Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Pandemic and hospital food

With so many people hospitalized at the moment with varying levels of incapacitation, it might be a good time to think about hospital food!  Here is an interesting view of the situation in hospitals (in the UK but would also apply to everywhere else) and some reasons why hospital food is not appetizing.

Spence, C. Hospital food. Flavour 6, 3 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13411-017-0055-y

The author also gives some ideas as to how some simple changes could make a difference (one example is that patients may eat more of a protein shake if it is made into ice cream!)
He also claims that sous vide also began in Swiss hospitals as as way to sterilize and preserve food.

Simple fixes like changing the plate colour can make a difference too:
"The gastrophysics research now shows that enhancing the visual contrast on the plate can lead to a substantial increase in food and liquid intake in those who are suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease. In one study conducted at a long-term care facility over in the States, for instance, switching to high contrast blue or red plates and glasses led to a 25% increase in food consumption and liquid intake going up by as much as 84%.FootnoteThe results of another hospital study were equally dramatic: Average consumption amongst the older and more vulnerable patients, including those suffering from dementia, went up by 30% from 114 to 152 g, just by changing the plate colour. In this case, the hospital replaced their standard issue white plates with blue crockery instead. Elsewhere, older people have been shown to eat more white fish when it is served from a blue plate.Footnote Better contrast between the food in the foreground and the background colour can probably best help explain such remarkable results."
The author gives some very good ideas for improving food service in hospitals and retirement homes - some of which are actually not very expensive to implement! 

Political Cartoon on Twitter: "PAUL THOMAS on Prue Leith and Boris ...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

5 second rule experiment

The Eureka! Lab at Science for Students did an experiment on the 5 second rule - is food still cleaner if only dropped for 5 seconds rather than longer?

Part 1 sets out the experiment: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/blog/eureka-lab/five-second-rule-designing-experiment

Part 2 describes the experimental setup: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/blog/eureka-lab/five-second-rule-growing-germs-science

and Part 3 calculated the results: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/blog/eureka-lab/five-second-rule-myth-busted

Results?  basically busted - food dropped for 5 seconds collects microbes just like food dropped for 50 seconds. But basically most microbes you pick up are not that harmful anyway.

Clean floors are always better though!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Refrigerator Organization

Are you like me and stuff everything everywhere (except for those certain items that "have their place")?

Well, Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats has news for you and me - where we store stuff in the fridge (why does fridge have a "d" and refrigerator does not?) will make a difference to the quality and freshness not to mention healthiness of our food.

The Food Lab: How to Organize Your Refrigerator for Better Food Storage

I think I am going to rethink my cold storage this weekend and upend my status quo!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Drink coffee for your health!

A review of the literature seems to indicate that there is a positive benefit to a few cups of coffee a day - prevents type 2 diabetes, lowers body weight and waist circumference, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease!

Here is the paper (hurray for open access): 
How coffee affects metabolic syndrome and its componentsB. Baspinar,*a  
Food Funct., 2017,8, 2089-2101

and a cool summary of the findings in this diagram

Time for summer drinks - gin and tonic!!

Here is an excellent explanation as to why gin + tonic does not taste like gin or tonic but something more subtle;

In contrast, a rum and coke tastes like rum + coke.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Better cooking through science...

I have become addicted to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Food lab posts on Serious Eats. He breaks down cooking and baking to its elements and tweaks them to create the best versions possible.

 I love the scientific methods in his Yorkshire Pudding post - hypothesize, experiment, conclude.

His latest is on how to fry your stewed beef to create the best Maillard reaction browning with the least amount of dryout.

If you want to be a better cook - READ HIS STUFF!!

There is also a book!

Follow him on Twitter for his latest posts:
J. Kenji López-Alt ‏@TheFoodLab