DOUGH CONDITIONERS reads the fine print on a bright blue box of Texas Garlic Toast. It’s made by Great Value, or GV (“When Quality Counts”). Wal-Mart, the product’s distributor, describes GV as the country’s largest food brand. Peering closer at the ingredients listed under dough conditioners, which fall just before sugar but after yeast, I spot a familiar term: L-CYSTEINE.
Some time later, deep in the bowels of the European Union’s legal archive, in correspondence with an alarmed German legislator, I find that one means of dough conditioning hinges on a process called hydrolysis. This entails boiling hair, usually human hair, in vats of hydrochloric acid for several hours on end, which makes the follicles decompose into a white, odorless powder: L-CYSTEINE.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Every Friday, our friends at the journal Suss post "some number of things currently interesting us . . . be it a book, a building, an awesome peony bush." Today's gossip includes this excerpt from "Made in China," RBM's forthcoming essay on human hair: