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Category: food history

Dr. Mark Hyman: Here’s How the Food Pyramid Should Look – EcoWatch

Dr. Mark Hyman: Here’s How the Food Pyramid Should Look – EcoWatch


Dr. Hyman came up with his own Food Pyramid, to help you make healthier food choices.

Source: Dr. Mark Hyman: Here’s How the Food Pyramid Should Look – EcoWatch

The Food Pyramid may be the single worst thing to happen to health in America. As Dr. Mark Hyman explains,

At the base of the pyramid were carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates like breads, pasta, rice and cereals, of which we were told to eat six to 11 servings a day.

These carbohydrates break down to sugar, which gets stored in your body as fat. In addition to the 152 pounds of sugar we eat every year, we’re getting 146 pounds of flour that also breaks down into sugar. Altogether, that’s nearly a pound of sugar and flour combined for every American, every day! That’s a pharmacologic dose of sugar.

We were also told told to cut out as much fat as possible, including healthy fats. But our bodies and our brains require fat to function properly. And, instead of going for foods that are naturally low in fats, people went straight for the low-fat and “fat-free” substitutes that food manufacturers were more than happy to supply.

And what’s wrong with low fat and fat free versions? Well, for starters, they have to replace the fat with something to maintain texture and flavor. Those replacements are typical sugar, salt, and other additives that you don’t want in your food.

If you don’t want to go read the article, you can watch the video.

Asparagus & Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus & Hollandaise Sauce

Another from the Valentine’s Day, 2006 issue.

In 19th-century France, bridegrooms were fed three courses of asparagus because of its reputation for igniting passions.

Steam asparagus just until tender (less than 10 minutes). Serve topped with Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise Sauce

3 egg yolks
Butter, 2 sticks, melted, cooled to room temperature
Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
Salt, ½ teaspoon
Cayenne pepper, dash

In the upper section of the double boiler (before heating) stir egg yolks with a wire whisk until well-blended. Do not beat. Heat water in the bottom section to a simmer, constantly stirring the egg yolks. When the eggs become thick (like heavy cream) add butter while stirring. Add lemon juice while stirring. Remove from heat and add salt and cayenne. If the sauce separates don’t throw it out! Pour it into another container, clean the top of your double boiler, and start over using the sauce you have already made in place of the egg yolks.

Tortellini Alfredo – The Bellybutton of Venus

Tortellini Alfredo – The Bellybutton of Venus

Also from the Valentine’s Day, 2006 issue.

Tortellini means bellybutton of Venus. Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, was to rendezvous with Jupiter at an inn. Venus arrived first and was waiting in their room. The chef heard of her arrival, peaked through the keyhole into her room, and saw her lying partially covered on the bed. He was so inspired by the sight of her navel that he rushed to the kitchen and created the stuffed pasta in its image.

Tortellini, cooked

Butter, 1 stick
Garlic, as much as you can stand to peel and slice
Half and half, 1 pint
Parmesan, 6-8 oz
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter on medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add half and half and bring up to hot but DO NOT BOIL, whisking constantly. When half and half is hot add parmesan slowly, whisking constantly, it should melt pretty quickly. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat. Combine tortellini and
Alfredo sauce in bowl or serving dish.

Casanova Macaroni?

Casanova Macaroni?

I read a book review of a biography of Casanova that happened to mention that, “he liked his macaroni sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.”

That set me on a mission. I wanted to know how this was prepared. Macaroni by itself, even sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, will just dry out. So was it prepared with butter? Was it macaroni and cheese sprinkled with the goodness? What was it?

I pondered, I Googled, I asked my email groups, I beat my head into the monitor until bits of brain and LED goo were splattered all over the walls (OK, I made that last one up, but that’s what it felt like!), and finally I found some leads on what might possibly replicate the elusive dish.

Here is what I finally found:
The Food Journal (page 3)
Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food

So, working on limited time and a limited budget, I decided to give it a go, totaling faking it at the last minute mostly with what I had on hand and making a quick run to the grocery store (about ½ mile away at most) for some gnocchi.

I’ve never made a better, spur of the moment, bad decision in my life (OK, I probably have, but that’s none of your business!). Based on what I gleaned from these recipes here is what I created:

2 cups milk
16 oz package gnocchi
8oz medium cheddar (grated)
½ stock butter

Preheat oven to 350. Heat milk to just boiling. Meanwhile, sprinkle bottom of baking dish with cheese, cinnamon, and sugar. Add gnocchi to heated milk and simmer or warm for 3 minutes. Do not drain. Spoon about half of the gnocchi and milk on top of cheese mixture. Top as evenly as possible with pats of butter. Top with cheese, cinnamon, and sugar. Add the rest of the gnocchi and milk. Top with pats of butter and cheese, cinnamon, and sugar again. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

It was so good!!!

Next time I plan to use a more appropriate hard cheese and top it with braised meat, as suggested. From my reading, the milk can be left out when meat is served on top.

Unlike most dishes, this did not improve after sitting overnight. It was best the first day and made for mediocre leftovers which required salting, which was not necessary on the fresh serving.

In my research I learned that, at one time (in the 1500’s), pasta was almost always heavily sweetened, and that cinnamon was a common spice to add to pasta dishes. The interesting thing about that is that we now know that cinnamon helps the body properly metabolize sugar and may even help with some types of diabetes.

The recipes I found seem to be from the 1500’s. Casanova lived in the 1700’s. I still want to know exactly what it was he was eating!