Bookmarks–November 20, 2021

A random assortment in this week’s bookmarks: collagen drinks, the perils of monoculture in coffee crops, pantry popularity, and the psychology of buying wine. 

Seriously, why is everyone drinking collagen?

Does consuming collagen actually help your skin? Scientists have doubts. 

…Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki argues that collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by mucosa, or cells responsible for processing nutrients, in the stomach. ‘There’s no way a massive collagen peptide, made from a thousand amino acids, will fit,’ Kruszelnicki says. ‘The collagen you ingest is broken down into individual amino acids, and there’s no way they will automatically regroup to form collagen and smooth out wrinkles.’” Eater

Coffee as we know it is in danger. Can we breed a better cup?

As I mentioned in my last Bookmarks post, I recently read Animal, Vegetable, Junk, which talks at length about the dangers of monoculture. This article looks at the impact on one specific crop: coffee. 

…there is an alternative path. It involves growing coffee alongside an array of species in a way that mimics the web of life within natural forests…This model of production, called agroforestry, has been around for thousands of years. It creates a more ecologically diverse system that provides an abundance of crops and environmental benefits for farmers. Some smallholder growers in India, for example, utilize over 100 different types of trees on their coffee farms, forming canopy cover that provides shade for coffee plants and habitat for birds, along with food and medicinal plants for the farmers themselves.” Vox

The pantry’s rise to most fashionable space in the kitchen

Pantries have a nostalgic vibe that I find really appealing. We use our cold cellar for extra food, but the dry and canned goods in our kitchen are scattered among many cupboards. I love the idea of a single pantry with everything organized in one space, and really like the larder cupboard shown here. It wouldn’t work in my space without a complete overhaul of our kitchen’s footprint, but I can see why it is a big seller. 

Pantries aren’t just for sprawling English country homes or Connecticut farmhouses, of course. When square footage doesn’t allow for a walk-in pantry, a freestanding cabinet or armoire is the natural solution. ‘Unfitted pantry cabinets are great for when you don’t have a huge amount of space or a huge budget,’ Mitchell says. ‘They can house everything from dog food to a microwave, but on the outside it’s an attractive focal piece that looks like furniture and doesn’t make an entire loft or apartment feel like it’s taken up by the kitchen.’” Globe & Mail

Slapping a chateau on the label makes a bottle of wine seem fancier, study finds

Never judge a wine by its label. Neither the picture on the label nor the price of the wine are a good gauge of quality, says a recent study. Personal experience bears that out for me. I’ve splurged on wine that’s been far from worth it, fooled by the price and the appearance. My current favourite is $15 a bottle–not dirt cheap but not crazy expensive either. 

“‘The results clearly show that you don’t always get what you pay for in terms of preference when tasting wines blind,’ Spence was quoted as saying. ‘This is entirely consistent with numerous previous studies showing there’s little relation between liking and price with wines. As the survey indicates that shoppers often use price as a factor in quality, this classic buying behavior can often end up costing customers thousands over a lifetime.’” Food & Wine

Image of books: 95141048 © Dzhamilia Ermakova |

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