Today’s dispatch is for our Argentinian readers, who, in addition to bestowing on the world culinary delights such as asado and chimichurri, have also brought us a heaping platter of delicious food science to the table this month! It’s all thanks to a “bartender thing” Brazilian researcher Luiz Pereira observed when travelling through Buenos Aires: dropping a couple of peanuts into a glass of beer. The peanuts naturally sink, being denser than water—but then they start accumulating bubbles and float to the top of the brew. There the bubbles are loosed and they drop down again… Until more bubbles form. and pull them back up. And the cycle continues.
Fascinated scientists have now dug into what they dub the “beer-gas-peanut system,” and believe they may have cracked the party trick—with interesting real-world implications.
“They found that the larger the ‘contact angle’ between the curve of an individual bubble and the surface of the peanut was, the more likely it was to form and grow.
But it cannot grow too much—a radius of under 1.3 millimetres is ideal, the study said.
Pereira said he hoped that ‘by deeply researching this simple system, which everyone can grasp, we can understand a system’ that would be useful for industry or explaining natural phenomena.
For example, he said the floatation process was similar to the one used to separate iron from ore.
Air is injected, in a controlled way, into a mixture in which a mineral— such as iron— ‘will rise because bubbles attach themselves more easily to it, while other (minerals) sink to the bottom,’ he said.
The same process could also explain why volcanologists find that the mineral magnetite rises to higher layers in the crystallised magma of the Earth’s crust than would be expected.”
This new study shows that there’s a scientific understanding of basically everything, no matter how simple and every day. And I love how it relates the humble glass of beer to how the earth’s crust works. It really makes me feel accomplished when I enjoy a bevvie alongside my BBQ like I’m doing my bit for research! Now, I’m off to see if they same principle works for that classic Southern summer refresher Peanuts & Coke —wish me luck!
Condiment industry titan Heinz is—much like what you once had to do to get their ketchup out of their classic bottle—shaking things up again! Though this time, rather than growing tomatoes on “Mars”, the company is embracing the future by debuting what they call their Heinz Remix dispenser. This contraption will be trialled in restaurants through to 2024, where diners can start with a “base” sauce (including ketchup, Heinz 57, ranch, and others) and then add “enhancer” flavours at three degrees of intensity (like chipotle, mango, or buffalo), which will then be dispensed out to them. This will allow folks to create sauces more in line with their own tastes in seconds and—most importantly, of course— generate data for Heinz to mine and potentially make new mass-market flavours to sell.
“‘We are very, very clear that away-from-home and foodservice gives us an opportunity to test, to learn, to understand and to build trends much earlier than we have done historically,’ said Peter Hall, Kraft Heinz’s head of its North American foodservice division.
Hall said the company is still working through the specific business model for the Heinz Remix. It’s also looking at how the dispenser could be used for drive-thru orders, he said. But the machine requires more time and effort than throwing a handful of ketchup packets in a takeout bag, which will likely pose a challenge for speed-focused drive-thru lanes.”
(I wonder if Heinz and Wendy’s might do a collab—this sounds like a job for that new drive-thru AI [link: http://dfc.com/4171-2/] of theirs!)
Apparently, the math works out to a staggering 200 potential flavour combos. However, notably missing from the advance list of base sauces is mayonnaise; perhaps Heinz is hoping to avoid another naming debacle that might crop up? And around the Heinz offices, workers are digging an unusual mix: mango ketchup, which I imagine would be terrific on spicy sweet potato fries! I’m so glad corporate America is innovating hard in the areas that really need it, freeing us to enjoy functionally unlimited sauce customization. But when the world is actually burning, perhaps the little things become that much more precious.
As the temperature goes up, we humans have to be more careful about the pesky task of hydration. Keeping cool and full of fluids is important during the summer—and, thankfully, many beverages suit the situation besides boring old water! Chock full of those precious electrolytes is coconut water, which is the clear juice inside the very centre of young coconut fruits. Coconut water is prized in tropical countries for its refreshing properties but hasn’t made much of a dent in our neck of the woods, except as a specialist, natural alternative to something like Gatorade. But Vita Coco, one of the biggest coconut water brands, is hoping to change this situation and crack open (if you’ll excuse the pun!) several new beverage markets with a deft rebrand.
“Vita Coco is working with Alfred Coffee, a chain with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, to use its recently launched Barista MLK, a plant-based coconut milk developed in partnership with
baristas. Other coffee chain partnerships are expected to be announced later this year.
An agreement with Bloom Nutrition, a female-focused health and wellness brand, is touting Vita Coco as a supplement to greens in smoothies and other food offerings. […]
Vita Coco is getting its coconut water stocked in bars, restaurants and clubs, starting with a few locations in The Hamptons this summer. Several locations will serve the Coco Blanco, a drink made with Vita Coco coconut water, tequila, agave and lime. At the Surf Lodge, the hotel and restaurant will offer Coco Blanco, and Vita Coco will be automatically served on a tray next to a spirit drink. The Vita Coco logo also will adorn surfboards and yoga mats.”
On a fascinating note, the company states it’s modeling its bid for ubiquity on the success of Ocean Spray’s cranberry cocktail, which until this very moment I didn’t realize is a startlingly regional drink. (In the 1940s, Ocean Spray basically invented the Cape Codder out of thin air, and here we are 80 years later up to our ears in Cosmopolitans.) Time will tell if coconut water treads the path forged by New England’s finest Thanksgiving juice, and if the 18th season of And Just Like That… features the gals downing coco-tinis after porting their consciousnesses into robot bodies, post-Singularity. With luck—and proper hydration—may we meet the future too!