Between the Summer Job and the Sophomore Year

My 19 year-old son finished his first year at Johnson and Wales University on May 24 this year. On May 25, he reported to Cornerstone Christian Conference Center as their summer Sous Chef. He proceeded to work 14 hours a day for five or six days at a time. He returned home a week or so ago, begins his sophomore year on September 10. It’s been interesting to note the changes in our house just during this brief interim period:

  • We are eating more, and better, meals at home
  • The number of dirty pots and pans has increased exponentially for said meals
  • Consequently, we find ourselves running the dishwasher every day at least once, in addition to hand-washing several items
  • Therefore, our water bill is undergoing steep inflation
  • We don’t have a good kitchen to work in (according to the chef-in-training)
  • A remedy to that starts with a little reorganization
  • Fresh is always best
  • It’s amazing what wine does to enrich ordinary sauces and dishes
  • The proper knife and technique make preparing fresh foods fun
  • If he had a proper mixer, we could be having fresh breads, pizza, and other pastry items on a regular basis
  • His explanation of culinary terms is straining my two years of French (that, and the last French I spoke/heard/wrote was over 36 years ago)
  • When we eat out, we now have an instant food and service critic with us
  • He’s pretty good at what he does, and he’s eager to learn more

Looking at the list above, and thinking of about a dozen more, a new periodic series has just been born: Tales of an Aspiring Chef. I hope you enjoy these little interludes in my normal postings, but be careful – you might just learn something here as well!

Valentine’s Day in the Future

Well, at least what scientists are telling us how chocolate will change in the future…

2014Melt-Proof Wrappers. Candy companies are developing wrappers that prevent chocolate from melting in temperatures up to 104 degrees.

20163D Chocolate Printer. Using edible purees in place of ink, engineers have created a printer that creates totally edible forms.

2018Low-Fat Chocolate. Through selective breeding of cacao trees, scientists hope to grow beans with less fat.

2021Cookie-Baking Robot. Scientists have created a robot that can mix up a batch of cookies and pop them in the oven; it takes 2 1/2 hours currently.

2032$20 Candy Bars. Some industry experts say the world is running out of affordable chocolate, primarily because of declining production.

The delicious (except for the final one) tidbits above came from the Food Network Magazine March 2012 issue.

I hope you have enjoyed these enticing chocolate posts (start here to see the whole series) on Valentine’s Day 2012!

Now, it’s off for a late dessert date with my Valentine!


Beware of Bite Size Chocolate Bars

During a three-year study by researchers in Canada, people showed more restraint when eating regular-size candy bars than when eating mini ones. Bite-size snackers tended to eat four or five treats – about 50 percent more than the full-sized candy bar eaters consumed.

That’s why I only eat regular sized candy bars!

Okay, so I define regular size a little different from most people…

I’m Only Trying to be Generous

People with a sweet tooth are sweeter.

According to a study by Gettysburg College psychology professor Brian Meier, if you treat yourself to chocolate, you’re probably a more generous person. In his study, researchers gave subjects either a piece of chocolate, a cracker, or no food at all and then asked the subjects to volunteer for something and estimate how much time they could give.

The chocolate eaters offered 42 percent more time than the cracker group and almost 68 percent more than the subjects who ate nothing, During another part of the study, subjects prejudged others based on whether they liked sweets; those who did were ranked more agreeable.

According to Meier, “It’s hard to imagine people fighting while eating chocolate.”

I agree; pass me a Hershey’s bar, please.

What’s Your Chocolate IQ?

That would be “Super Sweet,” according to Food Network Magazine’s Chocolate IQ Test in the March 2012 issue.

To earn that dubious honor, I scored a 16 out of 20. Willy Wonka would be proud.

Grab a copy of the magazine to take your own Chocolate IQ test.

And there’s also…


…50 brownie recipes

…secrets to make different types of chocolate chip cookies

…how to cover anything in chocolate

…a chance to win chocolate for a year

…dozens of recipes and tips involving all things chocolate

Now that I’ve proven my IQ, I think it’s time to pursue a PhD in Chocolate!

Study materials…


Chocolate Can Help Your Workout

Give yourself a reward before you hit the gym: Dark chocolate might increase your exercise performance.

University of California researchers gave mice a dose of epicatechin, a purified form of cacao’s most prevalent flavonoid and had them hit the treadmill. The mice ran 50 percent farther and faster than the control mice who received water. The experts predict similar results in humans, but don’t go celebrating with a king-size candy bar.

You need only five grams (about the size of one Hershey’s Kiss) to reap the benefit.

Don’t you just hate the fine print?