Food Snark

Popcorn Then and Now

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Popcorn is the movie-goers treat. It’s a type of corn kernel that expands when heated, building pressure within the starchy interior. The end result is a “pop” or a small explosion that forces the starch out of the moisture-sealed hull. As the starch cools, it forms the crunchy substance we know as popcorn.

Popcorn dates back to ancient Egypt, but those early forms were not quite what we know of today. The bible mentions corn, but they are most likely talking about barley. The English also spoke of wheat as corn, while the Scotts used the term to describe oats.

It is widely believed that the domestication of corn is directly related to popcorn. Corn was very important to the Aztecs, who used the skin and ears to make skirts and head dresses worn by women while performing ceremonial dances. Cortez had his first experiences with popcorn there, noting how the Aztecs used the popped kernels as decorations in necklaces.

The popcorn industry thrived throughout the American Great Depression, where bags of it sold for 5-10 cents. This came at a time when sugar rations were shorted. Americans filled in the candy gap with popcorn, and the treat eventually became the official state snack of Illinois.

The first version of caramel corn came in 1896, sold at the World’s Fair by F.W. Rueckheim. The recipe was slightly altered by his brother, who managed to turn the new concoction into “Cracker Jacks,” that are still sold in stores today.


Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his LinkedIn page.

What You Didn’t Know About Gelato

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Gelato Products

Everyone loves ice cream, especially the Italians! Gelato is a delicious type of ice cream that is available at specialty ice cream parlors called gelaterias. While you might already know that this tasty treat came from Italy, we’re sure that you don’t know everything there is to know about gelato. Here are a few facts you didn’t know about gelato.

Definition of Gelato

What does gelato mean anyway? Contrary to what many Americans believe, gelato is not a certain type of ice cream served in weird frozen yogurt cups. The word gelato is simply the Italian word for ice cream. But what many Americans think is gelato is the Italian-style ice cream that is rich and creamy and made differently than traditional American ice cream.

It’s Healthier than Ice Cream

If you want a healthier alternative to ice cream that doesn’t taste horrible, consider gelato. Traditional American ice cream is usually made with a high ratio of butterfat and air. However, gelato is made with a lower ratio of both. So why does it taste so good? Gelato tastes rich and creamy because there is less fat that hides the flavor. Although it’s a little healthier than ice cream, it doesn’t mean you can maintain your figure and eat to your heart’s content. Gelato is still a type of dessert you can’t eat a lot of.

It’s Served the Same

Although gelato might taste a little different than American ice cream, they are served the same. Visit any gelateria and you will see scoops of ice cream on cones or in cups just like traditional ice cream shop supplies.

Gelato Products is an online retailer of gelato supplies, including cups, lids, and to-go containers.

The Origin of Cherries

April 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phin Upham

The cherry grew originally in the temperate climates of Europe and Asia. It’s likely that prehistoric peoples ate wild cherries plentifully, well before humans learned how to farm and settle down. There is even evidence that Neolithic peoples stored and fermented their cherry juice, creating wine before people knew how to extract it from grapes.

The cherry reached Italy from the Black Sea, where the Romans embraced it heartily. They took it with them to Britain when they conquered the area, grouping them with plums and grapes at the tables of rich imperials.

Cherries were grown and sold commercially throughout the Middle Ages, but their coldness was considered a medical hazard by medieval doctors. They recommended cooking the cherries, or serving them with wine to take the coldness away. They even enjoyed fruit preserves and the world’s first cherry pies. And cherries weren’t restricted to nobility either. It’s highly likely that peasants would supplement their diets with foods grown on their own property, the cherry among them.

The cherry tree is a symbol of beauty in Japan, but it also symbolizes virginity and pureness. In fact, Japanese people today still believe that a blossoming cherry tree has been inhabited by a kami spirit that helps it grow. The European myth makers believed that cherry trees were evil, but they also stressed a deep connection with both fortune and fertility, suggesting just a bit of malice was needed to get ahead in life.


Phin UphamPhin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham.

Finding the best location for your business is key

April 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Rem Services

Location, location, location. That has always been the mantra of nearly all businesses that has been successful in their respective fields. If you’re looking to open your own store or restaurant, you need to find the best spot where you can easily penetrate your target market. Great locations start with great listings, like what you can find in Grand Cayman Condo Rentals. If you’re engaged in food and beverage, you can open up at the ground floor of residential buildings or commercial buildings. Your store location is a very big factor if you want your business to be successful. Even if you have the best tasting products to offer, you won’t be able to sell so much if your based in the wrong location.

Depending on your location, there are places such as the Cayman Islands Property Rentals where you can find the best listings of properties where you want to open up shop. You will be able to choose various neighborhoods, and even the best landlords who can give you the terms and rates that you like. Being closer to your market translates to higher revenues, sales, and greater exposure as well. These are but a few reasons why location is very crucial to you and your business. It’s the first step for you to become successful. And when it comes to signing rental contracts, don’t be too quick to signing. You should go over the terms and conditions and see whether you are amenable to it as well.

It’s the best place to go if you’re looking for properties in the Cayman Islands. Their superior listings like the Grand Cayman Property Listing and impeccable service have always made them among the top options in property management services.

The Portobello

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Phin Upham

The Portobello mushroom is one of the most popular spores used in cooking today, but was it all due to a marketing gimmick? Thanks to a story in the New York Times, the mushrooms rose to popularity all throughout the 80s.

The name Portobello also relates to the town Portobelo of Panama. Though the names are similar, the coincidence ends there. The Portobello mushroom is enjoyed all over the world, but it is believed to be naturally occurring in Italy where it was first cultivated. There is also no specific correct spelling of the name. A simple Google search can confirm this, with variations like portabella and portobella netting an equal amount of hits for the subject.

In 1993, orders for the mushroom were at nearly zero. Within three years, Americans had begun ordering them by the millions. The history of brown mushrooms grown for consumption is strange. The public did prefer white-button spores for a period of time, but the 1960s and 70s movement of “back to Earth” promoted browns again. Still, farmers long considered Portobello mushrooms a scourge on their plant beds.

They would throw the brown spores out, or take them home to their families at the end of the day. It’s hard to tell what kicked off the love of Portobellos, but they have a much meatier flavor than other spores. Although white spores still hold majority market share, portobellos are rising in popularity year over year. Some restaurants have entirely redone their menus to reflect their newfound taste for portobellos.


Phin UphamPhin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.

France produces excellent Brie for eveyone

April 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Brie is a soft, cow’s milk cheese named after the Brie in Normandy region of France. The flavor is dependent upon the ingredients used and the manufacturing environment. Normandy soil contains rich minerals such as iodine and beta carotene, and the mild climate generates best grass for cows. Traditional manufacturing processes bring out the best Brie from the region. Typical milk contains 40 to 42 grams of fat per liter of milk and the milk from the Brie region of France contains 45 grams of fat making it the best milk to produce Brie.

Boiled, pasteurized and curdled cheese added with salt put into a mold to drain out water. Demolded cheese is allowed for 12 hours to dry. Dried cheese molds are matured for over ten days before wrapped and placed in wooden boxes and kept for additional week or so before shipped out for sale. Length of time from purchase determines the softness or hardness of the Brie. When open and sliced, Brie stops ripening. The soft interior as well as the outer rind can be eaten. In the U.S., Brie is mostly served with wine. But in Europe, Brie is served after a meal. Brie can be easily pared and served with other cheeses.

The Domestication of Cattle

April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

It’s likely that the first cows to be domesticated looked very different from the cows we have today. Food historians generally agree that the ancient cow was a direct descendent of the prehistoric Auroch, which was a bit like an ox. The animal was common to the grasslands of Eurasia, which also gave humans the illustrious horse.

Though it’s hard to tell for sure, food historians speculate that cattle domestication most likely occurred when cows wandered onto human lands. Early farmers growing large fields of grain would have had something of a pest control problem from the cows that wandered onto their lands to graze. It’s hard to pinpoint when domestication began, but there is evidence that places cattle in domestication near 3,000 BC from Mesopotamia to Egypt.

When humans first began to breed cattle, the end result was much smaller than the aurochs that roamed the land. Humans most likely captured some aurochs in a pen, and the males and females mated during that time. There would have been ample reason to keep them, as they would have made an excellent food source and their dung could be used as a fertilizer for growing crops. The species that resulted from the captive breeding was much more docile than the wild auroch, and they were often kept as objects of sacrificial significance.

Cows were never indigenous to America. It was the English who brought cattle to the New World when they settled in the 1700s. Of course the English kept cows for milk. It was the Spaniards who taught Americans how to raise and slaughter cows for the consumption of their meat.


About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Twitter page.

How to Plan an Ethnic Wedding

April 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Anoush Catering

When the bride and/or groom are from another country, a great way to celebrate their union is to throw an ethnic wedding. An ethnic wedding follows the classic ceremonies, foods, and music of historical wedding celebrations from a certain country. Ethnic weddings are steeped in tradition and history. Even if the bride and groom have moved to the United States, an Ethnic wedding is a great way to honor their nationality and celebrate where they came from.

Although planning an ethnic wedding can be an exciting time in your life, it can also be extremely challenging — especially if you’re planning one in the U.S. But worry not. Here are a few tips on how to plan a successful ethnic wedding, brought to you by Anoush Catering.

Hire an ethnic catering company. Whether you’re planning an Armenian, French, or Indian wedding, it’s important to have the right foods at your wedding reception. But not every catering company specializes in the traditional wedding foods from the country of your choice. Unfortunately, the wrong catering company will not be able to produce the same quality of foods with the right recipes, a problem that can dampen the mood at a wedding filled with ethnic guests. So if you’re planning an Armenian wedding, go with a company that specializes in Armenian wedding catering in Los Angeles. You can also go with a catering company that focuses on a certain part of the world, such as Middle Eastern catering.

Book a traditional-style banquet hall. The banquet hall is an important part of the wedding reception, an element that adds atmosphere and style to the party. Might it might be tempting to throw your wedding at a nice hotel or an affordable reception hall, it will not provide the right atmosphere. Look for a banquet hall that is decorated in traditional ethnic décor, such as Armenian décor or Persian décor. The goal is to create an atmosphere that matches or complements the food and celebrations, not takes away from it.

Provide traditional music. Music can make or break a wedding reception, especially if you’re going for a classic theme. Whether you hire a band or a DJ, it’s important to play traditional music at your wedding. You can also play modern music, but make sure to keep the traditional tone throughout the wedding by starting with and ending the wedding reception with traditional songs and music. You might also want to choose traditional music for special ceremonies, such as the first dance.
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Anoush Catering is one of the leading catering services Los Angeles, offering Middle Eastern menus, including Armenian and Persian catering.