poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


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New Recipes Page is Up! (Finally!)

Hi all! Sorry for the radio silence in this neck of the blogosphere.  I’ve been more preoccupied with running and less with cooking and food as of late, and my blogging has reflected that.  But I’m back today to make a couple of exciting announcements!

First of all, I’ve finally gathered all of the recipes that I’ve ever posted on this blog in one page, creatively titled, Recipes.  I confess that I did this as much for myself as for y’all, as  I was tired of searching through my own blog archive for recipes! I’m hoping the page will be a useful resource.  It’s kind of bare bones for now; maybe I’ll add photos eventually.  Let me know if you have any suggestions or feedback!

Second, I have a new job! As most of you know, I left academia in 2011 in search of the next chapter of my career.  After trying out my hand in the field of accident reconstruction and biomechanics for 3 years, I decided to return to my first love – Biology.  The job search was stressful, but relatively brief, thankfully.  I’m happy to announce that I’ll be starting a new position next week as a support staff scientist at a local university.  I’m looking forward to being back in the academic research environment in a completely different role.  Wish me luck!

And finally, because blog posts are more fun with photos…

Chicken fried steak, gravy, and home fries at a local breakfast spot. #winning

Chicken fried steak, gravy, eggs, sourdough toast, and home fries at a local breakfast spot. #winning


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Camping at Julia Pfeiffer Burns (aka Best Campsite EVER)

Originally posted on Running Tangents:

This past weekend, a group of 8 of us went camping at Big Sur.  Our friend CR had secured one of two of the most sought-after campsites on the West Coast at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  This campsite, perched above the gorgeous, rocky shores of Big Sur, was a hybrid of car camping and backpacking: it was far enough down the road to be secluded and surrounded by nature (i.e., not rowdy campers or RVs), but also had a few car camping luxuries, such as a fire pit, picnic tables, trash and recycling bins, and pit toilets.  Just a short 0.1 mile steep hike down the hill from the fire road, we were able to bring in enough water, firewood, and camping accessories for the weekend.  (There is already a very informative article about camping at JPB on the internet, so I won’t repeat the details. …

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Food Assurance (Do you know what you’re really eating?)

Greetings from Taiwan!  The main reason for my visit is to see my family, but a major fringe benefit is the food. (For previous posts/photos, see here.)  So you can imagine my dismay when, upon arriving in Taipei last week, my brother-in-law asked, “Have you heard about all of the food problems?”  I responded that I hadn’t, and he told me first about several Taiwanese companies selling olive oil diluted largely with cottonseed oil.  To make the oil look green, they also added copper chlorophyllin, a controlled coloring agent.  The other major story came out last week, when Business Weekly performed an independent test of Taiwanese milk and reported that an alarming amount of drug, hormonal, and chemical residues were found in a majority of Taiwanese milk.  (However, there have also been subsequent charges of defamation/exaggeration against Business Weekly.)  I was shocked, mostly because while I’ve come to expect food quality issues from Chinese products (e.g., here and here), I’ve always had higher expectations from Taiwanese food.

Although I was surprised about the olive oil and milk, I also didn’t think too much about it since I don’t consume a lot of either while in Taipei.  However, it struck a little closer to home yesterday, as my mom told me about a bunch of other recent scares: tapioca flour (used to make all sorts of food, including boba pearls for bubble tea), contaminated flour and starch, and peanuts have all been questionably or unsafely processed.  For the first time in my life, I’m worried more about consuming safe ingredients as opposed to gastrointestinal bacteria or parasites.  It got me thinking about food assurance, a.k.a., do I really know what I’m eating?  Not only is processed food less healthy for you, but it’s becoming more mysterious (and therefore dangerous) where and how it was processed.  My brother-in-law made a good point in our conversation the other night when he said that food in Taiwan is too inexpensive, and forces/incentivizes companies to cut corners where they can.  On the other hand, the olive oil scandal was rooted in taking advantage of consumers in a different way, by selling fake products at a high price point to convince people of the quality of their products.  Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I feel like this is just a harbinger of things to come — not just in Taiwan, but globally.  As we keep expecting to pay less (or the same) for diminishing food supplies that require more energy to produce and export, the more we will see incidents like these.

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