Back in Davis

I’m back from my whirlwind tour of the capital city of Wisconsin, and… I want to go back.

Maybe it was the lure of an awesome Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics graduate program. Maybe it was the prospects of what I could do for research if I get in (or if they get their grants – these two are linked). Maybe it was the journalism program, the music history program for Ariela, or the nifty architecture.

Maybe it was the cheese.

I don’t know, these are all good reasons to want me to go back to Madison. I had a busy busy friday, filled with running from one office to another, interspersed with the odd coffee shop and italian restaurant. You’ve seen those movies (like Mrs Doubtfire) where the main character has to go from one dinner table to another, dressing in drag for one party, and drinking scotch with the other? Kind of like that. Without the drag… or the scotch. 😦

But there was, however, plenty of curds and beer to be had! Invariably, the cheese steps in to save the day.

I brought home some duty-free cheese blocks, too. For a state that identifies with cheese, there was an over-abundance of cheddar variants – one would think they haven’t heard of Pennicilium camemberti – the fungus that helps us make those nice creamy bries and camemberts. They have heard of Pennicilium roqueforti, however, and I got a marbley cheddar-blue hybrid cheese. A 2-year cheddar also made it into my duffel. There was an awesome morel and leek cheddar that we sampled, but alas, no blocks of it left to buy.

Yeah, Saturday was a bit more relaxed. We arose at the un-sciencely hour of 0500 (0300 in Davis) to catch the plane out of town on Sunday morning, and I spent a strange afternoon in Sacramento sleeping in the passenger seat of a car, sipping a weird green tea, and somehow some black tapioca pearls landed in my hand supended in a mango concoction. Even in my jet-lagged and brain-drained state, I still kept thinking about the poisonous cyanogenic glucosides that were processed out of the cassava to make the edible tapioca.

Pictures and fun facts later. Now, must attempt to resume normal Davis sleep cycle. As if I ever had one.

Advice for the occasional traveler: early morning plane rides are a great time to get emails that you’d rather not write out of the way – its like cleaning up after a party while you’re still drunk.

While pulling out all my information and removing most of my clothing at the TSA checkpoint at the airport – I suggested that they might also want to look at my dental records just to be sure. They looked at me funny and said, what are you on? I was running on fumes. There were no complimentary peanuts to be had on the plane. The terrorists have won.

Published by

Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.