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/

Read more of this post

+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)

Spoiler Alert – Frozen Food Safety Monitor for your Freezer

It’s only ~$20 on Amazon. This would have been perfect back last year when our freezer defrosted (twice) because I accidentally over-packed it. We ended up having to throw everything out; however, this would have allowed for us to judge better what could have been saved!

According to the Amazon description: ” In the event of an incident (freezer door not properly closed, power outage or anything affecting your freezer), the 4 liquids will independently melt into lower chambers. Depending on the color of the liquids that have melted, you will know the recommended time you have left to safely consume your frozen foods. 4 liquids for 4 recommendations. In the case of an incident the liquids will melt in the following order: Blue = 14 days to consume your frozen food, Blue and Green = 3 days to consume your frozen food, Blue, Green and Yellow = 1 day to consume your frozen food. All 4 liquids: Blue, Green, Yellow and Red: Discard everything. From the last time you verified the FreezCube.”

Too cool! 🙂 Definitely going on my “Wish List”

US Food Safety

Sponsored Advertorial

INTRODUCING

 SPOILER ALERT

The Frozen Food Safety Monitor for Domestic Freezers – buy now.freezcube

Protect your health!

Power Outages, an Improperly Closed Door, Defective Seals, Storms…

Place Spoiler Alert into your freezer at home to reveal unsafe increase of temperature leading to food poisoning.

Easy to use; 100-percent safe, Unbreakable, Reusable

Testimonials

Dr. JP Courchia,  Endocrinologist 
Spoiler Alert allows a thorough surveillance of the foods in freezers, which support healthy dietetic programs.”

Nicole S., Teacher
“After a long hesitation, I discarded all of my frozen food when my freezer alarm rang. What a waste ! Later, I came across Spoiler Alert in my supermarket, and I don’t hesitate anymore. I now know what to do in case of an incident and the solution is not necessary to throw everything away! Spoiler Alert is an intelligent innovation that I highly recommend to everyone.”

Dr. Maurice Moutot, Nutritionist
“Essential!…

View original post 176 more words

[Daily Prompt] Learning is Difficult

Well, another delicious semester is about to begin, again.

Tomorrow is the annual Food Science Grad Student Orientation (which we’ve all sat through), but hey it’s always a good time! It’ll be be my one-year anniversary of being a graduate student at Virginia Tech. Not going to lie – and if you knew me this past year – it was a difficult journey to this point of being happy in this new realm and environment. Super happy to be here with amazing people, though! 🙂

To be honest, I can’t really wait for this semester to start – but does it ever really start/end when you’re in grad school? Pretty sure those fun little things called “breaks” are merely a lie and/or a figment of the imagination. There is definitely a lot of things to look forward to: Research, Projects, Food Science Club, start-up stuff, teaching, etc. The one class that I needed to take in order to graduate, however, is not being offered! Haha. Oh well.

Some exciting things from semesters past though?

Research: Spilled Plates Everywhere!

Research: Spilled Plates Everywhere!

Or even…

Science: Being a Boss at Poster Sessions

Science: Being a Boss at Poster Sessions

Teaching: Making Mozzarella Deliciously! Yum!

Teaching: Making Mozzarella Deliciously! Yum!

Random Notebook Doodles.

Random Notebook Doodles.

Because you can't edumacate kiddies without your good friend and VASKI

Because you can’t edumacate kiddies without your good friend and VASKI

Foodies: Eat Hot Pot ALL THE DAYS!

Foodies: Eat Hot Pot ALL THE DAYS!

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, VIRGINIA TECH FOOTBALL SEASON IS STARTING!!!

Football Season...guys head in the way, lol

Football Season…guys head in the way, lol

Learning comes in many forms: Adventures, Friends, School, etc. It’s all about the Delight and Journey 😀

Daily Prompt: Fifteen Credits

IFT 2013 in Chicago – Part 1

Hey everyone,

Guess What? I’m in Chicago right now for IFT 2013! IFT13 is the Annual industry/scientific/professional meeting and Food Expo for Food Scientists (and affiliates) everywhere! IFT is the Institute of Food Technologists with the goal of “feeding the minds that feed the world”. Check them out here! The Expo runs from Sunday July 14, 2013 to Wednesday July 17, 2013 at the McCormick Center.

With over “20,000 of the world’s top food science and technology professionals” in attendance, IFT is the place to be to learn about the most recent and influential product development products, ingredients, and technology. Companies from around the world come together to showcase their products and ingredients. Additionally, there is a plethora of scientific programs, lectures and poster sessions (link) for all participants. The conference’s top talks are all streamed live for those who aren’t able to participate (link). For students part of IFTSA (IFT’s Student Association), there are also multiple competitions (ie: IFTSA product development competitions, College Bowl Competitions, etc.) and interviews/educational opportunities.. There was also a sold-out 5K Fun Run/Walk whose proceeds benefit IFT’s food science student/professional development program, Feeding Tomorrow (link).

[read more!]

Read more of this post