This weekend I was perfectly relaxed and hanging out at the beach again. That part of my life is over...
Today was mentally overwhelming. The course on wine started on Monday. The material is very well organized and I can't say I've been this excited about learning in quite some time. I was even excited about microbiology for maybe the first time ever! Today was intense though. I had three hours of lecture in the morning and two in the afternoon. We covered some microbiology, some biochemistry and finished up with organic chemistry. Let's face it, keeping the sciences balanced is important. I managed really well until the last 20 minutes when we were learning about diammonium sulfate as a preferred substrate for.....yup...that's when I lost it. I have no idea what happened after that. My note suggest we talked about the sulfate reduction system, mercaptans and ethanol toxicity. All of which mean basically nothing to me at this point. I can however describe the bottling process of sparkling wines! My brain was feeling deflated after five hours of lecture, but there's no rest for the weary. Dr. Cesar Ferreira requested my presence in his office after class so that he could discuss the paper that Justin and I will write. This paper just grew totally out of control. Justin and I will now work along with Bimal and Prateek to write a paper that will be published. It's an interesting concept...let me explain...
Portugal must export a variety of wines to the easter countries such as India and China. We live in a world that desires equal opportunity health opportunities. If soy seems to provide health benefits in Asian countries, then the western nations want to get their hands on soy. Wine seems to have health benefits for the French (French Paradox), so the Asians want Mediterranean wine. You might be surprised to find out that wine is not a terribly stable food. To ship great quantities of wine across the water to China poses many problems that degrade the quality of wine. Changes in temperature, for instance, will contribute to the spoilage of wine. In order to preserve the wine, we must consider the package, added preservatives, etc...all might help preserve the wine. The wine must be preserved so that the foreign consumer will perceive good quality, drink it, and receive the antioxidant benefits. Whew...
So yeah...that's what I'm up against. I have to write something from the nutrition perspective providing a reason why we need to get wine from Portugal to Asia, but also explain that we have to think beyond the antioxidant benefits to human cells. Before we can provide these antioxidants to far away places, we have to overcome the transportation/spoilage issues. Justin will tackle the chemical composition of the degradation compounds, aromatic compounds and chemical reactions that may be occurring. Bimal and Prateek will address the potential solutions based on other industries and make suggestions for further research projects.
I HAVE TWO WEEKS TO DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was expecting to write a nice little paper about how a glass of wine after dinner might protect your tender little heart. I was NOT planning to write about the distribution conundrum! And I was NOT planning on getting published in some food science journal. That being said, I'm kind of excited. Dr. Ferreira sees me as the nutrition expert who will provide the justification for the whole paper. Having a paper published would be an unexpected surprise. Dr. Kearny back in Ireland expects my thesis to be published, but I wasn't expecting to get published from a food science perspective. If this paper does get published, you can be assured that a copy will be provided for your reading pleasure. Then I really will feel like an expert on wine!
Keep in touch!
Friday, February 23, 2007
Sunday, February 04, 2007
So I think it's safe to call myself a colts fan. Let's be honest...I haven't had much interest in the game until recently but hear me out. It's 3am here in Portugal and the game just got over. I may have been the only person in all of Portugal with a Colts t-shirt on. Katharine is from Chicago, so we pretended we were rivals even though she could have cared less. The game was on some Eurosport channel and was broadcast in Portuguese. Do you know how much you have to pay attention to a game when there's no one there to tell you what's going on? Also, unlike all my American friends, I had to watch the guys stand around on the field during each time out and during each commercial break. When there was a commercial it was one of two...there's some handball tournament coming up and something about soccer. Not exactly the $2.6 million commercials you were watching. The other thing I missed out on was the Superbowl food. No chips and salsa...no velveeta chili cheese dip...not even a coke. I had some Oreos and Katharine had a bag of low fat chips. Yum. So all I had was the game. That being said...can't I call myself a Colts fan now?