Tag Archives: Food

Entomophagy: History, global food shortage, and climate change

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1 – Khoisan – Igniting a Fire On a recent wildlife adventure to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, our group of adventurers was treated to an afternoon walk with a group of local Khoisan villagers. They were eager to show us how they were able to […]

The tomato in medicine and the Bloody Mary

Tomatoes and a Pewter Tankard on a Table. Oil painting by Paul Gauguin, 1883. art-Gauguin.com. No known restrictions on publication. The tomato was first grown by the Aztecs under the name of tomatl on the slopes of the Andes Mountains in present day Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, where it was neither cultivated nor eaten […]

Marmite versus Vegemite

James Franklin George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   Marmite and Vegemite are similar but not quite the same. Both are classified as spreads and are typically spread with a knife on bread or crackers. They may be regarded as cousins and are both derived from yeast. Marmite, though discovered by a German, is a […]

Asparagus in history and medicine

  A bundle of asparagus. Photo by Evan-Amos on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. In Germany, in the spring, everyone goes wild about asparagus. It is on the menu in all restaurants—asparagus with steak, with ham, or with schnitzel. Its delicious stalks are white if grown in the shade, green from chlorophyll if grown in sunlight. […]

Beans: an indelicate subject of conversation

  Beans from Nepal. Crop of photo by Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka on Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. Anatomy books describe kidneys as bean shaped, but the converse does not apply. This is because beans, multitudinous in their species, come in different shapes and sizes. Many look like small kidneys, but only one is called a kidney […]

Garlic in medicine and at dinner

  Garlic. Photo by Amin on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Garlic (Allium sativum) is a bulbous flowering plant that belongs to the same genus as onions, shallots, chives, and leeks. Its bulbous part consists of 65% water, carbohydrates, organosulfur compounds, protein, and free amino acids. It also produces a substance called allicin which gives it […]

Marmite: Its place in medical history, Lucy Wills, and the discovery of folic acid

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Marmite – Photograph taken by the author, April 2022, in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. On a recent visit to Botswana in southern Africa, the author was introduced to a food spread known as Marmite.* Apparently very popular in Africa, a distinctive jar of this condiment was present […]

“Panama disease”: a pandemic…for bananas

Elizabeth Ruda Chicago, Illinois, United States   “Standard” Cavendish bananas. Crop of photo by Steve Hopson, 2007, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. Gros Michel bananas. Crop of photo by Zwifree, 2018, on Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. The average person does not go to the grocery store, look around the produce section, and think, “Wow, these […]

The Grand Army and horsemeat

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Horse sirloin (contre-filet), in France. Photo by Jiel Beaumadier, October 9, 2010. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. “An army travels on its stomach.” — Attributed to Napoleon   Out of all of the innovations of Dominique Jean Larrey (1766-1842), one has yet to be properly appreciated. In his own words, […]

A bad taste in the mouth: over fifty years of doubt about MSG

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   A Chinese Food Storefront in New York, NY. Photo by Jkusachi. June 2019. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Monosodium glutamate’s bad reputation started with one letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. From there, the truth was confused by misinformation and prejudice. Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok […]