'Chemistry and Flavor of Hispanic Foods' one-day symposium, March 15

SAN DIEGO, March 15 Mat, queso blanco and frijoles: these are just a few examples of the booming growth of Hispanic cuisine, which is becoming increasingly commonplace in restaurants and grocery stores throughout the country. The trend is fueled by this country's fast-growing Hispanic population and its rich and diverse culinary heritage. While consumers have enjoyed treats such as tortilla chips and margaritas for many years, scientists are now beginning to discover that Hispanic foods have unique chemistries that offer unexpected health benefits, novel flavors, textures and cooking properties. More than a dozen research papers will be presented during the one-day symposium, "Chemistry and Flavor of Hispanic Foods," on Tuesday, March 15, at the 229th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The symposium begins at 8:20 a.m. at the Horton Grand, Regal C. Selected highlights include:

Hispanic-style cheeses offer unique varieties, tastes It's "hasta la vista" to mozzarella and cheddar and hello to Hispanic-style cheese, now one of the fastest-growing food segments in the U.S. From hard-textured and strongly flavored Cotija (pronounced koh-TEE-hah) to soft and crumbly Queso Blanco (KAY-so BLAHN-ko), these cheeses offer unique flavors and textures that are far different from typical American-style cheeses. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have recently conducted the first comprehensive chemical analysis of Hispanic-style cheeses, a development which could lead to improved quality and marketability of these cheeses as they make their way into mainstream cuisine. (AGFD 90, Tuesday, March 15, 8:50 a.m.)**

Healthier beans on the horizon While it's well-known that beans are good for you, chemists in Mexico say they have figured out ways to make them even healthier. Called frijoles (free-HO-lays) in Spanish, beans are a dietary staple in man


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