Does anybody remember the 12.5 million tomato seeds that were carried on the space shuttle Columbia in order to study the effects of long-term space exposure on living tissue? We just heard that school children in West Lafayette, Ind., were given some space-exposed seeds and raised tomatoes that were served in the school cafeteria. So what are they like? (And what about the remaining 12,499,900 space tomato seeds?)
Not Real Skin but an Amazing Simulation
A computer-operated machine can now form a protein coating around sausage, potentially making plastic or gut casings unnecessary. It's said that Natraskin is edible and doesn't split during cooking.
A Policeman's Projected Dream
Rumor has it that a licensed line of Twin Peaks doughnuts is in the works.
An Etiquette Problem Solved
Vegetables such as beans and cabbage cause gas because they contain indigestible sugars that ferment in our digestive tracts. However, an enzyme called alpha-galactosidase will break these compounds down so they won't ferment, if you sprinkle a few drops of it on your first mouthful of the dangerous food. It should be available soon, under the elegant brand name Beano Drops, in the supermarket antacid section (meanwhile there's a Beano Hotline, 800-257-8650). From Lactaid, Inc. of Pleasantville, N.J.
Robbing the Cradle of the Deep
A couple of weeks back a Detroit man paid $320 for a 17 1/2-pound Maine lobster. It can take 100 years or so for a lobster to get that big, and Detroit animal rights activists picketed the restaurant and rang the diner's phone off the hook and offered to buy "Mimi" (as the news media had named the lobster) on the grounds that she was the equivalent of a historical building. It was to no avail--Mimi died from injury and trauma in shipping, and so she got eaten after all. What all the Detroiters neglected to realize was that the best lobsters are the 1 1/2- to 2-pound size . . . the helpless infant size, that is.
White House Green
Broccoflower, the pale green cross between broccoli and cauliflower introduced this year, has been served at the White House. No word on whether the First Broccoli Hater liked it, but it's made the menu on two occasions.
Build a Better Mousse Trap
Clearly, what the world needed was a card game for foodies, so here it is. Goulash is loosely based on Old Maid: You match cards containing the first and last parts of two-word dish names, and the card reading "goulash" is the card you don't want to get stuck with. The person who ends up with the Goulash card is, under the rules of the game, supposed to cook all the other players a dinner, but we'll see how often that happens.