Word of the Day

Castoreum.

Is it:

a. a building which houses old casts;

b. the main ingredient in Castor Oil;

c. an ancient city overlooking the Mediterranean Sea which was the summer residence of  Roman emperors from 350 to 108 B.C.;

d. a food additive made from beavers’ anal scent glands;

e. none of the above?

Yes, I know you are desperately hoping the answer is anything but d. I won’t keep you in suspense.

It’s d.

Or, as the NIH likes to call it, “a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years.”

Think about that the next time you see the words “natural ingredients.”

Tomorrow’s word: “cochineal” also called “carmine.”

Is it:

a. a small bone in the inner ear;

b. an extinct species related to trilobites;

c. the lead female role in The Barber of Seville;

d. a dye made from ground beetles used by the food and cosmetic industries;

e. none of the above?

Don’t bother hoping.

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Posted on August 23, 2012, in Commentary, cooking, food additives, Humor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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