Julia Child

Everything is better with butter

“With enough butter, anything is good.”
— Julia Child

It was a glorious day when Honi saw the June 23rd issue of Time magazine on the newsstand shelf. It’s simple title: EAT BUTTER. Subtitled: Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong. Wow. Someone finally summoned the courage to expose the diet police for their erroneous but long-insisted upon mandate that fat must be eliminated from our diet. It seemed such a simple theorem: fat must make us fat. Fat must clog our arteries. So simple that it instead was merely simplistic, and entirely wrong. Time’s writer did nothing but review existing science, all of which says that sugars and carbs are the primary villain with chemically-altered fats and oils (think margarine and hydrogenated oils) running in second place.

There are so many quotable passages in the piece that trying to state them all here would make for a 20 page newsletter. So let me leave you with this one from Dr. David Ludwig and leave the rest to your perusal: “Americans were told to cut back on fat to lose weight and prevent heart disease. There’s an overwhelmingly strong case to be made for the opposite.”

Eat unadultered meat in a diverse diet which includes complex carbs. In all cases, make sure it is Real Food not manufactured food. Your food will not only taste better and satisfy you with fewer calories, it will be medicine for your body and mind. And remember my grandmother of Fair View Dairy. Her daily breakfast was 8 ounces of pure, unpasteurized Jersey cream. Born in the late 1800's, she “only” lived to age 93, all faculties functioning. (Paw Paw, who brought her the glass of cream as he prepared to deliver his dairy to the residents of Lake Charles, was not so fortunate. He died 4 years younger).

Viva la fat !!

The Current Read

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
— Julia Child

Our baby boy (John Henry) gave me Standage’s An Edible History of Humanity for Christmas. The author traces the impact of food on civilization from our beginnings as hunter/foragers to agriculture and all of its technology today. A very interesting point is made early on, to wit:

“[The switch from hunter/forager to farmer is the most] mysterious because the switch made people significantly worse off, from a nutritional perspective and in many other ways. Indeed, one anthropologist has described the adoption of farming as ‘the worst mistake in the history of the human race.’”

Standage explains that anthropologists have compared the skeletal remains of hunters living side by side or back to back with farmers. Hunters are larger, stronger people. Farmers show clear indications of malnutrition so assumedly did not live as long as the hunters. Besides, he says, the hunters had more fun - they could fill their food quotas in a couple of days, leaving themselves with 5 day weekends. More time to socialize and ponder the big questions, as we modern day farmers all know. It’s a 24/7/365 career.

I never thought about it that way, but it does remind me of the Comanche nation, one of our most interesting societies for the way they dominated the Plains so completely in the early days of the Republic and before. The Comanches transformed themselves from weak, malnourished and conquered people to the most dominant tribe of the Great Plains only when they adopted the horse which allowed them to harvest buffalo at will. There was nothing like the regular digestion of red meat to grow a tribe into superior beings.

As I get further into the book, I find that I like it less. But it is still a worthwhile read from which I conclude a couple of things - really just affirming what we preach at JVF:

Excluding meats from our diet is a colossal mistake, especially for the young; secondly, eat that widely diverse plate of food because while the vegetables and fruits cannot alone pack the nutritional punch of a piece of meat, they do contribute their own unique profile of vitamins and minerals necessary for a complete diet. They round out the meal.

Julia Child

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
— Julia Child

Child is one of my favorite characters. She had such a zest for life in general, and cooking and dining with family and friends in particular. You see it in her cooking shows and feel it in her writing. Life was a party in Julia’s world. We could all benefit from her example.

So what did she mean when she said to take even moderation in moderation - a great line if ever there was one. Of course, she meant just blow it out every once in a while. Put your self-discipline aside momentarily. Our psyches need a little indulgence every once in a while. We are not made for a perpetually rigid lifestyle in my opinion. Discipline can only be maintained for so long before we crack. So plan for a little immoderation or you may end up with a lot of it.

In your dietary life, that means eating the abandoned things every once in a while because it’s something you grew up with and its taste triggers special memories. For me, that could be a Mrs. Baird’s fried apple pie with a heavy sugar glaze and a pint of whole milk, preferably from Oak Farms Dairy, followed by cheap convenience store coffee. My childhood home was in the yeasty jetstream of Mrs. Baird bakery on Holcombe and Oak Farms was still an urban dairy around Chimney Rock Road. So I get this instant burst of memorable pleasure, soon followed by regret over what I have done. The regret refreshes my commitment to eat well and for good health and happiness. Can six fired pies a year hurt me if balanced with good habits the rest of the time? I don’t think so. Try a little immoderation occasionally. We as humans relieve tension, routine and drudgery with celebration that sometimes goes too far. It’s a good thing - if done in moderation.