Tag Archives: food

A particularly serious recipe from the BBC food community

Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this. Serious stuff. You’ll want to follow it TO THE LETTER.

marmite

Click the pic to go to the original post – and make sure you read the comments.

The science of addictive junk food

Fascinating post from Kottke…I wish I could say I was more shocked, but the sad thing is I’m not even surprised:

Michael Moss is a Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist for the NY Times and he’s written a book called Salt Sugar Fat.

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.

Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food. It’s no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese. It’s no wonder that twenty-six million Americans have diabetes, the processed food industry in the U.S. accounts for $1 trillion a year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year.

Moss researched the book for four years, interviewing hundreds of current and former processed-food industry employees and reviewing thousands of pages of industry memos. This weekend’s NY Times Magazine has a lengthy excerpt from the book that’s well worth a read.

Eventually, a line of the [Lunchables] trays, appropriately called Maxed Out, was released that had as many as nine grams of saturated fat, or nearly an entire day’s recommended maximum for kids, with up to two-thirds of the max for sodium and 13 teaspoons of sugar.

When I asked Geoffrey Bible, former C.E.O. of Philip Morris, about this shift toward more salt, sugar and fat in meals for kids, he smiled and noted that even in its earliest incarnation, Lunchables was held up for criticism. “One article said something like, ‘If you take Lunchables apart, the most healthy item in it is the napkin.’ “

Well, they did have a good bit of fat, I offered. “You bet,” he said. “Plus cookies.”

The prevailing attitude among the company’s food managers – through the 1990s, at least, before obesity became a more pressing concern – was one of supply and demand. “People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.” (Bible would later press Kraft to reconsider its reliance on salt, sugar and fat.)

And this is classic processed food as molecular gastronomy right here:

I brought him two shopping bags filled with a variety of chips to taste. He zeroed right in on the Cheetos. “This,” Witherly said, “is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure.” He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. “It’s called vanishing caloric density,” Witherly said. “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it… you can just keep eating it forever.”

(via @bryce)

The King’s Breakfast

The King’s Breakfast

The King asked
The Queen, and
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid:
“Could we have some butter for
The Royal slice of bread?”
The Queen asked the Dairymaid,
The Dairymaid
Said, “Certainly,
I’ll go and tell the cow
Now
Before she goes to bed.”

The Dairymaid
She curtsied,
And went and told the Alderney:
“Don’t forget the butter for
The Royal slice of bread.”

The Alderney said sleepily:
“You’d better tell
His Majesty
That many people nowadays
Like marmalade
Instead.”

The Dairymaid
Said “Fancy!”
And went to
Her Majesty.
She curtsied to the Queen, and
She turned a little red:
“Excuse me,
Your Majesty,
For taking of
The liberty,
But marmalade is tasty, if
It’s very
Thickly
Spread.”

The Queen said
“Oh!”
And went to his Majesty:
“Talking of the butter for
The royal slice of bread,
Many people
Think that
Marmalade
Is nicer.
Would you like to try a little
Marmalade
Instead?”

The King said,
“Bother!”
And then he said,
“Oh, deary me!”
The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
And went back to bed.
“Nobody,”
He whimpered,
“Could call me
A fussy man;
I only want
A little bit
Of butter for
My bread!”

The Queen said,
“There, there!”
And went to
The Dairymaid.
The Dairymaid
Said, “There, there!”
And went to the shed.
The cow said,
“There, there!
I didn’t really
Mean it;
Here’s milk for his porringer
And butter for his bread.”

The queen took the butter
And brought it to
His Majesty.
The King said
“Butter, eh?”
And bounced out of bed.
“Nobody,” he said,
As he kissed her
Tenderly,
“Nobody,” he said,
As he slid down
The banisters,
“Nobody,
My darling,
Could call me
A fussy man -
BUT
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!”

– A A Milne

The Slate: “Happy Birthday, You Bastard”

A glorious 2008 piece by John Swansburg in The Slate with the subtitle: “Under no circumstances will I be attending your stupid birthday dinner.” (orig. link here)

What has become of the birthday party? I used to love a good birthday get-together. Some other kid’s parents are picking up the tab for an afternoon of bumper bowling? There might be a Cookie Puss from Carvel? Fire up the Datsun, Mom, we’re going to be late!

I’m told that when you’re a legitimate grown-up—with a spouse and kids of your own—birthday parties are once again events you look forward to. You leave the munchkins with a sitter and go to the Johnsons’ for an evening of cocktails and casserole. Maybe an animated game of Taboo breaks out. Sounds delightful. But in the moment between earning your college degree and signing your first mortgage, the birthday party transmogrifies into something else. It becomes the birthday dinner.

For me, it happened in my late 20s. As my friends moved from graduate programs and entry-level positions into decent-paying jobs, a birthday meet-up at a dive bar to pound SoCo-and-lime shots started to feel a shade déclassé. Yet everyone was still living in small studio or one-bedroom apartments—no place for a proper cocktail party. The compromise: People started celebrating their birthdays by inviting friends out to dinner, typically at a moderately fancy restaurant. The kind of place that frowns on bringing your own candles and Cookie Puss but isn’t averse to sticking a sparkler in a crème brûlée.

Seems like a nice idea, the birthday dinner. It is not. It is a tedious, wretched affair. It is also an extravagantly expensive one. In these wintry economic times, we need to scale back. I hereby propose that the birthday dinner go the way of the $4 cup of coffee, the liar’s mortgage, and the midsize banking institution.
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Consider, for example, the birthday dinner I attended not long ago in honor of my friend Simon. In the past, Simon’s birthday parties have been rollicking good times. His 25th, celebrated at a Manhattan club, ended memorably, if abruptly, when Simon was ejected from his own party by a bouncer who’d discovered him taking an indiscreet catnap on the bar. For his 30th, Simon, now a brain surgeon, organized a more civilized affair: dinner for 10 of his closest friends at an upscale Tribeca steakhouse.

Everything that can go wrong at such a dinner did. A maitre d’ led us to a giant oval table, where I was seated a country mile from the man of the hour. Could I have hit him with a strenuous toss of a French roll? Yes. But polite conversation was out of the question.

Instead, I found myself wedged between Simon’s high-school friends and his college friends. Feeling more of a ken for the high-school side of the table, I tried to orient myself in that direction, but the effort required a socially and anatomically awkward craning of the neck. I was left in a no man’s land—on the fringe of two conversations, an active player in neither. Had we been at a bar, I could have maneuvered my way out of such a quagmire by excusing myself to order another round of sweet, sweet SoCo and lime. Thus escaping, I could have muscled my way over to the guest of honor and given him a good birthday noogie. But mired in the middle of this dinner table, the only way I was going to get Simon’s attention was by faking an aneurysm, and I just wasn’t feeling up to it.

I busied myself by studying the menu, looking up in time to catch a nefarious glint in the eye of our white-smocked waiter. I understand from friends who’ve waited tables that serving a large party can have its annoyances: It’s hard to get anyone’s attention; you’ve got to extol the virtues of the soup du jour four times over. But a seasoned server knows how to work the situation to his advantage, and this guy proved to be positively au poivre.

Given the built-in gratuity for a party of our size, our waiter clearly realized there was nothing to lose by making the hard sell. He was getting 18 percent of whatever he could push on us, so he might as well give it a healthy shove. For an appetizer, he vigorously recommended the frutti di mare platter — an item accompanied on the menu by the dreaded “market price” designation. Working each flyleaf of the table separately, he managed to sell us three of these massive, adjustable-rate heaps of shrimp and lobster tail. One would have sufficed.
I can’t lay all the blame at the feet of our conniving server, however. As is often the case at birthday dinners, several different tax brackets were represented at the table, with humble grad students and servants of the Fourth Estate alongside deep-pocketed bankers and lawyers. Members of the latter group, accustomed to large, expense-account-financed lunches and dinners, were not going to let a few uneaten crustaceans slow them down. When our waiter returned to take our entrée orders, one of their number reached for the wine list—round of bubbly for the birthday boy! Ouch. It was time to think strategy.

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Nice old school bike film

 

Supported by Edwin, but not overly obviously so…nice job. I like the way they all have really hilariously blokey Bowie knives and stuff, and use them to eat tinned sardines.

Clam likes salt.

Bonkers beautiful high speed pics of food getting shot

These bonkers photos are by Alan Sailer, who likes nothing more than to take some sausages to his garage, set them up with some pretty lighting on a nice background, and then shoot them.

He sets up a camera and a high-speed flash (ased off an article from a 1974 volume of the Scientific American), and then shoots them with an air rifle or blows them up. The pictures are taken as early into the impact/explosion as possible.

He has hundreds of images on his Flickr page, where he also chats about the process – which is often very very funny.

Pretty!

(via)