A hairy subject…

You probably won’t recognize today’s topic by name.  What you will recognize is what it is used in.  Layered stacks of sustenance; meat, cheese, peanut butter, jelly, honey, bacon, jam and a million other items.  Yes, I am referring to the sandwich.  Not the sandwich as a whole, however.  The oft-overlooked yet critical component of the sandwich:  Bread.  Bread is the armor of a sandwich.  It’s outer shell.  The keystone.  Not only does it provide a firm, clean grip on a sandwich, it also creates a crisp look.  But bread is not only used for sandwiches.  Bread comes in many shapes and sizes.  Doughnuts, bagels, cake.  The list goes on.

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Bread is an important component to our culinary lives.  But do we really know what is in it?  Sure, flour, water, etc.  But what else?  Grab a loaf of bread or some burger buns.  See the list of ingredients?  Rather long dontcha think?  Today we’re focusing on the one by the name of L-cysteine.  Chances are your loaf of store-bought bread has it listed.  But what, exactly, is L-cysteine?  Enough with the ‘sugar coating’ (pardon the pastry pun).  According to multiple sources, L-cysteine is made industrially from duck feathers, hog hair or human hair.  The L-cysteine is derived from the hair through Hydrolysis.  I won’t go into what exactly hydrolysis is (if you want to know, Google it) but basically it does some stuff to get some stuff out of some other stuff.

So to wrap up, hair is used in your food.  However, hair is not the ingredient.  The ingredient is derived from hair.  But fear not!  Some companies make synthetic L-cysteine.  The problem with the synthetic stuff is that it’s 2-3 times more pricey.  It also doesn’t count as a natural ingredient.

 

With regret, (okay, maybe not)

-Calvin

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