• Robots invade foodie San Francisco, promising low prices, tasty meals and cheap labor

    SAN FRANCISCO — The lunchtime line is out the door at Creator, a recent addition to this city’s hip downtown foodie scene.

    But the chef here has no Michelin stars, no attitude and no heart. Because the chef is a robot.

    Steak, tomatoes, onions, buns and condiments get loaded into an ingenious machine, and a freshly ground, gourmet hamburger rolls out.

    “And it’s only $6,” says Creator founder, Alex Vardakostas, 34, who started flipping patties at his parent’s Southern California burger joint A’s Burgers at age 9 and figured he could find a better way to make this American classic. “For the price of a Big Mac, you’re getting organic ingredients and a perfect hamburger, every time.”

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    Creator is a novelty to be sure, but it also is a harbinger of a robotic invasion that brings with it big questions about the future of food, employment and social interactions.

    Long known as a hotbed of hand crafted foods, some San Francisco restaurants are taking the opposite approach and turning to automation to handle food production.  Creator is one, and its robot-made burgers have people waiting in long lines.

    Long known as a hotbed of hand crafted foods, some San Francisco restaurants are taking the opposite approach and turning to automation to handle food production. Creator is one, and its robot-made burgers have people waiting in long lines. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    Not surprisingly, the Bay Area is proving to be both ground zero and test market for the march of artificial intelligence into the culinary world. Chalk that up to a variety of factors, including the prevalence of venture capitalists looking for the next tech breakthrough, a ready pool of voracious if time-crunched millennials, and a food-worker labor shortage that has forced a number of restaurants to close.

    “It’s a real struggle, look at employment listings in the food industry here and you’ll see job availability at everything from top-rated restaurants to coffee shops,” says Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, whose upcoming conference will include a session called “Robot Revolution: Are Robots the New Tool for Scaling?”

    Customers stare at the burger-machine robot at Creator, a hot new San Francisco eatery where human employees do everything except make the food.

    Customers stare at the burger-machine robot at Creator, a hot new San Francisco eatery where human employees do everything except make the food. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    “In any cities where the cost of living is going up, this is an issue,” says Borden. “That’s causing food business owners to get creative to hire people, whether that’s by looking at hiring the homeless or former convicts, or by offering workers gym memberships.”

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    Or by bringing in robots.

    It’s a shift is happening across the U.S. and the world. In Boston, customers at Spyceget served up health food bowls by an automated machine. In Brooklyn, BigEve Sushihas robots doing the rolling. Brussels-based Alberts is peddling its Smoothie Stationsacross that country. And the scientists at British-based Moley are working on a robot that will take over all chores in your home kitchen. 

    San Francisco has fast become an epicenter of this automated trend. Beyond the burger robot at Creator, there’s the dancing coffee shop robot at Café XSally the salad making robot at an undisclosed tech company cafeteria, and the fresh baguettes pumped out by the Le Bread Xpress robot at a local mall. Then add in the fresh smoothie robot at Blendid on the campus of the University of San Francisco, and Zume pizza in Silicon Valley, where employees share duties with robots.

    Robots = low cost, better food

    The entrepreneurs behind these ventures all lay out the same rationale for pushing a robotized food future. 

    A robot makes coffee drinks at Cafe X in downtown San Francisco. The company has three locations in the Bay Area, and soon will open up at the local airport. Founder Henry Hu says offloading the task of "pushing coffee machine buttons" to robots frees up humans to consult with customers on their order.

    A robot makes coffee drinks at Cafe X in downtown San Francisco. The company has three locations in the Bay Area, and soon will open up at the local airport. Founder Henry Hu says offloading the task of “pushing coffee machine buttons” to robots frees up humans to consult with customers on their order. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    They say that robots do monotonous, repetitive-stress jobs exceedingly well, which leaves humans to serve in more high-touch roles such as advising customers on menu selection. Robots happily work 24/7, allowing for access to more high-quality foods in environments where traditional food services close, such as hospitals and universities. And at popular restaurants robots quickly pay for themselves, allowing owners to put more money into ingredients while keeping prices down.

    “By eliminating the barista pushing buttons on a coffee machine, we can provide a very high-quality drink quickly at a lower price,” says Henry Hu, who came up with the idea for Café X five years ago while in college and now has three locations with another one coming to San Francisco’s airport.

    Customers watch a robot make coffee drinks at Cafe X in downtown San Francisco. The company has three locations in the Bay Area, and soon will open up at the local airport. Founder Henry Hu says offloading the task of "pushing coffee machine buttons" to robots frees up humans to consult with customers on their order.

    Customers watch a robot make coffee drinks at Cafe X in downtown San Francisco. The company has three locations in the Bay Area, and soon will open up at the local airport. Founder Henry Hu says offloading the task of “pushing coffee machine buttons” to robots frees up humans to consult with customers on their order. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    There’s little doubt about Café X’s target demographic. Step into one of their shops and you’re greeted with a modernist décor, thumping music and a robotic arm that dances. Customers invariably walk in and pull out their cell phones for photos and videos.

    “More than half of our customers are repeat, and our sales have doubled every year,” says Hu, who, in a familiar debate for robot food purveyors, is still deciding whether to own and operate his growing stable of robots or license the technology. “I think the future will be a mix of robot foods and places where you have personal experiences.”

    Food writer Eve Turow Paul, whose forthcoming book “Hungry” tackles the future of food, says the potential upside of robots in the culinary world is “the democratizing of good food.”

    Cafe X Founder and CEO Henry Hu, 25, photographed at Cafe X in downtown San Francisco.

    Cafe X Founder and CEO Henry Hu, 25, photographed at Cafe X in downtown San Francisco. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    Given the hectic all-hours pace of today’s work life, “there is going to be less and less time in the day to eat well,” says Paul, who is also the author of “A Taste of Generation Yum” about millennials and food. “So if there’s a meal that is transparent, of high quality, fast and affordable, why wouldn’t people try it?”

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    Beware the pitfalls of robot chefs

    But Paul also warns of potential pitfalls to an AI-powered foodie future.

    These include “huge displacements of food workers over the next 10 years, or less,” says Paul. “No one will be flipping burgers anymore.”

    Those most impacted will be workers on the low end of the pay scale, small salaries that ultimately will be made expensive when compared to robot overhead. 

    According to a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute, of the 73 million U.S. jobs that will be lost to automation by 2030, those most susceptible are physical ones in predictable environments. Those include workers who operate machinery, prepare fast food, collect and process data.

    About half of workers who make minimum wage, which is typical in food services, are under age 25, according to a 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics report on low-income workers. 

    Le Bread Express, a growing robot-driven kiosk in France, is taking root in San Francisco, where foodies get to have their French bread baked within minutes of pushing buttons.

    Le Bread Express, a growing robot-driven kiosk in France, is taking root in San Francisco, where foodies get to have their French bread baked within minutes of pushing buttons. (Photo: Le Bread Express)

    Once robots are implemented in eateries, Paul is concerned that big fast food chains may just opt to put savings generated from employee cuts into their coffers and not into higher quality ingredients. Another big by-product could be simply losing touch with the very meaning of a meal, she says.

    “Having a sensorial communitarian experience is a reason to go to a nice restaurant,” says Paul. “When there’s a robot making that food, you’re forgoing a certain sense of intimacy with another human being.”

    Benoit Herve knows all about the dining ritual as a Frenchman coming from a family of bakers. And yet in his thinking, creating a stand-alone machine that can deliver hot baguettes is not sacrificing any gourmet experience and, instead, allows the masses to experience what he grew up with as a kid.

    “Le Bread Express is not a vending machine, let us be clear,” the former tech worker says in his accented English. “We load half-baked loaves into the machine so that it can create something true and fresh for you for $4 in minutes. We keep the quality of a real French baguette and use technology to bring it to you.”

    Herve’s lone kiosk is currently in a Bay Area mall, which he says is not the ideal location. Instead, he’s in negotiations with a range of area universities and hospitals, places where something fresh at all hours might be more appreciated.

    That’s the identical mission of Blendid CEO Vipin Jain, a machine learning expert whose last venture was bought by Barnes & Noble.

    Blendid uses robotics to automated the more labor-intensive part about making a smoothie.

    Blendid uses robotics to automated the more labor-intensive part about making a smoothie. (Photo: Blendid)

    Although Blendid’s lone smoothie making machine now is in a university setting, he’s looking for more high-traffic locations where people might want access to a robot that can whip up exotic organic drinks with fresh coconut water, flax and ginger.

    Jain says the robot’s ability to expertly dispense precise amounts of aromatic ingredients guarantee a perfect concoction at a “reasonable” average price of $6 a drink. And, like many of his inventor peers, he says that what is lost in low-wage jobs is replaced by more specialized employment opportunities.

    “This is a debate that’s been going on since the Industrial Revolution, and we as a society have to create jobs in a different, higher quality,” he says. “We need people to design, manufacture, install, service and monitor these robots. We are creating 21st century jobs.”

    Machine skills expand exponentially

    But humans will need to stay one step ahead of a robot’s growing skill set. Experts in this field say that eventually the jobs being assigned to robots are bound to get even more complex.

    For example, Sally the salad making robot, which is built by Deepak Sekar’s whimsically named company Chowbotics, does a great job assembling and mixing a salad based on ingredients pre-loaded by a chef.

    “What is very difficult for a robot to do is prepare those ingredients, chopping and dicing and slicing, it’s one of the hardest things to automate,” says Sekar.

    At present, Sally is working inside the cafeteria of an undisclosed tech company, where, he says, it allows employees working late to “enjoy the same quality salad they might get from the chef during the day.”

    A customer tries out Sally, a salad-making robot that uses pre-stocked fresh ingredients to make meals on the spot for on the go workers. This machine is at an undisclosed tech company cafeteria.

    A customer tries out Sally, a salad-making robot that uses pre-stocked fresh ingredients to make meals on the spot for on the go workers. This machine is at an undisclosed tech company cafeteria. (Photo: Chowbotics)

    Sekar and his team are continually tweaking Sally’s algorithms and robotic chops, and have given it the ability to make a variety of Indian and Chinese bowl meals. “Getting robots to work flawlessly across hundreds of locations is not easy,” he says. “But this is coming, and it’s going to change restaurants.”

    Tech has already changed up the popular notion of what a burger restaurant can be. The McDonald’s model, which in a way was the first mechanized approach to burger-making with humans filling the roles of robots, has given way in this century to more hand-crafted burger places such as Shake Shack.

    But that’s now under threat by Creator, whose riveting robot has commanded the attention of legions since it’s unveiling here last fall.

    Robots can create a ‘utopian world’

    There are occasional failures — one of the two Creator burger machines conked out during a recent visit, causing lines of an hour which did not thin — but mostly founder Vardakostas is bullish on the future.

    “I like to think we’re creating a more creative world, a more utopian world,” he says. “Creator is automating a major segment of food for the first time, one where you get high-quality ingredients often from local suppliers, you’re getting big chefs who have offered to program our machines to make their favorite burgers, and you’re getting it at a good price.”

    As Vardakostas tells it, his obsession with this idea was born while “flipping about 300,000 burgers” for his parents at their Dana Point, California, eatery.

    Alex Vardakostas, 34, founder and CEO Creator restaurant in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood. His burger-making robot has been 9 years in the making.

    Alex Vardakostas, 34, founder and CEO Creator restaurant in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood. His burger-making robot has been 9 years in the making. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    In college, he majored in physics and started to think about how robots could be made to automate, to perfection, the tedious jobs of slicing a bun, tomatoes and onion, and doling out precise amounts of seasoning.

    One Creator burger favorite, called The Recreator, calls for exactly 1 gram of habanero sea salt. “Any more, and it would ruin the burger, but the robot gets it right,” he says.

    Vardakostas saddled himself with one particularly challenging mission: ensuring that the robot could not only grind fresh beef for each patty on demand, but deliver the strands of beef to the griddle vertically as opposed to in a smashed patty, to better preserve flavor.

    All told, nine years and many fitful engineering team sessions went into building Creator’s burger-making beast.

    Once it was ready for prime time, Vardakostas, backed by unnamed venture funds, took a chance on a space not far from the team’s robot lab. Customers almost immediately flooded in to see his creation — with its 350 sensors and powered by 20 computers — make them lunch.

    Burgers coming off the robotic line at Creator in San Francisco. The company aims to open new stores here and around the U.S. soon, but is mum on details.

    Burgers coming off the robotic line at Creator in San Francisco. The company aims to open new stores here and around the U.S. soon, but is mum on details. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY)

    As he watches diners eat their burgers on a recent day, Vadakostas smiles and shakes his head. It’s as if he knows what he’s seeing is a dream come true, but one that, he admits, has nightmarish possibilities.

    “Creators of new technologies need to also be good shepherds of that technology,” he says. “You need to make careful choices, because this all can be abused. All I can say is, we have created a machine designed for a world that we who work here all want to live in.”

    Follow USA TODAY national correspondent @marcodellacava

    From USA Today

  • Fresh dog food kitchen coming to New York as Manhattan embraces organic pet produce

    Does today feel like a turkey mac and cheese kind of day? Or maybe venison and squash. Perhaps it’s time for surf and turf?

    New York’s dog owners can from this spring ask their four-legged friends exactly those questions, with the opening of the city’s first kitchen dedicated to daily production of dog food.

    Pet owners will be able to come into the store, in Manhattan’s Union Square, and watch as the “chefs” whip up 2,000lbs of food each day, which will then go straight to the shelves.

    The New York kitchen will be the largest yet for Petco, the American pet store, and their partners Just Food For Dogs. Seven such kitchens are already operating in California, and capitalising on a growing trend. US sales of fresh pet food in groceries and pet stores jumped 70 per cent between 2015 and last year, to reach more than $546 million (£419m) according to Nielsen, a data company.  

    Just Food For Dogs
    Just Food For Dogs’s kitchen in Costa Mesa, California

    “Just as people have become sceptical of highly processed foods for themselves, they’re looking critically at their pets’ foods as well,” said Amy Zalneraitis, part-owner and chief brand officer of We Feed Raw, a 10-year-old raw food meal plan service based in Maine.

    “They think: How could something with a shelf life of over year be better than real, fresh food?”

    Petco plans to open a series of other kitchens over the next four years, in collaboration with the California-based Just Food For Dogs – a company which launched in 2010.

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    When the two companies announced the tie-up, Rebecca Frechette, Petco executive vice president, described Just Food For Dogs as the “inventor of the most radical change in pet food in decades”.

    “We extensively researched the fresh, human-grade pet food market,” she said, adding that the company was “at the forefront of a new trend that is rapidly changing the industry.”

    And it is not just the pampered pooches of Manhattan who are dining out on fresh, organic meals.

    San Francisco-based NomNomNow, which makes pre-proportioned fresh meals specific to each pet, sends hundreds of thousands of meals a month to customers in 48 states.

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    “The general health consciousness of Americans is transferring to their pets, because we do consider pets as part of our family,” said Lynn Hubbard, the general manager of NomNomNow’s Nashville, Tennessee, production facility.

    But the trend is an expensive one.

    NomNomNow’s service costs up to $3.80 per meal for a 35-pound dog, and up to $2.80 per meal for a 12-pound cat. Normal pet food can cost around 55 cents a can.

    Just Food For Dogs, meanwhile, sells its venison and squash dish for $11.95 – the company is the largest consumer of human-grade venison in the US.

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    But some veterinarians have questioned the trend of feeding human quality food to dogs, especially if it is simply supermarket-bought meat.

    “There are so many essential nutrients, from all different classes, that need to be considered,” said Lindsey Bullen, a pet nutrition specialist with the Veterinary Specialist Hospital of the Carolinas.

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    “If they are too high or too low, or in an inappropriate proportion, it can cause significant problems for that pet that the client might not see for months or years to come.”

    Ms Bullen said she recommends her clients add canine and feline supplements to fresh foods from the supermarket, to ensure the animals get the correct nutrients.

    From The Telegraph

  • This World Health Day See What Our Nutritionist Does To Keep Herself Fit And Healthy

    There is an age-old saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Accordingly, it is better to adopt a lifestyle which improves our health and prevents diseases, rather than adopting one after having fallen sick.

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    I also avoid foods that include refined flour as the main ingredient as it is deprived of all nutrients.


    1. Health is a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being
    2. I love to eat simple traditional meals freshly prepared from whole foods
    3. Persistent sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on health

    Health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. The importance of good health requires no explanation, it is central to our very existence. There is an age-old saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Accordingly, it is better to adopt a lifestyle which improves our health and prevents diseases, rather than adopting one after having fallen sick.

    I am a nutritionist and here’s what I eat and what I don’t eat for maintaining good health. Let’s begin with the stuff I avoid.

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    I stay away from ready-to-eat, processed and packaged convenience foods straight out of the supermarket shelves. These have a lot of hidden ingredients, and even though, some of them might claim to be healthy, they are laced with hidden sugars, excess salt, excess fats and a concoction of chemicals like preservatives, stabilizers, flavor enhancers etc.

    Also read: 8 Immunity-Boosting Juices To Drink When You’re Sick

    I also avoid foods that include refined flour as the main ingredient as it is deprived of all nutrients.

    I love to eat simple traditional meals freshly prepared from whole foods. A typical breakfast for me is either egg parantha or egg with sweet potatoes, some stuffed paranthas with curd, or poha/ upma/ daliya with curd or a variety of chilas and idlis. My staple lunch is dal-roti-subzi-salad or rice-chana/ rajma/ kadhi etc. Dinner is again the same usual stuff, its mostly dal-rice or dal-roti-subzi-salad. The mid meals usually comprise a tall glass of buttermilk, a handful nuts, a colourful plate of seasonally available fruits or a cup of haldi milk or cold coffee. I never leave home with my meals and mid meals, depending on the time of the day and how long I’d be away.


    I stay away from ready-to-eat, processed and packaged convenience foods straight out of the supermarket shelves.
    Photo Credit: iStock

    I also drink lots of water and other fluids like nariyal pani, nimboo pani, buttermilk, herbal teas etc, roughly about 10-12 glasses in summer and about 8 glasses in winter.

    My diet may seem monotonous and repetitive, yet it’s not. It’s wholesome, fulfilling and nourishing. With a little bit of culinary skills at work, the diet can be made quite interesting.

    You can pretty much see that I am not avoiding any major food groups like ‘carbs’, and each meal is balanced. What is equally important is to identify hunger and fullness signals and eat accordingly. Portion control and more or less fixed meal timings are my biggest tools.

    Also read: Here’s How Your Lifestyle Choices Can Affect Ageing

    I do give in to temptations occasionally and I do eat some stuff made at home on special occasions like ladoos, mithai, halwa, poori etc. Here again, my tool is portion control. Also, I don’t let a cheat meal translate into a cheat day.

    Routine exercises and adequate sleep are also crucial to maintaining good health. While exercise helps maintain fitness, burn fat and gain muscle; sleep enables rest and recovery. Persistent sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on health.

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    So, healthy eating is not as complicated as it may seem to be. It involves wise selection, exercising portion control and discipline in timings. When you don’t recognize an ingredient on a food package, understand that your body doesn’t recognize it either. When in dilemma, follow the simple thumb rule – If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it is manufactured in a plant, don’t eat.

    This World Health Day, here’s wishing you good health and well being!

    Also read: This Simple Lifestyle Modification Is All You Need To Get Rid Of Joint Pain And Arthritis Pain. And, It Is Free Of Cost!

    (Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

    From NDTV

  • Should You Worry About the Condensation on Your Tupperware Container Lids?

    As an avid meal prepper and overnight oatmeal lover, I frequently fill my fridge with stacks upon stacks of tupperware. And while there’s a lot I love about these ready-made meals (chiefly, the convenience), there’s one, very specific thing that skeeves me: the condensation that seems to always form on the lid of each tupperware container.

    These tiny water droplets, which typically appear within a day of popping a new container in the fridge, mildly gross me out. They also seem to make the food soggier, which is another ew. But on a more concerning note, I’ve recently wondered if this excess moisture makes my leftovers more susceptible to growing mold or otherwise going rancid.

    Since I’m no food safety expert myself, I turned to three credentialed folks in the field. I asked them: What causes these droplets to form? Do they ever represent a food safety risk? And what—if anything—can I do to prevent them? Here’s what I learned.

    My first question: What, exactly, causes this condensation?

    Those top-of-the-lid droplets are essentially the result of “simple physics,” says Donald W. Schaffner, PhD, extension specialist in food science and distinguished professor at Rutgers University.

    Schaffner explains it this way: Air can hold a certain amount of moisture, and that specific amount is dependent on the temperature of the air. As air cools down, it reaches a point—known as the dew point—where it is no longer capable of holding all of its moisture. When air reaches this dew point, the moisture finds a surface and condenses [i.e. turns into water] on that surface. So in the case of sealed tupperware leftovers, the moisture emitted from cooked food cools down when it’s stashed in the fridge. When that moisture reaches a cool enough temperature, some of it—thanks to the laws of physics—transforms into those water droplets.

    It makes sense, then, that foods with higher moisture contents will create more condensation when stored in tupperware and refrigerated. Many of the foods we typically save as leftovers fall into that high moisture category, says Guy Crosby, Ph.D., certified food scientist and an adjunct associate nutrition professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Things like vegetables, which range in moisture content from 75 to 90 percent, and meats, which range from 60 to 75 percent, are big condensation culprits.

    So, does this moisture ever pose a risk to the safety of the tupperware contents?

    Some really relieving news: From a safety point of view, “the condensation is not a problem,” says Crosby. The only time the condensation could contain pathogens, adds Schaffner, is if the lid wasn’t properly cleaned beforehand, or if the food already contained bacteria that then spread to the lid.

    In general, there is less chance of bacteria and mold growing in the moisture condensed on the lid than in the food itself, says Crosby. That’s because the food offers a better source of fuel for the bacteria and mold than the water. (The one exception to this is high-acid foods—defined as those with a pH below 4.6—as the acidity helps protect these foods from spoilage.

    Beyond the fact that the condensation, in and of itself, doesn’t spell any danger for the food, it also “shouldn’t in any way change the texture [of the food],” says Crosby. Any mushy texture you notice in your leftovers is likely just the food breaking down over time and thus becoming soft—not added mushiness because of the condensation on the lid, he explains.

    The condensation still skeeves me anyways. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

    “Without changing the laws of physics, there’s not much you can do to prevent [the condensation],” says Schaffner.

    That said, you can reduce it. One of the best ways to do so is to allow your food to cool significantly at room temperature before covering it and stashing it in the fridge, says Crosby, who recommends letting hot leftovers cool on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes to an hour. Just don’t leave ‘em out longer than 2 hours, as you increase the risk of harmful bacteria growing.

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    Also, be aware that the longer you leave food uncovered on the counter, the greater opportunity that mold spores or spoilage organisms, which may be floating in the air, have to settle into the food, says Schaffner. For that reason, he recommends placing a piece of clean parchment paper on top of your leftovers as they cool on the counter to reduce the risk of this contamination.

    If you either forget to let your food cool down before stashing it in the fridge, or you do let it cool and significant condensation forms anyways, you can always remove the moisture after the fact. Just carefully open your container over the sink and simply shake off the excess water, says Schaffner.

    On the topic of tupperware leftovers, are there any legitimate food safety concerns?

    When it comes to ensuring the safety of your tupperware contents, the biggest factor to manage is temperature, says Schaffner.

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    To avoid dangerous bacteria growth, hot food needs to be kept above 140 degrees F, and cold food needs to be stored below 40 degrees F. In the case of a hot meal becoming cold leftovers, the food needs to drop from above 140 F to below 40 F within 4 hours, says Randy Worobo, PhD, professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. The longer it takes the food to cool, the more time pathogens have to grow.

    To ensure speedy, safe cooling, your tupperware containers should never be deeper than 3 inches, says Schaffner. This is a regulation in food service, and a good rule of thumb for home cooks, too, he explains, as shallow containers allow food to cool more quickly.

    If you’re trying to cool a small batch of leftovers, you can put them in the fridge with the tupperware lid vented, says Worobo. This will allow the food to cool faster than it would at room temperature. Once the food is adequately cooled, shut the lid. [At this point, you could also shake off any condensation that’s formed on the lid, if you’re still bothered by that.]

    If you have a large volume of leftovers—say, after Thanksgiving dinner—immediate refrigeration is not recommended, says Worobo, as stuffing a big batch of piping hot grub into the fridge could throw off the temperature of the entire machine. Instead, cool large volumes of leftovers by stirring them, and then let them sit out at room temperature (again, for 30 minutes to an hour). You could also put your tupperware container of hot leftovers into a mini ice bath and stir the leftovers inside the container for even faster cooling, he adds.

    Once the leftovers are reasonably cool, you’re good to put them in the fridge, leaving the lid vented to ensure the food cools down to below 40 degrees within that 4-hour time frame. When it’s properly cooled (stick a food thermometer in to check, says Worobo), pop on the lid.

    Lastly, one more thing to watch out for: if you’re cooking on a stove without your overhead vent on, keep an eye on any condensation that might form on the hood, says Worobo. This condensation could contain Listeria, a harmful bacteria that can grow at refrigeration temperatures. If Listeria-filled condensation drips down into any food that’s not going to be reheated again, you have the potential for getting food-borne illness. This isn’t a big risk for at-home cooks (it’s more so a concern in food processing plants), “but you should just watch out for it,” says Worobo.

    The bottom line

    To return to the original topic—the condensation that forms on tupperware lids—I was happy to learn there really isn’t much to fret about, at least safety-wise.

    “In the grand scheme of things in terms of food safety, it’s not high on my list of things that I worry much about,” says Schaffner. What you should concern yourself with, on the other hand, is making sure your leftovers are stored at a safe temperature within a safe time period.

    That said, if those small water droplets clinging to your tupperware lids still bother you, try cooling your food before popping it in the fridge [just don’t let it sit out on your counter for more than 2 hours]. And if you’re seeing condensation anyways? Simply shake it off in the sink. With this expert knowledge and a new peace of mind, I’ll head back to my kitchen for more meal prepping.

    From Cooking Light

  • Burger King Goes Vegan, Launches Meatless ‘Impossible Whopper’

    NEW YORK: 

    For decades, fast-food giant Burger King has been the undisputed Home of the Whopper — the chain’s signature sandwich featuring one of its flame-grilled, “no nonsense” 100 percent beef patties.

    So, what happens when the Whopper doesn’t actually have any meat?

    BK is going vegan. That’s right, folks: enter the Impossible Whopper, a meatless version of “America’s favorite burger.”

    Made up of mostly soy and potato protein, and featuring coconut oil, sunflower oil and heme — an iron-rich protein that simulates the texture, color and taste of actual meat.

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    For years, Burger King has offered a veggie burger on the menu at its thousands of restaurants, but it was not marketed as anything even remotely resembling a juicy, tender slab of meat.

    So far, the Impossible Whopper is only available at several dozen restaurants in the Midwestern city of St Louis.

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    But Burger King’s chief marketing officer Fernando Machado told The New York Times that the company expects to quickly expand availability nationwide if all goes well.

    “I have high expectations that it’s going to be big business, not just a niche product,” Machado told the paper.


    An ‘Impossible Whopper’ at a Burger King restaurant in Richmond Heights, Missouri. (AFP)

    Burger King’s tie-up with start-up Impossible Foods is the latest, perhaps boldest move by a power player in an industry seeking to make inroads with customers on plant-based diets.

    On Tuesday, Nestle announced plans to roll out “cook from raw” plant-based burgers in Europe — under the Garden Gourmet brand — and in the United States under the Sweet Earth label.

    In December, Nestle competitor Unilever said it had bought up Dutch brand De Vegetarische Slager (The Vegetarian Butcher) to position itself in the expanding sector.

    Impossible Burgers are already on the menu at US chain restaurants White Castle and, as of Monday, Red Robin.

    The Silicon Valley company, founded in 2011, is planning to launch its products in supermarkets later this year.

    “Sizzling sound”

    While soy burgers have existed for quite some time, several companies have taken the product up a notch by using sophisticated technology to make it taste, look and smell like meat.

    Beyond Impossible Foods, other start-ups in the United States like Memphis Meats and Just, or Mosa Meats in the Netherlands, are working to develop meat from animal cells, not actual animals.

    Nestle’s new products are made from soy and wheat proteins, with plant extracts such as beetroot, carrot and bell pepper.

    The Swiss food giant goes so far as to say their veggie burger “hardly differs from a traditional burger.”

    “They even make the sizzling sound of a regular beef burger during cooking,” it says.

    In the US, Sweet Earth — the California-based subsidiary bought by Nestle 18 months ago — will sell its product as the “Awesome Burger.”

    According to Nestle, consumers are looking “at different ways to enjoy and balance their protein intake and lower the environmental footprint of their diets.”

    “We believe this trend is here to stay,” it says of plant-based food.

    Indeed, a survey carried out by Nielsen for the Good Food Institute and published in September last year showed that sales of plant-based foods grew 17 percent over the previous 12 months.

    The trend is reflected in so-called “flexitarianism” — a plant-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat — and veganism, which means the abstention from consumption of any animal products including dairy.2

    A vegan diet has major health benefits, reducing risks of diabetes and heart problems, but some health professionals say that vegans run the risk of not consuming enough of certain nutrients like protein and iron.

    (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

    From NDTV

  • Why This Supermarket’s ‘Wellness Aisle’ Is Being Called Out

    After the festive excess of December, January is when we tend to reach peak wellness. This year’s wellness trends include everything from “workplace wellness” to “eco-friendly, socially conscious wellness”.

    But the trouble with “wellness” is that because it’s such a wide-reaching term, it can be misunderstood and sometimes even misused – just look at this list of ridiculous wellness fads from 2018.

    Seeking to capitalise on customers’ January health kicks, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, has introduced “wellness” hubs in seven of its stores.

    “Wellness and sports nutrition are areas that are becoming increasingly popular with our customers,” Sainsbury’s food commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks said in a statement.

    “To make sure they can find everything they need quickly and easily, we’ve doubled our range, introducing specialist and premium brands that customers won’t find in any other stores. With such a convenient choice of distinctive products, we’re confident that health-conscious customers won’t need to shop anywhere else.”

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    However, food writer Bee Wilson was unimpressed when she visited one of the new “wellness hubs” at a Sainsbury’s store in Cambridge. Its product range, she tweeted, encapsulates “the madness of our food culture all in one aisle”.

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter

    Bee Wilson@KitchenBee

    This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.1,96005:18 – 2 Jan 2019729 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads information and privacy

    Wilson isn’t the only customer dismayed by the contents of the wellness aisle, which former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite branded “insane”.

    kfo girl@whiterose52

    @sainsburys your new wellness aisle in the Cambridge store is a joke. There is nothing healthy in that aisle. Just sugar and chemicals. Shameful!!17:27 – 3 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee kfo girl’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

    Bee Wilson@KitchenBee · 2 Jan 2019

    This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter


    It’s fraudulent to claim these products are healthy. I suppose wellness is not clearly defined so they can get away with it but supermarkets are complicit in this misleading shitshow.1612:22 – 2 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee londonisforlife’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy


    @sainsburys please help people eat healthily – or at least don’t tell them that processed food is good for them by using words like « wellness » which can be misleading #HealthyEatingBee Wilson@KitchenBeeThis is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.18:18 – 3 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee Carolyn’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

    Georgine Leung@georginechikchi

    Interesting wellness is coupled with sports nutrition, but most of us don’t need to eat like athletes…?! And all those claims on bodily functions…Bee Wilson@KitchenBeeThis is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.921:00 – 2 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee Georgine Leung’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

    Bee Wilson@KitchenBee · 2 Jan 2019

    This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter

    Rachel Hadden@RachelHadden

    I suspect a true wellness supermarket aisle would closely aligned with a plastic-free aisle #realfood #plasticfree318:34 – 2 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee Rachel Hadden’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

    Following this criticism, a representative for Sainsbury’s has said that some products pictured in the wellness aisle aren’t supposed to be part of its “wellness and sports nutrition” range.

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    The representative told Refinery29: “For your background, the trial is in seven stores in total. In one store only, some cereal bars are at the end of the aisle – these are not part of the Wellness and Sports Nutrition range, which has different fixtures and displays. We will be adding an extra sign to make this clearer for our customers.”

    Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

    From: Refinery 29 UK

  • How 10 People Cook the Foods They Grew Up With After Immigrating to the United States

    I often find myself staring at the tortillas stacked on my cutting board, longing for the clamor of Sri Lankan kottu restaurants where the cooks’ cleavers clang on metal stovetopslike drums. My American kitchen has never been as tumultuous, but I still try to recreate those Sri Lankan flavors I grew up with, even if it means changing the recipe.

    Kottu roti, a staple Sri Lankan street food is a mix of sautéed roti, eggs, shredded vegetables, meats, curry, and spices. And while most of those ingredients do line the shelves of my local grocery store, finding roti is a battle.

    As a working adult, I never have time to make roti from scratch or to make the pilgrimage to the nearest Indian mart that sells it frozen. It’s much more convenient to grab a bag of tortillas from down the street instead, so I compromise. In fact, it’s my go-to potluck dish. I use my simple kitchen knife to shred the tortillas, accepting that it will absorb the curry in minutes, making the dish soggier than it’s meant to be, and toss everything into a pan. Even with this substitution, I never have leftovers.

    When I get to cook for friends, it’s a show-and-tell of the Sri Lankan foods I grew up with. But because I live in the U.S., this requires culinary creativity and blessings from the Trader Joe’s gods. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and that includes in immigrant kitchens. I was curious about how other folks who grew up outside the U.S. or have parents who did, fuse their cultural dishes with the ingredients that are actually available to them, so I chatted with 10 folks and asked them to tell me how they cook in the U.S.

    Anjile An on Mongolian glaze, New York, NY, age 23

    Salmon with Mongolian glaze.JPGCourtesy of Anjile An

    “What people think Mongolian food is, it’s not,” Anjile An says mid-chuckle. “You know how there’s Mongolian BBQ, or that guy that sautés your veggies for you on that giant wok—that’s not Mongolian food. And neither is Mongolian food spicy a lot of times.”

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    “Mongolian food is centered around a lot of the traditions of being nomadic and being herders. So there’s a lot of lamb in Mongolian cuisine and a lot of dairy,” says An, whose parents moved from Mongolia to Vancouver when she was 3 years old. An now lives in New York. “The best way to capture that is with a Mongolian breakfast: you have salty milk tea and in the milk tea, you put Mongolian cheese, and lamb, and all sorts of bread and you soak it into your salty milk tea and that’s breakfast. It’s kind of like a communal meal.”

    When An’s parents first moved to Vancouver, they couldn’t find the Mongolian cheese they’d always used for breakfast. Instead, they visited the closest Indian market to buy paneer, a fresh, non-melting cheese that’s common in India.

    “The man who sold my parents paneer has watched me grow up and he’s a part of our extended family now because he’s supplied all the paneer for all the Mongolian expats in Vancouver.”

    Upon moving, An’s parents were exposed to a lot of different foods that weren’t available in Mongolia.

    “My parents had never eaten salmon until they got to Vancouver because salmon is an ocean fish and inner Mongolia is very far from the ocean. You end up eating river fish instead.”

    But after seeing how much easier it was to buy ocean fish, An’s mom started blending Mongolian recipes with their newfound ingredients, a practice she also taught An, who now cooks the same salmon recipe whenever she’s homesick in New York.

    “My mom has this really good glaze. It’s soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and toasted peppercorn, and you let it reduce on the stove. This glaze is something we would make for pork or beef, but my mom just started doing it with this weird pink fish that she saw at the Canadian grocery store. It tasted pretty good, so here we are.”

    Whenever An visits her family in Mongolia, she would still eat the same dish with pork, as it’s originally cooked, but both recipes resemble her roots.

    “The dish with pork is what reminds me more of home, like the old country home. So when I eat it with pork it reminds me of when I’m back in inner Mongolia with the family we have there. But the one with salmon reminds me of my parents specifically,” she shared. “It reminds me that my parents do this with salmon because they had moved away.”

    Margarita Sadoma on Russian vareniki, Sacramento, CA, age 52

    Margarita Sadoma was frustrated by the difference between the Estonian cottage cheese she grew up with and the American cottage cheese she found after moving to here at the age of 25. “I didn’t like what was in the stores, and I thought maybe I could do my own,” she says.

    The cottage cheese Sadoma found in Sacramento’s grocery stores had a watery, curdled consistency while the cheese she grew up with was often thicker and refined. This cottage cheese Sadoma grew up on was typically eaten with bread, used in dough to change the texture, or used in vareniki, a Russian dumpling of sorts. But the lack of this cottage cheese drove Sadoma to the internet, where she learned to make her own.

    “I pour one liter of milk, put a couple tablespoons of sour cream, put it on the stove so the active ingredients in the milk will slowly ferment overnight and become a yogurt consistency. Then I turn on the heat for about 20 minutes and it becomes more like a liquid. And then, I put it in a cheese cloth so that I can separate the solid from the liquid. The solid part is the cottage cheese,” she says.

    Sadoma would use this cheese to stuff the vareniki and serve the dumpling with sugar for a dessert. It’s a food she grew up with that her kids are now quite fond of; it’s a part of her culture she doesn’t want to lose.

    “On my mom’s side, there are some relatives who came to Canada in 1929 and we were separated for many years since we were still in Russia. So when we came here in 1991 (almost 60 years later), we met with them,” she shared. “It was very interesting that even though they didn’t know any Russian (they were born here and were my mom’s age), they were cooking the same food. They would say the foods in Russian,” she says with a laugh. “Even though they didn’t know the language, they knew the names of the food.”

    Jason Chen on Chinese vegetarian cauliflower stir fry, Chicago, IL, age 24

    Cauliflower stir fry.jpgCourtesy of Jason Chen

    Jia chang cai dishes are Chinese home cooked dishes, specific to each household (and consequently region). “Often times, you can’t even put jia chang cai on the menu because they’re just something your mom made up, or it’s something your family eats, but it’s not something you can find on a Wikpedia page,” Jason Chen shared.

    Chen’s family, who’s from Beijing, has very different jia chang cai than someone from, for example, the far northern parts of China, meaning Chen has to learn these recipes directly from his family if he wants to continue making them in Chicago, where he now resides.

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    Chen grew up in Los Angeles eating his mom’s cauliflower stir fry, a jia chang cai dish he often makes at home using cauliflower, tomatoes, ginger, and tempeh (rather than pork). “It’s literally something I’ve never heard of anyone eating. It’s just something my mom makes. It’s a mystery to me where she got this recipe. But that reminds me of home.”

    Though his mom traditionally uses pork, Chen uses a meat substitute that fits his vegetarian diet.

    “I’ve been cooking vegetarian since I came back to the States (after spending a year as an education consultant in Beijing), so I’ve been replacing the pork with tofu or meat substitutes like tempeh.” Substituting a plant-based protein for meat isn’t really an Asian thing, Chen says. He thinks of veganism and vegetarianism as uniquely American, or at least, non-Chinese. According to Chen, Chinese culture emphasizes a sense of community, so opting for a diet that others have to accommodate might be thought of as a burden. Chinese culture also has a collection of rich myths tied to each food that are historically significant.

    For example, Mao Zedong’s favorite pork dish is now simply referred to as Mao’s pork and Su Dong Po (a renaissance man, a poet, a statesman, and a food critic) loved a pork dish that is now known as Dongpo pork. These common Chinese dishes are rooted in histories that are still passed down to present generations. And according to Chen, being vegetarian in China would mean losing parts of this rich culture since he’d be disassociated from those foods.

    “If I lived in China, I’d choose to not be vegetarian because it would be heartbreaking for me, honestly, to not take part in my culture in that way,” Chen shared. “These stories and traditions make me proud to be Chinese.”

    According to Chen, since Chinese food has such a cultural and historical significance, it’s not realistic to expect vegetarian substitutions in Chinese recipes. It’s not a common practice in China. However, Chen is determined to maintain his vegetarianism and stay connected to his Chinese roots while he lives in Chicago, where there are more options for vegetarian substitutions.

    “(Chinese food) is what I’m used to from home. It’s what makes me feel full, not just in a physical way, but a mental way. Even if it just looks like what my mom made back at home, it’s comforting.”

    Laila Djawadi on Afghan aushak, Brentwood, CA, age 50

    “Not only do I cook Afghan food because it’s what my husband and I grew up with, but it’s also a way for us to introduce our culture to our kids,” Laila Djawadi shares. Though she moved to America at the age of 18, Djawadi continues to make Afghan food whenever possible, always eager to bring a piece of her Afghan home to her American kitchen and remind her children of their roots.

    “I remember I asked my son to fill aushak with me once, and it’s the best memory I have,” Djawadi shares. Aushak, the dish Djawadi so fondly made with her son, is a luxurious appetizer often served at parties. It’s an Afghan dumpling of sorts that is stuffed with a vegetable Djawadi struggles to find.

    “They call the vegetable gandana. The taste is somewhere in between chives and leeks. Sometimes we get chives from Asian stores or leeks from American grocery stores and use that to stuff the aushak. But gandana is a little spicier.”

    Djawadi has also tried using green onions instead of leeks or chives, which still isn’t the best substitute.

    “Gandana tastes close to green onions, but doesn’t have the white part of the onion. It is 99% green and only the tip is white. Sometimes I use green onions, but it doesn’t work as well because the green onions have more water and you have to squeeze the water out before stuffing the dumpling. When you do that with green onions, it becomes slimy and you lose the quantity of the onion, so you end up using a lot more of it.”

    According to Djawadi, many Afghan families have tried growing gandana, but the Bay Area’s weather doesn’t cater to the plant. Even if she were to drive hours away to Sacramento, where the weather is a little more agreeable for growing gandana, it’s often extremely expensive.

    “The aushak tastes okay with the leeks or green onion, but we always wish we had gandana,” she shares.

    To make aushak, Djawadi cuts about six stacks of green onions into very small pieces, mixes it with spices and oil, stuffs the dough (similar to the dough used to make egg rolls), and puts it on a steamer. If she were to use gandana, she’d need a smaller quantity since it is less watery and has more green to it.

    After steaming the dumpling, Djawadi makes a ground beef sauce and a yogurt sauce with garlic that she puts on top of the dumplings. Sometimes she’ll add some browned garlic and hot sauce on top for a finishing touch.

    “Making aushak is very delicate. I was so proud that my son helped me, especially because guys in our country refuse to cook and refuse to help ladies with cooking. My son helped make the process really quick. For years, I’ll remember that he made it with me. And now he can teach someone else how to make it.”

    Calvin Lee on Korean kimchi fried rice, San Francisco, CA, age 23

    Kimchi fried rice.JPGCourtesy of Calvin Lee

    “You can find kimchi at the grocery store, but don’t do it to yourself.” It’s just not the real thing, Calvin Lee says. “It doesn’t have flavor, and it’s not fermented at all. It’s cabbage dipped in hot water.”

    Lee grew up in Los Angeles, making kimchi with his mom, who immigrated to the United States while she was in high school. “It’s a huge process that my mom used to do over a few days,” he shared. “And she would put it in a kimchi refrigerator to ferment it which is how it gets its flavor.”

    Kimchi was traditionally buried in stone pots underground, so that the vegetables would ferment at a certain temperature. The kimchi refrigerators were later made to mimic this fermenting process. However, you’d still have to dry the cabbage out in the sun before storing it in the fridge, a luxury Lee doesn’t have in his backyard-less apartment in San Francisco.

    Although his local grocery is just a few minutes away, Lee doesn’t trust the “Asian fusion” foods they stock there. Instead, Lee drives 25 minutes to the nearest Korean market in Daly City to buy all of his ingredients.

    Lee usually makes kimchi fried rice on a lazy day since it’s a “raid-the-pantry-dish.” “You make kimchi fried rice with leftover rice because if you use freshly cooked rice, it’s too moist. If you refrigerate the rice first, it’s a little dried out and it fries better,” he shared. “And usually kimchi fried rice is made with spam because it’s a war time food and Korea was occupied in the war for so long so spam is a huge thing in Korea. It’s a U.S. army ration food that found its way into our diet.”

    Spam might be the only ingredient Lee would get at the local grocery store. And despite these hurdles and compromises, he refuses to let go of the cuisine he grew up making with his mom.

    “The most time I’ve spent with my mom growing up, is when I was in the kitchen with her. She worked a lot, but when she was home, she would cook for us, and it reminds me of when I was a kid,” he shared. “I would go and help her in the kitchen, help make dinner, and that’s how I watched and learned, and grew to love cooking.”

    Melissa Atienza on Filipino sinigang, American Canyon, CA, age 32

    Sinigang soup.jpgCourtesy of Melissa Atienza

    “We usually have (sinigang) when there are typhoons and it’s cold.” Melissa Atienza says while reminiscing about her home in Quezon City, in the Philippines. She moved to America at the age of 23 and has been living in American Canyon for a majority of her time here. “We’d be at home, classes would be suspended,” she continues. “We’d eat this dish and we’d be happy because you were at home, playing.”

    Sinigang is a Filipino soup, often served with rice, and makes a perfect meal for cold weather. It uses kamias, a fruit native to Southeast Asia, that rarely exists in the Asian markets Atienza frequents, and it’s a fruit she definitely can’t find in nearby American grocery stores.

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    “When I was young, we had a kamias tree so I would always go in our backyard, get the fruit and eat it. It was my favorite fruit. Sinigang is supposed to taste super sour with the kamias,” Atienza explains.

    Rather than using kamias, Atienza cooks the dish with lime or lemon to give it a sour punch. And while it’s not the same, cooking sinigang still heals her homesick heart. “My mom made it often when we were in the Philippines,” she says. “I think that’s the most common dish in most households. I remember I would drown my rice with the soup. It’s so sour. And the more sour it is, the more I like it.”

    Despite these substitutions, Atienza continues to cook Filipino food to keep her stomach full and preserve her roots.

    “Sandwiches and salads aren’t real meals to me,” she explained. “But when I have rice and some sort of meat, I feel like that’s a full meal. That’s the food my ancestors ate and maybe that’s the reason I am the way I am right now: because of the food we’ve been eating as Filipinos.”

    Priscilla Codjoe on Ghanaian banku, Rolla, MO, age 27

    Priscilla Codjoe hasn’t been back to Western Ghana since she moved to Missouri five years ago. Her homesickness took a toll on her palette, and drove her to create all of the recipes she spent her childhood observing.

    “I wasn’t really taught how to cook anything,” she shares. “Growing up, I was always in the kitchen with my mom. I can’t really tell when I learned to cook because I just made everything when I needed to cook 13 or 14 years later.”

    One of the dishes Codjoe tried to recreate was banku, a doughy carbohydrate typically eaten with sauce and fish.

    While the ingredients for the sauce (pepper, tomatoes, onions, and salt) and the fish itself may be easy to find, making the banku (the main component of the dish) is a complicated feat.

    “In Ghana, you mix water with fermented corn and the cassava. Then you add salt and put it in a coal pot above charcoal. This is the indigenous way of cooking banku. We have a wooden stirrer and metal bands on the pot because you have to stir it until it becomes thick — a consistency between mashed potatoes and tamales,” she shares. “You don’t have the metal bands here, so you have to hold it yourself and watch for the change in color to see if it’s cooked.”

    As Codjoe described, banku is traditionally made of fermented corn and cassava—two ingredients she struggles to find in Missouri. Instead, Codjoe follows her friend’s recipe that uses cornmeal in place of fermented corn, which unfortunately lacks in taste and texture.

    “Somebody showed me how to do it here, if not, I don’t think I would’ve even thought of that,” she shares. I buy powdered cornmeal and try to ferment it, but it’s not as starchy as banku,” she shares. “You have to mix the corn with water and leave a little film of water on top and let it sit for two or three days before you put it on the fire. There’s also no cassava powder here, I could get that in the African stores (about 2 hours away), but I can’t get it where I am.”

    Even the African stores hours away don’t always have all of the ingredients Codjoe needs.

    “I’m from Ghana, but we have different cultures within Ghana. I’m from the central region of Ghana, but live in the Western part. We are called Effutu. Because there are so many cultures, you can’t find all of the ingredients you need in the African stores. There are still foods that I can’t find here, and don’t know how to make because it’s outside of my ethnic group,” she adds.

    Yet, despite these hurdles, Codjoe’s stomach that cherishes Ghanaian food requires her to experiment and replicate recipes from home. Now, she’ll make banku whenever the craving hits.

    “When I don’t have the option, I eat American food, but African food is always better,” she laughs. “Americans don’t use enough spices, it’s either too much salt or too much sugar. With African food, I crave it. The cravings can get very strong and you can fed up with every other food and just want that so you go out of your way and do it.”

    Karen Ruane on Armenian pilaf, San Francisco, CA, age 50-something

    Armenian pilaf.JPGCourtesy of Karen Ruane

    While boxes of pilaf may may be a common find in her San Franciscan grocery stores, Karen Ruane grew up cooking a unique Armenian recipe passed down through generations—all the way from her grandmother who first immigrated to the Bay Area.

    “(My mom) would heat the rice and vermicelli in butter and boil the chicken broth so that when it’s time to add the broth to the rice, it makes a really loud searing noise. That searing noise is supposedly what makes a good batch of pilaf,” she says.

    The vermicelli Ruane refers to is known as sipa in the Middle Eastern markets where she shops. Should she run out, Ruane uses angel hair pasta from her local grocery store instead since it’s much closer to her house.

    “If I run out of (the vermicelli) it’s a production to have to go get it,” she says with a sigh. “I try not to run out of it because even the finest angel hair pasta or capellini is still much thicker than the vermicelli.” Ruane also notes the sipa is curled and already broken up in the package whereas the angel hair pasta is straight and comes in long pieces.

    “(The angel hair pasta) works,” she says hesitantly. “But it doesn’t taste as nutty when you brown it.” She says it makes for a less flavorful finish.

    Ruane’s mom used drive all the way from San Francisco to Fresno for her Armenian supplies. Rather than making the same four-hour trek, Ruane picks out Armenian ingredients from Middle Eastern markets. But there are still some foods, like soujouk (an Armenian sausage) that she orders from Ohanyan’s (another Armenian deli) to be packaged and shipped up to her with ice. Though these hurdles are frustrating, Ruane’s mom’s flavor-filled recipes make the challenge worth it.

    “In my mom’s era, recipes were like money. My mom would literally put the best recipes under lock and key. But it’s not just a heritage that I want my kids to have,” Ruane shared. “I love what it tastes like. Yes, I like the historical significance that it was a recipe that my grandmother taught my mom who taught me, but it tastes really really good; it’s delicious.”

    Judith Salazar on Peruvian pollada, Newman, CA, age 52

    Judith Salazar moved to the United States at 22, after she had already grown accustomed to, and genuinely loved, her native Peruvian food.

    “It’s part of my culture. That’s how I grew up. All my life, I knew Peruvian food and it’s hard to change into a different culture,” Salazar shares. “Even though I was young when I moved and didn’t know how to cook, I still knew how Peruvian ingredients worked.”

    Salazar only learned to cook after moving to Newman, California. Spoon in one hand, and phone in the other, she would call home often to get insider tips on Peruvian recipes—most of which used two specific peppers: aji panca and aji amarillo. It’s these spices and the peppers Salazar struggled to find upon moving.

    “The nearest Peruvian store or restaurant is all the way in San Francisco or San Jose [90 minutes to two hours away]. We don’t have a large Peruvian community here in Newman, maybe only two or three families,” she shares. “My Peruvian cooking is a little mixed now with Mexican and American foods since I don’t have all of the ingredients, so you have to combine it together.”

    Achiote, a red seed used in Mexican food, provides the same color as aji panca, though it lacks in flavor. Salazar often uses this substitution while making marinades for dishes like pollada—a traditional Peruvian grilled chicken.

    To make her marinade, Salazar uses garlic, salt, pepper, achiote in place of aji panca, a little bit of soy sauce, and a drop of lemon. She lets the meat marinate overnight before throwing it onto the grill, or baking it in the oven.r

    Salazar also discovered that California peppers could be used in place of aji amarillo, the other common Peruvian pepper. And similar to achiote, the California pepper provides the right color, but has less of a punch than the aji amarillo. She uses this substitution for common Peruvian dishes like aji de gallina, a Peruvian chicken stew.

    “I try to bring the peppers from home if I visit Peru because there’s nothing like it. I have friends who tried to grow the pepper, but it doesn’t grow here in California,” Salazar shares. “No matter rich or poor, everyone uses aji panca and aji amarillo. It’s the flavor of our food.”

    Kevin Bulli on Jamaican jerk chicken, Houston, TX

    Jerk chicken.jpgCourtesy of Kevin Bulli

    When Kevin Bulli moved to America 18 years ago, at the age of 22, there were rarely any Jamaican restaurants or stores near him. He sees them opening up more now, but, according to Bulli, they’re just not authentic.

    “I can tell that the ingredients they use aren’t traditional. For example, they use a store bought, powdered marinade for their jerk chicken, but typically back home, you would use natural ingredients that you’d cut up and put into it. It makes a big difference,” Bulli shares.

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    “I don’t make my jerk chicken dry with a store-bought rub. I make it with a sauce that uses real, diced vegetables, like the traditional way,” he continues. “First, I like to marinate the meat overnight. And then I use salt, paprika, black pepper. I buy green pepper, red pepper, habanero peppers, tomatoes, onions, cut all of that up and marinate it with the meat. Then I’ll take the meat out, take everything off of it, fry the meat separately, and when the meat is almost finished, I’ll add the tomatoes, and everything in again, and let it cook for a little while.”

    Though many of the ingredients for the jerk chicken may sound basic, Bulli stresses the importance of spice levels.

    “For me, traditionally, the food has to be spicy, but not too spicy,” he shares.

    And according to Bulli, the trick is Scotch bonnet peppers, a pepper that’s hard to find in Houston.

    “If I can’t find Scotch bonnet peppers, I would use habanero peppers or something else. But Scotch bonnet peppers are something I can easily find at home in Jamaica.”

    Bulli saves his jerk chicken recipe for special events and the occasional Sunday treat as an homage to the leisurely Sundays he cherished in Jamaica.

    “Back home, Sunday is one of the few days where my family would actually have a sit down meal in Jamaica so I make it as a memory of that,” Bulli shares. “Typically, Sundays would also be a day we went to the beach. We would drive to the country (a 2-3 hour drive) and there’s a place we would stop at called Faith Ben. They sold a variety of Jamaican food and we’d make sure to get Jerk chicken from there,” Bulli reminisced.

    In Jamaica, jerk chicken was often a dish served in food shacks rather than at the home.

    “They’d have jerk chicken in barbeque pits, you call them jerk pans. That’s where you’d go,” Bulli added.

    But even though jerk chicken was rarely served in a Jamaican home, to Bulli, it was a symbol of his culture and family. The longing to recreate this feeling drove him to experiment and replicate the dish all the way in Houston. And it only took him five attempts to nail down this recipe—one he’s already started teaching his eight year-old son.

    From: SELF

  • 40+ Restaurants Open on New Year’s Day 2019

    When the ball has dropped and the confetti has been cleaned up, you’re probably going to want to eat on Jan. 1, 2019. Get ready to start the year off right by checking out one of the many restaurants open on New Year’s Day.

    It’s a new year, but you have most of the same great options for food available on the holiday, no matter what you’re looking for on New Year’s Day 2019. Restaurants like Boston Market, Chili’s, Chick-fil-A, Hooters, and Waffle House are observing their regular hours and serving food like normal. And, yes, you can also order pizza, wings, or whatever else you like for delivery from Pizza Hut or Domino’s if you’re too tired to leave the couch.

    READ MORE: Nearest fast food restaurants

    Here’s a list of big chain restaurants open on New Year’s Day 2019.


    Good Housekeeping reports that Applebee’s stores are open for business on Tuesday.

    Embedded video


    WE’RE CELEBRATING BIGGER, BOLDER GRILL COMBOS WITH A BIGGER, BOLDER TWEET. SORRY FOR YELLING. Sorry for yelling.592:00 PM – Nov 27, 201816 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

    Bahama Breeze

    Bahama Breeze locations will be offering two happy hours on New Year’s Day: one from 4-6 p.m. and another from 9 p.m. to close, with cocktails starting at $2.19.


    A spokeswoman says Benihana locations are open on Jan. 1. Hours vary by location.

    Black Angus Steakhouse

    Black Angus restaurants are posting regular hours on New Year’s Day.

    Boston Market

    A spokeswoman confirms to MONEY that Boston Market will be open on New Year’s Day, serving food from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. as per usual.

    Buca di Beppo

    Buca di Beppo locations open at 11 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

    Buffalo Wild Wings

    Kick off 2019 with some drums (or flats, whatever’s your style) at Buffalo Wild Wings, which has regular hours on Jan. 1.

    Burger King

    Like most fast food chains, Burger King restaurants are generally open on New Year’s Day.

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    Capital Grille

    Capital Grille has normal operating hours on New Year’s Day.View image on Twitter

    View image on Twitter

    The Capital Grille@CapitalGrille

    Dry Aged Sirloin Steak Frites with house-made Béarnaise for lunch? Yes, please. Elevate your lunch at The Capital Grille.2411:00 AM – Nov 29, 2018See The Capital Grille’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy

    Chart House

    Not only is Chart House open on Jan. 1, but it’s also offering $5 Bloody Marys to help your hangover.


    Most Chick-fil-A locations will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 1.


    Chili’s is open on New Year’s Day.

    Cracker Barrel

    Cracker Barrel locations will operate like normal on Jan. 1, serving from 6 a.m.- 10 p.m.


    In the Boston area, four locations of Davio’s will be open for lunch and dinner on Jan. 1. Duck in between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.


    Denny’s, which is open 365 days a year, will be serving up pancakes galore on New Year’s Day.


    Domino’s holiday hours vary by location, but most (if not all) will be open on New Year’s Day.View image on Twitter

    View image on Twitter

    Domino’s Pizza@dominos

    Chilly nights call for warm cheese pizza.6463:00 PM – Dec 15, 2018138 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

    Dunkin’ Donuts

    A spokeswoman tells MONEY that Dunkin hours vary by location, though many will be open on Jan. 1.

    Fogo de Chao

    Fogo de Chao will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on New Year’s Day.


    Take the new year under your wing (get it?) and stop by Hooters. The holiday hours at most Hooters restaurants indicate that they’re open on Jan. 1.

    Huddle House

    Huddle House locations will be open on Jan. 1, according to holidayshoppinghours.com.View image on Twitter

    View image on Twitter


    This is our version of a good time. Huddle up with your loved ones and enjoy some time together this season. At Huddle House, it’s your house, your kitchen.212:00 PM – Nov 18, 2018See HuddleHouse’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy


    IHOP restaurants are open like usual on New Year’s Day 2019, though they’re all operated by franchisees, so hours may vary.

    In-N-Out Burger

    If all you need is grease after a fun night out, In-N-Out Burger is open on New Year’s Day.


    Settle in for 2019 with a bucket of fried chicken from KFC, which Country Living reportswill indeed be operating on Tuesday.


    Luby’s restaurants will be open on New Year’s Day 2019.


    Yes, though there may be a few exceptions, McDonald’s is open on New Year’s Day.

    Morton’s Steakhouse

    Locations of Morton’s Steakhouse are open on Jan. 1 — just call your nearby restaurant to determine its exact hours and availability.

    Olive Garden

    The breadsticks are plentiful and the doors are open at Olive Garden on New Year’s Day.View image on Twitter

    View image on Twitter

    Olive Garden@olivegarden


    The most wonderful time of the year begins and ends with family, friends, and fettuccine—of course. 2186:03 PM – Nov 28, 201861 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

    Panda Express

    A spokeswoman confirms that most Panda Express locations will be open on Jan. 1 but advises customers to check their local store’s hours before heading over.

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    Panera Bread

    If you’re hunting for carbs after drinking too much Champagne, you can stop by an open Panera location on Tuesday, according to Good Housekeeping.

    Pizza Hut

    Get your stuffed crust fix at Pizza Hut, which a spokesman says will observe normal hours on Jan. 1.

    Romano’s Macaroni Grill

    Macaroni Grill has regular business hours on New Year’s Day, so it’ll be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Ruby Tuesday

    Check online to see if the Ruby Tuesday nearest you is operating on New Year’s Day. Many locations are open, but hours vary.


    Call for individual restaurant hours, but Shoney’s locations will be open on Jan. 1 — and preparing for their National Buffet Day celebrations on Jan. 2.View image on Twitter

    View image on Twitter


    The holidays are for catching up with the ones you love. The holidays are also for having a delicious dessert with a coffee. Have your cake and eat it too. Literally.28:34 AM – Dec 13, 2018See Shoney’s’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy


    Country Living reports that Sonic locations will be up and running, but individual locations’ hours will vary.


    Starbucks is open on New Year’s Day, but hours might vary by location, according to Good Housekeeping.

    Steak ‘n Shake

    Most Steak ‘n Shake locations will be open on Jan. 1, according to holidayshoppinghours.com.

    Texas Roadhouse

    According to holidayshoppinghours.com, Texas Roadhouse is open on New Year’s Day. 2019, let’s get this bread (with cinnamon butter).

    TGI Fridays

    A spokesman says several TGI Fridays locations will likely be open on New Year’s Day with modified hours, but each location is different. Call ahead or check your local store’s webpage.

    Embedded video

    TGI Fridays@TGIFridays

    Holiday Feast is here, and it’s bringing the perfect amount of cheer! 2 apps, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts, starting at $20.5412:07 PM – Nov 7, 201838 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

    Waffle House

    Waffle House is open for all your needs all the time — and that includes New Year’s Day 2019.


    Wahlburger’s locations will be open for business on Tuesday, according to Country Living.


    Feeling Frosty? Wendy’s is open on Jan. 1, according to Hours Guide.

    White Castle

    White Castle restaurants will observe the same hours they normally do on Jan. 1 (hours may vary by location).

    From: Money


  • hospital chefs

    How Chefs are Transforming The quality of Foods Served in Hospitals

    In March, a chef named Tison Bruno presided over a Hectic Cookoff amongst teams from 16 Medical Care Centers at Glen Cove Hospital. Tison has been hired since September to assist in transforming the meals served at the Northwell Health organization hospital network in New York.

    The teams had 45 mins to create a four delicacy of their own choosing from the piles of meat, vegetables and fruits, lying on the auditorium center table. Restrictions for calories and salt apply while the skill exhibited, and the food appearance will equally be judged as well.

    Chef Tison noted that one major drawback at hospitals is the quality of food, and the health system lacks nutritional quality.

    A wasted opportunity states Tison. He asserts that patient’s recovery and morale can be boosted by good food. Thus, offering  a break from hospital bureaucracy.

    Mr. Taison said, “he is here to guide towards enjoying and flourishing in their new positions as most chefs you find at hospitals lack the necessary culinary skills”.

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    Mencaccini Thomas, is among those receiving tips from chef Tison. He is a chef at Valley Stream Jewish Hospital. His team were in a hurry to finish their fruit salad and scallops before the time is up. He noted at the end “that scenario reminds him of his days in a restaurant where delivery time matters.

    Equally adding “that prior to this, hospital chefs were mostly responsible for re-heating frozen meals like wings, burgers and canned foods. Now LIJ deep fryers have been scrapped, meaning that they have to start cooking from scratch themselves. This will enable them give patients the home meal experience”.

    “This new method has created a significant difference in Plainview Hospital” , chef Hilly Carol says “. I eat better and feel better now, and patients come here a lot for the recipes”.

    hospital food

    While the joys of a Fantastic meal are immeasurable “I arrived here four weeks ago, and they seemed not fantastic ,” the chef noted”. It takes some time, but we shall excel and generally or not existed in healthcare centers, in which the bar was put uninspiringly low, Mr. Mencaccini explained. Additionally, hospital chefs frequently must work with meager meals budgets. They also need to generate many different clinically suitable meals for individuals suffering from other ailments.

    Dr. Eisenberg says that the jury is not in any way out on the advantages of eating a much healthier meal and less sugars and processed foods. A study released a year ago in JAMA assumed that por diet is responsible for most deaths associated with type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart diseases. She further asserts that “only about 27% of medical schools in America teach the up-to 25 hours recommended for nutrition, and even at that the material is chiefly bio-chemistry in the place of”practical” information on diet. Generally, health practitioners are trained on mastering the source of disorder and not in health creation. He’s on the mission to further enhance culinary skills by assisting develop instruction kitchens within hospitals across the USA”.

    “No hospital needs to be releasing patients without providing them the needed tools for success, to help them prevent re-admission” explained Sieden Eric, manager of nutritional and food supplements for Syosset and Plainview hospitals. They teach people things just like exactly what a carbohydrate dose is, the gap between high sugar and syrup levels, and the way to understand food labels.

    A hospital’s obligation will not be ending when an individual has been discharged,” said S. Bello, who is the executive manager at LIJ. Along with running a residential area instruction kitchen, his clinic would be the first from the Northwell system to begin a food drugstore,” that offers food items prescribed by a doctor. Patients with low-income that are regarded as “food insecure” will come in every week to get free food that helps restrain diseases that are chronic.

    While supplying quality meals may be high priced, advocates such as Mr. Bello states they cut costs in the future by helping cut healthcare costs.

    Still, we have challenges. Personnel are usually leery of these fluctuations inside their used cooking patterns.

    “I arrived here sixteen weeks back and they seemed I as though that I had been the devil — that the organization chef’s forthcoming, what exactly will he to people like us,” explained Mr. Tison

    Although maybe perhaps not all is aboard. “There remain plenty of people in the system that genuinely believe a hospital does not have to possess good food, medical practioners who believe men and women come to be treated and not fantastic food,” pointed out the chef. “It takes some a while however we shall Arrive.”

  • selecting the best kinds of wine

    The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the best Kinds of Wine

    Wine is made from fruits and its glucose is converted into alcohol. White, sparkling, red, fortified and rose are the various kinds of wine made from just two types of grapes.


    Red wine come from grapes fruits that are not necessarily red. Ordinarily, the skins color of the grape fruit that blossoms are somewhat black, but macerate during fermentation after crushing. After a while, tannins and other pigments are extracted from the body of the fruit, thus giving it the feel and color to the wine.

    Naturally, this wine type is monochromatic. They often varies from garnet that is light hearted to crimson reddish, to nearly and black and purple, based on the type of fruit (grape) used, methods employed in making the wine, and how old it is.

    The name for red wines might also come from grapes, such as cabernet sauvignon, Zinfandel or pinot noir, especially with the European varieties, they are often named after a place where the fruit come from. Such as; Priorat, Gevrey-Chambertin, Barolo or St.-Julien.

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    These types of wine come from grape fruits that are typically greenish and most times speckled with crimson. For all fruits produced now, the grape skin is peeled out of the juice, for the process of wine-making to start or a little bit later, to help eliminate the majority of the results of tannins and pigments.

    Occasionally, wines are tagged “amber or orange” or “skin-contact.” Even when grapes are applied by producers of those wines, they still employ the approaches for making wines. Grape fruit with the skin is left to macerate together, giving the wine an orange tannic texture.

    Additionally, white wines can be made from red grape fruits if the skins are removed immediately. An example is the white wine “Champagne Blanc de noirs” created from meunier pinotor (the reddish grapes).

    Just like other wines, these kind of wine bear names of grapes or regions. Sample of names associated with these wine are the Soave, Villages-Mâcon, Sancerre and Vouvray.


    Rosé addresses wines in numerous colors, for instance, palest onion-skin to a dark, cherry blossom. Winemakers have a lot of techniques for making rosé. The most popular is they start as though they were creating reddish wine, before allowing the skin to sink in its juice for some time to attain the desirable color.

    After getting the right hue, they can start making the red wine by draining some part, which is the rose. This technique is known as the saignée – a French word for bled.” The further effect is that the rest of the juice can be concentrated on to produce the reddish wine.

    The third method, for producing rosé wine, is always the combination of white wine and a small amount of the red wine.

    Majority of rosé wines are suggested to be consumed early, which is not correct all the time. Some rose age well like the Bandol provençal rosés, the Château Simone, and the Italian Valentini rose.

    Sparkling Wine

    Few approaches for making excellent wine exists, but the most important are of three varieties – Cava, champagne, and many sparkling wines utilize an old method known as Champenoise méthode. However, méthode traditionelle is the new name. This necessitates making a wine that is finished before additional fermentation in the bottle to create bubbles.

    In this particular method, the bottle contains both the juice, yeast and the wine, before the jar is subsequently sealed. As the sugar is consumed by the yeast, another fermentation process begins. The by-product is CO2 and it mixes with the wine as it can’t escape. Then the residue is ejected at the right time, before corking the bottle. This technique is time consuming and labor intensive.

    In place of a 2nd fermentation, cheap sparkling wines employ Charmat system, invented by Eugène Charmat. Carbonation is done together for the the wine, sweetener and yeast in a tank (under pressure).

    Third method is frequently known as ancestral method, involves bottling and is done before fermentation finishes, while sparkling is added as fermentation ends. Even carbonation is normally tamer, and the wines really are somewhat sweet. Focus has been shifted to this system with the pétillants naturels becoming popular. After this champagne types, you could encounter other varieties like spumante, cava and Pétillant.

    Fortified Wines

    These wines are produced by incorporating neutral spirits into the wine to fortify the alcohol concentration. That can be done for numerous reasons like protecting the wine from agents of contamination. It is done to shield fragile wines from rigors of transportation. Lastly, fortification ensure that residual quantity of sugar levels are left behind when the yeast die. Sweeter Madeiras and low port are produced this way. Dry Sherries comes from fortifying the bottle after fermentation is done.

    Apart from the recognizable port terms, the Madeira and sherry in addition to other wines fortified, you will find; doux vin naturels Vermouth and the marsala.

    How to Shop for Wines

    With numerous wines available on the shelves of most stores, it’s often difficult to make the best choices from the list without proper guidance. That is why it’s essential you target a top seller, if your goal is to enhance your drinking experience.

    1. How to know if the shop has the right products
    • The warmth inside a store should be trendy, bottles cleaned and stored away from the direct heat of the sun.
    • If jar descriptions are submitted, it is expected to come from the team, never published out of consumer magazines.
    • May be allowing your passionate staff to help you out with your wine choice. Hospitality is great, as is your capability language.
    • Excellent stores will have assortment of wines at great prices as an alternative to trying to cheat you on every bottle.
    • Not all good shops have the wine you you want, but they should be helpful in recommending alternatives.
    • The top stores wants to ensure that you return the second time, so improving business relation is very essential.
    1. Talking to a wine vendor

    Should you fall adrift, however you are in a store, permit the merchant if he or she chooses to select the bottle for you. To further help the retailer in finding the right bottle, you need to understand  two things; First, you will need to understand your price range, and as well be helpful in helping the retailer narrow down your choices.

    1. Inquiries about the type of bottle they are offering

    Irrespective of the event, it is fine to know the origin of the bottle, the producer and if necessary, the grapes. Don’t hesitate in asking further questions.

    Questions like;

    • Wine country of origin
    • Who is the producer?
    • Is it from a small or big firm?
    • Does the company farm the fruit themselves, or sourced, and where exactly?

    Terroir is now a French expression applied to express where the source of the grapes (like lands, the microclimate, height of the area, and sunlight exposure) and the farmers.

    Ask about the year they were harvested. They provide crucial information on the nature of the product. Reputation of the manufacturer is more significant compared to the reputation of the classic wine.

    1. When you can’t find a top wine store

    In case a good store is not readily available, locating a wonderful bottle will become of a struggle. Even if you manage to unlock some secrets at the store, it is going to be hard to someone to direct. Therefore, its import to be prepared before-hand. Begin studying and seek other wine fans from your community. See wineries and speak with producers. Use internet tools for searching wine. Beware that shipping wines being governed by archaic laws across country lines might inhibit your capacity. Your assurance as your consciousness grows, will grow.

    Buying wine from a restaurant

    Wine ought to be enjoyed with no unfamiliar rituals and burden of stress, however, huge lists for wines can be a burden is any restaurants in the area. Employ your expertise to help you in making the right decision.

    1. Your wine record

    Restaurant wine records are generally coordinated with respect to the geographical location of the origin or the dominant grape fruit fruit. In some cases, it be the product of both factors. For example, subheadings like Valley River in Russia often seen at the bottom.

    1. Consult a professional

    Most serious restaurants have somebody on standby to help customers with various needs. It could be someone with an official name — wine manager, sommelier or beverage manager — also it might be a waiter has strong love for wine.

    Utilize their abilities and make decision within your budget. In a restaurants, you need to decide on your choice of food before requesting for a wine director or the person in charge. Make decision based on your choices or ask a sommelier politely to choose a jar to accompany your meal. If you have no preference, then it’s up to the restaurant’s sommelier to make the choice based on your recommendation.

    1. What is next after your wine order?

    The sommelier at various restaurants will seek your approval (after your inspection) before uncorking the bottle. This allows you to verify it’s the quality you desired. Sometimes you might end up with the best classic wine compared to the ones earlier listed. This is an opportunity to query, if this selection is solely for you and at what cost.

    1. Why is wine being poured into my glass by the sommelier?

    That really is your opportunity to taste or observe the wine’s defects. Flaws like contaminated bottles, debris etc. can often result in a new bottle being offered in exchange. Modern restaurants understands that consumers this days are well informed, so in some cases the bottle is opened in your absence or behind you. It allows them to check properly before they serve the drink. Nevertheless, your drink will get the wine of your choice. So never shy from asking questions.


    With numerous unique glasses readily available, the choice of the best glass is a daunting challenge regarding which glass is the best. Effectively picking glasses for wine are easy, so relax and enjoy. Typical wine glass shapes comprises the Bordeaux glass and the Burgundy glass.   

    1. All-purpose occasion glass may be the ideal choice

    In the last couple of years, lots of specialists have realized that it is not necessary to have special wineglasses for every occasion. The taste of most wine in standard glass bottle, is just fine. So, ideally a pair of all-round wine glass will just be fine. Same glasses will be okay for red or white wines. Nevertheless, you are still free to add some exquisite glasses to your collection if you desire so.

    1. Third rule

    Great wine glasses are shaped vertically and more narrower on the top. This allows for easy grip and to direct the aroma within a confined space, as you shake or swirl and inhale. Swirling help in activating and the release of aromas. Wine glasses ought to be long enough, in other to accommodate a reasonable quantity of wine but not too ridiculous size.

    1. Stems or no stems?

    An excellent wine glass has as a stem for easy grip, thus reducing heat transfer from hands to drink. In some occasions, some glasses have no stems but are often thick enough to keep the contents intact.

    1. Universal glass for wine from Zalto.

    Very good wine glass is transparent for good view. This allows you to observe the contents while swirling. Thick ridges along the stem are often associated with cheaper wine glasses.

    Launching a Bottle

    opening bottles with screw caps are easy. Corks are somewhat more complicated, however uncorking the cap of these wine bottles is easy with equipment that fits.

    1. Opening the bottle cork of wines

    Two tools come in handy when trying to get this done, namely; a corkscrew and a knife. Frequently, they are found built in one equipment, but for convenience the right tool is more useful when the number of many bottles waiting to be opened. The vital component is the spiral metal that holds the bottle in place, and the worm that fits into the cork to be removed.

    1. The wine key.

    The wine key or waiter’s friend is a relatively cheap device that looks like a knife and has a fulcrum hinged for resistance. In most cases this fulcrum is hinged twice for pulling the cork from both side ways directions.  It is very easy to use if you master it.

    The 2nd significant component for cutting the aluminum foil that encapsulates the bottle’s mouth, is a knife. It’s handy anywhere.

    Opening a bottle

    Wines and other sparkling drinks are corked under pressure, so care must be taken to ensure everyone is safe. A mesh is used to keep the cork in place on top of a bottle. To withstand the enormous pressure, bottles of sparkling wines are stronger than those of still wines.  

    Nevertheless, opening a jar is very easy with the right techniques – First, after the mesh & foil are taken off with the bottle cork pointing away you’re your face or anyone else. Then hold the bottle on one hand, and the cork on the other. A small towel might be helpful for additional grip or even a bowl to hold to hold run away liquids. Gently turn the cork sideways until it comes.

    Beware that sparkling wine bottled under enormous pressure, have specific corkscrew. So, never attend to use ordinary corkscrew on them because the bottle will explode.

  • coke brine fried chicken thighs

    How to Prepare Fried Chicken Brined with Coke

    Currence John of New Orleans was celebrated recently for role in rebuilding Southern Chicken cathedral, that destroyed by hurricane Katrina.

    His cookbook of 20013 highlighted the “wet batter” from Mae Willie legendary menu. But for this week’s menu, we are omitting that while focusing our attention on his poultry brine, based on coke. The ingredient brings out the flavor and tenderness of the thighs (chicken).

    The chicken is immersed in brine for a couple of hours before use. If left overnight, the chicken will break down. What follows is draining the brine, before immersing the poultry brine in floor that has been seasoned. This forms a chicken that is brown and crust like.

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    The ingredients below are suitable for serving 6 times, and will take total of 3 to hours.

    Needed Ingredients


    • coca-cola (5 cups)
    • salt (Kosher, 1 teaspoon)
    • thyme (10 fresh sprigs)
    • sliced & peeled garlic (4 cloves)
    • hot sauce (mild, 4 teaspoons)
    • organic chicken thighs (8 o 12)

    Floor Seasoning:

    • flour (all-purpose, 3 cups)
    • kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
    • grounded black pepper (2 teaspoons)
    • smoked paprika (Spanish, 2 teaspoons)
    • powder garlic (1 ½ teaspoons)
    • powder onion (1 ½ teaspoons)
    • pepper (cayenne, 1 teaspoon)


    • oil (peanut, 3 cups) or lard (1 cup)

    Preparation Method

    1. After the brine is made, hot sauce, garlic, salt, cola and thyme, are mixed thoroughly in an empty bowl. Refrigerate after coke brine fried chicken thighsadding the thighs to the mix for 3 to 5 hrs.
    2. Flour is mixed with pepper, salt, garlic, paprika, cayenne and onion in a pan.
    3. At 350 degrees oven temperature, put oil (peanut) in the oven and heat till it attains 375 degrees (temperature recording done with a thermometer). As this goes on, dust excess brine from the chicken thighs and mix with flour.
    4. Put the thighs in the oil after dusting excess flour. As temperature drop, increase the heat carefully while cooking for about 3 minutes. Turn sides of the chicken thigh frequently, to ensure an even done.
    5. Regularly check by poking the thighs with a knife, and drain excess oil when fully done. Then serve with sauce when the temperature cools.

  • Yotam Ottolenghi's pasta

    The Glamour Behind the designer Pasta by Yotam Ottolenghi

    Pasta is devoured by yotam Ottolenghi on screens and inside the kitchen he owns.

    I find the mix of pasta and fish irresistible, so I often spend a lot as possibly can as it is very healthy — staring at displays revealing linguine creamed with spaghetti, scallops or mussels in a tomato sauce. Only take to the hash-tag  on Instagram – #seafoodpasta, and you will understand what I am talking.

    Behind the pictures, it’s the rich flavors that make the menu bold and appetizing, creating a stock instantly that emulsifies with the starches of the pasta generated by fish. I will say in my own defense yarn over a full plate of spaghetti.

    Ottolenghi Simple is the title of my book on cooking and was published last week. Efforts were put in to ensure the produced dishes that exemplify everything I love about food. — it has to be very sudden and multilayered, nonetheless reassuring and only good — while still giving chance to people to readily make a place for cooking in their daily schedules. It’s possible to cook for an event, however you might also cook sporadically, together with less devotion or energy

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    While writing, I had been amazed to learn just a pair of tastes whom I really like and cooking regularly can be tapped for entirelypasta different functions as well as for varying amounts of work or skill.

    Just take the timeless mixture of fish, tomato and fennel.

    Tarragon, clams, beans and shrimp is really a manifestation of the instincts that are cheffy. It includes taking stock using shells from shrimp. Additionally, it involves cooking the tomatoes, prawns, and fennel separately and setting the previous two on the pasta top, just like the paella from Spain, showing them in their natural environment.

    It is tasty and remarkable — and probably win a couple of likes on Instagram– but there exists a definite commitment involved making it a unique day kind of dish.

    Bolognese – my shrimp is just contrary. It is similar with the Pasta, supplying a fast solution with very minimal fuss. It seems homemade, and this helps in making it reassuring — but in addition, it catches the allure which makes me addicted to pasta and seafood.

  • sheet pan

    How to Organize a Quick Meal with a Sheet of Pan

    A sheet of baking pan is made of aluminum with very shallow sides to allow browning and air flow. It is one of the handy kitchen utensil for baking/cooking meats, vegetables  and whole meals. It is easy to clean and maintain, so it is important you consider getting one or many as you like.

    The below factors will help in making the right choice for pans;

    1. The half sheet baking pans have size range of 18 inch by 13 inch and are smaller (about half) than those used for commercial cooking. The standard aluminum pan for this tutorial is the 18 inch by 13 inch personal or home pans, although the 9 inch by 13-inch quarter pan is terrific as well. Both can fit in smaller kitchen or ovens and useful in cooking and will prevents contents from spilling over. When selecting a pan gauge, ensure that it is suitable for heavy duty. The gauge is associated with the metal thickness, and the lighter (heavy duty), the better it is. Gauge of 13 – 18 is fine.

    Protein Selection

    For every good meal cooked with a pan, protein nutrients are always high on the menu. The choice of protein is yours and any of these can fill in; one quarter to three quarter pounds of pork, poultry, fish or beef, will do the magic, in addition to vegetables.

    It is important to note that white meats and boneless chicken cooks faster than dark meats and chicken with bones respectively.

    The cooking time may vary between five mins to one and a half hours for turkey breast or chicken and turkey legs with bones.

    See below sample time for preparing the below chicken menu

    • Boned chicken breast (whole) – about 30 to 40 mins
    • Boneless chicken breast (whole) – about 20 to 30 minutes
    • Boned chicken thighs (whole) – about 30 to 45 minutes
    • Boneless chicken thighs (whole) – about 20 to 40 minutes

    More on: Idylc French press


    The quantity of vegetables is up to you, but it is important you remember that at higher temperatures, there is size/quantity reduction for vegetables after cooking. So, bear that in mind. The size of the vegetables should be consistent just like with your proteins. To achieve browning, mix the vegetables with spices/herbs, fats or oil.  

    Cooking time for vegetables varies between 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the type, size and oven temperature. Some vegies cook faster, especially vegetables with higher moisture content, but some like tomatoes and zucchini takes time for water in them to evaporate. At higher oven temperature of 425 degrees to 450 degrees, things can move faster.

    Vegetable leaves like rabe broccoli, kale, chard and choy bok, takes about 3 -10 minutes. They become brown and crisp if dry, while chard and kale becomes chip-like and brittle with enough oil.

    aluminium pan

    Adding Flavors

    Creativity is allowed here, and spices, herbs, fats and garnishes will bring character to the menu.

    • Spices and herbs

    Certain herbs like the sturdy springs will not burn even when cooked at great length. Sage, tarragon, bay leaves, rosemary, marjoram, oregano and thyme, are excellent substitute. Just put the right quantity in the pan to mix with other ingredients, while some needs rubbing on the ingredients.

    At high heat some herbs becomes brownish, which diminishes the appearance of the menu. They are best used in garnishing the menu.

    Additional spices includes; seeds of fennel, sticks from cinnamon, and the seeds from coriander etc.

    • Fat

    They add flavor and ensures browning or color, and for ingredients to mix properly. For example; bacon grease leftover, duck fat, peanut and coconut oil. For a more natural feel, canola or sunflower oil will be good.

    • Additional flavors

    This can come from oil coated peeled garlic, lemons blanched, and fresh chilies, will bring additional flavors and browning to your menu.

    Vinegar (drizzles), citrus (squeezes), yogurt, cheese (crumbled), vinaigrettes, sauce, onions etc. can add additional finishes to your menu. 


    With everything one hand, you need to remember that the cook times for the different ingredients matter. Therefore, cooking is done starting with ingredients that lasts longer. Chopping an ingredient into smaller bits decreases the cook times or some ingredients like carrots, although the time difference may be same if paired with larger tomatoes.

    Note that the position of the ingredients and the cooking pan itself relative to the heat source is very important. Ingredients on the edges cook faster, while the pan becomes browner if too close to the heat source. Ensure ingredients are even spread out and turning at regular intervals ensure that cooking is done evenly.

    Temperature regulation is essential for an even cook. Food becomes browner at higher temperature, and if care is not taken, they will be burnt.

  • Coffee Maker: All The Things You Need To Know

    Coffee maker: All The Things You Need To Know

    What do you have to make the best espresso? Everybody’s taste-buds are extraordinary; you have to recognize what is out there for you. Keep perusing to discover more about what goes into making that extraordinary some espresso.

    On the off chance that there are minutes when you just need a solitary serving of espresso, a Keurig producer is a decent purchase. These machines mix only some espresso at once. You can likewise browse various heavenly flavors. This organization offers an entire line of espresso creators, each with an alternate combination of highlights.

    Seal the majority of your espresso in water/air proof holders. Overexposure to the air may trade off the taste and surface of your espresso. Evade square packs that have one-way valves since they let some circulation into when the seal is broken. They’re just to release let some circulation into subsequent to simmering with the goal that they cool.

    It is safe to say that you are making espresso for visitors? You should have a go at beautifying the lattes you make independent from anyone else. It doesn’t take much to include a little highlight, and it would look fabulous. Try different things with drain and liquefied chocolate to hone methods.

    On the off chance that you buy espresso beans, don’t store them in their unique bundling in the event that it has been opened. You have to place it in a hermetically sealed holder, and fend off it from light. In the event that you do this, your espresso beans will stay crisp for more.

    Pesticide free espresso ought to be the main kind of espresso you purchase. Espresso ingests the majority of its flavor from the dirt in which it was developed. Naturally developed espresso is going to normally taste the best when you blend it.

    In the event that your espresso creator is matured or an economy display, mix heated water before you mix the genuine espresso to get the most flavor. When you have a pot of high temp water, put in the espresso beans, and pour the boiling water back in the machine. You will have the most blazing water that will make the best espresso.

    The espresso itself is clearly basic to the manner in which your refreshment will taste. Hunt around at your neighborhood. New simmered beans are frequently accessible. On the off chance that you can’t discover this in your town, you can simply utilize the Internet. This can cost somewhat additional, yet not such a great deal more than purchasing a container from a café.

    A French press can truly give you a tasty and some espresso. French presses create ideal blends since they extricate more oil from the beans. When utilizing standard espresso brewers, it is run of the mill for these urgent oils to become involved with the channels.

    When preparing a pot of espresso, guarantee you utilize the fitting measure of water. In the event that you need solid espresso, don’t include a considerable measure of water. The invert is likewise valid; on the off chance that you utilize more water than you should, at that point the espresso will be frail. Know how much water your espresso provider prescribes for your favored mix.

    Crisply simmered beans make the best espresso. Take a gander at the termination date when purchasing entire beans. Go to acoffee maker bistro or a particular store instead of an ordinary market.

    In case you’re a devotee of foamy drain on your espresso that you get in shops, it’s anything but difficult to imitate that at home, as well. Place your drain in an estimating glass or microwave safe mug, and warmth until the point when it steams. Put a race inside the mug and rub it forward and backward immediately between your hands. Prop up until the point that the drain turns foamy. 2 percent drain, creamer, or entire drain yields the best outcomes.

    When you measure espresso beans to make espresso, consider the quantity of glasses you intend to make. Some espresso isn’t generally a glass as it is just around six ounces. You should use around 2 TBS of espresso in this 6 oz of water. Utilizing an estimating glass will result in a diluted mix.

    On the off chance that something tastes “off” in your morning mix, recall that obnoxious water will result in disagreeable espresso. On the off chance that the faucet water isn’t delicious, have a go at getting a channel for it. Additionally, you can snare a channel to your tap, with the goal that you can have quality water consistently.

    Don’t simply pour espresso over ice blocks while getting ready frosted espresso at your home. This outcomes in a watery beverage. What you ought to do rather is mix some espresso and place them in an ice shape plate into the cooler. You would then be able to dissolve the 3D squares down at whatever point you’re in the disposition for a rich drink.

    For best outcomes, numerous individuals prescribe utilizing water that is charcoal sifted. You can buy distinctive channels that will help improve your faucet water taste. You can likewise purchase espresso producers that have their own channel. Charcoal separated water can likewise be purchased at general stores.

    To make the best espresso each time you make espresso, contemplate your future espresso machine. Remember things like a French press give vigorous, solid mixes, and glass carafes neglect to keep fermented espresso crisp for long. Single glass brewers are extremely well known in single espresso consumer homes.

    The water utilized for fermenting your morning espresso ought to be at scope of 195-205 degrees. Numerous espresso producers aren’t that hot. When you mix your espresso, consider warming the water individually. Buying a French press can be an extraordinary venture.

    Including a little measure of salt can decrease corrosiveness in your espresso. Similarly as with most things, in any case, it is best to utilize just a squeeze. You just need to utilize a little sum. Ocean salt will give you a more characteristic alternative.

    The more you know and comprehend about the specialty of making espresso, the more probable you’ll be to stumble upon the ideal recipe. Attempt distinctive mixes or meals to locate your top choice. Perhaps you’re an espresso consumer as of now and simply need to switch things up a bit. Apply what you’ve recently realized as you blend your next pot of espresso.