Chinese Stir-fry of Chicken and Apple


8 oz chicken breast
1/2 carrot
1 green pepper (thickly shredded)
1 Tbsp shredded ginger
1 apple
1 tsp minced garlic


1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oil


1-1/2 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
dash of sesame oil
pinch of pepper
3/4 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water


  1. Peel and remove core of apple. Cut into thick strips. Soak in slightly salty water. Wipe dry when ready to cook.
  2. Peel carrot. Cut into thick strips. Boil in hot water for about 8 minutes to soften. Drain.
  3. Cut chcicken into thick strips. Marinate with seasoning for 15 minutes. Blanch in boiling water till nearly cooked.
  4. Saute ginger in 2 Tbsp oil. Add green pepper. Stir-fry till nearly cooked. Add garlic and stir-fry briefly. Add chicken, apple and carrot. Toss well to combine. Add sauce and cook until sauce thickens. Remove to serving platter and serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

Sushi Robots and Vending-Machine Pizza Will Reinvent the Automat

Leslie Patton wrote . . . . .

Decades from now, historians may look back on 2016 as the year Earthlings ate pizza from vending machines, bought burritos from a box in New York’s Grand Central Terminal and devoured sushi rolled by robots.

“Automation is coming whether we want it to come or not,” said Andy Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc., which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food chains. “It’s everywhere. It’s in everything.”

At a time when more consumers are embracing hand-made artisanal foods, 24/7 Pizza Box, Burritobox and Sushi Station are headed in the other direction. Vending-machine pizza will start popping up in Florida later this year and chipotle-chicken burritos, accompanied by guacamole and salsa, can now be ordered from an automated box. Sushi-making robots from Japan are already operating in U.S. restaurants and university cafeterias.

Vending machines are a $7.52 billion business that’s growing in the U.S., according to researcher IBISWorld Inc. Sales rose 3.3 percent last year and are expected to gain 1.8 percent a year, on average, through 2020. But most have nothing to do with freshly cooked food. The leaders are Outerwall Inc., which dispenses movies through Redbox, and Compass Group Plc, which sells snacks.

Millennials, accustomed to apps and online services such as Uber Technologies Inc., Inc. and GrubHub Inc., increasingly don’t want to interact with other humans when ordering dinner, calling a cab or stocking up on toilet paper. That’s why eateries including McDonald’s Corp., Panera Bread Co. and CKE Restaurants are investing in kiosks and tablets so customers can also feed their misanthropy.

Customers who eschewed human servers spent more money, according a recent CKE test in Tennessee, Puzder said. Panera has ordering kiosks in some locations, and McDonald’s is toying with burger-building touch screens and automated latte makers in a handful of its restaurants. Casual-dining chains, like Chili’s and Olive Garden, have tablets so customers can pay at the table instead of waiting for a server.

Higher labor costs are also fueling the automation craze. At the beginning of this year, 14 states raised their minimum rates. A $15-an-hour minimum wage will take effect in New York City in 2018 and in California by 2022.

“This is not a vending machine, it’s an automated restaurant.”

Denis Koci, 30, co-founder and CEO of Box Brands in Los Angeles, maker of Burritobox, said his company can become the Redbox for food. There are 25 burrito-dispensing machines already in areas like Hollywood, California, and Madison, Wisconsin, and 50 more are slated for the next month or so, Koci said. There’s one planned for Grand Central train commuters in New York.

For those who may think eating lunch out of a vending machine is gross, Koci said he understands.

“I get it. But this is not a vending machine, it’s an automated restaurant,” he said. “There are real humans making the burritos. Everything is handmade.”

No, those humans are not super-small and no, they don’t toil in the machines. The burritos are made in kitchens that also supply restaurants, sometimes flash-frozen, and then shipped to the boxes. They’re defrosted before going into the machines. An employee checks the boxes once a day to make sure there’s fresh inventory.

The vending machines harken back to the Automat, a 20th-century fast-food restaurant that featured cubbyholes with food items behind glass doors. Put coins in a slot and the door would open for a gratuity-free snack or meal.

The bright orange Burritoboxes are higher tech. They have a touch screen, mobile-phone charging station and live-chat customer service in case there’s an issue. It takes about 90 seconds to heat a complete meal, including Cinnabon-brand gooey bites for dessert. Customers can watch music videos on the touch screen while waiting.

Unlike Burritoboxes, the pizza machines are unbranded so local pizzerias and packaged-food companies can label and fill the machines with their own pies. Pizzerias in Sarasota, Florida, and Chicago are experimenting with them. Each one holds 108 slices and reheats them in a conveyor oven in about one minute and 40 seconds.

Lynnie Cook, 65, the founder of 24/7 Pizza Box, said he has orders for more than 100 of the $29,920 machines. He expects to sell 2,500 in 2017.

“Our time is getting more precious,” Cook said. “You’re going to have people bringing food to where the businesspeople are working, or just making it more convenient.”

Robotics have made their way into the back of restaurants. Sushi Station, a conveyor-belt-style sushi restaurant in Elgin, Illinois, has two sushi-roll makers from manufacturer Autec. Add rice paper, press a button, add a filling, and voila. The robot costs $19,000. There’s also a machine that makes perfectly shaped rice for nigiri. The robotics help the restaurant supply the roughly 1,000 rolls it sells each day.

“It does wonders,” said Aki Noda, president of Sushi Station in Elgin. “We can teach employees in a day or two a job that would probably take a year for a sushi chef. You’re not going to have any issues of people falling behind.”

Big G’s Pizza in Chicago, known for its mac-and-cheese slices, is considering buying 24/7 Pizza Boxes, but co-founder Jeronimo Gaytan isn’t completely sold yet. He’s talked to the company about lowering the machine’s reheating temperature so his chain’s New York-style crust doesn’t end up too crispy. Gaytan also would like to see how the first pizza machines perform in Sarasota before committing.

“Are people actually cool with buying a pizza slice from a vending machine?” he said.

Source: Bloomberg

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Kazari Sushi (飾りずし)

Seven Servings of Whole Grains a Day Keep the Doctor Away

Eating three more portions of dietary fiber a day – say, two pieces of whole grain bread and a bowl of whole grain breakfast cereal–is associated with a lower risk for all cardiovascular diseases and for dying of cancer, diabetes, and respiratory and infectious diseases, a study just published in the BMJ has shown. The study is strong proof that consuming lots of whole grains is good for our health, says first author Dagfinn Aune, a PhD candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology who is currently working at Imperial College, London.

The meta-analysis isn’t the first study that links whole grains to positive health effects, but it is the first one to look at how much whole grain one should eat to minimize health risks and that has examined the connection with various causes of death. In general, the study showed that the higher the consumption, the better protected you are.

“We saw the lowest risk among people who ate between seven and seven and a half servings of whole grain products a day, which was the highest intake across all the studies. This corresponds to 210-225 grams of whole grain products in fresh weight and about 70-75 grams of whole grains in dry weight, and is about the same as the health authorities in Norway and other Nordic countries recommend as the minimum daily allowance,” says Aune.

Applies only to whole grain products

The researchers’ analyses showed fewer risk factors for people who consumed more bread and cereal with whole grains, as well as foods with added bran. On the other hand, people who ate a lot of white bread, rice or cereals with refined grains did not show reduced risk.

“A lot of folks eat plenty of grains, but they choose refined breads instead of varieties with more dietary fiber. Our study suggests that you can reduce the risk of premature death by replacing a big part of the white flour in your diet with whole grain products,” said Aune.

Some of the beneficial health effects of eating whole grains may lie in their high fiber content. A high intake of dietary fiber can stabilize blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, and can positively affect the gut environment. All of this can contribute to a reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Whole grain products also contain several other biologically active substances, such as antioxidants, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc. It is probably the whole package of favorable components that contribute to the positive effect on the risk of chronic disease and mortality.

Something is much better than nothing

Aune and an international group of researchers collected data from 45 different population studies that investigated whole grain intake in relation to risk of future illness or death due to specific causes.

To be included, the scientists required risk estimates in the studies to be adjusted for other factors that could affect the relationship between dietary fiber intake and health. The findings are now being published in The BMJ, one of the highest ranked medical journals, and reviewed in an editorial in the same issue.

In the editorial, Cecilie Kyrø and Anne Tjønneland from the research centre of the Danish Cancer Society, wrote, “Today, the Nordic countries have the most specific recommendations in the world for how much dietary fiber you should eat: 70-90 grams a day in dry weight, which corresponds to about 210-270 grams of product.

In Denmark, the intake of whole grains has doubled over the last ten years, thanks to the food and health authorities ensuring that food may not be labeled as whole grain if it does not meet strict content requirements. But even in Denmark, no more than 6% of the population follow the recommendations to eat seven or more servings of whole grains a day.

Nevertheless, the researchers believe it is possible to get more people to eat that much whole grain, both in Scandinavia and other countries.

“It may seem ambitious, but effective campaigns and product development can lead to much greater consumption of whole grains. When the health authorities implement measures to increase the population’s dietary fibre intake, it is important not to promote whole grain products with a high sugar and salt content,” write the Danish researchers, and they point out that greatest health impact at the population level can be achieved by getting more people to eat some whole grains instead of none.

This idea is also supported by the meta-analysis findings.

“We found the greatest risk reduction in people who consumed 0 grams up to those who ate 50 grams of whole grain products a day. The risk continued to decrease – but to a lesser extent – up to an intake of 225 grams a day,” said Aune.

Reduced mortality risk for many diseases

Nine studies with a total of more than 700,000 participants examined the risk for all types of cardiovascular disease and correlated cardiovascular deaths. The half of the study subjects who ate the most whole grains had a 16% lower risk than those who consumed less, and every third portion more of whole grain a day reduced the risk by 22%.

The seven studies that looked at coronary heart disease (heart attack and angina) showed similar risk estimates, whereas the reduced risk of stroke was slightly lower in the combined analyses of the six studies that examined this. Analyses of whole grains and mortality from stroke showed a statistically significant 14% reduction in risk.

The risk of dying prematurely from all causes was 18% lower for individuals who consumed a lot of whole grains compared to those who consumed lesser amounts, while three additional servings each day were associated with a 17% reduction in mortality. The risk for deaths associated with cancer (15%), respiratory diseases (22%), diabetes (51%) and infectious diseases (26%) was also lower the more whole grains individuals consumed.

Still need more research

The researchers acknowledge the limitations in measuring how much grain was eaten via self-reported data and that the various studies may have had different definitions for what was regarded as whole grain products. The researchers also cannot rule out that the results may be influenced by people who eat lots of whole grains also living healthier in other ways, but point out that they got the same results when they only analysed studies that adjusted for smoking, alcohol consumption, BMI, physical activity and consumption of other foods such as red meat, sugary drinks and fruits and vegetables.

“Future studies need to improve the way grain intake is measured, and more research that looks at whether the different types of whole grains can have different effects on health is also needed. For example, some studies indicate that oats and rye are better whole grain sources than wheat in terms of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” the Danish researchers Kyrø and Tjønneland write.

And a lot of research is still missing on the relationship between dietary fibre intake and relatively rare causes of death.

Aune says that much of the research on whole grains so far has been focused on the most widespread illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers (mainly colorectal cancer) and type 2 diabetes. “However, our results suggest that consuming whole grain products may have beneficial effects on several other diseases, like mortality from respiratory diseases and infections, and the literature suggests that whole grains may even protect against rare cancers.

Now several very large population-based studies have been established, allowing us to examine less common diseases in more detail than previously. So we’ll continue to examine the relationship between whole grains and diseases that have only been studied minimally or not at all,” he says.

Source: Gemini

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