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...]

Blue Diamond Natural Oven Roasted Almonds, Butter Toffee Flavor review

These natural butter toffee flavored roasted almonds are delicious and healthy. A great snack option for those of us with new year resolutions of eating better and losing weight. A great feature of these almonds is their handy serving size measurements on the side of the container. You can see how much you are eating or portion the servings out accordingly. Besides being able to judge serving size correctly, these almonds are deliciously sweet & satisfying without much sugar. Stevia is a sweetener in these almonds. Usually, I find stevia (a natural high potency sweetener) disagreeable with a bitter aftertaste. In these Blue Diamond butter toffee almonds, there are no off notes or a lingering bitter aftertaste. The sweetness level is … [Read more...]

Jelly Belly Dips review, Orange Flavored

Dark chocolate covered candied orange peel is one of my favorite treats.  A peely orange flavor goes amazingly well with a good dark chocolate. When I saw that Jelly Belly had a similar flavor combination, Orange Chocolate Dips, I gave them a try. I was not disappointed, these Jelly Belly Orange Dips are amazing, I'm impressed. There is a very high load of sharp peely orange in the gelatin center. A juicy, sweet, fruity orange flavor would not be as good chocolate covered. The dark chocolate use to coat the gelatin center has good strong bittersweet chocolate character. Sometimes chocolate used in confections is inferior and has a waxy, chalky and powdery character. The ingredient statement on the beans is very "clean" and pure/natural … [Read more...]

Jufran Banana Sauce (aka Banana “Ketchup”) review

Ketchup is known as "America's National Condiment".  The sweet & sour taste of ketchup goes extremely well with fried foods and is always available  at places that serve hotdogs, hamburgers and french fries. Recently, I read the book Pure Ketchup by Andrew Smith. This book was well researched and enlightening. Something I learned that there is banana ketchup in the Philippines. My husband is Filipino and I was surprised that he never introduced me to banana ketchup. Therefore, on our recent visit to Seafood City outside of Seattle, I went shopping and picked some up. There is no tomato in Jufran Banana Sauce and yet it is reminiscent the tomato ketchup I know.  There is a slight texture difference and higher sweetness and banana … [Read more...]

M&M’s Cinnamon Flavored Chocolate Candies, review

The tag line "M&M's make friends" is one of my favorites.  It describes M&M's brilliantly: colorful, yummy and easy to share. Mars (M&M's parent company) can be relied upon to come up with innovative, delicious new food products.Pretzel M&M's are my favorite new candies and were awarded Product of the Year for snacks in 2011. At a recent visit to Target, I found the newly released Cinnamon flavored M&M. It's interesting that the package has a green M&M's character on the front, because the M&M's in the bag are red, burgundy and dark brown/black.  Oddly enough, there are also different sizes of M&M's: one smaller and larger size of each color. In the sake of research, I evaluated each color and size.  At … [Read more...]

Flavorists: the enablers & my Grandmothers

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...]

Cottonseed or Peanut oil; Deep Fried Turkey review

Institute of Food Technologists When food technologists get together, the topics always center around food and evaluating products. On September 19th 2011 the local Puget Sound Institute of Technologists had a meeting. The topic of the meeting was "Texas Turkey Shootout" and the speaker was an expert in the sensory & nutritional qualities of food oils:  Dr. Clay King, a professor of Food Science at Texas A&M. Dr. King's has a specialty in frying oil, so it was fitting that the topic was "choices of oil to deep fry turkey:  cottonseed or peanut oil". Deep Fried Turkey vs. Roasted Dr. King and a former student, Bradley Scott, rolled up their sleeves and fried the group two turkeys to taste. And a local IFT member prepared an oven … [Read more...]