The Selling of the Avocado

The story of how avocados went from being an obscure West-Coast cash crop to the juggernaut of the Midwestern produce section is one of extreme feats of marketing and major shifts in ideas about nutrition. It is a story of a desperate renaming, a PR Hail-Mary, and of the changing nature of the Super Bowl. It is a tale best enjoyed with a squeeze of lime and generous sprinkling of cilantro.

The Future of Meat Is Plant-Based Burgers

More protein than beef. More omegas than salmon. Tons of calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin B. In their secret R&D lab, the scientists at Beyond Meat concocted a plant-protein-based performance burger that delivers the juicy flavor and texture of the real thing with none of the dietary and environmental downsides.

Crafting Bourbon

I love watching the process of creation, whether it’s pixels or fermentation. While I enjoy a good scotch, bourbon has become my liquor of choice, as it doesn’t carry the blunt hammer of peat. I’ve seen a couple of documentaries on the creation of scotch, so it’s neat to compare the processes and the liquid each produces.

A Different Kind of Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut in China is very different than the American version. The restaurant itself is much nicer, encouraging you to sit-down and enjoy a higher-end experience. While I was in Shanghai, I managed to walk by one, though sadly, not be able to dine there – I’m not tempted by Pizza Hut in the US. For an idea of the difference, check out this video:

That said, I also stumbled across some fun differences in their menu. Some very interesting differences. Here are some menu items that you don’t see here in the States:

  • Seafood Supreme (Thousand Island Sauce) Pizza
  • Portuguese Chicken Rice
  • Bacon Penne with Truffle Parsley Sauce
  • Baked Vegetables in Portuguese Sauce
  • Mashed Potato with Bacon in White Sauce
  • French Style Escargots with Mashed Potato
  • Thousand Island Seafood Con Carne
  • Snack platters that include chicken wings, waffle fries, mini-sausages and baby back ribs

I also love that the delivery people in their advertising can shoot fire from their hands. That’s a great way to keep the pizza warm on its way from the restaurant.

The Chinese Oreo

Any foreign company that comes to China and says, ‘There’s 1 1/2 billion people here, goody goody, and I only need 1 percent of that’ … [is] going to get into trouble. You have to understand how the consumer operates at a really detailed level.

Lorna Davis, Global Biscuits Category Head at Kraft

Planet Money’s piece Rethinking The Oreo For Chinese Consumers provides an interesting view into the experience of one of the best known American brands stumbling, recovering and then dominating it’s market in China. It’s a fun read.

Meat: Good for the Stomach, Good for the Soul

Contrary to expectations, a McGill University researcher has discovered that seeing meat makes people significantly less aggressive. Frank Kachanoff, who studies evolution at the university’s department of psychology, had initially thought the presence of meat would provoke bloodlust, believing the response would have helped our primate ancestors hunt. But in fact, his research showed the reverse is true.

Seeing meat calms you down, study says – The Globe and Mail

Smoking Lemons for Smoked Lemonade

Smoked LemonsI smoked these beautiful lemons at 220° for an hour using a mix of charcoal and pecan and then we squeezed them to make an amazing lemonade that held a richer flavor, without losing any of the bright citrus tang. I’ve included a straightforward lemonade recipe below, but there are many great recipes out there that you can use as a base.

Five lemons will give you about one cup of juice, resulting in six servings of lemonade when all is said and done. The steps below are built on this estimate.

  1. Cut lemons in half and place them in a pan(s) that will fit in your smoker. . Disposable pie pans work well, as it may be easier to position them around the meat in the smoker. I placed some cut-side down and others cut side up to even out the amount of smoke they would absorb.
  2. Smoke them for about an hour at 220°, reduce the time if you’re already cooking at a higher temp.
  3. Pull them from the smoker and let them cool.
  4. While they cool, make a simple syrup by heating 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves completely.
  5. Squeeze the now-cool lemons into a pitcher
  6. Pour the syrup into the pitcher along with 3 cups of cold water (you can add more later if it’s too strong, but you’ll likely add ice too).

For an added adult-only twist, you can add bourbon, either in the pitcher or per-glass, to your taste.

Hat tip to Leesa for the inspiration!