Having a meal with his friends, Fernando notices that Filet-o-Fish (F-o-F) is not on the menu and decides to find out why such a huge seller is not served any more. He gets to know that the prime cause lies deeper than he expected. The most prosperous and productive North Atlantic fishery all of a sudden faced its’ collapse in 1990, as a result making working people of fishing industry move to New England and Canada to earn for living. Soon the catches became bigger and the demand also grew higher. With the increase in demand more fishes had to be caught, that is why new fishing methods were being developed. The example of the emerged fishing innovation may be the drift nets usage, which enabled fishermen to get a big amount of fish during one catch. However, the over demand also caused the decrease in number of cod. The boats were getting bigger with enormous nets killing more and more species that run into them. Thus, the annual fish catches. Similar situation happened to Pollock, as the total population also decreased while the demand did not. As a result, buying Pollock for F-o-F production became expensive because of the growth of fish prices. Plethora of examples can be found when analyzing the commercially significant fish stocks, and Fernando decides to explore one more case to gain a full understanding of the problem. The situation with salmon extinction is what attracted his interest. Nowadays, salmon stocks diminish in their quantity: from millions to thousands and even to hundreds. There are several sources of the negative impact on salmon reproduction activity. First of them is the active intoxication of rivers by various industrial objects, agriculture, logging and mining activities. The other source of danger for salmon is the wide-spread building of dams, which limit the flow of water not allowing salmon stocks to migrate down it. Catching salmon has never been an easy task. The Native Americans, who used to eat salmon for hundreds of years, found it difficult to catch it because of the environmental conditions and weather. Notwithstanding, they discovered the easiest way to catch salmon – they did it when stocks came back to spawn during summer time. The present-day method differs a lot: fish industry uses harvested salmon, so called farm-raised sort. It could seem that with harvested salmon there is no more need to worry about its’ population decrease in natural environments, but it is not like that. Farm-raised salmon brings many benefits, but there are also huge disputes about its’ being chemically polluted. Thus, the extinction of salmon stocks is still an emergent problem. In 2002 the international commission on exploration of the sea (ICES) has set the first annual catch limit in the North Sea. This limit included fish used for F-o-F sandwiches. Soon the limit of annual catch was equal to 80 percent, and after that lowered to 40 percent. The European Union was highly worried about these changes in fish industry, as it caused a huge loss of working places. International agreements were signed for prevention of commercial extinction. To my mind, the limit of the annual catch was worth establishing, as we should never destroy environment for our commercial purposes. It should be saved for the next generation, even if much more severe measures must be undertaken. Though there always are specific legal conflicts. There have already been such huge conflicts as Northern Pacific Salmon Wars, Pollock wars in the Sea of Okhotsk, squid wars and many others. Nevertheless, the solutions can be found. The high-priority task is the further development of fish farms. This can also solve the problem of unemployment of fish industry workers. In addition, there should be a considerable decrease in the size of fishing fleet. Ordinary consumers could also be helpful to solve fish extinction problems if tried to avoid buying the most over-exploited species (Gulf Shrimp, Sturgeon, Black Sea Bass).
After having found out the information about F-o-F sandwiches, Fernando and his friends get another interesting topic for discussion - corn pudding. At once lots of questions arise about its’ components and their interaction with human body. Fernando starts with listing the macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. While eating food with starch, protein and fat, our organism uses water molecules to disintegrate food molecules. First of all, all macronutrients have digestive enzymes. When we eat proteins, we split up the large molecules into amino acids, which are further sent to our bodies. Fat is made by glycerol and fatty acids, and when we eat it we have a need of breaking down the structure, so that our bodies could use it. Carbohydrates, that are commonly called “sugar”, are of six different types: starch, cellulose, glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose. Human body has to break down cellulose and starch as they consist of large molecules. Fructose and glucose, on the contrary, are easily absorbed by our bodies, as they are initially being the molecules of small size. Fernando gets to know that starch is used for cooking the corn pie. Starch is a complex carbohydrate and our body needs to separate it into glucose molecules. It happens in few stages: first an enzyme in the saliva and pancreatic juice disintegrates the starch into maltose, then small intestine enzyme breaks down the maltose to glucose molecules, which are absorbed into the blood. Glucose is brought to the liver with a bloodstream, in this way providing our bodies with energy. By breaking down macronutrients, our organism gets necessary energy and calories. Moreover, macronutrients cause growth and normalize body functions.
Honoria was very interested in the topic and asked Fernando to explain more about the role of bacteria and fungi in human body. Fernando decided to start with example about bacteria and fungi that are able to decompose fallen logs. Fungi are able to eat logs though being extremely small cells without any mouth at all. Bacteria are about ten times smaller than a fungi cell, but they also can decompose logs. Both of them produce digestive juice when decomposing logs in order to make small molecules. Same as decomposers human body is able to absorb small molecules and to generate digestive juice to split the big molecules. The main difference between human organism and decomposers is that our intestinal cells can not save food molecules. The food we it is initially disintegrated by chewing and salivary enzymes activity. After that food goes to a long tube called esophagus. When food passed the esophagus it reaches the stomach, where it is interfused with gastric acid and is digested. After that it goes into the small intestine, which also helps to disintegrate food. Finally food gets to the large intestine, where water and electrolytes are absorbed.
Friends are getting more and more excited about corn dishes topic, though not all of them prefer to eat them. Still the talk comes to corn itself. What we eat is the kernel, the seed of corn. Starch and other carbohydrates are the basic corn’s nutrients. For a fast growth corn plant produces glucose, and only after that it makes complex carbohydrates. The starch is a good source of energy for a human body. But corn contains little amount of protein. Nevertheless, proteins can be found in corn oil that is made of corn grains’ germs. In the refining process free fatty acids and phospholipids are cleared out. The lack of protein in corn kernels is easily understood while comparing to animals. Animals need much protein and fat as they must have strong durable muscles. Plants do not have to develop muscles, thus their seeds do not need much proteins. Nivanka warns Yuqing not to eat so many corn dishes all the time, though Yuqing seems not to worry about it. Nivanka tries to prove her that though corn contains much starch, the amount of proteins and fat in it is not enough for normal functioning of female body. Ovum is a female reproduction cell which includes such significant macronutrients as proteins and unsaturated fats. Corn belongs to starchy vegetables and is produced contained food. Its’ seeds contain many complex carbohydrates, chains of three or more sugar molecules in conjunction. Corn seed is neither male, nor female. However, Yuqing is still sure that she gets enough protein from food as she eats not only corn, but also mochi. She is sure that mocha can fill the shortage of protein in her body. It is made of bean paste that contains beans with sugar. While eating corn dishes the girl’s body gets much starch and while eating bean paste it really gets enough protein, as beans are rich in it unlike corn. Some of the amino acids, which protein contains, are very important for human body and must be necessarily absorbed from food. Bean paste as a source of protein has plethora of its’ types. Protein is made of few chains of amino acids. In general, we use about twenty amino acids, but there exist much more amino acids.
The talk about pudding made Nivanka interested to discuss the peculiarities of mayonnaise in Francine’s vegetable salad. Nivanka knows that major components of mayonnaise are water and oil, so she starts thinking about the structure of water. The structure of water molecule includes two hydrogen atoms which share electrons with oxygen atom. This sharing of electrons is what makes atoms stable. The fact that oxygen is more electronegative than hydrogen means that water is polar bond. The atoms of hydrogen partially have a positive charge, while the atom of oxygen has a partial negative one. Moreover, water is polar as it has a V-shaped structure. The molecules of water are characterized by strong interaction, as molecules have equal quantity of electrons and protons, and become rather asymmetrical. However, oil is non-polar, that means it can not make hydrogen bonds with molecules of water. Being polar water attracts polar molecules and ions, and prevents the dissolving of non-polar substances such as oil. The process of sharing of electrons between the hydrogen and electronegative oxygen in water molecule is unequal. Oil is non-polar, because it is a hydrocarbon chain where carbon atoms chains bond to hydrogen. Such a way water and oil can not form a stable mixture. That’s why egg yolks are added to make a necessary connection between water and oil bonds. Egg yolks fulfill the function of putting water and oil molecules together to make a stable structure.
The discussion finally comes up to the ordinary Vegan corn pudding. Usually eggs are added to a pudding. Every protein has its’ folding shapes, inside the cell it has a shape of a ball to maintain same shape. When eggs are being heated, the molecules of protein are floating in solutions. Eventually, protein molecules start unfolding each other. During this process water molecules are evaporating because of heat.
Lucius has a suggestion to compare normal mayonnaise to a fat-free mayonnaise and find out the differences. First of all, main ingredients of fat-free mayonnaise should be listed. They are water, starch, oil, salt xanthan and cellulose gum, and others. Analyzing the list of components it may seem that this kind of mixture is not really a mayonnaise. Still this combination works well. Fat-free mayonnaise still includes oil, though it is soybean oil, which has some fat, but reduces the number of calories. Egg yolks and much oil is not a typical feature of a fat-free mayonnaise – a starch gel is used as a substitute. There is also a soluble fiber in this kind of mayonnaise - xanthan gum, which is very useful for people with high blood cholesterol as it has an ability to lower it. Xanthan gum substitutes eggs, notwithstanding the fact that soluble fiber dissolves in water. Often buying a mayonnaise without fat buyers think that it has no oil at all, but it does. The difference is that it is that fat-free mayonnaise has less calories fat and oil, but at the same time there is rather big content of sugar in it. This example shows how important it is for consumers to be aware of the ingredients and nutrients of every product.
Having finished the above discussion of food, friends decide that they should be more attentive to what they eat. Fernando now understands that all products, even F-o-F sandwiches, have a lot to do with politics and economics. The facts they learned about corn pudding and mayonnaise gave them a much food for thought. The idea of opening their own healthy food restaurant seems a very attractive solution to all food arguments.