various thoughts on food

Julie's coming over tonight and we're making dinner together. She's going to lend me her experience and show me the right way to make risotto. We're planning on using a recipe for risotto from Epicurious as a template.

I'm used to being the font of trivia and odd information in a relationship but that isn't the case here. Julie has mentioned so many things that I'd never heard of before in the two brief weeks that we've been dating that I'm starting to believe that she just makes things up! A case in point happened last night while talking on the phone. Julie said that in the past certain people, referred to as mellified men, had diets composed of only honey so that after they die, other people could eat them. Ewwww!

Here's a little bit of the Wiki article on it: says in Arabia there are men 70 to 80 years old who are willing to give their bodies to save others. The subject does not eat food, he only bathes and partakes of honey. After a month he only excretes honey (the urine and feces are entirely honey) and death follows. His fellow men place him in a stone coffin full of honey in which he macerates. The date is put upon the coffin giving the year and month. After a hundred years the seals are removed.
Now to me that just smacks of urban legend, at least the 12th century version of it. But while I don't believe the story at all, it does make for an interested aside. Good for using at a cocktail hour while someone else is eating. :-)

Speaking of great cocktail conversation, Michael Ruhlman's famous book, The Making of a Chef is being released in a new edition. I loved that book and it's tales of mastering food prep at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and accounts of several, at that time, up and coming chefs who are famous in their own right now. Well worth reading as are also Ruhlman's other books on the culinary theme. No recipes for Mellified Man in there but he does include too much information on organ meats and charcuterie. **shudder** Still, lots of fodder in that book for small talk with other foodies.

Yet another study has come out, this one from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stating that sweetened drinks, particularly soda, are more likely to cause weight gain than solid foods.

I find those studies odd because with me it's the other way around. I usually have a high sugar diet---lots of candy and soda---and usually don't gain much weight. Since I've gotten into cooking, I find that those weeks that I fix up tasty foods are also weeks in which I gain weight. Cutting soda out of my diet, on the other hand, never seems to result in any weight loss. Odd.


kenju said…
That honey story sounds like just another way to get 30 virgins in Heaven after they die....LOL
tiff said…
Must research these mellifed men. They sound sweet.
Teresa said…
I kind of agree with you about that honey guy.... seems like a waste of good honey!

As for the sugary drink study: I tend to distrust "studies" anyway because it's easiest to find something when you are looking for it, etc. etc. But I don't think there's a correlation between gaining weight by consuming something and losing weight by not consuming the same item. Otherwise, we'd all lose weight as easily as we gain it. It doesn't work that way -- I'm not sure why, but it doesn't! You gain weight when you consume more calories than you burn. (that's another study I recently read about -- it doesn't matter what the eating plan, it all comes down to input and output of calories. Some -- including me to an extent -- dispute this) So, unless you are lessening your beverage calories when you eat more tasty food, you should gain weight.

However, the sugary beverage theory has merit to the extent that a lot of people do get hungry on high carb diets. There's initial satisfaction but as blood sugars spike and drop so does hunger and you are likely to eat when you shouldn't -- and not necessarily good choices on the spare of the moment. Then there's the artificial sweetener cause, but I'll stop here.

Enjoy your dinner. I'm glad she's giving you some mental stimulation. :-)

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