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Nov 21, 2011

How To Spend Thanksgiving Not Barfing

Editor’s Note: This is a guest piece written by Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety expert at NC State. My parents are coming to visit Raleigh this week – their first trek to the U.S. for Thanksgiving. I’m Canadian and, while Canada has its own festivities in October, there’s something different about the… 

Nov 18, 2011

Why Thanksgiving Might Make You Sleepy

Well folks, it’s almost Turkey Day again. Last year I tackled some questions about tryptophan, and why Thanksgiving dinner can make you pass out on the floor in front of the football game. Super-short version: tryptophan isn’t the culprit, gluttony is. When you gorge yourself, your body diverts blood away from your brain to help… 

Oct 12, 2011

Here come the judges

NC State faculty members help find the best North Carolina has to offer in culinary competitions at the North Carolina State Fair. 

Jul 11, 2011

Why Does Water Freeze Before Alcohol Does?

We recently explained that one reason wine’s freezing point is much lower than water’s is because of its alcohol content. But we didn’t explain why alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water. Let’s explain that now (hint: water molecules are “stickier.”) A substance freezes when its molecules become “stuck” in a fixed array… 

Jul 6, 2011

Why Doesn’t Wine Freeze? And Do Vacuum-Sealing Stoppers Keep Wine ‘Fresh’?

I set out to learn why wine doesn’t freeze. But while I was questioning a wine researcher, I thought I’d also find out whether those vacuum-sealing wine stoppers are worth it. Here’s what I found out. Question 1: Why Doesn’t Wine Freeze? Wine will freeze, it just has a much lower freezing point than water… 

May 16, 2011

Opening Markets: Initial Data Collection Docs

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in a series authored by Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety researcher at NC State. The series is part of his research team’s efforts to run a fully open-source research project. You can track relevant posts by clicking on the “Open Source Research” tag. Growing season… 

Apr 25, 2011

Opening Markets: Exploring And Communicating Food Safety Barriers

Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series that will be authored by Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety researcher at NC State. Chapman’s posts on The Abstract are part of his team’s efforts to run a fully open-source research project. You’ll know what’s going on from beginning to end. You… 

Mar 2, 2011

Food Safety: The Disconnect Between What’s Yucky And What’s Dangerous

Note: This is a guest piece written by Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor and food safety expert at NC State. Among other things, Chapman is a regular contributor to the food safety blog Barfblog, where a version of this post originally ran. While it might be nice to know whether there has been an insect… 

Dec 21, 2010

Trivial Pursuits: The Abstract’s 2010 Quiz

The Abstract staff will be taking off for a couple of weeks to prepare for 2011. In an attempt to amuse and entertain ourselves you, we’ve pulled together a quick quiz on some of the research we’ve written about in 2010. See how you do! Answers are below the photo, and include links to the… 

Nov 29, 2010

Food Fables: Learning Food Safety From Unhappy Endings

Stories have long been used to teach people about the consequences of their actions – just ask Aesop. A new study finds that storytelling is also a critical component when it comes to teaching kitchen workers the importance of food-safety practices – and hopefully saving lives. But the researchers behind this study are telling stories… 

Nov 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Science: Tryptophacts and Tryptophantasies

I was looking for an excuse to write about Thanksgiving science when a friend posed this question: “Can tryptophan be extracted from a turkey and then be injected directly into a human vein via syringe?” Answer: no. But that raised some other interesting questions, like, what is tryptophan? And if tryptophan doesn’t make us sleepy… 

Jul 16, 2010

Thought for Food

Could perennial grains help feed a burgeoning world population and make the planet safer at the same time? A policy forum paper in the journal Science, titled “Increased Food and Ecosystem Security via Perennial Grains,” co-authored by NC State crop scientist Jim Holland, makes the case in the affirmative. The gist of the paper is that… 

Jun 14, 2010

From Farm to Fork

As organic grocery stores gain popularity and consumers become more aware of what's really in those artificially-flavored, vending-machine snacks, NC State is helping champion the benefits of locally grown food - all-natural delicacies that are key to healthy eating and give an economic boost to North Carolina growers and farmers as well. 

Jun 8, 2010

Too Many Cooks (Are Making Food Safety Mistakes)

I have a friend who is very wary of food safety practices at restaurants – religiously checking the sanitation scores of restaurants before going out to eat. New research shows that she’s probably right to be chary. Researchers, including NC State food scientist Ben Chapman, for the first time used video cameras to track food safety…