*** Doc Callahan, retired professor, part-time farmer, and full-time pontificator, receives countless inquiries about the food we eat, and after hours of deep thought, he provides the road apples of knowledge that help fertilize the mind. This week, Doc bites into lab burgers, quinoa, and deep fat fried addictions.
I saw reports about hamburgers that are made in laboratories. At $350,000 a patty, the price is a bit out of my range, but I’m wondering if this means cattle farming is on the way out. Can you help me figure out “where’s the beef”?
McBaffled in Memphis
I wouldn’t sell your shares in Beefworld quite yet. These stem cell patties are a long way from mass production. The sign outside the Dutch lab says “One Served” while I imagine McDonalds is up to “Trillions Served” by now. The topic brings up other interesting points, though. As you can see in this link, the scientist and the financial backer emphasize the need for lab meat to feed the world and to end the “negative aspects” of livestock production. At the same time, some experts claim meat production is more efficient and necessary than ever, as this short interview demonstrates. I suggest you read credible information and make your mind up about what to eat. I’ll throw real burgers on the barbie this summer, but if a lab burger ever floats by, I’ll try it—as long as it’s not called something like Soylent Burger.
Boy, do I feel dumb. I read a piece about the ten most commonly mispronounced food words, and I find that I’m mispronouncing six of them—I’ve never even heard of the other four. What happened to the good old days when I just had to know how to say “meat, potatoes, and gravy”?
Tongue-tied in Toledo
Don’t worry. Creative butchering of word pronunciations is second only to grammar malpractice in this country, so spit it out however you want. I read that same article, and I feel the same as you do. I thought quinoa was a Bolivian rodent. And gnocchi sounds like a character from a Disney cartoon about garden gnomes. But don’t let it stop you from trying new foods. Just remember, when you ask for a quesadilla, it does not rhyme with armadillo, and a gyro is not pronounced as if it’s a shortened version of gyrate. By the way, do you pour gravy on po-tay-toes or pa-tah-toes?
I moved from Iowa long ago, but every year at this time, I crave deep fried food on a stick. My nutritionist calls it the Iowa State Fair Syndrome. Any remedies?
Deep Fried in Florida
Dear Deep Fried,
The famous fair starts this week, and the latest culinary offerings include shrimp corndogs, smoothies on a stick, and bacon wrapped riblets on a stick. Years ago Iowa scientists concocted a secret ingredient to make fair food addictive. Why else would thousands battle heat, crowds, and cholesterol to munch on fried brownies on a stick? Instead of fighting the trend, I might join it. I have the usual zucchini-gone-wild crop in my garden this year, so I plan to open a stall at the fair. Deep fat fried zucchini on a stick might sell if I wrap bacon around it. Let’s face it—here in Iowa, deep fat fried styrofoam on a stick would sell if it had bacon around it.
by dan gogerty (photo from ameseatsflavors.com)