Scents for Slime

making 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. 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 all these supplies. It is an investment in family harmony; I can now re-claim my dining table when … [Read more...]

Germacrene D fraction and Fig Flavor

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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

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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...]

Apricot Tea

Apricot Tea

On a recent weekend get-away to Victoria, I encountered apricot tea at Murchies Tea & Coffee. Their apricot honey vanilla tea latte is out of this world. We do not have Murchies in the States, so I purchased a box of 50 apricot tea bags to take home with me. That was a mistake, I should have bought a case. Since that day, I have forgone my usual English Breakfast tea for an apricot tea with soy vanilla creamer. Murchie's apricot tea is not too fruity or sour like an herbal tea, but has a sweet, creamy, sweet apricot flavor tea nicely enhanced by black tea flavor. My husband tasted a sip of my apricot honey vanilla tea latte during our visit to Murchies. The sip ended up being "sharing". I did not willingly share, but since he … [Read more...]

Let’s get this Party Started! Birthday Cake Flavor

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My youngest daughter is the one that proclaims "let get this party started" when she arrives at birthday party.  This accounts for why she is invited to so many birthday parties and why her favorite flavor is "Birthday Cake". Nothing this kid does is bland. She likes bright color, glitter and flavor. Her room is bright cotton candy pink, she wears neon and loves crazy Aaron's thinking putty. Her favorite Frappuccino flavor is "Birthday Cake"  (if you don't see birthday cake Frappuccino on the standard menu, be sure to ask for it off the "secret menu"). Honestly, I think it's her favorite flavor because of the sprinkles on top, but there is an actual flavor recipe for Birthday Cake Frappuccino . The recipe is a mixture of vanilla bean … [Read more...]

Talking with my Teen: Guavas, Tomatoes, Blueberries and Vegetables

My teenager and I, Hawaii 2016

My oldest daughter is officially a teenager. Suppressed memories of my awkward and frightening teenage years have come flooding back. Middle School and High School are times in my life I want to forget. Thankfully, my two dogs, Tippy and Tuffy, helped get me through those years. I hope our cat, Minnie, helps my daughter successfully navigate her middle school years. Communication with my teen daughter is "tense", some reasons  could be: the constant glares I receive when I try to engage; i.e. "the Claire glare" my teen doesn't feel comfortable communicating verbally and expressing feelings my fear of reliving middle school years affects my ability to listen My daughter is able to verbally communicate when she wants me to do … [Read more...]

Too Good to be True

USP

I lost my innocence at age 27. It was the day I realized what is on a food label may not really be what is in the food. When the analytical tests showed that the "natural" food flavor I was trying to copy was actually artificial, I was shocked. Now, I look back and think how unreasonable I was. People lie to make money, it exists in every market and food is no exception. When it's too good to be true, it's probably not true. The only way to know if a food flavor has artificial chemicals added is to run an assay on Gas Chromatography (GC), Mass Spectrometer (MS) or perhaps to do Carbon Isotope Testing.  Even then, a person skilled at cheating and lying can may still be able to hide the truth. Although, I've lost my innocence, I'm … [Read more...]

Pomegranate Flavor

Pomegrantes

I do not get excited about pomegranates. I like them, but they are not special to me. My family has a few pomegranate trees, and I think they are messy and difficult to eat. They make great fall decorations, though. In the late 1970's, my siblings, the neighbor kids and I made an event out of eating pomegranates. Since my  mom didn't want to clean up a huge mess, she forbid us from eating them in the house. She told us to put on our old clothes and go outside when we wanted to "crack open" a pomegranate. We would smash them on a concrete slab, pick out the seeds (arils), gorge and eventually become annoyed by the slow process of eating a pomegranate. Apples and pears, which also ripen in the fall, were much easier to eat and … [Read more...]

Hop oil

Hop Flower (http://cahnrs.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/hop-cones.jpg)

I am not a beer connoisseur. In fact, the large majority of my beer drinking was done between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. During that time, price was a concern; not taste. My interest in beer was purely social (i.e.. party!!!) In 1990, my early 20's, the beer market was different. We drank "big company beer", Miller and Coors. Currently, strong flavored craft beers appear to be the rage. These brews typically use up to five times more hops than traditional brews. Hops provides flavor (aroma) and bitterness to beer. Hops are part of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants, which also includes Cannabis. Hops (Humulus lupulus), unlike Cannabis,  is a climbing perennial herb which grows up to 25 feet per season. A large … [Read more...]

I put chemicals in people’s food

Childhood Cancer Awareness

I put chemicals in people's food. I have been shamed for this, but the shame I have given myself hurts more. The year is 2005: My two year old was having a MRI  "to rule out anything". The MRI went over the scheduled 15-10 minutes. Finally, after over an hour, the MRI was complete and the doctor asked me to sit down. He told me my toddler had a mass in her head and that he is admitting her to the hospital. I asked to use the phone to call my husband. I told him calmly to get to the hospital, I heard him running and he was short of breath. Then I called my mom and could barely talk through the sobs. She got angry with me for not being able to talk; then she got upset. We were both hysterical. I thought that a toddler … [Read more...]