Ladybugs are tainting wine bouquets by getting harvested with the grapes, but new pizza doughs may have higher antioxidant levels.
If you like a glass of wine with your pizza, you might be interested in the news from this week’s American Chemical Society meeting in Chicago. First the bad news: it seems that a growing number of winemakers find that their reds, whites and rosés taste a little like ladybugs. These cute little aphid-eaters are becoming quite a nuisance in vineyards across the country, where they accidentally get harvested with the grapes and stink up the resulting wine. Chemists at Iowa State University used a gas chromatograph and a panel of human sniffers to analyze the odor produced by hundreds of live ladybugs. They found the stench was made mostly by chemicals that smelled like roasted peanuts and green peppers. Which maybe nobody wants in a delicate Chablis. But there’s good news about pizza. Chemists at the University of Maryland have figured out how to boost the antioxidant levels in pizza dough. Maybe that discovery will catalyze a whole new generation of bad foods that are good for you: potato chips that clear you arteries or brownies that deliver insulin. Until then, at least we’ve got the antioxidant deep dish, which we can always wash down with a nice glass of ladybug merlot.