Quince Gin Fizz Project

The Funk The pandemic still has me down. Or maybe it's the upcoming election that's wearing on me? Anyway, I'm still in a funk. MaryCake tells me she feels "foggy", but I think it's just the funk. The kids are home all day and moms are prioritizing everyone else's needs 24/7. When will the pandemic end? When will we have normal again? And, even though the skies are not full of smoke from fires, we do have an election. One that is likely to lead to unrest; when all I want is normal. Quince Inspiration Inspiration to break this funk came in the way of a blog post about juicy flowers and a fruit called quince. My first experience with quince was a flavor request. I remember asking my colleagues "what is quince". I … [Read more...]

The Brownie Project

The Funk The kids are not going back to school. I may never have the house to myself again. And, if we don't get rain soon, I may not be able to leave the house. Public health officials in Western Washington have said stay inside, don't go outside and breath the air. Needless to say, I am in a funk. Kids doing "remote" schooling Smokey, hazardous , unhealthy air The Adult Project MaryCake made me find myself. In this endless mom cycle of making food, cleaning, taking care of kids and pets, she gave me a "project". She brought me a brownie to "deconstruct". "the brownie" When you are in a funk, nothing seems fun, but "this brownie" forced me to change my attitude. Brownies don't last long and friends that … [Read more...]

Exhilarating Spiced Chai

Chai Tea Latte Mix https://www.amazon.com/Big-Train-Powdered-Instant-Restaurant/dp/B003SRHDMK In 1998, I received the assignment to copy Big Train Chai Tea mix and fell in love. What is not to love? Sugar, cream, spices, tea, vanilla? I measured the brix (sugar), looked at the nutritional data on the label and decided my recipe needed at least 20% sugar. It was delicious. To counter balance sweetness, flavor is a necessity. We don't want food to be overly sweet and bland. It's common to think that bland food is old, like an apple that's been in storage too long. Our tendency is to only take a bite or sip of food that is too sweet and lacks flavor. The same is true for foods that are not sweet enough. We cannot perceive flavor … [Read more...]

The Dark Side of Flavors

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/lung-illnesses-associated-use-vaping-products Flavor use in alcohol, vape and cannabis Flavors are one of the largest single factors affecting our choice to purchase a food item. Beyond foods, flavors find use in alcoholic beverages, vape and cannabis. Examples Manufactured flavors are aroma, taste and sensate components that dull the harshness of alcohol, nicotine and marijuana. Examples of the some of the more appealing flavored adult products include: Wine coolers and flavored vodka Clove cigarettes (Kretet)Mint flavored chewBanana Cream vape juice Cherry gummies (cannabis infused edible)Mango Haze Bud e-liquid (marijuana concentrate) History If you went to High … [Read more...]

Cannabis, flavor and food

Apothecarists Flavors originate from the natural extracts of plant material. Flavorists work side by side analytical chemists and botanists to identify and quantify the chemical components of plants so they can re-create the plant material aroma and flavor. They create flavors that help our food be more enjoyable. When I read stories about apothecarists who gather herbs and extract the medicines, I feel a connection. There is a connection and yet skepticism between our two trades. Connection The flavor industry connects with and includes: spice dealersbotanical extractorsessential oil manufacturerschemical manufacturersfountain syrup producerstobacco companiesoral care manufacturesmedicine manufacturersseasoning … [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. A Personal Decision 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 … [Read more...]

Oil and Water; Math and Science

Essential Oil The orange peel contains the fragrance of the fruit, the "essential oil". An essential oil is different that a "fixed oil" (nut or vegetable oil) which is not fragrant. Flavor scientists value essential oils and they extract them so they can use them in flavors. These oils are excellent starting materials  for flavoring beverages, but they need to be modified to be useful. They do not "go into" a beverage. We modify the oils to make them "go in" or  make them "miscible". Chemists use miscible to explain the phenomenon of  two liquids with similar polarities (intermolecular interactions) being combined uniformly. In contract, chemists use soluble to explain the phenomenon of a solid (solute) dissolving in a liquid … [Read more...]

Lab Girl and Eucalyptol

Depression and anxiety are illnesses that haunt me. Sometimes they demand my undivided attention and other times they merely have an underlying presence in my thoughts. They hurt me, but they also help me develop new ideas. Connection with the Author Hope Jahren's new novel, Lab Girl, chronicles her struggles with mental anguish as well as love of lab, science and hard work. In some ways, we are very much alike. We both: were born in 1969 love science and working in a lab are fascinated by nature understand Norwegian culture; having both lived there struggled as females in the science field with few women mentors like to write work too hard have difficulties managing stress and anxiety manage extreme anxiety … [Read more...]

Mothers and blogging

There was a moment during the birth of my first daughter, when my only hope was that both my baby and I survived. Since that point forward, my mothering mantra has pretty much stayed the same. My children have had life threatening experiences and have had emotionally challenging experiences. Every pain they feel, I feel. Every fear they have, I feel as well. My vision of motherhood was not what  motherhood turned out to be. What I have found out is that mothering is emotional rollercoaster and it demands great responsibility. Even though there is responsibility, I enjoy my children and the experience. Like any good experience, the years since my eldest was born have flown by. We have had close moments when I share myself and my hopes, … [Read more...]

Futuristic Food Pills?

The Jetsons Does anyone remember the Jetson's cartoon and "food pills"? They came in all sorts of flavors, satisfied biological functional needs and seemed enjoyable to consume? Personally, I don't envision food pills in our futuristic society, but it's an interesting concept. Are food pills in the future because they are convenient? Will they be well accepted? or is it because food pills are safer to consume? Potential Hazards in Food Supply Deadly food allergies are increasing, more people are sensitive to gluten, there are deadly new pathogens like E. coli O157:H7 and natural plant materials can be toxic. Realistically, one could make an argument that food pills could provide a safer food supply for our society. In contrast, one … [Read more...]