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Course Preview

Course Preview: A Million and One Soy Sauces

This is a course preview for A Million and One Soy Sauces, which happens tomorrow (Thursday!). Turns out there's a lot more than just Kikkoman - and we'll be working our way across Asia to see what exactly each is for. Many dumplings and veggies will be consumed in the process.

This post is about the worst kind of soy sauce. The best is a secret for the class!

Back in the olden days, everyone made soy sauce pretty much the same way. Throw some...

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Class Recap

Artificial vs. Natural: When Flavors Collide (An MSG Recap!)

Tuesday night was Masters of Social Gastronomy: The Flavor Battles. Vanilla extract and Ceylon cinnamon squared off against artificial vanilla and ersatz cinnamon (née cassia) in snickerdoodle form: but which cookie took the cake?

First, a bit of history.



Vanilla is an orchid and, in the tradition of orchids, is quite tempermental. It refused to grow anywhere but its native Mexican soil thanks to the presence of a specific...

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Blog Post

Strawberry Secrets: Artificial vs. Natural Flavor Smackdown

If you haven't read Fast Food Nation, I'll go ahead and recommend it. You probably know what it's about, so I won't waste your time explaining!

In doing some research for the artificial vs. natural flavoring Masters of Social Gastronomy, I came across a pretty fun excerpt about what makes fast food so tasty:

A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients:...

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Blog Post

What makes Atomic Fireballs candy so spicy?

I've been doing a lot of "candy science" research in preparation for next month's Masters of Social Gastronomy, and being in love with spicy flavors, Atomic Fireballs were on the top of my list.

Atomic Fireballs were brought to us by the Ferrara Pan Candy Company, which is the best candy company because they also invented Lemonheads. If you make a super spicy candy and a super sour candy you're aces in my book.

Fireballs were...

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Blog Post

Random Fish Facts

I was going to write a post about the wonders of cream of tartar, but for some reason I couldn't find it in the index of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, so I just started looking up random things about fish. I hate fish, but they're totally interesting. 

With that, I present you with a hastily put together recapitulation of my favorite fish facts from today:

Really fresh fish smells like plants! How come? Both have...

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