Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Archive for the tag “food”

Diner en Blanc Cooks Up a Fuss in Singapore – Southeast Asia Real Time – WSJ

I don’t know much about the Diner en Blanc tradition, but from this post it appears to reek of neo-colonial elitism. And an interesting reaction in Singapore after a blogger’s suggestion that attendees bring local foods resulted in his invitation being revoked. His response:

“You can disrespect me as a blogger, and disrespect my blog posts, but you do not disrespect my culture,” wrote Mr. Ang in a subsequent post last Friday, adding that “Singapore local delicacies are the classiest foods ever in our hearts.” His blogposts – which went viral – received so much traffic that his site was overloaded and inaccessible on Sunday evening. via Diner en Blanc Cooks Up a Fuss in Singapore – Southeast Asia Real Time – WSJ.

Food allergy: Tests and diagnosis –

This isn’t a news article or a blog post, but I’m posting it here because I learned this week that there are no standard tests for most food allergies. This boggles my mind! While certain food allergies can be tested through skin scratching, blood tests, or trial & error, I had both an allergist and a gastroenterologist tell me that modern medicine has not yet come up with a way to test for allergies to the majority of food additives and preservatives.  Seriously? Shouldn’t our understanding of these additives be advanced enough at the time of their approval that we could at least find standard methods for testing potential allergies/intolerance? That’s easy for me to say, but in reality I imagine quite difficult to accomplish.

I should pause momentarily and tell you that I’ve recently tried to approach my own preventative or diagnostic medical appointments through more of an academic lens.  I don’t know about other Ph.D.s, but I am certainly guilty of turning off that logical part of my brain when it comes to my own body and things that may or may not freak-me-the-hell-out. Although my sister works in a major children’s hospital on the east coast as a post-doctoral researcher, sometimes I forget that medicine functions in the same way as other scholarly pursuits. For example, I recently came to the startling, yet completely obvious, realization that I don’t always clearly communicate a medical condition that I have dealt with my entire life partly because the scientists studying it had a very different understanding in the early 1980s as they do today (and appear to have used different terminology).

When I went to the allergist this week I was hoping for a simple answer to a puzzle that has perplexed me for years – why do certain foods, restaurants, preparations make me feel terrible when others don’t? While I did not receive an answer to that question, I was reminded of the reality of modern medicine and its dependency on academic research. Again, sounds obvious, but it’s crazy what we take for granted when living in a relatively healthy, able, body. So many other people are not so lucky.


“There’s no standard test used to confirm or rule out a food allergy. Your doctor will consider a number of things before making a diagnosis. The following may help determine if you’re allergic to a food or if your symptoms are caused by something else”via Food allergy: Tests and diagnosis –

Willing To Play The Dating Game With Your Food? Try A Grocery Auction : The Salt : NPR

“Rutgers University professor Dale Rogers studies supply chains. He says when manufacturers made that change, they seized the opportunity to shorten the shelf life of some shelf-stable foods for marketing reasons.

“Vinegar had seven years of shelf life because, what does vinegar turn into? It turns into vinegar,” Rogers says.

To make it appear fresher, he says they cut its shelf life down to a single year.

“They don’t believe that consumers really want to buy a product that is five or six years old,” he says. “Before the open-code dating, there’s a likelihood that consumers did buy vinegar that was more than a year old.”

Read the full article here:  Willing To Play The Dating Game With Your Food? Try A Grocery Auction : The Salt : NPR.

Food Waste Is Overwhelming. Here Are Five Things People Are Doing About It : The Salt : NPR

It’s amazing what people will throw away! We buy our produce at a local outdoor fruit & vegetable store. It’s essentially halfway between a street stand and an outdoor market. Because it’s outdoor, fans substitute for refrigeration,  and temps here can be high in the summer, the market knows they have to turn food over really quickly.

In order to do so they rotate all of the fruit and veggies through 3 or 4 stations. Front of the store has almost ripe fruit, say an unripe pineapple for $4. It then moves to mid-store and is discounted to $3, then to the back of the store for $2, and then to the less than perfect room in the back that is swarming with fruit flies and is sold for $1.  The $1 pineapples are the best! Sweetest, juiciest, most heavenly pineapples. The fruit I eat from this section reminds me of the fruit I ate in Italy – fresh local fruit sun ripened. Yum, yum!!

But very few people buy them because they have slight imperfections. Interestingly, I mostly see foreign exchange students or first generation immigrants shopping back there with me. Those of us who buy the fruit get a great deal (say 6 peaches for $1), and if they fail to sell it all they dehydrate it or make jams, etc. It’s such a rational and time tested method, yet most people in town still prefer shopping at the grocery store.

How sad that our over air conditioned grocery stores have trained us to not think perfectly ripe fruit is the best! Bruises can be cut off, jams can be made, tomato sauce, fruit leather, or just eat it right away!  Read more trends to cut down on food waste here: Food Waste Is Overwhelming. Here Are Five Things People Are Doing About It : The Salt : NPR.

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