More Crap

Oh good grief, here we go again:

Saturated fats in yoghurt, cheese and butter do NOT increase the risk of heart disease — and may actually prevent a stroke
Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42 percent, a study found.
Lead author Dr Marcia Otto, from the University of Texas, Houston, said: ‘Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults.
‘In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.’
Dietary guidelines in the US and UK recommend people people opt for low or no-fat dairy, however, the researchers warn such options are often high in sugar, which can drive heart disease.
Milk, yoghurt and cheese contain nutrients such as calcium, which lowers blood pressure, as well as anti-inflammatory fatty acids.

And next week, the same group of researchers will say Oops! that’s not strictly true, and all those tasty foods actually lead to brain cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

The war against saturated fats was total bullshit from the start, was based on distorted and in many cases untrue data, and the whole “no-fat / low-fat” campaign was akin to heeding the advice of a guy wearing a wizard’s hat.

A pox on all of them.  Eat what you want, in moderation.  It’s gluttony that kills — hell, drinking too much water is deadly — so go out there and live your life the way you want, not the way some busybody doctors or (even worse) government flunkies want you to.

 

 

Question Answered

I’m going to break with Blog Precedent here [waits for gasps of shock to subside]  and tell a story on the Son & Heir.

After his mother and I were divorced, we shared joint custody  — in a very, very adult arrangement, I should add — with extremely loose and flexible visitation parameters.  (That means that nobody kept score as to how many days the S&H was here or there, etc.)  Anyway, shortly after his 11th (? I think) birthday, he’d spent a lengthy period of his summer vacation with me, which led to a slight contretemps between him and his mother.

You see, she was always on a diet, which meant that in her house there were items such as whole-wheat bread, skim milk, margarine, low-fat this and that, and so on.  Of course, I wasn’t:  white bread, full-cream (Vit D) milk and half-and-half (sometimes mixed) along with double-cream butter, and no regard for the fat content of any food.

So after the summer vacation, the S&H returned home, and when given his usual fare of skim milk in his cereal and margarine on his wheat toast, he promptly rebelled and refused to eat the food his mother had placed before him.

“Why don’t you want to eat your food?” she inquired.
Because it tastes like shit, Ma,” was his somewhat intemperate reply.  (Yes, he had just spent the summer with me.)

I told you all that so I could tell you this.  Apparently, sales of the Big Three local beers have dropped precipitously — the three being Bud Lite, Coors Lite and Budweiser — and if anyone should want to know why this has happened, allow me to point you towards the Son&Heir’s observation above.

To buttress what seems to be a purely subjective take on the issue, allow me to point out to you all that as the Big Three have slipped, craft- and premium beers have increased in sales volume, as have spirits and wines.  So yes, the new generation of drinkers may have taken up (ahem) tastier alcoholic beverages — and more varied ones withal — but this would not have happened had the suffering brands in question had any kind of taste other than slightly bitter carbonated water.

Needless to say, I don’t care as I have never drunk a light (lite? ugh) beer in my life other than to taste it (and spit it out violently, shortly thereafter).  Certainly, I’ve never finished a light beer;  the lightest beer I’ve ever drunk was Amstel (in the proper green bottle, not the watered-down garbage sold in the U.S.).  Hell, I don’t even drink Heineken because it doesn’t have enough body for me.  So the travails of the Budweiser- and Coors brewing companies leave me unmoved.  I’m not suggesting that light beers are a product of Satan’s imagination (okay, maybe I am) but like all products which have been “lightened” to lessen the effects on the waistline, they taste like shit.

Okay, all this talk of beer has made me thirsty and it’s nearly lunch time anyway, so it’s time for a pint or so of my favorite:

Cheers, everyone.


P.S.  I should point out (and this should come as no surprise to anyone) that the grown-up Son&Heir is a devotee of full-bodied craft beers.  In fact, he’s a bit of a pain in the ass about the topic, but then again, he’s just as much a devotee of single malt Scotch (again, no surprise) so I’ll forgive him the beer snobbery.

HERESY!!!

Does anyone see anything strange about this pic?

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you.  A Japanese whisky just won the “world’s best” award — a Japanese single malt, withal.

Those of you who consider me to be a diehard traditionalist — and there may be a smidgen of evidence here or there to support your judgment — might expect me to start fulminating about such an occurrence, much as the French freaked out about a Californian wine winning best of show (as seen in the outstanding movie Bottle Rocket).

Well, forget that stuff.  Excellence is excellence, and it’s clear (from this account anyway), that the Japanese have worked out how to make fine whisky:

The essential difference between the classic whiskies of Scotland and those of Suntory is the type of barrels used for the ageing process. Single malts from Scotland are aged in a wide array of barrels, mostly made of French or American oak that were previously used to age sherry or Kentucky bourbon. The single malts picked up the residual essence and flavourings from the barrels, which added character to their respective flavour profiles.
The whiskies of Suntory have a distinctively Japanese touch, as only mizunara oak is used to age them and the resulting Japanese whiskies are a harmonious reflection of the place they’re from, with a purity of the sum of the ingredients and the skill of the artisans at Suntory.

The story behind Nikka whisky is equally fascinating (see the link above), and I have to tell y’all, I’m going to sample some as soon as Ye Olde Booze Allowance permits it.  The Nikka Yoichi single runs over $80 / bottle, from what I can see, and the low-end Suntory Hakushu just over $60.  Both seem worth a shot, so to speak.  (The “world’s best” stuff costs about the same as 25-year-old Macallan — i.e. way too spendy, so forget that.)

      

If they taste like drain cleaner, well, at least I tried.  If I like either of them, however, you may want to short the stock of Glenmorangie…

Japanese whisky:  who’d a thunk it?

Calling All Gluttons

Looks like the Morrisons supermarket chain is going to be a breakfast destination for any of you visiting Britishland in the future:

(You may want to take a companion, as that’s a single serving. And it costs just under $7.)

And they call American portions excessive…

Everything Gives You Cancer

The immortal words of Joe Jackson come to mind:

No amount of alcohol, sausage or bacon is safe according to cancer experts

Even small amounts of processed meats and booze increase the risk of a host of cancers outlined in World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) guidelines updated every decade.
The respected global authority has unveiled a 10-point plan to cut your risk of getting cancer by up to 40%.
Brits have been told to banish favourites such as ham, burgers and hot dogs from their diets by experts who say they are a direct cause of bowel cancer. Processed meats also cause people to be overweight which can trigger many more cancers.
But UK experts have disagreed with the draconian advice insisting the odd bacon sandwich “isn’t anything to worry about”.
The WCRF found boozing is directly linked to increased risk of six cancers and for the first time recommended sticking to water or unsweetened drinks. The report said: “Even small amounts of alcoholic drinks can increase the risk of some cancers. “There is no level of consumption below which there is no increase in the risk of at least some cancers.”
On processed meats it added that “no level of intake can confidently be associated with a lack of risk of bowel cancer”.
Cutting down on steaks and other red meat such as lamb and pork can reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

The WCRF’s 10-point health plan

  1. Be a healthy weight
  2. Be physically active
  3. Eat a diet rich in wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and beans
  4. Limit consumption of ‘fast foods’ and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars
  5. Limit consumption of red and processed meat
  6. Limit consumption of sugar sweetened drinks
  7. Limit alcohol consumption
    [last three omitted because irrelevant to my Readers, e.g. breastfeeding]

I guess I’m fucked, then.  Oh well.  Time for some BBQ brisket, Elgin sausage and sweet iced tea.  Or a steak & kidney pie, chips and a pint of London Pride?

If I’m gonna die, I want the doctors to exclaim at my post-mortem, “Bloody hell!  How did he last so long?”


 

There’s no link because the Mirror has the most irritating ads on the planet.  I went there so you don’t have to.  And fuck their “fair use” guidelines.

Fair Comment

I’ve been able to forgive Gordon Ramsay for much because, when criticizing a trainee chef’s work, he is alleged to have uttered the immortal words, “You burned that fucking dish so black it went out and stole my bicycle!” (I don’t care if he said it or not, actually; all I know is when I read the story I nearly passed out from laughing so hard.)

Now Chef Gordon has uttered some more immortal words, as part of a another story:

“That’s when I knew Americans knew fuck all about good food. Right there and then.”

Before we get our backs up and start muttering about “Spotted Dick” and “Toad In The Hole” (British ahem delicacies both), not to mention a storied national tradition of boiling food to cook it, Our Gordon has a point. How else can one explain such excrescences as the Big Mac, Cincinnati chili (don’t even ask me), light beer, and concepts such as drive-through windows at “fast food” outlets?

I’m not being a food snob, really. I hate the whole concept of “fast food” (as I’ve stated innumerable times in the past) for the simple reason that one absolutely cannot create good food when speed of delivery is the sine qua non of the thing. And once again, let’s not talk about how little room the Brits have to talk; this is about us, we Americans.

I have to think that we treat food in the same way as we treat most problems: we’re hungry, so we eat: problem solved. What we eat doesn’t really matter, because practically anything will do to assuage hunger — and besides, we Murkins are a busy people and we need to take care of our hunger right now — unlike for example, the indolent Europeans, for whom a lunch “hour” is, in the immortal words of Pirate Captain Barbossa, “just a guideline”.

The problem is that when we’re prepared to eat just any old shit under those circumstances, our standards become so atrophied that (and I swear this was once said to me, in total earnestness) places like Applebee’s, Red Lobster  or Olive Garden become perfectly acceptable choices for dining out when we aren’t in a hurry. And they shouldn’t be, because they serve absolute crap — at best it’s mediocre, and usually, it’s unimaginative and boring food prepared to suit palates accustomed to the boring and unimaginative.

Once again, please remember that I’m no food snob: I can’t be, not when I enjoy junk food like sausage rolls, fish & chips and similar fare. But I do understand the concept of proper dining as opposed to just eating, and I think that’s what Ramsay was alluding to. If you read his story above, it concerns how his lunch guest was prepared to take out her Caesar salad to eat later, even though, as he correctly pointed out, it would taste like shit because it had already been dressed (and un-refrigerated Caesar salad dressing goes off faster than a Kardashian’s underwear). She was prepared to eat terrible-tasting food just for the sake of eating something — and I think that’s something that lamentably, we Americans are often guilty of.

Also again: I’m not suggesting that we should make a fetish of our food like, say, the French do; but I do believe that we need to become more discriminating in our approach to food because otherwise we will continue to fall prey to the purveyors of the mediocre. And that’s a Bad Thing.

Let me illustrate this with a personal anecdote, for a change. I remember going grocery shopping with the Son&Heir when he was still just a boy of about fourteen. We walked around the store picking out foods we’d like, and I noticed that he wasn’t buying ordinary cheese but really good stuff, whether imported or the better Wisconsin fare (we were living in Chicago at the time). Ditto bread: no Wonder Bread, but loaves from the store’s bakery. On and on we went, until I pointed out how much I appreciated his choices. His reply was immediate: “Why should anyone buy shit food when good food is only a few pennies more?”  (I should also point out that as a weenie, he’d lived off canned Vienna sausage and Kraft Mac O’Cheese like so many kids do. But living with me, he’d become accustomed to having only good food in the house, and his tastes had adjusted accordingly.)

So I guess my point is this. We don’t have to settle for the ordinary. Yeah, sometimes the extraordinary may cost a little more, but in the grand scheme of things, “good enough” just can’t compete with “great”.

And as my old Dad used to say: “Long after you’ve forgotten how much you paid for it, you’ll still be enjoying it.” In the case of food, you’ll remember the fine meals forever, while the ordinary meals will be long forgotten.

Besides, I’d love us to start proving that smug little British turd wrong.