How to eat grains

Posted: February 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: food, ideas, science | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Our digestive system is designed to handle a high-quality omnivorous diet. By high-quality, I mean one that has a high ratio of calories to indigestible material (fiber). Our species is very good at skimming off the highest quality food in nearly any ecological niche. Animals that are accustomed to high-fiber diets, such as cows and gorillas, have much larger, more robust and more fermentative digestive systems.

I’m unclear about this. Fiber is allegedly good for our bodies.  But this article, called “How to eat grains” claims that the greatest health benefits come from semi-fermented fibers. So, things like soaking beans in water actually improve the amount of nutrients that our digestive systems can absorb from them. This is interesting, because in another post on this site, there’s a claim that whole wheat bread may actually be bad.

Based on my reading, discussions and observations, I believe that rice is the least problematic grain, wheat is the worst, and everything else is somewhere in between. If you want to eat grains, it’s best to soak, sprout or ferment them. This activates enzymes that break down most of the toxins. You can soak rice, barley and other grains overnight before cooking them. Sourdough bread is better than normal white bread. Unfermented, unsprouted whole wheat bread may actually be the worst of all. 

Given the numbef of cultures that eat a lot of rice, I might be digging in a bit more frequently. Good thing I like sourdough, too. :D


Fun Food Fact of the Fortnight

Posted: October 19th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: food, science | Tags: , , , , , , , | 985 Comments »

Q. Why is it when you steam or wilt fresh spinach you get that iron-tinny taste? How do you prevent it?

A. We’re guessing you have been cooking your spinach in an aluminum or unlined copper pan. Pans made of aluminum or unlined copper react with the sulfur compounds in green vegetables to create unpleasant odors and flavors, and destroy vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin E. You should cook greens in stainless steel, enamel, or glass pans.

Gratuitously stolen from OChef


Boniato and 3030 Ocean

Posted: October 11th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: food | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Last weekend I had the pleasure of dining at 3030 Ocean, which is a hotel/beach club on Ft Lauderdale beach. Normally I wouldn’t think much of a hotel restaurant, but this one was really good.

There was an appetizer of clams in a spicy lemongrass broth, which was great. I normally prefer living in the 100K+ range of the Scoville scale, but this broth managed to be spicy enough for me to enjoy, while still being edible for everyone else. I think the broth was intended as a complement to the clams, but I drained that bowl to the bottom. Spicy soups are definitely a great idea.

The particular thing that caught me was the entree. I went with the Florida snapper (remember kids — fresher is better) which was served with grilled green onions and boniato. Snapper was great — served with crispy skin on the fish — but the boniato is what really caught my attention.

Boniato is a plant that started being eaten in South America, and has since moved to the Caribbean, and then South Florida. I lived in South Florida for most of my life, and had never come across this, so I wanted to try it out. Turns out that it is awesome. It’s basically a potato — looks and feels like a regular white potato, but tastes like a sweet potato. If you have the opportunity to try it, I recommend it. It was served to me in mashed form, and I hope to reproduce this dish in the near future.

3030 Ocean on Urbanspoon


Vinegar beer

Posted: July 31st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: food, ideas, science | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’ve got a post at Websites and Beer talking about adding vinegar to beer. Blasphemy? Maybe not…read on.

I’m reposting this here, because it’s sort of a follow up to my post about cheap versus expensive wines. Hooray for food. Hooray for science. And hooray for food & science together!


What makes a great wine?

Posted: July 17th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: food, ideas, science | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Saw a post on the Freakonomics blog about wines, and people’s abilities to tell the difference between good and bad wines. I love Levitt for his willingness to piss people off in the pursuit of truth (read the part about the scholar who stormed out of the room!) Anyways, there was a large study done, and the conclusion is that people generally can’t taste the difference between “great” wines, and ordinary wines (link goes to original paper).

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some reasonably pricey bottles of wine. And I’ve enjoyed some of them. I appreciate that there’s people who really take care of their vines; who pick the best grapes; who use classic equipment and methods. But, I’ve also had bottles that cost under $20 and tasted quite nice.

Generally (and with no expertise to back this up) I think the knowledge of how to produce a decent wine has spread very far, and snobbery is mostly a hangover from the past few hundred years when lots of wines were actually quite bad.

Of course, I know the true secret behind great wine. It’s that any average wine becomes great when you drink it with great people. Salud!


Chubby’s Family Restaurant – Orlando

Posted: June 18th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: food | Tags: , , , , , , , | 155 Comments »

They clearly love James Dean and Betty Boop — the walls are plastered with pictures — so the place has a real classic American-1950s feel to it. And, it seems, in the 1950s, breakfast was delicious.

I had Donna’s Skillet (served to me by Donna herself), which is

  • home fries
  • onions
  • corned beef hash
  • scrambled eggs
  • cheese

Add hot sauce and it’s great. The price is right for the food; $6 for the skillet. They got the food out fast, and kept my iced tea filled, so that does it for me. The service is totally unceremonious, the servers all work together to get it done.

It really seems like a one-of-a-kind, family-owned restaurant. I don’t think they could make another one — there’s not enough pictures of James Dean in the world to open a second place.

If you’re in the area, it’s worth a stop in for a quick simple breakfast. It sure beats the pants off Denny’s.

Chubby's Family on Urbanspoon