Archive for the ‘Food News’ Category
Girl Scout cookies are a once-a-year treat that many people look forward to, both because everyone has their favorite cookie and because sales support local girl scouts. Most of the cookies are staples in the line-up and have been around for years – Thin Mints, Trefoils and Samoas, just to name a few – but other cookies have come and gone over the years as trends and tastes change. This year’s line-up includes a new cookie: Mango Cremes with Nutrifusion. The cookies will have vanilla and coconut cookies sandwiching a mango-flavored creme filling. The name sounds like a mouthful and that is because Nutrifusion is the name of a vitamin additive that will give the cookies – according to the Girl Scouts’ material on them – “all the nutrient benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes, and strawberries.”
The cookie flavor itself sounds very tasty, but marketing the cookies as “a delicious new way to get your vitamins” seems like a questionable marketing angle for a cookie. One serving of Mango Creme cookies is three cookies. That one serving includes 15% RDI of Vitamin B1 and 5% RDI of Vitamins A, C, D, E, and B6. It also includes 8 grams of fat, including 20% of your daily recommended saturated fat intake – which is pretty much on-par with the rest of the most popular Girl Scout Cookies (Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Savannah Smiles and Thank U Berry Munch cookies all have slightly less). This more or less means that you could eat a piece of fruit, and count those nutrients towards any cookie you might want to eat.
Clearly, the Girl Scout cookie machine is hoping that this health boost will boost sales and only time will tell if nutrients – or simply the promise of a tasty mango and coconut cookie – will prove to be popular with cookie fans this year. Personally, I think that the new flavor would have been enough on its own, since coconut and mango together will always get me to try something at least once.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held annually in Las Vegas is an event that highlights new and upcoming technology-related products, and since businesses often use it as an opportunity to showcase their most innovative technology, you can find things that you might never have expected.
LG brought some very “smart” technology to CES this year in the form of kitchen appliances. They introduced a Smart Refrigerator and a Smart Oven. The refrigerator has a LCD screen on the front that runs a version of Google’s Android operating system. While you’ll be able to check the weather and leave digital memos with the software (no more magnets or post its on the fridge!), you will also be able to use an app called Food Manager. This program keeps track of what you have in the fridge, what all of your expiration dates are and can even suggest possible menus based on the food you have available.
The Smart Oven pairs up with a smart phone to allow you to control your oven remotely. So, for instance, if you want to bake a batch of cookies, you can simply select a recipe from the oven’s large recipe bank and it will preheat to the appropriate temperature. This can be done remotely, via a connected app, or manually, as well. The oven will also share a connection with the fridge, so you can send a suggested recipe from the fridge right to the oven.
You probably won’t see products like these in stores just yet, but they are indicative of where our kitchen technology is headed and it might not be too long before we see things like this become more widely available. I just hope they make it easy to bookmark recipes from your favorite blogs in the oven’s recipe bank, too!
I know that many of you are huge fans of Pinterest, and after being a Pinterest lurker for far too long, I’ve finally signed up for an account. You can now follow the Baking Bites boards on Pinterest! I’m going through to repin some older recipes and photos, and will be adding new ones all the time.
Also, if you have a Pinterest account, I’ve added a “Pin It” button to the bottom of each post. Just click and you can select any of the images in the post to easily pin things to your own boards.
Many of us grew up eating snacks like Twinkies and Ding Dongs, trading the individually wrapped snack cakes out of our lunch boxes with friends at school trying to get our favorite flavors. Wonder Bread was another staple that you might have found on your peanut butter or baloney sandwiches, if your parents weren’t ahead of the curve and making your sandwiches with whole grain bread.
Hostess, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, has announced that it is going out of business. The company has faced a lot of financial difficulty in the past few years and declared bankruptcy in January for the second time since 2004. They filed a petition to liquidate all of the assets of the company, which means that the majority of their 18,500 workers at their distribution centers and bakeries will be laid off. The company says that the process will begin right away, and has cancelled orders with its suppliers and is recalling products that are currently being shipped. Their brands include Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Dolly Madison, Drake’s, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita
The brands that belong to the company and their recipes will be sold, so this might not be the end of Twinkies or other classic snack cakes. When Mother’s brand closed, stopping production on their Classic Circus Animal Cookies, it was only a few months before the cookies were bought and reinstated by Kellogg’s. Some of the Hostess brands are iconic and have a lot of name recognition, making them an appealing investment for other baked good companies. However, it certainly is the end of an era and there is a good chance that you won’t see any of these products on store shelves for a long time.
Cakes are the perfect way to celebrate many occasions, from birthdays to weddings, and there are any number of ways to customize a cake to make sure that it is the perfect fit. One option is to print an edible photo to decorate the cake with. Another is to sculpt a cake into an edible model, a theme that many cake-decorating shows are based around. And, of course, you can always simply write your message in simple icing.
Disney is thinking a little bigger than these cake-decorating ideas, looking for new ways to make a cake amazing. The company recently filed a patent for designs on augmented reality cakes. Augmented reality refers to something that has been visually altered with computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video or graphics. The patent describes technology, such as small projectors, that could be applied to cakes to make them look different using computer generated images projected onto the surface of the cake. In the simplest form, this could translate to a slideshow of pictures that play across the top of the cake. In its most complex form, this could result in a 3D cake with 3D images mapped over the whole surface, complete with moving or interactive items that bring the scene to life.
In other words, this type of technology would allow a cake to look and feel like an attraction at Disneyland – on a much smaller scale. This, of course, isn’t practical for everyday use because you probably wouldn’t be able to use it at home. But Disney hosts an incredible number of special occasions – like birthdays and weddings – throughout the year and this would definitely bring all of that Disney magic into every cake. With the patent application, these cakes might not be ready for primetime next year, but I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing a cake that comes to life like this – although I might feel bad about cutting into it!