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<   No. 4813   2022-09-14   >

Comic #4813

1 Serron: If we need to change the warp engine, what are we using now?
1 Spanners: The old warp engine.
2 Serron: So... what’s the problem? Can’t we just keep using that?
3 Spanners: We could if someone hadn’t drained the liquid helium to make ice cream.
4 Serron: Hey, that’s the smoothest ice cream you’ll ever taste.
4 Iki Piki: It was smooth.

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There was a craze that started a few years ago to use liquid nitrogen as a freezing agent when making ice cream. You basically just make your liquid ice cream mix, pour in some liquid nitrogen, stir it through, and as the impressive fog emerges from the ultracold liquid, it freezes it while keeping it smooth and creamy. I've actually had some liquid nitrogen ice cream, made in front of my eyes at a shop not far away.

You may be wondering if this is safe. Wonder no more! In August 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about foods prepared with liquid nitrogen, including a statement that:

The FDA has become aware of severe – and in some cases, life-threatening – injuries, such as damage to skin and internal organs caused by liquid nitrogen still present in the food or drink. Injuries have occurred from handling or eating products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption, even after the liquid nitrogen has fully evaporated due to the extremely low temperature of the food.

The FDA subsequently issued a comprehensive statement, indicating that while it is legal in the USA to prepare food with liquid nitrogen, it is inadvisable and that strong safety precautions should be taken.

I couldn't find any similar guidelines in Australia, where it's also legal to use liquid nitrogen in food preparation.

Liquid helium is a whole other kettle of fish. I don't think you could pay me enough to eat ice cream made with that.

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My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
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