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OK, Gastronuts, let's find out
what subject we're going to be exploring today.
"The secret tricks behind our treats".
Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant
and gazed up at a picture of a beautiful, juicy burger, piled high
with crisp lettuce and tomatoes, and all encased in a fresh, springy bun.
And then, when your burger arrives, it looks something like this?
Today we're going to lift the lid on how restaurants and supermarkets
use cunning tricks to make us buy their food.
And the Gastronuts helping me do just that are...
I've been tricked at the supermarket cos of those little samples
that you try. When you've got home, they're not as nice as they were.
Whenever we go in the sweets aisle...
I ask my mum if we can get the pick and mix.
I've been tricked
by the packaging because it
looks nice, but the food didn't taste that nice.
I think with the packaging, the more flashy it is,
the more you think you'll like it.
It turns out you don't really like it.
Coming up in today's show, we uncover the secret ingredients
in our favourite sweet treats.
The Gastronuts make a splash when finding out just how our lettuce
And we find out just how
far a butternut has to fly before it becomes a squash.
-It split, didn't it?
But first, when you see photographs of food in magazines or restaurants,
it always looks amazing.
Almost always more amazing than in real life.
But just how do photographers change food from hum-drum to yum-yum?
I want to introduce you to somebody who takes boring food
and sprinkles magic on it,
to make it look like something you want to eat.
-OK, Gastronuts, this is Chris. Chris, Gastronuts!
Morning, Gastronuts. Welcome to my studio.
Now Chris is an amazing man.
He's part magician, part artist.
He's a food photographer, and he's agreed, very kindly, to show us some
of the tricks of his trade.
Have you ever had your picture taken in a studio? Yeah?
You've got to tidy yourself up a little bit?
That's what we do, but with food instead of people.
If you want to follow me over here,
I'll show you some things we're able to do.
Under here, I've got a picture.
What does that look like to you?
-Does it look good, guys? Would you eat that?
It's all kind of shiny and yummy looking.
This chicken looks beautifully cooked and ready to eat,
but in fact it's only been in the oven for half an hour,
and would be lethal if you ate it.
This would normally be partially cooked.
You don't want to get too hot. Otherwise it wrinkles up the skin.
Where we start is something like that. What does that look like?
-A raw turkey.
-It looks like dead meat really, doesn't it?
-Not very nice, is it?
What do you notice about the colour of this?
-It's a lot browner.
There are some things we can do to make it look good enough to eat.
If you could grab the... See this tray full of things down here?
Instead of browning it in the oven, Chris is painting this chicken,
using a mixture of marmite, olive oil, soy sauce
and one very unexpected ingredient.
So, hang on, you've just put washing up liquid in the paint.
You know when you're washing dishes, you've got a greasy old pot or pan,
you put detergent in there to break up the grease?
This does exactly the same thing. When you put that on there,
it stops it getting all claggy. Just have a little go.
Put a little bit on there. Sometimes you have to experiment a little bit.
It kind of feels a bit weird, because you're painting a chicken.
-You normally paint something else.
-Not a chicken!
That's beginning to look really brown now, isn't it?
Now it really looks like it's been cooked!
-What do you think that would taste like?
-Eh, not very nice!
After having all that fake tan applied, the chicken now
appears cooked. But it doesn't look as big and juicy as the photo.
But just wait and see what foul tricks
Chris has got for plumping up the bird.
Chris, what's the mash for?
Quite often we'd actually take this and stuff it down inside.
Mash is really god, because you can use it to support
all kinds of things. You know what's really good for doing this?
No! What do you think of that?
It's great, because it's cheap and you can quite often use it
to stuff pies, or if there's something meaty
and you know there's going to be something in front of it
-which is the same colour.
-It's a bit weird.
-That probably is weird.
I probably shouldn't have told you that!
You don't really want to eat dog food, do you?
You always have to remember, you're not going to eat the picture.
It looks great. We started off with a dead chicken,
now it looks like something you may be able to eat.
Finally, the vegetables are placed in. And our raw and unattractive
old squawker looks like a feast fit for a Gastronut.
I was very surprised at the difference in the dishes.
It changes from looking really horrible to looking really nice,
just with adding a few fake things.
I'll be a bit more suspicious of food photos from now on.
They don't always tell the truth about things.
It's not just food photos that play tricks on us.
If you start looking closely at what's in them, some of our
favourite foods contain surprising, grizzly ingredients.
Who likes sweets?
What can be bad about sweets?
A-ha, so you have seen this show before then. Who would like a...
who would like one of these little dolly mixtures? Grab one of them.
Grab any one. There are no tricks, they're just sweets.
What about a little almond tart, do you like them?
Are they almonds?
Yeah, that kind of thing. OK, what have we got here?
Grab a couple of those.
This is all good stuff.
We've got some little jelly bean things. Who likes marshmallows?
-OK, grab a marshmallow.
There you go. Taste good?
I think I better tell you what you're eating.
Let's start off over here.
Now, all these things
have nice kind of deep reddish, purplish colours to them.
But that colour comes from this...
-What is that?
OK, grab a few of these little bits in your hand.
Just put them in your palm.
-Feels like the stuff you get in grits.
-Feels like charcoal.
What do these little things look like?
-Diamonds. They look like fossils, don't they?
And what are fossils?
Dead animals. Have you ever seen the shell of a bug?
Yeah. These are the shells of the cochineal bug.
You dropped them pretty quickly, didn't you?
OK. Now over here is...?
A dried up potato.
It's a dried up potato.
Can you see what's on the sprout coming out of the potato?
Those are little bugs. And those bugs look exactly the same
as the cochineal beetle that we get this colour from.
And that's the colour that's in these sweets.
Where did you get these from?
These come from South America.
So when you're eating these things,
-you're eating just a little bit of both.
Yes, the red, orange and purple colour we get
in our favourite sweets often comes from crushed beetle juice.
Shall we go and find out what's over here? What's interesting
about this is the colour and glaze -
-nice and shiny, aren't they?
Yeah, sugary shells.
OK, shall I tell you the secret of sugary shells? OK, here we are.
OK, what can you see there?
What is that?
It's like mouldy potatoes.
Yeah, that's mouldy potatoes. It's not the potatoes that are in it.
But what can you see attached to the sprout of the potatoes?
Little bugs with tiny white legs.
Let's have a look.
If you look really closely there...
-Would you guys eat bugs?
Exactly! You already have.
These are exactly the same as...
You've eaten one!
You've eaten bugs!
These are exactly the same as the lac bug.
And the lac bug makes something called shellac.
And shellac is used as a glazing agent.
It's what makes these things so shiny.
It makes that beautiful glaze on the top of all these things.
Little lac beetles grow on cacti,
and there are hundreds of thousands of them.
They all grow, and they secrete a resin.
That's collected as this stuff.
That's the raw resin.
If you look really closely you can see little dimples in it,
where it's been scraped off the bugs attached to the cactii.
It goes through different stages until it becomes this.
It's like a varnish. What do you think about this?
What do you think about the idea of eating...
I'm definitely going to think twice.
Think twice about eating.
So, some of our fave sweets contain beetlejuice and excretions.
Surely it can't get any worse than this?
OK, guys, it's time to talk marshmallows.
It's actually cows' foot.
Oh, no way!
OK, well, what you've got here are leaves of gelatin.
And gelatin is a binding agent.
It sets things into a really good consistency.
-There's lots of that in jelly and things like that.
-It smells like cow.
It smells slightly fishy actually, doesn't it?
Gelatin comes when you take lots and lots of bones of animals,
and you boil them down.
Hooves have loads of gelatin in. Then you reduce the water down.
And what's left behind is lots and lots of gelatin.
And that is why these have such an extraordinary texture.
-It's all wet!
Does any of this actually make you dislike any of the food?
-A bit. Marshmallows...
Marshmallows taste nice.
If you're going to eat a burger made out of beef,
-then maybe you should be able to eat a hoof.
It's nice, exactly. Some of these things are secrets,
but it doesn't make food disgusting.
It sort of expands your mind a little bit and you think,
"There are stories that sit behind all this food."
-I finally like beef!
-Do you not like beef?
No. I didn't know it was what marshmallows were made of.
Now I know, I just love beef!
That's a revelation, isn't it? Brilliant.
So, Gastronuts, we've come to the supermarket.
-Are you ready to go shopping?
-OK, follow me!
Believe it or not, every time we enter the supermarket,
we're bombarded with secret methods of making us spend our money.
I want to see just how good the Gastronuts are at resisting them.
I want to introduce you to someone.
Gastronuts, Jasmine - Jasmine, Gastronuts!
Jasmine has a little task for you.
What I'm going to do is divide you up into two teams,
so Lucy and Alfie, and Tom and Stephanie.
And I'm going to give you £30 to spend. 30 for you, 30 for you.
I'd like you to go round the shop
and buy enough food and fun things for a party.
You've only got ten minutes to do your shopping.
Jasmine is an expert on how supermarkets
persuade us to part with our cash.
She will be watching to see if the teams are able to resist
the ways they tempt us to spend more money than we mean to.
Ten minutes starts now.
They go straight for chicken. What's going on?
They put that wonderful cooked chicken right at the start.
You come in the store with no intention of buying cooked chicken,
you see it and have to have it.
But will Tom and Stephanie be tempted?
They've missed the chicken.
They're going straight into the depths of the store.
-I didn't expect that.
-No, I didn't.
Sausages as well, please.
It's all right. No sausages.
Why do you have to disagree with me?
Not even one minute in,
and already Alfie and Lucy are bickering like Mum and Dad
and they have been unable to resist the aroma of cooked chook.
-Definitely. Definitely. Noodles.
-Yes. You have got to have noodles.
Interesting how they all completely ignored the fruit and veg.
Cakes. Anything here? What's that?
Chocolate-chip cookies. Two packs of them.
'Tom and Steph dodged the chicken,
'but when it comes to the cookies they have crumbled.'
So what are they doing here?
One of the amazing things they always do
is to put all the more expensive goods at eye-level
and the cheaper things are down at the bottom and up at the top.
-You are guided to spend more money.
-It is a naughty trick, isn't it?
I'll go and get the sweets!
-Just get two. No.
-Both are the same.
No! Why get them both the same?
-Hummus. Good, hummus.
It is like stuff which is...
-I hope we're not out of money already.
-No. Hopefully not.
OK, guys, your time is up.
The Gastronuts have got to the checkout
but the story is not quite over, is it?
No. They have the hurdle of the sweets.
Lots of lovely bags of sweets,
from the ground up to sort of kids' eyelevel.
So, the Gastronuts have been tempted
all the way from the front door to the checkout.
Have they stayed under their £30 budget or has the supermarket
persuaded them to spend more than they intended?
What if we don't have enough money?
I am sure we will.
-We will keep an eye on the bill as we're going.
We are on £16.23.
We are on £30.12.
We will put these ones through.
All right, with your crisps...
THE CHILDREN GROAN
Alfie and Lucy have blown their £30 budget and spent a whopping...
Will Tom and Stephanie do any better?
You're on £22.18 at the moment.
We're on £35.62.
Right, we're on £41.74.
So, both teams went over their £30 budget,
spending about 12 quid more than they meant to.
OK, Gastronuts. Who do you think won?
ALL: Us! Us!
OK. The trouble is, you don't know who you were competing against.
It might not be what you thought.
Actually, when you went into that store,
you were in competition with the supermarket.
The question was, could you actually beat them at their own game?
I can see a few things here that were bought
because the supermarket wanted you to buy them.
For a start, these were there on a special stand, weren't they?
They were right in front of you.
You know when you have those great long aisles and at the ends of them,
they have got the things they want you to buy,
because they know people will go past and go, "Go on."
Even though they did not intend to when they went into the shop.
Lucy, what have you got there in that bag?
That is nice to have salad,
but although it has got a nice big red £1 and you think,
"£1, that is not bad."
Actually, for £1, you could buy one, one-and-a-half whole lettuces.
Which would give you
two or three times the amount of lettuce that is in here.
Now that we have bought this food, what are we going to do with it?
-ALL: Eat it!
-Let's have a party!
I will think more carefully about buying food in the future
because I never knew there was such secrets behind it.
We are exposing the tricks behind our best-loved treats.
So far, we have seen our favourite chews are made out of cow shoes.
And made a chicken finger-lickin'
just from a-dippin' in some dodgy liquid.
It feels a bit weird because you are painting a chicken.
Later on, they say pigs can't fly, but can lamb?
Got about halfway.
Remember that bag of pre-washed salad the guys bought earlier?
Ever wondered how it stays so fresh
and why there's so much air in the bag?
Time to reveal yet another trick.
Here is a bag of lettuce.
It is pure, it is clean.
Or is it?
I want to take you on a little journey to find out what happens
to salad when you buy it in a bag.
OK? Now, to achieve this, we're going to need to do something
that will seem a bit strange.
We need to cover ourselves in salad leaves.
Have you never swum with your salad before?
This may be the weirdest salad dressing I have ever tried.
-How are you looking, strange vegetable children?
How are you doing strange vegetable man?
OK. Everyone all set?
Let me take a look at you.
Strange vegetable Gastronuts. Cool. Feel good?
-Yes, OK. Now...
-Put our feet in?
-That's it, whoa!
-This is weird!
Are you ready for this?
OK. Everyone jump out. So what have we just swum through?
-Water, yes, exactly.
-But what else is in the water?
Exactly. And this salad has been washed in water
that has more chlorine in than your average swimming pool.
Do you know what chlorine does?
It sort of cleans things.
Yeah, do you know how it cleans it?
It kills it.
It helps to kill bacteria and stop it from growing.
You don't really think
they put loads of lettuce in a giant swimming pool
and get a huge spoon or something and mix it all round?
Salads that have been washed in chlorine
get rinsed in fresh water afterwards
but it seems a bit weird that this is what they go through
in order to be ready to eat.
What's in here?
-And what else is in there?
But it is a very special type of air with a few secrets of its own.
How can you put a match out using only a bag filled with salad?
Let me show you.
We'll take a match
and light it with this Bunsen burner.
We will then take a bag of everyday supermarket salad
and put a match inside.
You can see it goes out instantly.
The reason is,
salad that has been left lying around slowly loses its moisture.
The oxygen from the air
actually makes it slowly go off and turn brown.
What they do is they place it in a plastic bag
which keeps the moisture in.
They actually fill it with nitrogen gas, the protective atmosphere.
That is really air without the oxygen.
Of course, a match cannot burn without oxygen.
Who likes a Sunday roast?
-Yes, it's fantastic!
Where has all this food come from? Whereabouts in the country?
-Your gardens, from Cornwall...
The truth is, all of these things
could come from different places in England
but we can't grow all of these things all the year round.
If we were to have this in the wintertime,
we would have to go further afield.
I want to show you just how far
some of our food has to travel. Follow me.
Supermarkets pull off an incredible trick
in allowing us to have a roast dinner every Sunday of the year.
To show how much effort goes into creating one meal,
the Gastronuts are going to try and fly the ingredients in from where they were grown
to our plate back in the UK.
Have you heard the phrase "food miles" before?
OK. Food miles is all about carbon emissions.
If something has to travel a long way on a plane on a boat,
it gives off lots of carbon which is potentially damaging
to the environment.
First of all,
-what is that down there?
Leeks. Everyone grab a leek.
Go for it.
Leaks grow in the UK all year round, so being close to home
means they don't create lots of carbon dioxide
by clocking up thousands of food miles.
-OK, let's go and find the potatoes.
To get potatoes on the plate all year round, we already have to
travel a couple of thousand miles.
Why do potatoes come from Israel?
Well, in winter, when we don't grow them here,
we have to get them from somewhere.
The grow in hotter places. Israel can grow potatoes when we can't.
A long way for a potato to travel. Now, we want to see how easy it is
to get them from here, from 2,200 miles away, onto a plate.
OK. Mash those potatoes!
Go on! Go on, Tom!
What are you doing?! On the plate, you nutcase!
2,200 miles is a long way for potatoes to come.
Our efforts to get them on the plate have mashed and burned.
That was pretty tough, wasn't it?
Let's look at the plate again. Who likes carrots?
I love carrots!
What about the carrots?
They have got to travel 6,000 miles, all the way from South Africa.
Do carrots have to be grown in South Africa
because of the same reason of the potatoes?
Same thing. Out of season - normally, we grow
tons and tons of carrots in Britain.
Out of season, in winter, we can't grow them.
If we want to eat them, we have to get them from somewhere.
Let's get back to the plate because we need to get carrots on our plate.
-We couldn't get the potatoes, did we?
-I reckon we will.
I reckon you will.
I only think you will if you have a little bit of help.
Oh! I know how to use those!
OK. Hold on tight, hold on tight, hold on tight
Woo hoo! Yes! You got some on there! Woo hoo hoo!
Lucy is trying to airlift the butternut squash
all the way from Argentina.
Point it high. Hold it really strong. Are you ready? Further.
OK. The squash only made it to Mexico.
Let's see how we do on take two.
Further, bit further.
Go on, roll, roll, roll, toll! Yes! Woo hoo!
-OK, so, to the last one of all, what is that?
Much of our winter lamb comes from the furthest
possible place on earth -
Stand by, it is going to be a big one.
Holding nice and tight, holding nice and tight.
'Travelling that far generates a lot of carbon dioxide
'and it will take a team effort to get it on our plate.'
It got about halfway.
We only managed to get leeks, carrots
and butternut squash on our plate.
I know it's a slightly odd way to explain it,
but it's the best way I could think of showing you how it takes
26,000 miles to eat that plate of food when it's out of season.
26,000 miles is further than going all the way round the equator.
You could just change your meal
instead of getting it from all that distance.
I would go for noodles because you can have them all year round.
It shows how much the people work to get it to us for Christmas and stuff.
Also, people in countries a long way away,
why shouldn't they be able to trade with us?
But there is a pay-off because it has to travel a long way.
It is extraordinary to discover what goes into providing us
with the food that we want, when we want it.
The Gastronuts and I have discovered so many tricks behind our treats.
I never realised we were eating so many secrets.
The more surprising thing about being on Gastronuts was finding
out that insects and cows feet were in some of your favourite sweets.
The most enjoyable thing on Gastronuts was swimming with
lettuce all over me because it felt all gooey and it was really fun.
The thing I enjoyed most was when we catapulted the meat
and it just fell dead against the ground, it didn't bounce or anything.
I'll think more carefully about buying food in the future because I
will not just look at the packaging because it looks really cool.
I will try and figure out what it really looks like inside.
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