Confessions of a Youtube Drooler: Youtube Science

burger

A project I’ve recently been working on with a fellow food science friend has us both perusing the depths of Youtube to uncover the latest and greatest of burger videos. Yup! You read that right, upwards of one hundred burger videos – regular grilled hamburgers, cheeseburgers, Epic Meal Time burgers, even ramen burgers – get their own visual, audio, and salivary screen time past our slightly numbed graduate student minds.

The thing that seems to set each and every burger video apart – or rather, clump them together – is the phrase, “the best” or “favorite” or something glorifying of that rendition. After about 15 such videos, the first thought that has continually crossed my mind has been, “Really? What sets you apart from the last video?” What gives you the right to assume (quite egotistically, one might add) your recipe is better than another’s recipe? Do you assume that because you have more subscribers, more comments, a higher “Like” to “Dislike” ratio that your burger extravaganza supersedes all others? (Okay, I digress; Google Analytics does a doozy with this one.) Additionally, if you’re going to claim that your recipe is the best, perhaps you should actually include a recipe. What’s even more fascinating is the extent at which everyone seems to think their specific burger methodology is the “correct” methodology for preserving flavor and enhancing taste; yet, these specific methods tend to be quite contradictory. For example: some videos will strongly suggest smashing down the burger – much like they view some restaurants to do it – whereas others will vehemently declare that anything so much as touching the burger will cause said wondrous meat to fail in magnificent proportions. It begs the question, who to believe? Would you rather watch the video of a restaurant dissecting a burger to its components, or a pro-kitchen chef who is more apt to add a humanizing touch?

Between gastronomy that one could practice at home and Guy Fieri dripping burger juice all over the counters of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”, one thing I’ve learned is there is no end to the saliva my mouth seems to be able to produce.  Now, with the addition of HD (high definition, for all you anti-acronym fellows), the drooling has only increased. The sizzling of the burger as it hits the grill, the juices as it oozes out, the delicious searing, and finally the imagined waft of meaty goodness is just too much for my fragile lab-warped mind to handle. All I want is a burger!

But wait! What’s the catch? Why are we even looking at these videos? Why must we continually subjugate ourselves to this tragic deliciousness?  If these videos are any indication of how things are actually prepared, it is only a matter of time before we are all in for a trip to the hospital. None of these videos ever practice – or even hint at – food safety. In fact, the notion of the proper usage of thermometers, lack of cross contamination, or even the washing of one’s hands is either laughed at or completely ignored. Thus, the point of this is belied: if each video is the representation of “the best” then they ought to be more stringent in explaining to people the benefits or negatives of certain actions. Of course, it is easy enough for you or me to say. But how could we better reinforce the knowledge, nay teach the general public, more about what they can do to prevent the risk of contamination and illness. How does one defeat the invincibility fable?

While you help us think of ideas or solution, that you should leave in the comments below, I shall be throwing myself to the kitchen in hopes of making a delicious and ginormous chive-pork ramen burger topped with kimchi, a sunny-side up egg.

How do you think we can improve food safety communication online?

Photo credit http://fbworld.com/2011/05/23/the-boom-in-premium-burgers/

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Back Into the Fire?

I've been shamed.

I’ve been shamed.

[warning: rant ahead]

So for those who know me, I used to be in the prime condition of my life — right right, before you say anything…yes, everyone has been at some point, and/or why am I evening mentioning this? Well, I moved across the country and tried to stay in shape, but for some reason motivation slowly disappeared and now I hadn’t worked out fully all summer (~3 months).

In this period of time, I’ve gone up a half a pant to a pant size (admitting this right now is a bit tough), my figure has stopped being as muscular, and what muscle definition I did still have had long since atrophied. I’ve become a once-was. [Right, what do those sayings even mean?]

 

It’s about time to stop this madness! (It’s so easy to make excuses not to work out, right? It’s easy to make excuses not to eat well/healthy, right? Well, Lily, this is your straight-up reminder to stop wavering and saying, “Just one more bite, or ‘I’ll work that off'”. LOL. Went climbing on Monday and boy did it feel good. While I have dropped down from a V4-ish level now to a V1 – V2 again, it’s alright. Time will tell. Although, lifting right afterwards may not have been the best idea I’ve had. Haven’t been able to move my elbow joints (so now I’ve taken two days off). Ah, is it one step at a time? And just keep moving forward? Hope so!

 

The 15lb weights in the picture are from what I did on Monday. I have never been so embarrassed to be at a gym; even when I first began I’d never lifted 15lbs (instead starting with 20lbs and 25lbs); but everything hurts from just 15. GAHHH! SO WEAK!

 

Okay, rant over.

+12,000 Tomatoes

Over the weekend, I did a bit of calculations for how many tomatoes I will need over the course of my experiments (assuming I don’t mess up a tomato here and there in the process) … the resulting number was actually REALLY HIGH!! “How high?” you scoff.

Can I get a drumroll please?  *insert drumroll here*

12,312 tomatoes

Here’s the calculations:

Photo: L Yang (all rights reserved)

Photo: L Yang (all rights reserved)

Give Me Your Name

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Photo Credit: dan from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

LILY
This word – nay, the name – rolls off the tongue in such a casual way. Split into two syllables, it is at once soft in tone while harsh in the “soft-ness” of it’s consonance. More often than not, documents will return as: “Lilly”, “Lili”, “Lilli”, “Lillian”, etc. instead of “Lily”.
Is it that hard to spell 4 easy letters? L-I-L-Y.

My mom says she chose my name because she loves Lily flowers… specifically, lily-of-the-valley and tiger-lily. She truly loved lily flowers; growing up, we had lilies everywhere! As such, the lily symbolizes innocence, beauty, and purity. While my mom may have hoped I would grow to embody all of these terms, I unfortunately (and to her utter dismay) did not. Evidently lacking in grace, innocence, and soft-spoken manner, I apparently have yet to discover the “heart and soul” of my dear name.

And yet, my name written in Chinese isn’t for the characters for the flower: 莉莉. Instead, my Chinese name is written 立立.
立 = to stand straight
Before I began Chinese school, my mother told me she chose the dichotomy of my English vs Chinese name to be a pun / play on words. At the same time, she does not correct anyone who writes my name as 莉莉 instead of 立立. However, she hoped upon hope, that by naming me 立立, I’d be a much more upstanding citizen (and mostly so I’d stop slouching so much). [sidenote: As I’d find out later in our tumultuous middle school years, my cousins had thought that I was incredibly weird and horrid for slouching all the time. LOL.] As again with my American name, I have yet to live up to her expectations.

But, a name is a name. I am delighted with it as it makes for meeting another individual with my name (and spelled the way I spell it) always a great and exciting activity!

Response to “Daily Prompt: Name That…You!” Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it? Do you think it suits you? What about your children’s names?