Experimenting in the Kitchen

Listening to Jeff Potter, a software engineer and author of “Cooking for Geeks” as he demystifies food preparation as Ira Flatow’s guest on Science Friday. Who knew that “Total Textural Preference” describes how one of the proteins in meat (Myosin) changes shape before the other one (Actin) at 120 degrees and apparently we like that?!
Did you know that when it is hot enough to fry an egg it means the sidewalk is at least 142 degrees? I also learned that sugar melts at 367 degrees. I forgot that food science was so interesting. My undergraduate courses never held my attention like that but perhaps it is all in the delivery and Jeff is a self professed kitchen geek. I can’t wait to read his book and start experimenting in the kitchen.

Mushrooms as health communicators

Mushrooms are a large and ancient group of fungi in their fruiting stage. Reseearch is now suggesting that fungi in both their vegetative and fruiting stages play a role in intestinal immunity. Alpha glucans are found in larger concentrations in the vegetative stages whereas it is the beta glucans in the fruiting mushrooms. White button mushrooms may be particularly helpful in antiviral activity according to a new study funded by the USDA http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2010/100729.htm

Microbial Genes and the Human Genome

Attended a 2 day conference on the Future of Genomic Medicine at Scripps. The Keynote speaker was J Craig Venter who blew my mind as usual. He expanded our awareness of genomics to the vast numbers of microbial genes that live in and on us. Estimated at 10 million – most in our mouth and digestive tract. – the human microbiome.

Human Microbiome

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