Curious Cook

New Year’s day marked the first time I consciously began a year as a vegan. My daughter had entered the popular Veganuary Challenge and that meant we all had to eat vegan for the month of January. I did not mind it much, especially as wine is considered vegan, though I can see myself over
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Although this piece focuses on Christmas feasts, much of it also applies to other feasts as well. This is because feasting practices, especially in modern times, tend to have a lot in common, apart from perhaps the drinks – but more on that later. If one analyses a Christmas feast, the main components making up
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EVERYBODY is now probably aware that for some time, we have been living with strains of bacteria which are immune to many common antibiotics. This is not unexpected as it is one of the logical (and short-sighted) consequences of adding vast quantities of antibiotics into animal/poultry feeds. In fact, over 80% of the antibiotics produced
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Read Part 1 Chicken super-farms and Vitamin D Large-scale commercial meat production, or factory meat farming, probably started with chickens in Delaware, United States, at a farm run by Mrs Wilmer Steele. Selling a batch of 500 broiler chickens in 1923 inspired her to devise new methods to intensify meat production – and by 1926,
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Age of humans We are probably living in a new geological period called the Anthropocene Epoch, replacing the Holocene Epoch which was a relatively warm period which started around the end of the last glacial period around 12,000 years ago. Like all geological periods, the Anthropocene is defined by observable, distinct changes to the ecosystems
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As I write, there is a severe heatwave in Europe – some parts have recorded temperatures of 46°C and today it is 37°C at home. With no air conditioning, I had planned a simple low-effort review of recent scientific research papers – but it turned out interesting news is unusually sparse this month. Perhaps the
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Airline food New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister (then Acting PM) complained recently about a burger on his national airline. The burger is the Impossible Burger, a moist, meaty-tasting burger made entirely from vegetarian products and has the ability to “bleed” like real ground beef – in blind tastings, several professional cooks have confirmed it tastes
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Read Part 1 At home with food  When thinking of home modern foods, many would probably think of ready-to-eat meals, available for dining after a spell in the microwave, oven or pan of boiling water. There are many other foods which are used at home which are not available only a hundred years ago. Examples
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A fortnight ago, there was an antique car gathering in the village. Most of the cars were from before 1940 so there were many interesting vehicles rollicking noisily around the place. Although fascinating, the antique vehicles do not have safety features, no air conditioning, require special blending of liquid lead into their fuels and they
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READ: Part 1 and Part 2 A curious aspect of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is that this syndrome is usually acquired after childhood. It is odd because statistically, adults have a smaller percentage of allergy sufferers than children – one presumes childhood allergens are better tolerated as one grows older and develops a more rounded (or
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READ Part 1 Negative reactions to food elements or environmental factors are known generically as allergies – which is technically a range of responses to allergens, which are the natural or synthetic compounds which provoke such reactions. All allergies are inflammatory reactions against allergens – and the immune system responses may be very mild (such
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The story begins with a personal (and unscientific) anecdote about gluten. Several years ago, in Taipei, Taiwan, I was convulsed with severe abdominal cramps after several days of eating (too much of) the delicious steamed wheat-flour buns and wheat noodles there. As I have had previously issues with commercial breads, I suspected a link to
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People are not just people. They are an awful lot of microbes too. This quote from The Economist (2012) reflects the realisation that human gastrointestinal microbiota (HGM) is not just a collection of icky bugs lounging around in our guts. In fact, scientists now think that HGM should be classified as a human organ –
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