food, drinks, restaurants

Bass! How low can you go?

“This is the loudest restaurant I’ve ever reviewed in D.C.,” he tells us as we look over the menu. “Here, it was 100 decibels at the bar during happy hour, and not much better in the center of the dining room.” […] The sound levels blow away a normal, 60-decibel conversation. […] The decibel scale (dB) is a scientific measure of sound intensity. To human ears a 10dB difference is about twice as loud, but the sound intensity is 10 times greater. […]

Our brains have a tough time sorting through the cacophony in crowded dining rooms, which can influence our behavior. Multiple studies show that prolonged exposure to noise has physical effects such as increased anxiety and fatigue. Taken together, these effects can make the restaurant experience more taxing than relaxing for patrons, and they can leave staff drained from a long day straining to offer service while risking permanent hearing damage. […]

Alcohol blunts our hearing — especially at lower frequencies. This means when I reach the legal limit to drive, my brain will turn down the volume of most sounds I’m hearing in a restaurant. This effect may give me some relief from the music, but it will also drown out voices. It explains why intoxicated individuals talk louder: They don’t hear themselves as well as they normally do and speak up to compensate. […]

Strangely, noise also seems to drive more alcohol consumption. French researchers discovered this effect by raising music levels in bars by about 15 decibels and recording the number of drinks served. […]

Sorting through noise in restaurant dining rooms is particularly taxing to our brains, studies have shown. Working memory is under high demand when we need to switch our attention from one voice to another in a sea of voices. […]

At 95 decibels, scientists observe people and rodents eat less and consume food faster. Wang suggests that this fact may be understood by restaurant managers trying to turn their tables.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Das große Fressen

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Instead of killing animals for food, why not manufacture beef or chicken in a laboratory vat? That’s the humane idea behind “lab-grown meat.” The problem, though, is making the stuff at a large scale. Take Upside Foods. The startup, based in Berkeley, California, had raised more than half a billion dollars and was showing off rows of big, gleaming steel bioreactors.

But journalists soon learned that Upside was a bird in borrowed feathers. Its big tanks weren’t producing its flagship “whole textured chicken” filets; to produce those it was growing chicken skin cells in much smaller laboratory flasks. Thin layers of cells were then being manually scooped up and pressed into chicken pieces. In other words, Upside was using lots of labor, plastic, and energy to make hardly any meat. […]

And even though lab-grown chicken has FDA approval, there’s doubt whether lab meat will ever compete with the real thing. Chicken goes for $4.99 a pound at the supermarket. Upside still isn’t saying how much the lab version costs to make, but a few bites of it sell for $45 at a Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco.

{ The worst technology failures of 2023 | Technology Review }

oil on panel { Pablo Picasso, La Poule, 1950 }

Sleep no more

no known drug, including caffeine, can effectively reverse sleep deprivation.

The reason has to do, in part, with the circadian rhythm of a chemical called adenosine that plays a major role in the regulation of sleep.

When you awake from a restful night of sleep, the adenosine level in your brain is at its nadir. Throughout the day, it steadily rises and gradually produces the pressure to sleep in the evening. During sleep, adenosine is cleared from the brain, which helps us wake up and stay alert.

Caffeine is a powerful antagonist at adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking the sedating effects of adenosine and making you feel stimulated and mentally sharp.

Here’s the problem. If you cut short your normal night of sleep, adenosine is not fully cleared from the brain. With chronic sleep deprivation, adenosine levels continue to rise, creating a persistent sense of fatigue and sleepiness and impairing cognitive function.

The brain adapts to this flood of adenosine by increasing the number of adenosine receptors in an attempt to get you to fall asleep, which of course only makes you feel more tired.

You will probably respond by increasing your caffeine consumption, in an attempt to block rising adenosine activity, which can only be restored by a normal night of sleep — the very thing my patient was trying to cut short.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just make you tired. It impairs the brain’s ability to consolidate memory.

During sleep, your neurons are remodeled and change their firing pattern, which helps burn in the memories that are formed during the day.

Too little sleep can also exacerbate preexisting depression and anxiety disorders and make people with no previous mental health problems generally more angry and impulsive. […]

Intriguingly, while caffeine can’t eradicate sleep deprivation, it does appear to offset some of the harmful cognitive effects of sleep loss on memory. […]

Caffeine is usually metabolized within four to six hours. […] Some people are genetically slow metabolizers of caffeine and will have significant sleep-onset insomnia even from early morning coffee.

And here’s the most effective trick for falling asleep, which has been studied and shown to be as effective — if not more — than any hypnotic drug. Don’t do anything in bed except sleep or have sex — no reading, listening to music or anything else.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Create your own bingo game

Drinking coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, melanoma, prostate cancer, even suicide […]

In numerous studies conducted throughout the world, consuming four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) a day has been associated with reduced death rates. In a study of more than 200,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than were people who shunned coffee. Perhaps most dramatic was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of suicide among both men and women who were moderate coffee drinkers, perhaps by boosting production of brain chemicals that have antidepressant effects.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Let me have men about me that are fat. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

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When we lose weight, where does it go?

The correct answer is that fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat. […]

This surprises just about everyone, but actually, almost everything we eat comes back out via the lungs. Every carbohydrate you digest and nearly all the fats are converted to carbon dioxide and water. The same goes for alcohol.

Protein shares the same fate, except for the small part that turns into urea and other solids, which you excrete as urine.

The only thing in food that makes it to your colon undigested and intact is dietary fibre (think corn). Everything else you swallow is absorbed into your bloodstream and organs and, after that, it’s not going anywhere until you’ve vaporised it.

{ The Conversation | Continue reading }

The sun is there, the slender trees, the lemon houses

Moringa oleifera, an edible tree found worldwide in the dry tropics, is increasingly being used for nutritional supplementation. Its nutrient-dense leaves are high in protein quality, leading to its widespread use by doctors, healers, nutritionists and community leaders, to treat under-nutrition and a variety of illnesses. Despite the fact that no rigorous clinical trial has tested its efficacy for treating under-nutrition, the adoption of M. oleifera continues to increase. The “Diffusion of innovations theory” describes well the evidence for growth and adoption of dietary M. oleifera leaves, and it highlights the need for a scientific consensus on the nutritional benefits. […]

The regions most burdened by under-nutrition, (in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean) all share the ability to grow and utilize an edible plant, Moringa oleifera, commonly referred to as “The Miracle Tree.” For hundreds of years, traditional healers have prescribed different parts of M. oleifera for treatment of skin diseases, respiratory illnesses, ear and dental infections, hypertension, diabetes, cancer treatment, water purification, and have promoted its use as a nutrient dense food source. The leaves of M. oleifera have been reported to be a valuable source of both macro- and micronutrients and is now found growing within tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, congruent with the geographies where its nutritional benefits are most needed.

Anecdotal evidence of benefits from M. oleifera has fueled a recent increase in adoption of and attention to its many healing benefits, specifically the high nutrient composition of the plants leaves and seeds. Trees for Life, an NGO based in the United States has promoted the nutritional benefits of Moringa around the world, and their nutritional comparison has been widely copied and is now taken on faith by many: “Gram for gram fresh leaves of M. oleifera have 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, 7 times the vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the calcium of milk, 3 times the potassium of bananas, ¾ the iron of spinach, and 2 times the protein of yogurt” (Trees for Life, 2005).

Feeding animals M. oleifera leaves results in both weight gain and improved nutritional status. However, scientifically robust trials testing its efficacy for undernourished human beings have not yet been reported. If the wealth of anecdotal evidence (not cited herein) can be supported by robust clinical evidence, countries with a high prevalence of under-nutrition might have at their fingertips, a sustainable solution to some of their nutritional challenges. […]

The “Diffusion of Innovations” theory explains the recent increase in M. oleifera adoption by various international organizations and certain constituencies within undernourished populations, in the same manner as it has been so useful in explaining the adoption of many of the innovative agricultural practices in the 1940-1960s. […] A sigmoidal curve (Figure 1), illustrates the adoption process starting with innovators (traditional healers in the case of M. oleifera), who communicate and influence early adopters, (international organizations), who then broadcast over time new information on M. oleifera adoption, in the wake of which adoption rate steadily increases.

{ Ecology of Food and Nutrition | Continue reading }

Originally created from chickens too old to lay eggs, McNuggets are now created from chickens with unusually large breasts. They are stripped to the bone, and ground up into a sort of chicken mash, which is then combined with all sorts of additives and preservatives, pressed into familiar shapes, breaded and deep-fryed, freeze-dried, and then shipped to a McDonald’s near you.

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{ In many states, especially in the South and Midwest, traffic at fast-food restaurants is now higher than it was before the restrictions | Washington Post | Continue reading }

ills and ells with loffs of toffs and pleures of bells

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With about a dozen trucks an hour setting off from the avocado belt in Mexico’s western state of Michoacán for the U.S., armed robbers are zeroing in on the fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry. The rise in avocado-related crime has turned parts of the state into no-go areas even for the police. […]

Until recently, Mexico’s organized crime groups’ main source of revenues from avocados centred around extortion — demands for protection money from farmers. But the sharp fall in the price of Mexican opium paste has forced them to diversify, according to analysts.

Increasingly they have started hijacking truckloads of fruit for export. […] The rise in avocado crime is thus indirectly linked to America’s opioid crisis. Americans’ increased use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used for pain relief, pushed down the price of heroin, which in turn slashed the price of Mexican opium. […]

Demand for avocados jumps ahead of the Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting event, with Mexico shipping a record 127,000 tonnes to the U.S. for the occasion. Overall production is rising, hitting 1.09 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season, up nearly 4 per cent from the 1.05 million produced in 2017-18. Exports last season rose 5.4 per cent. Sales to the U.S., the largest importer of Mexican avocados, bring in almost US$2 billion a year, much of it going to smallholders.

{ Financial Post | Continue reading }

art { Evan Roth, Landscapes, 2016-ongoing }

Axe on thwacks on thracks, axenwise. One by one place.

Several delivery services, including Postmates, Seamless, Grubhub, and DoorDash, offer food from restaurants without their explicit permission. The delivery apps pull up restaurant menus listed online, from which customers make their selections, and couriers working for the apps place orders on their behalf. The process essentially inserts third-party apps as middlemen into a service many restaurants say they want control over, or wish to opt out of entirely.

{ Eater | Continue reading }

If it smells like fish, eat it

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{ Maurizio Cattelan, Comedian, 2020 — An Artist Just Ate One of Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 Bananas Off the Wall in Miami | Yoko Ono, Apple, 1966 — Apple was first displayed in a London gallery in 1966. It was here that Yoko Ono met John Lennon for the first time. “You know, he didn’t say anything. He just grabbed the apple and had a bite in it.” }

Save me from those therrble prongs!

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{ Ali Wong’s guide to evaluating the quality of Asian restaurants | enlarge }

O weep for the hower when eve aleaves bower!

Starbucks plans to begin testing a new type of store that only takes orders via mobile app […] that’s more or less what’s happening right now at regular Starbucks stores: the company already accepts mobile orders, and has more than 16 million mobile users. The drawback is that those users crowd the stores and cause bottlenecks at peak times; in some outlets, the glut of mobile orders has gotten so bad that it’s discouraging walk-in customers. Thus, the mobile-only store model is presumably a response to problems already created by mobile ordering.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Eer’s wax for Sur Soord, dong-dong bollets for the iris riflers

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One brave outdoorsman will finally take a special shot of whiskey at a bar in Canada’s Yukon Territory containing his amputated, now-dehydrated big toe, which he donated to the establishment for their signature “Sourtoe Cocktail” after losing it to frostbite in February 2018.

{ Fox News | Continue reading }

The legendary $5 drink, called the Sourtoe Cocktail, has been served at Yukon’s Downtown Hotel since 1973. Drinkers must touch their lips to the toe to earn a certificate of completion. To date, more than 90,000 have. […]

“We have been without a big toe for some time, so his generous toe-nation will help ensure the tradition continues,” says the hotel’s general manager, Adam Gerle, in a statement. […]

“It takes six weeks to mummify a new toe on rock salt before it’s ready to serve,” Lee says.

{ NY post | Continue reading }

oil on cardboard { Edward Hopper, Nude Walking through Doorway, c.1902 }

‘Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.’ –George Bernard Shaw

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Faces in general and attractive faces, in particular, are frequently used in marketing, advertising, and packaging design. However, few studies have examined the effects of attractive faces on people’s choice behavior.

The present research examines whether attractive (vs. unattractive) faces increase individuals’ inclination to choose either healthy or unhealthy foods. […]

exposure to attractive (vs. unattractive) opposite‐sex faces increased choice likelihood of unhealthy foods.

{ Psychology & Marketing | Continue reading }

offset lithograph / vinyl cover { Damien Hirst, Kate Moss — Use Money Cheat Death, 2009 | The record is a one-sided, white vinyl disc with a mainly monotonous beeping interrupted by what is purported to be Kate Moss’ voice in telephone call mode for about 30 seconds, then more beeping and finally Damien Hirst himself telling us that it’s okay for artists to earn money. }

Life’s a scream

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{ Chelsea restaurant the Wilson debuts a fancy menu for dogs }

‘Buying a 25-year-old 757 is like buying a bag of Cheetos. It’s a lot of food for a low price.’ –Greg Raiff, CEO of Private Jet Services

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“In many countries, poor diet now causes more deaths than tobacco smoking and high blood pressure […] we have shown that, at the population level, a low intake of healthy foods is the more important factor, rather than the high intake of unhealthy foods”

[…]

more than half of all global diet-related deaths in 2017 were due to just three risk factors: eating too much salt, not enough whole grains and not enough fruit.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

Jambalaya!

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For every 100,000 inhabitants, Okinawa has 68 centenarians – more than three times the numbers found in US populations of the same size. Even by the standards of Japan, Okinawans are remarkable, with a 40% greater chance of living to 100 than other Japanese people. […]

one of the most exciting factors to have recently caught the scientists’ attention is the peculiarly high ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the Okinawan diet – with a particular abundance of sweet potato as the source of most of their calories. […]

Despite the popularity of the Atkins and Paleo diets, there is minimal evidence that high-protein diets really do bring about long-term benefits.

So could the “Okinawan Ratio” – 10:1 carbohydrate to protein – instead be the secret to a long and healthy life? […]

The typical Okinawan centenarian appeared to be free of the typical signs of cardiovascular disease […] Okinawa’s oldest residents also have far lower rates of cancer, diabetes and dementia than other ageing populations. […]

Genetic good fortune could be one important factor. Thanks to the geography of the islands, Okinawa’s populations have spent large chunks of their history in relative isolation, which may has given them a unique genetic profile. […]

It is the Okinawans’ diet, however, that may have the most potential to change our views on healthy ageing. Unlike the rest of Asia, the Okinawan staple is not rice, but the sweet potato. […] Okinawans also eat an abundance of green and yellow vegetables – such as the bitter melon – and various soy products. Although they do eat pork, fish and other meats, these are typically a small component of their overall consumption, which is mostly plant-based foods.

The traditional Okinawan diet is therefore dense in the essential vitamins and minerals - including anti-oxidants - but also low in calories. Particularly in the past, before fast food entered the islands, the average Okinawan ate around 11% fewer calories than the normal recommended consumption for a healthy adult.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, New York City, New York, September-October 1972 }

‘Goethe’s theory of the constitution of colours of the spectrum has not proved to be an unsatisfactory theory, rather it really isn’t a theory at all.’ –Wittgenstein

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With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term— in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.

Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

art { Josef Albers, Interaction of Color, 1963 }

And his derry’s own drawl and his corksown blather and his doubling stutter and his gullaway swank

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Scotland’s Aldwych Café and Ice Cream Parlor is dishing up what they’ve deemed the world’s “most dangerous ice cream.”

You have to be 18 years or older just to get a taste. Even if you pass the adult test, you’ll still need to sign a waiver warning of the ice cream’s “risk of personal injury, illness, and possible loss of life.”

The makers of Respiro Del Diavolo – Italian for “Breath of the Devil” – claim the velvety red ice cream is 500 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. The Carolina Reaper pepper used comes in at a whopping 1,569,300 SHU on the Scoville scale.

{ IFL Science | Continue reading }

Tilling a teel of a tum, telling a toll of a teary turty Taubling

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How much water goes into a cup of tea? Somewhere around 30 litres of water is required for tea itself, 10 litres for a small dash of milk and a further 6 litres for each teaspoon of sugar. This means that a simple cup of tea with milk and two sugars could actually require 52 litres of water.

{ ResearchGate | Continue reading }

related { A Corpus Study of ‘Cup of [tea]’ and ‘Mug of [tea]’ | PDF }

oil on canvas { Roy Lichtenstein, Bread in Bag, 1961 }