It’s the Thought that Counts

Cranium Illustration

As 2017 comes to an end, it is time for me to share with you my favorites from Food for Thought, a section of our blog which we particularly enjoy but fear gets lost in the background.  Our aim in Food for Thought  is to share “items we have found to be thought provoking (and in some cases, just provoking).”

But, before going to my list, I have to mention Ann’s overall favorite (which was posted on the last day of 2017):  The Kosher Salt Question published by Taste on Oct. 10, 2017.  It turns out that not all kosher salt is equal and if you cook with it you bloody well better read this article.

Kosher Salt Photo

Illustration by Joanna Neborsky

So now here the list of Andy’s favorites from Food for Thought that everyone has been waiting breathlessly for. I will start with Number 7 and work my way to the grand finale Number 1.  Hang on to your hats!

Number 7 Beyond Blades of Grass New York Times; 6/16/2017 (posted on BLM 6/18/2017)

Beyond Blades of Grass

Illustration from the “Beyond Blades of Grass” article.

MiniBloomLawnReplacement

Lawn replacement by MiniBlooms (Ann’s former business)

Although technically not food-related, this NY Times editorial struck a nerve for Ann and me. Just before we retired from MiniBlooms, our modest gardening/landscaping business, we had become very involved in replacing traditional lawns with more eco-friendly landscaping. I am sure if we had continued the business that would be our focus now.  The following excerpt pretty much sums up what we feel:

“… imagine, in addition, more organic lawns made of pollinator-friendly grasses peppered with clovers, violets, chamomile and other flowering lawn plants; imagine short green turf replaced in places by a diverse wealth of native plants bringing new colors, scents and blooms. In a world of diminishing biodiversity and rapid climate change, the ground beneath our lawns is capable of so much more than just grass.

Number 6  How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science and Xenophobia, FiveThirtyEight; 1/8/2016; (posted by BLM on 8/12/2017)

accentMSG

MSG (Accent) in our pantry

Because sociologists like nothing better than debunking social myths, my number six favorite deals with the myth of the evils of MSG in food.  What was even more appealing to this retired sociology professor was the connection of MSG to the current and very real issue of xenophobia in our culture.

Number 5 Vegetarian and “Healthy” Diets Could Be More Harmful to the Environment Carnegie Mellon (posted 5/21/2017)  AND  Why Salad is So Overrated The Washington Post; 8/23/2015;  (posted by BLM on 8/12/2017)

Vegitarian diet and environment

Really?????

 

My fifth favorite is a tossup (pun intended) between two pieces that deal with what most of us assume are healthy and environmentally sound choices for our diet.  Again, the debunking factor is lurking behind these provocative articles.  These truly meet our criterion as “food for thought.”

Number 4. Unscrambling the Nutrition Science On Eggs  National Public Radio; 3/6/2017; (posted by BLM on 11/28/2017)

Unscrambling the Nutrition of Eggs

In the number 4 slot is an NPR report on egg nutrition.  I selected this report for a couple of reasons.  First, because Ann and I have a fairly egg-centric breakfast diet I thought it would be wise to know something about just how good (or bad) that diet may be.  And secondly,  I got such a kick out of our friend Sandy’s chickens that I wanted an excuse to revisit  Chicken-Speak and Freeze-Dried Mealworms: How I Came to Love Local Eggs.

Number 3. Nutritious Acorns Don’t Have to Just Be Snacks for Squirrels  National Public Radio; 10/2/2014; (posted by BLM on 12/14/2017)

My third place item deals with the lowly acorn.  As I mentioned while haranguing about popular nuts, acorns seldom get their place in the sun.  In my opinion, this NPR report is a step in the right direction.  Just for the record, Ann gave all of the members of our family gifts of pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts for the holidays; my gift to her was this bag of acorn flour.

AcornFlour

Acorn flour from Royce Native Orchards; health benefits label added by Andy

Number 2.  What America’s Changing Bread Preferences Say About its Politics. Washington Post; 6/19/2014 (posted on BLM 6/18/2017)

This is  my second favorite item largely because I had so much fun writing White Bread or Brown Bread: A Matter of Taste or of a Great Social Divide?.  This was probably the most sociological of my Andy’s Corner pieces and reminded me of my days behind a lectern enlightening eager college students about social stratification (at least the ones where were not sleeping or texting). Who would have thought that choosing white or brown bread would be correlated to party affiliation, among other things!

Number 1.  Why Do Puns Make People Groan? The Atlantic; 7/15/2015; (posted by BLM on 7/30/2017)

Tyme on her hand

She has thyme on her hands.

My top choice is an item from the Atlantic Magazine dealing with puns.  I introduced this article in my Big Little Puns post where I admitted to having CPD (Compulsive Pun Disorder).  Puns are not only a major part of my personal identity, they are what keeps my mind sharp and social skills well honed, at least that is what John Pollack may argue in The Pun Also Rises – a book that I mightily enjoyed and highly recommend.

Check back in a year when I will unveil my second annual favorite items list.

Happy New Year!

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