Posts Tagged ‘diet’
While Duke Ellington is rightly revered as the extraordinary musician and composer that he was, he was known among his friends almost as prominently for his appetites. As frequent sideman Tricky Sam Nanton said, “he’s a genius, all right, but Jesus, how he eats!”
Ellington was happy to share his gourmand enthusiasms. In a 1944 interview (recounted in Lapham’s Quarterly) he reminisces…
There’s a place in Chicago, the Southway Hotel, that’s got the best cinnamon rolls and the best filet mignon in the world. Then there’s Ivy Anderson’s chicken shack in Los Angeles, where they have hot biscuits with honey and very fine chicken-liver omelets. In New Orleans there’s gumbo filé. I like it so well that I always take a pail of it out with me when I leave. In New York I send over to the Turf Restaurant at Forty-ninth and Broadway a couple of times a week to get their broiled lamb chops. I guess I’m a little freakish with lamb chops. I prefer to eat them in the dressing room, where I have plenty of room and can really let myself go. In Washington, at Harrison’s, they have deviled crab and Virginia ham. They’re terrific things. On the Île-de-France, when we went to Europe, they had the best crêpes Suzette in the world, and it took a dozen at a time to satisfy me. The Café Royal, in the Hague, has the best hors d’oeuvres in the world—eighty-five different kinds, and it takes a long time to eat some of each. There’s a place in Paris that has the best octopus soup. And oh, my, the smorgasbord in Sweden! At Old Orchard Beach, Maine, I got the reputation of eating more hot dogs than any man in America. A Mrs. Wagner there makes a toasted bun that’s the best of its kind in America. She has a toasted bun, then a slice of onion, then a hamburger, then a tomato, then melted cheese, then another hamburger, then a slice of onion, more cheese, more tomato, and then the other side of the bun. Her hot dogs have two dogs to a bun. I ate thirty-two one night…
* Duke Ellington
As we Take the A Train, we might recall that it was on this date in 1937 that the first animated-cartoon electric sign display in the U.S. was lit by its designer, Douglas Leigh, on the front of a building on Broadway in Times Square. It used 2,000 bulbs, and its four-minute show included a cavorting horse a ball tossing cats. Leigh, who went on to design such famous billboards as the Eight O’Clock Coffee sign (with a coffee pot that was, literally, steaming) and the Camel Cigarette sign (that blew smoke rings), became know as “The Man Who Lit Up New York.” While his signs are now gone, his lighting of the Empire State Building (Leigh was also a pioneer in the illumination of city skylines and buildings) survives; and his large illuminated snowflake is still hung at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street every holiday season.
Daily diets very considerably around the world; so, then, do their caloric contents. This interactive graphic from National Geographic breaks it down in a way that makes comparison– country to country, and any country to the world as a whole– easy and clear.
It’s fascinating to observe that the average for the world has risen nearly 30% in the last 50 years, to a level that’s roughly commensurate with the recommended calorie intake for an adult man; as users will see, averages for the U.S. and other developed countries are well above that… Expert opinion on the rise in obesity in the U.S. (and many other nations) is conflicted; still, it’s interesting to note the correlation.
* W.C. Fields
As we pass on the side of bacon, we might pause to note that, while there’s no clarity as to its origin, there’s wide agreement that today is National Bagel and Lox Day, a celebration of the quintessential Jewish-American “sandwich” once found only in New York delis, but now universally popular. Bagels originated in Poland in the early 17th century. Jewish families often ate bagels on Saturday evenings at the conclusion of the Sabbath, perhaps because the they could be baked very quickly. Lox is an entirely American invention. It became a popular sandwich filling in the mid 1800s when the transcontinental railroad began shipping barrels of brined salmon to the East Coast.
Surely coincidentally, today is also National Toothache Day. Some believe the celebration can be traced to the founding of the Hersey Corporation on February 9, 1894. But others (including your correspondent) reckon that it is related to St. Apollonia, the Patroness of Toothaches, whose feast day is today.
We’re skating into that time year… the onslaught of celebratory meals and Holiday parties that promise to test our waistbands. But help– or at least a nagging caution– is at hand. The app Calorific uses simple, pastel images to reveal how much of virtually any food adds up to 200 calories.
From God’s condiment…
…to rabbit food…
More at “What 200 Calories of Every Food Looks Like.”
* Erma Bombeck
As we go down for the count, we might send well-digested birthday greetings to William Beaumont; he was born on this date in 1785. An American army surgeon, Beaumont was the first person to observe and study human digestion as it occurs in the stomach. As a young medic stationed on Mackinac Island in Michigan, Beaumont was asked to treat a shotgun wound “more than the size of the palm of a man’s hand” (as Beaumont wrote). The patient, Alexis St. Martin, survived, but was left with a permanent opening into his stomach from the outside. Over the next few years, Dr. Beaumont used this crude fistula to sample gastric secretions. He identified hydrochloric acid as the principal agent in gastric juice and recognized its digestive and bacteriostatic functions. Many of his conclusions about the regulation of secretion and motility remain valid to this day.
The soaring popularity of a fat-rich fad diet has depleted stocks of butter in Norway creating a looming Christmas culinary crisis. Norwegians have eaten up the country’s entire stockpile of butter, partly as the result of a “low-carb” diet sweeping the Nordic nation which emphasizes a higher intake of fats.
“Sales all of a sudden just soared, 20 percent in October then 30 percent in November,” said Lars Galtung, the head of communications at TINE, the country’s biggest farmer-owned cooperative.
A wet summer which reduced the quality of animal feed and cut milk output by 25 million litres had already limited supplies and the shortage has led some pundits to suggest the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter offer some of its plentiful fuel supply in exchange for butter…
Ironically, just across the narrow channel that separates the two countries, Denmark– the region’s dairy powerhouse– is positively swimming in butter. But as Norway demurred on the EU, painfully high import duties keep Danish butter out of reach… at least for now: Butter is now selling on Norway’s top auction website, with a 250-gram piece starting at around $13 (8.28 pounds), roughly four times its normal price. And as Galtung notes, “Norwegians are not afraid of natural fats, they love their butter and cream.”
Don’t we all…
As we spread it thin, we might spare a thought for a man who would have been horrified by the Norwegian’s flight from carbs to calories– physician and health-food pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, who died on this date in 1943, aged 91. For 62 years before his death, Kellogg operated a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan that was run along holistic lines: a vegetarian, he advocated low calorie diets and developed peanut butter, granola, and toasted cereals; he warned that smoking caused lung cancer decades before this link was studied; and he was an early advocate of exercise. For all that, he is surely best remembered, for having developed corn flakes (with his brother Will, who went on to sweeten and commercialize them).
“People who use big forks eat less compared with diners who use small forks…” All three courses of the explanation are at LiveScience.
As we super-size our cutlery, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that over 700 million television viewers worldwide watched Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Medical authorities recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day– about 1,000 mg less than the average American actually ingests– lest one suffer high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and/or exercise-induced asthma.
From the folks at Rodale and Men’s Health, a cautionary guide to restaurant entrees across our heavily-salted nation: “30 Saltiest Foods in America.” Number 1? An offering that’s no slouch when it comes to calories and fat content, but that is an undisputed champion in the sodium sweepstakes:
P.F. Chang’s Wok Charred Beef
10,045 milligrams sodium
30 g fat (15 g saturated)
Sodium Equivalent = 31 Slabs of Hormel Canadian Style Bacon
Here are a few things with less salt than this sodium-sunk beef blowout: 244 Saltine crackers, 40 bags of Funyuns, 175 cups of Newman’s Butter popcorn, and 28 orders of McDonald’s large French fries.
As we aspire to life above the salt, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that Alice B. Toklas moved in with– and became the life-long house mate of– Gertrude Stein. Together, they turned their Parisian home at 22 rue de Fleurus into an artistic and literary salon, where they entertained Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald, among many others.
Toklas and Stein in the Piazza San Marco, Venice (source: Beinecke Library, Yale)