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Waffling On Whole Grains

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Last August, in conjunction with The Duck Dodgers, we published about true whole grains: How Wheat Went From Superfood to Liability. I was surprised that reaction was reasonable, and even motivated a post from Tom Naughton with a substantial and constructive comment thread.

At the time, I began sourcing and eating true whole grain breads again. Most Americans have never had a bite of true whole grain bread in their mouth in their entire life, and certainly not as a daily staple. Most everything on your typical supermarket shelf labelled “whole grain” is in reality whole fraud. They take standard refined flour and add some bran to it. Total joke. This is like a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice from ripe oranges compared with something that’s been dehydrated, concentrated, frozen, later reconstituted with water, a tsp of pulp added in, and called “whole orange.”

This whole epiphany began back with our enormous post on processed cereal grain fortification, Iron, Food Enrichment and the Theory of Everything. Now that was a hugely popular post. About 2,000 social shares, dozens of links to it from elsewhere, many hundreds of comments.

Unfortunately, for many, and for their own reasons, ideologies, bias, etc., the chief role of that post came to serve as confirmation that for whatever reason one pics—whether carbohydrate content, “anti-nutrients,” romancing the primitive fairy tale, gluten intolerance, whatever—that grains, per se, are just bad. Fortification merely added yet another level of hellfire evil to them.

But that was not our intention. Our intention was to explore grains from a true whole, unmodified, non-processed, non-fortified perspective, and man did we dig up a deep history; where before modern processing, grains were uniformly lauded as the most healthy and wholesome of foods. We could find nary a single naysayer, and we looked.

Were they dumb? No, you’re dumb. Or rather, ignorant, and far too Dunning-Kruger on the topic to even begin to grasp the depth of your own ignorance. I’ll not rehash it. The links are all there for grain naysayers to continue to ignore, confident that their “knowledge” is wholly sound…when what’s really going on is that their overconfidence prevents them from even being aware of their own ignorance. Like I said: Dunning-Kruger.

This doesn’t apply to Loren Cordain, though. He’ll just yell ANTI-NUTRIENTS!!! louder and longer like the joker always has, since 2000.

I was rather pleased to note this piece in WSJ yesterday, albeit with a misleading title, in my view: Can You Carbo-Load Your Way to Good Health? Perhaps you can (I consume copious carbohydrate from whole sources now and have never felt better or more energetic), but the real point of the whole article is something quite different.

“A revolution is afoot in bakeries across the country. With highly processed flour giving way to freshly milled whole grains rich in nutrients as well as flavor, it might just be OK to love bread again.”

Nice to see the word “re-evolution” used in conjunction with grains, as it’s actually quite descriptive of what’s really going on. Essentially, there are bakeries cropping up all over the place now where, they either grind their own whole grains from the whole berry (germ, bran, and endosperm) in-house daily, or they source fresh whole grain flour from known and trusted sources.

To understand flour, you must know the wheat kernel, which comprises a fibrous outer layer, the bran; a starchy middle layer, the endosperm; and the vitamin-rich core, or germ. For most of human history all wheat was milled whole. White flour, a modern invention, is produced by grinding only the endosperm for shelf-stable starch that is later enriched with a handful of vitamins and minerals.

Freshly milled flour is also worlds apart from the so-called “whole wheat” flours and baked goods on supermarket shelves. Typically, those are made by mixing white flour with a small amount of wheat bran but with the wheat germ omitted altogether because its oils limit shelf life. (For those playing along at home: Community Grains, Grist & Toll and Carolina Ground are three excellent online sources for whole-milled flour. The flour starts losing its flavor immediately after milling, and should be used within a week for best results. Store it in the freezer to preserve flavor and prevent it from turning rancid.)

The cool thing is that you can do it at home and there are any number of selections on Amazon for grain mills. Just be sure the grinding stone isn’t cast iron.

And you can easily get various whole grain berries at local outlets including Whole Foods, or of course, Amazon for everything. Currently, I’ve been using Bob’s Whole Wheat Organic Pastry Flour. It’s stone ground and from the package:

“Premium organic baking flour stone ground from America’s highest quality of soft white wheat. It contains all the precious oil from the wheat germ, fiber from the wheat bran, and protein from the inner endosperm—nothing added or removed.”

The nutritional aspects are important. Implicating “grains” from problems on the basis of nutrients, anti-nutriens, lack of nutrients or anything else is rather like saying ‘don’t eat eggs’ on the basis of the nutrition profile of an egg white rather than the whole egg, yolk included (virtually all the nutrition is in the yolk—the white has half the protein and all the sodium, about it).

This is the sort of thing you want (or get their dark northern hard red wheat for bread baking). So far, I’ve only done things like popovers, Yorkshire pudding, pancakes and waffles with the pastry flour, and I’m considering getting the mill and having some fun with various freshly ground grain blends, natural sourdough fermentation, and so on. So far, I have been sourcing bread from a place in Santa Cruz that grinds daily every morning.

Have I mentioned the health problems from eating that bread regularly since last August, so nine months now? How about the gluten intolerance, the GERD, brain fog, and intestines twisted in knots? I haven’t? Well that’s because there are none, and I’d sure not be so dumb as to persist for nine months and dozens of loaves if I had any problems at all.

The essential problem with this whole deal reflects my various frustrations with various levels of LC, Paleo, and other dogmas. For example.

  • A carb is a carb. A liter of Coke is bad, so don’t eat potatoes.
  • Honey has too much fructose. A liter of HFCS Coke is bad, so don’t eat honey.
  • Saturated fat from animals doesn’t cause heart disease. Eat an 80% saturated fat diet.
  • Muscle meats are good for you. Eat more of them in an average month than an average H-G would have had in an average year.
  • I could go on.

Of course, lots of this now looks like vegan propaganda to me (here’s JP Sears, same guy in the video above:  If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans). It’s all basically failures to make distinctions, gross conflation, and a bunch of stuff it’s really pointless to go into because I’d rather focus on what I’m doing and anyone is free to try it out.

Feel free to discuss it with me at paleo f(x) next week. Yep, I’ll be there. First event since AHS12. In spite of my differences with the movement, I’m looking forward to attending and seeing some folks I haven’t seen for years.

I’ll save the whole top-down view for another post, but just to give you a couple of things to try with whole grains that are damn easy and tasty.

Yesterday I received an email from one of the well-meaning paleo folk out there with the latest and greatest pancake recipe, painstakingly developed so that after the 1,000th iteration in like 8 years of trying, it’s finally fabulous. All you have to do is source about a dozen ingredients, half of them so exotic you’d likely never use them for anything else and will eventually toss them out from your cupboard (been there, done that, so many times). What’s this recipe’s claim to fame? No grains, no dairy. It’s great for what it lacks.

On the other hand, how about the basics: eggs, flour, milk, salt…the caveat being that the flour is true whole grain. Here’s one I tossed together the other day just on a whim. Makes 1 serving which is a full 10″ pan, cut in quarters when you “flap” them.

  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 rounded to heaping TBS whole grain flour
  • splash of orange juice
  • two splashes of whole milk
  • dash of salt

I initially began with the egg and 1 heaping TBS of flour. Mixed, added the OJ and milk, then it took 2-3 more TBS flour to get to a thin batter consistency.

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Tiny bit of butter, about 2 tsp each of the two quality syrups. They’re great and you know what? You can taste the orange, so even just a slight bit of butter and they are excellent. I formalized the recipe a bit for 2 servings and it came out perfect.

  • 2 extra large or jumbo eggs
  • 1 cup whole grain flour
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt

I got a waffle iron, the kind that does Belgian waffles — Cuisinart WAF-300 Belgian Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates, and I got it to make “potato waffles.”

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Four boiled and smashed potatoes, two peeled russets and two unpeeled golds.

Didn’t really care for them. I’ll stick with boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and my “oven rack fries.” So, it’s now a true waffle maker. Per 1 full waffle plate, about 1 2/3 cup batter (4 squares):

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 TBS melted butter
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

IMG_0570

And yes, it all goes down with my quasi-“Peatarian” approach. I do about half of his daily recommendation of OJ and milk, so about a pint of OJ and quart of milk daily. Plus I avoid PUFA, but only from processed foods, dressings, sauces, etc. I do not worry about PUFA from whole foods like chicken.

So there, go out and waffle about whole grains.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

51 Comments

  1. thhq1 on May 21, 2016 at 14:37

    When in Klamath Falls eat liege waffles with the locals at the Waffle Hut. I can’t guarantee whole grains, just good liege waffles in a place you’d never expect fo find them. The secret is yeast and chunks of pearl sugar.

  2. Tim Steele on May 21, 2016 at 15:20

    I still wonder about any whole grain wheat sold in a bag that maintains shelf stability. No matter how much they claim it’s just ground-up wheat, I still think they are removing some parts in an industrial process.

    If you take some whole wheat berries to a place that can grind it into flour, it has stability issues and the oils will go rancid in a week or two. I’ve heard that there are bakeries around where they actually grind their own flours in-house and make bread with freshly ground whole grains.

    All that said, I have been using Bob’s Red Mill whole grain spelt flour since last fall, making long-fermented sourdough bread and using it in cooking. Fantastic stuff.

    • Duck Dodgers on May 21, 2016 at 17:35

      Tim,

      I’m not sure I subscribe to the ‘rancid in one week’ theory. I’ve yet to see good evidence of that, other than the fact that fresh ground wheat is excellent. 🙂

      There is a study showing that Vitamin E, which is believed to go rancid quickly, can stay largely intact for year.

      Also, the Hunza were known to store ground flour in large chests. This should have caused rancidity and loss of vitamins for their whole wheat flour, but they did it anyhow.

      If I had to guess, I’d imagine that the rancidity issues are worse for reconstituted flour, where the components are completely separated and mixed back together. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s where the real issue is.



    • Tim Steele on May 21, 2016 at 19:17

      That’s good to hear, Duck. I’m really not even sure where I came across that tidbit. What does one need to look for when buying whole-grains then? How do we know if it’s truly the whole grain and not just a marketing trick?
      I’m seriously about to the point where I don’t trust anything in a package.
      I ordered some wheat berries last year, but, word to the wise, you cannot make flour with a coffee grinder, lol.



    • Duck Dodgers on May 21, 2016 at 20:53

      Tim, the only way to know is to talk directly with the source. And I agree that industrial flour is not to be trusted. I read that the term “stoneground” flour is the equivalent of the word “natural” used by the food industry. It can mean a traditional milling but it can also mean that they initially “cracked” the grain on a stone mill, with a wide setting, and then finished it off with an industrial roller mill and processed it to kingdom come. There are no real regulations and everything is honor system.

      However, if you do your research, you can find real grist mill flour from local restored mills, usually in the East and Northeastern US (where they were once prevalent). I think that’s always a good option.

      In 1880 there were about 24,000 commercial mills in the US. In 2014 there were only 200. Today, four companies control 80% of the market.

      There’s a really interesting documentary about this coming out (hopefully soon):

      The Grain Divide Documentary (Trailer)

      The good news is that people are waking up and a grass roots movement is re-emerging. I’m encouraged.



    • Thad C. on May 23, 2016 at 12:50

      Look into Einkorn wheat berries. I buy them buy the box in small quantities, grind them in my vitamix and not only do I know I have a whole grain, but it is an early variant with better nutrition and supposedly different gluten than the Franken Wheat you find now a days.



  3. Mycroft Jones on May 21, 2016 at 16:31

    If you want to grind by hand, I have to recommend the CS Bell unit; it has a massive counterweight, so it grinds the wheat as fast as the motorized Country Living Grain mill. I have both.

    When you move on to sourdough, you may have some other surprises. I was surprised at the orange flavor in sourdough wheat bread. I was surprised at how EXTREMELY MILD and slightly lemon-juice flavored my sourdough wheat was.

    For laughs, I planted some wheat, barley, rye, and a few other gains in buckets. My doves quickly found them and started rooting around in the soil and eating the seeds, even after they had sprouted and leafed! They aren’t big fans of oats though.

    Doves: the urban mini-chicken.

    • Mycroft Jones on May 21, 2016 at 16:32

      The orange and lemon flavors came out when I added one tablespoon of white table sugar per loaf. Without that, the sourdough bread was still very nice. But no sweet citrus-fruit flavor.



    • Mycroft Jones on May 21, 2016 at 18:47

      Correction: sourdough wheat with sugar came out orange flavored, sourdough RYE with sugar came out lemon flavored.



    • Tim Steele on May 21, 2016 at 19:19

      Those grinders are high-dollar! Maybe some day. In your estimation, is there a big difference in grinding your own vs. buying a high quality whole grain wheat flour? Have you noticed the spoilage effect?



    • Mycroft Jones on May 21, 2016 at 19:26

      Tim, with the CS Bell unit, you are paying $500 for a 30 pound, rugged piece of cast iron that will last years and can power through almost anything. I was amazed how easy it was; the other grain mills advertised as “hand mills” are jokes. This one is the real deal. Or $1000 for the Country Living motorized grain mill.

      I don’t know about any difference between home ground and buying already ground flour; I also had trust issues. Now that I’ve been reading your site and Richard’s blog, I would trust Bob’s Red Mill, but hey, I’m a “stock up on can-openers” kind of guy, and I have so much grain, I won’t need to buy flour for years. Bought my grains from a place on the prairies that only does organic foods. I found out about them from a farmer who is certified organic. There must be similar grain clearing houses in the USA. But you have to buy by the ton, and THEN you have to picky-back on top of someone elses order if they feel like being nice to you.

      I bought the CS Bell unit because someone was getting rid of them at $100 a pop. Bought some for friends. That was back in 2008.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2016 at 19:37

      Doves.

      Whoo whoo whoo. Whoooo whoo…whoo.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2016 at 19:45

      Yea, the good grinders are a few hundred entry level.

      I think I want to do some bread baking first, see if I like it, see if it sticks, by sourcing the best freshly ground whole grains. If it sticks, then it only makes sense since berries are dirt cheap.

      In terms of rancidity, I’ve had the Bob’s, and I trust it’s what they say, whole berry, stone ground for upwards of a couple of months, noticed nothing off tasting. But even so, I’m even more skeptical of nutrient degradation. If butter tastes rancid, does that mean the nutrients are gone?



    • Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2016 at 19:47

      I would advise against anything that grinds with cast iron plates. You are baking and injesting the wear and tear.



    • Mycroft Jones on May 21, 2016 at 20:27

      Good point. It looks like the grinding plates for the CS Bell are steel, not iron. The massive counterweight on the CS Bell makes it absurdly easy to power through a pound of wheat, I think I did a half pound in under 2 minutes. Same speed as the motorized grinder, and without strenuous effort.

      Also, it will crack malted barley, for those who want to make beer. I have to start doing that again.



  4. David Seng on May 21, 2016 at 16:50

    Have you pondered the Roundup (glyphosate)/gut thing at all? At the end of linked podcast they ponder this. https://www.dotnetrocks.com/?show=1298

    Thinking this is something that made the news last year.

    • Tim Steele on May 21, 2016 at 19:25

      Glyphosate is a scary weed killer. I do not think glyphosate effects gut bacteria, especially in crop residue amounts. In the soil where glyphosate is used, it is degraded by soil microbes. Quite possibly it will be our gut bacteria that saves us from overuse of glyphosate. Plants won’t grow well in sterile soil, so if glyphosate killed soil bacteria and root zone bacteria, crops would falter.

      But who knows? Big Agra is not going to tell us if there is a harmful side of glyphosate.



    • David Seng on May 21, 2016 at 19:54

      The hypothesis in the podcast that was floated was that since it’s sprayed on quite a bit of stuff that there may be a possibility that it accumulates to ‘concerning’ levels in humans — to the point that it starts killing gut bugs. Now that I’m writing this I recall that they also mentioned that glyphosate clears out of a cow in about a week. I think wheat was also singled out because as part of the harvest process, to get it to dry out more evenly apparently, glyphosate is part of that process. So I suppose, yeah, you’d need to eat a ton of stuff with it in it. Apparently they are supposed to begin reporting on levels found in food this year.



  5. king of the one eyed people on May 21, 2016 at 19:41

    I am so fucking happy you will be at the AHS. You’ll be a voice of reason amongst the sycophants. Don’t argue with cunts or idiots and you’ll be fine. Keep cunts and idiots out of your life.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 21, 2016 at 19:50

      I think you mean PFX. On cunts and idiots, there is already one to avoid at all costs.



  6. wallycat on May 21, 2016 at 20:26

    Try freshly ground field corn for cornbread. It’s a revelation.

  7. Hugh on May 21, 2016 at 21:29

    I can confidently point everyone to the recent no knead English muffin recipe by Stella Parks at Serious Eats.

    May need a little tweaking if using all whole wheat flour. I’ve been using dead flour so to speak but I’m newly interested in bread again.

    I swas into bread baking in the early aughts before I Taubesed myself in 2006, and while the journey has been worthwhile, I do regret having lost that hobby for a good 10 years. I even had a flour grinding book that is prefaced with a tirade against low carb that is actually quite prescient.

    Back to the English muffins, If you fancy an Egg McMuffin style sandwich, per Kenji at Serious Eats cook eggs in upside down greased canning jar lid (both pieces). Break the yolk, season, add 1/2 cup water, cover and steam for ~2 minutes. Drain and pry off the egg puck.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/04/no-knead-english-muffins-recipe.html

  8. Pamela on May 22, 2016 at 01:06

    For those of us who live in Holland, there’s only one option: https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/best-flour-mills-in-holland/

  9. Phdaupin on May 22, 2016 at 10:32

    I have a Komo mill and love it. I recently made this bread https://www.theperfectloaf.com/whole-wheat-sourdough-sandwich-bread/#more-1787 and it was excellent. It will be the loaf I make if I want sandwich bread.

  10. Evan Eberhardt on May 22, 2016 at 16:25

    It’s worth re-reading ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ (or if some of you somehow haven’t ever read it, please do so). I am still miffed at myself for getting so into Taubes despite reading Price’s work a few years prior (some natives ate a lot of carbs and their health kicked the shit out of ours…quite the oversight there, Taubes). Anytime anyone claims a certain food is bad, see if any of the natives Price visited ate it. And if they did, how did they prepare it? That doesn’t make the foods okay for everyone of course, but why not find out and stop this unilateral vilification of entire foods (besides GMOs, but that is another topic)?

    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 05:57

      I ran through the USDA historic food availability macro data again yesterday to see where we’re going. In 1909, 56% digestable carbs, 32% fat, 12% protein. In 2010, 45% digestable carbs, 43% fat, 12% protein. From the good old days of great grandpa eating meat and potatoes semi-paleo style we have morphed into a nation of fat eaters. And it’s the carbs that have been displaced, not the protein. Further, the food availability is up by 600 calories from 1909 to 2010. We’re eating 15% more than in the meat and potatoes era, and the primary growth in calorie consumption has been fat calories. We have dropped 100 calories of carbs from our diets and replaced them with 600 calories of fat.

      Colpo’s article cannot be read enough times. Taubes’ NHANES-derived assertions about American dietary trends come from BAD government M-BM dietary surveys over a limited time period. The entire chapter in GCBC on the myth of obesity is a love-letter to the NHANES surveys. It needs to be publicly retracted by Taubes, along with the fallacious pseudoscientific assertions about carb insulin and fructose that NHANES inspired.

      http://anthonycolpo.com/membership-signup/?_s2member_vars=post..level..3..post..6242..L3doeS15b3UtY2FudC10cnVzdC1uaGFuZXMtb3ItZ2FyeS10YXViZXMtcm9iZXJ0LWx1c3RpZy10by1hY2N1cmF0ZWx5LXJlcG9ydC1jYWxvcmllLWNhcmJvaHlkcmF0ZS1mYXQtaW50YWtlLXRyZW5kcy8%3D&_s2member_sig=1464093892-42aafb21e85be1c4e0e0bbd96fb8b989

      It’s not the carbs. FAT HAS MADE US FAT.



  11. Thhq on May 24, 2016 at 08:01

    Even the carb-damning NHANES results are not as bad as Taubes makes them out to be. The macronutrient trend graph he shows on Page 233 of GCBC shows a 3% increase in carbs and 3% drop in fat from 1965-1998. That a 75 calorie increase in carbs. About one apple. The drop in fat is the loss of about one egg. Taubes spins this slight shift into the obesity crisis.

    I remember much more clearly the Lays commercials with Bert Lahr leering and saying Bet You Can’t Eat Just One. Those chips caused my obesity, along with buttery homemade cookies. I certainly didn’t get fat by eating that daily apple Mark frets about.

    • Thhq on May 24, 2016 at 08:23

      And remember that fat consumption was actually rising, not falling, and Taubes could have used the USDA food availability data, or at the very least reconciled it NHANES. He might even have discovered the deficiencies in NHANES. But he didn’t do anything like that. He swept the main cause of the obesity crisis – refined grains and added fats – under the rug and doubled down on the evil fructose. I wonder how much Big Chip paid him for his help. I’m sure the apple growers weren’t CHIPping in anything.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 08:31

      I use that “bet you can’t eat just one” meme a lot.

      That said, classic Lays are amongst the better of the chips.

      But people ought eat them like the French do.

      Small bowl to share, over cocktails. Nobody ever takes the last one.



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 09:10

      There is a reason they taste better. Their business model depends on you eating more. I visited Plano about 10 years ago. I looked up a stairwell at the patents on the wall, as far as I could see. I like to see money spent on research into Food Reward…and there it was…practical applied research too…



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 09:16

      I bought my daughter a pair of Cheeto toe socks at the gift shop while I was there. We thought her toes looked like Cheetos.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 09:19

      I don’t like the idea that food, even indulgences ought be unpalatable.

      We’re humans. We ought to be able to indulge in wonderfully palatable fare without going off the rails. In my experience, the French, living and eating amongst them, are the gold standard in that. It’s largely cultural, so it’s powerful. Gluttony is looked down upon. Good thing.

      Just another variable that’s rarely looked at in the obesity epidemic.

      ….I didn’t mention it in my last but I once was ridiculed and berated by a French girlfriend because I so debased myself as to take the last chip or nut from a small plate in a cocktail bar in Bandol, between Toulon and Marseilles.



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 09:49

      I had a finger shaken at me for using ketchup on my frites at lunch. Only children do that.

      Living in France I ate the portion served and that was it. No seconds but many small courses, letting the enjoyment of the meal go on and on. A good social strategy, and a good way to avoid going back to work after lunch.

      Individual packaging and consumption is key to getting you to eat more. The point-of-purchase advertising with snappy graphics. The way the chips shuffle around in the pillowy bag. The low oxygen storage ensuring no rancidity. The way you eat them out of the dark bag, in the car or in the cafeteria, not being able to see them. You don’t realize how big a portion is unless it’s in a bowl or on a plate.



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 10:01

      French Chinese food was another unexpected surprise. It was somewhere between Vietnamese and Cantonese, with rich French sauces and little spiciness, in little Vietnamese expat restaurants. Soups usually had thin clear vermicelli rice noodles. My favorite appetizers were nems, salad and prawn rolls with rice paper wrap. Mains were some kind of creamy sauce meat/vegetable mix served with white rice. Set lunches always came with wine or coffee, and the demi of wine was always ice cold dry rose. For me that settled the question of what wine to have with Chinese food forever.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 10:09

      Did you ever hit any of the islander restaurants? I’m talking Pacific islands.

      Man, the spicy sausage and rice dish….



    • thhq on May 24, 2016 at 12:27

      I never had the French polynesian food, and while I ate a lot of cheap couscous at home I rarely ate the Moroccan stuff (very greasy in a bad way). At work we could buy company-subsidized Ticket Restos. Two tickets covered lunch, and the closest places in walking distance that accepted them were the Chinese, pizza and local cuisine cafes. I forgot about that one….the first and still the best skate wing I’ve eaten. Seafood was always exceptional, and I could go on at length about duck in every form.

      I lost 15-20 lbs eating all this ad libitum. Including incredibly fatty sweet desserts. But a year back in the USA my all-cotton Serge Blanco rugby shirts didn’t fit so well. They do now. I eat and walk (and have added biking) about like I did in France 15 years ago, and weigh even less.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 13:01

      Magre de canard?

      Holy shit. On the BBQ; perhaps a French Sunday afternoon and they bring out the bottle of truly putrid stinky cheese to try? Its’s like buttermilk (the dregs), but In a cheese context not far off.



    • Thhq on May 24, 2016 at 14:01

      Now I’m a duck frame of mind.

      When I was in France maigret was a fancy restaurant meal. Like raw foie gras it was a “do not try this at home” meat because you’d be wasting good food. What we ate more regularly was confit de canard. This came in kilo tins containing 5 cuisses (leg/thigh quarters) packed in duck fat, and priced at about $5 a tin. You would pull these out of the muck and pan fry them until the skin was crisp. The fat was used to fry the obligatory potatoes. For a while I threw the rest of the fat away, until I started to understand that is probably the best cooking fat there is.

      I called confit “Colonel Sanders Duck”. Rich, crispy skin, fatty, falling-apart tender. We would bring it back to the USA in our luggage. If you can find them here at all they’re ten times as expensive as in France. You can get confit de canard in restaurants here but it’s fancy and expensive, not down to earth low life bistro food.

      Foie gras. Same thing, bought presliced in tins like tuna and not much more expensive. Good on green salads. Better served on croustilles, with ice cold sauterne, outside on a hot sunny day.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 14:47

      Did you ever get a chance to feel the appreciation from French people once you understood and appreciated their way of food?

      I don’t know how many times I would say something regarding their food ways with ample distinctions and be told: “Richard, tu a tout compris.”



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 14:57

      …I miss the country “pate” in the blue tins you could just spread on a chunk of baguette freshly torn off, baked that morning. 1.50 FF per baguette, back when they had their own money and the exchange rate was about 6 FF per $.



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 15:18

      Not really. Most of the time I was trying to be on my best behavior, taking any and all helpful suggestions, and trying not to make an ass of myself. We were around English speaking people a lot socially, and my French was good for reading more than for conversation. At the restaurants I was passing those meal tickets instead of cash a lot of the time, and sometimes I felt lucky to even get served. After a trip to the US I brought back a range of American snack food and wine, and did a degustation americaine at work, which was politely received – but then serving them Ritz crackers, peanut butter and Kraft pimiento cheese spread was more of a joke. But I brought a bottle of Oregon pinot noir that I particularly liked. Everyone enjoyed it for the alcohol, but one guy was perceptive enough to recognize it as burgundy. In fact, I learned in living there that wine was a meal beverage, not something special, and if it was dry, alcoholic and cheap it worked. They would have been happy drinking two buck chuck. Seriously.

      On one occasion we had a chance to take some important customers to a wine tasting at the premier cru Haut Brion. Two of the guys enjoyed the ambiance and tasting the 2000 vintage out of the barrel, but more for the alcohol than anything. The third guy was a oenophile and genuinely appreciative. He wanted in the worst way to get into that locked cage with the 75 year old bottles.



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 15:37

      I liked the baguetee ficelles, which I could finish off before they got stale, which was in about 12 hours. I was more a fan of Le Toast, bought myself a 220V toaster, and ate most of my bread out of round whole grain loaves which kept longer. Magnificent butter and confitures, especially the Bonne Maman rhubarb they don’t export to the US.

      I also bought myself a Japanese rice cooker. The French had a broken rice grade that was really cheap, and normally fed to their dogs, but it steamed like normal Japanese short grain. I also used the cooker for reheats and as a couscous cooker. When I left France I gave it to some Romanian friends, who offered me Esso point cards in exchange. I redeemed them to get a set of Esso Thiers steak knives in a pine block holder – the standard knife in every French pizza joint – and I use them to this day. In the US premiums for buying gasoline went away in the 60’s, but continued much longer in Europe.



    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 15:51

      I find The French curiously ambivalent to wine.

      It must be good, or it’s just a berry drink they have no compunction in diluting with water.

      See, I lived amongst them for two years on land and at sea and even on land, I sat with them for petit dejunee. Did you know they like to slice their baguettes, put them in an American toaster, spread honey or jam before they dip in their bowl of cafe au lait? Saw it every day.

      In terms of wine, they don’t drink that much of it and at least all the military and civilian I was with, they had a steeper adverse to being drunk than I.

      I regularly saw them dilute wine with water.

      But this is what confirmed my own tastes. When we had a special meal and special bottles came out and I happened to note the wine was very good, I would look around and everyone a table was noting it too and doing likewise.

      This is part of the reason the French will be one of the last countries to get super fat.



    • thhq1 on May 24, 2016 at 16:11

      One of the problems I had was that I was dropped in almost unannounced as a senior research scientist, after the facility I was at in the US was closed. Kind of like Mr. Bean. They didn’t know what to make of me, and most of the time I was left to my own devices. It didn’t take me long to find the English in Bordeaux, and they spent more time showing me around than the people at work. I’d brought some musical insruments, which proved to be my best entree into odd local experiences. For instance, the mandolin landed me in an ad hoc band playing for weekly Gascogne folk dances. Huge swirling dances involving at least 100 people, fascinating to watch from the stage as I pounded out my 3 chords among accordians, guitars, fiddles, wandering children and dogs. The next morning after one of these soirees my boss said “I see you playing little guitar last night!” His wife was a dancer and he had gone out to watch.

      And then there was the time I played in a bullfight banda. The people in the crowd next to me heard my French, and said in English “What’s an American doing in a bullfight band?” There was no really good answer to the question, but I enjoyed myself.



  12. Thhq on May 24, 2016 at 14:06

    That really stinky crock cheese is a specialty in Lyon. I was never there. The best cheeses in our area were Basque sheep cheeses. Pretty bland by comparison.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 24, 2016 at 14:30

      Corse has some unique ones.

      It’s what I love about France. A country smaller than many US states, but with a meta culture fed by a huge diversity of allegiant micro cultures.

      I’ve been in some back woods places in France that would give Alaplachia a money run.

      Let’s just say I found the women there a bit interesting.



  13. James on May 25, 2016 at 01:40

    Can’t believe you jack offs are still arguing about the freshly milled organic sourdough whole grains breads and whether or not a low carber should be including them in their diet.

    Personally I like the Sourdough breads that are made fresh, but the generic wholemeal/multigrain breads with a mix of quinoa, seeds,nuts, oats, and other whole grains are just as good. I buy them from the local grocery store and I usually buy a can of baked beans to make some toast. Cheap, easy, healthy and makes a mockery of these ridiculous dietary restrictions.

  14. Runsalot on May 25, 2016 at 10:49

    Everything I have read, indicates that baking with 100% whole wheat is very tricky. Have others found that to be the case?
    Most folks combine whole wheat flour with processed white flour. I do not want to do that but I don’t want to bake loafs that are like rocks.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 25, 2016 at 11:46

      I’ve only waded into pancakes, waffles and muffins so far.

      All decent. I plan to get some bread making flour and give it a shot.



    • Runsalot on May 25, 2016 at 11:57

      Let me know how that goes.
      I have read so many suggestions, many of which conflict with each other.



  15. WS on June 4, 2016 at 18:39

    A data point for this circus

    I eat a dozen ritz or wheat thins and feel like shit. Head feels heavy, like I have a cold, feel tired and thirsty

    Eat a big bowl of FARRO and feel great.

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