Why did the steak miss the mark? Well, you have to brown the meat's surface over a hot flame to develop a tasty, aromatic crust. This takes heat, lots of heat, applied quickly so the entire steak doesn't turn to charcoal. But, in order to simultaneously cook through to the raw center, that same energy must diffuse from the fire, past the sizzling meat's surface, into the core.
Muscle, as luck would have it, is a rather poor thermal conductor (as well as a great absorber) of heat. There is a huge temperature gradient between surface and center when grilling a steak right out of the fridge. A gradient that stubbornly resists leveling out during cooking. Simply trying to force more heat in from the grill merely piles up energy near the surface. The outer 1/4" can easily reach 170F (which is both flavorless and tough), while meat near the bone may be 10F cooler than the center, because bone slightly impedes heat flow.
All a consequence of meat's astonishingly poor thermal properties.
There must be a better way. Actually, there are two:
To date, it’s impossible to know how much the effort has helped: Public health is a slow-moving target and frustratingly hard to measure. But there’s no question that big changes have been set in motion that will prove difficult to reverse, if they’re reversible at all. What emerges here for the first time is a full portrait of just how Obama and her bulldog personal chef engineered and enacted the most aggressive food policy agenda in living memory—a modern example of how a White House spouse can use her unelected platform to wage a genuine Washington policy fight.
Nut consumption drops with age in American children. Probably not a good thing as nuts are healthy if eaten in moderation. And although Americans are eating a bit less meat, developing economies are seeing large increases in consumption as their economies improve. The world wide trophic level, a measure of where an animal is on the food chain, is increasing (although we're omnivores and a bit closer to being herbivores than carnivores). An interesting paper on the subject from PNAS two years ago.
Eating up the world’s food web and the human trophic level
Sylvain Bonhommeaua,1, Laurent Dubrocab, Olivier Le Papec, Julien Bardeb, David M. Kaplanb, Emmanuel Chassotb, and Anne-Elise Nieblasa aInstitut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploration de la MER, Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) Exploited Marine Ecosystems (EME-212), 34203 Sète Cedex, France; bInstitut de Recherche pour le Développement, UMR EME-212, Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale, 34203 Sète Cedex, France; and cFisheries and Aquatic Sciences Center, UMR 985 Agrocampus Ouest–Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, F-35042 Rennes, France Edited by B. L. Turner, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, and approved November 4, 2013 (received for review April 25, 2013)
Here we combine ecological theory, demography, and socio-economics to calculate the human trophic level (HTL) and position humans in the context of the food web. Trophic levels are a measure of diet composition and are a basic metric in ecology, but have never been calculated for humans. In the global food web, we discover that humans are similar to anchovy or pigs and cannot be considered apex predators. In addition, we show that, although countries have diverse diets, there are just five major groups of countries with similar dietary trends. We find significant links between HTL and important World Bank development indicators, giving insights into the relationship between socio-economic, environmental, and health conditions and changing dietary patterns.
Trophic levels are critical for synthesizing species’ diets, depicting energy pathways, understanding food web dynamics and ecosystem functioning, and monitoring ecosystem health. Specifically, trophic levels describe the position of species in a food web, from primary producers to apex predators (range, 1–5). Small differences in trophic level can reflect large differences in diet. Although trophic levels are among the most basic information collected for animals in ecosystems, a human trophic level (HTL) has never been defined. Here, we find a global HTL of 2.21, i.e., the trophic level of anchoveta. This value has increased with time, consistent with the global trend toward diets higher in meat. National HTLs ranging between 2.04 and 2.57 reflect a broad diversity of diet, although cluster analysis of countries with similar dietary trends reveals only five major groups. We find significant links between socio-economic and environmental indicators and global dietary trends. We demonstrate that the HTL is a synthetic index to monitor human diets and provides a baseline to compare diets between countries.
An interesting food difference - Irish scones are very different from the English variety. They're fried in a bit of oil and aren't sweet. I grew up with my Grandmother's Irish scones and didn't like them much. As a result I avoided scones until I had something rather delicious and asked what it was. It turned out to be an English scone, which is what most American's think a scone is.