Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Science of Taste

Ingredients of a Twinkie

Red 40, one of the 37 ingredients in a Twinkie. (Image by photographer Dwight Eschliman)

1. Custom-made, low-sodium conical salt crystals and Pepsi’s quest to making eating unhealthily slightly less unhealthy: Snacks for A Fat Planet by John Seabrook, The New Yorker. And the short version on Science Wired: The Future of Salt and Sugar is Being Engineered in a PepsiCo Lab.

2. Food science secrets are so elusive, they inspire espionage: A Man With Muffin Secrets, but No Job With Them, The New York Times.


Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, that periodical which has managed to endure over two centuries of political upheaval, several wars, and dramatic cultural and technological evolutions, was all done, for the most part, by remaining relatively unchanged at the steady center of America’s storm.

Vintage Farmer's Almanac

Robert B. Thomas Farmer’s Almanac, 1907.


Tagged , , , | 5 Comments


Making of a pewter vase. (Image via

Louis Bernard working with pewter. (Image via

When I was a kid, our flatware was made of silver, that prince of metals that my parents insisted we use, but that always gave certain dishes a sharp, unpleasant taste. Before dinner I’d inspect each spoon, fork and knife, switching mine for a less tarnished one. When it was finally time to eat, I’d drag my teeth over the metal, hoping this would minimize the acrid flavor from the metal.  And when I stared into a delicious bowl of soup, the dreaded silver spoon in hand, I wanted to be a poor man.


Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments