Monday, May 12, 2014

Knowing and "No"ing

This was making the rounds recently, from Jimmy Kimmel:

Not too surprising. I'm a little more surprised by the comments on some sites that linked to this, somehow blaming the restaurants for not really handling gluten free food properly for those who have celiac disease and THAT'S why these answers are ignorant.


This video shows that people are denying themselves gluten WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING WHY! Why are you blaming restaurants for something you don't even know why you're avoiding?

I'm sure this was staged in some way, but I certainly hear this enough from folks when they approach me to ask my opinion of trying a diet, as the Streamlined Ska Librarian lifestyle is so successful ... for Streamlined Ska Librarians.

Yes, as I've said many times, what worked for me was portion control and an increase in exercise. For me. And having tried "specialized" diets in the past, I know that any sort of real restriction, especially for those of us with binge issues, does not work in the long run. But many people, like those in the video, want to hear that eating "special" is THE answer.

But I also notice in these all new gluten-free/paleo/artisinal-crafted diets that they forget one main thing: our portions have gotten a LOT bigger in the past several decades.

I'm not even going to reference one scholarly article. There have been so many written lately. Soooo many.

And basically they all show that increased portions increase our energy intake AND that portions have gotten bigger in general.

So it's not that you're eating no gluten. You're still increasing the amount of other food you are eating. And a lot of these "faux foods" actually have more sugar, so...

Let's take a look back at some vintage cookery. We often get unneeded/unwanted donations in the Library or we are looking to de-accession older, damaged copies. So when old cookbooks come in, they often are sent to me to covet, pick through and invoke Head Librarian privilege.

"Mine! Stay away! Hissss!"

And while there are some truly questionable recipes in some of them, I do love perusing them. Look at this lovely setting from the Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook section on salads:

I'm not sure what kind of salad they're making, but it certainly got Grandpa and Grandma all excited! Get a room, you two!

Now some of these salads, many of which include canned fruit, gelatin and/or mayonnaise, would not normally make it to my table, nor might they induce  friskiness as I approach AARP levels. But I can't help but notice that most of these salads say they "serve 6" even though they include a much smaller amount of ingredients than similar salads found on culinary websites today. So you can dress up your salad with Princess Mayonnaise (1/2 cup mayo, 1 tbsp maraschino syrup, 4 chopped maraschino cherries and 1/4 cup cream, which equals about 2.5 TEASPOONS per person) and not deny yourself a serving of Baked Prune Whip for dessert (I'll only share that recipe if asked).

One of the other books I took home was the Larousse Gastronomique, which is more than just recipes. It's an encyclopedia of historic food in France. It's filled with descriptions of ancient herbs, spices and cooking methods, as well as citations of various foods in French literature. (The Balzac marzipan story is fascinating.)

It also references foods, like otter, which "have a horrible taste." I like that sense of completion.

By including all sorts of foods, even those not considered edible, the book shows that you can extend your food choices to everything. It's the exact opposite of what we see today. The readers of this cookbook avoided foods in  that were considered poisonous or bad tasting. Otherwise, it was fair game to experiment. 

Nowadays should we look at the dozens of pages of garnish recipes and avoid them because they might contain gluten? Also, very few of the recipes give the amount of people they were meant to serve as it's assumed you wouldn't eat an entire plate of Double D'Agneau on your own. 

So if you really want to have a Streamlined Ska Librarian body ... tough, it's mine. But don't deny yourself soemthing unless you KNOW why you're doing it.

OK, I'm going to go try some Otter a la Princess.


Crocker, Betty. Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. New York; London, 1950.

Montagné, Prosper, Charlotte Turgeon, and Nina Froud. Larousse Gastronomique: The Encyclopedia of Food, Wine & Cookery. New York: Crown Publishers, 1961.

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