Rabbit Renaisance?

Rabbits “are helping win the war,” proclaimed a Los Angeles Times article from 1943. They where touted as a patriotic food during World War II, and  rabbits were raised by thousands of Americans in their backyards. Along with victory gardens, rabbits helped put food on the table when much of the nation’s supply was shipped to soldiers overseas and ration stamps provided less at home. But even though rabbit consumption spiked during the war, it all but disappeared afterward.  Most people who think rabbit today and there thoughts probably veer to cartoon characters, cereal mascots, Easter and pets. For some the only bunny they have ever eaten was of the milk chocolate breed. But if you are feeling like you have been missing out your in luck because rabbit appears to be going through a renaissance of sorts. In a time filled with foodies, food truck and an abundance of armature food critics.  Fine dining is being redesigned  as food sport, rabbit is both familiar and exotic enough to make the cut.

Fake Blueberries could be in your food

Fake blueberries are usually plastic and can be found with other fake fruits in decorative arrangements on bizarre hats or well that’s about it I think.  But now they can be found in food. A range of fake blueberries are in a number of retail food items that contain labels or photos suggesting real blueberries were used in the products, according to an investigation.  It’s like some thought it’s not hard enough to include fruits in your diet. Now you have to watch for fakes in your food.  The nonprofit Consumer Wellness Center reported in its investigation they found “blueberries” that were nothing more than a concoction of sugar, corn syrup, starch, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors and of course our friends artificial food dye blue No. 2 and red No. 40. The offenders include well-known manufacturers such as Kellogg’s, Betty Crocker and General Mills, and the fakes were found in bagels, cereals, breads and muffins. Some products did contain real blueberries mixed with the fakes. For example, the blueberry bagels sold at Target contain some real berries but the “blueberry bits” listed in the ingredients aren’t real blueberries, according to Mike Adams, the author of the report.  Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin variety has no blueberries but does have “blueberry flavored crunchies” made from the sugar-and-dye concoction mentioned above.

Milk drinking mutants

If you are not lactose-intolerant congratulations you are a mutant the bad news is that your mutant ability won’t get you a spot on the X-MEN. Today 35 percent of the global population mostly those with European ancestry can digest lactose in adulthood without fear of stomach cramps or other not pretty bowel issues. In an evolutionary eye-blink, 80 percent of Europeans became milk-drinkers. So, how did we transition from milk-a-phobic to milkaholics? “The first and most correct answer is, we don’t know,” says Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London in the U.K. You see most babies can digest milk without getting an upset stomach thanks to an enzyme called lactase. Up until several thousand years ago, that enzyme turned off once a person grew into adulthood meaning most adults were lactose intolerant. But that doesn’t happen for most people of Northern and Central European descent and in certain African and Middle Eastern populations. This development of lactose tolerance took only about 20,000 years the evolutionary equivalent of an eye blink. But it would have required extremely strong selective pressure. “Something happened when we started drinking milk that reduced mortality,” says Loren Cordain, an exercise physiologist at Colorado State University and an expert on Paleolithic nutrition. That something, though, is a bit of a mystery. Milk, no surprise, is pretty nutritious. It’s got protein, a bunch of micronutrients, lots of calcium and plenty of carbohydrates. For the ancient Neolithic farmer, it was like a superfood, says Thomas. Even lactose-intolerant adults could have benefited from milk. Chemical evidence from ancient pots shows that these long-ago farmers learned to process the milk into cheese or yogurt, which removes some of the lactose. Even with all of that the plot is still fuzzy, but we do know a few things: The rise of civilization coincided with a strange twist in our evolutionary history. We became, in the coinage of one paleoanthropologist, “mampires” who feed on the fluids of other animals. Western civilization, which is tied with agriculture, seems to have required milk to begin functioning. No one can say why for sure but we know much less than we think about why we eat what we do. The puzzle is not merely academic. If we knew more, we might learn something about why our relationship to food can be so strange.

Not just about how to cook but also food and food history.


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