Rants & Raves 4/24/13

Oh, the webbernet! It gets me all riled up with dire news and mainstream idiocy, then blammo! it hits me with something so awesome, it must be shared. Welcome to a new collection of Rants & Raves!


There is no shadow without light, no sun without rain, no celebratory Raves without head-shaking Rants first.

Ew, seriously. So gross.
Remember back in 2010 when Serious Eats tested how long a McDonald’s hamburger would last? This is worse than that. A man in Utah found a McD’s burger in his pocket from 1999 — it looks somewhat mummified but otherwise “normal.” No word on if he partied like Prince when he bought it. Click through to watch the video.

I’ll take mine all-natural, please.Myth busting about genetically-engineered foods, courtesy of The Atlantic. “American farmers started growing genetically engineered (GE) crops (which are also commonly referred to as “GMOs”) in 1996, and now plant 165 million acres annually. Food manufacturers estimate that 70 percent of processed foods contain at least one ingredient made from GE crops. But along with such rapid adoption of a scary-sounding technology have come myths propagated by proponents and opponents. Here are some facts….” Read more.

That blasted swimsuit issue!

This dates back to February, but it still makes my blood boil. This year’s edition of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue included a “six-page ‘style guide’ featuring model interviews and makeup tips for helping ‘everyday beautiful women’ look more like the exceptionally beautiful women who fill the issue’s pages.” Sigh. Read Slate‘s scathing commentary.

Not the sriracha!

The Smithsonian digs into food fraud, including some of our favorites like extra-virgin olive oil, saffron, wasabi, and gasp! sriracha. “The mix of jalapenos, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar comes in an iconic rooster-stamped, green-capped bottle from California’s Huy Fong Foods… In an attempt to capitalize on Huy Fong’s success, bottlers have begun mimicking the brand, even replacing the rooster with a unicorn in one instance.” All the more reason to make your own with Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe. Read more from Smithsonian.



Let’s get to the good stuff!

More of this!
What’s so disappointing about the Sports Illustrated news above, is that the magazine is also capable of giving us this: The 100 Greatest Sports Photos of All Time. Gritty, dramatic, inspiring, beautiful.


I have thighs like hams.
I’ve written about my affection for my ham-ish thighs before, and I loved this guest post on Radical Hateloss called “From Thick Thighs to Thick Thighs.” This is just one example of the awesomeness found within: “I have decided to see my thick thighs as the advantage and blessing they are. I can squat hundreds of times before my legs give out. I can pull and push sleds. I can carry heavy things. I can hike up mountains. I can run miles. My big legs do all these things.” Read more and celebrate your body parts.

I’ve got my flaxseed oil!

I have two “pre-seasoned” cast-iron skillets that are neither appropriately seasoned nor non-stick. Thanks to this handy advice, I’m ready to give them a makeover. All it takes is some flaxseed oil, an oven, and plenty of time. Read more.

citruscarnitasYou can’t really make Citrus Carnitas in a cast-iron pan, but it looks pretty in there, right?

Savor every bite.

One of the best things about switching to paleo is that it helped me learn to be present when I’m eating — to really taste and savor my food. I love this article from Yes Magazine that looks at a newish trend in obesity research regarding mindfulness and the role it plays in our health. “Researchers are learning that teaching obese individuals mindful eating skills—like paying closer attention to their bodies’ hunger cues and learning to savor their food—can help them change unhealthy eating patterns and lose weight. And, unlike other forms of treatment, mindfulness may get at the underlying causes of overeating—like craving, stress, and emotional eating—which make it so hard to defeat.” Read more.

Ready to run!

I’m really enjoying my once-a-week sprints, and this article from Tabata Times has top-notch tips for ways to warm up your body to prevent injuries and get you mentally prepared for the work ahead. Spoiler: There is rolling out involved (a.k.a., ouch!). Get the lowdown.

Chocolate Chili will make you sexier.
Researchers at Harvard University analyzed the results of 24 studies of the benefits of cocoa. The flavenoids found in cocoa were shown to lower blood pressure, improve insulin resistance, decrease bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol, and “improve blood flow, which in turn may boost a person’s overall energy, cognitive performance and sexual function.” Read more about the study hereget your Chocolate Chili recipe here.


A Final Thought…

The poem below does a lovely job capturing my affection for eating in old school diners. I grew up in my dad’s restaurant in rural Pennsylvania, and his father owned one of those shiny chrome diners from the ’50s. It was called The Garfield; I can smell the french fries and coffee now. (If you’re feeling nostalgic, take a bite of this Diner Lingo!)


The Partial Explanation | Charles Simic

Seems like a long time
Since the waiter took my order.
Grimy little luncheonette,
The snow falling outside.

Seems like it has grown darker
Since I last heard the kitchen door
Behind my back
Since I last noticed
Anyone pass on the street.

A glass of ice-water
Keeps me company
At this table I chose myself
Upon entering.

And a longing,
Incredible longing
To eavesdrop
On the conversation
Of cooks.

from Selected Early Poems, 1999
George Braziller Publishers
Library of Congress “Poetry 180.”

For more love letters to food, also check out the site MyFoodValentine.com.

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  • KC Jones says:

    I started using my cast iron pan religiously after starting Paleo. It’s the best tool in my kitchen by far, unless you count my mouth for eating.

  • Teresa says:

    I can vouch for the accuracy of this statement: “Chocolate Chili will make you sexier.”

    In the last three weeks I have had Chocolate Chili twice for dinner and six times for lunch and well…take my word for it. It’s just a proven fact. 😀

  • Kimberly says:

    The only thing more horrifying than how preserved that McD’s burger was…was why on earth did that guy happen to have a random burger in his pocket for the last 14 years!?!?!?!

  • Emily says:

    I have always loved that Mia Hamm pic. I wish at least once every day I could feel as good as she does there. Preferrably after a good lift.

    I used to cook in cast iron a lot, but I HATED cleaning it. I probably wasn’t doing it right, or it wasn’t properly seasoned. Plus, it was heavy, and hot, and I was always terrified I’d drop it or burn myself.

    Thanks for the running warm-up link; I’m getting ready to do a run today, and I’ll try it out!

  • Rach says:

    My thighs were the reason I spent my entire teenage years on a constant “diet” and yet now they’re probably one of my favorite things – they’re all muscle and always have been! I just couldn’t tell the difference back then.

  • Lydia says:

    I’ll be re-seasoning my pans this weekend. Thank you for that link! I’ve never been happy with the way my cast-iron was seasoned, and this gives me hope.

    I’m distressed about the Food Fraud article, though. How can I feel safe eating my home-made mayo if I can’t trust my olive oil? The Food Fraud Database linked in the article was supremely unhelpful.

  • Stephanie says:

    Another reason to consume chocolate chili biweekly?! Heck yes! I’ve got it down to the perfect-for-me recipe: lamb instead of ground beef and crockpot instead of stove simmering, served over spaghetti squash.

  • Melissa says:

    I love that photo of Mia too!

    I also LOVE your chocolate chili. My parents and Dan love it too. I always have some in my freezer!

  • ashley hibbitts says:

    That picture is actually Brandi Chastain I think. But awesome nonetheless!!:) GO girls!!

  • Lydia says:

    Pssst! For those who want to make that wonderful Chocolate Chili, but can’t have nightshades: Pureed cooked carrots are a decent substitute for tomato paste (double the amount), and try shredded or finely-diced zucchini instead of the chopped tomatoes. The taste isn’t quite the same, obviously, but the texture will be similar.

  • Tina Bock says:

    I made that chocolate chili it was excellent!

  • Kelly says:

    I didn’t know of your love for diners! Have you heard the song “Diner” by Martin Sexton? It’s one of my faves! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDhkqHZ1YJk

  • I was AT that Women’s World Cup game!!! It was SUCH a fantastic experience for 15-year-old me!

    How about this for an old-time diner? It’s 15 minutes from me, has been there since 1899 and was featured in the movie That Thing You Do!

  • I was AT that Women’s World Cup game!!! It was SUCH a fantastic experience for 15-year-old me! [And psssst that famous photo is Brandi Chastain, not Mia Hamm.]

    How about this for an old-time diner? It’s 15 minutes from me, has been there since 1899 and was featured in the movie That Thing You Do!

    • Emily says:

      I was about to mention that was Brandi Chastain and not Mia Hamm!

      Jealous you got to see that game! Those are some strong, beautiful, real women!

  • NJ Paleo says:

    There’s so much to comment on here! First, the ham-thighs– my 13-year-old daughter is a dancer and has strong, muscular legs…not fat at all…yet she thinks she has fat hog legs. I try to tell her that so many women WANT to have legs like hers but she won’t listen. As for diners, I live in NJ and diners are freakin’ awesome!!!!! McDonalds is GROSS…..as is GE franken-crap. And how many times do we have to explain to men that real women can lift weights and don’t look like those starved creatures in SI swimsuit edition…

  • Leora says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your success with seasoning your pan. I have long wondered if I am really doing that right!

  • I love my big muscular legs 🙂 That hamburger is GROSS. I don’t have a cast iron skillet… the whole not washing it thing kind of intimidates me. I need to get over it haha.

  • Isla says:

    Love the Brandi C photo, so jealous that some of you were there to see that! I think back to the 20 piece chicken mcnuggets my mom and I used to share for dinner weekly when I was in elementary school and just really, WTF! Thanks for the cast-iron pan info, I have one of my mother-in-laws olds ones.

  • Amy says:

    And now I’m singing Tom Waits’s “Eggs and Sausage” to myself.

    “Nighthawks at the diner, Emma’s 49er
    There’s a rendezvous of strangers around the coffee urn tonight
    All the gypsy hacks, the insomniacs
    Now the paper’s been read

    Now the waitress said
    “Eggs and sausage and a side of toast
    Coffee and a roll, hash browns over easy
    Chile in a bowl with burgers and fries, what kind of pie?”