Morning Ed: Food {2018.06.14.Th}

[F1] #NotAllAmericanBreakfast. Though kids’ breakfast cereal remains a stunning indictment of capitalism on the issue of public health.

[F2] The automat was apparently a response to a resistance to waiters waiting tables.

[F3] Organic farming is, it turns out, a pretty bloody business.

[F4] Is Stevia even better for you than sugar? The test of these propositions is always “So it would be okay if I just had sugar instead?” and their answer is actually maybe yes.

[F5] A kind of dark look at vegetarianism. On the other hand, it seems like maybe good things happen when you stop eating meat.

[F6] I was mostly unfamiliar with Anthony Bourdain until somewhat recently, but the more I hear the more impressed I am.

[F7] Black pepper is kind of like Indians in this regard, it seems like.

[F8] Another reason for McDonald’s to switch to kiosks: We apparently order more.

[F9] Just what you’ve been waiting for: A cow density map.

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Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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12 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Food {2018.06.14.Th}

  1. [F3]: This is the first time I’ve ever wanted to be an organic farmer!

    Kidding aside, I got my husband a much smaller version of flame weeder for Father’s Day a couple years ago and he loves it – basically a small flamethrower that lets him torch stubborn weeds along the curb or growing through the patio flagstones or cracks in the driveway. He’s also used to de-ice concrete steps that had too much build-up for salt alone to tackle.

    [F5]: wrt to the first link, Duh. I know lots of people who don’t eat pork or chicken for a variety of personal reasons and have found that just saying they are vegetarian is much easier than explaining more complicated reasons. This hold especially for public event type meals where the options are (a) rubber chicken or (b) vegetarian option.


    • I want a flame-weeder so badly, but I suspect they would not be a good thing in the very dry area where I live. (the sidewalk in front of my house is old and cracky and I’m always having to either dig weeds out of the cracks or pour boiling water on them to kill them, neither of which is fun. I worry about chemical pesticides so I save using them on poison ivy – which also invades my backyard)

      It would perhaps also be a final solution to the stupid privet and mulberry and other tree things that the birds “plant” and which you have to keep cutting, and cutting, and cutting and it takes years for them to burn through any energy they’ve stored and die. (I am not strong enough in most cases to dig out the whole root system).


      • Yeah, the flame-weeder is best for areas like ours where it is seldom dry. Still, we don’t use it during dry spells in August, except on the driveway weeds since there’s nothing else within several feet that could catch fire.

        One suggestion for your sidewalk: fill the cracks with kosher salt and then pour the boiling water over that. There’s a reason for the phrase ‘salt the earth’. It won’t keep the weeds from ever growing back, but it will keep them gone for a lot longer.


  2. F9: hmm… I grew up in a county that bills itself as the cow-calf capital of Kansas. But on that map it’s colored as the lowest density category. Something screwy going on here? I dunno, that sign has been on that highway for as long as I can remember and things change. Farm acreage here (NW Kansas) is roughly split evenly between cultivated ground and pasture; a lot of the high cow density areas are likely less amenable for whatever reason to cultivation, therefore more pasture by percent.


  3. F1: I have become painfully more aware of this since being recently diagnosed as diabetic. The only cereals I eat now are really plain stuff like Wheaties, corn flakes, and oatmeal. And it sucks because I’ve got a real sweet tooth for pastries, pancakes, waffles, etc. Just can’t do it anymore except in really small servings occasionally as a treat.


  4. F1: The American desert breakfast has the advantage of generally being easier to fit into the hectic American lifestyle except for pancakes and waffles. Non-desert breakfasts require more prep time and clean up time. If you have to leave your house by eight to get the office by nine, good luck with that. While people strictly don’t need to eat breakfast, many people are hungry in the morning. They don’t want to wait until lunch or a snack to eat.

    F2: How did late 19th century Americans expect food to get to their tables without waiters?

    F5: Patrick posted an interesting twitter thread from Sarah Taber that pointed out that societies that have meatless diets had two things in common. They were in very wet areas and they were intensely hierarchical so the elites could easily enforce vegetarianism on the faces. Places that were drier and more egalitarian had more meat based diets.

    F6: People who live with a wide variety of dining options often forget that many places really lack them. Chain restaurants like the Olive Garden grew popular because they provided a bit of variety at affordable prices. They were also more sanitary than the local restaurants many times.

    F7: Indeed.


  5. F1: I suspect my daily bowl of oatmeal with a handful of dark chocolate chips is not quite as bad for me as I worry about.

    F4: I suspect there are some dieticians and others who won’t be happy until we never eat anything at all sweet. (I like to try to limit sugar intake, and I like stevia okay in some things. Aspartame gives me headaches and splenda upsets my stomach, and sorbitol and the other sugar alcohols – well, you don’t want to be in the same room as me after I’ve eaten them, and I also need a clear path to the bathroom….)

    F8: maybe not everyone? I find that the new “calorie count” things have the effect of making me go, “Okay….I’ll have the plain unsweet tea and….maybe the small salad?” It’s sucked a lot of the fun out of going to a restaurant. I mean, on balance I’m probably physically healthier for it, but am I mentally healthier? (And restaurants need to offer a reduced portion size for those of us who have to watch our food intake. I know, I know, but I can’t always wrap up half of it to go, not on a 95 degree summer day when I have three other errands to run afterward)


  6. F1: Who needs breakfast when there is coffee? Seriously, most of the examples given are liable to make me vomit if served before 11 am.


    • I felt kind of like that about the options given on the high-protein diets I looked at. I can manage some mild carbohydrates (like plain yogurt or porridge) early in the morning, but a plate of eggs and bacon? Hork. I have to save egg dishes for lunch or dinner.

      Funny how different people are.


    • Some of those look pretty gross in general – cheesecake pancakes? I’m not eating that at any time of day.

      I tell you who has two thumbs and definitely needs breakfast though… I wouldn’t be fit to talk to by 10 AM without breakfast. Usually I’ve eaten my lunch by 11 and need to get a snack by 2 or 3.


  7. F4 – I’m pretty sure the real health advantage of “natural” sweeteners (that are sugar based, so not including stevia) – maple syrup, honey, agave, etc. – is just that they’re blasted expensive, so we use less of them.

    If I’m making a cake, I can throw in an extra cup of sugar and I’ve added, what, 15c to the cost of the cake? If I’m sweetening it with honey because it’s “natural” and therefore somehow better – an extra cup of honey is several dollars. I’m more likely to make it less sweet, maybe add more spices instead.


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