Showing posts from April, 2020

Pandemic eating: How sweet it is

Several times in the last month, I have acted on an uber-aggressive instinct to buy and hoard comfort foods. In fact, every time I’ve forayed out to the market, decked out in nitrile gloves and a blue-and-white mask, my first thought, after toilet paper, has been sweets---cinnamon buns, black & whites, babka, banana bread mix, shortbread cookies, and the list goes on. I’ve gone from coffee and toast in the morning, a salad for lunch, and a basic dinner (often courtesy of Chipotle when working late) to a new routine---breakfast, followed by a piece of chocolate from that fancy box I bought on Amazon and stashed in the pantry, followed by Black Forest gummy bears or mandarin-flavored Hi-Chews, and then maybe a little bit of romaine with dressing (me attempting to inject some nutritional virtue into my day), and finally more sweets. Melitta Bentz, early 1900's Turns out I’m in good company (Facebook feed and all). In fact, it’s a foregone conclusion that e

Advice from the National Coffee Association on whether buying coffee now is safe—and how to support local coffee shops and cafes

Recently, the National Coffee Association issued a statement answering questions that people have about whether coffee is affected by the coronavirus and whether the packaging represents a potential threat. Most of the content on the NCA website is intended for roasters, manufacturers, and retailers, but NCA also has a consumer section. The most frequently asked question from consumers is: “Is it safe to buy coffee right now?” The answer from NCA: “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. In general, because of poor survivability of the coronavirus on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of it spreading from packaging or from food products that are shipped over a period of days or weeks in ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.” In fact, according to experts, the virus is detectable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2 to 3 days in plastic and stainless steel. Like many people, I have be

Drinking coffee during the pandemic: Arabica, Robusta, or a nice, sultry blend?

In the midst of a global existential crisis, there’s more time to ponder things you promised yourself you would explore---one day. And as distractions go, learning about the differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee is a worthy pursuit.  Arabica versus Robusta—is one better than the other? There are over 100 species of coffee, but the two main species marketed for consumption are Arabica, (grows in South America, as well as some parts of Africa) and Robusta (grows in Vietnam, Indonesia, and also in some parts of Africa).   What’s the difference?   Arabica and Robusta are different in many ways, but the short-version answer is that Arabica is a higher quality coffee than Robusta. Any coffee that is touted as “100% Arabica” is considered the gold standard by self-described coffee connoisseurs. For the most part, that’s true---but not entirely. There are some really good Robusta blends out there. Compared with Arabica’s fruity essence and its high-acidity, slightly sweet