Archive for July 20th, 2011

July 20, 2011

Dippin’ Dots

Dippin Dots

Dippin’ Dots is an ice cream snack, invented by Curt Jones in 1987. The confection is created by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen; consequently, Dippin’ Dots contain less air than conventional ice cream. The resulting small spheres of ice cream are stored at temperatures ranging from -70 to -20 °F (from -57 °C to -29 °C). The marketing slogan is ‘Ice Cream of the Future.’  The company, headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky, United recently began selling its product in supermarkets in the United States. Dippin’ Dots are sold in individual servings at franchised outlets, many in theme parks, stadiums, shopping malls, and in vending machines.

Several competing beaded ice-cream lines have been introduced in recent years. Some of these competing brands are similar to Dippin’ Dots in shape or size, yet differ in that they use dairy stabilizers and artificial sweeteners, in an effort to keep the beads from adhering to one another. Dippin’ Dots, made from conventional ice cream ingredients, are held at sub-zero temperatures to keep the beads separate and free-flowing.

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July 20, 2011

El Bulli

el bulli

El Bulli is a molecular gastronomy restaurant near the town of Roses, Spain (near the French border), run by chef Ferran Adrià. In early 2011, management announced that the restaurant would close that summer to reopen as a creativity center in 2014. Its main objective is to be a think-tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy and will managed by a private foundation. The former restaurant accommodated only 8,000 diners a season, but received more than two million requests. The average cost of a meal was €250. The restaurant itself operated at a loss since 2000, with operating profit coming from El Bulli-related books and lectures by Adrià. The location was selected in 1961 by Dr Hans Schilling, a German, and his Czech wife Marketta, who wanted a restaurant for a piece of land he had purchased. The name ‘El Bulli’ came from the French bulldogs the Schillings owned.

The first restaurant was opened in 1964. Ferran Adrià joined the staff in 1984, and was put in sole charge of the kitchen in 1987. In 1990 the restaurant gained its second Michelin star, and in 1997 its third. Menu items have included melon with ham, pine nut marshmallows, steamed brioche with rose-scented mozzarella, rock mussels with seaweed and fresh herbs, and passion fruit trees. Texturas is a range of products by Adrià and his brother Albert. Texturas include products such as Xanthan and Algin. Xanthan gum allows the user to use a very small amount to thicken soups, sauces and creams without changing the flavor. Algin is a key component of the ‘Spherification Kit’ and is essential for every spherical preparation: caviar, raviolis, balloons, gnocchi, pellets, and mini-spheres.

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July 20, 2011



Spherification is the culinary process of shaping a liquid into spheres which visually and texturally resemble caviar. The technique was originally developed by the creative team at the Spanish restaurant, elBulli under the direction of executive chef Ferran Adrià. There are two main methods for creating such spheres, which differ based on the calcium content in the product to be spherified.

For substances containing no calcium, the liquid is mixed with sodium alginate, and dripped into a cold solution of calcium chloride or calcium carbonate. ‘Reverse’ spherification, for use with substances which contain calcium, requires dripping the substance into an alginate bath. Both methods give the same result: a sphere of liquid held by a thin gel membrane, texturally similar to caviar.

July 20, 2011

Cessna 172


The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seat, single-engine, high-wing, fixed-wing aircraft. First flown in 1955 and still in production, more Cessna 172s have been built than any other aircraft.

Measured by its longevity and popularity, the Cessna 172 is the most successful mass produced light aircraft in history. The first production models were delivered in 1956 and they are still in production. As of 2008, more than 43,000 had been built.

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July 20, 2011


Chochinobake by Jing Wei

Kasa-obake by Richard Svensson

Tsukumogami [sook-oom-oh-gamee] (‘artifact spirit’) are a type of Japanese spirit that originate from items or artifacts that have reached their 100th birthday and thus become alive and aware. Any object of this age, from swords to toys, can become a tsukumogami. Tsukumogami are considered spirits and supernatural beings, as opposed to enchanted items. Tsukumogami vary radically in appearance, depending on the type of item they originated from as well as the condition that item was in. Some, such as tsukumogami originating from paper lanterns or broken sandals, can have tears which become eyes and sharp teeth, thus giving a horrifying visage. Others, such as worn prayer beads or teacups, may merely manifest faces and appendages, giving a warm and friendly appearance.

Though by and large tsukumogami are harmless and at most tend to play occasional pranks on unsuspecting victims, as shown in the Otogizōshi (a collection of 16th century Japanese scrolls) they do have the capacity for anger and will band together to take revenge on those who are wasteful or throw them away thoughtlessly. To prevent this, to this day Shinto ceremonies are performed to console broken and unusable items. It is said that modern items cannot become tsukumogami; the reason for this is that tsukumogami are said to be repelled by electricity. Additionally, few modern items are used for the 100-year-span that it takes for an artifact to gain a soul. Though they are generally considered as mythical or legendary beings, almost all of tsukumogami with names are artistic production created during the Edo period. The most popular artist is Toriyama Sekien, but other numerous artists added their own creatures to the list of tsukumogami.