Designing a better food label (video)

Food labels can be confusing, but graphic designer Renee Walker aims to change to that.

Walker says most food labels now are complicated and give people too much information. So she set out to create a design that is more visual and graphic, and one that focuses on ingredients. That could in turn lead to healthier eating habits, says Walker.

In this video, she shows SmartPlanet her designs that she's based on blocks of color, with bigger blocks indicating the major ingredients in the food and brighter colors signifying the ingredients that more natural.

This video first appeared at … Read more

The Melt update: Great logistics--and free bacon!

The mobile ordering site went live recently for The Melt's chain of grilled cheese restaurants. The best feature of the app (and The Melt in general): you can add bacon to any sandwich for free. Although since the grilled cheese sandwiches themselves are $5.75, "free" is a bit of a stretch. But still, hey, sort of free bacon!

In the interest of research (and lunch), I checked out the new mobile site and the in-store follow-through at a nearby Melt location. What I found was a bug in the system (presumably a temporary problem), but also … Read more

AeroShot: Ditch the coffee, huff your caffeine

You willingly succumb to the seductive siren call of coffee, but all that bean shopping, grinding, and espresso machine twiddling is getting tiresome.

Never fear. Your morning pick-me-up is about to get a lot more portable when the caffeine-packing AeroShot hits the market in a few months.

Each AeroShot is about the size of a tube of lipstick and contains 100 milligrams of caffeine in the form of a fine powder. You can get between six and eight lime-flavored puffs from each cartridge. It's a little bit of molecular gastronomy in your pocket.

David Edwards, a professor at Harvard … Read more

Food processor flips switch for slicing choices

Kitchens are constantly in a state of flux. Food comes and goes, transforming from raw ingredients into finished plates. Frequently, as the chopping, slicing, and overall prepping occurs, things need to be switched up on the fly. When confronted with change while operating a food processor, home chefs are usually required to exchange attachments, stalling the cooking process. Or they could just flip a switch. More than just a feature for adapting to change, an external lever on the KitchenAid KFP1333 Food Processor allows you to adjust slicing thickness of a variety of foods, whether the need to is foreseen … Read more

Has Zuckerberg started killing bison?

Mark Zuckerberg is a man's man.

Please stop that strange guttural noise, thank you. I mean it.

As I mentioned not too long ago, Zuckerberg had vowed to eat only meat from animals he has personally killed.

He began with chickens and pigs. He went on to your personal privacy. But now there are strong suspicions that the future first president of the world has killed and eaten a bison.

Fortune is offering that Zuckerberg secured his hunting license and has been busy blasting at bison. With the result that he recently ate bison burgers.

The intelligenterati, you see, … Read more

An ant farm for root vegetables

A lot goes on behind the scenes in the nonstop effort to bring produce to our plates. Before we even lay eyes on our dinner as we hunt it among the grocery store aisles, it must be picked, sorted, transported, weighed, and priced. But before even that, before the myriad middlemen have had their say about it, the food in question must first be grown. In the case of vegetables, specifically root vegetables, rarely is this process seen. Everybody knows that the magic of restocked shelves has to start from a seed, but that growing period that occurs immediately after … Read more

Gojee: Even the Web can be delicious

There's something about cookbooks that has always amazed me ever since I was a child. Cookbooks have a story-telling quality where the pictures hold as much influence as their complementary textual directions. Have you ever caught yourself staring at a photogenic plate, struggling to imagine what it might taste like or if it was something in your realm of cooking skills? Like a great children's story, visual cookbooks capture the imagination of taste and encourages us recreate what the cook/artist shares before us, without information overload. 

Gojee is a Web app that sets out to … Read more

Coke app + 'freestyle' machines = DIY sugary drinks

That mainstay from youth, the "suicide"--that's several different flavors of soda mixed together in a single glass to create one insanely sweet concoction, in case you're not in the know--is finally available on demand without having to fiddle with half a dozen 2-liter bottles.

Coca-Cola's nonstop marketing machine has introduced "Coca-Cola Freestyle," an online and real-world system that allows corn syrup (or Aspartame, for you Diet Coke drinkers) addicts to create their own soda "mixes."

The online component allows Facebook fans to fiddle with hundreds of combinations of various Coke brands and flavors, and an app for Android and iOS provides a related game. The apps also direct you to the nearest physical Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, where you can actually try out your deliciously decadent and dangerous-to-diabetics creation. There are currently more than a thousand "mix your own" dispensers in select restaurant chains, including some Burger Kings, Domino's Pizzas, Pei Wei Asian Diners, and other spots.… Read more

Restaurant kicks out customer for 'twerp' tweet

When large egos meets instant criticism, sparks tend to fly in real time.

So it proved in a Houston restaurant the other night when the management took exception to a customer's socially networked opinion.

The Houston Press was the first to digest what happened. It seems that Allison Hiromi was having drinks at a place called Down House--perhaps not the cheeriest name for a restaurant.

She overheard a conversation in which a bartender said something none too flattering about another Houston bar-owner.

The culinary world in Houston--with which I have some small familiarity--is at least as touchy as it … Read more

Spend some time with the food processor

When discovering the benefits of having a food processor, one of the first realizations is the simple fact that it should have been purchased a long time ago. That is because food processors are incredible time-savers. As the RPMs ratchet up, the blades spin and whatever needs slicing or chopping is reduced to the desired consistency in seconds. It all happens so fast there almost isn't enough time to consider how much time cumulatively would have been saved if the purchase had been made a long time ago. Almost.

One of the first things that new food processor owners … Read more