Matsutake Chirashi Sushi

The take-out sushi is available from most Kyotaru stores in Japan for a limited time.

It is a dish with autumn taste featuring matsutake mushroom, salmon roe, red salmon, and chestnut.

The price is 681 yen (tax included).

Calypso Burger


1 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound bulk hot pork sausage
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
6 seeded sandwich rolls, split
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red sweet pepper or 1/2 large red sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded, deribbed, and finely chopped
2 fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed and minced
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 small ripe tomato, seeded and diced, or 1/2 large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon Angostura bitters, or to taste
vegetable oil for brushing on grill rack


  1. In a grill with a cover, prepare a medium fire for direct-heat cooking.
  2. In a bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, black pepper, cloves, curry, and lime juice. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into round patties to fit the rolls; set aside.
  3. When the fire is ready, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan set on the grill. Add the onion, garlic, sweet pepper, and jalapeno and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, molasses, rum, and lime zest. Cook, stirring, until the liquid has nearly evaporated.
  5. Stir in the tomato and bitters and move the saucepan to the edge of the grill to keep warm.
  6. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill, cover, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
  7. With a wide spatula, turn the patties and cook until the juices run clear when the patties are pierced, about 5 minutes longer. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly.
  8. Transfer the patties to the bottom halves of the rolls, spoon on some of the pepper-tomato mixture, and cover with the roll tops.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: James McNair’s Burgers

Hemingway’s Hamburger

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan wrote . . . . . . . . .

Fingers deep, I kneaded. Fighting the urge to be careless and quick, I kept the pace rhythmic, slow. Each squeeze, I hoped, would gently ease the flavors—knobby bits of garlic, finely chopped capers, smatterings of dry spices—into the marbled mound before me.

I had made burgers before, countless times on countless evenings. This one was different; I wasn’t making just any burger—I was attempting to recreate Hemingway’s hamburger. And it had to be just right.

My quest had begun in May when I read a newspaper story about two thousand newly digitized documents of Ernest Hemingway’s personal papers in Cuba finally wending their way to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. This was the second batch of Hemingway papers to arrive from his home in Cuba, where he lived from 1939 to 1960, and wrote numerous stories and the celebrated novels For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.

In his Havana home—Finca Vigía, or “Lookout Farm,” a large house and sprawling tropical gardens filled with mango and almond trees—between tapping out books like A Moveable Feast (while standing up at his typewriter), he also enjoyed dining well and entertaining. The ubiquitous Hemingway Daiquiri, after all, comes from his time in Havana, when he wandered into the El Floridita bar, had his first taste of a daiquiri, then ordered another with no sugar—and double the rum. (So the story goes, anyway.)

As both a food writer and Hemingway acolyte, I had long been aware of his immense appetites—for life, adventure, drink, and a good meal. So it wasn’t surprising that one line in this article should strike me: “The more mundane, like his instructions to the household staff, including how to prepare his hamburgers: ground beef, onions, garlic, India relish, and capers, cooked so the edges were crispy but the center red and juicy.” Hemingway’s idea of a perfect hamburger? I had to try it.

While I may have found this fascinating, the interesting thing about the latest set of Hemingway’s Cuba papers is how conventionally uninteresting they are. “The first batch of papers (donated to the J.F.K. Library in 2009) were what folks may have considered more scholarly—galley proofs of his books, correspondence with his editors, that sort of work,” said Mary-Jo Adams, executive director of the Boston-based Finca Vigía Foundation, the non-profit that has been working with Museum Hemingway at Finca Vigía to preserve his documents and bring copies of them up to the United States. “This group is more personal—it’s less significant, depending on your perspective … copies of his passports, bills that he paid, automobile insurance, his good driver discount—things that put together the fabric of who the man was past his writing.”

Among these papers (many of them written in Spanish), however, is a treasure trove of lists, recipes, and writings that intimately illustrate his appetites and involvement in temporal minutiae. “He was meticulous in all ways, deeply involved in every detail of daily life and very attuned to what kinds of foods he wanted to have served,” says Sandra Spanier, an English professor at Pennsylvania State University and general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, who has seen the papers.

On avocados: “We like avocados but we don’t want them every day. … When you serve an avocado, do not also serve tomatoes, radishes, or peppers. The avocado is enough for us.”

On the Hemingway cow: “All milk is to be used for the cats.”

A recipe for soup lists abalone, bean curd, smoked turkey, clam broth, onion, and shredded lettuce as ingredients. Instructions for Chinese vegetables have words underlined for emphasis and advise using “poco” soy sauce.

An April, 1957 order to Maison Glass, a gourmet emporium in New York City, requests that tins of whole guinea hen, whole pheasant, cèpes, and lobster bisque along with dozens of jars of preserves such as rose petal jelly and pricey bar le duc be sent to Finca Vigía “by Air Express as you usually do.”

Some of these writings are typed out on Collier’s magazine letterhead and filled in with handwritten corrections and notes, Spanier said. And among them, she added, is a note in Spanish, written by Hemingway, but in the voice of his fourth wife Mary Hemingway, saying, in effect, “Please try to understand these instructions. They’re given knowing your goodwill in working hard to shop and cook well. If there’s something that you don’t understand or some problem, explain it to me and not to Mr. Hemingway, who has enough problems of his own in his work as a writer.”

Hemingway’s appetites naturally took their toll. In his last five years at Finca Vigía, he became preoccupied with his weight and blood pressure, recording both readings everyday in pencil on his bathroom wall. “It did fluctuate,” Adams said. “Sometimes he would write a word (next to a number) indicating there was a party or some reason for the fluctuation.”

Among his papers, the burger that captured my imagination was one of his more pedestrian recipes—it was no vichyssoise or white grape soup. But I needed to taste it.

It started off simply enough: ground beef, India relish, capers, and green onions, mixed with various spices, egg, and wine. (The recipe is very specific about the brand of spices; Spice Islands appeared to be the Hemingway spice brand of choice.)

Mei Yen powder, however, tripped me up. Perhaps it was a popular spice in the 1950s but in 2013, it was nowhere to be found; it turns out it was discontinued three years ago. But after some conferring with the good people at Spice Islands, I had a recipe for recreating that.

And so I began. First, I broke up the meat, scattering the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it. After letting that rest for a smidgen, I added the relish, capers, wine, and all else and let that “sit, quietly marinating.” The smell of spices, garlic, capers, meat, and wine slowly perfumed the air of my tiny kitchen.

Hemingway liked his burgers pan-fried, not grilled. So, out came the pan. The heady scent of charred beef tinged with sage, garlic, and celery seed rapidly became unbearable. I could not wait to eat. By the time the burger was “crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy” my pangs were palpable.

The burger was delicious: each bit of it oozed a complex and textured umami, earthy and deep. I had never experienced such a combination of flavors in a burger before and found myself eating far too quickly. But then I remembered a line I loved in A Moveable Feast, in which Hemingway describes going to Brasserie Lipp in Paris for a meal.

“The beer was very cold and wonderful to drink. … After the first heavy draft of beer I drank and ate very slowly.”

And so, I did the same. I took a sip of my cool Sancerre and slowly, I ate.


There is no reason why a fried hamburger has to turn out gray, greasy, paper-thin and tasteless. You can add all sorts of goodies and flavors to the ground beef — minced mushrooms, cocktail sauce, minced garlic and onion, chopped almonds, a big dollop of piccadilli, or whatever your eye lights on. Papa prefers this combination.


1 lb ground lean beef

2 cloves, minced garlic

2 little green onions, finely chopped

1 heaping teaspoon, India relish

2 tablespoons, capers

1 heaping teaspoon, Spice Islands sage

Spice Islands Beau Monde Seasoning — ½ teaspoon

Spice Islands Mei Yen Powder — ½ teaspoon (see note below)

1 egg, beaten in a cup with a fork

About one third cup dry red or white wine.

1 tablespoon cooking oil

What to do:

Break up the meat with a fork and scatter the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it, then mix them into the meat with a fork or your fingers. Let the bowl of meat sit out of the icebox for ten or fifteen minutes while you set the table and make the salad. Add the relish, capers, everything else including wine and let the meat sit, quietly marinating, for another ten minutes if possible. Now make four fat, juicy patties with your hands. The patties should be an inch thick, and soft in texture but not runny. Have the oil in your frying-pan hot but not smoking when you drop in the patties and then turn the heat down and fry the burgers about four minutes. Take the pan off the burner and turn the heat high again. Flip the burgers over, put the pan back on the hot fire, then after one minute, turn the heat down again and cook another three minutes. Both sides of the burgers should be crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy.

Note: Spice Islands has discontinued its production of Mei Yen Powder. Here’s how to recreate it:

9 parts salt

9 parts sugar

2 parts MSG

If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon Mei Yen Powder, use 2/3 tsp of the dry recipe (above) mixed with 1/8 tsp of soy sauce.

Source: The Paris Review

German Scientists Run Concert Test to See How Coronavirus Spreads

Scientists from the German University of Halle observed conditions on Saturday at an experimental concert in the eastern city of Leipzig, where they hope to learn more about the risk of infection at large events.

The study comes as events and large gatherings remain banned in Germany until at least November. Most concert organizers and entertainment industry staff have seen their work dry up in recent months.

Popular German singer Tim Bendzko volunteered to play three separate concerts over the course of the day, which would test different configurations of the event.

Chasing aerosols and contact tracing

The experiment involved 2,000 concertgoers, who were mostly young, healthy and not belonging to any high-risk group.

Attendees had to provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to the concert and their temperature was taken upon arrival at the venue. They wore FFP2 face masks during the event and were fitted with contact-tracing devices, which would complement sensors on the ceiling of the venue that collected data on their movements.

“We want to study how much contact the participants have with one another during the concert – which is actually still not clear,” research lead Stefan Moritz said.

Fluorescent disinfectant was also distributed. “After the event, we can see with ultraviolet lamps which surfaces glow in particular, meaning they were touched particularly often,” Moritz added.

Halle scientists also tracked the movement of aerosols; the smallest particles in the air that can carry the virus.

Three concert scenarios

Scientists ran three scenarios at each concert. The first scenario was meant to resemble concerts before the pandemic, without any coronavirus measures.

The second scenario involved viewers following health and safety guidelines, while the third scenario involved a reduced number of attendees who were kept 1.5 meters apart from each other.

Data collected on Saturday will be fed into a mathematical model, which should help scientists evaluate the risks of the virus spreading in a large concert venue. The results are expected this fall.

The aim of the experiments is to find out whether concerts and other large events could be allowed to resume while avoiding high infection risks.

“It’s all about taking an evidence-based approach,” said Michael Gekle, dean of the medical faculty at Halle University.

Source : DW

Global Gut Health Experts Guide Growth of Synbiotics

Lauren Quinn wrote . . . . . . . . .

Chances are you’ve heard of or even taken probiotics: supplements delivering “good microbes” to the gut, providing a wide range of health benefits. If you’re really up on your gut health, you may also be aware of prebiotics: supplements designed to fuel the good microbes already living in our guts.

The next wave of gut-health supplements, known as synbiotics, essentially combine pre- and probiotics. To keep research and development efforts on the right track, an international panel of experts – including two from the University of Illinois – recently redefined the term and developed guidelines on the scientific investigation of the supplements.

The consensus report, published in Nature Reviews: Gastroenterology & Hepatology, is expected to serve as the definitive reference in the development of new synbiotic products.

“Synbiotics are starting to gain traction in the marketplace, but there’s a lot of confusion around the term, even among scientists,” says Kelly Swanson, consensus panel chair and professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Illinois. “The panel’s main goal was to clarify what synbiotics are and provide guidance for future research and innovation.”

The general idea of synbiotics was first proposed in 1995 when prebiotics were defined. But the concept was left open to interpretation, and since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates supplements loosely, companies can sell products that may or may not provide health benefits.

“This consensus statement provides guidance for different stakeholders, including scientists in academia and industry, consumers, and even journalists. We want to remind each group that these terms should be used consistently, avoiding sensationalizing or overstating health claims,” says Hannah Holscher, panel member and assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Illinois.

The updated definition for synbiotics is “a mixture comprising live microorganisms and substrate(s) selectively utilized by host microorganisms that confers a health benefit on the host.”

The terms prebiotic and probiotic have their own definitions and standards. By omitting those specific terms from the definition of synbiotic, the expert panel allows for the use of microorganisms and selectively utilized substrates that may work together to elicit a health benefit but may not fit the definitions of pre- and probiotics when administered independently.

“The old definition of synbiotic included pre- and probiotics, which may have restricted innovation,” Holscher explains.

Pre- and probiotics can still be combined under the new definition, as long as they’re tested together and shown to still provide positive, if not necessarily related, health outcomes. For example, a prebiotic might aid in digestive health while a probiotic may boost immunity after a flu vaccine. As long as they still provide those benefits in the host, they can be considered complementary synbiotics.

“The key there is testing. Even if the pre- and probiotics work separately, there could be some antagonism when put together. So really, they need be tested together in the target animal or human. We don’t want companies just randomly throwing things together,” Swanson says.

In contrast, the ingredients in synergistic synbiotics are additive, working together to produce a single, targeted health benefit. These are most likely to be made with novel ingredients not already categorized under the current definitions of pre- and probiotics.

“In synergistic synbiotics, the substrate would support probiotic survival,” Holscher says. “For example, providing an energy source for the probiotic or changing the microbiome to support the survival of the probiotic.”

In either case, testing the ingredients together is critical. The consensus panel lays out testing protocols for multiple hosts, including humans, pets, and livestock animals, and encourages researchers to consider the effects of age, health status, sex, and other important factors.

With better guiding documentation, the market for synbiotics is likely to grow. But before plunging into the new supplements, the researchers advise consumers to consult with medical professionals to choose the right product for their specific needs.

“Just because there’s a pre-, pro-, or synbiotic on the market, that doesn’t mean they’ll work across the board from infants to adults to geriatrics, from heart disease to gastrointestinal health. They’re all really there for a specific purpose,” Swanson says.

Holscher adds, “The question is not whether you should take a pre-, pro-, or synbiotic. The question is, ‘what do you need those products to do?’ We know a lot about the specific health outcomes of these products, so it’s a matter of finding what you need rather than thinking of them as a blanket cure-all.”

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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