Friday, January 29, 2010

Is margarine one molecule away from plastic?

I have addressed the issue as to whether margarine is close to plastic several times on my blog and because I continue to questions from readers, I will continue to address it. The myth that margarine is one molecule away from plastic seems to be one of those Internet rumors that permeates the World Wide Web. Here's a great explanation from "Ask Doug" in the Abilene Reporter News.

Q. Is there any fact in margarine being one molecule away from plastic?
And, if it in fact, why isn't it stopped?

A. No, probably.

I found a number of references to this question online, and I think the most authoritative came from Todd Whitecombe, who according to the site - MadSci.com - is an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Northern British Columbia.

He says you can't just add a molecule of something and make margarine into a substance with plastic-like qualities.

Here's his explanation:

"...if you were very persistent, you could likely find a way to ploymerize the double bonds - the 'unsaturation' - of the fatty acids in the margarine and in so doing make a long chain polymeric substance that would be similar to other polymers. But 'one molecule away' implies that margarine is 'essentially plastic' and this is far from the truth. Margarine is 'not plastic' and making it so would be difficult."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cherry Coffeecake

Coffeecake has always been a major weakness of mine. Pair it with some O.J. and you've got the perfect breakfast. Or, pour yourself a cold glass of milk with a slice after dinner and it's a satisfying dessert.

Cherry Coffeecake

Ingredients:
Milk
1 egg
1 stick of margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking power
2 c. flour
2 21-ounce cans cherry pie filling

Topping
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 stick of margarine, softened
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place egg in measuring cup and add enough milk to make one cup. Mix dry ingredients with margarine, then mix all with milk mixture. Pour into 9-by-13 inch pan. On top of batter, pour cherry pie filling. For topping, mix flour, sugar and margarine until crumbly. Add nuts, if desired. Spread crumbs over top of cherries and bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or cold.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Help the People in Haiti in 30 Seconds or Less

Happy Friday! Man, has this week seemed like it's lasted forever or what? Thank goodness next Monday is Martin Luther King Day and I'm O-F-F. Then, I'm heading to Los Angeles for four days for a business trip.

Two items to note today, completely unrelated to margarine:

1.) During times of tragedy such as what happened in Haiti, it's sometimes hard to know exactly how to help a situation. I know I always get nervous about donating to certain chairities because you just don't know exactly where that money goes. Well, we do know where the money the Red Cross gets goes - straight to the victims. Plus, they're making it super easy to donate. Just text the word "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the relief fund. The $10 charge will appear on your next phone bill. It takes 30 seconds and can really help make a difference if we all pitch in.

2. I'm trying to get more active on Twitter so follow me at www.twitter.com/iheartmargarine

Have a great and safe weekend!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Trans Fat in Margarine?

A reader emailed me the following questions over the holidays:

Q: "I'm constantly hearing that margarine is made up of trans fat and should be avoided but on your blog, you say that margarine is healthy. Please explain."

A: Trans fat naturally occur in some foods, such as butter, but are also formed in the processing of some foods where product texture and shelf life are desired.

Using new technologies, soft margarine manufacturers have met the challenge and eliminated or reduced trans fat in buttery spreads, making a good product even better. In fact, almost every soft margarine product now shows "0 grams trans fat" on its label.

For more information, visit http://www.butteryspreads.org/.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I Think I just Ripped My Pants

Happy 2010 everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. If you're like me, you're still in a fog of parties, overconsumption and sleeping in. My email inbox is bursting at the seams, much like my pants.

Starting today I'm going to try and work off the three or four pounds I gained the past month or so and I plan to do a lot of cooking! I'll keep you posted on my progress but I want to recommend a great web site for those of you also looking to fight that battle of the bulge. Ciao!

www.hungry-girl.com