Now Rice Is Dangerous? (Food Cop)

Napoleon Dynamite: The Game

Napoleon Dynamite: The Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet again, another startling report of a “safe and healthy” food proclaimed: DANGEROUS.” Yes, you heard me, it’s in the news, on television, probably messing up everybody’s head that RICE is very risky for your health. Why? ARSENIC.  Arsenic? Oh yes, they say calmly, everything from baby food, to rice cakes, to white rice and more importantly, brown rice. BROWN RICE, you know, the healthy kind. Well, the kind that we USED to think was healthy. Nope, not anymore.(Probably never was either.)

What about eggs? Where do we stand on those “incredible, edible eggs” now? Because first eating eggs was just fine, then the yolks were bad for you and they told us that they should be limited and some people were all “I”ll have an egg white omelette with onions and red peppers, hold the toast and potatoes please” then after that it went back to the egg yolks were an essential part of a healthy diet and you really could eat at least 2-3 eggs a week, guilt-free and be super-healthy with antioxidants and all that. I have no idea what the most recent statement of the egg industry is, (I did look it up but it seems to be controversial and different depending on what country you live in) and I really don’t care. Now, organic food is not that much better (if at all) than regular (tell that to all the moms and dads and granola crunching people who have spent fortunes on places like Organic Only stores (you know which stores I’m talking about.)

First, people tell us to not to eat red meat (I eat it sparingly) then the say pork is the”other white meat” (who believes that?) I pretend to believe that but I really don’t, that leaves chicken and fish. If I could, I’d be happy with a small tub of egg salad (I know, I know) and some multi-grain (Oh, wait, have we gone back to Wonder Bread yet, because I’m waiting for that one) or “Potato Bread (how dissimilar is that?) and I’m perfectly happy.

I’m tired of people, agencies, telling us things AFTER THE FACT. CAN’T THEY GET THINGS RIGHT THE FIRST TIME? Apparently not. Here is my theory: eat what you want, in moderation. Have fruit, vegetables, a little meat or chicken, (take note of the rice dilemma) some really good multi-grain bread and a small dessert so you don’t binge later (guilty as charged.) Allow yourself a snack (a small cup of cereal, or fruit or both if you are hungry later in the evening). Done.

I say to hell with it all. Napoleon Dynamite had the right idea. Forget rice, replace with tater tots. Tots. I grew up on tater tots, as did my children. Try to forget about  the hysteria they spew on television and in the news. Do what feels right for your body. Me? I’m trying hard to give up diet soda because of all the nasty chemicals in it and it is not easy. I’ve tried to drink water with lemon instead but it doesn’t make me happy. Here’s a tip, don’t get freaked out immediately like “yours truly” allow yourself some slack, eat things in moderation and always, and I mean always, eat a small dessert.

I gave my diabetic mother a present the other day, sugar-free Oreos, even I could handle diabetes with that!

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Plinky Prompt: (see below)

  • The Gerber Baby.

    The Gerber Baby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    What food did you love as a child that you no longer care for?

  • This is a wee (no pun intended) bit embarrassing. All the mushy children’s food that I loved as a child I still love now. Yep, that’s me. I’m 55 going on 5 and proud of it. Cottage cheese and Gerber’s peaches (dipped not swirled) only led to further adventures into Gerber’s expanded flavors like fruit blend or applesauce. Cottage cheese in one dish, tiny spoon and dip into the Gerber’s jar, delicious. Haven’t had it in a while so thank you for the reminder. By the way the name of this coveted dish is called “Larry.” Apparently, I ate this gourmet meal first at a friend’s house named, of course, Larry. Thus, the meal and my love was born. When my children were little I thought they would love it too but no, they didn’t. It didn’t matter at all, I just ate it instead of them. On my next trip to the grocery store, “Larry” will be on my list. Don’t judge until you have tried it, it’s great. PS I still like chocolate milk, Kraft (individual slices) American Cheese sandwiches on bread with butter, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and egg salad (without a trace of the dreaded egg-shell included.) The only thing I don’t eat anymore (sigh) is Wonder Bread but honestly, I have no doubt that I would still love that soft, cottony goodness. It’s been replaced by multi-grain bread because I’m supposed to be a grown-up!

How I Stay Healthy??????

Considered a father of Western medicine, Hippo...

Image via Wikipedia

Give Us A Break……

There’s a fundamental mistake here: you are assuming I am healthy and I’m not. Along with thousands upon thousands of other patients I have a chronic pain disease and an auto-immune disease (not to mention others: IBS, narrow angled glaucoma, interstitial cystitis, painful and swollen joints, flare ups and….oh, is that too much? Because I could continue and I could also go blind instantly but that’s another post altogether.

First off, I am really not complaining just commenting and venting. “It is what it is” and it could be a lot worse: pain is not life threatening so I am grateful for that. TRULY. However, Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders ARE extremely painful (and no it is NOT in our minds.) That is totally insulting. Also, there is little to relieve the pain, at best, and certainly no cure. Live with it? Not comforting. If this affected more men than women you bet there would be more research and no tiptoeing around about pain medication. The latest information frenzy that has all chronic pain patients up in arms (and my mother who saw a show on TV!) is that doctors and the media now are becoming increasingly hysterical about dispensing pain medication to THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN PAIN.

To me, it’s idiotic. I have a Doctor who writes prescriptions for Vicodin like they are gummy bears, lots of gummy bears, but when I tell him I have taken one and it doesn’t seem to help the pain, he insists it’s the only pain reliever he can dispense. Does that make any sense to you? Because, Vicodin itself is highly addictive and he writes prescriptions for them all the time YET he won’t write a prescription for half the amount for something different, like, I don’t know, Tylenol with Codeine? What am I missing here? A different class of pain killers? I am not swallowing pain killers for a high, I have tried Vicodin (one pill) on two separate occasions when I was in dire pain. It. Did. Not. Work.

I’m beginning to feel like the chronic pain community should an old-fashioned revolution. All the patients talk about it but I don’t think all of us have spoken directly to the doctors about it. I have but it does no good. Do you know why other patients are reluctant to be honest and I don’t blame them? Because we have to deal with the raised eyebrow, and the ‘are you a junkie quizzical smirk.’ I want to find a Doctor that HAS Fibromyalgia and see what they say!!

Do you think if we have addictive personalities we will misuse codeine and not Vicodin? I KNOW I don’t have an addictive personality, believe me I would have had plenty of opportunities to have one but it’s just not something I would do, want to do or will ever do. Shouldn’t doctors be able to differentiate patients from junkies?

Think about the Hippocratic (Hypocritical?) Oath that says: “First, Do No Harm.” You are causing harm refusing to treat illnesses that are incredibly painful. How about a different warning label? USE ONLY WHEN IN DIRE PAIN. That works! I don’t know anyone personally who would abuse it but I am sure there is a percentage of people who would abuse anything. Don’t punish us, for them. I certainly wouldn’t want to take anything every day if I didn’t need it. My doctor had me on two different medications to prevent pain that didn’t work and I ASKED if I could stop them, he hesitated and I then convinced him and stopped. I WANTED to use as little medication as possible. Frustrating.

In terms of exercise I walk slowly to try to get exercise and if I had the extra thousands of dollars I would probably buy a membership for a gym that has an indoor pool so I could swim but that’s money a lot of us don’t have lying around. My special diet? I usually eat healthy meals, chicken,veggies, salad, pasta, red meat a couple of times every month or two. However, my special chronic pain diet, for comfort since there is no pain relief usually involves Cadbury Creme Eggs, Yodels and Egg Salad Sandwiches. Sometimes comfort, even though it is not a pain reliever, might just make you feel a little bit better emotionally since no one is trying to help us physically.

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DINERS (A Foodie Blog)

Diner in Colorado Springs.

Image via Wikipedia

There are many reasons to love living in New York but one of  the most important, to me, are diners. I wish I was kidding. We lived in Boston for many years and as adorable as the city is, they lack traditional diners. Huge, flashing signs, mirrors showing off svelte/swelled bodies, booths and knowing you can get whatever you want at any time, day or night, 24/7.

Diners are PERFECT for different taste sensations and choices. You can go to a diner (sometimes called coffee shop) and order pancakes at dinnertime or a gyro at 3am. (Gyro: a Greek dish featuring  lamb or chicken, sliced thinly off of a huge vat with spices stuffed in a big pita pocket and topped with a Greek salad, chunks of sweaty, salty, white feta cheese, hold the olives please, oh and the green peppers.) You want lamb, we have that too, a BLT with cheese, coming right up.

There are easily 300 choices and if you don’t see it on the menu, you either don’t want it or you can ask for it and they will make it for you. You can mix and match and yes, even if you want the fruit cup instead of the french fries and have to add a couple of bucks (some diners are strict) it’s still okay. You want breakfast at midnight? No problem, order the scrambled eggs and bacon or the Belgium waffle, or the pancakes (regular or whole wheat) with chocolate chips or blueberries or both. Feel like something upscale? Eggs Benedict or an egg white omelette with grilled asparagus and red peppers. Your child will only eat grilled cheese and fries? That is always available for the little guys (and the big guys too.)

For an international flare I’ve had spinach burritos stuffed with chopped meat, mozzarella cheese and spices, with rice, avocados and sour cream. Do you miss the comfort of Thanksgiving? Have it on a hot day in July: the open-faced turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce and thick brown gravy served with velvety mashed potatoes. Potato pancakes with applesauce? Sure. Fried clam strips, no problem, eggplant parmigian with roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce served with a Caesar salad? Of course. Falafel and humus, gourmet salads, a wrap, a crêpe, a hard poppy-seed roll, blueberry muffin and…..well I could go on forever but that’s my point. The menus are endless and you get great quality at a cheap price.

Caution: leave room for dessert because diners are also known for their variety of pies: blueberry pie, lemon meringue pie, apple pie… and cakes: chocolate mousse cake, vanilla coconut cake, rainbow cookie cake, cheesecake, chocolate layer cake with nuts or without. They also have large cookies as big as salad plates with your choice of sprinkles, sugar, chocolate chips, oatmeal raisin, and black and whites. Your wish is their delight. Most places have three-tiered revolving dessert cases, talk about joy. Standing there watching your mouth-watering favorites spin around slowly.

Ever see the beverage section of a diner? That in itself is special. For me the egg creams (no, sigh, there are no eggs in egg creams, just seltzer, syrup and milk) it’s the amount of each that is so important! They also have milkshakes, malteds, ice cream sodas, regular and diet sodas (free refills at some places) lemonade, iced tea, and a whole page of alcoholic selections with funny, frou-frou names.

Can’t figure out a place where all the family members can agree? The answer, of course, is a diner. Gather some quarters, put them in the music box, listen to the tinny sound of The Beatles or Arrowsmith and have fun. When you go up to pay your bill, be ready to see a free cookie tray or chocolate covered mints to “thank you for coming” as you leave. By the way, the portions are so large that you never need to feel ashamed of asking for a doggie bag; at a diner, it’s delightfully de rigueur.

Mint Chip Ice Cream Does So Taste Like Toothpaste…..( A Crazy Foodie Blog)

Crest MultiCare Whitening toothpaste

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight I had left-over pizza for dinner. It was dry, it had that too- long- in -the- refrigerator smell and the fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil disappeared. I warmed it up but nothing changed. I had to make it taste better, we were out of food so I did what I have done since college (yes, I have witnesses) I put jam on my pizza. We only had Dominoes pizza way back then ( don’t worry, Dominoes, I’m sure your pizza is better now.) I was out of luck,I did not have Welchs’ grape jelly at home. I knew there MUST be something to help me out.  Two minutes later, I saw it gleaming and sitting on the side of the refrigerator door practically winking with a come-hither look.  A jar of peach preserves sat unopened. It gave the pizza the texture it needed and if I closed my eyes it was like eating French bread with jam. Thank you for saving my dinner.

There are questions that are just unanswerable: For example: why is it that I love peanut butter but hate peanuts? I don’t like chick peas but I do like hummus.  Could texture be an issue? Keep me far away from raw oysters, mussels or raw tuna. Tuna from a can mixed with celery and mayo does not count since it was YEARS before I associated the canned tuna with  real fish.

I’m s little fussy with my food, I admit it.  I also have the nose of a foxhound and if milk is even contemplating spoiling I sniff it out immediately and throw it away . “Dear Grocery Store Stocker, don’t think you’ll ever fool because I know not to take the product in the front and I check the expiration dates. I am on alert at all times, always saying  out loud “Did you think you could fool me? Amateur!!!!”  So what if I get a couple of weird looks?

I love eggs in any form but if I detect the tiniest bit of egg-shell in my food, crunching in my mouth it takes enormous self-control not to vomit, especially if I am in a restaurant.  IF I have been brave enough to swish it away in my mouth with juice or soda, ( can’t do it with plain water) there is no way that I would eat anymore. Also, if the egg white is not cooked through I can’t eat it (see texture issue). It’s almost as bad as  finding a hair in my food (again, think restaurant) which I think is also appalling. That is why, I sniff and explore my food before my first bite.  I think of myself as having certain food requirements: no egg-shell, spoiled stuff, hair in food, oh, and dead insects.

The last time I had a Greek salad in my favorite tiny Greek restaurant it was served with a dead bee lying right on top. Is it too much to ask that people look at the food before they serve it? I haven’t been back to that restaurant in two years now. I know about the chances of having it happen again but still….This is why when I go to a restaurant I face away from the kitchen. As you can tell,  I did read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and it both saved my life and ruined my life at the same time. Blame him.

What Are YOUR *Fimmels?

A “Fimmel”* is a word  Fred Fessler, (my dad) made up that is defined as “an irritant, an idiosyncrocy, a major annoyance or an  intense dislike.” Depending on the intensity of the fimmel, this could make you angry, vomit, disgusted, nervous, anxious, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a “fimmel” that makes you happy. It’s not used in a positive way. Ever.

I have a fimmel with finding egg shells in my egg salad or scrambled eggs. Once I find a piece of unintended egg shell in egg  salad I cannot, repeat, cannot, physically  continue to eat the sandwich. No how, no where and no way.  Serious gag reflex time. Another “fimmel” of mine is finding someone’s hair in my food. It COULD be mine or it could be the dog’s, the waiter’s, the cook, the sous chef, my daughter, my husband, my son…..you get the idea. I cannot eat another bite of whatever dish was inhabited by that lone ( well we hope it’s lone)  hair.  If I could bottle these two together, I would have a serious diet revolution. Fimmels do NOT necessarily have to be associated with FOOD.

For example, I, have an extreme fimmel with people clipping their nails in public; particularly toe nails.  I still remember the story of an old friend whose work partner sat in his office and clip-clipped his toenails for all for the world to see and hear. The sound alone, in public, makes me want to throw up. This is a fimmel that defies an  accepted social boundary . One just shouldn’t clip your nails in public:  you can’t convince me of one reason unless you are in a Podiatrist’s office.   This story, was told to me about 8-9 years ago and  will not dislodge from my neurotic brain. The sound alone of someone clipping their nails in public puts me way over the edge. It also happened once on the subway about 30 years ago. I still remember it and in addition to utter disgust I find myself furious. Perhaps fimmel is the wrong word for it, it has progressed to an utter dislike of any person that would do it .The mere thought of it makes my blood pressure go up and my stomach to clench in disgust.

I have a germ fimmel that is really a phobia.I have been using Purell way before the H1N1 flu virus came along.  I ALWAYS have a small bottle of Purell in my handbag, a larger container in the car and one, ok, at least one at home. I must come from the same family as Howie Mandel (or is it a Jewish thing?)  The difference between a fimmel and a phobia can be hard to distinguish sometimes. You have to know the person to assess the severity of the problem. One person’s fimmel is another person’s phobia  is another person’s delight. It’s also linked in our minds to a specific situation that may have happened 25 years ago but will not disappear, ever.

I often went out to dinner with my then friend Toby when we lived in Boston. We were single, hard-working and lived in studio apartments that were about the size of half a garage. We went out to eat approximately 3 times a week and that is modest. One night Toby and I went to a restaurant called Cappuchino’s, one of our favorite Italian restaurants.  We ate our meal and of course ordered our  desserts.  Back then in our late twenties, desserts were a given not an exception. Toby had hers served and I had mine and before I could blink Toby stabbed my dessert and ate a piece before I could taste it. This, in our language became “Tobying.”  “Don’t Toby me” is heard often around my house now, a mere 30 years since it actually happeaned. It is one of my children’s favorite stories. However, the phrase will live in infamy. Even distant family members and true friends know the saying. “Tobying” is forever, never forgiven and certainly, never forgotten. Don’t touch my dessert, much less try it first. “Tobying”desserts  should be a punishable offense.

Last but not least is the vomit fimmel. It’s ok if my kids throw up, but not others or those unknown.  Seeing vomit outside on city streets or in an apartment building, basically anywhere , is the leader of the gag pack. If I smell throw-up, I immediately feel like I am going to throw up too. For bad smells anywhere, my mom perfected a quick antidote which she swears by. She always has a small handkerchief doused with her favorite perfume stuck in her pocketbook. I must say, this is pure genius. If only there were simple remedies to fimmels like that. Therapist would be sent packing, there would be a steep decline in the profession and there would be a lot more people, men and women, carrying handkerchiefs filled with sweet perfume.

What are Your fimmels?  Write back and tell me…..