They say that you are what you eat. Would you change your eating habits, or at least your favorite snacks, once you knew what they’re actually made of?

Check out: The unlikely (and disgusting) origin of our favourite foods


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  • byproduct – an incidental or secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else
  • slurry – a semi-liquid mixture, typically of fine particles of manure, cement, or coal and water
  • umami – a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavour of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate
  • evaporate – turn from liquid into vapour
  • centrifuge – a machine with a rapidly rotating container that applies centrifugal force to its contents, typically to separate fluids of different densities (e.g. cream from milk) or liquids from solids
  • infamous – well known for some bad quality or deed
  • whimsical – playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What is Marmite made from?
  • Who first used yeast extract for culinary purposes? What were the circumstances?
  • What are molasses acquired from?
  • How is gelatin made?
  • Why shouldn’t you put pineapples into jelly?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the appropriate forms of words in capital letters.

They might not seem like the most intuitive ________ EAT in the world, but yeast extracts were the ________ BRAIN of an acclaimed 19th Century German ________ CHEMISTRY named Justus von Liebig, also a pioneer of fertilizers and many key, early insights into organic chemistry. In 1816, when von Liebig was 13 years old, a ________ VOLCANO eruption in what is now Indonesia produced what become known as “The Year Without a Summer” in Europe. It seems he never forgot the crop ________ FAIL and famines that resulted, and much of his professional work focused on agriculture and ________ NUTRICIOUS. He also founded Leibig’s Extract of Meat Company, which later became Oxo, the manufacturer of beef bouillon cubes.


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Marmite, Vegemite, and other spreads ________ them are made from the dregs of the beer-brewing process. After brewer’s yeast has done ________ job of converting sugar ________ alcohol, it’s scooped ________ with a slurry of other ingredients, and ferried to a factory ________ it begins the process of being converted to something more closely resembling food (if you’re ________ the side which finds ________ concoctions edible).


Fill in the blank spaces with the verbs in brackets used in appropriate tenses/forms.

Molasses can ________ (ferment) with water and yeast and  ________ (distill) to make rum, and the two products were part of the infamous Triangle Trade that linked Africa, the West Indies, and the American colonies and Europe beginning in the 16th Century. Molasses from the sugar cane plantations of the Indies ________ (send) northwards to ________ (convert) to rum, rum and other goods ________ (send) to Africa, and they ________ (trade) to acquire the final leg: enslaved people, to ________ (trade) for more molasses. British taxes on foreign molasses entering the American colonies and the subsequent orgy of molasses smuggling ________ (form) some of the backdrop of the American Revolution.


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