Field of Science


Food quest

On the Phactor's honey-do list is a quest for several odds and ends, more the former than the latter, for some sort of cooking event. Five-spice powder is most commonly composed of star anise (a basal angiosperm), cloves, cinnamon (but the Chinese use Cassia bark instead of real cinnamon), Sichuan pepper (not real pepper) and fennel seeds, blended to achieve a certain balance of jin and yang. Sounds like a trip to an Asian grocery, which is always fun. Almond flour, and here we certainly hope this wasn't supposed to be "flower". OK, so some really finely ground almonds must be somewhere. Dill weed. This isn't a problem, and the weed means foliage as distinguished from dill seed, but while dill is rather weedy, it does seem rather a harsh label. Semolina flour is puzzling. By definition semolina are the middlings, the little pieces, left over after grinding durum wheat into flour, so it's either flour or semolina not both, and yet there we go. Maybe this is simply a way of designating durum flour from breadwheat flour, and it is hard to tell tetraploid endosperm from hexaploid endosperm once it's made into flour. My real worry is that everything is an ingredient in a single recipe, sort of like that goofy cooking contest show where the chefs get a basket of ingredients and have to combine them all into a dish. At least this list doesn't include cheetos like one of the baskets on the cooking show. Pretty funny that, giving cheetos to a chef. This happens frequently to the Phactor, monthly actually, and in high correlation with the arrival of one or more cooking magazines. Maybe that's why yesterday my shoppinglist included a turkey red wine, limoncello, and several bottles of very dry champagne. This is sounding better all the time. So we are thankful that we have, and can afford, and enjoy, such bounty.

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