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Saturday, September 07, 2002

the energy bar?

in a corporate quest for product innovation, multi-national chocolate giant cadbury's has created an entirely new chocolate product: a so-called "chocolate energy bar" containing the herb guarana.

named boost, the company claims the bar offers more buzz than popular "energy drinks" like red bull. after a successful test-market run, it's now been launched into wider distribution throughout the u.k. i expect we will soon see it in the u.s.a. as well.

the bar apparently contains little cookie bits and caramel in a milk-chocolate coating. but when it comes to energy -- what's wrong with sugar and caffeine contained in your normal premium chocolate bar, i have to ask?

cadbury has also introduced a more upscale bon-bon, the mye truffle cone -- a two-layered mole-hill of crunchy cocoa nibs in truffle filling, topped with a white-chocolate mousse, and smothered in cadbury chocolate coating. 3 or 12 to a box.

posted by fortune | 6:56 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Friday, September 06, 2002

not much to report

i'm sorry to say that i really can't report to you all on the congressional wreath-laying ceremony right now at ground zero to commemorate the world trade center tragedy of 9-11. from my perspective, the ceremony is being held on the opposite side of the pit, catty-corner from my office window, in a deep shadow cast by the veiled remains of the deutsche bank building.

to me it looks like a bunch of ants in suits surrounded by tiny stars of sparkling flash bulbs -- the congressmen placing flags in an urn next to a large wreath while a flute played in gentle accompany. it does surprise me that the congressmen stayed on the sidewalk by the pedestrian walk way at the rim of ground zero. but as a colleague noted sharply, "they probably didn't want to get their custom-made shoes dirty."

cnn is a better source for this one, i'm afraid. previous 9-11 coverage in this space:
the day
the day after
another view
vigil on the brooklyn promenade
my return to downtown
century 21 re-opens
3 months
6 months
end of recovery ceremony

posted by fortune | 12:18 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Thursday, September 05, 2002

he should have sent it to the czech

after a few days of being way too serious, it's time to offer a friendly reminder. . .

direct all your excess chocolate wrappers to mad chocolate collector martin mihal. don't burgle houses and leave your crunchie bar chocolate wrappers at the scene.

the dna evidence will get you every time.

posted by fortune | 6:51 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

the taste of bread

ever since i bought dr. raymond calvel's ultimate professional bread book, the taste of bread, i have been wondering just what that taste is.

how to describe the wonderful taste of fresh, real yeast bread? wheaty comes to mind, but whole wheat and white bread flour have slightly different tastes, while still having that delicious fresh "bready" taste, which in fact is shared by breads containing potato, rye, farro, and seeds.

normally we say there are 4 tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty. one of the things i always had trouble understanding about ayurveda was its inclusion of 6 tastes or rasa. one of the two extra is called kashya, sometimes translated "astringent;" the other is tikta, translated "spicy" or "pungent," which isn't hard to understand -- chilies and black pepper are tikta. but what is that kashya all about? in ayurveda, many meats are classified as "astringent." butter, yogurt, and cheese also often fall into this category, as do many beans and vegetables like asparagus. some classifications also list bread as "astringent," while others list it as "sweet." (the difference may have to do with whether the bread contains oil/butter or not.)

so imagine my feeling of surprise to learn that scientists are now inventing a new realm of taste to add to our standard 4. this so-called "savory" taste is known as umami. researchers have discovered that our tongue actually has special receptors for this taste, receptors that lock onto the natural glutamates in food. what foods contain these glutamates and thus should be classified as umami in taste? maybe it's just an interesting co-incidence -- meat, cheese, bread and asparagus! could umami roughly correspond to kashya?

this co-incidence aside, i now know what "that taste of bread" really is -- umami. this fascinating article explains it all. now we have five standard tastes -- i wonder if science will soon admit a special category for those tikta chiles. after all, it appears that the capsaicin in the chiles also locks onto special receptors, the trigeminal nerves, in the taste buds. . .

posted by fortune | 6:15 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Tuesday, September 03, 2002


i don't mean to start this week after the holiday as a downer. but i would ask all of you long-time readers to consider a small donation to the charity coffee kids.

i've written before about the coffee crisis' human toll -- i've even mentioned the plight of the people in matagalpa, nicaragua here. this recent dispatch from reuters confirms what were then just fears: growing starvation there. as you sip your cup of coffee while you dash off to work, take just a moment, please, to cruise over to the coffee kids website and consider a small gift for the people who are picking and processing your favorite beverage. . .

posted by fortune | 6:17 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Monday, September 02, 2002

more major media discovers the coffee crisis

just when you long-time readers thought it was safe to come back! that finally you would be free of my endless tales from the coffee crisis -- the problems caused around the globe and in our hemisphere by the world depression in coffee prices.

finally this story is breaking out of the blogs and the back of the commodities pages. . .first peter fritsch of the wall st. journal wrote a piece, and slowly the story is leaking into other media. if you have a fast connection, or some patience for the large images and voiceover, check out this fairly decent summation of the situation at msnbc. it's a lengthy article -- but worthwhile, sobering, and thought-provoking.

posted by fortune | 8:14 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Sunday, September 01, 2002

as promised

many whole-wheat pizza crusts are dull and heavy. ugh! this one's fairly light. i use king arthur's white whole wheat flour for less of that bitter aftertaste you sometimes find in regular whole wheat products. remember, i give all my bread recipes by weight, so use a scale:

11 oz. white whole wheat flour (about 2-1/4 cups)
5.5 oz. high-protein bread flour (about 1-1/8 cups)
9.25 oz. water (about 1 cup, 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1.25 oz. extra-virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon SAF yeast

make this in the same manner as my regular pizza crust, long rise time and all. . .yesterday it rose for me in about 4-1/2 hours. i made my red tomato pizza sauce with wine, and topped the pies with 3-1/2 oz. fresh mozzarella and lots of fresh basil leaves, torn.

you could make 4 7-inch personal pies from this dough, but i always end up making just 2 12-inch pies; mr. right likes that size!

as for the brownies -- right texture, still lacking in chocolate flavor. based on the texture, this recipe might be one worth tinkering with. . .maybe by doubling the amount of cocoa and butter? anyway, mr. right and i tried about 2 brownies each, and then just threw the rest away. . .why waste calories on inferior brownies??

posted by fortune | 8:32 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

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