think Confucius was onto something when he said ‘Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without’ and…’man who go to bed with itchy butt wake up with smelly fingers‘.

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Spud lovers month

farnsworth.gifGood news everyone. February is ‘National Potato Lover’s Month’…. Spudtober perhaps, but I guess, if you want to get all technical, Spudruary might be more appropriate.

potato-ricer.jpgThankfully our friends at Amazon.com have a few products available to help us celebrate. Like this potato ricer for instance. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t rice potatoes.

Love for the spud doesn’t end with February however. August 19th is ‘National Potato Day’ and August 24-25th are ‘Potato Days’ in Barnsville Minnesota. And if you think that’s the cat’s pajamas, get a load of this. The United Nations has declared 2008 as the ‘International Year of the Potato‘, in Resolution 4/2005 of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, adopted on 25 November 2005. So when will there be a ‘French Fry’ day?…well, everyday is a french fry day in my opinion.

And there was much rejoicing…

one last thing…here’s a list of other food related holidays

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Looking through my blog stats recently I saw that a search engine term that led people to this blog was ‘poutine prostitute’. Interesting combination. My first thoughts were something about gravy and second degree burns, then french fry pimp, and then finally, what on my site could possibly be linked to this search term? It took me a bit to remember but here’s the answer.

G. from Geoffrey’s Periodic Inanities made this comment a while back:

When I was younger and in Quebec I mispronounced “poutine” as “poutan.” Nothing gets a cafeteria worker’s attention faster than ordering a prostitute.

I was curious to see what else I could find about poutine prostitutes so I did a little googling and found this article:

Now we come to the reason that French is known as the language of diplomacy. In France’s official documents, as well as uniformly in the French press, Vladimir Putin’s last name is spelled Poutine. As a natural result, it is pronounced poo-TEEN, rhyming with our ”routine.” The French undoubtedly know that is not the way he or his compatriots, or even President Bush looking into his soul, pronounce Putin’s name. (To head off a torrent of e-mail from Quebec, let me acknowledge that poutine is also French-Canadian comfort food: fried potatoes suffused in cheese and dollops of salty gravy.)

Why the error in transliteration? Official French sources tell me that because the sound that we write as in has no place in French pronunciation, an e has been added to make the sound more amenable to the French tongue, and that’s all there is to it. They note — somewhat stiffly, anticipating the direction of my inquiry — that they have added a vowel to other names for this purpose. But other, more conspiratorial linguists suggest that the spelling of Putin in English would be pronounced as putain in French — that is, sounding close to pew-TANH.

Putain, in French, means ”prostitute; whore,” or in current correctese, ”sexual-services provider.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is the probable source, slightly corrupted, of the U.S. slang term poontang, a derogation of women as a means of sexual gratification. Hence, the rejection of the English spelling of Putin and the switch to Poutine, pronounced poo-TEEN. Small wonder that French arbiters of usage and pronunciation — perhaps out of commendable delicacy, in the interest of the avoidance of offense and the leers of pundits — have embraced phony phonetics, unanimously choosing to mispronounce the name of the president of Russia.

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Bam!

healthy-fries.JPGOver at StartCooking.com you’ll find an interesting recipe, from Emeril, for making ‘healthier’ french fries. Here’s the jist: fries coated with seasoned egg white and then oven baked. They certainly look tasty enough.

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catvomitsign.jpg1. Cats instinctively (spitefully) seek out a puke zone with the following characteristics:

a) the puke zone must contain multiple objects

b) objects within the puke zone must be oddly shaped with multiple surfaces, holes, nooks and or crannies (e.g. shoes, radiators, things made of wicker)

c) the puke zone must contain at least one object covered in or made from fabric, leather, or other porous material

2. Cat puke is both solid and liquid

3. Cat puke must come in contact with and settle in, on, or around all objects within the puke zone

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Mmmm…Pectolytic

homer-smart.gifEnzymes improve quality of French fries, says study

Using pectolytic and hemicellulytic enzymes to change the microstructure of potato cells in French fries improves the quality of the finished product, suggests research from Novozymes.

Writing in the Elsevier journal Food Chemistry, Lisinska and co-workers report: “The results obtained in the study show that pectolytic and hemicellulytic activities of enzymes used for French fries production improve the quality of the finished product, especially fat content, after the first and the second stage of frying, which was 10-20 per cent lower in treated than in untreated French fries.”

Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), the researchers report that the enzymes worked by destroying the cell wall of the potato cells.

“Destruction of the cell structure caused by enzymes suppressed penetration of fat into the internal portion of French fries, immediately after they had been taken out of the frying oil,” they said.

I’ll digest my fries myself, thank you very much.

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