food & drink

‘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


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


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


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 }

The world’s current hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper


Our objective was to analyze the association between consumption of hot red chili peppers and mortality. […] The frequency of hot red chili pepper consumption was measured in 16,179 participants at least 18 years of age. […]

Consumption of hot red chili peppers was associated with a 13% reduction in the instantaneous hazard of death. Similar, but statistically nonsignificant trends were seen for deaths from vascular disease, but not from other causes. In this large population-based prospective study, the consumption of hot red chili pepper was associated with reduced mortality.

{ PLOS | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 1972 }

No one speaks English, and everything’s broken

As men are generally more short-term oriented in their sexuality than women, and given that cigarette and alcohol use are still considered masculine behaviors, we explored if female smoking and drinking can function as a short-term mating strategy. […]

The experiment showed that young men perceive women who use cigarettes and alcohol as being more sexually unrestricted. Furthermore, tobacco and (especially) alcohol use brought some short-term attractiveness benefits to women. In short-term mating contexts, drinking enhanced women’s attractiveness, whereas occasional smoking was found equally desirable as not smoking. However, in long-term mating contexts, frequent drinking and all smoking behavior harmed women’s desirability.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | Continue reading }

art { Edvard Munch, Girls on the Bridge, 1902 }

Your air in my lungs


People are often the most aggressive against the people to whom they are closest—intimate partners. Intimate partner violence might be partly a result of poor self-control. Self-control of aggressive impulses requires energy, and much of this energy is provided by glucose derived from the food we eat. We measured glucose levels in 107 married couples over 21 days. To measure aggressive impulses, participants stuck 0–51 pins into a voodoo doll that represented their spouse each night, depending how angry they were with their spouse. To measure aggression, participants blasted their spouse with loud noise through headphones. Participants who had lower glucose levels stuck more pins into the voodoo doll and blasted their spouse with louder and longer noise blasts.

{ PNAS | PDF }

art { Sergei Eisenstein. Untitled, c. 1931 }



Why so many of America’s sushi restaurants are Chinese-owned

The influx of low-wage Chinese immigrants — China recently eclipsed Mexico as the largest source of immigrants to the United States — has created fierce competition to provide cheap food. At the same time, Japan’s wealth and economic success helped its cuisine gain a reputation as trendy and refined. So for many entrepreneurial Chinese immigrants looking to get ahead, Japanese food has often become the better opportunity.

“Chinese entrepreneurs have figured out that this is a way to make a slightly better living and get out of the . . . world of $10, $5 food at the bottom end of the market,” says Krishnendu Ray, who leads New York University’s food studies program. […]

“Japanese food has more prestige and seems to, if you just look at a menu, have greater economic opportunity attached to it, because people are conditioned to pay more for rice and protein when it’s presented as sushi than rice and protein when it’s presented as a stir fry,” said Sasha Issenberg, author of “The Sushi Economy.” […]

“I can tell you it is easier to do than a Chinese restaurant,” says Kin Lee, the owner of Love Sushi in Gaithersburg, Md., “and the profit margins are better.”

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.’ –Churchill


Can’t hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of.


Seafood fraud comes in different forms, including species substitution — often a low-value or less desirable seafood item swapped for a more expensive or desirable choice — improper labeling, including hiding the true origin of seafood products, or adding extra breading, water or glazing to seafood products to increase their apparent weight. […]

One in five of the more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested worldwide was mislabeled.

{ Oceana | PDF }

polaroid photograph { Andy Warhol, Lobsters, 1982 }

Ah, but she was the queer old skeowsha anyhow, Anna Livia, trinkettoes!


{ Apple consumption is related to better sexual quality of life in young women | PDF }

photo { Carla van de Puttelaar }

wherever you go, here you are


Some philosophers and physicians have argued that alcoholic patients, who are responsible for their liver failure by virtue of alcoholism, ought to be given lower priority for a transplant when donated livers are being allocated to patients in need of a liver transplant.

The primary argument for this proposal, known as the Responsibility Argument, is based on the more general idea that patients who require scarce medical resources should be given lower priority for those resources when they are responsible for needing them and when they are competing with patients who need the same resources through no fault of their own.

Since alcoholic patients are responsible for needing a new liver and are in direct competition with other patients who need a new liver through no fault of their own, it follows that alcoholic patients ought to be given lower priority for a transplant.

In this article, I argue against the Responsibility Argument by suggesting that in order for it to avoid the force of plausible counter examples, it must be revised to say that patients who are responsible for needing a scarce medical resource due to engaging in behavior that is not socially valuable ought to be given lower priority. I’ll then argue that allocating organs according to social value is inconsistent or in tension with liberal neutrality on the good life. Thus, if one is committed to liberal neutrality, one ought to reject the Responsibility Argument.

{ Bioethics }

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road


A majority of people the world over eat meat, yet many of these same people experience discomfort when the meat on their plate is linked to the death of animals. We draw on this common form of moral conflict — the meat-paradox — to develop insights into the ways in which morally troublesome behaviors vanish into the commonplace and every day.

Drawing on a motivational analysis, we show how societies may be shaped by attempts to resolve dissonance, in turn protecting their citizens from discomfort associated with their own moral conflicts. To achieve this, we build links between dissonance reduction, habit formation, social influence, and the emergence of social norms and detail how our analysis has implications for understanding immoral behavior and motivations underpinning dehumanization and objectification.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Review }