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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chefedb, Jun 4, 2012.
I'm not in the food industry, but from my perspective I'd say that with the rise of cooking shows, celebrity chefs and reality food shows that the general public understands the nuances of fine dining and diverse cuisine. Also, globalization has led to culinary fusion and has opened the wonders of world cuisine to the common folk.
Molecular Gastronomy. Chefs are taking our palates on journey's we have never experienced before.
I am reading the book "Fast food Nation" again, an incredible look into what commercialism has done to food.
Awareness: We are a society that has become more atune to quality.
The effects of food and the body. Twenty years ago we barely had topics of gastro diseases, now we are becoming more informed....like Gluten free .
I think the biggest change is fast food. A lot of people hardly even cook at home any more in the US and a lot of the food being served to day is pre-fab frozen, boxed etc. Even hotels are now buying muffins by the case from Sysco, Pre cooked omelets etc.
Not so long ago I ate at the Four Seasons in Chicago and my breakfast had canned corned beef hash.
Grocery stores are expanding the freezer meal sections in my area like it's the latest greatest thing with many chains now offering freezer meals.
Read that book it is very good. When finished see if you can find the book TWINKIE its starts with a little girl asking her dad whats in a twinkie. Its unbelievable. Also the Book The Golden Arches. Ed
Twinkie Deconstructed :- Excerpts....
"Papetti’s breaks 7 million eggs a day at its New Jersey plant, located in an industrial park near Newark Airport. The mere idea of breaking, let alone handling, that many eggs, even over a lifetime, is hard for a mere mortal to conceive. But here at Papetti’s, big tractor-trailers arrive hourly and tank trucks depart almost as often, each loaded with 6,000 gallons of fresh, whole, liquid eggs. [pg 105]
On one machine, the egg is immediately seized on each oval end by two small suction cups. The supporting cup falls away, and the fun begins. Picture one egg among many suspended on a whizzing carousel, and follow the process as you walk around the wheel: a knife shoots up to give the egg a surgical whack, slicing cleanly through the shell. It then falls back into position, ready for the next hit a second later. Suction cups pull the shell halves back and up at a slight angle, perfectly mimicking the gesture countless cooks make in their kitchen as they crack eggs one by one. The yolk and white drop down into a set of corresponding cups. As the yolk plops down into a small, appropriately sized upper cup, the white falls down around it into a funnel cup, just underneath. Gentle blasts of air coax the last of the egg out of its shell, and the yolk cups are bounced a bit to shake the white completely out -- again, much like you do at home. [pg 111]
Gums may come from trees (locust bean, tree seeds from the sap in the Sahel region of Africa), seaweed (agar, carrageenan, aka Irish moss, and alginates, mostly from the Philippines), pealike plant seeds (guar gum, from India, Pakistan, and the southwestern United States), and bacterial fermentation (xanthan gum, fermented in good old Midwestern corn syrup). Travel to see gum and you’ll see the world. Even Osama bin Laden once owned part of an acacia gum firm in Sudan, but was forced to sell out when Sudan booted him in 1996. [pg 123]
Dairy-based food coating or glaze (like that used on candy) is another promising possible future use – as an alternative to the currently popular shellac (yes, shellac) product. [pg 128]
For starters, prehistoric people were known to leach water through the ashes of burned plant stalks to botain their primitive detergent for clothes washing, and the ancient Egyptians made glass ornaments with soda ash recovered from dried desert lakes. [pg 163]
Several of the [professional flavorists] I spoke with willingly tasted Twinkies, often for the first time since they were kids, and though they usually scoffed at their own diminished desire for such sweet things, they were impressed with Twinkies’ successful blend of flavors. [pg 20
Incidentally, according to Hostess, vanilla wasn’t even the principal flavor of the original 1930 Twinkies filling – for the first ten years, banana was. But World War II created such an extreme shortage of bananas that the song “Yes, We Have No Bananas” soared to the top of the charts, and Hostess switched to the more widely available vanilla flavoring. [pg 201]
According to legend, Benjamin Franklin is responsible for the success of plaster of Paris as a soil amendment in the United States (it promotes aeration in clay soils). He was our first ambassador to France, and so admired its use while he was there that he brought some back here in 1785. An energetic promoter, he worked it into the soil on a prominent hillside in the form of letters reading, THIS HAS BEEN PLASTERED. When the clover growing over the enriched soil grew dramatically denser than the analphabetic clover around it, he had successfully introduced gypsum as “land plaster” to American farmers. (The strange thing is that ancient Greeks gardened with it, too, so it is not clear why Franklin’s coaxing seemed new to the Americans.) Imported from Paris at first, gypsum’s popularity was assured when deposits were found in abundance around the United States. [pg 223]
Sometimes we expect strong color where natural color is actually weak, which may explain why Ocean Spray includes Red No. 40 in its Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice. At Sensient, color scientists repeatedly state that we taste with our eyes before we taste with our mouths. In Australia, an ice cream company found that it sold three times as much passion fruit ice cream tinted with the pink of the fruit than a plain white version of the exact same ice cream (taste was not affected). [pg 248]
The best thing about natural colors is that they are presumed safe, seeing as they occur naturally in food and plants. On the other hand, natural colors are not necessarily as intense or as easy to incorporate into a recipe, as they are three to five times more expensive than petroleum-derived colors (all that food handling costs something), and, more concerning, they might add some unintended flavor to the recipe. Regardless of the hue, artificial colors do not add flavor – a big advantage. ¶ Still, colors derived from natural sources are often made at the same plants as purely chemical ones, and because they have been processed (or synthesized, in the case of beta-carotene), they are simply no longer considered natural. A label describing these colors can say, “color added,” “artificial color added,” or actually name the color, but it can’t say “natural color.” The FDA still classifies them as artificial unless they are coloring the very food they come from, e.g. strawberry juice added to strawberry ice cream. [pg 254]"........
Food for thought :
"MMMM, Tasty Chemicals
A new book ‘deconstructs’ a Twinkie and analyses all 39 ingredients. Industrial-strength junk food, anyone?
By Anne Underwood
As Steve Ettlinger dropped down a Wyoming mine shaft, plummeting 1,600 feet in an open-mesh cage, he wondered how many other food writers had ever donned hard hats and emergency breathing equipment in pursuit of a story. But it was too late to turn back. He'd promised his editor a book tracing the ingredients in a Hostess Twinkie to their origins--and one of them was down this shaft. At the bottom, he and his hosts climbed into an open Jeep and hurtled for 30 terrifying minutes through pitch-black tunnels. Their destination: the site where a mineral called trona--the raw ingredient of baking soda--was being clawed out of a rock face by giant machines. "To say that this does not suggest Twinkies or any other food product would be an understatement," observes Ettlinger. "There you are at an open rock face, wondering why they do all this for the sake of a little snack cake."
If you've ever puzzled over why packaged foods contain "polysorbate 60" or "mono and diglycerides," Ettlinger's new book, "Twinkie, Deconstructed," is a treat you'll want to try. Chapter by chapter, Ettlinger--the author of previous food books like "Beer for Dummies"--decodes all 39 ingredients in the little creme-filled cakes.
He explains their uses and the processes by which raw materials are "crushed, baked, fermented, refined and/or reacted into a totally unrecognizable goo or powder with a strange name," which then appears on a label full of other incomprehensible and barely pronounceable ingredients. Unraveling it all was a major undertaking--and Ettlinger received no help from Hostess and its parent company, Interstate Brands Corp., despite appealing directly to the Vice President of Cake.
At the heart of the book is the fundamental question: why is it you can bake a cake at home with as few as six ingredients, but Twinkies require 39? And why do many of them seem to bear so little resemblance to actual food? The answer: To stay fresh on a grocery-store shelf, Twinkies can't contain anything that might spoil, like milk, cream or butter. Once you remove such real ingredients, something has to take their place--and cellulose gum, lecithin and sodium stearoyl lactylate are a good start. Add the fact that industrial quantities of batter have to pump easily through automated tubes into cake molds, and you begin to get the idea.
Even so, it can be unsettling to learn just how closely the basic ingredients in processed foods resemble industrial materials. Corn dextrin, a common thickener, is also the glue on postage stamps and envelopes. Ferrous sulfate, the iron supplement in enriched flour and vitamin pills, is used as a disinfectant and weedkiller. Is this cause for concern? Ettlinger says no, though you wouldn't want a diet that consists solely of Twinkies. Ultimately, all food, natural and otherwise, is composed of chemical compounds--and normal ingredients like salt have industrial applications, too. Still, it gives you pause when he describes calcium sulfate, a dough conditioner, as "food-grade plaster of Paris."
In the end, you may learn more than you really wanted to about the Twinkie-Industrial Complex, as Ettlinger calls it. But you will never read a label the same way again. "
Might be a little OT, but how about 40-50 years ago? I realize that knowledge about food safety has vastly improved... but WHY were we able to put frozen chicken to thaw in the morning, cook it that night and NOBODY ever got sick? Also think the whole "best if used by" date is a bit of a ploy to get people to toss food that is perfectly safe and buy more??
Chains that serve pre-fab food without real hand-crafted talent.
I was around 70 years ago and yes we did not get sick or did we? Chickens were not processed same as today neither was any thing else. Back then "He or she died of old age?? today they really know why you died and it was not old age. Then there is best if used by and then best if sold by?? which is older. I have seen people throw away milk because it was dated that day stamped on top today which is crazy altogether. It is last day to be sold by not consummed by. If someone had TB and died health dept would come and seal house then burn sulphur candles.. You figure it all I can't. You should not roller skate in summer cause you will get polio (was No vaccine yet)
The rise of food network and the celebrity chef phenomenon. It's had an absolutely massive impact on people's attitudes about food and the people who prepare it.
Ding!Ding!Ding! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!
I think one of the biggest changes is the number of mega food production facilities. Not just the large size ones that pump out those dog-turd-like frozen omelettes like Duckfat describes, but the mega-mega ones. A few years ago we had a large-ish food poisoning thingee in Canada. One production line in Ontario--one production line-- was responsible for deaths and poisonings all over Canada, that line produced over 20 different "luncheon meat" labels for various supermarkets and meat packers. Of course it's old news because the same thing happened with ground beef, carrot juice, alfalfi sprouts, whatever.
I understand the economics of producing on a large scale, but when you so, if you screw up, you really screw up. Talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket....
Meh, molecular gastronomy and sous-vide haven't made it to the households yet. "Boil in the bag" (aka sous-vide) got beat out by frozen, nuke-able meals.
"Best before dates" are there for more for tracking purposes than they are for consumption. It's one of the pieces of information I can use to keep my suppliers from feeding me a line of B.S.
But I tell ya, if you ever want to scare yourself translucent--past heart-attack stage, head down to your local 7-11. Wait for the day when the sandwich delivery guy fills up the fridge, and have a peek at the dates: 3 weeks for a nuke-able hamburger, 4 weeks for a cheese sandwich; but they throw out the coffee every 15 minutes because they haven't discovered thermal air-pots...
When did high fructose corn syrup start to become so widespread?
Dunno.....Ask the guys in Atlanta, Ga. ......
In the 1970's the US started making some questionable decisions about food production, HFC was only a small part of it.
The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.
While some of it is caused by the processing of the food itself, a good portion of it is also created by the over medicating, over sterilizing of our immune systems. We have broken ourselves down so far that we have a hard time fighting the common cold anymore.
A little OT but the belief is that the Appendix is actually a storage bladder for beneficial bacteria.
I see mentioned the pre-fab, even the "butchers" at the grocer no longer butcher anything! It's all vac'd primals. You can't even get caul, etc. If you are fortunate to live in either an extremely rural area or the opposite, a thriving metropolis, chances are you are subject to the receiving end of this mechanization. Once you push through the bubble and start asking around for sweetbreads, the chips are gonna fly.
The biggest change was when food became a product, and solely a product. It severed us from the fundamental cycle that we are living, breathing creatures and the world around us that sustains us.
the breaking down of our immune systems to the extent that antibiotics no longer have an affect is directly related to ingesting animals that are dosed/fed with anitibiotics and hormones. the availabity of 'gluten free' products...holy cow they are everywhere, in every form you can think of plus plus...when did we become such a nation of tummy troubles? one out of three americans have some sort of gatrointestinal problem......that's mindblowing really...one out of three!
sorry, i got sidetracked and wasn't quite done...as far as the industry of food, maybe this is advancement rather than change but then again advancement does bring change, no? technology in processing, freezing, equipment and communication for one, availability and accessability of anything you want, need or can think of, and choices