Appetizers

By Sandy Todd Webster
Oct 20, 2016

Here’s a taste of what’s cooking in the nutrition world:

While eating raw cookie dough seems like a childhood rite of passage, think twice about popping a glob of that sticky sweet goodness into your mouth. You—and your aching tummy—may regret it later. Raw egg has long been (and still can be) the villain in cases of baking-related foodborne illness. But most recently, it appears we also need to worry about flour. Between late June and late July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recall on flour found to be infected with multiple strains of E. coli that made several people ill. In addition to a list of precautions that you can find on the CDC website, the main lesson here is to keep fingers—your own and your children’s—out of raw cookie dough and cake batter, and to bake anything with flour in it thoroughly before you consume it. Culinary expert Bridget Lancaster on an America’s Test Kitchen podcast reported that her team simply threw out all of their flour and started over.

Could this grain be the newest quinoa phenomenon? A staple food revered by the ancient
Aztecs, amaranth is making a quiet comeback in modern food culture. In fact, researchers at Tennessee State University are cultivating and testing dozens of varieties in fields on campus, hoping the breeding experiments will reveal the best-growing versions of this nutritionally dense, drought- and largely disease-resistant grain. Amaranth is as versatile as it is tasty, and it is gluten-free. It can be popped like popcorn, toasted, baked, milled and steamed. It’s a smaller and creamier grain than quinoa (more like polenta in texture) and can be used to brew beer and distill whiskey. Have you discovered amaranth yet? How are you using it? Share your ideas with [email protected].

Do you abide by the widespread practice of the “5-second rule” regarding food dropped on the floor? Well, leave it to science to sweep up some evidence that debunks yet another pop-culture myth. Researchers at Rutgers University have disproven the notion that if you pick up dropped food within 5 seconds, it’s still safe to eat. Turns out that bacteria from the floor can transfer Usain Bolt-like—in less than a second in some cases observed by the team, which reported its findings online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology on September 2, 2016; doi: 10.1128/AEM.01838.16. When in doubt, throw it out!

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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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