Sometimes, what your brain wants is not always good for your body. Donuts are a good example. It’s early morning and you’re driving to work after a nice breakfast of black coffee and two eggs, easy-over, with bacon. Yet, you’re still hungry and having difficulty paying attention to the traffic. Why? Your brain is not cooperating because it is not satisfied with that breakfast because it lacked one critical ingredient that your brain urgently needs: sugar.
Although soda companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are recognized around the world – the history, politics, and nutrition of these corporations are not as known. In her latest book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), Marion Nestle exposes the truth behind this multi-billion dollar industry. Check out these hard hitting facts and see how much you actually know about the soda industry.
The relationship between wine and the vineyard earth has long been held as very special, especially in Europe. Tradition has it that back in the Middle Ages the Burgundian monks tasted the soils in order to gauge which ones would give the best tasting wine, and over the centuries this kind of thinking was to become entrenched. The vines were manifestly taking up water from the soil.
The history of soda is full of Norman Rockwell paintings, nostalgic Americana, athletes and other celebrities—so many familiar faces that soda companies seem like the industry next door. But these are the same companies that use municipal water supplies in drought-stricken areas and spend large amounts of money on lobbying. So how much do you actually know about the soda industry? Take the quiz and find out.
The past two decades have seen globalization of the world’s wine markets proceed like never before, in both speed and comprehensiveness. There was a degree of trade expansion in the five decades to World War I but, until the late 20th century, interactions across continents involved little more than the exporting of vine cuttings and traditional production expertise.
Many people have influenced the world of wine over the course of the last 400 years. They have changed, developed, and perfected the winemaking process, introduced grapes and viticulture to different continents, and left their mark on an industry that has been with us since the dawn of civilization.
It’s a multi-million dollar global industry. It’s been with us since the dawn of civilization. And it’s constantly developing. The wine business is an intriguing marker of human activity – economic changes, consumer fashions, globalization, social and technological developments.
When trying to gauge someone’s personality, a few well-phrased questions are sometimes all it takes to light the fire of passions within someone. We had the pleasure of speaking with Darra Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, and asked her a number of questions that reveal what “bakes her cake.”
Given the evolutionary origin of religion among humans, it is no surprise that symbolism would also be attributed to sweet foods. Across many cultures, sweetness prevails as a positive symbol, representing joyous occasions and victories. In recognition of these sweet symbols, we’ve compiled our favorites from The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets into a gallery we hope you’ll enjoy perusing as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Is the “sweet tooth” real? The answer may surprise you. Humans vary in their preference towards sweet things; some of us dislike them while others may as well be addicted. But for those of us who have a tendency towards sweetness, why do we like what we like? We are hardly limited by type; our preference spans across both food and drinks, including candy, desserts, fruits, sodas, and even alcoholic beverages.
Fried dough has been enjoyed for centuries in various forms, from the celebratory zeppole of St. Joseph’s Day to the doughnuts the Salvation Army distributed to soldiers during World War I. So important were doughnuts for boosting troop morale that when World War II came around, the Red Cross followed closely behind the US Army as it advanced across Europe, offering doughnuts from trucks specially outfitted with vats for deep-frying.
Sugar has had an important hand in many facets of history, not all of it fun and games (but certainly not all of it dreary, either). Did you know fudge played a huge part in American women’s college education? or that slavery in sugar plantations was rampant? We asked Darra Goldstein a number of questions on sugar and its history, unearthing the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Though many of us are familiar with the use of fresh fruits in desserts, flavorings in candy, and other ubiquitous ingredients, a great deal are unusual. They’re unusual in the sense that they’re “not commonly occurring,” or that we believe them to be so. With that, here are five ingredients you might find, but not expect, in your next dessert.
Slang—mocking, sneering, casting a jaundiced eye on the world’s proprieties—is by its nature sour. It finds approval hard, congratulation challenging, and affection almost impossible. Yet even if slang’s oldest meaning of “sugar” is money, and the second oldest a euphemism for the most common term for defecation, slang, for all its skepticism, cannot resist the tempting possibilities of “sweet.”
In May, we celebrated the third annual workshop on food justice at Michigan State University. Few of the people who come to these student-organized events doubt that they are part of a social movement. And yet it is not clear to me that the “social movement” framing is the best way to understand food justice, or indeed many of the issues in the food system that have been raised by Mark Bittman or journalists such as Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan or Barry Estabrook.
How much do you know about all things sweet? Are you an obsessive “Top-tier Sugar Scholar”? Or are you a dabbling “Sugar Novice”? No matter your level of scholarship, if sweetness and obscure facts are your game, we have just the perfect quiz for you.