Drink

Parched California Pours Mega-Millions Into Desalination

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 17, 2014   View Article

Besieged by drought and desperate for new sources of water, California towns are ramping up plans to convert salty ocean water into drinking water to quench their long-term thirst. The plants that carry out the high-tech “desalination” process can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but there may be few other choices for the parched state.

Where the Pacific Ocean spills into the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, Calif., construction is 25 percent complete on a $1 billion project to wring 50 million gallons of freshwater a day from the sea and pour it into a water system that serves 3.1 million people.

Desalination was a dreamy fiction during the California Water Wars of the early 20th century that inspired the classic 1974 movie “Chinatown.” In the 1980s, however, the process of forcing seawater through reverse osmosis membranes to filter out salt and other impurities became a reliable, even essential, tool in regions of the world desperate for water.

3,700-year-old cellar housed ‘luxurious’ wine

Publication: NBC News   Date: November 22, 2013   View Article

A 3,700-year-old palatial cellar packed with jars once filled with a wine-like brew has been discovered at an archaeological site in northern Israel, a team of researchers announced Friday.

The cellar is perhaps the oldest of its type ever discovered and the wine was anything but ordinary. Spiked with juniper berries, cedar oil, honey and tree resins, it was likely the good stuff pulled from the cellar for grand, royal banquets where resident rulers and perhaps their trading partners washed down a feast of wild cattle with an intoxicating swill.

Cicada Recipes: Bugs Are Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Food

Publication: National Geographic   Date: May 15, 2013   View Article

Anyone hoping to spice up their gluten-free diet need look only at the billions of beady-eyed, shrimp-size cicadas currently emerging from the ground in the eastern United States.

“They definitely would be gluten free … they do not feed on wheat,” said Gene Kritsky, a biologist and cicada expert at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. The bugs are also high in protein, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates, he added.

Members of Brood II, one of the largest groups of periodical cicadas, have been crawling out of the ground and carpeting trees from North Carolina to Connecticut since early May. By July, they will be goneā€”not to be heard from again for 17 years.

100-year-old whisky highlights art of blending

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 9, 2012   View Article

Antarctica-bound explorers would be wise to bring a case or two of Scotch whisky to endure chilly nights. Ernest Shackleton was wise.

In fact, the Scotch he packed for the Nimrod’s 1907 attempt to reach the South Pole was exceptional, according to distillers who sampled and re-created the drink.

German pilsner? Spanish lager? Test has answer

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 1, 2011   View Article

Beer snobs wishing to know the provenance of their favorite European pilsners and lagers are in luck: Scientists have developed a new chemical test that can tell you where the brew originated.

Though such tests have long existed for products such as wine, spirits, coffee and tea, one hasn’t been developed yet for beer, noted Jose Marcos Jurado, a chemist at the University of Seville in Spain.

“That surprised me because beer is one of the most consumed beverages in the world,” he told me in an email today.

Plastic bottles made with plants

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 16, 2011   View Article

Travel to almost anywhere in the world and chances are high that a bottle of Coke or Pepsi is close at hand. That’s why the development and rollout of plastic bottles made with at least a portion of plant materials is potentially good news for the environment.

The Coca-Cola Co. made headlines in the UK Monday with the rollout there of its plastic bottle made with up to 30 percent plant material. The bottle is an identical match with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a type of recyclable plastic widely used around the world.

Beer mystery solved! Yeast ID’d

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: August 22, 2011   View Article

Ice cold beer: In these dog days of summer, few things are better. So, let’s raise a glass and toast Saccharomyces eubayanus, newly discovered yeast that helped make cold-fermented lager a runaway success.

The yeast, in the wild, thrives in ball-shaped lumps of sugar that form on beech trees in Patagonia of South America. Its discovery appears to solve the mystery of how lager yeast formed. Until now, scientists only knew about the origins of ale yeast, which makes up just half of the lager yeast genome.

Yeasts are microscopic fungi that feast on sugar, converting it to carbon dioxide and alcohol via the process of fermentation. Ale yeast, S. cerevisiae, has been doing this throughout the history of beer, which stretches back to at least 6,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach