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Wanted: Young chefs to show skills

Calling all young chefs — come on down to the Market Chef Competition at the Salisbury Farmers Market on Saturday, Aug. 8.

In 2014, the adults got to show off. Now it’s time for the younger generation to demonstrate their skills and taste.

The finale will be Sept. 19. Contestants must be between 9 and 18 years old. Each contestant is allowed one assistant or sous chef.

Chefs will be given secret local ingredients and a couple of hints. Certain appliances will be available. They can also purchase items at the market to round out their dishes.

The winner of the first contest must be able to compete in the finale. Previous competitors can also try again at the finale.

The fee is $10, which will be used to buy the additional ingredients. Rowan’s Cooperative Extension staff asks that contestants bring their pots and pans to the Extension office, 2727 Old Concord Road, to have them sanitized before the competition.

For more information, contact Extension agent Danelle Cutting at 704-216-8970 or visit www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com.

Soylent 2.0 to replace meals?

CBS reports a company called Soylent is selling drinkable meals in a bottle, an upgrade from the powder introduced last year.

Rob Rhinehart, Soylent founder, says it’s not meant to fill gaps in your diet, it is a full meal, with essential vitamins, minerals and healthy fat, but no cholesterol. Each serving is 400 calories and has 20 grams of protein.

No word on what the flavors are, if any.

Nutritionists say not so fast — we don’t metabolize synthetic nutrients that well and Soylent should not be a meal replacement. They say we need more protein and the drink can serve as a supplement.

It is actually named after the substance in the 1973 movie with Charlton Heston, “Soylent Green.” Scary. In the movie, the world is ruined by greenhouse gases in 2022 and the remaining population survives on Soylent Green. Heston discovers what it’s made from and utters the famous line, “Soylent Green is people!!!!”

When in Rome …

Here’s a little history to chew on while you munch your lunch: We can blame the Romans for street food.

Romans were busy folks, and while they were gambling or cavorting with ladies of ill repute, they got hungry. So did the folks hanging out at the colloseum waiting for the gladiator fights. They snacked on sausage, fried fish and salted peas.

Breakfast was salted bread, dried fruit and eggs with milk or wine. Lunch was usually at a wine bar, where the plebians could snack and make a few bets. Kitchens were just open flames in a hearth, so eating out was more common.

Those crafty Romans, though, were the originators of the Mediterranean diet we’re encouraged to eat now, with nuts, fruits, beans, peas and olive oil.

Comfort food for loneliness

Not sure why there had to be a study on this one, but the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and the State University of New York in Buffalo have found that comfort food helps us feel less lonely.

That’s why it’s call comfort food, folks, we eat it when we are depressed or homesick or tired. Lonely is part of that.

The study finds that people associate a certain food with people they know or knew. Students in the experiment who had healthy relationships found comfort food tastier than those who did not.

And they found that students who felt isolated turned to comfort food.

Which leads to the conclusion that we need to be trained to find another way to feel better. Pass that mint chocolate chip ice cream, please.

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