Heeeey, I'm back!* This blog is about how to eat good on bitch money.

*This is a lie.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Free Food, Bad Free Food

Important to know about free food: you shouldn't just accept all of it without regard to propriety and without regard to the quality of the food.

For an example, let's look at my behavior at shrimp tasting last week. I walked into the lab, selected my two cupsful of shrimp and ate them. You don't HAVE to eat the shrimp to taste them. We have chew 'n' spit going on in the tasting lab, especially when there are spawny oysters. But I always eat the proteinaceous free food unless it is clearly septic.

When I was finished with the taste test, I went over and punched the clock. (We don't actually have a clock, but I like to imagine we do--I'd like it to be like the clock in the Warner Bros. cartoon with Ralph and Sam, the coyote and the sheepdog). Near the clock, I noticed a bowlful of crappy supermarket chocolate. Because two of my fellow shrimptasters were having a spirited discussion about one of their co-workers and how she is an idiot and has an idiot boyfriend and how this idiot and her boyfriend, in cahoots with an idiot boss, have managed to fry three+ motherboards in the past year; because, I say, because of this spirited conversation, I was unable to simply walk out of the shrimptasting lab. Instead, I leaned against the wall next to the time clock and ate a wad of crappy supermarket chocolate about the size of a ground squirrel.


Shrimp: Good Free Food
Crappy Melamine Chocolate: BAD Free Food.

Eat Good Free Food
Don't Eat Bad Free Food.


Robin P said...

Partly-good-for-you-hot-chocolate you make yourself: economy version: use powdered milk, just like Uncle Rob does. Better version, more expensive version: whatever kind of milk you like to drink. My hot chocolate is partly good for you because of the milk protein and the 100% cocao powder used (coco is supposed to do things for your blood flow, blah, blah, blah, but it is especially good for your taste-buds' 'love flow'). Not as good for you, but delicious: 4 heaping! teaspoons of white sugar in it!.

Mix the powdered milk in slightly heated 6-7 ounces of water (too hot and milk protein gets all jiggy on you), add all that white sugar (you could try honey, but it won't be as good), then add an average rounded teaspoon of unsweetened baking coco (Hershey's Special Dark is nice, IMO). Sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon in it, and 6 drops (Yes, USE an eyedropper for maximum savings) of REAL vanilla extract. You could use a stick beater to mix all of this together, like Auntie Nom does, or you can use the teaspoon and mix, mash against sides of cup, mix, bust up coco balls, mix, etc, then heat somehow. I use a microwave (yes, I know I am going to cellular Hell someday) for about a minute (my microwave is sort of low-powered).

This hot chocolate has NO FAT in it, but it tastes pretty good, especially if you get the correct amount of powdered milk in it.

I like a fair amount of powdered milk in it for fluid thickness; more than they tell you to use on the box. If you use whole milk, or 2, 1 or 1/2% milk, no worries, mate, except that there IS some fat in your drink. GOTTA have the vanilla extract in it to really give it the finish it needs. The cinnamon is my thing. Well, it's all my thing, actually. Too declassé a recipe for other cooks to ever give out.

Nom, nom, nom! said...

Gaaaah! Whaddaya, HOPPED UP?

Anonymous said...

Do you know about those free food vegans? I do. They are vegans and only eat free food. Has that trend hit where you live? Careful though if you meet one; they get angry because they are missing nutrients found in sour cream and bacon.

What do you think of the raw food people? Are they crazy? Hey, I like Carole Alt but isn't cooking the American way? Har!

Robin P said...

I don't know anybody named "Anonymous", or Carole Alt either. Never heard of free-food vegans. Good luck to them. Don't they know there is no free lunch?

Corky said...

I have never tasted powder milk nor have I freed a vegan but I can tell you a think or toi about neil diamond.

Oh my I love your blog Nom. It's superbon!

Is it okay to eat free bagel chips?

Robin P said...

O.K. "Corky", at least you have some sort of name. Powdered milk is not as evil as Om Nom thinks it is, but it does not compare to regular milk unless put in baked goods or disguised in hot chocolate.

You see, food and its tastes are all a matter of two main things: how open-minded you are to new tastes and what you are used to, taste-wise.

Several years ago, I decided on to "eat to live", not to "live to eat". Eating to live entails figuring out the bare minimum of foods you like and can live with, both money-wise and nutrition-wise.

I don't get into a lot of nutrition specifics for this reason: in the history of the world, it has been shown that humans can live on a wide variety of foods. This means that many types of food will sustain a human.

One hundred years ago, Eskimos had a huge percentage of their diet consist of whale blubber, which is most fat. But, meanwhile, in China, people mostly lived on white rice and lean fish. Etc, all around the world.

There is a question in modern medical science that is still partly unanswered, AFAIK. Can humans manufacture the vitamins they need from the foods they eat and the sunlight they receive (vitamin D is manufactured by the body due to sunlight expose amounts)? Children who lived in Swiss valleys tended to get rickets much more frequently than those who lived higher up on the mountains. The children in the valleys were vitamin D deficient.

So the answer to the question of whether humans can manufacture most of the vitamins they need is "Mostly, yes, they can, but not entirely."

The famous British sailor nickname of "limey" shows that some foods are necessary to prevent certain illnesses such as scurvy. Citrus fruits provide enough vitamin C to ward off scurvy. Originally, it was shown that drinking a tea made from pine needles did the same thing, but it was more convenient for ships to lay in a store of limes for the sailors to consume.

So back to my semi-starvation food program. I decided to try to buy as little as possible at the grocery store as I could. I cut out buying a bunch of foods that I used to consume regularily such as orange juice, cookies, whole milk, ice cream, cold cereal, and other foods. And I knew that I would have to make everything at home. No more Lean Cuisine, or other prepared foods.

The rub? I don't really like to cook all that much. I am more of an information guy. Ideas are like food to me. That is why I love computers. They help me to re-learn old ideas I am familiar with, and learn new ones.

I also decided that in certain cases, I had to re-learn what to expect taste-wise from a well-known food. Powdered milk was an example of this. If a kid grows up only drinking powdered milk (I did not), he is going find regular milk to be a greasy, odd beverage that takes some getting used to. So what I was doing was this process in reverse.

The opposite food plan "living to eat" is the food-lover's, or foodie approach. Here one gets up in the morning looking foward to making duck confit that evening with special mushrooms, or whatever it is they want to use. This approach is fine and admirable, but it embraces a set of values that I would like to move away from: it says that tasting is one of the most important things a person does. But is it? I find this approach to life to be a materialistic one. It is also very expensive to eat that way.