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    Students Invent New Ketchup Cap to Solve Squirt Problem

    Looks like pretty good week for condiment innovation. "High school seniors Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson have spent a lot of time thinking about ketchup. As students in the Project Lead the Way program at North Liberty High School, Richards and Thompson have researched and developed a bottle cap that prevents that first squirt of ketchup from being a watery mess." (h/t LaughingSquid)

    Alton Brown's Mustard Caddy

    Alton Brown demonstrates a smart (and cheap!) solution for storing in place those finicky condiment bottles in your refrigerator door. Not all of them have flat tops that let you easily rest them upside down. Of course, we'd want to 3D-print a long-term solution.

    10 Smart Lifehacks for Your Kitchen

    If you cook a lot (and you should), you’re probably always looking for ways to make your kitchen more efficient. We can help. Here are ten outside-the-box tricks that will help you save time and money in your culinary pursuits from the comfort of home.

    10 Surprising Ingredients Found In Common Foods

    The industrial food process has made eating a little more complicated than it used to be. All kinds of unusual products are used to thicken, flavor and preserve some of our favorite edibles. Today, we’ll spotlight ten ingredients that you might not know you’re eating.

    In Brief: The Invention of the AeroPress

    Priceonomics has a great long feature about the invention of the AeroPress, our current favorite low-cost single-cup coffee maker. If you've ever bought an AeroPress from its manufacturer, Aerobie, you may have noticed that it's the company's single coffee product among a dozen other "high performance sports toys." That's because Stanford professor Alan Adler, the inventor of the AeroPress, started the company in the 1980s making the famous Aerobie flying disc (which was actually inspired by the Chakram!). Priceonomics' story walks us through Adler's revelation of using air pressure to reduce brew time for a single cup of coffee, and how the AeroPress actually struggled to find fans after its initial release. Today, it's so popular that there are international AeroPress competitions. (And if you liked this story, don't forget to read about the invention of the Chemex as well!)

    Norman
    Tested: Grinding Peanut M&Ms at 2500 Frames Per Second

    Earlier this week, we showed you what grinding coffee looked like under the Edgertronic high-speed camera. Though mesmerizing, some of you weren't impressed. So here's a step up: grinding colorful peanut M&Ms under the same camera at different frame rates!

    Women Are Taking Back Beer

    Men and beer have gone together for ages. Beer is crafted by men in factories owned by men, sold to men, and consumed by men.

    But women love beer, too. They make up one-quarter of U.S. beer consumption by volume, according to the Beverage Media Group. And the number of women who love beer is slowly growing. The craft brewing industry has allowed them to find new brands and flavors. According to a consumer survey called the Alcoholic Beverage DemandTracker, the percent of women who name beer as their favorite beverage grew from 26 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2013. That stat may seem low, but it’s kind of remarkable considering that beer is only ever marketed to men.

    And women love brewing too. For a long time, the only way they’ve been able to show it is through small-batch home brewing in their kitchens. Women who have wanted to turn their craft into a career say they’ve had their male counterparts literally laugh in their faces. In the last ten years or so, however, a few female pioneers have pushed their way onto brewery floors to prove that making beer is anything but men’s work.

    The idea that beer is a man’s domain would have been ludicrous to anyone alive more than 250 years ago.

    The movement of women into the industry has happened incredibly slowly. A male-dominated industry is generally considered to be one that has 25 percent or fewer women. While other men-centric businesses have started accepting women over the years (even mining, for example, was 13 percent women in the U.S. in 2011), the brewing industry doesn’t even bother to track how many women it employs. The generally accepted estimate is that less than 1 percent of all brewers in the U.S. are female. Whitney Burnside, who became the first female head brewer at Pelican Brewery in Oregon in January, says that when it came to her entering the industry, “there was a lot of resistance. I felt like I had to work extra hard to show them that I could do it. I never felt like it was acceptable. Now, even being the head brewer here, I still get the looks and the weird responses.”

    It hasn’t always been this way. The idea that beer is a man’s domain would have been ludicrous to anyone alive more than 250 years ago. Before beer was taken over by industry, men had little time or care for crafting brew — they were too busy hunting or farming to waste their hours cooking. After all, making beer isn’t all that different from making dinner. Until the modern-era, women dominated everything that went on in the kitchen.

    The Chemistry Behind Sriracha's Appeal

    Why do our taste buds crave the flavor of rooster sauce? Reactions--a YouTube channel produced by the American Chemical Society--breaks down the chemical ingredients of the popular condiment to explain how it affects our brains. Perfect timing to celebrate the ending of the great Sriracha crisis of late 2013, after the California Department of Public Health halted shipments of Sriracha from its Southern California factory for 30 days. But did you know that there are plenty of rooster sauce alternatives in supermarkets? That's one taste test we'd love to do.

    Science Friday: Wine Tricks of the Trade

    In case you didn't believe us when we first told you that putting your wine through a blender makes it taste better. "Dr. Gavin Sacks of Cornell University's Viticulture and Enology Program translates popular wine jargon such as "breathing," "corked," and "wine tears" into chemistry you can understand. He also explains some tricks you can use to experience the versatility of wine."

    CES 2014: Taste Testing the ChefJet 3D Food Printer

    3D Systems introduced their ChefJet line of food 3D printers at CES 2014, which will be the first kitchen-ready food printer when it's released later this year. We learn about how the ChefJet works and what kinds of food and shapes it can make, and then taste test some geometric sugar candy and chocolates created by the printer.

    12 Days of Tested Christmas: New Year's Reading

    On the final day of Tested Christmas, Will shares some of his favorite books from this year. They range from dessert cookbooks to a comprehensive guide to modern tools to a mysterious meta-book that's unlike any we've ever seen. Put them on your list for reading in the new year!

    Why People Think Coffee is Bad for Kids

    Why don't most parents let their kids drink coffee? The first, most obvious answer is that caffeine is addictive. Overcaffeinated kids will be bouncing off the walls and staying awake at night, and letting them drink coffee is a likely way for them to get hooked. Soda, though, is also caffeinated, and a common beverage for kids in the US. Smithsonian Mag offers a different theory about why coffee's off limits: a persistent belief that coffee stunts the growth of children.

    Smithsonian Mag writes: “'It’s ‘common knowledge,’ so to speak—but a lot of common knowledge doesn’t turn out to be true,' says Mark Pendergrast, the author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. 'To my knowledge, no one has ever turned up evidence that drinking coffee has any effect on how much children grow.' "

    No study has ever lent credence to the theory that coffee harms the development of children, though Smithsonian Mag points out that no study has ever exposed children to years worth' of coffee, either. "There has, however, been research into the long-term effects of caffeine on children, and no damning evidence has turned up," they add. "One study followed 81 adolescents for a six-year period, and found no correlation between daily caffeine intake and bone growth or density. Theoretically, the closest thing we do have to evidence that caffeine affects growth is a series of studies on adults, which show that increased consumption of caffeinated beverages lead to the body absorbing slightly less calcium, which is necessary for bone growth. However, the effect is negligible: The calcium in a mere tablespoon of milk, it’s estimated, is enough to offset the caffeine in eight ounces of coffee."

    Photo credit: Flickr user raster via Creative Commons.

    So where did this idea come from? What spawned the belief that coffee will stunt the growth of children, while it's perfectly fine for adults? The idea may have originated with advertising created by C.W. Post, who founded Post Foods in the late 1800s. The company is still a popular cereal maker. Post created a grain-based drink, called Postum, that was popular until the 1960s. It was only discontinued in 1967, but some longtime fans have brought the drink back, billing it as "a healthy coffee alternative for those who have dietary and health restrictions. Postum is caffeine free and won’t cause the sleeplessness, high blood pressure or digestive problems that are often linked to coffee and tea."

    To push people to drink Postum with their breakfast instead of coffee, Post created a series of ad campaigns talking about coffee's harmful effects. Some ads called it "nerve poison." Other specifically discussed children, claiming it made them sluggards and robs them of the milk they need in their diet. One ad credited a "world famous Research Institute" for a study that conclusively proved coffee made children stupid. "Less than 16% of those who drank coffee attained good marks!" it exclaimed.

    Somehow, Postum didn't stick around, but its ads must have worked their way into the public consciousness. Coffee doesn't stunt growth or make kids fail school. Still, you may not want them to drink it; there's still the no sleeping, bouncing off the walls issue to consider.

    12 Days of Tested Christmas: No Ordinary Thermometer

    For the second day of Tested Christmas, Will shares a gadget that he finds immensely useful for cooking--a Thermapen thermometer. This is the same professional tool used by chefs in commercial kitchens to instantly read the temperature of anything you're cooking. Will explains why that's useful and why the Thermapen is worth its price!

    Jacket Aficionado Magazine - 12/10/2013
    Adam is still on tour, but that can't stop the 'cast. This week, the gang discusses dining with friends, the best kind of New York days, the perils of crappy okra, Thomas Edison's last breath, and the right way to buy a jacket. Apologies in advance, there are a couple of places this show gets weird because of bad hotel Internet and Skype lag. Enjoy!
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