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

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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...]

Pineapple flavor and Allyl caproate

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My favorite unit in O-Chem(Organic Chemistry) was when the professor brought in a small bottle of Allyl caproate (aka Allyl hexanoate FEMA #2032) for the class to evaluate. It was my first exposure to a flavor aromatic. He passed around the bottle and asked us carefully smell the bottle and tell the class what we thought. I was intrigued, it smelled like pineapple. From that moment on, I was hooked on O-Chem. The unit's focus was probably naming or was focused on esters. Allyl caproate is an ester. Esters are often times described as fruity.  Allyl describes the group of atoms attached to the ester group.         Allyl caproate is fruity and smells like pineapple, but also has a … [Read more...]

Watermelon and 2,6-Dimethyl-5-heptenal (FEMA#2389)

Watermelon

Memorial day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and that means watermelon. Watermelon is the fruit we pack in the cooler for picnics at the park. In contrast, watermelon flavored candies are not a universal American favorite. Some people think only "monsters" like watermelon candy. When LifeSavers Five Flavors replaced the green lime flavored candy with a green watermelon flavored candy, it was a sad day. Like candy blog mentioned we were not asked what flavor we like; they just changed it. Personally, I find that watermelon flavor always seems to taste like cleaner or chemicals. Often, this is because a chemical found in watermelon and known to characterize it, 2,6-Dimethyl-5-heptenal (aka melonal) is too high (e.g. 0.1 ppm … [Read more...]

Vinegar and Acetic acid

Vinegar, cooking and cleaning type

"What's on the wall above the shower?"asks my husband. "That's mold", I say in unbelief, thinking "Is he completely unaware that mold has been growing on and off in our bathroom for at least a year?? Does he not notice anything??" He then asks nicely,"Did you know vinegar is good for cleaning mold?" I reply (almost sarcastically )"great, then can you get the vinegar, climb up there, and wipe it down?"  He tells me "I should probably do that", but I don't hold my breath. A few days later, I get the Lysol wipes, a step stool and rub the mold off the walls above the shower. I do not use vinegar but I do scrub.   Vinegar (~ 5% dilution of acetic acid) is a weak acid and a good sanitizer (kills germs). Mold is controlled by … [Read more...]

Grapes, Grandma and Methyl anthranillate

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My grandmother died last month. She's been in my thoughts quite a bit. In fact, just last week, while preparing grapes, I thought of her. Grandma showed me how to prepare grapes by cutting them into little bunches. She said little bunches are handy for grabbing, packing in lunches, and as snacks. Every summer, I spent at least two weeks at her beach house in Laguna playing in the ocean. After a few "wipe-outs" in the  waves, cold grapes were a good snack. This summer, while vacationing in southern California, I kept with tradition and prepared grape bunches for beach snacks. My kids loved the grapes as well as the ocean and boogie boarding. My last conversation with my grandmother was about my beach vacation and I told her my girls … [Read more...]

Cheesecake flavor

last piece of amateur's cheesecake

I baked my first cheesecake Christmas day. The recipe seemed easy enough, but I got distracted and missed the instruction not to over mix. My family was forgiving and loved it none-the-less. In fact, they said it tasted better than the usual dense cheesecakes. Long story short, I am an amateur when it comes to baking cheesecakes, but I have plenty of experience making cheesecake flavors. Food companies that make yogurt, ice cream, white chocolate or baked goods often look for cheesecake flavors. In order to formulate a good cheesecake flavor, a blend of butter acids is important.  Some recommendations: Butyric acid (FEMA 2221)-a component of butter and cheese-smells like rotten milk iso Valeric acid (FEMA 3102)-a component of … [Read more...]