Letter to the Reader
Welcome to the Earthworm Express! Good butchers are invariably great experimental scientists. They are forever tinkering with recipes and looking for a new approach to create magical products – some try and marry affordability with price and some abandon most price considerations and simply strive for the best possible product, irrespective of cost. The fluid movement of staff between employment is probably the single largest mechanism for transferring good ideas.
Add to this the national priority that food became over the last few hundred years. Private and public centers of learning invested and continue to invest considerable resources to improve technology in food production, including meat. In reality, the contribution of science and that of the observant butcher all come down to the same thing.
The earliest reference to this process is found in Mesopotamian records where there is a reference to the use of sodium nitrate to preserve meat which is to be preferred over another well-known preserving agent of the time, ammonium chloride on account of the slight astringent taste of sal ammoniac. This process of experimentation and careful observations have no doubt been going on since humans became cognitive of our surroundings.
The process continued throughout the ages and continues. We live in an age where new scientific publications see the light of day on a non-stop basis. It is hard to keep up. Academia is bent on novel meat processing technologies and it dominates scientific literature. Old school technology easily gets lost in the maze. What is, for example, the best way to mix pork gelatin in water? What are the benefits of pure honey in meat preservation?
Earthworm Express is entirely devoted to great stories from food science and technology. In re-discovering the birth of old-school technology and understanding the science behind it, we are able to make sense of the novel technologies which sees the light of day on a continual basis.
The different site pages are in the top banner in the desktop mode. I try and do every article as a page and as a post. The post is a chronological record of articles where the pages are grouped according to themes. Hover your cursor over the page headings at the top and a drop-down menu appears. In mobile mode, click on “INDEX” for a list of pages. The chronological list of posts are on the left in desktop mode and in mobile mode, it’s at the bottom. The pages are invariably updated while I don’t always update posts.
Most of the work is dedicated to old and new meat technology.
A second feature is Bacon and the art of living. This is a project where I combine everything into a story based on my own experience of starting a bacon company.
In June 2008 I created Woody’s bacon in Cape Town. In January 2009, Oscar Klynveld joined me and we formed Woody’s Consumer Brands (Pty) Ltd. I decided to use selected events from the story of Woody’s, re-cast them in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and tell the story of the creation of bacon.
It is a work-in-progress, but I present a few of the chapters. There are interesting stories contained in it.
Another feature is Interviews with food people and articles about legendary food companies. Here I celebrate some of the heroes of our trade.
Great men, woman, companies, and other organisations who contributed or continue to contribute to the food industry. In the picture to the left is Sir David de Villiers-Graaff, the grandson of the man who created the Imperial Cold Storage and Supply Company Ltd. whom Eben interviewed in 2014.
Our site mascot is Big Yellow Bacon Man. 🙂
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Research and contact: Any comments, suggestions, contributions, or corrections, please email me at email@example.com or send me a WhatsApp on +27 71 5453029.
I trust you will find this as much fun and enjoyable to read as I have in writing it.
Eben van Tonder
Sample of Site in pictures