Cheese Board: Two Goats and a Triple Creme
Clockwise from top: Ruggles Hill Creamery, Meg’s Big Sunshine (goat, Hardwick, MA), Tomme du Chevre U Paese (goat, Corsica, France), Les Delices aux Truffe (triple creme, France)
Book Review: Addicted To Food, Understanding The Obesity Epidemic
Addicted To Food, Understanding The Obesity Epidemic, by James Erickman is a Kindle Single published by The Guardian (UK Media).
The executive summary is that this “short” covers much of the same ground that David Kessler’s, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite covers (here’s my itsthefood.net review of that book). This is a quick read for anyone who wants to know the general ideas behind “sugar, salt, and fat”, their addictive qualities and how the food industry manipulates them.
Erickman takes some interesting angles in the book. For instance, he considers the difference between contemporary diets and those of hunter-gatherers 200,000 years ago:
[First]… the great majority of carbohydrate was still derived from unrefined, high-fibre vegetables and fruits, and very little from wild cereal grains … and none, of course, from highly refined flour.
Secondly, almost all of the fat our early ancestors consumed came from the organs and the rest of the carcasses of the lean animals that they managed to catch — not from highly saturated fatty meat cuts from the sedentary livestock animals we buy relatively cheaply today. …
Thirdly, and just as important to the obesity epidemic, none of our early ancestors’ diet came from refined ‘extrinsic’ sugars, except if you include the 3% of calories in their diet that typically came, in many habitats, from sugar ‘refined’ by bees — AKA, honey.
He then makes the connection from hunter gatherer diet to contemporary food companies:
Those same food companies rapidly learned too, that with our ‘hunter-gatherer genes’, we were gluttons for our own punishment. Our ancestral craving for quick energy (scarce berries and honey), life-preserving fat (from hard-to-catch prey), and a salt to replace what we sweated out catching food could all be cleverly exploited, especially among people on a tough budget, or those without cooking skills, nor easy access to a well-fueled kitchen.
Similar to Kessler’s work, Addicted To Food discusses the effect of sugar, salt, and fat on our neurological pathways, binging, withdrawal, and craving. That moves into a chapter on the food industry’s exploitation of these ingredients and finally comes full circle back how all this has affected contemporary society.
Overall, this is a good review of many other works in the general area of the evils of contemporary processed food for any one who wants a quick read to come up to speed.
Restaurant Review: Coi, San Francisco
Food: overall the food was quite nice. The combinations generally worked well together and the execution was clean.
Service: the staff was generally quite knowledgeable about the dishes, but there were several questions about some of the preparations that a more seasoned staff would have been able to answer without consulting the kitchen (e.g. the provenance of the beef). The pacing was fast and they were quick to clear plates (even though I was dining alone).
Wine: The Ridge wines were nice, and their rep (Christina Donley) was willing to have a frank and open discussion about them. Unfortunately, the flagship wine of the evening, a 1999 Monte Bello, felt short of my expectations and was in fact a bit closed.
Overall: This was a pleasant dinner and I’m glad I got the chance to dine at Coi. Unfortunately, I was jaded by my previous night’s absolutely exceptional dinner at Benu, which is probably not a fair fight. I ended up leaving Coi a bit hungry so I took cab over to Gary Danko and had some more dishes at the bar.
Pictures and notes after the break.
What’s To Eat: Chocolate Naive (Lithuania)
Formaggio sent out an email hyping Chocolate Naive and had this to say:
Chocolate Naive is based in the small town of Giedraičiai, Lithuania (population of less than 1,000). As one of very few bean-to-bar producers in Europe, Chocolate Naive does everything from source the beans, to roasting, winnowing, conching and tempering, all in their small farmhouse next to lake Kiementas on the Eastern side of Lithuania.
Using beans from Papua New Guinea, Peru, Madagascar and Trinidad & Tobago and ingredients such as Lithuanian forest honey and local milk, Chocolate Naive blends unique flavors together with expertly made chocolate to create bars that are unusual and delicious - highlighting the origin of the cocoa beans and, at the same time, remaining faithful to the European style of making chocolate by producing a chocolate that is rich, creamy and complex.
L and I didn’t think all that much of it unfortunately.