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Foodstuffs that benefit from "treatment"


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There's always an assumption by paleobotanists, etc., that accidental fire brought about such changes. But the Hopi, for instance, use a particular type of desert brushwood, and it is a sacred ceremony involved in the site preparation, 2 days' burning, gathering the ashes, and the containers it's apportioned in. This ash has been analyzed, and found to be an adequate supplement. It is used in other recipes, as well as a variety of tonics, and the cleansing diet before religious fasts.

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How about the Italian chameleon, the lupini bean.

They can be a shock to someone who simply cooks them. The incredible bitterness is awful and is difficult to get out of your mouth. When I was taught to cook them I had to taste one so I would know. They do contain alkaloids that can make one ill. Also, the invasive crop has to be kept away from areas where animals feed.

After cooking they have to be throughly rinsed in fresh water then placed in the fridge in salt water that must be changed daily for five or six days (I was told in Italy they used to put them in mesh bags and place them in a stream for a couple of weeks.) to get rid of the bitterness. At the end of the process they have changed into a tough skin containing a sweet, nutty snack that is unlike any other bean. To me the flavor is reminiscent of chestnut.

They are available already prepared in jars. It seems odd that a foodstuff that requires so much preparation would be popular but it has been around for at least two thousand years. There is mention of them in Roman literature.

I bought a packet in Cardiff Italian deli years ago. soaked them overnight then refreshed and cooked them. They were foul.

So now i know where i went wrong. Thanks

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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I'll throw my vote in for rhubarb. Not too tasty raw but damn good when cooked....

.........only if you add three two to three times as much sugar as rhubarb! (And I love rhubarb!)

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Most beans are poisonous from raw. Ricin, for example, is derived from kidney beans.

ricin is actually from castor beans. kidney beans have some hemo-agglutinating factor in their lect. (it might actually be called that i can't remember)

another is fava beans..arne't they poisonous?

pretty much all beans and seeds have to be processed first. part of their maekup is to be poisonus, so well..no one eats them and the species can go forth and propogate.

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Here is the science from McGee:

As it turns out, fiber is not a panacea. As for whole wheat in particular: it is true that whole grain flour contains more protein, minerals, and vitamins than refined flour, including as it does the nutritionally valuable germ and aleurone layer, as well as the mostly indigestible bran. But it is also true that some of these nutrients pass through the digestive tract unabsorbed because the indigestible carbohydrates complex with them and speed their passage out of the system. The nutrients in white bread do not suffer such losses. In normal diets, this drawback is negligible and probably leaves us ahead in protein and vitamins, but for people on marginal diets, whole grain bread can have disasterous consequences. We have already mentioned the epidemic of rickets that struck the children of Dublin after three years of wartime rations of dairy products and whole wheat bread. The combination of marginal supplies of calcium and vitamin D and the calcium complexing activity of phytic acid, which is concentrated in the aleurone layer, was enough to tip the balance from health to serious disease. Similar problems with iron and zinc metabolism have been studied among the poor of Egypt and Iran. The moral: unrefined does not automatically mean healthful. Not all of us can afford to eat "naturally".

on the flip-side - white flour, well wheat flour in general, but the effects are mitigated when left whole, stimulate an insulin-release in the blood. In large frequent doses, this is weakens the insulin response, eventually leading to type-II diabetes.

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Ya gotta wonder how people figured this stuff out.

Chad

That's always been my question: How'd anybody go from wheat in a field to a loaf of bread? Now, THAT's thinking outside the box! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Ingrid

i'm still wondering who the first guy to eat cheese was. (you know it was a guy)

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*lol*!

i just picture the scenario...of the sheeps stomach filled with milk accidentally left behind in a cave or something...

"what's the hell's that smell?"

"i dunno - smells like happy underpants"

"damn - someone eft behing some milk - lord only knows how long it's been there...hmm..think it's still good?"

"i dunno - why don't you try it?"

"no - you try it..."

"fine, fine....wuss."

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We wouldn't have pasta, bread, and cake without having processed wheat to make it.

edited to add:  Cheese.  :biggrin:

I just read an article which refutes my theory that our lives improved with the invention of pasta bread and cake.

Grains, the source of products such as bread, baked goods, and corn syrup, did not become plentiful in the human diet until the establishment of agriculture.

With agriculture, human health declined, says Lieberman, partly because farming is such hard work, and partly because it allows higher population densities, in which infection spreads more easily. "There was more disease, a decrease in body size, higher mortality rates among juveniles, and more stress lines in bones and teeth," Lieberman says. Cultivating grain also allowed farmers to space their children more closely...

I stand corrected. :huh:

But I wonder what quotient the psychological factor of these foods has on our health. I personally found that my spirits lifted, my outlook improved, in fact I experienced a general sense of well being after I suceeded in making pasta for the first time, and it continues with each and every batch I turn out.

Not to mention the cultural aspects - complex elements of the human psyche that tradition and common activity bring to our concept of well being.

I am talking only of my own example earlier in the thread, in noting it might not be a good example of a food that benefits us by processing.

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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starchy and sugary carbs in general increase serotonin levels in the brain, a short while after eating them. sort of like nature's prozac and why they are so often our "comfort food" however, jsut like any experience raver can tell you, Suicide Teusday always follows.

After a few hours serotonin levels come crashing down and you need a little more to spike it back up again. so you go through in effect, sugar rush cycles.

Edited by tryska (log)
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Well... Not everyone does, all the time. After each of my pregnancies, my blood sugar would roller coaster like you describe. I even got into one incidence of hypoglycemia. After a few months, that went away. I eat pasta, potatoes, rice, and good bread with abandon and have no effects. (I have been through rounds of testing.) My blood pressure is also not affected by salt levels. (been there, done that). I eat whatever I want as to fats... butter, cream, duck fat, lard... cholesterol still respectable. I did give up transfats years ago. Perhaps I have good genes. There is no history in my family of diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Cerebral aneurisms... well, that is a different story.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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What I have always wondered is--

what poor, hungry bastard was the first to eat lobster?

And was he the same guy who decided to put this mysterious rock that fell out of a chicken into his mouth?

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starchy and sugary carbs in general increase serotonin levels in the brain, a short while after eating them.

I'm not talking about the after effects of eating processed grains, I'm talking about the after effects of actually preparing pasta from scratch at home. The eating it part is fine. But If I prepared this at home and served it to people I love, even if I did not eat it myself, I can guaranatee I would still have this feeling, which is beneficial to my health. :smile:

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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Chocolate,tea,coffee,sugar...I read something real interesting; that all these stimulants in effect kick-started the industrial revolution. All those drinks in their native areas were consumed as an unsweetened drink;once they became popular with all the European countries, they were drunk sweetened, and sort of hyped-up everyone and between the stimulants and sugar rush, everyone started staying up later and inventing things, it seems. Makes sense to me--what if all those products just disappeared tomorrow?

It's also interesting that all those drinks are fermented in one form or another, as well.

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I had some pears--Seckel, I think--which were enormous, green, and I would pick in late fall, still hard, wrap in newsprint and store in closed-up cardboard boxes, where they finished ripening all fall, to eat them all winter. As kids we used to call these 'chunking' pears, because they made very respectable missiles to 'chunk' at the BOYS!

Hard winter pears - called Wardens - are a very old tradition.

OK, both of you, help me here. Mabelline says Seckels are HUGE? Biggest Seckel I've ever seen is about 2" long. In other respects they are as you describe, though.

Meanwhile, Jackal10 brings up the Warden pear as if it's an everyday thing. Oy vey, J10, where you been all my life? or rather, where were you when I was so desperately trying to find Wardens (for the Warden Pie in L&SD), and finally threw up my hands and assumed they were no longer to be found? They aren't, in this country, of that I'm pretty sure; but I didn't limit my search to this country.

There is, however, apparently a pear called the Worden (sic) Seckel - though I couldn't actually get my hands on that either. But I always wondered....

manioc/cassava. Made into tapioca in the West, it's a staple food for huge portions of the world. It is also deadly poisonous unless properly processed (boiling, I believe).

Actually, if memory serves (and this would be memory of The Swiss Family Robinson, so you know the source was accurate!), you don't boil it; you grate it and squeeze out ALL the liquid. The flour is fine; it's the juice that'll kill ya. Personally, I'm not sure how confident I'd be of having squoze it sufficiently. Is it worth the risk? Not for tapioca, at any rate....

And yes - with this, as with Fugu, as with rhubarb, as with any number of things (who was the first person brave enough to eat a lobster?) - you gotta wonder how they figured these things out. Presumably the hard way; but it's amazing that anyone persevered after that.

Fifi; your enlightening post about whole-grain vs white flours irresistibly reminds me of a passage from Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love ("I feel sure that your delicious bread contains the germ"...) - if you don't know it I'll hunt out the passage for you.

EDIT: Damn, knew I should have read ahead and seen that NeroW beat me to the lobster question. OTOH, gives me an excuse to mention that lobsters were trash food at one time, especially in coastal New England; can't call the details to mind but vaguely remember reading somewhere about a suggested reform in household employment contracts, mid-19th-c or so, which stipulated that the employee not be required to eat lobster more than twice a week.

Edited by balmagowry (log)
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manioc/cassava. Made into tapioca in the West, it's a staple food for huge portions of the world. It is also deadly poisonous unless properly processed (boiling, I believe).

Actually, if memory serves (and this would be memory of The Swiss Family Robinson, so you know the source was accurate!), you don't boil it; you grate it and squeeze out ALL the liquid. The flour is fine; it's the juice that'll kill ya. Personally, I'm not sure how confident I'd be of having squoze it sufficiently. Is it worth the risk? Not for tapioca, at any rate....

from what i read ,you're both partly right.apparently the prussic acid in the cassava can be destroyed by boiling -but starting out with cold water and in the case of grated and dewatered cassava,there's a process of fermentation after the liquid has been squeezed out that is essential.why am i reading this stuff?preparing for 'survivor-e-gullet 'of course!

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Spinach contains a chemical that keeps its nutrients from being absorbed by humans. Cooking kills it, so cooked spinach is actually more nutritious than raw spinach.

Yep... Oxalic acid. It complexes with the calcium and iron in the spinach to form an oxalate that is not absorbable. It will also tie up calcium and iron that you are getting from the other foods in your meal. Don't go eating too much raw spinach. :shock:

...

Sorry for the long post but the sociological aspects of food choice is one of my favorite subjects. The whole grain versus refined flour issue over the millenia is something I find fascinating.

wow! i can't believe the stuff i learn on eG! fifi--the spinach and whole grain things were both fascinating... thanks~!

and here i was thinking i was all virtuous for eating spinach salads... :blink:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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