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Food Matters

Food Matters

Giving science a seat at the table

  • Quinine and Empire

    Quinine and Empire

    By Layla Eplett | August 20, 2015 |

    When Winston Churchill attributed it with saving “more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire,” he wasn’t referring to a military tactic or peace treaty. Instead, his accolades were reserved for the gin and tonic. […]

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  • Signal to Noise Special on GMOs

    Signal to Noise Special on GMOs

    By Kevin Bonham | August 12, 2015 |

    One of the most rewarding things I did in graduate school was to join a group called "Science in the News," which is entirely run by graduate students and has the ambitious aim of educating the public about science. One of these initiatives is  Signal to Noise,  an online magazine released a few times a month, and the most recent issue is all about GMOs! […]

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  • Looking for Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Bacteria That Make Cheese Delicious

    Looking for Horizontal Gene Transfer in the Bacteria That Make Cheese Delicious

    By Kevin Bonham | July 30, 2015 |

    One of several reasons for my lack of blogging lately is that I'm on the job market. I'm applying for assistant professor positions at small liberal arts colleges, but it's going to be hard going - a lot of really talented and accomplished scientists will be applying for the same positions. […]

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  • I'd Like to Make the World a Coke: Attempting the

    I'd Like to Make the World a Coke: Attempting the "Original" Coca-Cola Formula

    By Layla Eplett | July 27, 2015 |

    The original recipe for Coca-Cola is said to be one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world. There are claims that only two people know it at any given time and can never travel on the same plane in case it crashes. Part of Coca-Cola’s appeal is its intentionally hyped secrecy; the formula is kept in a vault that even Liberace might consider to be over-the-top.  Is it one of the most guarded secrets or has the original formula actually just been available--hiding in plain sight? […]

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  • Which Fishwich Is Which Fish? The Case for Species-Specific Seafood Names [Video]

    Which Fishwich Is Which Fish? The Case for Species-Specific Seafood Names [Video]

    By Patrick Mustain | July 22, 2015 |

    What’s in a name?  In the case of fish, quite a lot, actually. Ocean conservation organization Oceana (my employer) released a report this week detailing why we need to revisit how we name our seafood. Take grouper, for example: the Food and Drug Administration’s Seafood List identifies “grouper” as the acceptable market name for 64 different species of fish. […]

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  • <i>Fin</i> (the End): Putting a Stop to the Consumption of Shark Fin Soup

    Fin (the End): Putting a Stop to the Consumption of Shark Fin Soup

    By Layla Eplett | July 8, 2015 |

    The Confederate flag. Donald Trump’s rants during campaign season. Shark fin soup. Not all traditions should be continued. Shark fin soup originated during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279), but it wasn’t until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that the dish became popular amongst the aristocracy. […]

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  • The Plot Thickens--More on Antibiotics and Obesity

    The Plot Thickens--More on Antibiotics and Obesity

    By Kevin Bonham | June 30, 2015 |

    Last week, I wrote about some research linking early childhood antibiotic use with obesity. One of the major limitations of those studies was that antibiotics were given at low doses, but over a long period of time, which does not really mimic how humans receive therapeutic doses. […]

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  • Sugar Was a Spice and Not Always so Nice

    Sugar Was a Spice and Not Always so Nice

    By Layla Eplett | June 23, 2015 |

    According to the recently published Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets , a spoonful of sugar does more than help the medicine go down. The 888 page encyclopedia covers everything from à la mode to zuppa inglese , with nearly 600 entries written by experts who address the scientific, historical, and cultural aspects of sugar and sweets. […]

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  • Antibiotics and Obesity--an Unexpected Casualty in the War on Microbes

    Antibiotics and Obesity--an Unexpected Casualty in the War on Microbes

    By Kevin Bonham | June 20, 2015 |

    I've been away from blogging for quite a bit - I went on my honeymoon last month, and then I moved, then I went to a week-long conference about microbiology. One of the most surprising things to come out of that last for me was the stunning evidence of the effects of antibiotic use on obesity in a talk by Martin Blaser . […]

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  • Ain't Nobody Got Tine for That! The Invention and Evolution of the Fork

    Ain't Nobody Got Tine for That! The Invention and Evolution of the Fork

    By Layla Eplett | June 16, 2015 |

    At one point in time, there was a fork in the road and some people decided to eat with it.  Okay, that may be oversimplifying things a bit too much. Cooper-Hewitt’s Sarah Coffin curated the museum’s “Feeding Desire” exhibition and has spent over thirty years researching the topic. […]

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