This week I injected two eye of round roasts with water (the control) and mushroom solution to compare cook loss, pH, shear force, color, and proteolysis. After letting the meat soak up the solutions overnight, I cut them into steaks and started taking data. It was a little hard for my brain to keep track of so many different procedures, but luckily I had Michelle to guide me. Taking shear force was the most troublesome, because the files in the computer had been re-organized so people across the department were having trouble locating the procedures and data they needed from the computer. As I watched Michelle work out the computer program, I wrote down every action she took, from what the name of the file was in the program, to how to find said file. This was especially important as she and Dr. England would be in Ireland for the International Congress of Meat Science and Technology, and they wouldn’t be able to help me without seeing the problem in person.
Before Dr. England left, he requested the lab’s help in moving a new graduate student into University Village. Morgan, Christy (a work study student who is currently working on pigtails) and I went to help the new girl move in. The new student, Jennifer, just graduated from Penn State, and has a background focusing on pigs and genetics, so I am interested in learning more about her research. We spent the afternoon helping her clean, do laundry, and building a new sofa, coffee table and dresser from Ikea. The dresser was the most fun to build. It was like a puzzle; we followed instructions to put the frame and drawers together, and were satisfied when the drawers rolled cleanly into the frame to complete the dresser. It was a welcome break from working in the lab, and I look forward to working with Jennifer in the future.
Over the weekend I volunteered at the Ohio State Fair 4-H Poultry Judging Contest and moved into my new apartment with the help of my family. I was provided a parking pass, admission ticket, and meal ticket for volunteering at the fair. It was a little confusing getting to the contest at first because the building we were originally supposed to be in was surrounded by a chain-link fence and they moved us into the building next door last minute. Luckily, I had Dr. Cressman’s number (he’s the poultry guy in the Animal Science Department), and he was able to direct me to the right place. Once I got there I helped set up the tables for the contest. I made bubble numbers so the kids would be able to identify the meat and egg samples and cracked eggs out onto a plate. The eggs are graded on how fresh they were based on how high the rise of the yolk was and the spread of the egg whites. We had two tables for the broken out eggs, one for the older kids and one for the younger ones, so the eggs for each table had to look pretty close for each grade.
Once the contest started, I was in charge of leading around and supervising the younger kids in group A. My kids were very well-behaved; they were quiet, polite, and listened to my instructions, so I had a good time. The volunteers were all given aprons and signs to hold up so we would be easy to identify. The judging contest finished at 1pm and I left to explore the fair. I went to the marketplace to grab some souvenirs and to check out the bulk candy section I had heard so much about. I came out with a variety of taffies and sweets, as well as a beautiful alpaca blanket from a Native American vendor. As I walked around the fair, I was tempted to try some of the fair food lining the streets, but was pretty stuffed from lunch and made my way home. My family had driven down from New York with my bed in tow, and I wanted to meet them for dinner.
Last year I didn’t go home during winter break, so I cherished this time with my family. I brought them to a few restaurants that I thought they would like and their favorite (unsurprisingly) was Joy’s Village, a Chinese restaurant located in the underground mall of the Ohio Stater. “The cook is good!” my mother exclaimed, as we dug into sizzling beef, green beans, and tofu. We also went to go check out the new Ikea store, which was huge, and Costco. The Ikea store was like a beautiful maze of showroom furniture and had a restaurant I had heard good things about. We did not spend a lot of time there because we were tired from moving my things into the apartment, but I would love to go back to get a better look at their showrooms and to try their famed Swedish meatballs. Lack of a car limits my ability to travel the outer parts of Columbus so I took full advantage of the family minivan. It was also invaluable to moving furniture into my new place.
After saying goodbye to my family, I went back to the lab to test the pH, color and shear force values of my eye of round steaks. Priscilla is flying back to Brazil on the 12th, and it was sad to say goodbye to a cheerful face in the lab. It has been a summer of many new hellos and bittersweet goodbyes. I signed up for research credit in the Autumn semester to fulfill the Honors requirement, so I look forward to coming back when school starts to start putting together a poster and exploring other areas of my project. Thank you to STEP for helping me to fund this experience! I can’t wait to share my project at the STEP Expo. :)