FOOD: Cold Proposition

On a winter day in Labrador some 30 years ago, a fur trader named Clarence Birdseye caught a fish, watched it freeze instantly in the 50° below zero temperature. Days later, he dropped the fish into a pail of water to thaw it out, was amazed to see the fish flip its tail and swim about. Birdseye decided that he had "unlocked one of nature's secrets"—and also hit upon a new way to preserve food. When he returned to civilization (i.e., his home in Gloucester, Mass.), he developed a mechanical quick-freezing process and...

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