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Take away that pudding – it has no theme.

Winston Churchill

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.

Dying of cancer, Francois Mitterrand ordered a last meal of:
Oysters
Foie gras
Capons
L’Ortolan
L’Ortolan is the eating of an Ortolan bird, a tiny, yellow-throated songbird that is illegal to eat in France. The bird is roasted and eaten bones and all.   L’Ortolan recipe is as follows:
Preparation: The birds must be taken alive; once captured their eyes are either poked out or kept in a lightless box for a month to gorge on millet, grapes, and figs, a technique taken from the decadent cooks of Imperial Rome who called the birds beccafico, or ‘fig-pecker’; disoriented by the darkness, they eat for 24 hours a day.
When they’ve reached four times their normal size, they’re drowned in a snifter of Armagnac.
Cooking: Simply pop them in a high oven for six to eight minutes and serve.  Place a napkin or cloth over your head. This large napkin is used for the gourmet’s aesthetic desire to absorb the maximum odor with the flavor. It is also to cover your shame and gluttony from God.
Eating: When cool, begin to chew. Put the whole bird in your mouth, with only its beak protruding slightly from your lips. It should take about 15 minutes to work your way through the breast and wings, the delicately crackling bones, and onto the inner organs.
Devotees claim they can taste the bird’s entire life as they chew in the darkness: the wheat of Morocco, the salt air of the Mediterranean, the lavender of Provence. The pea-sized lungs and heart, saturated with Armagnac from its drowning, are said to burst in a liqueur-scented flower on the diner’s tongue.
Savor the intermingling flavors of fat, blood and guts. Do not panic when the bird’s small, delicate bones begin to cut into your gums - you are actually supposed to slightly bleed, so as to fully drive home the decadence of what you have done.
Enjoy with a good Bordeaux wine.

Dying of cancer, Francois Mitterrand ordered a last meal of:

  • Oysters
  • Foie gras
  • Capons
  • L’Ortolan

L’Ortolan is the eating of an Ortolan bird, a tiny, yellow-throated songbird that is illegal to eat in France. The bird is roasted and eaten bones and all. L’Ortolan recipe is as follows:

Preparation: The birds must be taken alive; once captured their eyes are either poked out or kept in a lightless box for a month to gorge on millet, grapes, and figs, a technique taken from the decadent cooks of Imperial Rome who called the birds beccafico, or ‘fig-pecker’; disoriented by the darkness, they eat for 24 hours a day.

When they’ve reached four times their normal size, they’re drowned in a snifter of Armagnac.

Cooking: Simply pop them in a high oven for six to eight minutes and serve. Place a napkin or cloth over your head. This large napkin is used for the gourmet’s aesthetic desire to absorb the maximum odor with the flavor. It is also to cover your shame and gluttony from God.

Eating: When cool, begin to chew. Put the whole bird in your mouth, with only its beak protruding slightly from your lips. It should take about 15 minutes to work your way through the breast and wings, the delicately crackling bones, and onto the inner organs.

Devotees claim they can taste the bird’s entire life as they chew in the darkness: the wheat of Morocco, the salt air of the Mediterranean, the lavender of Provence. The pea-sized lungs and heart, saturated with Armagnac from its drowning, are said to burst in a liqueur-scented flower on the diner’s tongue.

Savor the intermingling flavors of fat, blood and guts. Do not panic when the bird’s small, delicate bones begin to cut into your gums - you are actually supposed to slightly bleed, so as to fully drive home the decadence of what you have done.

Enjoy with a good Bordeaux wine.

Eric Mar is about to go on The Daily Show and become a national joke. He is the author of San Francisco’s ban on Happy Meals.
Because the ban lies at the intersection of San Francisco, politics and pop culture, and because it coincides with the holidays, I’ll be stuck defending Eric Mar to my relatives.
I hate Eric Mar.
But first, a quick thought experiment:
Imagine a world where children are allowed to eat whatever they want.
Imagine there are no parents.
Predict the medical consequences of such a world.
Now compare your imagined world with the actual world we live in.
HOW IS THIS COUNTERFACTUAL DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW?
Forget the future, look around.
1 in 5 kids are obese. Not fat, not “Could lose a few.” Obese.
So are their parents. Please see step #2.

I’ve lost you, haven’t I? Let’s try something else.
Have you ever seen the popular television series Mad Men?
Often, the show will feature a practice which seems backward or primitive by today’s standards. For example, a doctor will be smoking while giving a woman a pelvic exam. Most viewers think, “I can’t believe they were allowed to do that back then!”
Eventually they banned smoking during pelvic exams.

You’re the one who made fun of the ban.

Eric Mar is about to go on The Daily Show and become a national joke. He is the author of San Francisco’s ban on Happy Meals.

Because the ban lies at the intersection of San Francisco, politics and pop culture, and because it coincides with the holidays, I’ll be stuck defending Eric Mar to my relatives.

I hate Eric Mar.

But first, a quick thought experiment:

  1. Imagine a world where children are allowed to eat whatever they want.
  2. Imagine there are no parents.
  3. Predict the medical consequences of such a world.
  4. Now compare your imagined world with the actual world we live in.

HOW IS THIS COUNTERFACTUAL DIFFERENT FROM WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW?

Forget the future, look around.

1 in 5 kids are obese. Not fat, not “Could lose a few.” Obese.

So are their parents. Please see step #2.

I’ve lost you, haven’t I? Let’s try something else.

Have you ever seen the popular television series Mad Men?

Often, the show will feature a practice which seems backward or primitive by today’s standards. For example, a doctor will be smoking while giving a woman a pelvic exam. Most viewers think, “I can’t believe they were allowed to do that back then!”

Eventually they banned smoking during pelvic exams.

You’re the one who made fun of the ban.

I suppose we all have things which make us stabby.
This is a menu for Alcatraz Pizza, located in San Francisco. Alcatraz, you will note, is also  located in San Francisco. Not being tourists, we’re don’t need the primer. It’s actually just a cut & paste of the Wikipedia entry, which is code for “why bother?”
Pretty sure the denizens of Brooklyn know about their bridge, too.
What’s this? It has been featured in movies? You don’t say.

I suppose we all have things which make us stabby.

This is a menu for Alcatraz Pizza, located in San Francisco. Alcatraz, you will note, is also located in San Francisco. Not being tourists, we’re don’t need the primer. It’s actually just a cut & paste of the Wikipedia entry, which is code for “why bother?”

Pretty sure the denizens of Brooklyn know about their bridge, too.

What’s this? It has been featured in movies? You don’t say.

Zoë, Army of One™, says all our talk of the Mission makes her nostalgic for Frjtz. The food is scrumptious and any place that serves wifi with their fries & dipping sauces can never be bad. But, Real Talk: their decor is almost painful. Is it a Belgian thing? Is this what Hercule Poirot’s dining room looks like?

Zoë, Army of One™, says all our talk of the Mission makes her nostalgic for Frjtz. The food is scrumptious and any place that serves wifi with their fries & dipping sauces can never be bad. But, Real Talk: their decor is almost painful. Is it a Belgian thing? Is this what Hercule Poirot’s dining room looks like?

generic: (Inside my head) Holy Christ, this is the best tuna melt I’ve tasted in my entire life.
(Cook walks by.)
generic: You cooked this?
cook: Gotta problem?
generic: No.
cook: What’s the problem?
generic: This is the best tuna melt I’ve tasted in my entire life.
cook: (Nods) I make ‘em good.
generic: Why does it taste so great? There’s like, a tang in it?
cook: Little mustard.
generic: Mustard.
cook: And bit’a garlic oil.
generic: It tastes really good. No pepper?
cook: Naw, man. Pepper on the table.
generic: Excuse me?
cook: Pepper on the table.
(Points.)
generic: Oh. Well. Great sandwich.
cook: Thanks, man.
 …
Metaphor for how we do our jobs? I think so. Lesson?
Pepper on table. Bring something else to it.

generic: (Inside my head) Holy Christ, this is the best tuna melt I’ve tasted in my entire life.

(Cook walks by.)

generic: You cooked this?

cook: Gotta problem?

generic: No.

cook: What’s the problem?

generic: This is the best tuna melt I’ve tasted in my entire life.

cook(Nods) I make ‘em good.

generic: Why does it taste so great? There’s like, a tang in it?

cook: Little mustard.

generic: Mustard.

cook: And bit’a garlic oil.

generic: It tastes really good. No pepper?

cook: Naw, man. Pepper on the table.

generic: Excuse me?

cook: Pepper on the table.

(Points.)

generic: Oh. Well. Great sandwich.

cook: Thanks, man.

 …

Metaphor for how we do our jobs? I think so. Lesson?

Pepper on table. Bring something else to it.

And they’re like 9 calories per. Seriously, I don’t want to see that Vlassic shit in your fridge.

And they’re like 9 calories per. Seriously, I don’t want to see that Vlassic shit in your fridge.

I can’t eat at Ti Couz.
I just can’t. It’s 50 yards away from me, and by all accounts the food is great. But the name creeps me out. When I was a kid, my dad’s hunting buddies would always use the word “cooze" because I guess that was the height of the Penthouse Forum’s cultural clout.

I can’t eat at Ti Couz.

I just can’t. It’s 50 yards away from me, and by all accounts the food is great. But the name creeps me out. When I was a kid, my dad’s hunting buddies would always use the word “cooze" because I guess that was the height of the Penthouse Forum’s cultural clout.

"I owe an apology to every kitschy Chinese restaurant I’ve ever rejected as aesthetically inauthentic. No one loves China kitsch more than the Chinese. Red lanterns, tiny figurines, caged birds, silk hostess dresses, dragon designs and everything else I associated with silly Chinese restaurants was present in places that had no idea what to do when Westerners walked in and tried to order food."
-Ezra Klein, after a trip to China

"I owe an apology to every kitschy Chinese restaurant I’ve ever rejected as aesthetically inauthentic. No one loves China kitsch more than the Chinese. Red lanterns, tiny figurines, caged birds, silk hostess dresses, dragon designs and everything else I associated with silly Chinese restaurants was present in places that had no idea what to do when Westerners walked in and tried to order food."

-Ezra Klein, after a trip to China

vegansaurus:

As a vegan, there are few things more nails-on-chalkboard grating than hearing yet another word or phrase invented by green-minded omnivores to feel better about themselves for eating meat. If you call yourself a “pescatarian” or “flexitarian,” unless you can point me to the pesctable and flexifruit aisles of the produce section (and no, Monsanto gene-splicing doesn’t count), you’re really just a meat-eater appropriating vegetarianism to latch onto some kind of perceived moral credibility.

It’s not perceived moral credibility, it’s moral credibility, full stop. Vegetarianism can have a spectrum of motives. They can be political or ethical or just plain health concerns. You don’t get a veto over my choices just because the north of your moral compass doesn’t align with mine. 
As one ex-Vice President is fond of saying, global warming is a moral issue. My locally farmed rainbow trout is a world away from the CO2 debt of a steak and you damn well know it. Less Angus t-bone. Moral credibility.
The First Lady tells me there’s an obesity problem and that we owe it to ourselves and our children to eat right. Fewer cheeseburgers. Moral credibility. 
You want to reduce the debate to animal rights? Fine. I think they’re food and you don’t. Agree to disagree. But your criteria don’t invalidate mine. And if you’re going to throw elbows, please take care to spell “pescetarian” correctly.
UPDATE! 
squashed:

I think he did spell “Pescatarian” correctly. And I’d be angry too if people kept making up poorly spelled analogs of real words.

Conceded. It’s a variant.

vegansaurus:

As a vegan, there are few things more nails-on-chalkboard grating than hearing yet another word or phrase invented by green-minded omnivores to feel better about themselves for eating meat. If you call yourself a “pescatarian” or “flexitarian,” unless you can point me to the pesctable and flexifruit aisles of the produce section (and no, Monsanto gene-splicing doesn’t count), you’re really just a meat-eater appropriating vegetarianism to latch onto some kind of perceived moral credibility.

It’s not perceived moral credibility, it’s moral credibility, full stop. Vegetarianism can have a spectrum of motives. They can be political or ethical or just plain health concerns. You don’t get a veto over my choices just because the north of your moral compass doesn’t align with mine. 

As one ex-Vice President is fond of saying, global warming is a moral issue. My locally farmed rainbow trout is a world away from the CO2 debt of a steak and you damn well know it. Less Angus t-bone. Moral credibility.

The First Lady tells me there’s an obesity problem and that we owe it to ourselves and our children to eat right. Fewer cheeseburgers. Moral credibility. 

You want to reduce the debate to animal rights? Fine. I think they’re food and you don’t. Agree to disagree. But your criteria don’t invalidate mine. And if you’re going to throw elbows, please take care to spell “pescetarian” correctly.

UPDATE! 

squashed:

I think he did spell “Pescatarian” correctly. And I’d be angry too if people kept making up poorly spelled analogs of real words.

Conceded. It’s a variant.

I’m only half-joking when I say it’s things like this that kept anti-semitism from ever gaining a foothold in the United States. New York Jews know how to do savory food like no one else. How can you demonize a culture with a cuisine like that? Jealousy?

So sad that the delicatessens are dying out. This was just a sign. There was no Mac’s around the corner.

I’m only half-joking when I say it’s things like this that kept anti-semitism from ever gaining a foothold in the United States. New York Jews know how to do savory food like no one else. How can you demonize a culture with a cuisine like that? Jealousy?

So sad that the delicatessens are dying out. This was just a sign. There was no Mac’s around the corner.