Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
This post contains one swear-word (right at the end)
This may be an old trick for all you gastronauts out there, but eating a bit of Parmesan cheese really does improve the flavour of everything else thereafter. I've just had a tiny Parmesan sandwich (big slice of the real thing from Liddl - £2.45) and the coffee I drank afterwards tasted like it used to in the old days.
I was haughtily explaining to H.I. last night, that those crunchy crystals you find in mature cheese are really a concentration of naturally occurring monosodium glutamate, and she looked at me with horror at the thought.
"Isn't MsG really bad for you?" she asked with a genuine inflection of fear in her voice - she is addicted to all cheeses.
"Depends whether or not you are a macro-biotic fanatic."
'They' have been trying to boost sales of various food items recently by snitching a word from the Japanese and using it to claim that they have found 'the third taste' - umami, or something that sounds a bit like it. All of a sudden, all sorts of things have come full circle again, and are to be encouraged.
The latest is the revelation that - despite what they have been telling us for over 50 years - saturated fats have no adverse effect on your heart at all, other than the tendency to become over-weight if you eat too much of them.
I have spent years eating just what I wanted to, on the grounds that you actually know when you are doing yourself harm by eating certain things in large quantities, but I have to admit that this conflicting advice which comes in the form of health-scares has had an insidious and subtle effect on the enjoyment of food since I have become an adult and cooked for myself. It's a bit like being tricked by a subtle advertising campaign - in fact that is exactly what it is like.
Selling surpluses of certain berries during times of a glut in the market (cranberries and the US cranberry marketing-board spring to mind) becomes much easier if you pronounce them as falling into the category of 'super-foods'. There are people out there just itching to have their particular product deemed a 'super-food', and there are plenty of out-of-work scientists who will - for the research fee - find just the evidence they are looking for.
The Daily Mail increases their circulation tremendously by putting out either scares or promotions about how your diet can 'add twenty years to your life*/deduct twenty years from your life*' (* delete as appropriate), so food advice sells newspapers too, as well as the food-porn magazines and TV programs which are so popular right now.
Yesterday, there was a program on the radio which spent half an hour trying to tell us that sitting in a chair is bad for you, and about two people who work in their office standing up were interviewed, saying that they thought they had noticed some beneficial results from having stood up for a few months at work, once they had got used to it.
The presenter softened us all up to the extent that by the time he got around to saying that 'sitting down has the same effect on you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day', we almost believed him.
Why 15? Because everything sounds so much more plausible if you attach a number to it. The influence of a barmy bit of speculation becomes so much more pervasive if you cans say - with confidence - that it's beneficial*/detrimental* (*delete as appropriate) effects were documented by 72% of a randomly selected group of 3*/10,000* (*delete as appropriate) people.
I have just one question: Why don't they all fuck off and leave us alone?