Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Week 4: Margarine vs. Butter

If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?

The Great Debate: Margarine vs. Butter
Margarine. Originally developed as an alternative to butter, margarine is vegetable fat that is processed into a spread that can be used in just about every recipe or application that calls for butter. Whether formed into sticks or processed into a soft spread that can be taken from the refrigerator to the table, margarine is available in a number of supermarkets, and is often priced at a very affordable rate. More recently, margarine sprays have become an important part of the food landscape in many nations around the world.

The variety of uses for margarine runs a wide range. In cooking, margarine is often employed as an ingredient in the making of pie crusts, cakes, casseroles, and many desserts. Margarine spread is often found at the breakfast table, providing a quick and tasty addition to toast, hot biscuits, bagels, and English muffins. Melted margarine also works well as an additive to baked potatoes and a topping on cooked green vegetables. At snack time, melted margarine is an excellent topper for freshly popped popcorn.

Generally, margarine is produced with a combination of different types of vegetable oils. Some brands tend to use soybean oil, whiles other favor corn oil. As part of the preparation process, the oil undergoes hydrogenation. The addition of more molecules of hydrogen to the mixture helps to achieve the solid texture required if margarine is to resemble the look and texture of a butter spread. Generally more easily spread than many forms of butter, margarine was first touted to be a healthy alternative to the higher content of fat found in fresh butter. 

One of the drawbacks is that the process of hydrogenation converts some of the unsaturated fats in the oils to saturated fats. However, a number of margarine products are now appearing that contain lower amounts of saturated fats, which has helped margarine to still be appealing to health conscious individuals. Currently, there are types of margarine on the market today that claim to have less than half the usual level of unsaturated fat in the product, without compromising the taste.[1]

Butter. Butter is made by beating cream, the thickest, fattiest part of milk. As the cream is beaten, the fat globules begin to stick together, forcing the cream to form a solid mass of milkfat, also known as butter. Although many people are taught to refrain from consuming fatty products, pure butter without additives contains healthy fatty acids, which benefit cholesterol levels and general health. While an excess of butter can be harmful, the food is not inherently bad for you.

There are two types of butter: traditionally made butter, which uses soured milk, and fresh butter. Traditional butter is sometimes labeled as “European Butter” in stores, and you may have noticed that it has a rich, slightly sour, intense flavor. Butter made with fresh cream is much more mild. Butter also comes in salted and unsalted formats. Traditionally, butter was heavily salted to keep it from going rancid. Butter is more lightly salted today that it was historically, so that the salty flavor does not dominate the butter. Unsalted butter is also available for certain cooking applications.

When butter is made traditionally in a dairy, vats of milk are set out after milking in a cool place so that the cream can rise to the top. The top of the milk is skimmed, and the cream is collected in a large container for up to a week, so that a large batch of butter can be made. The cream is also allowed to sour slightly, forming acids which help to break down the fat in the cream. Next, the cream is poured into a churn to be beaten. In an upright churn, a paddle is pounded back and forth. Other churns use a rotating motion. Either way, constant speed has to be kept up as the butter forms, leaving watery buttermilk behind.

The buttermilk is poured off, and the butter is worked with cold water to remove the last of the buttermilk. Next, it is salted and packaged for sale. Modern butters made in this style are usually made with milk which has been cultured with yogurt, so that the butter forms a dependably tangy flavor. This also reduces the risk of food borne illness which is increased by leaving dairy products out at room temperature to sour. However, many dairies choose not to culture their cream, and instead simply whip fresh cream at a high speed until it turns into butter.[2]

Due by Tuesday, March 12, please: 

From a culinary perspective, dig a little into the dietary benefits and disadvantages of both, butter and margarine. Some points to examine include:
> Cost
> Flavor
> Health Benefits
> Uses
In a well-crafted document, explain why you would choose butter or margarine to use in your restaurant or serve to your family. Be specific! Take your time and convince your readers. Respond by clicking here.

[1] copyright © 2003 - 2011, conjecture corporation,
[2] Ibid.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week 3: The Skinny on Carbohydrates

Various low carbohydrates diets have been popular since the 1970s, yet medical facilities state that certain carbohydrates are essential to a healthy diet. After years where carbohydrates have been given a bad reputation, you may be confused as to what constitutes a good carbohydrates and what is a bad carbohydrate. This article will help you recognize the difference between a good carbohydrate and bad carbohydrate.

What are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are grouped into two categories: complex carbohydrates or good carbohydrates, and simple carbohydrates or bad carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include table sugar, fructose or fruit sugar or corn syrup.

Carbohydrates come in several forms including sugars, starches and fibers. Complex carbohydrates are created by linking together three or more sugar chains. By having more complex chains, it takes the body longer to break down the carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are already at their simplest form and do not require the body to break them down any further to create energy.

Bad Carbohydrates
Bad carbohydrates are simple carbohydrates that are broken down by the body too quickly to provide an adequate source of nutrients, vitamins or energy. Bad carbohydrates are foods that are composed of refined or processed flours and often include added sugars.

Bad carbohydrates are foods that are easily digestible and provide the body with limited nutrients and vitamins. Because these foods are so quickly digested, your body will experience a quick spike in energy levels followed by a crash in energy.

Examples of bad carbohydrates include:
·         soft drinks
·         most cakes
·         cookies
·         chips
·         white bread
·         white rice
·         alcohol

Good Carbohydrates
Good carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates that take the body longer to break down. These carbohydrates typically are high in fiber, which takes the body longer to break down and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

The best sources of good carbohydrates include fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and beans. All of these foods provide the body with energy, vitamins, fiber, minerals and phytonutrients.

In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, examples of good carbohydrates include whole grain cereals, whole wheat breads, brown rice, wheat berries, whole wheat pasta and black beans.

As recommended by the Harvard School of Public Health, choose good carbohydrates, not low carbohydrates or no carbohydrates as part of your diet.

If you have been following a low-carbohydrate diet long term, then you run the risk of having your body enter ketosis. Ketosis is a medical condition that occurs when fats are not completely broken down. This can occur on a low-carbohydrate diet because it is much more difficult for the body to break down fats or protein for energy sources compared to carbohydrates. Side effects of ketosis include nausea, weakness, dizziness and dehydration.

So, we all know that Carbs can get a bad reputation. Why do you think? Click on the link below to share what you have learned. You may need to tunnel through some research to get to your answer. 

Some things you may want to consider: Cost of food, flavors, availability of healthy food, consumer education/confusion.

In a well-crafted document, explain why you think carbohydrates have a bad reputation. Be specific! Take your time and convince your readers.
Due by COB 2/25!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nutrtion Syllabus

Welcome! The following notes are to introduce you to what will be expected of you in this class, as well as what you can expect of me. If you have any questions or are unclear of anything mentioned here, you are the only one that is capable of getting the answer – so ask! This class should build an excellent foundation for your understanding of applied nutrition for members of the Food Service industry

Your grade for the completion of this class will be based on the following:
·         Homework – 90%        
·         Final Project– 10%              

Class Work: (90%)

Complete all work assignments to specification, as detailed at the time of each assignment

Final Project: (10%)

A final project at the conclusion of the course will assess your understanding of the material presented throughout the duration of the course.
Extra Credit:

We all have “off” days, therefore extra credit MAY be available. Do not sacrifice your grade for hopes of making it up with extra credit. Lastly, extra credit is up to you – if there is some worthwhile task, project, recipe, etc that you feel is worthy, you must first receive approval to receive extra credit
Additional instructional time is available Tuesday and Thursday until 4pm, as well as Monday,
Wednesday and Friday BY APPOINTMENT. 

Courtesy counts…. Let me know if I am to expect you on any given day.

Areas of Study:
  • Food & Culture
  • Nutrients
  • Dietary Guidelines
  • Planning Daily Food Choices
  • Recipe Skills
  • Mealtime Customs
  • Planning Meals
  • Shopping for Food
  • The Food Supply
  • Convenience Foods
  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Grains, Legumes & Seeds
  • Dairy & Eggs
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish & Shellfish
  • Food Combinations
  • Baking

One final note on expectations…

This class is an extension of the Culinary Arts curriculum. As such, the same expectations for work completion, flexibility, teamwork and preparation are in play. You know what this means, so practice the professionalism that you demonstrate in Culinary Arts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 2: Nutrients

Please take a look at the following information about Nutrients. This information is the basis for that which we will be working for the next few weeks. You should have an understanding of the (6) main categories of nutrients and, just as important, some of the foods in each category.

To function, the human body must have nutrients. The nutrients known to be essential for human beings are proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils, minerals, vitamins, and water.

Proteins are made of amino acids, small units necessary for growth and tissue repair. Protein is the body's most plentiful substance except for water and, possibly, fat. Animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, and eggs are rich in protein. Good plant sources of protein are beans, peas, nuts, bread, and cereals.
Combining plant sources, such as peanut butter with whole-grain bread or rice with beans, provides excellent protein. So does combining plant and animal sources such as cereal and milk or macaroni and cheese.

Starches and sugars are carbohydrates, the main source of the body's energy. Carbohydrates account for about half of the calorie intake for most Americans and up to four fifths of the calories in diets of African and Asian peoples. Carbohydrate-rich foods are also the main sources of protein for most of the world. Rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes are common rich sources of carbohydrates.
Sugars are not essential foods. They provide energy (calories) but no nutrients. For that reason sugar is called an "empty calorie" food. Occasional sweets are not harmful to a healthy, active person, but excessive sugar can lead to tooth decay when eaten between meals, especially in sticky snack foods that cling to the teeth.

Fats and Oils
Fats and oils (which are liquid fats) are a concentrated source of energy. Fats in the diet are necessary for good health. They make certain vitamins available for use in the body, they cushion vital organs, they make up part of all body cells, and they help to maintain body temperature. Fats also delay pangs of hunger because a food mixture containing fat remains longer in the stomach.
Nutritionists distinguish between different types of dietary fats, or fats in food. Saturated fats usually are solid in form and of animal origin. In many typical diets, meat fat is the main source. It is known that saturated fats can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a natural waxy substance made by the body. It helps to form digestive juices and does other important work. It is present in the body no matter what is eaten. When the body cells cannot absorb any more cholesterol, any excess begins to accumulate in the walls of the blood vessels and gradually narrows them. This condition may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Minerals are neither animal nor vegetable; they are inorganic. Almost all foods contribute to a varied intake of essential minerals. Most minerals are easy to obtain in quantities required by the body. A major exception is iron for children under age 4 and adolescent girls and women in the childbearing years. These groups need more iron than a normal diet may provide. Iron helps to build red blood cells. It also helps the blood carry oxygen from the lungs to each body cell. Rich sources of iron are meat, especially liver; egg yolks; and dark green vegetables.
Everyone at every age needs calcium. This mineral builds bones and teeth, and it is necessary for blood clotting. The best sources are milk and hard cheese. Others are leafy greens, nuts, and small fishes--such as sardines--with bones that can be eaten.
Phosphorus works with calcium to make strong bones and teeth. A diet that furnishes enough protein and calcium also provides enough phosphorus. Other important minerals are sodium, potassium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

The discovery of vitamins began early in the 20th century. It is likely that some still are undiscovered. Eating a wide variety of foods ensures getting enough vitamins whether or not they are identified. All living things need vitamins for growth and health. The body either cannot manufacture them at all or cannot normally manufacture them in sufficient amounts, and so must absorb them from food. Each vitamin has specific roles to play. Many reactions in the body require several vitamins, and the lack or excess of any one can interfere with the function of another.
Fat-soluble vitamins. Four vitamins--A, D, E, and K--are known as the fat-soluble vitamins. They are digested and absorbed with the help of fats that are in the diet.
Vitamin A is needed for strong bones, good vision, and healthy skin. It is found both in dark green and yellow fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D is essential for children because it helps calcium and phosphorus to form straight, strong bones and teeth. With direct sunlight on the skin, the body can manufacture its own vitamin D. Infants and young children often need a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is added routinely to most milk during processing.
Vitamin E helps to protect vitamin A and red blood cells. It is found in a wide variety of foods, and almost everyone gets enough.
Vitamin K is one vitamin that is made within the human body--by bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. Small amounts are found as well in the green leaves of spinach, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower and also in pork liver.
Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body for long periods. They are stored mostly in the fatty tissue and in the liver.
Water-soluble vitamins. The vitamin B group of several vitamins helps to maintain healthy skin and a well-functioning nervous system. B vitamins also help to convert carbohydrates into energy. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is needed for building the connective tissue that holds body cells together. Vitamin C is essential for healthy teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It also helps the body to absorb iron. These water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body for long. Good sources should be eaten every day.

In order to live, every cell in the body must be bathed in water. Water takes an active part in many chemical reactions and is needed to carry other nutrients, to regulate body temperature, and to help eliminate wastes. Water makes up about 60 percent of an adult's body weight. Requirements for water are met in many ways. Most fruits are more than 90 percent water.
Nutrient Analysis:

            Following the reading above, construct a document (about 1 page in length[*]) to explain what foods you ate in a recent 24-hour period that contains specific mention of the nutrients listed above. Be sure to indicate which nutrients came from which foods.

Submit your assignment by Monday, February 18th. Click here to submit

For example, I had a chicken cheese steak with grilled onions and mushrooms and a side of potato salad washed down with a frothy mug of root beer. The nutrients you would find in this particular meal would be…

[*] 1 page means 12-pt, Times New Roman font without excessive ‘stuff’ simply to take up space. One page is not a huge task.