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Clearing the Table

In the weeks to come, Gluttonize will undergo a few changes.  Some of these changes will be cosmetic, while others may be slightly more severe.  Rest assured, however, that the blog’s mission to be a bin of delicious food trivia will remain untouched.

scaffolding

The blog is getting renovated! Image by Mario Sixtus, http://www.sixtus.net; Flikr.

Stay tuned for an all new Gluttonize!

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The Forgotten Faces of Butter

Some trace butter to the Mongolians who created the most archaic way of butter-making.  The conquests of Asia then diffused the man-modified grease to other ethnic groups where distinct regional styles and methods for crafting it evolved.  Allowing for a sizable time-skip, butter now sits comfortably as the exalted keystone in classic French cuisine .

buttered toast

Acting as the rich slather on toast probably wasn't really the original purpose for butter. Image by A. Carmichael, Stone

However, long before butter appeared as salted or unsalted in grocery store fridges, they held a little more significance in many cultures worldwide.  Regarded as medicinal, magical or sacred, the milk product at one point or another was (and in some places still is ) more cultural symbol than kitchen staple.

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The Panda’s Favourite Food

is something people enjoy eating as well, especially in Asia.

Bamboo leaves.

Bamboo leaves. From Cornstock Images.

Bamboo is an extremely industrious plant.  Some have been known to grow up to a metre a day, and forests of this ambitious grass can pop up in no time after a refreshing monsoon.  Bamboo, when fully mature is a surprisingly sturdy material.  Fashioned into tools, garments, furnishings and even structures, bamboo has not only been a survival material for small ethnic groups in many parts of Asia, but also possess enormous commercial potential as a  more sustainable substitute for many organic raw materials.

These strong bamboo culms, however, are not fit for eating.  Continue reading

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Better Than Kobe

In rarity, price, and marbling, Mishima beef (見島牛) is regarded as superior than the now not-so-exotic Kobe beef.  Mishima cows* are thoroughbred in Japan; they have not crossed with European breeds because the island on which they graze has existed in relative isolation.  Mishima (見島) is a small island off the Southern sloping end of Honshu, in the Sea of Japan.

mishima island

Mishima (見島), the home of the prized Mishima cattle.

mishima cow

A Mishima cow*.

The cattle of this island have lived isolation from other Japanese cattle breeds for about 200 years, and either because of their genetic purity, their limited number, or meat quality, a head of mishima cattle can ring up a substantial multi-digit figure shaming Kobe beef to the discount aisle. Continue reading

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Quick Bites!

Quick Bite is a new feature on Gluttonize!

Basically, crumbs of food-related information will be thrown at you for those in need of a quick food trivia fix.  They’re going to be filed under the category “Quick Bites” so you can access them easily by clicking on the “Quick Bites” category icon on the side bar →

Click on this image on the sidebar to access Quick Bites!

Check back regularly for more tasty morsels of food facts!

The links to the first and second Quick Bites are here, and here.

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Farm Sanctuary

is an animal rescue organization operating out of New York and California that strives to protect factory farm animals from abusive treatment and exploitative husbandry.

Gene Baur and book

Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, on the cover of his book that documents the life of the organization.

In a perhaps more exaggerated sense, they seek to drive home the cause-effect relationship between the cruel reality of animal maltreatment and the succulent top sirloin that deliciously sizzles on our home grills.  The notion that a sentient creature was conceived, raised and slaughtered is often lost in the face of the glaring “SPECIAL” sticker slapped on the styrofoam and plastic packaging of the numerous meat products at the supermarket.  Farm Sanctuary works to bridge this disconnect and make known the deplorable practices of factory farming.  Continue reading

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Instant Noodles in the Final Frontier

Nissin Food Products Co. Ltd. was founded by a man named Momofuku Ando (安藤百福).  Because of him, we have instant noodles.

eating instant noodles

This is made possible by the late Momofuku Ando. From Getty Images.

We owe the late Mr. Ando our thanks on the lazy Sunday afternoons or the desperate late nights we consume that trusty package of flash-fried wheat noodles and MSG powder.  His legacy on Earth is great (though one could argue that the key role styrofoam plays in the Cup Noodles empire is not very supportive of the environment), but his influence stretches beyond our realm to the stars.  Actually. Continue reading

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The Goose Invented Cramming

Foie gras is decadent and rich because of the large amount of fat stored in the liver of the duck or goose.  How this fat gets there is through a process called cramming.  As the name implies, the bird is force-fed a large amount of food over a period of time until the appropriate level of “fattened-up” is attained.  The process is alternatively known as  gavage feeding (from French gaver, to force down the throat).  The practice of cramming has been in circulation since the ancient Egyptians; however, it was actually because of the wild geese themselves that the Egyptians learned how to cram.

geese flock

Geese are migratory birds that have to travel long distances to stay ahead of the weather. From Getty Images.

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Where is the Milk Man?

The milkman unofficially died in the 1960s with the proliferation of common technological conveniences we now take for granted.  Several generations ago; however, home milk delivery facilitated by the milkman was just another fact of life like the internet for us today.

milkman war

The milkman held special significance during the war (rather his precious bounty did), as dairy became an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet that fed the war worker. Image by Fred Morley/Stringer, Hulton Archive, Getty Images.

The story of the milkman should be told in terms that contextualize it socially and economically, but the watered-down version of it goes like this: Continue reading

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Dogs and Beer DO Mix

“A beer for your best friend” was the marketing slogan of Kwispelbier, a small Dutch brewery that produces non-alcoholic beer for dogs.

dog beer 4 pack

In Dutch, Kwispel means tail-wagging.

The brew was made from beef extract and malt and was priced quite a bit higher than regular alcoholic beer for humans.

dogs drinking beer

Kwispelbier can be consumed by humans also.

The beer received quite some publicity on the net and in the media upon its first launch back in the beginning of 2007, but I wonder how this peculiar product is fairing now?


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