The Nose Knows

Pacific Science Center In an unusual turn of events, my 14-year-old has proclaimed she learned something from her mom. Prior conversations involved me being told I am mean and know nothing. So does this mean that my teen daughter has matured and appreciates her mom's wisdom? Not exactly, she learned at my STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) presentations that our noses are responsible for allowing us to sense food's flavor. Therefore, when I insisted she "at least try " the slaw I made for dinner the other night, she proclaimed she learned something useful from mom and ate the slaw while plugging her nose. She knew if she did this she would avoid sensing the slaw's flavor. We can only sense a food's flavor by using our … [Read more...]

A Little about Lemon

Lemon flavor is great tasting, simple and environmentally friendly. The lemon oil we use to formulate flavors is extracted from lemon peel by cold pressing it from the rinds. Typically this oil is comprised of: Limonene: 75%, Citral 10%, as well as Terpinene, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Heptanal, Octanal, Nonanal, Decanal, Undecanal, l-Linalool, alpha-Terpineol and 4-Terpineol. Citral, however, is the characterizing component of lemon oil. Most people say Citral reminds them of Lemon Pledge®. Flavor chemists carefully select oils, blend and enhance, so lemon flavors are peceived to be desireable, fresh and juicy, and not like furniture polish. Lemon flavor has a reputation for being unstable. This is primarily because of … [Read more...]

Green Tea and Methyl dihydrojasmonate

  My kids get into everything I own. I tell them they need to ask first, but they rarely do. Now, I find myself being a hypocrite. I use my daughter's Green Tea Scrub without asking. What makes it worse is that she bought it with her own money, so technically I'm stealing. I feel bad about it, but it smells so good, it's impossible to resist. Why does it smell so good? I have some guesses:   Methyl dihydrojasmonate FEMA 3408 beta Ionone FEMA 2595 Boronia flowers  Extract FEMA 2167 Damascenone FEMA 3420 Viridine (Phenyl acetaldehyde dimethyl acetal) FEMA 2876 3-Methyl 2,4, nonanedione FEMA 4057 Geranyl acetate FEMA 2509 Sage Clary oil FEMA 2321 cis-3-Hexenol FEMA 2563 Geraniol FEMA 2507 Linalool FEMA 2635 When … [Read more...]

Eliot’s Adult Nut Butter, garam masala

Flavoring peanut butter is challenging A memorable project assigned to me is grape flavored peanut butter. A large peanut butter manufacturer asked my company to supply some grape flavor samples for the project. My mentor, Mr. Takeda, who entered the United States from Japan on a work visa, was confused about the project. Peanut butter and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are popular in the States, but not Japan or other countries. Since I grew up on peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches and not Onigiri (Japenese rice balls) my input on the project was needed. Mr. Takeda went to his formula book and selected a few grape flavors for me to collect and try in peanut butter. He chose the strongest artificial oil soluble grape flavors for … [Read more...]

Mott’s Apple Mango Juice Packs

The juice pack aisle at the grocery store is boring. So, when I saw Mott's 100% juice apple MANGO juice packs, I ignored the $4.88 price tag and grabbed a box to take home. I smiled pushing my cart through the grocery store thinking "finally, a juice pack my kid will be excited about". My daughter only likes apple, mango, mango peach and POG (Passionfruit Orange Guava) juices. The others are "too sour". Therefore, I was hopeful when I asked how she liked the apple mango juice. Not surprisingly, her response was: "it's not very good, do not pack it in my lunch again". Juices with mango in the description that my family finds acceptable include: R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Mango Nectar Langer's Apple Peach Mango Dole Orange … [Read more...]

Tazo Tea Vanilla Bean Macaron

Stomach issues and weight gain have forced me to seek medical advice on my diet and exercise routine. I'm nearing 50, so it's time to admit I that I do not have an iron stomach anymore. An occupational therapist is helping me find a good "routine" and adjust my diet to suit my nutritional needs. I've also connected with fitness advisors that offer similar services. After a few weeks, we determined I should eat smaller, more frequent nutritionally dense meals to avoid sugar cravings and prevent overeating treats. I like treats, so thankfully, I've been told desserts are just fine (in moderation). Desserts are everywhere. They are even in the tea and coffee isle at the supermarket:   This trend of adding dessert … [Read more...]

Good Food

We all have interest in our food tasting good. We bake, fry, ferment, grill, etc. foods to improve its taste. We share recipes, seek out good restaurants, watch cooking shows, follow food bloggers and invest in our kitchens to make our food taste good. After all, food not only sustains us, it provides connection and delights our senses. Even though food is a noun (substance), food is also very personal and evokes an emotional response.  What makes food so personal? Medical differences, some people have sensitivities (ie. intolerance, allergies, reactions). Ethics, some people practice religion that condone certain food substances, for example shellfish is not kosher. Others choose to be vegetarian because of their love for … [Read more...]

Scents for Slime

My daughter's classmates call her the "Queen of Slime". They marvel at her "Slime Station"  which I call my formal dining room. This high-ranking "Slime Status" is NOT something I encouraged or welcomed to our home. After all, I am still traumatized by the pink slime disaster, when our recently new soft tan carpet became pink and stiff in parts. And, of course, this disaster was resistant to the carpet steamer and therefore destained to be permanent. Slime making is not only messy, but it takes supplies. Lots of supplies. My daughter uses every last dime of money she receives  or earns in the "slime section" at Target, Michaels or Joann. Of course, I've been forced to adapt to this obsession. I had to buy a new cabinet and bins to store … [Read more...]

Germacrene D fraction and Fig Flavor

I was spoiled growing up. My parents did not buy us things, but they had a garden and orchard. I ate my fill of apricots, asian pears, and prunes right off the tree. Fresh, sweet, flavorful fruit. Often times I'd end up eating 10-20 apricots or prunes in one setting because they were so good. One fruit that I did not over consume was figs. I found fig skins sticky and the seeds odd. Grandma liked them, so I picked them for her and she was delighted.   Now that I have matured, I devour figs and their heavy, sweet floral character. Their aroma is reminiscent of Germacrene-D fraction isolated from Ylang-Ylang available from Treatt. Treatt calls the aroma chemical Germacrene-D fraction, but uses the … [Read more...]

Variety

My husband says I do not like change, but he's not right. Since I like new ideas and foods, I believe change is good. However, he might be right, because it is the variety that appeals to me. Change doesn't always feel safe to me. Working as a flavor chemist provides variety. There are always new ideas for food products, new flavors and cost reductions. Unfortunately, I last landed a flavor chemist position with relentless, repetitive cost reductions projects. Therefore, to find variety, I got my masters in Food Safety and opened the doors to new opportunities. Change. I find food safety very interesting, especially during outbreak response. Discovering which food product is getting people sick and how to stop it quickly is … [Read more...]