Buttered Popcorn

Homemade Popcorn

"Popcorn is such a great snack. It is easy to forget how easy and cheap it is to prepare at home." (Leanne Brown, Eat Well on $4 a day, Good and Cheap). Thanks to Leanne's encouragement and a $2 bag of popcorn, the Bautista family has been enjoying homemade buttered popcorn as a treat and snack. My eight year old may not care much about price or nutrition, but she is of the opinion that buttered popcorn "is fun" and screamed in delight when she pulled the lid off the popcorn pot too early.  My twelve year old also has an opinion, "I didn't think I liked popcorn until I tried homemade buttered popcorn", because "it tastes good. Can I have some more? LEAVE SOME FOR ME!!" There are aroma chemicals that smell like popcorn, but I have … [Read more...]

Coffee and Furfuryl mercaptan FEMA 2493

coffee cup

Small houses keep a family close. My childhood home was built in the 1950's and it is small and cozy. The kitchen has a dining room table that has a view of "out back". "Out back" is not small. There are five acres in which we raised cattle and hundreds of acres beyond which cattle once roamed. I have fond memories of mornings eating breakfast, looking out and smelling coffee. Perhaps this is why coffee is my favorite beverage. Furfuryl mercaptan (otherwise known as coffee mercaptan) is the characterizing component of coffee. Coffee flavor and Furfuryl mercaptan are generated by a roasting process and a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is one of the most important reactions in food flavor … [Read more...]

Fenugreek Extract and Maple Flavor FEMA #2486

Maple syrup

Until recently, I didn't realize Fenugreek seeds were one of the main ingredients in Indian spiced curry. My experience with Fenugreek was that it is brown sticky mass that smelled like maple. I knew Fenugreek not as a seed or a plant, but as a botanical extract. Extracts are concentrated natural products obtained by solvent extraction (i.e. ethyl alcohol or hexane extraction). The aroma and taste components that are extracted by the solvent are further concentrated by evaporating the solvent. Once the solvent is removed, a botanical extract is made by combining the  aroma and taste components with a mixture of glycerine, caramel color and corn syrup. A flavor chemist has the option of using roasted or unroasted Fenugreek. Fenugreek … [Read more...]