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Pi Day Data Dump

March 14, 2014

One of the great frustrations of modern life seems to be open browser tabs. I know that I’m not the only one who encounters interesting things all the time on Twitter and Facebook. So I click. And sometimes I read, but sometimes I save stories for later and leave the tab open. It’s also possible that I leave the tab open after I’ve read a story because I’d like to respond to it or find some way of working it into a blog post.

But at the end of the week I’m left staring at a browser full of open tabs.

The FLB continues to evolve. Maybe one day it will be the kind of repository where I’ll casually throw up links to these kinds of stories whenever they cross my radar. But for now, I am still adhering to one unique story per day, with precious few exceptions.

So what to do with all those tabs? Well, some may still make it into stories of their own. But today I would like to share with you a handful of the things that I’ll probably never get around to writing more about. Trust me, it’s a better alternative than a post on what to eat for Pi Day or which drinks to avoid on St. Patrick’s Day.

What follows should be plenty of reading to keep you busy through the weekend.

“Instant” soup with noodles
I confess. I love chefs. My mom loves rabbis. This affection for people in certain fields must be genetic. I’ve only met chef Ellie in passing, but I do feel like we’re kindred spirits in our thoughts about food. First there was the love of beans. Now she has a cleaner alternative to instant noodle soup. And it looks and sounds amazing. Nutritional yeast is one of the staples in our household, and the kids have just discovered a love for dried and roasted seaweed. While I haven’t tried this recipe yet, I’m really looking forward to putting it through the paces.

Clean labels
Speaking of cleaner alternatives, what exactly does “clean food” mean? Much like “natural” there is no official government-sanctioned definition, so theoretically it can be used by anything. However, it is interesting to read that the food industry is thinking about such things. And it’s fascinating to see the reach of the “yoga mats in your bread” fallout. For the record, I consider clean food to be food that’s made from food. Ideally, I would like to see its ingredients being grown without pesticides (organic or synthetic) and produced in accordance with other sustainable agricultural methods.

Beyond beans
Stanford Steph made sure I got a gander of this story about a woman who learned how to eat well without the benefit of a Whole Foods friendly budget. JuJu Harris taught herself to cook with nutritional dense and inexpensive produce like kale, collards, and cabbage. You can eat clean without spending a lot of money. It’s true. Now, it may not be easy, but life is all about making hard choices and figuring out one’s own priorities. I’m sure chef Ellie has a few thoughts on the matter as well.

Sullied by Sweetmyx
So Pepsi has a new exclusive ingredient. It’s an additive that makes sugar taste sweeter. That means Pepsi can use less sugar in their products that will contain Sweetmyx. Conventional wisdom touts that sugar is bad, so less sugar should be good. I say cutting all soda out of your life except for the occasional few ounces once a week is probably best, but that’s beside the point. Senomyx, the company behind Sweetmyx, has done some research that it feels good about and has stated that this new ingredient is “generally regarded as safe.” That’s not an FDA-approved claim, and it sounds a lot like FDA language, but it’s not. How infuriating is this process? You really should read this rant from Marion Nestle.

Organics aren’t so clean either
This isn’t really news. But people tend to think that organic produce doesn’t use pesticides. That’s not true. Way, way back in the day, organic food was grown only by the small true believers, and when they were up against the wall and in dire straits, they could resort to some naturally derived pesticides, save their crop, and not lose their certification. But that was before there was big money in the game and industrial organics had risen to prominence. It’s upsetting, and the reality of the situation is always more complicated than it sounds.

Sherry found a champion in Albany
Empire Wine is winning me over more and more all the time. First it was working with Adam and getting his recommendation for the Stop the Cork Tax protest. But then I found that he also writes about things on the store’s website. Then I found that he wrote about sherry and how underappreciated it is in the region. He’s right. I wrote about that too. You know, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. But seriously, check out his wines. Maybe if people buy these, the shelf space can expand to a respectable number of bottles.

More New York distillers are opening all the time
This is fantastic news. The above is far from a complete or comprehensive list. However, there are probably some regional distilleries that you have never heard about. I blame myself. I’ve been in New Jersey and I do need to make it out to Rochester and the Finger Lakes. Hopefully, I can rectify that before too long.

First I have to get back to New York. But there is still work to be done here in New Jersey. I mean, I still have yet to try a Trenton mustard pie and I’ve got a whole list of stupid sandwich ideas to try at Hoagie Haven.

Have a great weekend. Be safe. And stay away from the green beer. You deserve better.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    March 14, 2014 10:17 am

    Utterly disturbing on numerous levels:

    http://www.senomyx.com/flavor_programs/appTech.htm

    “Flavor programs”, eh? WTF are we doing to ourselves? And we thought MSG was bad?

    You know, sometimes reading stuff like this in your blog is the reason why I can also no longer read The Nation – we all know how fucked we are, how mostly powerless we are to effect change, and how simple common sense and logic could overcome so many problems were it not for the almighty dollar and the power associated with too much of it. Just kill me now.

    With regards to Macbeth:

    Round about the cauldron go;
    In the poison’d entrails throw.
    Toad, that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

  2. March 14, 2014 5:51 pm

    Love the Senomyx/Sweetmyx link and info. It reminds me of the fictitious Sweetums company from the Parks & Recreation TV show. The more I think about it, the more brilliant that whole storyline is on the show: http://parksandrecreation.wikia.com/wiki/Sweetums_(company)

    Have a NutriYum bar–made with “love, sunshine, and a little bit of corn syrup.”

  3. Shawn permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:15 pm

    Have you tried Pocket? It has helped with my tab backlog and syncs nicely across all platforms.

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