Food History: Today 145 Years Ago

A French Chemist Patents Margarine on July 15, 1869

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Source: The Globe and Mail

My Recipe

Braised Chicken with Mushroom and Edamame


8 pieces (about 2¼ lb) skin-on bone-in chicken thigh
8 oz onion (sliced)
8 oz button mushroom (sliced)
4 oz frozen edamame
1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp ginger (minced)
1½ Tbsp ground bean sauce 磨豉醬

Chicken Marinade:

2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp white ground pepper
2 tsp cooking wine


1½ cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp chicken broth mix
1 Tbsp light soy sauce

Thickening Solution:

1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water


  1. Trim off excess skin or fat from chicken if desired. Add marinade and set aside for about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix seasoning ingredients and thickening solution separately.
  3. Thaw edamame at room temperature for about 10 minutes (when chicken has been cooking for 15 minutes).
  4. Heat wok and add ½ Tbsp oil. Sauté onion for about 30 seconds. Remove.
  5. Reheat wok and add 2 Tbsp oil. Brown chicken on all sides for about 2 minutes. Remove.
  6. Pour away oil with 1 Tbsp remaining in wok. Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add ground bean sauce and chicken, toss to coat. Add seasoning ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes until chicken is tender and sauce is reduced. Add onion, mushroom and edamame. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add thickening solution if required. Toss until sauce thickens. Remove and serve.

Nutrition value for 1/6 portion of recipe:

Calorie 232, Fat 14.3 g, Carbohydrate 10 g, Fibre 2 g, Sugar 3 g, Cholesterol 46 mg, Sodium 721 mg, Protein 18 g.

10 Foods You Should Never Refrigerate

We often throw all our fresh foods into the fridge to prevent it from going bad. But should all food be kept refrigerated? Definitely not. Here are 10 common foods you should avoid from cooling too much, or you’ll destroy the taste and ruin the food.

1. Tomatoes

The fridge does keep tomatoes fresh, but it does this by stopping the process of ripeness. When this process is stopped, the tomato loses its flavor. In addition to the loss of flavor, the refrigerator also changes the texture of the tomato, making it powdery or floury. Tomatoes are best kept out of cooling, in a basket for instance.

2. Basil

When one keeps fresh basil in the refrigeration, it withers very quickly, but before it withers all the way and becomes unusable, it absorbs the taste of the foods kept close to it. The best way to keep fresh basil it outside the fridge, in a glass of fresh water, just like flowers.

3. Potatoes

The cold of the fridge turns the starch in the potato into sugar in a faster pace, and we’re left with a sweet, yet grainy potato. Keep your potatoes in a sealed sack, in a cool but not cold place. They should be covered, because being exposed to sunlight makes them grow ‘eyes’.

4. Onions

The damp in the fridge makes the onion soft and moldy. The best way to keep onions is in a cool and dry place, outside the fridge. Green onions can be kept in the fridge because of their high % of water content. Be sure not to keep onions next to the potatoes, because it’ll make them both go bad faster.

5. Avocado

If you’re waiting for the avocado to ripen, you should never put it in the fridge. A refrigerator does well by the avocado, but only if it has already ripened, and you want to prevent it from going bad.

6. Garlic

When we keep garlic in the refrigerator, it begins to shoot out and grow green stalks. Also, it’ll get a moldy, sticky texture. It is best to keep garlic in a dry, cool place.

7. Bread

When it comes to bread, there are a number of options. If this is sliced bread you are going to use within a few days, it can be kept in the fridge. When you keep bread for longer, the fridge will make it dry out faster, and so it’s best to keep it somewhere closed off, but not in the refrigerator. If you only rarely eat the bread, it can even be kept in the freezer.

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil should be kept somewhere dark and cool, but when put in refrigeration, it freezes and becomes alike to butter. That said, you can thaw it again to its original state.

9. Coffee

Storing coffee in the fridge makes it quickly lose its flavor and even absorb the flavor of foods stored near it. Coffee should be kept somewhere dark, somewhere cool. However, if you want to keep a large amount of coffee at home, you can keep in the depths of the freezer – not near the door.

10. Honey

One of the most fascinating facts about honey is that it never goes bad. You can eat honey from a thousand years ago, and it’ll still be good. There is no reason to keep honey in the fridge and it should be avoided, since the cold will make it a solid and it’s always better kept at room temperature.

The New Face of Tofu

Tofu has long been a favorite among vegetarians and families with eastern ancestry. But now Tofu is becoming a bigger part of western diets, especially with 20-something women who want dishes that are quick, easy to cook and that can help keep them trim (find resources for preparing tofu at the bottom of the page).

A new Cornell study, published this May in Eating Behaviors, involving 502 young women (20-35 years old) showed that tofu lovers saw it as a great source of light, inexpensive, energizing protein. “Importantly, they also believed you could cook firm Tofu just like chicken, but you didn’t have to worry about it spoiling,” said co-author Adam Brumberg. Although Tofu is high in calcium and has no cholesterol, most of these women didn’t eat it for its healthy qualities. Instead, they ate Tofu because it is convenient and filling.

The study also uncovered some interesting insights into how Tofu lovers can get their reluctant friends and family members to try new foods like Tofu. The non-users in the group tended to have a number of misconceptions about Tofu. While women in the study who already cooked Tofu were twice as likely to think of it as a great source of protein and an easy-to-cook food, the non-users thought Tofu was difficult to cook, needed special extra ingredients and was expensive; in fact, many estimated prices being as much as one dollar per pound higher than beef, when asked to estimate the cost of a 1 pound block of Tofu.

tofu, house foods, brian wansink, adam brumberg, mitsuru shimizu However, the most interesting finding was what techniques were effective in getting the non-users to consider adding Tofu to their shopping carts. Telling them all of the positive health and diet related aspects of Tofu, such as being high in protein and calcium or that it has no cholesterol, only resulted in a 12% increase in the likelihood of purchase. But correcting their misconceptions by telling them the actual price, showing them a simple recipe they could make in 10 minutes and having them read the phrase “Cooks Like Chicken” made the non-users almost 50% more likely to say they’d be willing to try cooking with Tofu at home!

The study also showed that the three most popular uses of Tofu were Tofu Scramble, Stir Fry, and cutting it up and putting it on salads. Although Tofu is sold in different firmness levels, the study’s sponsor, House Foods America, indicated that the firm and extra firm Tofu are the most popular among new Tofu converts.

What’s the key take away of this study? Dr. Brian Wansink says, “If you’re trying to convince a friend or family member to join you in becoming a Tofu lover, don’t belabor its health benefits; instead focus on it being quick and filling and cooking like chicken. In no time they’ll be making Tofu Scramble, Stir Fry and all the other dishes the Tofu lovers in the study listed as big parts of their diets.”

Source: Cornell University Food and Brand Lab

Salad With Nutty-flavour Camarque Red Rice


175 g Camargue red rice
75 g dried blueberries or currant
410 g canned kidney beans in water, drained
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds


1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp iced water
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Cook rice according to package instruction or until tender, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove and drain well.
  3. Mix rice with blueberries and dressing. Leave to cool and then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix to combine and serve right away.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: GL Diet Made Simple


Camargue red rice is a variety of rice cultivated in the wetlands of the Camargue region of southern France. It is a short-grained and unmilled variety of rice and is therefore quite sticky. It is a brownish-red colour. It has an intense somewhat nutty taste and a naturally chewy texture.

A close substitute for Carmargue rice is long grain brown rice.

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