Bookmarks–March 20, 2024

In this edition of Bookmarks, some serious topics to start: delivering food aid to Gaza, making good bread more affordable and accessible, and the connection between meat and dairy consumption and climate change. Then items on the lighter side: information on cooking with paprika and scrambling eggs, followed by some science and pop culture fun. 

Operation Safeena: Aid shipped by sea reaches northern Gaza

World Central Kitchen is an amazing organization. I don’t know how they do what they do, but they always manage to get food to people in emergency situations, whether from natural disaster or war. 

For months, our teams across the region have worked nonstop to open this maritime aid route into Gaza. We are sourcing and loading food onto boats in Cyprus and built our own jetty in Gaza using rubble, including from bombed buildings, to safely unload cargo.” (World Central Kitchen)

Britain’s bitter bread battle: what a £5 sourdough loaf tells us about health, wealth and class

Why the price disparity between generic white bread sold at a grocery store and that offered at artisan bakeries? Is it really the ingredients or is the high price intended as a sign of status for high-end consumers? These questions are considered here along with a more important one: how do we make healthy bread accessible to all? 

“The point is, industrial bread is often the only option. “We don’t want to ban white sliced…We want people to have the chance to choose an additive-free, high-fibre, preferably wholemeal, loaf.’…Whitley adds: “With white sliced being so cheap and hiding the reasons why it’s so cheap – growing conditions, labour conditions, emissions – people are not able to make a reasoned choice…We’ve been doing this to poor people for 250 years. It’s a matter of radical injustice.’” (The Guardian)

The next big climate deadline is for meat and dairy

For years the writing has been on the wall about the environmental impact of our overconsumption of meat and dairy, yet precious little has been done. It appears we are now at the point where urgent action is needed. 

“‘We need to drastically reduce livestock numbers, particularly in high- and middle-income countries — the evidence shows that clearly,’ said Pete Smith, a survey respondent and climate scientist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland…It would be far better for the environment and animal welfare to transition to growing ‘plant-based products that can be consumed directly by humans…I think that’s got to be the way forward. And that’s the one that will free up the most land that will allow us to create the carbon sinks that we need.’” (Vox)

How to cook with any type of paprika

We use smoked paprika a lot but haven’t tried the hotter varieties. I’m quite intrigued by the paprika paste–sounds like it would add a lot of flavour to dishes. 

Made from a range of dried and ground peppers, paprika features in Hungarian, Spanish, Moroccan, and West African cuisines, among others, adding its vibrant red hue and mild red pepper flavor to dishes like Chicken Paprikash and the marinade for Piri Piri Chicken. While sometimes dismissed as one-note, high-quality paprika is beloved by chefs for its delicate sweetness and earthiness.” (Food & Wine)

How to make scrambled eggs perfectly, every time

Family gatherings at my aunt’s cottage are an overnight affair, with a big pan of scrambled eggs served the next morning for all to share. They are always perfectly cooked and, try as I might, I have never been able to replicate the texture or taste. I cook eggs for myself every day, but go more for an omelette style, very well cooked. I’d like to make a perfect scramble for myself and my son, who needs that hit of protein. I’m going to try the methods here, hopefully with good results. 

“Our editors subscribe to two schools of egg scramble: hot-and-fast or low-and-slow. The former requires speed and agility; the latter requires patience and fortitude. Each approach yields distinct results, so pick your favorite.” (Epicurious)

Calculating the Ghostbusters Twinkie size in real life

And now for something fun. This article was written several years ago but updated recently, perhaps because there is a new Ghostbusters movie being released. Even if you don’t fully grasp the science, which I didn’t, this is a very interesting and entertaining read. It turns out the 35-foot Twinkie referenced by Egon Spengler in the original Ghostbusters film would not weigh 600 pounds nor could it ever really exist, for myriad reasons laid out here. 

“‘Ray, for a moment, pretend that I don’t know anything about thermodynamics, engineering, or baking, and just tell me whether we can really bake a Twinkie this big.’…No problem, Dr. Venkman: The answer is no. Even if you could source all of the ingredients and somehow construct an oven capable of baking a 35-foot Twinkie, it could not be done. Here’s why.” (Serious Eats)

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