Raising A Spicy Lemon Chicken

Chickens will eat just about anything — grains, grass, small lizards, even mice. But what if their meals featured moist bread and gourmet salad trimmings? Would they taste different — better — when it was their turn to be on the plate? New York’s top chefs are addressing that question in an experiment that’s either ingenious or preposterous (or both).

According to a recent New York Times article, the chickens at a poultry farm in Pennsylvania have been dining on scraps sent to them by chefs from some of the city’s finest restaurants. (The birds are also eating soy and corn.) The chickens started appearing on menus late last month.

“Listen, if the chickens ate ginger and lemon, you would have a gingery, lemony chicken, I think,” chef David Burke suggested in the article.

Is that really how it works? Not exactly.

Here’s what we do know. An ordinary commercial chicken eats corn for carbohydrates and soy for protein, plus a variety of vitamin and mineral supplements. Research has suggested that dramatically changing the carbohydrate source affects the flavour of the meat. In 2004, for example, USDA scientists fed chickens soybeans plus either corn, wheat or sorghum, then boiled the meat in plastic bags and fed it to nine blindfolded taste-testers. The testers reported that corn-fed chickens tasted more strongly of meat broth and were less chewy than the wheat- or sorghum-fed birds.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you can deliberately manipulate the flavour of chicken meat through the bird’s diet, or, even if you could, that it’s as simple as feeding the bird foods you want it to taste like.

“Feeding a chicken lemon juice will not make it taste like lemon,” said Doug Smith, who studies poultry processing at North Carolina State University, “but there’s a chance the ginger would come through” if you added that spice to the bird’s diet.

To see why, you need to understand some chemistry and anatomy.

Smith explained that a chicken’s flavour is largely expressed through its fat. Fat-based molecules are therefore more likely to make it from the chicken’s mouth to your mouth. Citric acid, which is not a fat, dominates the flavour of lemon juice. A chicken would digest and utilize the acid, but it wouldn’t influence the flavour of the bird’s flesh.

The flavour of ginger, on the other hand, comes from its essential oils. The same is true of many spices. There is a chance that those oils would survive the chicken’s digestive tract intact, then make it into the bird’s fat stores and have some influence on the flavour of the fowl.

There’s a possibility that you could impart a lemony flavour, but you’d have to use lemon peel, which contains essential oils rather than lemon juice.

Would a chicken eat a lemon peel, you ask? Absolutely.

“Chickens have very little in the way of taste buds,” Smith said. “The insides of their mouths have a lot of hard surfaces because of the beak, and their tongue has more cartilage than the soft human tongue. Unlike most animals, they’ll even eat hot peppers.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Duffin, a Muffin-doughnut Hybrid, Is Provoking Cake Rage

A couple of years ago American baker Bea Vo, proud proprietor of the much-admired London tearooms Bea’s of Bloomsbury, crossed a doughnut with a muffin to produce a cakey kind of doughnut (or, if you prefer, a doughnutty kind of cake) filled with jam.

It wasn’t a new idea – Nigella Lawson had a recipe for jam doughnut muffins years ago – but Vo’s version, made with raspberry jam, buttermilk and nutmeg, proved popular with her customers, who christened it the duffin. It features in her 2011 cookbook, Tea with Bea, sells like hot duffins in her four cafes and on her website, and has been written about and referred to in media as diverse as the London Evening Standard, Zagat and NBC’s Today show.

The duffin, says Vo, is simply “part of who we are and what we make”. It is also just one of a whole galaxy of portmanteau patisserie that is now gracing our teatimes. There’s the tartlet-brownie or townie, the cronut AKA doissant, a cross between a doughnut and a croissant, and its cousin the fauxnut, which uses a puff pastry instead of proper croissant dough. The crookie is a croissant-Oreo cookie hybrid; the muffle mingles muffin and waffle; and the macanut marries macaroon and doughnut.)

But Vo was nonetheless taken aback last week to be alerted via Twitter – where the whole affair, inevitably, has since spiralled into a #Duffingate – to the fact that no less a monolith than Starbucks had just launched a product that took “the best of a muffin – that moist texture, the iconic shape – and mixed it up with elements of a traditional jam-filled doughnut”. It was filled with raspberry jam, had “just a hint of nutmeg added to its buttermilk base”, and was called – oddly enough – the Duffin.

The multinational has gone further. Its factory supplier, Rich Products, a $3bn-a-year global corporation, has trademarked the name Duffin, which Bea fears could give them “the legal power to stop us using the name for our own creation”. While conceding that “since we launched … we’ve started to hear about a few other versions out there”, Starbucks has told her it “conducted an extensive search online and a full trademark search” and found “no indication that anyone else was using the name, nor retailing a similar product”.

Bea points out that a Google search for “duffin cakes” or “doughnut muffin duffins” instantly returns several dozen references to her own product. “I never thought I would be put into a position like this,” she says. “I never trademarked the name duffin because I didn’t think it was necessary. We are a tiny independent – can we afford to fight this trademark and any future cease-and-desist letter? No.”

Starbucks says it won’t use the trademark to stop Bea’s selling duffins. And it’s probably just as well: judging by comments on Twitter and Starbucks’ blog, a lot of people sympathise with Vo.

Source: The Guardian


Starbucks Launches Donut-Muffin, Yet Another Pastry for the Indecisive …..

Starbucks’ Donut Muffin

Character Bento

Dokinchan and Bread Man Charaben

The Characters – Dokinchan (ドキンちゃん) and Bread Man (食パンマン様) Charaben

What’s in Chicken Nugget?

Laboratory analysis of chicken nuggets from two major fast-food chains found they contained between 40 and 50 percent meat, the remainder being fat, skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves and bone fragments.

While all edible, the ingredients don’t add up to a good choice, said Dr. Richard deShazo, UMMC distinguished professor of medicine, pediatrics and immunology.

“I was floored,” deShazo said. “I had read what other reports have said is in them and I didn’t believe it. I was astonished actually seeing it under the microscope.”

White chicken meat is one of the best sources of lean protein available, deShazo said, and physicians often encourage their patients to eat it.

“What has happened is that some companies have chosen to use an artificial mixture of chicken parts rather than low-fat chicken white meat, batter it up and fry it, and still call it chicken. It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice. Even worse, it tastes great and kids love it and it is marketed to them,” he said.

The American Journal of Medicine published deShazo’s findings online ahead of its print issue.

He chose to not name the two restaurant chains.

“This is about people having the knowledge and resources to make healthy choices,” deShazo said.

Chicken nuggets are fine when eaten occasionally within the scope of a healthy diet, he said.

“We’ve got to learn how to distribute our calories across a diet that includes lean protein, fresh fruit and green vegetables,” deShazo said. “We’re literally eating ourselves to death with obesity. We have to learn to eat a balanced diet where it’s not all carbohydrates and fat.”

Noting the popularity of chicken nuggets with children, deShazo, a vocal advocate for improving Mississippi’s health, said the experiment wasn’t designed as a comprehensive study of nuggets from all major fast-food chains. Nor do the results from two, randomly selected nuggets from two prominent chains represent all chicken nugget offerings available.

“My concern is that these constitute a large part of people’s diets. Particularly children,” he said. “When you fry any food, you’ve got a problem because you add a lot of calories to it. And we eat high-fat foods like chicken nuggets rather than fresh fruits and vegetables.”

If a large percentage of a particular food is fat, “And it is the predominant food that your child eats, they are going to become obese. And they could eventually get diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and other diseases we call co-morbidities.”

For the examination, deShazo worked with Dr. Steven Bigler, a pathologist at Baptist Health Systems in Jackson, who stained, fixed, sliced and analyzed the nugget sections.

In their paper, the physicians wrote that meat constituted about half of nugget No. 1.

“The nugget from the first restaurant was composed of approximately 50 percent skeletal muscle, with the remainder composed primarily of fat, with some blood vessels and nerve present. Higher-power views showed generous quantities of epithelium and associated supportive tissue including squamous epithelium from skin or viscera,” they wrote.

“The nugget from the second restaurant was composed of approximately 40 percent skeletal muscle. Here, too, there were generous quantities of fat and other tissue, including connective tissue and bone spicules.”

He said fast-food chains aren’t necessarily misleading consumers.

“We just don’t take the time to understand basic nutritional facts – this is a health literacy issue – and to push back when our kids and grandkids, who do not know the risks of being obese, beg for unhealthy foods.”

Source: University of Mississippi Medical Center

Stir-fried Scallops with Bell Peppers


1½ lb large sea scallop
1 each small green, red and yellow bell pepper
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp hot red chili flakes
10 oz baby spinach


1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil


  1. Core and seed peppers. Slice into 1/2-inch strips.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Slice scallops in half horizontally.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in a non-stick frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add scallops and sear until golden brown on both sides, from 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove.
  5. Add peppers, vinegar, garlic, ginger and chili flakes to pan. Stir-fry until peppers are tender crisp, from 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Return scallops and toss to combine. Mix in sauce and stir-fry until sauce reduced to a glaze. Stir-in spinach and toss just until wilted, about 1 minute. Serve over noodles or rice.

Source: Chatelaine

Today’s Comic