I love learning about food. Not only about recipes, I am really interested in learning more about where how our food comes from and how it is made. A few months ago I had the chance to learn more about dairy through the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council. Held in gorgeous Geneva, New York, I had the chance to learn more the production of dairy at Cornell University as well as have the chance to learn about local cheese and wine artisans and to learn more about the behavior science of a lunchroom and how smart choices are not typically made.
The most fasinating part of the experience for me was listening to David R. Just, Associate Professor Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and co-founder of Smarter Lunchrooms, spoke about the behavior science of a school lunchroom as well as how to create a smarter lunchroom. He spoke about how we make food choices that can involve a cold state (rational) or a hot state (impulsive) where stress and distraction can lead to a hot state. He also spoke of why kids tend to go for less healthy options where he noted that "kids have not fully developed their rational system." But he said that we can change that in our lunchrooms by making some foods cool such as by placing stickers with characters like Elmo on fruit as well as leading them to make the right choice. He also spoke of changing the construction of a school lunchroom by making changes to enhance healthy food such as by placing fruit in bowl, moving the salad bar and placing nutrious foods at the beginning of a lunch line.
Another interesting part of the trip was learning how to make yogurt as well as how there are very different types of yogurts. This includes cup set yogurt where fermentation occurs in the package, Stirred (Swiss style) yogurt where fermentation occurs in a tank, stirred, cooled, then packaged, drinking yogurt where the product is liquefied by homogenization or shear before filling. We also discussed the process of frozen yogurt (incubated in a tank, stirred then frozen like ice cream) and the ever-popular Greek where this yogurt is fermented then strained usually via a separator, smoothed then filled. It was really interesting to learn how yogurt was made, which includes a process of culturing milk with yogurt cultures. It is then heated and then fermentation occurs where the yogurt is then agitated (the break), smoothed, mixed with fruit, packaged and cooled. During the presentation we saw how this could go wrong by viewing yogurt that can be ropy, have a weak body, or come out lumpy.
We also learned how the dairy association is working with cheese artisans through a Wegmans-Cornell partnership. Through this program, they want to enhance cheese?making competencies for artisans based in New York State and large?volume manufacturers of artisan cheese. This included a program that selected local cheese-makers who were then distributed to various Wegmans' locations in upstate New York. This allowed the artisans to have the support of Wegmans while also offering assistance with everything from cheese making problems to issues with transportation.
We later learned more about wine and cheese pairings with Anthony Road vineyards and the Muranda Cheese Company where we were able to better understand what cheeses go with what wines. I love both foods so it was interesting to get a better grasp on what to serve for entertaining as well as how the food and wine work together to enhance a meal.
This unique experience also allowed us to stay at the gorgeous Geneva on the Lake. As a quaint and charming hotel, I loved being there during the fall where we soaked in the sights and take in the beautiful scenery.
One of our favorite places was a quick visit to Taughannock Falls. The views were simply breathtaking amongst the gorgeous changing of the leaves.
An interesting weekend learning more about dairy, I really enjoyed learning more about the production of food as well as how the industry is working with local artisans to great a high quality and better product.
Momtrends was not paid for this post.
We attended this event as a guest of the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council