These news items just beg for a bit of commentary.
Edible coffee cups are hitting the market and Kentucky Fried Chicken, of all places, is putting them out with their Seattle’s Best Coffee service. According to Stephanie Strom’s NYT article, the cups are made out of a wafer coated with a chocolate lining, which naturally melts when the hot liquid is added. The wafer outside has an added “ambient aroma” (“Coconut Sun Cream,” for example) and is eaten once the beverage has been drunk–thus reducing environmental impact from packaging.
This one is an eye-roller for me. My first thought was of the hot coffee lawsuit brought against McDonald’s years ago. I’m not sure heated liquid is where I’d want to experiment with digestible packaging. My second thought–find another way to sneak a few hundred more calories into the day, why don’t you? I’ll give this a thumbs down.
I’d rather a favorite show wrap up well than sputter out as a messy has-been. Which, sadly, is where I fear AMC’s Walking Dead is headed (the 90-minute Season 5 finale is scheduled for March 29). The thing I’ve most enjoyed about Walking Dead has been the exploration of the fine line between morality and doing what’s necessary to survive in a ghastly world. What makes us human?
Gimmicky plot contrivances, however, have taken away from exploring character development. Let’s hope that this new settlement isn’t the setting for, oh, forced world repopulation or some new religious order with weird cultish practices.
Food Waste. At the University of Texas’ Food Lab Challenge, several of the semi-finalists had products or services devoted to reducing food waste. I’ve even addressed it here (“Those Horrible Things in Your Refrigerator Ruining Your Diet”). A Feb. 25 article by NYT‘s Ron Nixon examined a recent report produced by a British group, Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), that estimates “a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed” and the resulting trash leads to severe environmental problems. The methane produced by decomposing food in landfills is No. 3 on the list of sources, right behind China and the United States.
EdiBags, shown above left, tackle this problem by using cosmetically-damaged fruit and vegetable food waste to produce edible and biodegradable packaging. At the Feb. 14 Food Lab Challenge presentation, I sampled an EdiBag, which tasted just like one of those kiddie fruit rolls. It was a cool idea — I immediately flashed to school lunches, with kids eating their sandwich or treat bag as dessert.
Then the mom in me immediately wondered about how sanitary this would be, linking back to those edible coffee cups. If your container is edible, you’re also ingesting whatever that container has touched. Now that’s food for thought.
Biological Clocks. Nope; this isn’t about having babies. Nor is it actually current; Gina Kolata’s original piece appeared at the end of January. But I set it aside as something that deserved commentary.
Kolata, whose science, medicine, and training articles I adore, wrote about a small study that showed how an athlete’s circadian rhythm affected performance. It was nice to see a local, exercise researcher Hirofumi Tanaka (University of Texas) quoted about the difficulties in replicating competitive situations in the lab.
As much as I love Kolata’s articles, this one had me wondering about stretching content to meet a deadline; this really isn’t breaking news, no matter how recent the study. Most athletes I know work to replicate important event-day conditions, and that can include time. Though I perform better in the evening, most running events are in the morning, so that’s what I’ve duplicated. Researchers quoted even agreed: “Every athlete knows that there are times of day when they perform best.”