Donuts And Apple Cider: An Autumn Marriage Made By Autos And Automation

Deena Prichep wrote . . . . . .

When baker Julie Richardson was growing up in Vermont, Autumn Saturdays had a particular rhythm. First, soccer practice. And then, to the apple orchard for some cider and donuts.

“I would sit there and watch that machine — watch the doughnuts plop into the hot oil, go down the conveyor belt and plop out the other end,” she says.

For many New Englanders — and for people across the country who grew up near apple orchards — it’s just not Fall without cider and donuts. It’s a combination that makes culinary sense: When cider is used to make the dough, Richardson notes, the acidity helps yield a tender crumb. And a cold, crisp glass of cider helps wash down the deliciously oily donuts, hot from the fryer — the autumnal version of milk and cookies.

It’s a tasty pairing for sure. And one that evokes earlier times.

“We put this rural gloss on it,” says food writer and culinary historian Michael Krondl. “Farm stands have been around forever, and cider donuts harken back to New England Fall and changing leaves. Yeeeeeah,” he laughs. Krondl’s audible skepticism comes because he thinks this sepia-tinged tradition arose because of some distinctly new world trends — namely automation, and automobility.

But first, to acknowledge the actual old-world component: Yes, both cider and donuts have long histories. Krondl notes that in early America, hard cider was “one of the primary beverages, prior to Prohibition — especially in apple-growing areas like New England and the Upper Midwest.” It was cheap, common and easier to make than beer (not to mention handy when you’ve got a bumper crop of fruit that would otherwise go bad).

As for donuts: You can find mentions of fried cakes in the Bible, and pretty much every culture has their own beloved take on batter or dough hitting hot fat (not surprising, given that heating a cauldron of oil is a bit easier than rigging up an oven). Something resembling modern donuts has probably been a part of American history since the early Dutch settlers, and the treat got a big boost during World War I, thanks to the tasty outreach of the Salvation Army. But back stateside, donuts weren’t as widespread as they are today — namely because making them was a fairly labor-intensive process.

Until Adolph Levitt came along.

Sally Levitt Steinberg, Adolph’s granddaughter, tells the almost mythical origin story of how her grandfather met an engineer on a Midwestern train, and the two of them came up with the prototype for a donut-making machine. After many failures, Levitt finally succeeded in 1921, setting up the machine in the window of his bakery in Harlem, N.Y. Instead of having to roll out the dough, cut the donuts and fry them in a pot, bakers could just set up this machine, which plopped perfect circles of batter into hot oil, then fried and flipped them at just the right time. It’s the exact contraption that later hypnotized Richardson — and so many others.

The public recognized the delicious importance of the invention. Steinberg says her grandfather took the machine out for a demonstration in Times Square, and it stopped traffic all over the city.

“It just exploded,” says Steinberg. “Then he realized that the machine was going to last forever, and the money wouldn’t. So then he got into the rest of the aspects of the business — mixes, shops, selling donuts in supermarkets.”

And, as Krondl notes, at the same time that Levitt’s donut machine was taking over, another phenomenon was happening — the rise of the automobile.

“It’s the collision of the automobile, automation and advertising,” says Krondl. “You’ve got these machines in every donut shop in America, and the Doughnut Corporation of America [Levitt’s company] is controlling them. And you begin to have these farm stands, particularly near urban areas, where people can go on a Sunday drive. People would do that in the early days of the automobiles — excursions.”

Drivers and passengers would get hungry on these drives. Krondl asserts that the newly perfected automatic donut machine (with its accompanying easy-to-use commercial mixes) was a perfect way to feed them at their destination. And the donuts went perfectly with the cider these farm stands were already pressing.

“Like McDonalds,” Krondl says, “farm stands are a function of mobility and the highway system.”

A hundred years ago, Adolph Levitt wasn’t thinking about “automobility” or Sunday drivers — he was just thinking of returning GIs’ appetite for tasty fried treats, and how to turn a fortuitous encounter with an engineer into the solution for a market need. But Krondl maintains that the result, coming at the time it did, married cider and donuts together forever. And we should all be grateful.

“At a certain point, you couldn’t have a farm stand without a donut machine,” says Krondl. “Which I totally support.”

Source: npr


Lemon-buttermilk Chiffon Cake with Raspberry Sauce


7 large eggs
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (from 2 to 3 large lemons)
7 oz cake flour
2-1/4 oz stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, rinsed and well dried; more for garnish
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 oz confectioners’ sugar; more to taste
pinch of table salt
fresh mint leaves (optional)
whipped cream (optional)


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Have ready an ungreased, not nonstick 10×4-inch (16-cup) angel food cake pan.
  2. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a medium bowl.
  3. In a food processor, pulse 1-1/4 cups of the granulated sugar and the lemon zest until the zest is finely ground, about eight 1-second pulses.
  4. Sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar mixture, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Using the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat on medium-low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until lighter in color and thick enough to form a slowly dissolving ribbon of batter when the paddle or beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes.
  5. Using the stand mixer fitted with a clean bowl and the whisk attachment or a handheld mixer with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium, and beat until the whites are opaque and form very soft peaks, about 1-1/2 minutes. Slowly add the remaining granulated sugar, and beat until the whites are thick and shiny and form soft peaks, about 1-1/2 minutes.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, scrape about one-fourth of the whites into the batter and gently fold until blended. Add the remaining whites and gently fold until just blended with no visible streaks of either the whites or batter.
  7. Immediately scrape the batter into the cake pan. Bake until deep golden brown and springy when touched, about 60 minutes. The top will have cracks that still look moist inside. Immediately invert the pan onto its feet or by sliding the center tube onto the neck of a bottle. Let cool completely, then remove from the pan.
  8. The cake can be served immediately or covered and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  9. In a food processor or blender, puree the raspberries, jam, confectioners’sugar, and salt. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl, pressing firmly on the seeds. Season to taste with more confectioners’ sugar. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  10. Serve slices of the cake with the sauce, berries, mint, and whipped cream, if using.

Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Source:Cook Fresh magazine

3-D Custom Latte Art

One cafe in Taiwan, called My Cofi, provides their customers with 3D custom latte art. Customers just have to show photographs of pets, loved ones, or just about anything, and the baristas will do their best recreating it all in foam.

Depending on the complexity of the latte art requested, the price per cup of coffee ranges between 250 to 600 TWD (US$8.30 to $19.90).

Body Clock Scientists Win Nobel Prize

James Gallagher wrote . . . . . . .

Three scientists who unravelled how our bodies tell time have won the 2017 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.

The body clock – or circadian rhythm – is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in behaviour and body function.

The US scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young will share the prize.

The Nobel prize committee said their findings had “vast implications for our health and wellbeing”.

A clock ticks in nearly every cell of the human body, as well as in plants, animals and fungi.

Our mood, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism all fluctuate in a daily rhythm.

Even our risk of a heart attack soars every morning as our body gets the engine running to start a new day.

The body clock so precisely controls our body to match day and night that disrupting it can have profound implications.

The ghastly experience of jet lag is caused by the body being out of sync with the world around it.

In the short term, body clock disruption affects memory formation, but in the long term it increases the risk of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“If we screw that system up we have a big impact on our metabolism,” said Prof Russell Foster, a body clock scientist at the University of Oxford.

He told the BBC he was “very delighted” that the US trio had won, saying they deserved the prize for being the first to explain how the system worked.

He added: “They have shown us how molecular clocks are built across all the animal kingdom.”

The trio’s breakthroughs were on fruit flies, but their findings explain how “molecular feedback loops” keep time in all animals.

Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash isolated a section of DNA called the period gene, which had been implicated in the circadian rhythm.

The period gene contained instructions for making a protein called PER. As levels of PER increased, it turned off its own genetic instructions.

As a result, levels of the PER protein oscillate over a 24-hour cycle – rising during the night and falling during the day.

Michael Young discovered a gene called timeless and another one called doubletime. They both affect the stability of PER.

If PER is more stable then the clock ticks more slowly, if it is less stable then it runs too fast. The stability of PER is one reason some of us are morning larks and others are night owls.

Together, they had uncovered the workings of the molecular clock inside the fly’s cells.

Dr Michael Hastings, who researches circadian timing at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, told the BBC: “Before this work in fruit flies we really didn’t have any ideas of the genetic mechanism – body clocks were viewed as a black box on a par with astrology.”

He said the award was a “fantastic” decision.

He added: “We encounter the body clock when we experience jet lag and we appreciate it’s debilitating for a short time, but the real public health issue is rotational shift work – it’s a constant state of jet lag.”

Source : BBC

Obesity Linked to 13 Types of Cancer

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . .

There’s a link between obesity and 40 percent of all the cancers diagnosed in the United States, health officials reported Tuesday.

That doesn’t mean too much weight is causing all these cancer cases, just that there’s some kind of still-to-be explained association, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, the study findings suggest that being obese or overweight was associated with cancer cases involving more than 630,000 Americans in 2014, and this includes 13 types of cancer.

“That obesity and overweight are affecting cancers may be surprising to many Americans. The awareness of some cancers being associated with obesity and overweight is not yet widespread,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC deputy director, said during a midday media briefing.

The 13 cancers include: brain cancer; multiple myeloma; cancer of the esophagus; postmenopausal breast cancer; cancers of the thyroid, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus and colon, the researchers said.

Speaking at the news conference, Dr. Lisa Richardson, director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said early evidence indicates that losing weight can lower the risk for some cancers.

According to the new report from the CDC and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, these 13 obesity-related cancers made up about 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014.

Although the rate of new cancer cases has decreased since the 1990s, increases in overweight and obesity-related cancers are likely slowing this progress, the researchers said.

Of the 630,000 Americans diagnosed with a cancer associated with overweight or obesity in 2014, about two out of three occurred in adults aged 50 to 74, the researchers found.

Excluding colon cancer, the rate of obesity-related cancer increased by 7 percent between 2005 and 2014. During the same time, rates of non-obesity-related cancers dropped, the findings showed.

In 2013-2014, about two out of three American adults were overweight or obese, according to the report.

For the study, researchers analyzed 2014 cancer data from the United States Cancer Statistics report and data from 2005 to 2014.

Key findings include:

  • Of all cancers, 55 percent in women and 24 percent in men were associated with overweight and obesity.
  • Blacks and whites had higher rates of weight-related cancer than other racial or ethnic groups.
  • Black men and American Indian/Alaska Native men had higher rates of cancer than white men.
  • Cancers linked to obesity increased 7 percent between 2005 and 2014, but colon cancer decreased 23 percent. Screening for colon cancer is most likely the reason for that cancer’s continued decline, Schuchat said.
  • Cancers not linked to obesity dropped 13 percent.
  • Except for colon cancer, cancers tied to overweight and obesity increased among those younger than 75.

The new report was published online in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Dr. Farhad Islami is strategic director of cancer surveillance research for the American Cancer Society.

He said it’s “important to note that only a fraction of the cancers included in the calculation in this report are actually caused by excess body weight.”

According to Islami, “many are attributable to other known risk factors, like smoking, while for many others, the cause is unknown. Obesity is more strongly associated with some cancers than others.”

The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that “20 percent of all cancers in the United States are caused by a combination of excess body weight, physical inactivity, excess alcohol, and poor nutrition. The American Cancer Society is currently doing its own extensive calculation of the numbers and proportions of cancer cases attributable to excess body weight, the results of which will be published soon,” he said.

Source: HealthDay

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