Reflections on 2012 and looking forward to 2013

refreshersingredients

As we approach the end of 2012, it is time to reflect on the past year of flavorscientist.  The searched terms that brought readers to www.flavorscientist.com include the following: Chobani nutritional value (over 8,000 searches) Starbucks Refreshers ingredients (over 2,400 searches) are Belvita biscuits good for you (over 1400 searches) is Sobe Coconut water good for you (over 450 searches) how much caffeine in Starbucks Refreshers (over 300 searches) We want to know what is in the food we buy and how it affects our body. The term used in the food industry is transparency. How our food is grown, produced, developed and marketed is not information that the food industry is always willing to share. The industry is complicated … [Read more...]

Safety, Hunger and Our Children

Hungry Children

Last week, I anxiously checked my email waiting the response of my professor on my Food Safety Toxicology final paper. It was a paper discussing toxicology issues related to 4-Methylimidazole (found in caramel color) and  I worked very hard on this paper. Toxicology is a difficult class, but the amount of knowledge I gained was more than worth it. I opened an email from my professor to learn I received a perfect score and an A in the class, only to see another email from the school district my children attend. The email from the school district mentioned a school shooting. I logged into nbcnews.com to learn more about the shooting. When I read the details of the shooting ;"a kindergarten teacher and 18 children dead", I broke down. Those … [Read more...]

Kraft Fresh Take, Italian Parmesan recipe, flavor review

Italian Parmesan

My grandmother was a huge influence on my life. She was born in 1892 in Coffey, Missouri and was raised on a farm. Circa 1915 she moved to the San Francisco Bay area, raised my father in Berkeley, California and spent her last 25 years in an in-law unit attached to my family’s house in Orangevale, California. Grandma told me stories of life on the farm, which I idolized and helped create my obsession with the “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She read to me, taught me math facts, taught me how to cook and clean and let me do her weekly grocery shopping. Because of that, my obsession with the food market started at a young age. Grandma had me cook dinner once a week. For unknown reasons, she introduced me to Shake’N Bake … [Read more...]

A One Year Birthday: The Story of Flavorscientist.com

Removing-the-Golden-Handcuffs

“Move or you’ll never work again”, I was told from a recruiter over a year ago. I had returned her call to be polite, and she was the one being rude. Flavor scientist careers are centered in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Chicago. My family liked living in the Pacific Northwest and my husband’s business was doing well, we weren’t moving for a job. The words stung, none-the-less, and the trapped feeling I had for years started suffocating me. I hung up and started crying and my husband asked me why I didn’t tell her off. Deep down, I was frightened she was right. Managing a beverage flavor lab would be a good job and perhaps I should move. After a good cry, I decided it was up to me to stop feeling trapped and change my … [Read more...]

Eggo® Waffles Seasons: Pumpkin Spice, limited edition, Flavor Review

Eggo Seasons, Pumpkin Spice

I love how the house smells when I bake a pumpkin pie. It brings back good memories of Thanksgiving with family: my parents healthy & energetic, my grandmother managing the event and my cousins & siblings playing our annual flag football game. Our sense of smell is the strongest sense of memory. "When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls· bearing resiliently" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past" Eggo® waffles has captured my Thanksgiving memories with their limited edition pumpkin spice waffle. Pumpkin Spice is one of my favorite flavors, but not until I smelled the pumpkin spice … [Read more...]

“The Sky is Falling”

On the path to recovery

Society claims that flavor chemists are "people who add chemicals to foods" and that food safety specialists are "people who worry too much". In a recent Food Safety program I attended, one professor stated "food safety professionals can be compared to Chicken Little running around claiming the sky is falling". Worry can be un-healthy, but exists for a reason. My daughter suffers from excess worry and anxiety, something normal for a child that has endured a major illness. Something normal for a child whose parent has anxiety issues. My daughter had a brain tumor at age two and  I worried excessively during her treatments. At one point I couldn't stand straight or walk because of excessive worry. Unfortunately, after diagnosis, worrying … [Read more...]

A Mom’s View on Food Safety and Sensationalism, “GMOs & Pink Slime”

Food safety has been in the general media recently. Is it for attention and sensationalism? Do we ignore it, join it or ask for the facts? Facts are always best. It feels good to have a scapegoat for our problems, but it is not productive and can possibly be destructive. Emotional, unthought conclusions should not be considered the truth. For example, my daughter is a brain tumor survivor. She was diagnosed at age two. Brain Tumors are the leading cancer death cause in children. Like any other form of deadly cancer, it is difficult to catch in time. My daughter's tumor was caught in time and she is one of the 5% that survived without major side effects from treatment. Our family is very grateful for this good luck and we thank her doctor … [Read more...]

Dad’s honey

Dad's honey

My dad is trendy. Wow, I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. My dad's hobbies of growing his own food (fruits and vegetables) and bee keeping are "in" and I'm benefiting.  At Christmas, Dad gave my family six 1 pound jars of honey from his bees. Yum!  My youngest daughter and myself love real honey on our toast. The bee keeping trend began a few years ago and has blossomed into a country-wide hobby.  http://oneblockdiet.sunset.com/2009/07/fashionable-bees.html. Perhaps this trend was driven by our distrust of honey imports. The United States has no legal standard for honey at a national level. It leaves our nation wide open to fraudulent honey imports (colored high fructose corn syrup) that are sold at a premium … [Read more...]

Flavorists: the enablers & my Grandmothers

Grandma Marion and Susie 2010

CBS 60 minutes recently aired a special report on : "The Flavorists: Tweaking tastes and creating cravings". I would have appreciated the segment more if it actually went into explaining food flavors and the flavor industry, but instead Morley Safer indicated that the flavor industry is "the enabler of the Food Processing Industry".  The implication then being that processed foods taste delicious and therefore people eat too much and become obese.  This program attracted a plethora of negative comments about the flavor industry and one commenter even mentioned her disgust of flavorist morals.  Some untruths from the written segment: 1) They (flavorists) mimic mother nature's molecules with chemicals.  Molecules are the same as chemicals … [Read more...]