Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wow! Chips and South African Wines

Risotto al Limone was a huge success. With the addition of steamed broccoli, it was a meal that packed enough carbs to be filling and enough fiber to keep your veggie-tooth satisfied. I didn't really take the time to look at the procedure for cooking, and just took the ingredients and worked the recipe using the risotto methods I know. The cream addition really made the risotto creamy and luscious. Though the lemon juice added and the acidity in the wine gave it an incomprehensible tartness, the cream and the parmesan cheese (ESPECIALLY the parmesan cheese) cut right through the acidity and encouraged a sweeter, more mellow feeling. I paired it, unwittingly, with a South African Sauvignon Blanc, which actually turned out to be a low-quality wine with low-quality results. But hey, we live; we learn; we never drink South African wine again. For those who enjoy wines with a disgustingly light body(juice-like, actually) and little to no flavors of a normal Sauvignon Blanc (grapefruit, herbs, etc.), go with this wine.
This evening I was discussing the wonders of Olestra with a dear friend of mine. For those not familiar with the brand Olestra, it is an alternative to butter, oil, and other cooking greases that contain high doses of saturated fat. Synthetic though it is, its praises have been sung by great gourmands such as Jeffrey Steingarten and Rachael Ray. Okay, not Rachael Ray - but I'm sure she'd love it if she could pry herself away from her precious EVOO. More on this later. However, I have also hitched my wagon to the Olestra oxen and told them to drive on with all deliberate speed. That being said, my dear friend told me of a story worth relating with regard to the wonder of Olestra.
Perhaps you remember the phenomenon of the Wow! chip that occurred a few years ago. These chips were said to be as flavorful, as satisfying, and as exciting as the regular brand of potato chip. These chips came in all the same "brands" of chips put out by Frito-Lay, including (but not limited to) Doritos, Original Lays, Wavy Lays, and Fritos. However, the start difference between these Wow! chips and the original chips was the cooking liquid used in the MASSIVE deep fryer owned by the production factory. Instead of using corn oil, peanut oil, or partially-hydrogenated soybean oil (my personal favorite), the Wow! chip used liquid Olestra. Now, Olestra contains no saturated fat - the fat that slows down digestion of foods containing fats and coats the arteries, eventually causing arterial blockages and subsequent heart troubles.
At the time that these chips were becoming popular, around the year 2000, a friend of my friend consumed a significant portion of these chips. One side effect of Olestra not listed on the package of Wow! chips is their ability to pass through the digestive system at an ungodly rate. The friend came to school one morning and declared, "So...last night I ate pretty much a whole bag of those new Wow! chips and...well....wow." I really appreciated that story because it not only serves to remind us that good health comes with a price, but also that we should eat foods containing or cooked in Olestra in close proximity to a restroom.
I am beginning to read It Must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten (the illustrious gourmand, judge on Iron Chef America, and current food critic for Vogue magazine). I finished The Man Who Ate Everything a few months ago, and am already finding this sequel to be far more entertaining. I will end my blog post with this quote from him.

"My goal is not to sudue Nature. My goal is to eat Nature."

May we all gather our stamina in pursuit of so noble a cause.

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