National Sandwich Day

Today (here in the US, that is) is National Sandwich Day. And while others are using the day to ponder the ultimate question of whether a hot dog is a sandwich (of course not, it’s a hot dog; don’t be ridiculous), I take today to consider the sandwich as a metaphor. Remembering Warren Zevon’s advice, when he knew he was dying, to “enjoy every sandwich”, I wrote the following as the response to those who say that things are meaningless unless they are eternal. [Read more…]

A Tasty And Nutritious Sausage, Low Fat and Low Sodium, With Only A *Hint* Of Baby Poop

The latest health craze? Here’s the scoop:
It’s sausage made with baby poop.
Or (as the press release explains)
With cultured pro-biotic strains
So you can populate your gut
With flora from a baby’s butt
The best advice these authors give?
For better health… eat shit and live!

This is actually a pretty cool paper, despite the sensationalist headlines (including my own). In the search for probiotic foods, various different fermented foods like yoghurts and cheeses have been tried, but this study looks at another sort–dry-cured and fermented sausages.

An appropriate probiotic, then, has to survive two different environments, then–the fermenting and curing sausage, and the human gut. I suppose there are a couple of ways, broadly speaking, to look for potential bacteria: you could look through all the bacteria that naturally appear in sausages, and see which ones do well in the gut, or start out with bacteria that do well in the gut, and see which ones are potential sausage-fermenters. The latter is what the news-making researcher did, testing 6 strains and finding one that survived a particular type of sausage-making well enough to have active strains in sufficient numbers to inoculate a human gut.

The methodology is straightforward, with (to me) a fascinating glimpse into an unknown world of meat science. It’s a nice, useful finding, but likely wouldn’t have made the news, were it not for the last sentence of the introduction, which everyone (yes, including me) have latched onto.

The aim of the present work was to assess the suitability of three potential probiotic lactobacilli strains (L. casei/paracasei CTC1677, L. casei/paracasei CTC 1678 and L rhamnosus CTC 1679), previously isolated from infants’ faeces and three commercial probiotic strains (Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, L. Rhamnosus GG and L. casei Shirota) as starter cultures during the manufacture of low-acid fermented sausages (fuets) with reduced fat and NA+ content and their effect on the sensory properties of the final product.

“Isolated from infants’ faeces”. (For the record, it was one of the baby-poop strains that made the best sausage, in terms of both flavor and availability of probiotics.)

The WA Today article (second link above) asked a local researcher about the source of the bacteria:

It was important to take the bacteria from infant poo rather than adult poo, Curtin University’s Dr Hani Al-Salami said.
“Babies at that young age, the gut content is quite mild and nice compared with an older person,” he said.
“The reason is, as we grow, we do eat a lot of things and not everything we eat is the best in terms of quality.”

Despite the futility of disagreeing with a Dr. Al-Salami on a matter of sausages, I am gonna have to disagree. And suggest something that could make the right investor an awful lot of money. (I will, of course, require a finder’s fee–but this idea is worth it.) So you see, I am watching the Olympic Games, and I know that I will never have the physique of any of the athletes there… but recent popular news stories (take them with a grain of salt–you know how far afield they can be from the studies they allege to report on) tell us that the difference between the person with six-pack abs and the person with half-keg abs is partially determined by gut flora. Fecal transplants are being explored as a means of reprogramming a body, of jumpstarting the path to health.

So here’s my idea… boutique gut flora. (link from a year ago, in case there is a struggle over who had the idea first.) You can have the gut flora of an Olympian, or an actor, or scientist, or poet (well, hypothetically). The sausage scientists are far more concerned with health and safety, and as such are missing out on profit. “Eat Shit And Live!” It practically sells itself!

We know it can be done–scientists have made cheese from the bacteria harvested from particular individuals (you might not want to click). But frankly, I doubt there is much market for food made from Michael Pollan’s belly button bacteria. But sausage that will give you Michael Phelps’s gut flora?

Ok, I think I just went a step too far. I may never eat again.

(Cuttlecap tip to Kylie!)

Meanwhile, In Cow Piss News…

Livescience.com, just yesterday, ran a story on a new health drink, made from cow urine. It’s been slightly updated, with mentions of a 2012 and a 2013 rat studies, but the main story is something we’ve seen before, back in 2009. Most of the quotes in yesterday’s article are actually from ’09.

As is this little jingle, for when the ad campaign gets rolling:

I don’t like the taste of Pepsi,
I don’t like the taste of Coke;
Dr. Pepper’s not the drink for me right now.
7-up and Sprite are dreadful
Every Root Beer is a joke;
What I really want is urine. From a cow.

If you like the taste of urine, you’re in luck!
If you think the taste of piss is bliss, it only costs a buck!
If you want to float your kidneys, you can buy it by the truck—
If you like the taste of urine, you’re in luck!

I don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid
I don’t want a mug of juice;
I don’t even want a tall glass of iced tea.
I’d really hate a cold V-8—
That’s vegetable abuse—
What I really want’s a cup of bovine pee!

If you like the taste of urine, you’re in luck!
If you think the taste of piss is bliss, it only costs a buck!
If you want to float your kidneys, you can buy it by the truck—
If you like the taste of urine, you’re in luck!

It’s a cure for diabetes,
It’s the finest healer known—
You will never need another drink than this!
In the battle of the soft drinks
This elixir stands alone,
And I guarantee it really tastes like piss!

If you like the taste of urine, you’re in luck!
If you think the taste of piss is bliss, it only costs a buck!
If you want to float your kidneys, you can buy it by the truck—
If you like the taste of urine, you’re in luck!

Leftovers

If I chance to bake a cheesecake
Half the neighborhood appears
All concerned it looks like too much food for one
Every neighbor wants a nibble—
There’s no lack of volunteers—
And I go from too much cheesecake down to none

But this week I did some cooking—
And it really turned out well—
But it doesn’t meet the neighborhood’s demands
Cos I didn’t bake a cheesecake
And the neighborhood can tell
So I’m left with too much haggis on my hands

Now for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
I’ve got haggis on my plate—
I’ve got more than I can handle, you can see
But my cheesecake-eating neighbors
Are indifferent to my fate…
And nobody’s eating my leftover haggis but me

I wrote this while eating a plate of haggis and eggs for breakfast. It was delicious, but yeah, the problem with haggis (this was my first homemade haggis–not the “presentation haggis” in a stomach, but just a regular recipe) is that there really is no way to make a small batch. You boil up the liver, heart, and lungs, and it’s not like you can say to a sheep “could you maybe have a smaller liver?”. So I made a regular recipe, and it yielded enough for a large family of hungry Scots, and there were just me and Cuttleson home at the time. He won’t touch it, so I’ve had haggis quite a bit over the past few days.

The dogs, though, are eager volunteers; I think next cheesecake, I’ll let the dogs lick the plates, right in front of the neighbors.

Today Is National Sandwich Day

I don’t know why Comeradde Physioproffe is posting a recipe for Squid Ink Penne with Arctic Char and Raclette Cream Sauce–as wonderful as it looks–you see, today is National Sandwich Day. And sandwiches are wonderful things. Both literally and metaphorically. First, the literal…

Two buns diverged from a breaded mass,
And sorry I could not, like a snake,
Unhinge my jaw to let it pass
Took one small bite, affecting class,
And thought it likely a mistake.

Then took another, as just a tease
And knowing I could not eat it all—
The deep-fried patty, stuffed with cheese—
I gobbled up with seeming ease
Until the point I hit the wall

And, gut distended, there I lay
With melted cheese upon my shirt
Oh, I lived to eat another day
And try again? Perhaps I may,
When I’ve recovered from the hurt.

I shall be saying this, with a sigh,
When fever fades, and I’m making sense:
Two buns diverge, and I will not lie,
This Heart Attack could make you die
And that would make all the difference

Context is here–suffice it to say, it describes a real sandwich.