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Snippet of Gastropod: The Creation of Bouillon Cubes

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Listen now to snippet “The Creation of Bouillon Cubes” from Gastropod. The story of how the savory liquid intended for soups was invented and promoted.
Food with a side of science and history. Every other week, co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode exploring the hidden history and surprising science behind a different food- or farming-related topic, from aquaculture to ancient feasts, from cutlery to chile peppers, and from microbes to Malbec. We interview experts, visit labs, fields, and archaeological digs.
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Alright, Bob. Delicious warming, reviving. There's nothing quite like bubbles. Beefy taste to put new heart into you fast ones I threw helps us through eso. Bovril was beef extract, which Liebig had invented, but it also added the thing that Liebig extract was hugely criticized for not containing so. Bovril also contained dried ground meat mixed in with beef extract. Barbara was invented in the 18 seventies by a Scot named John Lawson. Johnston grew up somewhere in the highlands of Scotland until, as a young boy, he was adopted by his uncle, who was a butcher who had a shop in Edinburgh, just a Marla, to down the road down the hill from the Amazing Castle. John Lawson Johnston worked in his uncle's butcher shop, but he also somehow snuck into lectures at Edinburgh University, where he learned a little about Lee Biggs. Exciting new discoveries in chemistry and nutrition, and somehow he got a commission from the French government to produce a preserved, nutritious food for the French troops. And he came up with this product, which he made his own brown liquid group, that you could add too hot water. Originally, John named his invention sort of the way Liebig did. He called it Johnston's fluid beef, but then he came up with something much more creative. The first part above that came from bovine like cattle. Brill instead came from a novel by Edward Bulwer Lytton called Grill. The Power of the coming Race. It was a very, very populous protest science fiction novel. The really are Were people who lived underground had had this amazing, astonishing civilization fueled by a power called drill. It was an electricity like parrot on drill was used to grow their plants. They had thes sticks and they could fly around. The marvelous thing about the society was the women were in charge. Uh huh. So this Rell was Annette energetic thing on. I think that this name the bovine represented the protein, the Braille represented stimulant, the energy, a powerful combination, and a very effective marketing message, which is something that Bovril became known for. It was advertised in a way which waas absolutely spectacular. Um, very different for the period. John Ross and Johnson himself. Waas, quite a showman, hit one of the innovations waas to put the huge word Bovril on top of buildings in top London landmark. So Piccadilly Circus is very famous. For that. There was a huge Bovril sign in the sky, which after a while it was lit up so very modern with electricity. Later, he hired a super famous bodybuilder to be the face of the product. He used Eugene Sandown, who was the strongman and great pin up of the era as one of the people to endorse the product during the first World War. He's semi naked bodies off armaments workers is the personification of the man strengthened by. After all, Liebig had quote proven that beef builds muscles, so it makes sense that Barbara would be advertised on the basis of strong naked men. It's kind of like how protein powders air marketed today. John Lawson Johnston had originally developed his product for the French army, if you remember, and the French and the British were not the best of friends at the time, so John temporarily moved to Quebec. Montreal had this winter fairs where they built a nice palace on people would flood into the Ice Palace and see lots of different things. Andre Johnson set up his stall with these women. These wenches on huge great big earns of steaming hot Bovril and was pouring it out into cups for people to buy. Bovril took the Montreal winter affair by storm because just a few years before John showed up with his beefy broth, Canada had introduced Prohibition, and it turned out that this savory drink was, strangely a popular replacement for booze. After a factory fire, John sold his Canadian business and moved back to Britain to London, where he put on the same show. At the 18 87 Colonial and Indian Exhibition. He built another ice palace and employed for glad ladies to serve hot Bovril. And even though Britain never introduced Prohibition, there was a big temperance movement at the time, and buffalo caught on as a nonalcoholic alternative in pubs and bars. Why, I have no idea. There are some mysteries the even Castro pod cannot solve. But in any case, this is the time that all sorts of intense, brown concentrated savory substances were catching on. Not just Barbara Lynn Liebig extract of meat, but also another one that's really popular today called Maggie a T least, that's what we're going to pronounce it. There are some places in the world where it's pronounced Maggie. It was invented in Switzerland. Julius Maggi was a Swiss mill owner, right? So he's a capitalist. But he's also a philanthropist, and he looks at the women, many women who worked at his factory. He looks at chronic malnutrition in his community. He looks at the high rates of infant mortality, but he also knows that meat is in elite food, that it's not going to be accessible. The science of nutrition has showed him that beans, pulses, peas are sources of protein, just like beef. So Julius made his own being based protein extract. It was genius, really. He realized that he could use Leavitt's hydrochloric acid trick to break down the proteins and vegetables, too. That way, he could start with something cheap, like peas, and end up with the same fabulous amino acids that Liebig was getting from more expensive beef. This was the first vegetable based umami bomb. It was first a liquid. But then, in 1908 Maggie introduced the very first bullion cube. He'd evaporated the liquid into a powder and then smushed it into a cube and wrapped it in foil. Even Mawr convenient. Maggie's Cube was quickly followed by the bullion cube of my youth, Oxo, which was the cheaper Q B er version of Lee Biggs extractive meat to the question, Is it chicken Oxo That brings out the flavor of chicken or chicken that brings out the flavor of chicken? Oxo. There is no answer. One brings out the flavor of the other. It's a little like asking which came first, the chicken, all the killed and that was joined by Nor, which was another veggie based cube invented in Germany and around the same time another Brown group was invented. And I know this one has a great deal of personal meaning to you. Nikki Marmite E should say that despite my long personal relationship with Marmite, I did not realize that it started life like all these other groups as a concentrated base for Ah hot brothy drink, I feel is that maybe our relationship was built on a live Australians would be pissed if we left off their Brown group of choice, which is Vegemite first sergeant. To be honest, Vegemite was invented because the food manufacturer wanted an Australian version of the British Marmite. When Marmite wasn't available right after World War One. Both are made from yeast that's left over from brewing beer, yet another cheap source of savory protein. Eso. Basically, in this period of time at the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th century, which is really the dawn of ah, mass market for industrialized food, there's just this kind of I don't know if it's right to call it a glut, but there are a whole lot of products that are suddenly available to buy that give you the savory nous of a slow cooked stew in a bottle. So it's basically, you know, taking this labor intensive cooking process and instead of, you know, even though it started out by promising this kind of nutritional revolution or this way of kind of delivering necessary protein and and strength in a small package kind of taking this slow cooked flavor and making it immediately accessible. The thing that unites all of these small, savory packages is that they are savory, and that savory nous comes from blasted apart proteins. What Liebig and other chemists would call hydrolyzed proteins, some of which are quite tasty, specifically glutamate, which we register as the taste sensation that we now know as umami. You could get that wonderful savory umami sensation from broken down proteins and a lot of foods cooked and ground meat and Parmesan cheese or fermented foods like fish sauce, miso soy sauce. Or, if you're in industrial food manufacturer with a big factory, you can create it by hydra lies ing the proteins in really cheap ingredients like corn and soybeans. Same great umami taste. But strangely, even though humans have been enjoying the taste of umami since, well, probably since they figured out how to use fire to cook meat, umami was only recognized as an official taste in 1990 meaning that it couldn't be replicated or imitated adequately with using other chemicals that have taste properties like se, combining saltiness and sweetness. It had a distinct set of molecular mechanism so scientists could identify how it was being experienced on a molecular level in the body and and other criteria
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