Deception through Brownies (In the Name of Science)

Pictured: beets, brownies, and bounty.

Apologies for not posting in a while… it’s been pretty busy in Ithaca.  Here’s one of things I’ve been working on that you all might find interesting:

1 of the 2 blogs

For my consumer research class, my classmates and I conducted social experiments on a group of defenseless undergrads.  My study (unsurprisingly) involved food blogs.  Surprisingly, it also involved me baking.

The basic question was this: What will make a food recommendation more effective: if the source has expertise or familiarity?  The design was pretty simple.  First, I made subjects read 1 of 2 fake food blogs.  They were both identical except for 1 thing: the author.  One blog was supposedly “written” by the executive chef of all Wegman’s grocery stores (someone with high expertise) while the other was “written” by a fellow Cornell student (someone with high familiarity).

The blog posts were recipes for 2 different foods: Beet-Apple Sauce and Fudgy Yogurt Brownies.  After subjects were finished reading, I gave them all samples of the food (homemade, of course) and asked them what they thought about them (in a ton of different ways).

The results?  Actually, I have no idea – but I’ve got to code them all by 1:30 tomorrow, so you won’t have to wait long!

P.S. How do you like my new, manic writing style?  When you’ve got no time, you’ve got no time for nonsense.  That’s a fact.

Science in action.


Sunday Morning Pancakes (and a new camera!)

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally made pancakes this morning.  The decision was made last night, over beers.  My roommate, Dan, suggested Sunday pancakes, and I realized I had no grounds to argue.  Pancakes had to be done.  After consulting one of my favorite food writers, Mark Bittman (more to come on him later in the week), I got to work.

a sign of good things to come

My recipe was adapted from Bittman’s Everyday Pancakes from the New York Times.  For the cup of white flour, I substituted a half-cup of whole wheat and a half-cup of oat flour.  I also used olive oil and maple for the butter/sugar.  My favorite adjustment, though, was heating up the milk and infusing it with Indian spiced tea.  Cinnamon, clove, and orange zest rounded it all up.


With the pancakes I made what has become my favorite breakfast condiment: fruit chutney.  This time, I diced and browned an apple, then added a fresh orange, spices, and vanilla.  You can imagine the smells filling my apartment last night.

Everything was prepped before bedtime, and when my alarm went off I shot out of bed with the urgency of a kid on Christmas morning.  My clamor woke Dan up, who didn’t seem to mind when I told him the pancakes were almost done.  Continue reading

French Toast with Apples and Raisins

French ToastBaby steps.  That’s the name of the game with this baking stuff, and that’s what’s so appealing about French Toast.  It’s basically a couple slices of bread that accidentally ran into an omelet.  Omelets I can handle and, apparently, French Toast is no different.

Is it baking?  No.  But it’s not cereal either.  And it’s delicious.

To top it off, I cooked down an Ida Red apple with some raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  It’s a vestige from the weekend’s ill-fated pancakes, and it worked just as well with French Toast.  Both elements were easy, healthy, and just real good.  A definite repeat.

See the recipe and money shot after the jump: Continue reading