Why do mosquitoes bite you but they don’t bite me?

Is kissing healthy?

Is a burger a burger if there is no burger in it?

These have got to be questions you have been asking yourself because, well, we have all been quarantining, and we have got lots of time to think about peculiar things.

I’ve got the answers because I’ve been quarantining, too, and I’ve got the time. I have also got some wonderful readers who send me weird stuff for my Tall Tales and, frankly, it is time to clear out the in-basket.

About those pesky blood suckers. If you’ve been wondering why you get more red welts than other people, you are probably spending too much time outside without mosquito spray.

If that is not the answer you were looking for, the Orkin people have researched why mosquitos wing right by me to get a taste of you.

Only females bite, and they will bite almost anyone. An insect research scientist – who knew there was such a profession? – at the University of Florida says if you sweat, or forgot to take a shower for a few days, or you’re wearing perfume, or you’re wearing dark clothing, or you have Type O blood, Ms. Mosquito will choose you every time.

I understand the sweaty or stinky or perfumey attraction. As for dark clothing, it is all about contrast, says a scientist for a pest control company. Mosquitoes rely on their vision to find us and dark clothing makes it easier to find us.

As for their favorite blood type, a study in the Journal of Medical Entomology discovered that mosquitoes land on people with Type O blood 83% of the time.

We can’t do much about our blood type and certainly won’t dress to detract a mosquito. So, the only solution to fewer bites is avoiding dawn and dusk and wearing insect repellent with lots of DEET.

On to healthy kissing. I don’t mean random, anonymous kissing. We are in a pandemic, after all. I am referring to the kissing of persons in our household – spouse type of smooching.

A psychologist from Arizona State University focused on romantic partner kissing. Over a six-week period, half the couples being studied were told to kiss more frequently than they usually do while the other half kissed as they always did.

Guess what? After six weeks of an overabundance of kissing, the more frequent kissers showed lower levels of stress, lower cholesterol levels, and a higher level of satisfaction than the couples who just kissed as they always did.

I’m not sure who is odder. The psychologist studying all this kissing or the reader who emailed it to me.

Finally, time to discuss veggie burgers or, as some of my meat-eating friends call it, fake meat. If you think “fake meat” is the latest fad, you are mistaken.

Thanks to an article Nancy Allen sent to me, I now know more than I ever wanted to know about “fake meat.” Before she moved to Florida, Nancy was my work wife for 25 years when we both worked at Memorial Hermann Northeast, and she obviously spent too many lunch hours with me looking for vegetarian eateries before it became the thing to do.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the guy who invented corn flakes, blamed digestive problems on meat-heavy diets and created “Protose,” a vegetable meat made from peanuts and wheat gluten. That was back in 1901. No info on how it tasted but it is not canned anymore, if that is any clue.

How does the “Beyond Meat” burger look and taste like the real thing? Here is the savory recipe directly from “Beyond Meat’s” research and development team.

Apple extract helps the patty brown as you cook it. Scientists figured out what molecules affect the taste and smell of meat, then extracted them from plants like parsley and fennel. Beet juice extract helps the burger ooze juices that look just like real beef blood. Cocoa butter flecks in the burger give it that marbling effect so that the burger cooks just like beef fat when thrown on the grill. The texture of the beefless burger mimics the texture of a real burger because scientists used a machine called the E-tongue which simulates how humans chew.

People who know me ask if the Burger King Impossible Whopper tastes like the real meaty Whopper. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper is yummy but, frankly, after 25 years of being meat-free, I cannot remember what real meat tastes like.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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