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agar-agar

Holy crap! We eat this garbage? I’ve got to start reading labels more carefully before I buy foodstuffs. I had no idea.

Agar-agar is a gooey substance that is derived from various types of red algae. According to the dictionary I’m looking at, in addition to being used as a gelatin agent in foods (Why does this sound like something I don’t want to eat? Ever.), it is also used in culture media.

I’m guessing that when they say “culture” they don’t mean culture as in the art galleries, the symphony, opera and ballet. They’re probably talking about bacteria culturing media.

But maybe I’m wrong about that. I’ve always been suspicious of people in the high culture industry. You just never know what sort of stuff those people are into.

One hint that suggests you should be worried about this substance is that whoever named it felt the need to say it twice. Just agar wasn’t good enough. They insist on saying agar-agar to make sure we’re paying attention.

Oh, wait. Another dictionary tells me that agar is a synonym for agar-agar. I guess that dictionary is a bit more cavalier about the subject. Either that or it doesn’t want to draw attention to the subject, so it doesn’t repeat itself.

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