I had the privilege of speaking last night at the NYCPython meetup group. I've given tons of "use pandas!" talks so I thought I would take a slightly different angle and talk about some of the design and implementation work that I've done for getting good performance in critical data manipulations. I'll turn some of this material into some blog articles in the near future.
If you want to run the code in the IPython notebook, you'll have to download the food database file above.
The audience and I learned from this demo that if you're after Tryptophan, "Sea lion, Steller, meat with fat (Alaska Native)" is where to get it (in the highest density).