food

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines were born of good intentions. They were created to make Americans healthier.

The guidelines, however, were not inscribed on stone tablets and handed to mankind. Instead, they are the result of a bureaucratic process and, as such, are susceptible to dubious conclusions and adverse influence by activist groups.

In 2015, journalist Nina Teicholz conducted an investigation, published in BMJ, that criticized the dietary guidelines for being based on "weak scientific standards" and "vulnerable to internal bias as well as outside agendas." 

For instance, the guidelines recommend against saturated fat, which is commonly believed to cause cardiovascular disease. But...

Food choice should be left as a choice for consumers, but that is not how Michael Pollan, contributing writer at The New York Times, sees it.

Farming and stewardship of the land have always been a part of my life. Growing up in rural Oregon, we lamented that people in cities knew little about agriculture or where their food came from. Despite that, many city dwellers view farmers as enemies of the environment without bothering to drive a few miles to see the careful stewardship of the land that farmers practice every day. 

So, in some ways I am glad the "foodie" movement encouraged people to learn more about agriculture and how farmers provide the food we enjoy.

Anti-Farming Foodies

Unfortunately, that movement, which began as an...

As a greater number of people enter the middle class around the globe, many will turn away from plant-based diets in favor of meat-based diets. This could be a cause for concern, as meat production requires the input of substantially more resources, such as water and energy. The question of how to feed a growing world in a time when wealth is spreading and personal tastes are changing is the subject of some sustainability research.

Outside of the Western world, insect consumption is common. The Chinese, for instance, will eat just about anything that crawls on six (or more) legs. ...

Supermarket Selections

When it comes to matters involving food -- shopping for, eating and disposing of it, just to name a few -- it's surprising how lack of awareness factors into each area. And once again this appears to be a recurring theme given the tepid news coverage of World Food Day last Sunday, coupled with a recent survey of Americans about food consumption and overall food waste.

World Food Day, established in 1979, is a global initiative described by the organization as "a day of action against hunger. On October 16, people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime."

A eminently laudable goal, it's hard not to get behind the effort to address worldwide hunger concerns, as well as those here in the United States. But a news search...

It is nearly impossible to get every last drop of liquid foods out of their containers. Ketchup and syrup are among the worst offenders. In fact, up to 15% of liquid foods can be wasted due to such inefficient packaging.

Superhydrophobic coatings, which are extremely water-repellent, have been proposed as a fix. A few years ago, a company called LiquiGlide made a big splash (no pun intended) with a video that showed ketchup sliding effortlessly out of a bottle. Their technology employs a "liquid-impregnated surface," which as its name implies, involves a specialized surface that is able to contain within it a second...

Do you think this guy will drink synthetic wine? (Credit: Shutterstock) Do you think this guy will drink synthetic wine? (Credit: Shutterstock)

A company called Ava is isolating and identifying the molecular components of fine wines, such as Dom Pérignon, with the intention of recreating these wines from scratch in a laboratory. According to TechCrunch...

Garlic powder. (Credit: Shutterstock) Garlic powder. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Cooking should be thought of as edible organic chemistry. For instance, what toasted bread, grilled steak, and crème brûlée all have in common is the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that combines sugars and amino acids into delectable, brown goodness.

Because such foods consist of a large variety of different molecules, it is largely unknown what compounds are...

Silkworm cocoon. (Krish Dulal/Wikipedia) Silkworm cocoon. (Krish Dulal/Wikipedia)

Unlike draping yourself in velvet, which is not socially acceptable, silk remains perfectly fashionable. In fact, it is all the rage at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University, where a research group led by David Kaplan is literally wrapping silk around everything it can get its hands on.

In 2012, I...

shutterstock_290095073Millennials, those born between 1984 and 2004, according to The Atlantic, is a generation that's tech-savvy and marketing-wise. They don't buy everything touted by marketers, even when it comes to food. Such marketers, however, really really want to find a way to reach this demographic. And much attention has been paid to...

peanutsThe war on the P-B and J has been waged in our schools for some time now. Determining how to handle these sandwiches, and peanuts in particular as they relate to students with allergies, has arguably been one of the most heated battles in school systems across the country. It is certainly up there with the decision to teach evolution, or how to provide instruction on sex ed.

As for nuts, so many schools have decided to kowtow to the concerns of a few, banning all peanut products on school grounds. Others, meanwhile have decided to take extra...