Food Smarts

The same day that I bought In Winter’s Kitchen, I also picked up Culinary Intelligence. The first page really seduced me, and so I when I brought it home and I surprised to find that the first page was completely unlike the rest of the book. Also, I’d come across this same book (with a different cover) a dozen times in the library and was turned off as I flipped through by the pompous writing of an overly confident man. “I’m so famous… I know so many famous people… I’m so smart… blah blah blah” But, I had already shelled out the money and dangnabbit I was going to get my money’s worth!


Honestly, I did learn a bit, which I wanted to share below. But, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. Consider yourself warned! Mwahaha.

Eating healthy:

-Check the label when buying multigrain bread. The first ingredient should be “whole grain”.

-Hard durum-semiola wheat pasta is processed slower than pasta made with white refined flour. Also, when you cook pasta “al dente”, it is more slowly absorbed into the blood stream and less of a spike in blood sugar.

-Potatoes can actually spike your blood sugar more than pure cane sugar.

-For most of our time on the planet, humans have drank water and their mother’s milk. Any other beverages that we consume are extra calories that our bodies didn’t acclimate to until fairly recently.

-The boundary of peak flavor is about 150 miles. That’s enough time for a fresh fruit or veggie to be picked and transported all in a days work.

-Nothing naturally eats corn because there is no wild form in nature.

-Freezing fish turns the natural proteins into mush, rendering it textureless and tasteless to eat.

-Look for the words “local” and “wild” on your fish, to ensure that they are in season.


-Spicy heat isn’t a taste, it’s an activation of pain sensors on the tongue.

-The flavor of bitter warns humans that the food can sicken or kill us, but many foods, coffee, chocolate, red wine all add bitter flavors to keep the palate sharp.

-Texture is an important part of eating, but provides no taste. For example, the most memorable part of a potato chip is the crunch.

-When your teeth cut through the meat and you exhale is the moment when you’re actually tasting the food because the aromas and the tastes mix.

Eating out:

-Melted cheese adds the most calories to Americas fast food diets.

-Creole (New Orleans) cooking is a mix of African, French and Spanish cooking while Cajun is a direct descendant of French cooking.

-Typically Italians eat about 2 ounces, 6 or 7 forkfuls, of pasta per meal. Most restaurants double, triple of even quadruple this.

-Disheartened by fast food options while on the road? Look for ethnic options when you are traveling. Most of the time they haven’t adapted to processed foods and they use fresh ingredients that they recognize from home. In farm communities this is usually Latino food, but even in some cities you will find this, for example there’s a large Vietnamese population in New Orleans.

-In good restaurants, the house red and white wines should be just a good as their other selections.

-Switching out mashed potatoes or a baked potato (which are usually full of butter and salted) ask for vegetables instead.

-Your waiter will usually push getting a dessert because it can take up 15% of the bill, but with flour, sugar and eggs, it costs the restaurant almost nothing to make.


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