Odds & Ends: A Buffet of Hopefully Useful Info

I’ve been sitting on a bunch of odds and ends about the world of food and cooking that I think are important but don’t have the volume for a full article on their own. I still feel strongly about all of these things so I am smashing them all together here to make a nice, confusing bombardment of information for you, my loyal readers. So strap on your seatbelt and get ready for a highspeed hectic ride through the world of food!

Butter- Health pundits over the last few decades have tried, and by now hopefully failed, to convince us to make the switch from butter to margarine. The argument is that butter contains more saturated fat. Fine, maybe it does. But it also contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals too and has Omega 3 in it. Butter has very few actual ingredient in it too: milk and salt. That is pretty much it. You can make butter at home with milk and a jar. To make margarine you need to get yourself a PhD in chemistry. While the rumors that margarine is one molecule away from being plastic seem to have been debunked I will give you a little food for thought here; ants do not swarm non-food items. Take a plate and place a chunk of butter on it and take another and place a chunk of margarine on it. The ants will completely ignore the margarine and head right to the butter. Lesson? Margarine is not natural. So if you eat healthy enough and exercise a bit then by all means go with the natural choice and not something cooked up in a lab.

Stop the Gluten Train, I Wanna Get Off- Unless you are in the estimated 1% of the population that suffers from Celiac Disease(or gluten intolerance there is no reason for you to give up gluten. There seems to be this diet phase now where people think avoiding it helps them lose weight. You can actually end up doing damage to your stomach by avoiding it longterm. And please read labels. Gluten holds food together, so if a product boasts that it’s gluten free there is a good chance that sugar and/or fat, has been added to it. Unless your doctor tells you that you need to avoid it then don’t avoid it. Simple.

Fat-Free Products- So many of us look for a magical solution to weight loss thanks to our terrible diets and lack of will to get some bloody exercise. But if you think that switching to sugar substitutes and diet sodas is the answer then man are you in trouble. The crap that is in diet soda basically tricks your brain into thinking it is getting the sugar that comes with the promise of one of the most beautiful sounds to ever exist; the opening of a soda can. But when there is no sugar in there for your body to break down it still craves that sugar it thought it was getting. I am not here preaching on a soap box either. I am working hard to get fit and it is a dialy struggle. Quitting Coca Cola was the hardest thing I ever did. To this day I still get goosebumps when I hear the pop and fizz of a can opening. Addicted to the fizz? Switch to club soda and throw a lemon wedge in there. Stay away from the diet crap.

Photo courtesy of www.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pea

Photo courtesy of www.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pea

Frozen Vs. Canned- Many of us still think that buying frozen fruits and/or vegetables is unhealthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take peas for example. They are flash frozen right after being harvested and hold far more nutritional value to them than that mushy garbage in a can and even more than the “fresh” stuff in the produce section that was picked days before. Tomatoes hold tons of their nutrients when frozen too and no salt or anything needs to get added to them. So don’t fear the frozen. Well, the frozen dinners and whatnot are a different story. 

Ok, ok, I feel like I am being too preachy here about how to eat healthy and all that when that really isn’t my deal so let’s switch it up a bit here…. 

 Chicks like Dudes who can Cook- Seriously. They do. And vice versa. So learn to cook already! It’s simpler than it seems. My cooking skills definitely helped pique my girlfriend’s curiosity when we first met. Just don’t tell my wife!  

Cast Iron Cookware Is Your Friend- It isn’t always easy to cook with. It takes getting used to. Things can stick to it. It retains a tons of heat which can lead to overcooking something even after you take it off the heat. But man, when you get a cast iron pan seasoned right and get the hang of using it…it becomes like a best friend in the kitchen. And this best friend will never let you down, never lie to you, never stare at your wife lustily when you aren’t looking. And unlike those jerky human friends, when you take care of cast iron you can pass it down to the next generation. 

Yes I Love Wild Game. Get off my Back About it Already, Hippie- While I have yet to hunt an animal I have family members and friends who do and I heartily enjoy taking some of the wild game off their hands. I will never understand the argument that this is somehow cruel. Yet somehow the same people that think this is cruel will buy chicken, pork, and beef at the grocery store without a moment spared to think of how THAT animal was treated and where it is from. Any hunter I know treats the animals as humanely as possible and uses all of the meat and hide after. Nothing is wasted. The meat is healthier for you. They are not hunting endangered species. Look, if I see someone hunting deer for sport, urinating on them and putting cigarettes out on them, trust me, I will feel just as sick as you about it. But if you like eating healthy, sustainable food then don’t knock wild meat. 

Oil Smoke Points- A lot of people that like to cook aren’t aware that different oils have vastly different smoking points. Now, don’t get excited yet. A smoking point is not the point in the meal where everyone retires to the balcony to burn reefer. That is ILLEGAL! I am talking about the point in which oils will begin to burn and break down. I didn’t know this for the longest time whilst cooking so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this yet. For example, you don’t want to use extra virgin olive oil to make fries. It will destroy them. I’ve mentioned it before but keep the extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and for salad dressing. If you are cooking with olive oil the standard, lower grade one will do. The fancy stuff is for fancy flavoring. Check out the chart below. I go back to it all the time and it helps a bunch. I hope you were able to follow along today. I was a bit scatter brained about this one but I wanted to share a whole bunch of things with you at once. Stay phat. 

Chart courtesy of www.http://chartsbin.com/view/1962

Chart courtesy of www.http://chartsbin.com/view/1962

Categories: Phood Philosophies

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