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Porthos

Offputting Ingredient Lists

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Nutrition labels are notoriously inaccurate.

The fact that kosher salt's comparable nutrition volume is a 1/4 tsp is ludicrous......it just doesn't measure well that way.

Weight measurement is the best best way to go but because food manufacturers can round-off nutrition values don't expect a high degree of accuracy.

As far as I know, sodium chloride is ~39%-40% sodium by weight.

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~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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What really gets me is reading a recipe for cake or some other dessert and the writer stresses that it is "guilt free" and/or "healthy." This usually means they used whole wheat flour or brown sugar or something presumed to be "better" than regular baking ingredients. "Without the guilt!!" For goodness sake, it's a cake. Make it well, eat it and enjoy it. And I don't want kidney beans in my brownies, thank you. :shock:

This and anything that requires light products. I don't trust light products or margarine and I certainly want to feel it's a treat, which seems physicly impossible with this inferior stuff or things like veganized butter frosted cupcakes. Sure, I respect trying to lose weight and/or save the environment, but I really can't get excited over the end results for these 'just as good or even better than the real deal' stuff. The bean brownie does sound so ridicious, I will try that one day just for the heck of it.

But if I want guilt to be involved, I will just call my mother...

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Nutrition labels are notoriously inaccurate.

The fact that kosher salt's comparable nutrition volume is a 1/4 tsp is ludicrous......it just doesn't measure well that way.

Weight measurement is the best best way to go but because food manufacturers can round-off nutrition values don't expect a high degree of accuracy.

As far as I know, sodium chloride is ~39%-40% sodium by weight.

Actually, the information that I have lists the sodium content per mg as well as by weight. Nothing is perfect, but, for our general purposes, this is accurate enough both for cooking and for this discussion.


 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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And you'll notice that the percentage of sodium can vary quite a bit from the accepted ~40%, hence my point.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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I've never bought non extra virgin olive oil, price difference is negligible. If a recipe would call out organic grass feed beef I'd find grass fed beef, as it does taste a bit different. If it calls for organic onions I'll use the ones I have. I can only imagine a recipe calling for everything organic to come from an organic food site, if it doesn't affect the taste I use what I have or find reasonable at the market. But if the recipe sounds good, I'll still make it, I'll just read over the "organic" part and ignore it. I see organic as more beneficial to the environment than myself in most cases, so if it's too expensive or I don't have it on hand, I'm not gonna run out for a pampered handgrown onion or garlic.

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"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I found myself disappointed in the turn this thread had taken back when, but decided to ignore it after it seemingly died. Now it's back...

Regarding the beans in brownies: it is clear the poo-pooers have not tried them. I think the kidney beans comment was meant in jest, but if you really think about it, black beans and brownies have several similarities in taste and texture profiles. I have had and made such brownies, and they are superb in the right hands. I have had heirloom beans that produce a very chocolately broth, and think those beans might work even better.

I had the pleasure of being one of a few Americans in a large group of Koreans in the heart of S. Korea. One of the desserts was an assortment of out-of-this-world-good bean desserts.

One can poo-poo beans in desserts as a move towards healthy, but miss the fact that they can make a better product.

I flirted with veganism for a while. It did not work for me, but I became acquainted with many of the techniques of the top restaurants. The nachos at Candle 79, for instance, blew me away. I grew up in TX, so that wasn't easy. One killer part was the sour cream, made from tofu. Yes, tofu. Even after telling people that it was, nobody could taste anything but real sour cream. Except that real sour cream, which I had available for comparison, was bland and tasteless in comparison.

One of my favorite fishes is the fat-free Mac n cheese from Modernist Cuisine. One makes cheese water which gets absorbed into the pasta. That's the cheese taste. The creaminess is achieved by a cauliflower purée. You can tell people you did this, but they cannot taste it. It was fat free and creamy.

I have been making oatmeal cookies with oat flour that are not only healthier but have a deeper oat taste.

In my personal opinion, rather than poo-poo approaches to cooking, one ought to consider what improvements might be offered. Right now I am fascinated by Paleo approaches to baking. So many new techniques. And quite frankly superior texture ( unlimited butter and eggs!).

As far as EVOO vs whatever goes, I appreciate a recipe's author letting me know that a dish won't get hot enough to burn EVOO (provided I trust the author). I might choose another oil, but at least I have the option if a nice EVOO is appropriate.

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I found myself disappointed in the turn this thread had taken back when, but decided to ignore it after it seemingly died. Now it's back...

Regarding the beans in brownies: it is clear the poo-pooers have not tried them. I think the kidney beans comment was meant in jest, but if you really think about it, black beans and brownies have several similarities in taste and texture profiles. I have had and made such brownies, and they are superb in the right hands. I have had heirloom beans that produce a very chocolately broth, and think those beans might work even better.

I had the pleasure of being one of a few Americans in a large group of Koreans in the heart of S. Korea. One of the desserts was an assortment of out-of-this-world-good bean desserts.

One can poo-poo beans in desserts as a move towards healthy, but miss the fact that they can make a better product.

I flirted with veganism for a while. It did not work for me, but I became acquainted with many of the techniques of the top restaurants. The nachos at Candle 79, for instance, blew me away. I grew up in TX, so that wasn't easy. One killer part was the sour cream, made from tofu. Yes, tofu. Even after telling people that it was, nobody could taste anything but real sour cream. Except that real sour cream, which I had available for comparison, was bland and tasteless in comparison.

One of my favorite fishes is the fat-free Mac n cheese from Modernist Cuisine. One makes cheese water which gets absorbed into the pasta. That's the cheese taste. The creaminess is achieved by a cauliflower purée. You can tell people you did this, but they cannot taste it. It was fat free and creamy.

I have been making oatmeal cookies with oat flour that are not only healthier but have a deeper oat taste.

In my personal opinion, rather than poo-poo approaches to cooking, one ought to consider what improvements might be offered. Right now I am fascinated by Paleo approaches to baking. So many new techniques. And quite frankly superior texture ( unlimited butter and eggs!).

As far as EVOO vs whatever goes, I appreciate a recipe's author letting me know that a dish won't get hot enough to burn EVOO (provided I trust the author). I might choose another oil, but at least I have the option if a nice EVOO is appropriate.

Many Asian desserts use beans (and various types of rice). But they are not used as substitutes for anything, they are an integral part of the dessert's texture. And they are not touted as "healthy!!" So there's no comparison to be made there, it's a cultural difference.

I will continue to poo-poo (as you put it) ridiculous substitutes for ingredients and calling them "healthy!!!!" I have no patience for "Healthy Sugarless Brownies!!!!!" that are made with agave syrup. (And yes, they all seem to contain exclamation points.) Or "Healthy Banana Bread!!" made with whole wheat flour. For goodness sake.

I have no trouble with the more thoughtful substitutions made for dietary reasons (tofu for cheese, for example).

For the rest, I guess we'll simply have to agree to disagree.

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One can poo-poo beans in desserts as a move towards healthy, but miss the fact that they can make a better product.

It's the definition of a better product where the difference of opinion is, I guess. For me a better product is defined by taste, texture, etc., so whenever a description of how good as in how healthy it should be for me, the less enticed I am. It's all about priorities and mine is definitely not making the healthiest brownie possible or a fat free mac 'n'cheese. But I will happily try getting a great version, so yeah bean brownies and MC mac 'n' cheese are on my to do list for sure.

I had great meals made by vegans by the way, so I agree with you on that point. But they just made great food that was vegan. It wasn't great because it is supposedly healthier or better than a non vegan dinner.

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This is a thing that has bugged me since the 70s. Why do we want to make a boatload of substitutions to a perfectly good recipe (say, Grandma's brownies) to make them "healthy"? Treats are treats, not something that needs to be reworked to be good for you.

Another thing that bothers me is the insistence on authentic ingredients in foreign cuisines (I'm American, bear with me please) yet the willingness to substitute bizarre never used in that way in Western cuisine ingredients in traditional dishes from the Western world. We're all supposed to point to this as a path to wisdom instead of an act of heresy. Honestly, the willingness to toss one's own cuisine out the window as inferior is just as pretentious as insisting on only "authentic" ingredients. The harder to source, the better, sourcing being a badge of honor. "Yes, I had to go all the way out to X neighborhood to find Y ingredient at Z's tiny hole in the wall shop that is only open on alternate Tuesdays, but it really makes the dish!" If you say so.

It's ridiculous and one of the reasons I quit subscribing to cooking magazines about ten years ago.

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"Extra Virgin Olive Oil" on everything.

Uggh. Nothing worse than a nice plate of whatever that has had OO slopped all over it. Not in my mashed potatoes...not on my cheese course...not on salumi. And I don't dislike OO....but enough already.

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Mario Battali is major offender with the OO splashing. If I want more oil in my food, I'll ask for it.

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Like the original poster and many others in this thread, I find that writers specifying organic ingredients annoys me. I think the reason it is so annoying is that I find that locally-grown, fresh, in-season food tastes bests. Many organic products are not local, but are grown in large industrial farms. Many small farmers can't afford the costs of organic certification although many I know minimize or eliminate their use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. I cook for flavor and not to make a political statement. I think we all do best finding the best tasting ingredients and using them. If one brand of butter or olive oil or whatever fits the recipe best, then I don't mind having that suggested. I do appreciate when alternatives are suggested. As for the comments about salt, I like recipes that specify by weight. That way, I can use whichever salt I prefer.

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This is a thing that has bugged me since the 70s. Why do we want to make a boatload of substitutions to a perfectly good recipe (say, Grandma's brownies) to make them "healthy"? Treats are treats, not something that needs to be reworked to be good for you.

You are correct - for you. What's wrong with trying to make something healthier if that's what suits you. I've a panna cotta recipe that I've been making for years, and over time I've reduced the fat, cholesterol, and calories. I bring the dish to potlucks and family dinners, so many people have had the dessert more than once. Everyone - everyone - likes the healthier version as much as the full fat version, and some even prefer it.

Now, does making a healthier version of all desserts or treats taste good and provide the satisfaction the eater craves? Probably not, OTOH, some people have to watch their calorie, fat, cholesterol intakes, and a healthier brownie may be the only knd they can eat.

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 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

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I will often buy organic or free range, but quite frankly I don't care overly much how something was raised or grown as long as the end product is good.

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Now, does making a healthier version of all desserts or treats taste good and provide the satisfaction the eater craves? Probably not, OTOH, some people have to watch their calorie, fat, cholesterol intakes, and a healthier brownie may be the only knd they can eat.

I totally understand that some people need to have a healthy alternative to dessert -- diabetics in my family come to mind -- There definitely needs to be an alternative to the fatty, sugary, regular version. That being said, I will rarely touch it -- only from the standpoint that I treat dessert like a treat -- I rarely have it, and when I do, I don't want to scale it down or even consider whether it is a healthy alternative. I remember when my uncle was booed for bringing sugar free ice cream to a birthday party...17 years later and we still give him a hard time. I am not really a fan of vegan baked goods -- this vegan bashing ends there though -- plenty of awesome stuff out there that is vegan.

As far as EVOO, I buy the standard OO for cooking. Whether or not that is right, I could really care less -- it saves some money and when I do cook with OO, you cannot tell the difference. Organic vegetables are nice, but I am not beholden to them, Beans in a Brownie might be good, I am not ready to condemn it, as long as they are not subbing for the sugar and chocolate. Lastly, raisins belong in the hands of the young (< 3 years old) and nowhere else. Especially not in lasagna.

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Hear, hear unpopular poet.

I have always followed Julia Child's advice about rich foods and that is not to skimp on ingredients (no substitutions in classics) and to only eat a small amount of said item. If you don't have the self-control for that, it is best not to muck around with imitations of the real deal. They are never as satisfying and often have strange, unexpected textures and aftertastes. I've found that persons who must for some reason consume these imitation foods often eat more than they would of the real thing. It could be that the food itself is not satisfying to the taste memory you are trying to capture. The better idea is to switch to fresh fruit desserts and granites and gelatin desserts for sweets. You're on your own with substitutions in main courses.

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Raisins. When I find one in a nice pastry it might as well be a cockaroach in there. A Sicilian friend puts them in her meatballs. Why does that seem like a good idea in Sicily?

Yuck.

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I don't like raisins either. I'm always afraid it's actually an insect.

Though if I'm feeling ambitious and make a Pannetone, I'll add golden raisins. They don't look like flies.

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Whereas raisins in meatballs sounds good to me. Putting on the list of recipes to try. Don't think I'd like them in tomato sauce, though, which a little googling indicates is traditional. Rather, I'll probably go with Middle-Eastern seasoning for the meatballs and a tajine-style sauce.

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Couscous with pine nuts and golden raisins - yum. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are my fav. And the farm-style oatmeal cookie recipe I use doesn't begin to ask for organic anything.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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Maybe it was growing up not all that far from Selma ("Raisin Capitol of the World!") that put me off raisins. Seeing them lying out in the sun to dry, I was always leery of bugs.

Everything up there in that part of California is the "capitol" of something. Gilroy is garlic capitol of the world and I still like garlic, so go figure.

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Lastly, raisins belong in the hands of the young (< 3 years old) and nowhere else. Especially not in lasagna.

While I agree with you on the raisins in lasagna (who came up with THAT?!?), I LOVE oatmeal raisin cookies, so I can't agree with you about only "in the hands of the young."


Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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While I agree with you on the raisins in lasagna (who came up with THAT?!?), I LOVE oatmeal raisin cookies, so I can't agree with you about only "in the hands of the young."

In The Classical Cookbook, Andrew Dalby and Sally Granger, Getty Publications, 2012, pp 166-167, there is a recipe for Patina Apiciana, a layered lagana pasta dish in which pieces of womb, fish, chicken..."and whatever else is of top quality" are cooked in raisin wine and fish sauce, and bound with eggs and starch. Then layered with the sheets of pasta.

For raisin wine the authors suggest soaking raisins in red wine and mashing or blending. Just so that you know whom to blame, the source of the Patina Apiciana recipe is Apicius:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apicius

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Sounds disgusting. No wonder it fell out of favor.

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Embrace the raisin! In this part of the world there's a sweet slice consisting of fruit mince between thin layers of flaky pastry. This is popularly known as 'fly cemetery'.

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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