Food Snark

Beets and Borscht: Eastern European Treats

June 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Borscht is made primarily from beets, and it’s a soup that can be served either hot or cold. It is an Eastern European dish that has found moderate popularity elsewhere in the world. Ukranians consider it their national soup, and have a firm belief that they were the origin for the dish. Ukranians not only adore the soup, they have more varieties available in their country than anywhere else in the world.

It was not considered a royal dish, not even fit for royal servants, and the original recipe called for a cow parsnip as the base ingredient. The beet was eventually added as an ingredient before becoming the primary dish. Early versions consisted mostly of the beet juice cooked in egg yolks and cream.

Today’s borscht recipes haven’t changed much. Beets are still the primary ingredient, though meat is added depending on the tastes of the chef. Sour cream is another component to the dish that has existed for centuries.

All beets descended from the same general species, which has most likely been around since prehistory. Beet comes from the Latin word “beta,” which became “bête” in Middle English. We know it’s been around since ancient Greece, and it’s likely that they reached Europe through Roman conquests. Initially, beets were lighter in color. The red beet changed everything, and got cooks at the time enthusiastic about cooking with the colorful vegetable. After a stirring review in 1633 by Gerard, the beet became a dinner time staple.

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

Kale: The Super Food of the Ancients

June 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Did you know that kale is a lot like a primitive cabbage? The cabbage has evolved to include many veggies we know and eat every day: broccoli and cauliflower being just two of the more well-known varieties.

Kale is sometimes called “borecole,” but the name “kale” is Scottish in origin. The Greeks used the world “coles” or “caulis,” and the Germans called it “kohl.”

The interesting fact about kale is that none of it is new. We’ve known almost every species of kale currently on the market for at least 2,000 years. They are native to Asia Minor, but they have been shifted frequently by traders throughout the ancient world. Therefore, we don’t know where they originated from.

Though the Greeks grew both kale and collards, they did not make a distinction between the two veggies. It’s likely that the Romans inherited kale from the Greeks, then brought the plant with them during their conquests throughout Europe. Though the Americas first mention kale in the late 1600s, it’s likely that the plant was cultivated far before then and was merely a garden favorite not worthy of a full cookbook.

Today, eating kale is considered the ultimate super food. Nutrition experts have tried for several years to popularize kale because of its nutritional benefits, but the taste is not palatable to everyone. In the West, kale is a primary ingredient in fruit-based shakes, where the nutrition of the plant is gleaned through drinking rather than eating.

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


Wonderful olive oil

June 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you heard the news about olive oil lately? Researchers say that olive oil is a healthy alternative to vegetable oil sprays and dressings. Most of all, they finds olive oil contain anti-aging chemicals including Vitamin E that helps to neutralize free radicals and protect your skin from sun’s damaging UVA rays.

Italian researchers find that monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil helps people to live longer. It has been credited to lower bad cholesterol and helps curbing inflammation. Linoleic acid that helps to prevent your skin shedding water is also found in olive oil. Lack of linoleic acid promotes dry and flaky skin. Since you can only get linoleic acid from other sources not from your body, olive oil is a good source of supply. Many of us use olive oil just for cooking. But if you apply it topically, your skin will pay you back. It provides much needed moisture to your skin. Your scalp will thank you if you add few drops of olive oil and massage it. Among many types of olive oil, many experts recommend using extra virgin olive oil due to its antioxidant content. The recommended dose of olive oil is about two tablespoons a day.

Skimming Milk Fat

June 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham

We have been harvesting cattle milk since the beginning of domesticated society. From the first crops planted, we’ve been milking any cattle that have wandered onto lands we farm. Anyone who has milked a cow knows that the milk is thick, and rich in fat.

We’ve also been skimming that fat from the milk we collect, using the fatty substance in all sorts of tasty treats. Traditionally, this leftover milk was regarded as “low,” or suitable only for peasants. Even in the late 19th century, we still find evidence of skepticism toward skim milk. It was viewed as devoid of taste, and laws were passed against so-called “whole milk.”

A document from 1869 calls skim milk “watery stuff [that] ceases to be legal tender.” The question seemed to lay in what the consumer bought. Those on the side of skim milk have always contended that the fat was a bi-product useful in other concoctions. Those against skim milk argued that the farmer was somehow shorting the customer by removing the fat from the milk and serving it any other way than how the cow gives it.

Skim milk played an important role throughout World War II. It came in two forms: liquid and dry. It was the first time in American history where the dairy industry and the government worked together to change people’s popular opinions on milk. Milk became a part of everything we did after the war. Middle-class house wives gave it to their children, and skim milk was marketed as a healthy substitute to the regular fatty variety.

Today, the debate is still on and the stakes haven’t changed much either.

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

Top Three Foods To Eat on a Summer Date

June 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by New York Socials

Dating in the summer can be a wonderful time to get to know someone. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and most people feel a certain freedom that can only be likened to the last day of school. The warmest season of the year also calls for a different menu, usually lighter, healthy meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. So what should you eat this summer? New York Socials offers the following list of the top three foods to eat on a summer date.

Hardy Salads

Forget about eating your salad before or after a meal. Why not make it your main course? There isn’t a trendy restaurant in New York or elsewhere on this planet that doesn’t offer a hardy salad as a choice for the main course. You can also find a place that offers seasonal dishes, which means your hardy salad will be packed with fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season.

Why hardy salads? In addition to celebrating the foods that are in season, a hardy salad is a meal that will fill you up without making you feel stuffed. A light meal is a great start to a fun date that might continue elsewhere, such as at the museum or a steamy night in. The point: you don’t want to be bloated.

Lean Meat and Roasted Vegetables

This main course is probably best described by what it doesn’t have: bread, pasta, and unhealthy fats such as butter. For a summer-friendly meal that is healthy and satisfying, pick a lean meat with roasted vegetables. Choose a meal such as lemon chicken breast with roasted potatoes, carrots, and parsnips tossed in an olive oil and lemon dressing. They key is to stay away from foods and sauces that are heavy and rich. As mentioned above, a meal that is rich and heavy or causes bloating is not an ideal choice when the weather is hot outside or if you have other activities planned after dinner.


Who doesn’t love ice cream in the summer? But a scoop of real ice cream might be too heavy for a summer date. Instead, opt for sorbet, a dessert that is made from fruit juice instead of milk. Sorbet is usually easier on the stomach, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. It offers the sweet flavor you want from a dessert and the cold temperature you want on a warm summer night.

If you need more advice on what to eat or where to go on your date, consult New York Socials and their personal matchmaking services.
New York Socials is a member’s only dating club and high end dating service that offers NYC matchmaker services.

The Disputed History of the Bagel

June 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Tracing the origins of the bagel can be difficult. Traditionally considered part of Jewish cuisine, there is new evidence suggesting that the bagel’s true origins lie in Italy.

Bagel is related to the German word “beigen,” which translates to “to bend.” In the traditional lore, the bagel descends directly from the pretzel. During the thirteenth century, there were several Jewish communities that sprang up in Poland. The people had settled there by invitation, and most likely brought a bread called “biscochos” with them. It is baked like a bagel, and even has the tell tale hole in the middle. Yet, if legend holds true then this bread would be as old as the Romans. The most direct historical link to this theory is the defeat of the Turks in the 1600s.

Yet, examining the Yiddish “beygal” reveals that the Jews didn’t add this to common vernacular until 73 years after the Turks were defeated.

Thus, while the bagel is delicious its origins are difficult to pinpoint.

Meanwhile, in 1950s New York, a growing tradition of Jewish fathers begin buying bagels on Sunday mornings to give their wives time to sleep in and skip breakfast preparations. This is part of why lox and cream cheese is so popular today, but the bagel is now a pop culture symbol. You can buy bagels at Dunkin Donuts and other major retailers, or eat a bagel sandwich courtesy of Burger King.

Samuel Phineas Upham

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