Archive for January 1st, 2013

January 1, 2013

Mexican Pointy Boots

Mexican pointy boots (botas picudas mexicanas) are a style of pointed fashion boots made with elongated toes. The boots are said to have originated in Matehuala in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí. The came to popularity at the same time as ‘tribal guarachero’ music (‘a mixture of Pre-Columbian and African sounds mixed with fast cumbia bass and electro-house beats’). and the boots have become a preferred footwear for the all-male troupes that dance to the tribal music. They are made by elongating normal boots by as much as 5 feet (1.5 m), causing the toes to curl up toward the knees. Decorative alterations incorporate paint and sequins and can go as far as adding flashing LED lights, disco balls and even mirrors.

Boys and men that wear the pointy boots have formed all-male troupes to compete in danceoffs at local nightclubs to tribal music. Participants in the contests spend weeks choreographing their dance moves and fabricating their outfits which commonly include ‘matching western shirts and skinny jeans to accentuate their footwear.’ In Matehuala, prize money ranges from $100 to $500. The prize often includes a bottle of whiskey. The dance troupes have reportedly become so popular that they are being ‘hired to dance at weddings, for quinceañeras, celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe, bachelorette parties, and even rosary ceremonies for the dead.’

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January 1, 2013

Meat Glue

A transglutaminase is an enzyme first described in 1959 which creates extensively cross-linked, generally insoluble protein polymers (indispensable for organisms to create barriers and stable structures). Examples are blood clots as well as skin and hair. In commercial food processing, transglutaminase is used to bond proteins together. Examples of foods made using the enzyme include imitation crabmeat, and fish balls. It is produced by bacterial fermentation in commercial quantities or extracted from animal blood, and is used in a variety of processes, including the production of processed meat and fish products.

Transglutaminase can be used as a binding agent to improve the texture of protein-rich foods such as surimi (fish paste) or ham. Transglutaminase is also used in molecular gastronomy to meld new textures with existing tastes. Besides these mainstream uses, transglutaminase has been used to create some unusual foods. British chef Heston Blumenthal is credited with the introduction of transglutaminase into modern cooking. Wylie Dufresne, chef of New York’s avant-garde restaurant wd~50, was introduced to transglutaminase by Blumenthal, and invented a ‘pasta’ made from over 95% shrimp thanks to transglutaminase.