Berlin Introduces World's First 'No-Kill' Egg

iStock.com/FatCamera
iStock.com/FatCamera

The chicken and egg selections in your local supermarket are very much a matriarchy. Male chicks do not lay eggs and don’t pack on enough meat to make them attractive to raise for consumption. As a result, they’re typically destroyed in ways that would make anyone cringe—the chicks are often either suffocated with gas or sent into a mulcher to become feed.

That could soon change, thanks to an innovation spearheaded by German scientists. A new, “no-kill” egg is now on sale in Berlin, and it may hold the potential to end the practice of discarding male chicks by identifying their sex before hatching.

According to The Guardian, a patented process dubbed “SELEGGT” can pinpoint the sex of a chick just nine days after an egg has been fertilized. Female eggs go on to hatch; male eggs are processed for animal feed. The process would eliminate the live culling of male chicks after hatching.

SELEGGT was championed by the REWE Group, a retail franchise that was looking to increase the sustainability of its eggs. REWE consulted with the University of Leipzig, where scientists developed a method of detection similar to a pregnancy test. A chemical marker detects a hormone known as estrone sulfate that’s present in high quantities in female eggs. Fluid taken from the egg is mixed with the marker and offers a color-coded identification of the sex—blue for female, white for male. The accuracy rate is said to be 98.5 percent.

REWE then sought out a way to perform the test at a speed suitable for mass production. Instead of using a needle, a laser creates a 0.3 millimeter hole in the shell, with air pressure forcing a tiny amount of fluid from the opening. An egg can be sampled in just one second without being touched.

The first grouping of hens that were reared without having to kill any hatched male chicks appeared earlier this year. Their eggs, sold under the label “Respeggt,” went on sale in November, with plans to expand throughout Europe. According to REWE, the process adds only a few cents to the cost of a carton.

Other companies have made similar advancements: Vital Farms in Austin is working on identifying gases leaking through egg pores that can determine sex in just two days—but SELEGGT is the first to come to market. As one or more of these strategies are implemented throughout the poultry industry, it’s hoped that the practice of male chick culling will be eliminated.

[h/t The Guardian]

Why Do We Eat Candy on Halloween?

Jupiterimages/iStock via Getty Images
Jupiterimages/iStock via Getty Images

On October 31, hordes of children armed with Jack-o'-lantern-shaped buckets and pillow cases will take to the streets in search of sugar. Trick-or-treating for candy is synonymous with Halloween, but the tradition had to go through a centuries-long evolution to arrive at the place it is today. So how did the holiday become an opportunity for kids to get free sweets? You can blame pagans, Catholics, and candy companies.

Historians agree that a Celtic autumn festival called Samhain was the precursor to modern Halloween. Samhain was a time to celebrate the last harvest of the year and the approach of the winter season. It was also a festival for honoring the dead. One way Celtics may have appeased the spirits they believed still walked the Earth was by leaving treats on their doorsteps.

When Catholics infiltrated Ireland in the 1st century CE, they rebranded many pagan holidays to fit their religion. November 1 became the “feasts of All Saints and All Souls," and the day before it was dubbed "All-Hallows'-Eve." The new holidays looked a lot different from the original Celtic festival, but many traditions stuck around, including the practice of honoring the dead with food. The food of choice for Christians became "soul cakes," small pastries usually baked with expensive ingredients and spices like currants and saffron.

Instead of leaving them outside for passing ghosts, soul cakes were distributed to beggars who went door-to-door promising to pray for souls of the deceased in exchange for something to eat. Sometimes they wore costumes to honor the saints—something pagans originally did to avoid being harassed by evil spirits. The ritual, known as souling, is believed to have planted the seeds for modern-day trick-or-treating.

Souling didn't survive the holiday's migration from Europe to the United States. In America, the first Halloween celebrations were a way to mark the end-of-year harvest season, and the food that was served mainly consisted of homemade seasonal treats like caramel apples and mixed nuts. There were no soul cakes—or candies, for that matter—to be found.

It wasn't until the 1950s that trick-or-treating gained popularity in the U.S. Following the Great Depression and World War II, the suburbs were booming, and people were looking for excuses to have fun and get to know their neighbors. The old practice of souling was resurrected and made into an excuse for kids to dress up in costumes and roam their neighborhoods. Common trick-or-treat offerings included nuts, coins, and homemade baked goods ("treats" that most kids would turn their noses up at today).

That changed when the candy companies got their hands on the holiday. They had already convinced consumers that they needed candy on Christmas and Easter, and they were looking for an equally lucrative opportunity to market candy in the fall. The new practice of trick-or-treating was almost too good to be true. Manufacturers downsized candies into smaller, bite-sized packages and began marketing them as treats for Halloween. Adults were grateful to have a convenient alternative to baking, kids loved the sweet treats, and the candy companies made billions.

Today, it's hard to imagine Halloween without Skittles, chocolate bars, and the perennial candy corn debates. But when you're digging through a bag or bowl of Halloween candy this October, remember that you could have been having eating soul cakes instead.

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Make Your Own Mouthwatering Pizza With Tomatoes From Frank Pepe’s

eugenesergeev/iStock via Getty Images
eugenesergeev/iStock via Getty Images

If you live in a rural area, the hunt for a quality slice of pizza—especially at a late hour—can be enough to make you consider moving to a pizza capital like New York. But what if you had the secret ingredient for a perfect pie right in your own kitchen?

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Italiana, the iconic New Haven establishment recently crowned America’s best pizzeria, is selling cans of its hand-selected tomatoes that you can purchase online or at any of its locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

Like any good "secret" ingredient, the tomatoes that Frank Pepe’s chefs use in their critically acclaimed sauces are a little different than your regular grocery store pickings. Food & Wine reports that each year, Frank Pepe’s grandsons (now restaurant co-owners) conduct a blind taste test of several different tomato varieties harvested from farms in Naples, Italy, and decide which ones are worthy of being used in their pizza products. According to the pizzeria's website, “It’s not just a matter of taste, but of the tomatoes’ density, texture, and transition of flavor once they are cooked.”


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Of course, there’s more than one reason Frank Pepe’s pizzas are considered the gold standard in America. To achieve that famous “crisp, charred, chewy crust,” the pizzas are baked in a coal-fired oven rather than a wood-burning one. There’s also the fact that Frank Pepe and his ancestors have been perfecting the Neapolitan art of pizza-making for nearly a century (the pizzeria was founded in 1925). In other words: Don’t be disappointed if your first crack at a heavenly homemade pizza doesn’t come out exactly like the mouthwatering pictures on Frank Pepe’s website. Having said that, the magic of hand-chosen Naples tomatoes is sure to make your creation considerably better than any of its frozen, store-bought brethren.

You can order a pack of three cans of tomatoes for $10 here.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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