fear of the unknown

Maya Weinstein mixing up high fructose corn syrup

Maya Weinstein mixing up high fructose corn syrup Photo courtesy of

Friday, April 14, 2014 may not be a date that will live in infamy, but it is the date, I met Maya Weinstein.  She spoke at the Roger Smith FoodTech Conference.  Maya was one of speakers on the Tweaking Sensory Profiles:  Flavor and Color Technologies panel.  She  is the creator of the DIY High Frustose Corn

Photography courtesy of DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup

Photography courtesy of DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup

Syrup “lunchbox.”  This peculiar and annoying  enterprise was Mayas’ thesis project for her M.F.A. in Design and Technology at Parsons, New School of Design.  When Maya began to talk about her creation, I was sure her presentation was tongue and cheek; an attempt to poke fun at a nutritionally vacuous food. I was a mistaken.  Maya’s venture belongs in the hipster food/art sphere.  This is “citizen food science.”

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a secretive process.  Maya

Inside the kit

Inside the kit

researched, with great difficulty, the recipe for HFCS.  She wanted to make this industrial food product transparent.  Rule #39,   “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” – Michael Pollan from Food Rules.  Maya has taken Pollan at his word.

Does making HGCS “from scratch” change it?  Does it make HFCS an artisanal ingredient?  Does it change HFCS from a disease-promoting mixture, to something worthy of your time?

Maya has a kickstarter campaign that aims to raise money to produce and distribute more HFCS kits to anyone interested in the process of making their own HFCS at home.  “The kit provides the user with a way to directly interact with an ingredient that is typically only produced in large-scale factories behind closed doors.  The kit allows everyone to be a citizen food scientist and take control of the mysteries behind industrial production.”  from

I would like to say you go girl.  I know knowledge is power and the lunchbox is a window into the unknown:  still, I am going to keep on trucking… with local ingredients, I can identify.

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