Stocks and News
Home | Week in Review Process | Terms of Use | About UsContact Us
   Articles Go Fund Me All-Species List Hot Spots Go Fund Me
Week in Review   |  Bar Chat    |  Hot Spots    |   Dr. Bortrum    |   Wall St. History
Stock and News: Hot Spots
  Search Our Archives: 
 

 

Dr. Bortrum

 

AddThis Feed Button

http://www.gofundme.com/s3h2w8

 

   

04/11/2000

Food, Flies, Napoleon and The Donald

Normally, I don''t review restaurants in this column. Recently,
however, we had a dining experience that was one of the more
memorable of my life. The occasion was our last Friday
afternoon concert of the season by the New York Philharmonic.
The concert started off with a mercifully short Hindemith
"Concerto for Horn and Orchestra" featuring the Philharmonic''s
Principal Hornist, who did a flawless job as far as I could tell. I
am probably a cultural clod, but every time I hear a Hindemith
composition I feel as though I could have programmed a random
selection of notes on a computer and come up with something
just as entertaining. The "Manfred Symphony" by Tchaikovsky
that rounded out the program was much more my speed.

But back to food. We followed a recommendation to lunch at
Jean Georges, a definitely upscale restaurant in the Trump
International Hotel. While we enjoyed our wine and crusty rye
bread, the waiter served our "welcoming" treat, a plate displaying
a tiny Pacific oyster in its shell with a tad of lime jelly
surrounding the oyster, a "beggar''s bag" and a small potato
ravioli, I believe it was, nestled on a bit of tiny leaves of some
greenery and a scrumptious dressing. You probably have
beggar''s bags for lunch routinely but I was unfamiliar with the
concept, a little pasta pouch, about the size of my thumb, tied
with a chive and topped with an edible gold leaf. Inside the bag
was a bit of tasty salmon roe. Next came our selected appetizer,
a handful of steamed shrimps, each carefully cut and folded out
in a circular shape with head and tail still connected, served on a
bed of delicious greens with sliced avocado and a sauce to die
for. My wife thought it was the best salad she''d ever had and I
wouldn''t disagree. My entrTe was skate wing, pan fried, served
with the most delectable artichoke hearts I''ve experienced. I
admit to having never had skate wing before and would say that,
although interesting, it was the least enjoyable part of the meal.

For dessert, I chose the rhubarb sundae, another unfamiliar dish
to me. This proved to be the most technologically impressive
part of the menu. The rhubarb flavor was concentrated in the
form of a flat, sugar-based ribbon about an inch wide and 3 to 4
inches long, perched on top of the sundae. I swear it was not
much thicker than the proverbial human hair and when eaten,
melted down to about a drop of liquid or less. I''ve had
experience in growing thin layers of materials for light emitting
diodes and was quite impressed that this ribbon could be
prepared and handled while still maintaining its structural
integrity. The sundae itself was, of course, a most enjoyable end
to the meal. Or so I thought until the waiter served us each a
plate containing 5 or 6 different bite-size chocolate creations,
each an unusual melt-in-your-mouth culinary event.

To top it all off, The Donald himself joined us for lunch! Ok, he
actually lunched a couple tables away with an assistant. My
wife, who was facing Mr. Trump, observed that neither he nor
his companion had an alcoholic beverage, consistent with his
statement that he neither drinks nor smokes. I later saw him
leave in a suitably elongated black limousine with darkened
glass. Unfortunately, I didn''t get a chance to compliment him on
including such a fine restaurant in his hotel. Maybe next time.

All this talk of food brings me to some tidbits from the Winter
2000 issue of "Chemistry", an American Chemical Society
publication, source of material for some earlier columns. One
article that bears scrutiny, especially in a financially oriented
Web site is titled "Inventing Your Way to Fortune: Cash Prizes
in Science". In these columns, I''ve referred quite often to Nobel
Prize winners and their contributions. I certainly haven''t
experienced the thrill or monetary reward associated with such
an award. The article deals with the role that offering rewards
for scientific and technological achievements plays in stimulating
scientific breakthroughs. Concerning food, it was Napoleon who
said that an army travels on its stomach and encouraged the
French government to offer in 1795 a 12,000 franc reward to
anyone who could come up with a new way to preserve food.
Sure enough, a Frenchman named Nicolas Appert rose to the
challenge. Nick thought it appropriate to try sealing food in
airtight bottles and heating them in boiling water and Voila!
Canning was invented! It apparently took him 15 years before he
sent his first samples of partridge, vegetables and gravy off to sea
for a test run. (Of course, being French, one wouldn''t expect him
to have used plain old chicken and I''m sure the "gravy" cited in
the article must have actually been a "sauce"!) At any rate, the
food was still fresh when eaten after 4 months at sea and a new
industry was born. Appert received the cash prize from none
other than Napoleon himself. My wife''s sister Annie makes the
best canned bread and butter pickles and pickled beets in the
world, enjoyable the year round thanks to Monsieur Appert and
Monsieur Bonaparte.

Later, another Napoleon, Emperor Louis Napoleon III, posted a prize
for anyone who could find a substitute for butter. It seems that in
those days there was an exploding population in Europe and the price
of the relatively scarce butter was high. Again, a chemist,
Hippolyte MegeMouriez came forward with a substitute for butter that
involved in its preparation a substance known as margaric acid.
Appropriately, the new spread was named margarine. I can
recall the days of World War II, when butter was rationed and we
were forced to buy margarine. In those days, the dairy lobby
must have succeeded in promoting legislation prohibiting the
coloring of margarine to look like butter. Instead, we would buy
the snow-white product, break open the enclosed packet of
yellow dye, which we would painstakingly mix with the
margarine to approximate the color of butter. Today, obviously,
things are different and I use my Take Control margarine to
hopefully help lower my high cholesterol. And we owe it all to
the usual couple of Frenchmen.

Another item related to food in this issue of Chemistry addresses
the problem of the varroa and trachael parasitic mites. These
aren''t the dust mites we''ve talked about previously. These
equally disgusting little guys have really done a job on the
honeybee population in this country. Not only is our honey
supply in danger but honeybees are key to the pollination of
many of our crops. Some species of ants produce their own
defense against their mite antagonists. It''s formic acid, the
simplest organic acid, with only one carbon atom and the
formula HCOOH (vinegar, acetic acid, is CH3COOH).
Unfortunately, formic acid is corrosive and volatile and it''s just
not practical to use it extensively. Now, workers at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture have come up with formic acid
incorporated into a gel. This form is easier to handle and
releases the formic acid vapor over a period of weeks.
Hopefully, this will soon be in the field and shift the balance of
nature back in favor of the crucially important honeybee.

Speaking of insects, I received my March 24th copy of Science
last week and enclosed was the genome of that much-studied
insect Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly. In Science,
Drosophila took the form of a glossy 5-page foldout with both
sides containing the coding content of the 4 chromosomes of the
fruit fly genome. Now, to be perfectly honest, every time I read
or try to read an article on biology these days my brain tends to
glaze over. This foldout had the same effect on me. It was
covered with thousands of various colored bands positioned
along scales of the number of megabases. As near as I could tell,
the different colors indicated those bands that are common either
to mammals, such as ourselves, C. elegans (a worm), S.
cerevisiae (I believe this is a yeast) or to two or all of the three.
In other words, it shows that we share our heritage with worms,
fruit flies and yeasts, not to mention countless other species of
life.

After being overwhelmed by the complicated nature of a fly, I
shudder to think of the foldout that will accompany my Science
issue with the coding of the human genome a year or so from
now! I announce here that one of my goals is to keep this issue
of Science and try to understand roughly what''s been done and
write a column on my impressions by the end of June. I refuse to
admit that my feeble brain can''t cope with this field. Perhaps the
complexity of the problem is illustrated by the fact that one of
the Drosophila papers in this issue of Science has over 150
authors! (I lost count.) To me, quarks and gluons seem simple
compared to what the biologists and biochemists are trying to
unravel these days.

Allen F. Bortrum



AddThis Feed Button

 

-04/11/2000-      
Web Epoch NJ Web Design  |  (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.

Dr. Bortrum

04/11/2000

Food, Flies, Napoleon and The Donald

Normally, I don''t review restaurants in this column. Recently,
however, we had a dining experience that was one of the more
memorable of my life. The occasion was our last Friday
afternoon concert of the season by the New York Philharmonic.
The concert started off with a mercifully short Hindemith
"Concerto for Horn and Orchestra" featuring the Philharmonic''s
Principal Hornist, who did a flawless job as far as I could tell. I
am probably a cultural clod, but every time I hear a Hindemith
composition I feel as though I could have programmed a random
selection of notes on a computer and come up with something
just as entertaining. The "Manfred Symphony" by Tchaikovsky
that rounded out the program was much more my speed.

But back to food. We followed a recommendation to lunch at
Jean Georges, a definitely upscale restaurant in the Trump
International Hotel. While we enjoyed our wine and crusty rye
bread, the waiter served our "welcoming" treat, a plate displaying
a tiny Pacific oyster in its shell with a tad of lime jelly
surrounding the oyster, a "beggar''s bag" and a small potato
ravioli, I believe it was, nestled on a bit of tiny leaves of some
greenery and a scrumptious dressing. You probably have
beggar''s bags for lunch routinely but I was unfamiliar with the
concept, a little pasta pouch, about the size of my thumb, tied
with a chive and topped with an edible gold leaf. Inside the bag
was a bit of tasty salmon roe. Next came our selected appetizer,
a handful of steamed shrimps, each carefully cut and folded out
in a circular shape with head and tail still connected, served on a
bed of delicious greens with sliced avocado and a sauce to die
for. My wife thought it was the best salad she''d ever had and I
wouldn''t disagree. My entrTe was skate wing, pan fried, served
with the most delectable artichoke hearts I''ve experienced. I
admit to having never had skate wing before and would say that,
although interesting, it was the least enjoyable part of the meal.

For dessert, I chose the rhubarb sundae, another unfamiliar dish
to me. This proved to be the most technologically impressive
part of the menu. The rhubarb flavor was concentrated in the
form of a flat, sugar-based ribbon about an inch wide and 3 to 4
inches long, perched on top of the sundae. I swear it was not
much thicker than the proverbial human hair and when eaten,
melted down to about a drop of liquid or less. I''ve had
experience in growing thin layers of materials for light emitting
diodes and was quite impressed that this ribbon could be
prepared and handled while still maintaining its structural
integrity. The sundae itself was, of course, a most enjoyable end
to the meal. Or so I thought until the waiter served us each a
plate containing 5 or 6 different bite-size chocolate creations,
each an unusual melt-in-your-mouth culinary event.

To top it all off, The Donald himself joined us for lunch! Ok, he
actually lunched a couple tables away with an assistant. My
wife, who was facing Mr. Trump, observed that neither he nor
his companion had an alcoholic beverage, consistent with his
statement that he neither drinks nor smokes. I later saw him
leave in a suitably elongated black limousine with darkened
glass. Unfortunately, I didn''t get a chance to compliment him on
including such a fine restaurant in his hotel. Maybe next time.

All this talk of food brings me to some tidbits from the Winter
2000 issue of "Chemistry", an American Chemical Society
publication, source of material for some earlier columns. One
article that bears scrutiny, especially in a financially oriented
Web site is titled "Inventing Your Way to Fortune: Cash Prizes
in Science". In these columns, I''ve referred quite often to Nobel
Prize winners and their contributions. I certainly haven''t
experienced the thrill or monetary reward associated with such
an award. The article deals with the role that offering rewards
for scientific and technological achievements plays in stimulating
scientific breakthroughs. Concerning food, it was Napoleon who
said that an army travels on its stomach and encouraged the
French government to offer in 1795 a 12,000 franc reward to
anyone who could come up with a new way to preserve food.
Sure enough, a Frenchman named Nicolas Appert rose to the
challenge. Nick thought it appropriate to try sealing food in
airtight bottles and heating them in boiling water and Voila!
Canning was invented! It apparently took him 15 years before he
sent his first samples of partridge, vegetables and gravy off to sea
for a test run. (Of course, being French, one wouldn''t expect him
to have used plain old chicken and I''m sure the "gravy" cited in
the article must have actually been a "sauce"!) At any rate, the
food was still fresh when eaten after 4 months at sea and a new
industry was born. Appert received the cash prize from none
other than Napoleon himself. My wife''s sister Annie makes the
best canned bread and butter pickles and pickled beets in the
world, enjoyable the year round thanks to Monsieur Appert and
Monsieur Bonaparte.

Later, another Napoleon, Emperor Louis Napoleon III, posted a prize
for anyone who could find a substitute for butter. It seems that in
those days there was an exploding population in Europe and the price
of the relatively scarce butter was high. Again, a chemist,
Hippolyte MegeMouriez came forward with a substitute for butter that
involved in its preparation a substance known as margaric acid.
Appropriately, the new spread was named margarine. I can
recall the days of World War II, when butter was rationed and we
were forced to buy margarine. In those days, the dairy lobby
must have succeeded in promoting legislation prohibiting the
coloring of margarine to look like butter. Instead, we would buy
the snow-white product, break open the enclosed packet of
yellow dye, which we would painstakingly mix with the
margarine to approximate the color of butter. Today, obviously,
things are different and I use my Take Control margarine to
hopefully help lower my high cholesterol. And we owe it all to
the usual couple of Frenchmen.

Another item related to food in this issue of Chemistry addresses
the problem of the varroa and trachael parasitic mites. These
aren''t the dust mites we''ve talked about previously. These
equally disgusting little guys have really done a job on the
honeybee population in this country. Not only is our honey
supply in danger but honeybees are key to the pollination of
many of our crops. Some species of ants produce their own
defense against their mite antagonists. It''s formic acid, the
simplest organic acid, with only one carbon atom and the
formula HCOOH (vinegar, acetic acid, is CH3COOH).
Unfortunately, formic acid is corrosive and volatile and it''s just
not practical to use it extensively. Now, workers at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture have come up with formic acid
incorporated into a gel. This form is easier to handle and
releases the formic acid vapor over a period of weeks.
Hopefully, this will soon be in the field and shift the balance of
nature back in favor of the crucially important honeybee.

Speaking of insects, I received my March 24th copy of Science
last week and enclosed was the genome of that much-studied
insect Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly. In Science,
Drosophila took the form of a glossy 5-page foldout with both
sides containing the coding content of the 4 chromosomes of the
fruit fly genome. Now, to be perfectly honest, every time I read
or try to read an article on biology these days my brain tends to
glaze over. This foldout had the same effect on me. It was
covered with thousands of various colored bands positioned
along scales of the number of megabases. As near as I could tell,
the different colors indicated those bands that are common either
to mammals, such as ourselves, C. elegans (a worm), S.
cerevisiae (I believe this is a yeast) or to two or all of the three.
In other words, it shows that we share our heritage with worms,
fruit flies and yeasts, not to mention countless other species of
life.

After being overwhelmed by the complicated nature of a fly, I
shudder to think of the foldout that will accompany my Science
issue with the coding of the human genome a year or so from
now! I announce here that one of my goals is to keep this issue
of Science and try to understand roughly what''s been done and
write a column on my impressions by the end of June. I refuse to
admit that my feeble brain can''t cope with this field. Perhaps the
complexity of the problem is illustrated by the fact that one of
the Drosophila papers in this issue of Science has over 150
authors! (I lost count.) To me, quarks and gluons seem simple
compared to what the biologists and biochemists are trying to
unravel these days.

Allen F. Bortrum