FLOG: The Foodiness Blog

Episode: 95

Knowledge Isn’t Necessarily Power


On this episode of “Let’s Get Real”…I’ve decided its time to make a big announcement, other than the announcement that LGR is now airing live at 1:00 pm, instead of the 6:30 time slot where this show and my previous show, “Why We Cook” have lived for the past 5 years almost to the day. That’s the minor announcement, but a very important one, because if you miss the live show each week, how will you ever hear it again? Maybe you can set up a tape recorder by the radio and have your mom push the record button at 12:59 when she’s finishing the housework, before “All my Children” comes on at 1pm? That’s what I would do, if I were you. Get her to do it then, before her first valium of the day kicks in. Maybe one day, we’ll have technology that’ll allow us to tape things off of TV and radio at set times, that’d be awesome. until then, make sure you punch the little tabs out of the cassette tape so your sister doesn’t tape America’s top 40 over your shows.

But that’s not it. that’s not the big announcement. Now don’t get all excited, I’m not pregnant or joining the Navy or anything. It’s more like an announcement of a realization. or an enlightenment, or something like that. I’ve come to the realization, that after all this talking and reading and learning and figuring stuff out; about food, and nutrition and health and everything, that it turns out that A. we still don’t really know what we’re supposed to eat, and B. Nobody really knows anything. Including me.

Now by we, I mean Americans. Because we are so young, as a culture and a country, and we’re made of immigrants, who brought a thousand different food cultures to this country and then had them watered down into laughable pale imitations of themselves, (hello Olive Garden?) and didn’t look back toward home for cues but instead left our nutritional and health needs dangling, vulnerable and susceptible to the great American invention of Big Food/Big Ag, ie: the clever guys who brought us not only billions of pounds of surplus grains and sugars and oils, but then invented a million ways to feed that stuff to us, whether directly, in products, or indirectly, in animal feed. you know the guys who invented commodity agriculture, the USDA food pyramid nightmare, fast food, junk food, and Foodiness™

Before them, and all that, In other, older cultures, like in Europe and Asia, you had thousands of years of food culture behind you. You ate your traditional diet which was based on what grew around you. Whether it was based on seal blubber and dried berries or coconut fat and chilies, it worked for you because it was real food, and a hundred generations had eaten it. Sure, foods moved around the globe due to trade and exploration and colonization, but they were still foods. The spanish may have brought pigs to the new world and brought chilies to Southeast Asia, but the ballast of their returning ships wasn’t made up of pallets of Snickerdoodle flavored Chex Mix. (it was actually made of people, like in Soylent Green but still alive, but that’s another show)

Episode: 94

Who’s Been Feeding Eggs To The Cadbury Bunny


The spring holidays have ended, the last bit of stale matzo has been choked down, and we can all go back to eating bread again, although I never stop eating bread at Passover. In fact, I probably ate MORE bread last week then I normally do any other week. Not out of spite or internalized anti-semitism or anything, just total coincidence. Why should that week be any different from any other week? It’s not like I’m suddenly becoming observant at 46.

Or, maybe you ate your weight in jellybeans and peeps and Cadbury crème eggs, and now all that’s left of your Easter basket is a litter of wrappers and those useless, spurned black jelly beans and some plastic grass. Either way, we’re done for a good long time with the last set of chronologically-coinciding major religious holidays that revolve around symbolic foods, until we get back to the next major chronologically coinciding religious holidays that revolve around food again in December, so let’s all take a moment to enjoy this break. And recover. And reflect. And eat some eggs. Yeah, some eggs. Whole eggs. Yolks and all, dammit!

Eggs are the universal symbol of spring, Easter, and Passover. And also the poster child for misguided fat phobia and cholesterol terrorism. But now is the time to put a stop to all that, right here, right now. So today, on “Let’s Get Real”, it’s the spring egg fling, where we visit my younger, more tanned, candy-loving self and also re-write the Ten Commandments. Wait what? You’ll just have to listen to the episode to see how I tie all that together.

Episode: 93

I can’t make up my mind because I’m having an ice-cream-flavored-iced-coffee headache


Sigh…Decisions, decisions. I’m starting a support group for people with CID. Chronic Indecisiveness Disorder. I totally have it, along with Orthorexia, of course. I agonize over decisions every day. Like should I eat my breakfast quinoa with an egg, nori and turmeric, or with ricotta, pumpkin seeds and aleppo chili? Or should I wear light or medium-weight wool running socks? Such problems… I wonder if my poor dead grandma, who risked everything to save her family as they fled Nazi-occupied Europe thought, “I’m doing this so that someday my granddaughter can stand in a Whole Foods and suffer a momentary breakdown over which species of fish she should buy”?

But I’m a chef, and I talk and write about food for a living so I know a lot. Maybe too much. I have an edge, and also a handicap. I see through the bullsh*t, the marketing, the greenwashing that the food business tries to trick us with, especially the Foodiness business. But I’m also a victim of over-information, I get stuck. I feel bi-polar sometimes. I want to be free and easy and say to myself, “yeah, it’s cool, just eat real food and nothing processed and you’ll be fine” and saying, “there is almost nothing safe enough or sustainably raised enough or nutritious enough, and what am I going to eat?” That’s my personal version of American food bi-polar-ness.

I guess it’s better than the one that is exploding at the chain restaurants these days, as they try to respond to criticism about their products, and market research that says Americans want “healthier” foods on the menu. (But they really don’t) Like Dunkin Donuts introducing ice cream flavored iced coffee and marshmallow peeps donuts, the same week they start selling brewed, iced green tea. Hmm, which do we think will sell? That’s what I call bi-polar America. We want it, we don’t want it! Like a bunch of three-year olds, throwing a tantrum because we can, and we’re three. And we want the pink donut with the yellow peep on top!

So in this episode, “I can’t make up my mind because I’m having an ice-cream-flavored-iced-coffee headache” I get real about all this, and so much more.

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