Sunday, May 27, 2012

Engineering of Food

I am a biomedical engineer so it was difficult for me to notice something related to medical devices, but I have noticed something just as important.  In Madrid, I have noticed all of the different kinds of food.  Food can explain a lot about a culture, including the ways it is prepared and when it is eaten.  Although it is not specifically engineering related, there is a lot of technology in Madrid relating to how food is prepared.  When I was grocery shopping the first day I was here, I noticed that the milk and eggs were not refrigerated in the super market.  To an American, this would seem very odd because milk and eggs are always refrigerated in America in order to ensure that they stay fresh.  However, in Madrid, the milk and eggs stay fresh without needing to be refrigerated and they taste normal.  This must be due to some way the milk and eggs are manufactured or perhaps even genetically altered in order to allow them to not be refrigerated.  Also, a lot of raw meat is consumed around Madrid.  The meat is cured and the technology to due this is found all over Madrid.  The differences in food technology may not be apparent to a native Spaniard, but they are very noticeable to an American who is used to different ways of food being prepared.
Another obvious new technology I noticed are the electrical outlets and how much wattage is used by technological devices in Spain.  Again, this is not obvious to a Spaniard because they live with this technology, but to a traveling American, it becomes apparent due to the need for converters.  I am not an electrical engineer so I am unsure how the technology is different, but it may have something to do with the way electrical outlets are wired, how much energy is put out by the electrical company, or how the technological devices are wired.  However, there is no difference between using a European hair dryer or straightener and an American one despite the major difference in voltage and wattage use.  The electrical technology here is simply different, not necessarily worse or better. 
I have really enjoyed my first week in Madrid, Spain and have enjoyed learning about the differences in food, culture, and technology.

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