Bits and pieces: Swizzle sticks, corn sugar and other food news from the web, 9.21.10

I thank the Internet gods for giving me a reason to use a picture of Jon Hamm. Photo courtesy of labanlieue via Flickr.
  • I am a huge Mad Men fan, an obvious statement if you follow my Twitter feed on Sunday nights. So imagine my delight when I came across this piece from the Los Angeles Times about how the television drama set in the 1960s has impacted a little piece of the food and drink world – the swizzle stick. According to the newspaper, the prominent use of alcohol on Mad Men has sparked a renewed interest in those little rods you use to stir your drink. “Today, these mini-pop-culture icons are emerging as entertaining and valued collectibles,” the article states. “Tangible connections to the past, they’re terrific conversation pieces and come in an infinite variety of dazzling shapes and colors.”
  • The food website Epicurious is celebrating its 15th birthday with lots of lists and compilations of the best in food and wine of the last 15 years. One recent list ranks 16 of the world’s most influential chefs. Unfortunately, no women make the cut. Yet women make up three of the five people or businesses the site considers to be the “next Martha Stewarts.”
  • The Corn Refiners Association has applied to the federal government for permission to change the name of “high fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar” in an attempt to rebrand the ingredient that has been vilified as a leading cause of obesity in America, according to a story from NPR. “High fructose corn syrup is not particularly high in fructose. In fact, it contains just as much fructose as sugar does,” the article states. But a new name could also be just as confusing, said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

“The term ‘corn sugar,'” he says, “may also be misleading, suggesting that the product is kind of squeezed right out of corn rather than being produced through an industrial process.”

  • Some local news: More nutritional value information will be available in local restaurants in Jefferson County, according to an article in The Courier-Journal. “Next month, the Louisville Metro Department of Health & Wellness in will launch a $500,000 program to begin working with local restaurants and eateries to help them calculate calories in their dishes and print that information on their menus,” the article states.

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