appetizers

By Sandy Todd Webster
Feb 18, 2016

Every year, new words get added to the English vernacular by various dictionary editors and the sheer force of pop culture. This year saw the names of many ethnic dishes and new verbal culinary mashups officially recognized as part of our language. Among the most popular? Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich); halloumi (Turkish cheese that can be fried or grilled); mochi (Japanese rice cake confection); bibimbap (Korean mixed rice and vegetable dish); churrasco (Portugese-Spanish grilled meat, popular in Brazilian cuisine); #foodspo (social media shorthand for “food inspiration”); hangry (hunger verging on anger); and climatarian (a person who eats a diet designed to reverse climate change).

It seems that culturally we’ve been on the right track about drinking a glass of warm milk at night as an insomnia aid, but we hadn’t fully connected the dots. A mouse study recently completed by researchers in South Korea suggests
that, yes, milk may well be a
good sleep aid, but the milk
needs to be taken from the
cow at night to have optimum
relaxation effects. Lab mice
were fed doses of water-
diluted dried-milk powder
from some cows milked in the
daytime and others milked
at night. Animals consuming the night milk (which contained 24% more tryptophan and 10 times as much melatonin) were not only less active; they were also observed to be less anxious than their day-milk counterparts. The scientists say their findings suggest that night milk is a promising natural aid for sleep- and anxiety-related disturbances.

Among the 11 hottest Food and Beverage Dining Trends in Restaurants & Hotels for 2016, identified by international food and restaurant consultants Baum & Whiteman, are açai bowls, which, like smoothies, could foul up well-meaning health seekers. An açai bowl is described as “fundamentally a big-bowl smoothie made from frozen açai pulp and soy or other milk plus bananas, bits of other fruit and lots of ice with toppings like granola, chia seeds, chocolate chips, coconut flakes and peanut butter.” The concoction, which has doubled in Google searches in the past year, is eaten with a spoon and tastes like ice cream. Hipsters are reportedly forking over about $10 for this breakfast sundae and then skipping lunch. And well they should—advise clients that these bowls can contain upward of 60–90 grams of sugar and have high calorie counts.

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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