Posts made in March, 2012

Cochineal in Your Coffee? It’s Okay. Really.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 in History | 1 comment

Uh-oh.  Somebody just figured out that Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccinos contain cochineal.  This is probably nothing new–what has changed lately is that the FDA now requires that ingredient labels specify whether cochineal is used for coloring.  I’m guessing that someone only recently noticed the change to the ingredients listing. Yes, cochineal is a bug.  It’s a kind of scale–a sucking insect that latches on to prickly pear cactus.  It secretes a brilliant red dye, and for that reason it’s been used to color textiles, paper, and food for ages. Spanish...

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Herbs. Now.

Posted on Mar 13, 2012 in Botany, Featured | Comments Off on Herbs. Now.

Buying herbs at the grocery store is a sign of defeat.  Not defeat, even, because defeat would suggest that you tried and failed. It’s more like inertia.  Because really, if you can’t grow a few herbs, you have just given up on having any kind of interaction with the plant kingdom or the parcel of soil around your home. This is the year to change that, and the reason to make that change is because there are so many very nice cocktails that just require a pinch of some herb or another. A cocktail should be an impulsive decision, one that doesn’t require a trip to the grocery store. If...

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