Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Delightful Milkshakes, Composting and Alcoholism

Milkshakes are one of my favorite foods. There's nothing simpler than dropping things in a blender and liquefying them. Shakes are the best way to eat bananas. I think bananas are the perfect food, because they offer potassium and vitamin C, are cheap, and available at most grocery stores. They come prepackaged by Nature in an easy-to-open yellow wrapper that rapidly decomposes when tossed onto the ground.

Composting is easy. Dump organic rubbish in a designated bin, and when the bin is full, dump it somewhere in the yard a good distance away from the house. There are a lot of products being sold to people to assist with composting, but none of it is necessary except to the vendors, who hope to make a living by selling composting equipment. The only equipment I use is a bucket, and those are easy to come by, and if one's not available, then cardboard boxes or paper bags work fine.
I prefer organic bananas not because they're organic but because they taste better. I've noticed that many organic foods taste better, and I'm not sure why, but whenever that is the case, I prefer the organic variety. When my nose and tongue detect no difference, then I prefer the cheapest of the two. In some cases, "organic" is just a word being prostituted to sell something that is nothing of the sort.

I began my love of milkshakes through alcoholism, which introduces one to various ways of making drinks, but over time I discovered that drinks taste better without alcohol and that I feel better after drinking them if there is no alcohol. The idea of putting vodka or rum in a blender just seems gross to me now, though it seemed appealing many years and several vomits and headaches and upset stomachs ago. Like any fool, I was ensnared by the marketing, the hype and all my peers that were so enthusiastic about alcohol, but all of that is poppycock, just like the music we used to listen to. I'm secretly amused by wine snobs and those that praise expensive, carefully aged bottles of Scottish whiskey. The best defence against alcoholism is contempt for the product. It seems to me a vast amount of verbiage in the media promotes a contemptible substance, ethanol alcohol, the waste product of fungi. Alcohol is a superb preservative for dead things and those that want to become so. But I digress.

My recipe is simple. Drop two peeled bananas in a blender, add a pint of milk, and for variety's sake, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, tea, malted milk, fruit slices, or ice may be added. There will never be any milkshake mix or anything sold at Starbucks that is as good as two bananas and milk in a blender.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I watched a superb old documentary about garlic made by Les Blank probably in the 1970s. Very good and well-worth watching. It is available on DVD. Some of the bright and happy young people in the film were of the so-called counter-culture, and perhaps because of that, were relatively deep in philosophy and history at least compared to today. One of the lines stuck with me for several days. I still ponder it when I am lying in bed at night. The film advocated Epicureanism in relation to eating garlic as a way of enhancing the pleasure of food, and to this end, placed text on the screen that read,

"When you're dead, you're done. Long live the living!"

It is not necessarily an atheist statement, but expressive of disbelief in the afterlife. I do agree with the sentiment. There seems no future in death at all. I find it very difficult to believe we possess any substance other than flesh and bone. I don't believe God plays coy with immortality, hiding it from us as some kind of test just to check whether we will believe in it because the Bible says so.

Of course, whether individual consciousness, that is, our own life, matters or not is purely a matter of perspective. I suppose the evolutionary purpose of our ego, which is so dominant in the human psychology, is to ensure we find great value in our individual consciousness and will do whatever is required to maintain and sustain it, even to the extent of conjuring up fantasies about surviving death in one form or another. An unhealthy ego may in turn lead to insufficient or ineffective maintenance--one may eat bad foods or use harmful substances or fail to perform all the little tasks that tend to prolong life. Yet I think a healthy ego may reject belief in the afterlife on the noble ground of reason. I believe truth matters. That is a judgment call on my part, a bias I have for reality. If a thing can not be so, then one should not believe in it.

Getting back to the film, I found it positively gushing about garlic, too enthusiastic by half, but that did not stop me from enjoying it. I do not believe that garlic can cure disease, although it does have antiseptic and antioxidant properties and makes a wonderful spice for all kinds of foods. I have always loved garlic and always will.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hot Cocoa

I believe chocolate is the most divine of foods. It is a superb antidepressant. One should be poor without a cup of hot cocoa in the evening. The best sort of chocolate is the kind scorned by TIME Magazine, which according to this month's issue finds greater value in a Hershey bar than an Organic Free Trade Dark Chocolate bar. TIME magazine compares on the basis of price and nutritional value, important considerations no doubt, but please, give me the Free Trade bar. I will pay a dollar more. Maybe all the razzmatazz about Free Trade is true, maybe embellished, but at any rate what a pleasant thought to sell, that the cocoa farmers are getting paid a fair price for their beans, and thus this cocoa is imbued with good will and good luck, and that means good things will happen to me from eating this cocoa. And I do appreciate the flavor that I find in Free Trade chocolate, and I am certain it is superior to any brand of Hershey's, even their Dove brand. I find Hershey's too sweet and not chocolatey enough by a long shot. The chocolate I prefer is bittersweet and strong-flavored. Lindt 90% is grand, but there are some other good brands that cost more, and Free Trade is one.

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by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Official Breakfast of Glorious Igor

My daily breakfast:

3/4 cup of dry oatmeal (either "old-fashioned" or "1 minute quick cooking" is fine)
1 to 2 tbsp of ground brown flaxseed (Red Mill's is a good brand)
1 tbsp of cocoa nibs
2 tbsp of dry roasted sunflower seeds

Add enough water. The precise quantity is unimportant. Experience will serve as a guide. If too little water is added, more can be added later. If too much water is added, simply cook for a longer period of time. Microwave for 80 - 99 seconds, but no longer than 99 seconds. The only purpose of cooking is to make the concoction palatable. There should be no risk of contamination with these fresh, dry ingredients. The absolute minimum amount of cooking is always preferred. Too much cooking destroys vitamins. After heating, make appropriate adjustments to the water level if the oatmeal is too dry.

Now add the following and mix it in with a spoon:

5 dried apricots
juice of 1/2 a lemon (put the juice of the other half in your cold or warm, not hot, tea)


Oatmeal provides carbs, fiber and a suitable base. Flaxseed provides Omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber. Cocoa nibs are an effective antidepressant, are rich in minerals and provide additional protein, carbs, and beneficial fat. Sunflower seeds offer a cheap source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Apricots contribute vitamin A, and lemon juice contributes vitamin C. Lemon is superior to lime due to higher concentration of vitamin C.

The overall flavor of this combination is excellent. The recipe is very flexible allowing the reduction or increase of ingredients based on taste or caloric needs, as well as the addition of other ingredients such as raisins, almonds, and ground pepper and other herbs. Note: avoid adding anything on a regular basis, such as chocolate chips, that will raise the amount of sugar, because sugar causes inflammation! Once in a while is all right but not every day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I have introduced a new additive to my daily breakfast of oatmeal--lime, squeezed into my cup of tea. It tastes great, but I am doing it for a cheap source of vitamin C. It is difficult to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin C through diet, but I am persuaded that C may be one of the most important vitamins. Vitamin pills have had such a bad rap in the media lately that I'm reducing my dependence on them.

Only after I bought the limes did I discover that lemons actually have far more vitamin C than limes. Oopsy-daisy! Well, next time I'll buy lemons. My purchase was influenced by the history of the British Navy, which provisioned its ships with limes sometime in the 18th or 19th century in order to counter scurvy among sailors, which was causing massive amounts of casualties, wounds and leaving sailors vulnerable to infections and tooth loss. After limes were introduced into their daily diet, British sailors began to be called "limeys." Limes may have been cheaper then. Today, the cost difference is negligible, so I think I will opt for lemons, which are superior in nutrition content.

I no longer trust juice for sale in the grocery store. Juice tends to be concentrate and water  with vitamin C injected into the mix. One might as well pop a pill rather than drink that sort of juice, because it is nothing more than liquid vitamin pill. Solid pills are cheaper and take up no space in the refrigerator. Lemons and limes keep better in a refrigerator than an open bottle of juice and are easier to use--just cut in half and squeeze one or both halves over a cup of tea or water. I think that freshness is a good thing. I also think juice is a bad deal if it costs even as little as $2 a half-gallon, because for that price I can buy 8 lemons, which is enough for 16 servings, and the lemons will last longer in the refrigerator and taste better.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Anybody that has walked into a chic-fil-a in the past five years knows they have sworn their souls to Satan just like most fast-food chains. The chain didn't exactly make a secret of their right-wing affiliations, either, and I don't see how anybody can be surprised by the latest brouhaha over gay marriage. They are risking probably nothing based on their average customer profile. They've been anti-gay since back in the day, in the same category as Cracker Barrel, but the only difference now is that suddenly a bunch of people have become aware of it.

Chicfila buys from the chicken farms that torture chickens and shoot them full of antibiotics and growth hormones. I didn't eat at Chicfila or any other fast food restaurant before, and I'm not going to be eating there now, but not because of the boycott or because they are against gay marriage. I'm thinking about my health, and you know what else, there are more flavors in the world than butter and grease, in case you tortured-chicken eaters didn't know. For a fast food chain to make claims to some kind of ethical high horse is just laughable, but to make things worse, Chicfila picked the side of evil.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Perfect Meal

The perfect meal consists of two sandwiches of whole-grain toast with chunks of avocado served with black or green tea.

It takes all of five minutes to make, but for my money there's nothing more delicious in the world. The only catch is that the avocado has to be a Haas and has to be perfectly ripe. It's time to snack when the skin is black.

Cost? Haas avocado, $1.49 or so; a loaf of whole-grain bread is only $1.25 at the thrift store, which is the place to go to buy cheap bread. Tea is so cheap that it is not worth itemizing--or should be so. We do live in good and prosperous times, all things considered, do we not?
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The $1.99 Soft Drink

At a mega-grocery store, the deli has a pernicious rule. They don't allow customers to buy drinks from the rest of the grocery store; only from the deli. Why, I don't know. It seems like a strange rule. Maybe they want customers to buy the sugary sodas that have a higher profit margin. I don't like sugary sodas. I like the juice of carrots, grapefruit, lemons, or oranges, which are sold in the grocery store. Due to this rule, which the cashier rigidly enforced, I ate my meal without drinking. However, the thousands of dollars I spent at that grocery store over the years won't be repeated. There are other grocery stores, after all. The dozen-odd people I recommended the grocery store to over the years won't be repeated. Now I have a different story to tell instead of gushing over the food selection, which again, are duplicated by other grocery stores. They ain't the only game in town, not by a long shot. It does seem odd to me that the one-time possible sale of a $1.99 soft drink is preferred over goodwill. The urge to control customers can be taken too far. Greed is short-sighted, snatching for pennies while losing dollars.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, December 18, 2009

Variation #1 on the Perfect Breakfast

Sometimes, friends want to take me out to a greasy spoon like Waffle Tyrant, but that is not a good way to start the day. I prefer to start the day right.

My breakfast never varies in three essential ingredients: oatmeal, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and water. To this, I add the following, all from Trader Joe's:

  • Thompson's Seedless California Raisins
  • Dry Roasted & Unsalted Almonds
  • Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Almonds may be replaced by hazelnuts, walnut bits, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or pistachios, depending upon what's on sale. It does not matter whether nuts are raw or dry roasted, but I try to avoid oil-roasted nuts. Oil diminishes flavor while increasing saturated fats. I'm not opposed to salt, but people suffering from hypertension should be. Raisins are interchangeable with prunes, which are tastier, or dried apricots. Sometimes I omit the chocolate chips. They should be a treat, not a habit.

Like most breakfasts, this lacks vitamins, so I pop a cheap little vitamin-candy and a fish oil capsule and wash it all down with tea.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Love Marmite

Derived from yeast and loaded with B vitamins, Marmite is a salty black spread that is popular in the UK. I became acquainted with Marmite through a similar product known as Vegemite, which is popular in Australia. Many Americans such as myself were introduced to Vegemite by the 1981 hit song "Down Under" by Men At Work, in which the singer mentions being given a Vegemite sandwich. I don't believe I ever actually tried Vegemite. I started researching it online and soon discovered a competing product named Marmite.

Marmite seems more nutritious than Vegemite, because Marmite has vitamin B-12, which is difficult to obtain in diet except through meat and dairy. I think the "Vege-" in "Vegemite" is meant to boast of its purer vegetable base. Marmite, despite claiming to be 100% vegetarian, may derive its B12 from animal sources, which is all right by me, as I'm an omnivore*. As for the New Zealand version of Marmite, I'm dissuaded by reports that it is sweeter and less flavorful. The more flavor, the better, as far as I'm concerned. Another selling point for me is that the UK version of Marmite is gluten-free. Gluten seems to cause my partner migraine headaches, so I try to avoid purchasing foods that contain it. About .5 to 1 per cent of the U.S. population suffer from a similar wheat allergy.

Both Marmite and Vegemite are difficult to obtain in the U.S., but it is not impossible. I made an order with some friends who were traveling to the city, and they bought three 120g jars of Marmite for me from one of the gourmet stores. Yum and double yum! For a quick snack, nothing's better than a slice of whole grain toast slathered with "black gold." Peanut butter is fine and dandy, but Marmite's the thing if you have a craving for savory food. I suggest buying as big a jar as possible, because the bigger jars have a cheaper per-gram price, and nothing's sadder than reaching the end of a jar of Marmite.

* Marmite's source of B-12, which is not found in yeast extract, is undisclosed on the packaging. If I were a vegetarian, I wouldn't trust tags like "100% vegetarian."

Friday, December 4, 2009

The African

I was checking out at Trader Joe's today, when I saw the cashier had left an open box of cookies for customers. I seldom pass up freebies. They were black chocolate cookies in the shape of stars, encrusted with tiny white sugar balls and simply delicious.

The cashier was a big black man with an accent that I couldn't place--either Carribean or African. He was most pleasant, the kind of person you would want to get to know better. After I paid for my groceries, I praised the cookies and asked how much they were. He said he'd find out. They were only $4 for a pound, so I bought a box, even though I don't usually make impulse purchases. As he rang me up, he spoke in a manner that was like a song. "There will be stars in your future, stars in your life tonight..." I interpreted that as a kind of mystic blessing. It was worth $4 just to hear his rich and melodious voice again. I suspect he could sell just about anything to anyone. I wonder whether there was a hidden joke--or even a hidden spell--in the particular choice of product.

The cookies are great. I'm having a second helping now. I love Trader Joe's. Always a good time. Always good prices and good food.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to Make the Perfect Breakfast

For most of my life, I ate store-bought cereal for breakfast. As I got older, I chose healthier brands. Muselix was my favorite, followed by shredded wheat. Even so, I wondered if there was a still better alternative.

To surpass cereal, we have to travel back in time to Grandpa's day. What did Grandpa eat each morning? More than likely, oatmeal. Today, it can be cooked just as fast as you can pour milk into cereal. More than that, it's healthier, cheaper, and tastes better.

Let us examine the economics of oatmeal. Three pounds cost around three dollars. Contrast that with twelve ounces of cereal that costs the same price. What are you paying for when you buy cereal? Marketing and advertising. The colorful, enticing, wholesome image printed on the cereal box. The grain inside is worth very little.

Oatmeal's health benefits outweigh those of cereal for the most part, although some cereals are little more than toasted oatmeal themselves, just with a higher price tag. Oatmeal contains the carbohydrates and fiber your body needs. Cereals often lack sufficient fiber, although many manufacturers include sawdust in their product to increase the fiber rating. Look for cellulose in the ingredients. How do you feel about eating sawdust?

Most cereals contain too much sugar and dangerous levels of minerals like calcium, one of the cheapest supplements of all, nothing more than the shavings from rocks. Too much calcium causes hypercalcemia. If you find that you are suffering from unusual ailments, stop taking so many vitamin supplements. You may be poisoning yourself, particularly if you eat too much cereal with milk and pop multivitamins as well. Most brands of milk in the United States already have an added nutritional supplement, vitamin A, besides naturally occurring vitamin C and calcium.

Oatmeal is low in vitamins, but let us examine the so-called nutritional advantage of cereal. If the cereal is ground to a fine dust and subjected to laboratory analysis, it will show the specified levels of vitamins A, C, D, et cetera. This much is true. However, humans absorb vitamins not inside a laboratory, but in the digestive system. Unknown is how much of these vitamins and minerals are in a form accessible to the human body. The cereal manufacturer does not care, but you should. Why not just pop a multivitamin, if you're concerned about nutrition? Why trust a cereal manufacturer to include all of the nutrients you require in a form that can be easily absorbed?

In summary, cereal has far too much sugar, costs too much, and the nutritional supplements are questionable. They may bring a benefit, but they also may do harm through toxicity. A massive experiment has been performed upon a sedentary population glued to television screens.

What cereal does not have is any advantage in terms of convenience. Oatmeal is faster to prepare. In fact, your trips to the grocery store will be reduced, because you will not need to purchase milk.

Begin with a jar full of oatmeal.

This container is for aesthetics more than anything else. True, you could keep the oatmeal in the store's three pound cardboard container, but that doesn't look as nice. The wife or boyfriend may disapprove--and they're right. This simple glass container is not only better looking, but easier to use, because all you need to do is lift the lid, and the heavy jar remains stationary while you extract the oatmeal like so:

The cup provides a measured amount. If you require more for breakfast, put a bigger cup in the jar.

Add enough water from the tap to set your oatmeal floating. Microwave for sixty to eighty seconds and you're done! What could be simpler?

The following steps are optional. You may wish to add ingredients to your oatmeal, such as ground flaxseed, which contributes omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. It is important to choose the brown variety of flaxseed, not the golden, and to grind it in order to expose the beneficial kernel that contains the nutrients. Flaxseed is cheap. A pound should not cost more than three dollars. You should only use two tablespoonfuls per meal. More is, uh, not recommended. Let's just leave it at that.

Many people like to add nuts to oatmeal. Any nut will do, or even a substance that contributes a nutty flavor, such as a seed. Experiment. Get creative. I tried dill weed as shown below:

I imagine some readers will scoff at the notion of dill weed, a term of derision in a non-culinary context. Some other recommended additives are cinnamon, chocolate, pecans, pistachios, and maple syrup.

Try to avoid adding sugary ingredients on a regular basis. Sugar acts like a drug on the brain, lifting the mood and interfering with your brain's internal monitoring of caloric consumption. You will think you're hungry when you're not. I'm not saying avoid sugar in all cases, but be aware of its treacherous nature. If you can have one meal without added sugar, breakfast represents the best candidate. Let lunch be the time of trespass.

If you make the switch from cereal to oatmeal, you will save on the order of ten to twenty dollars per week, and even more if you have a large family. Unknown are the savings in health costs from your improved diet and reduced sugar consumption. Best of all is the feeling you get from making your own breakfast without recourse to a mass-produced, mass-marketed product. I buy generic store-brand oatmeal, because there is no appreciable difference between that and Quaker's, besides price. Variety is obtained by adding different ingredients to the oatmeal, depending on what is available in your area. I have been preparing breakfast in this way for years. Enjoy!
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions