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...]

Reflections on 2012 and looking forward to 2013

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...]

Kraft Fresh Take, Italian Parmesan recipe, flavor review

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

“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...]

Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn, White Cheddar review

My daughter introduced me to white cheddar popcorn and now it's a staple in our pantry. Occasionally, we branch out and have microwave butter flavor popcorn, but white cheddar is our favorite. On a recent visit to the supermarket, we found Orville Redenbacher had a microwave white cheddar flavor popcorn for $1. What a great deal; compared to $3 for bagged popped corn. There is a bit of prep work involved microwave popcorn as opposed to bagged popcorn. Minimal prep work for the reward of warm, pleasant smelling popcorn. Orville Redenbacher supplies a White Cheddar Seasoning pack to sprinkle on the popcorn when popped. It is very easy to prepare.  The downside is that it smells very cheesy, almost like the "dirty feet" cheese. Unless you … [Read more...]

Clif Bar Energy bar, Peppermint Stick review

Happy New Year! It's the 2nd of January and if you're like me, you've spent the day cleaning up after the holidays. New Years signifies that it's time to pack away the decorations and  finish all the holiday treats; including the Peppermint Stick Clif Bar I bought at REI for $1.45 four weeks ago. In an earlier life I was an energy bar addict:  I lived at the beach, ran a marathon and played beach volleyball. Energy and protein bars are a convenient, nutritious snack for someone always "on the go" and exercising. Clif bars were my usual morning breakfasts and before workout snack. Currently, my beach volleyball days are on hold; while I live in the Northwest, concentrate on raising a family and taking care of a house. Raking leaves and … [Read more...]