Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tasty smoke

I am not a smoker, though I hate blanket "smoke free" campus bans (especially if it's a state-supported university or college), simply because it tends to discriminate people even if there's plenty of fresh air (that can't be said in a building, for instance). I also have a dislike of anti-smoking propaganda simply because they try to twist facts for their own purposes. They make claims like cigarettes include 4,000 carcinogenic ingredients and things like tar. Kids (which they often target) erroneously believe that the cigarette companies actually PUT tar in cigarettes, which is nonsense (at least in American cigarettes, at least).

The fact is there are 600 trace ingredients that are put in, with some interesting combinations like butter, carrot oil, caffeine, and menthol. The problem, is of course, when they burn, they create those 4,000 chemicals they were talking about. If these anti-smoking propaganda pieces were honest, maybe kids would actually smoke less. With this kind of deception, it's no wonder why kids get into smoking, even today. But I digress.

Moving away from cigarettes, a common shrubby plant called mesquite (actually a deciduous tree, but most of them are shrub-sized), found in Texas and the like, is a nasty-looking plant. Physically ugly, full of thorns, generally inedible beans. But when it burns, it infuses things with a delicious taste (usually barbecue or chicken). Different woods burn different (pine has a very distinct smell, when the Lost Pines burned last year, it was in the air for miles around), but why is that? I mean, wood from tree to tree have generally the same chemical structures, but they all smell different enough and all give meats a different taste than normal.

I'm probably going to regret saying this, but I can't wait until Organic Chemistry II next semester, where we can study that type of thing. Yay!!

No comments:

Post a Comment