Bad eats

by Louise

Guacamole Lovers Say Low-Fat Florida Avocados Are the Pits

I read this article with a smile. It is about the Florida avocado that doesn’t quite measure up to the Hass Avocado.  I am glad that fat is no longer on the bad list because some purchases of low-fat and sugar-free items didn’t go well in my house.

Totebaggers, any examples of food that you dislike ? Have you successfully substituted ingredients in any recipes ? How about those following or cooking a certain diet ? Any tips for the rest of us ?

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132 thoughts on “Bad eats

  1. “I was like, what is this horrific Floridian travesty?”

    I’m laughing pretty hard right now.

    “In an exchange Cooking Light published for all to see, the health food editors described their disgust, calling the SlimCado more pointless than fat-free cheese.” Harsh words!

    I still remember when those gross Olestra potato chips came out around the end of college and my roommates bought them. Disgusting!

  2. “more pointless than fat-free cheese.”

    Ha! Fat-free cheese is my number one food pet peeve. What is the point?!
    A close second is decaf coffee.

  3. Gross. Whats the point?

    I hate all diet versions with passion (maybe except coke zero). They are too sweet – the very thing we need to avoid. As to avocados – stop messing with nature.

  4. Totebaggers, any examples of food that you dislike ?

    I usually buy either Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The other night they were out of vanilla for both brands so I ended up buying Hood. I had to throw it away as we agreed it tasted like a mouth full of chemicals.

    Same thing with jelly. They were out of Bonne Maman jelly so I bought Smuckers. Again, tasted like a mouth full of chemicals and had to be thrown it out.

    Are we just getting finicky or has pricing pressure(or some other reason) caused them to reduce the quality of middle market brands?

    .

  5. Nope, not finicky! I call it finally seeing the light – seeing things for what they are!

  6. decaf coffee is completely pointless

    I can down a Venti Americano and then take a nap, so I’m always surprised when people order a half/caf. I can’t imagine being that sensitive to caffeine.

  7. Sadly Caffeine sensitivity is a matter of age and gentics . In my youth, before I hit 50 I could drink coffee at 10 PM and hit the deck, now I must stop drinking it around 4:00 PM

  8. +1 to Anonymous

    Harking back to procrastinating – I have put on my do not disturb for my phone, turned off my e-mail alerts, have plenty of coffee and food and am now going to tackle a really tedious boring task I’ve been putting off for weeks. You folks are my only remaining guilty pleasure- distraction. =)

  9. We only buy HD or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream too (or local versions). If we’re going to have ice cream I’d rather it be really good. We have friends where the wife is a little on the cheap side and she’ll buy Publix ice cream to go with dessert. It’s awful.

  10. Looking at the ingredients, the biggest difference between the ice creams and the jellies seems to be the high end ones use cane sugar and the cheap ones use corn syrup. That said, I don’t know if corn syrup just happens to occur alongside other cheap ingredients or if the corn syrup is the culprit.

  11. I like my decaf coffee. Just finished my first cup. I’m fairly sensitive to caffeine and I would like to keep it that way. If I start drinking a cup of two of regular coffee in the morning, a latte on the way to work and a cup or two of hospital coffee, I get habituated to the caffeine and it loses its magical powers.

    One of the older docs in my group was explaining the other day how bad avocados are for you – “They’re just so fattening!” I would like to gift wrap a box of Snackwells (do they even make those anymore?) with all the recent research on diet and fat.

  12. I’m sensitive to caffeine. I stick to two cups of early grey tea in the a.m. and that’s it. If I have a cup in the late afternoon it will keep me up too late.

  13. There is some type of fake spreadable butter that my parents buy – it doesn’t melt on toast and I find tastes terrible. It isn’t margarine, but some sort of zero fat, zero calorie joke of a “food”.

    For those not familiar with the Margarine Wars:
    http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/13/the-butter-wars-when-margarine-was-pink/

    I really hate splenda. I especially hate when people bake with it and then offer me a cookie, and I have to pretend that it tastes great, when all I’m thinking is “where can I run off to and spit it out?”

  14. We’ve gone back to full fat on everything, including milk. Allegedly, we eat less this way. Even if we don’t, we enjoy it more – good enough for me.

    I have a vegan DSD now so I’ve tried vegan everything. Recently had vegan Ben & Jerry’s – it’s not dreadful. Some of the pretend meat is okay too but the vegan cheese is awful.

    I sadly have to resort to decaf. And I sometimes wonder if I should cut that out, too! I was in Midway yesterday and couldn’t find anyplace that sold decaf and soy milk, and I started getting about as cranky and withdrawn as a person in need of real coffee. Am I now addicted to the warm morning drink? Crazy.

  15. Ada – +1 on wanting caffeine to retain its magical powers. I love knowing I can drink just a tall before a long drive and stay wide awake the entire time.

  16. Brownies made with black beans or applesauce are an abomination. If I don’t want the calories of a brownie, I just won’t eat s brownie.

  17. We do full fat everything too. We have friends who give their kids skim milk so every time they come over they drink water because the kids just “wouldn’t be able to drink whole milk.” I can’t convince my mother of the merits of full fat dairy either as her doctors have told her to stay away from fat because of her diabetes.

  18. MBT – my friend who serves the bad ice cream also makes those black bean brownies for the kids. My kids will eat anything called a brownie so they don’t seem to mind, but I’ve tried them and I agree, they are an abomination.

  19. This is news? Haas avocados are quite different from Florida avocados and have different uses. I even knew that when I was a kid, and we weren’t exposed to massively exotic vegetable options in those days (we thought Romaine lettuce was an amazing gourmet treat)

  20. Wait, since when did someone try to copyright a name for Florida avocados? That is the silliest name ever

  21. @Lemon – My parents & extended family of their generation from Wisconsin still talk about margarine coming with little dye tablets that you could mix in to make it yellow at home. I actually thought it went on later than 1967.

    @Dell – I am with you 100%. I hate diet food of all kinds and I have been against them since I ate Snackwells as an impressionable HS girl in the early 90’s and Lean Cuisines as a college girl. What a crock that was.

    I do drink decaf coffee sometimes because I actually like the taste of coffee, but it will keep me up at night after noon. And I was glad that they made non-alcoholic beer for the same reason when I was pregnant. NA beer isn’t too bad – it actually tastes like beer.

  22. I have never bought low fat stuff. Even at the height of the low fat fad, I refused. I always ate butter too, never margarine.

    My father and his wife were always on some kind of low fat, weirdo diet or another. I never minded cooking for them – I always thought of their diets as a challenge to my cooking creativity and enjoyed trying to make something good. But I had to sometimes eat there, to be polite, and omigod, the wife was the worst cook ever. She never met a “lite” product that she didn’t love. I remember a Christmas Eve dinner of vegetable lasagna, which can be great in the hands of someone who can cook. But this consisted of really watery overcooked zucchini, and literally pounds and pounds of some kind of no-salt, no-fat “cheese”. Happily, they had plenty of wine on hands so we just filled up on that

  23. When DS goes to his grandparent’s house, he mixes half & half into the skim milk so that it “tastes right”.

  24. I can’t drink coffee too late into the day, so I just don’t. When I drink coffee at home, we grind it ourselves in one of those big fancy coffee-nazi grinders. My DH insists. I have gotten my coffee from the same place for 30 years now – we discovered it when DH was in grad school – a store in the Village – and when we moved away, we just started mail ordering.
    http://www.portorico.com/store/

    At my workplace, now that we have moved into the new offices, we have a kitchen area with a Keurig, and they provide pods for us. I totally appreciate the gesture – it is one of the few freebies we get. But the pods they choose are nasty, so I spring for my own pods. I notice that someone has brought in an espresso machine – I may switch to that because I don’t really like pod coffee that much and it is expensive too.

  25. Risley – DD has been vegan for 10 months now. You want to know what’s worse than vegan cheese? Melted vegan cheese. Absolutely disgusting. Oh how I hope this phase will someday end. I’d have more patience if DD was doing it because she loved animals – but she’s doing it as a weight control thing (and she does not need to lose any weight).

  26. Don’t like any reduced fat/low fat/no fat cheese, except for cottage cheese where the full fat tastes too sweet to me. There I go for 2 percent.

    I think some of it is what your palate is trained to as a kid. I find whole milk to sweet, but 2% just right. I can’t stand “natural” peanut butter because it doesn’t taste like peanut butter to me. Prefer real butter, chocolate, sugar, fresh eggs and potatoes (no powdered or out of a box), and coffee – full caffiene.

    I have used applesause in a cooking recipe in lieu of oil, can’t really tell the difference in some things. Had some WONDERFUL cookies once – the secret ingredient to keep them moist was saurkraut, but you couldn’t taste it.

    Not sure I know what a Florida avocado is. But, once had to keep a stranger in the grocery store from feeding her young child a raw plantain that she just thought was a large banana.

  27. I didn’t know about the Florida avacados. We don’t stock ice cream at home on a regular basis. It is more a summer treat.
    Like Rhett, we defaulted to HD and Ben & Jerry’s. We were looking for smaller tubs of ice cream and a choice of flavors, so that’s how we ended up with these two brands. The seniors at our house eat the smart butter. I tasted Kerry Gold butter and if I had to eat a little butter that’s what I would go for.

  28. Ris – have you tried Tofutti (ice cream)? It’s actually not terrible. Though I’m happy to be able to eat real ice cream now.

    We are a full fat, full everything family. We eat healthy generally so I don’t worry about different things. DS LOVES avocados. We’re trying to teach him that word, actually. We only buy Haas.

    I have to read the article… the first paragraph made it sound like something from The Onion.

  29. There is a lot of great vegan food out there that avoids the “vegan cheese” trap. One of my friends is a vegan who won’t eat what he calls fake animal – he counts vegan cheese in that group. He makes fine food, and I like to cook when he comes over too.

  30. Louise – we love Kerry Gold (which they now sell at Costco). My oldest requests that her lunch every day be a ham sandwich on sourdough bread with Kerry Gold butter (and she specifies the type of butter).

  31. I can’t stand “natural” peanut butter because it doesn’t taste like peanut butter to me.

    Oh, I totally agree Jiff or Skippy is great. I did once buy generic peanut butter and it was gross and had to be thrown out. It was also made with corn syrup vs. sugar for Skippy and Jiff. I really think the corn syrup is the culprit.

    I do love cheap potato chips though – the cheaper the better. I hate Cape Cod Chips but love Utz.

  32. A lot of vegetarians I know, especially younger ones, have appalling diets. They often eat fewer vegetables than meatatrians. And they seem less likely, in the aggregate, to know how to cook (this is just based on my own anecdotal evidence of course). Examples – my DS2 has a friend from a vegetarian family that appears to subsist on cheese sandwiches, veggie burgers, and those packs of chana masala you get at Hmart. i had them over for a picnic last summer, and the mom was amazed by a vegetarian chickpea and roasted pepper warm salad – she said it had never occurred to her that one could make things like that.
    DH has a niece who has been a vegetarian since she was about 12. She literally lives on bagels. She has no idea how to cook, even though she is about 30 now, with 3 kids. Recently she posted that she wanted to try cooking so she attempted grilled cheese sandwiches but it was a disaster because she didn’t realize you have to have your ingredients out befoe you start heating things. So she burned the butter completely while trying to locate cheese in the fridge. She ended her Facebook rant with “Cooking is just too hard for me!!”

  33. My DH prefers the health food peanut butter, the kind you have to stir to death, but kids like Jif/Skippy extra crunchy. Me, I won’t go near peanut butter because I lived on it as a kid – it was a cheap lunch my parents could send every day without thinking about what to make.

  34. There is a “discussion” in one of my DD’s circle of friends that if you exclude foods for long periods of time, you body will either have a hard time adjusting or not be able to adjust at all if you decide you want to reintroduce those foods.

    For those of you with friends/family members who choose complete exclusion of certain foods (vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free, etc) what has been your experience?

  35. Rhett, I too love cheap chips. Almost always UTZ! Oh and Utz cheese curls! Love!

    Oh and the only acceptable peanut butter in the world is Peter Pan creamy. Drawing a line in the sand there!

    Mooshi – agree, a lot of vegetarians are carbotarians in my experience.

  36. @Mooshi – if you want to be a vegetarian you have to learn to cook a wide variety of vegetables. I think many people now vegetarians don’t have a vegetarian food culture/background and therefore are at a loss.
    We have only vegetables for many meals but that’s the way we grew up – more vegetables and fish, less meat.

  37. Louise, a lot of these people have been vegeatrians for many years, but have no idea how to cook, or even identify, a vegetable and mainly don’t eat them.
    I also have friends from India who are strict vegetarians, and their food is wonderful. One of my friends has taught me some of her recipes – yum! I guess I don’t lump them in with the non Indian vegetarians because their approach is so different.

  38. I love CC potato chips! DH loves those Utz crab chips (which are a little gross to me).

  39. Trader Joe’s natural peanut butter is the BEST. You do have to stir it once but after that you keep it in the fridge and no more stirring. Only ingredients are peanuts and salt and it is so, so good. We go through at least a jar/week around here.

  40. @AustinMom – I have heard that with the explanation being that the bacteria in your gut changes. Is it true? Scientific evidence? No idea. No personal anecdata to share either as I have never really cut out any specific foods or group of foods for any substantial amount of time.

    Jif is the only PB that matters.

  41. I have to be a potato chip dissenter. I couldn’t stand them for years. My sib loved them, and ate them all the time – I didn’t even like being in the same room because I could smell them. But then I discovered those fancy Cape Cod chips. I still don’t eat them very often, but when I do, it has to be Cape Cod or one of those other fancy kettle cooked brands.

    OTOH, I am perfectly thrilled with a bag of Fritos. That rancid corn oil flavor is perfect.

  42. Wait, what??? You don’t like real peanut butter? Rhett – I thought we were friends. Moxie, my love. Temp Handle, you are so sensible! I think our friendships may be over… :)

    Peanut butter isn’t supposed to be brown sugar spread! It’s supposed to be salty! For those of you in New England, try Teddy Bear brand. And if you store it in the fridge, you don’t have to stir it to death and it still remains spreadable right out of the fridge.

  43. Potato chips are my vice! I like Lays, ruffles, really anything, but my fav is CC waffle cut. Dipped in chocolate. A-MAZING! Kettle brand are good too. And I’ve ventured into making my own with the deep fryer. It takes some time, but on a weekend night when I want to indulge, it’s totally worth it.

    I got to be such a connoisseur as a kid I could tell the difference between brands.

  44. I like natural PB now but it took a while to get used to it. The same thing with the fake maple syrup that I grew up on, I didn’t like real maple syrup for a long time. It’s all what you’re used to. Now sugar PB and fake syrup are so sickly sweet to me.

    I made PB cookies at Christmas time with my kids who have never really had sugar PB and they were like what is this wonderful thing? They were more into eating that than the cookies.

  45. “I do drink decaf coffee sometimes because I actually like the taste of coffee, but it will keep me up at night after noon. ”

    +1. I love coffee, and I find that if I can switch to decaf or half caf, I can drink more of it. I found that French Roast decaf can be quite good.

  46. “Those are the worst.”

    Why? Too crunchy, not flat, too oily, crazy flavors?

    I have friends who love those veggie straws/chip things. {{Shudder}} so gross.

  47. I am currently sipping cafė across from the hôtel de ville in Québec. Eating out of course for almost a week. I had forgotten the taste of fully salted food, even if it is fresh and prepared from scratch. I could get used to it again, but it is taking a bit of a toll on my husband.

  48. We eat mainly vegetarian, because of DH. I agree that ethnic cooking is the way to go. Most Indian and Chinese dishes can be made vegetarian or vegan.

  49. I was worried DSD would be a carbotarian but I’ve been happily very wrong about that. She mostly eats veggies and fruit, with the odd fake meat thing thrown in and, if I’m serving couscous or something, she’ll eat that too. I’m quite proud of how she has ramped up her nutritional intake. Being vegan has forced her to think about what she’s eating and that’s been a good thing for her.

    I don’t like nuts so Jif Natural is as real as I can get with PB.

  50. Raising my hand as another mom with a vegan DD. And yes, most cheese substitutes are gross. My D likes to try out different recipes, and she’s still aiming for a good vegan mac and cheese. All were horrible. Apparently cashews, which taste so delicious by themselves, are the base for some of the vegan cheese substitutes.

    The rest of our family is full-fat and steak on weekends type of eaters. On balance the vegan diet has been good for her. She’s eating a bit more healthily and she’s lost some weight. But it’s very expensive, takes up a lot of fridge/pantry space, and is exhausting to constantly hear her talking about it!

    I like cheap (Friendly’s) ice cream, depending on the flavor. But I also like HD and B&J.

  51. I like guacamole, but I don’t like to eat plain avocado.

    I eat chips in groups because I will stop, but I can’t eat them when I’m alone. I’ll eat any salty brand, but I’m grossed out my any flavored chips. Hate them. Even the smell of some flavored chips makes me gag.

  52. ” it still remains spreadable right out of the fridge.”

    who keeps peanut butter in the fridge?

    I don’t, DH used to (they did growing up)

  53. “OTOH, I am perfectly thrilled with a bag of Fritos. That rancid corn oil flavor is perfect.”

    my favorite! I don’t eat chips that much, but I could easily down a bag of fritos, they are addicitve once you start!

  54. Vegan, and atheist, and a CrossFitter walk into a bar. How do you know that? Because it’s the first thing they tell anyone.

  55. while I do enjoy my coffee full of sugar/cream/milk/vanilla or hazelnut, I would not ever drink a decaf. I drink it to wake up. it has become sort of like a “comfort food” though in the morning. I would drink decaf tea if I didn’t want the caffeine

    I usually stop caffeine after lunch time or I have trouble sleeping

  56. I’ve pretty much decided I don’t like carbonated drinks. I’ll have a diet Pepsi about twice a year, but that’s it. Not even seltzers or the good sodas (GuS). And Fanta, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper and any kind of cream ale – gross.

  57. DH is on a very restricted diet right now, he is dealing with tick borne issues, possibly lyme

    gluten-free, dairy-free (drinks almond milk), sugar free (uses stevia), no white potatoes or beans

  58. Wine – I SAW that about Taylor Swift/Tom Hiddleston. How dare she move on from boy band members and DJs and now date REAL men/my imaginary boyfriend? ;)

    We drink 2%. I grew up drinking skim so I can’t drink whole, but 2% is a nice compromise. The kids all drank whole until they were 3 or 4.

    I hated peanut butter growing up and then I figured out it was because it was sweetened. I like natural peanut butter but still only in PB&J sandwiches. I can’t eat PB ice cream or Reeses or anything….blechhhhhhh.

  59. Coffee – I drink in the morning only, has to be quite strong but then I don’t have any more for the rest of the day. I do pourover and have 30g.

  60. Good eat/Bad eat – a fruit bowl with mixed fruits – preferably pineapple, mango, strawberry, banana with Nutella drizzled on top. Yummy ! I love hazelnut chocolates. I think it is a European thing though.

  61. I grew up drinking 2%, but had whole at my grandmas house. I loved the whole milk back then and still do now, but I have always bought 2% because of less calories for me

  62. From time to time I will lose my taste for a certain food that I previously loved. I’m that way with asparagus and broccoli right now. I think I overdid it with asparagus last year and ate broccoli that was too raw. The taste of both now makes me feel a bit nauseous.

    I used to love Nutella when I first tried it, and I was also that way with Biscoff spread. Now I don’t care for either. But my taste for other goodies like Snickers and Fritos has endured over the years. And I still like those Hostess cream-filled chocolate iced cupcakes. Delicious with a glass of whole milk!

  63. “And I still like those Hostess cream-filled chocolate iced cupcakes. Delicious with a glass of whole milk!”

    I LOVE the orange cupcakes!

  64. Louise – I don’t like chocolate and fruit. Chocolate goes with vanilla, caramel, coffee, and/or nuts, not fruit. I don’t like vanilla and fruit either, although I will eat berries + cream in a bowl. But strawberry ice cream? No way!

  65. We are a full fat family and butter connoisseurs. We also use Kerry’s Gold. Another good brand is Finlandia. Kate’s is also pretty good. When my family was in the UK, DH and I noticed that the roasted chicken we made tasted like chicken used to taste when we were kids. It was so flavorful. I need to buy organic chicken here in the US to see if I can replicate the flavor. I’ve found that anything low fat often means more sugar which is so not good. I love caffeine but I restrict myself to two cups of strong tea in the mornings, otherwise I have trouble sleeping.

  66. Haagen Daaz and Ben and Jerry’s are wonderful, but expensive. I often buy Bryers, which is cheaper but still good. It doesn’t have the chemical-ish taste of so many of the other ice creams.

    I love black tea, and have a cup religiously after breakfast and lunch. I would love to have one after dinner as well, but I can’t handle the caffeine that late at night. But decaf black teas are awful; they taste like dirt. And I don’t like herbal teas at all.

    I have to eat gluten-free for health reasons. It’s not that bad — I’ve found good GF flours, crackers, and pastas. But gluten-free bread is disgusting. Just awful.

  67. Ginger – my chicken research concluded with the finding that air chilled chicken was best. We now buy air chilled Whole Foods chicken. Flavor is important to us as we are using chicken by itself.

  68. NoB – try Typhoo decaf or PG Tips. I order on Amazon or from Bridgham and Cook in Freeport ME. I can’t drink caf tea at night either.

  69. MM – your post at 11 am (story about girl who felt cooking grilled cheese sandwiches is too hard) is why I’m having my kids cook dinner once a week during the summer. I did this last summer and plan on doing it again this summer.

    And yes, there are plenty of vegan dishes that don’t involve vegan cheese – and I’m making plenty of stirfrys. But it’s more work finding dishes that everyone will eat. I try for dishes that 3 of the 4 will eat and will cook a vegan meal (with meat add-ons) once or twice a week. My other child is unfortunately a pickatarian. Also a carbotarian (thanks Risley). The only meat he really likes is bacon. He’d happily live on carbs, bacon, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Mostly carbs.

    I was a vegetarian for a number of years – but had no problems eating meat when I went back on the meat wagon. The first time was when I was backpacking through Europe for 6 months. I decided I didn’t want to spend the trip living on pastries (this was in Portugal – great bakeries). The second time was when I was walking home in grad school, passed by a local hamburger joint and decided I needed a burger right then and there. I’ve been eating meat ever since.

    Best peanut butter – Adams. And I refuse to buy the kind you have to stir (one of my rebellions against my childhood as my parents bought the natural kind from the co-op that you had to stir).

    Wine – I liked the Go Dog Go link you shared yesterday.

  70. I just read the OP… that article is hysterical! If it weren’t published in the WSJ, I would have sworn up and down it was The Onion. I wonder how the reported kept a straight face….

  71. ” And I was glad that they made non-alcoholic beer for the same reason when I was pregnant. NA beer isn’t too bad – it actually tastes like beer.”

    Ivy, my friend, can I buy you an O’Doul’s sometime? It is an abomination!

  72. I went on a road trip to a fiddle festival in rural NC back in the 90’s with several girls who were vegetarians. We were well off the main roads, so had to eat in local family diners. These were your classic meat n’ three places, with the “vegetable” side dishes mainly consisting of jello, beans cooked in bacon grease, greens cooked in bacon grease, green beans cooked in bacon grease – you get the picture. Those girls lived on pancakes and jello for 3 days. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the pancakes were probably cooked in bacon grease too!!!

    My best friend is a very longterm semi-vegetarian. Like many who went the vegetarian route in the 70’s, she eats fish. She likes good food and is pretty laid back about things. She travels to China a lot because her husband is from Shanghai, and says that China is pretty impossible for a vegetarian. Everything pretty much has a pork product in it somewhere, or shrimp bits, or other things derived from pork or seafood in some way. Usually these things are used very minimally, so she just eats what looks most vegetable based and doesn’t worry about it. There is the idea of Buddhist dishes, which are strictly vegetarian, but those are often hard to come by and not very good. I can remember being on a flight from HK to Nanjing with a group of Buddhist nuns, and there was nothing really to feed them on the flight. There was quite a flurry about it.

  73. *we have verbal acceptance on the house* supposed to get us the signed agreement tonight after work!

  74. For those that are or have family members that are vegans or vegetarians, why? Is it for health reasons or is it because they don’t like the idea of using animals for food?

  75. Yea! Wine.

    I like espresso best. I don’t make coffee much at home. My partner switches from coffee to tea, but only drinks one cup and the timing never works out for me. We have the melita single serve funnel that we use. You do need a finely ground coffee, but it allows him to make his weak cup and me to make my strong cup. It would be nice if we agreed on the strength!

    Chips – my down fall is tortilla chips with good salsa…must eat only in front of guests or at parties or I can put away the entire bag!

    What blows me away about eating out is I can make about the same thing at home with many fewer calories. I mean Cobb Salad at 1500 calories at Cheesecake Factory. I am trying to take off about 30 pounds, so I am trying to stay away from eating out more than once a week.

  76. One guest who had turned vegetarian told me that she could eat the gravy of chicken curry but not the chicken pieces. Now, to me the flavor of the chicken is in the gravy, so I would say she is still eating meat in a way.

  77. “I don’t like nuts so Jif Natural is as real as I can get with PB.”

    You realize, of course, that peanuts aren’t really nuts. They’re legumes.

  78. Chips and guacamole or queso are my downfall. It’s really the only time I way overeat. I limit visits to Mexican restaurants for that reason.

  79. Wine – congrats!

    Sheep – I think in the case at my house, it’s part experimentation, part seeking an identity, part hopes of weight loss and part love of animals. The proportion of each category relative to the others seems to change.

    Finn – I didn’t know that! Correction: I don’t like nuts, or peanuts.

  80. Sheep Farmer said
    “For those that are or have family members that are vegans or vegetarians, why?”
    With DH’s niece, my theory is that she is a very picky eater who is happy to subsist on bagels, and being a vegetarian gives that pickiness some validation. She was also pretty chubby as a kid so being a vegetarian may have been a way of showing her peers that she was trying to lose weight.

    OTOH, my strictly vegan friend who won’t even eat “fake meat” does it for ethical reasons, and has stuck with it for about 30 years now. My Hindu friends are vegetarian because of their religion and culture, and my friend who eats fish says she doesn’t like meat, and it is healthier to not eat meat.

  81. when I used to do the “don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent except fish” Catholic rule I would still eat sauces/soups with meat in the broth but not the actual meat pieces

  82. MM — funny, there’s a Chinese Buddhist vegetarian lunch place near my office that’s really good. It’s part of a Buddhist center.

  83. Yay Wine!

    We do not use the nuts my DD is allergic to, or the fruits. I have made all sorts of odd baked goods: black bean brownies, chickpea cookies, etc., to get healthier foods into my picky eater. Sometimes it works. The quality varies a lot with the recipe, more so than for regular baked goods.

  84. There are a lot of vegetarians in my extended family. I don’t know that there’s any one reason. It can make it challenging to simultaneously feed vegans, pescatarians, and my cousin who must have rice and meat at every meal.

    We eat vegetarian some, and even more often meat-as-seasoning. Mostly no complaints, although the boys did want something on the side when we had panzanella for dinner the other night. Which was fine; we had suitable leftovers. I think it’s more a matter of whether dinner is hot than whether dinner is meaty.

  85. Those Florida avocados look like a lot of the ones we have here. Maybe it’s a question of what you’re used to?

  86. I knew cereal sales had declined, but I thought it was due to all of the excess sugar.

    Cereal IS my go to convenience food when there is nothing else to eat, or when there is a picky eater. I know plenty of kids/young teens that will spend the next seven weeks surviving on cereal when there is nothing they like to eat at camp.

  87. honolulumom, yes you can go to special buddhist restaurants, often inside temples (and I saw that myself in Chengdu). But my friend, when she is in China, wants to eat with her in laws who are not vegetarian, plus she says the Buddhist restaurants are often not very tasty. Evidently, outside of the Buddhist places, it is hard to find truly vegetarian options unless you stick to very plain dishes. My friend is one of those people who doesn’t like to make a fuss over vegetarianism, plus she will eat seafood. But in China, she says she realizes that her shrimp dish may well have a small pork based component somewhere, and she prefers to just not know about it.

  88. Cereal is one thing I cannot abide. I couldn’t imagine eating even one meal of it, let alone subsisting on it.

  89. I think the cooked breakfast options for everyone may have increased. So now lunch places, grocery store food counters, fast food places and even schools here with their free breakfast. This has dimished the appeal of eating cereal for breakfast at home. Consumers now check for sugar in cereal and the trend has been more towards healthier cereals.

  90. Sheep Farmer – when I was a vegetarian, it was because the idea of eating meat grossed me out (ground up muscle – ick). My dad is vegan and I think it’s because he doesn’t like the idea of eating animals and he believes it’s more environmentally sustainable. I’ll have to ask him what led him to become a vegetarian. It was back in the late 70’s. My sister in law mostly eat meat unless she knows where it comes from and how it was raised (she’s a large animal vet in Vermont so they can get meat easily from neighbors who raise cows, sheep, etc.). And even then, I don’t think she eats much meat. She loves animals.

    For DD, her stated reason is “it’s healthy.” I’ve pointed out that French fries, potato chips and candy corn are all vegan and not what one would call healthy. I think it’s a way for my DD to control what she eats and to lose weight (which she doesn’t need to do). I’m really hoping she outgrows this phase.

  91. @Wine — congrats!!!

    I tried those Florida avocadoes once — not because I heard they were lower-fat, but because I wanted to make guac and the store was out of the regular kind. ITA with the article — never again.

    I am so sad to find myself in the “can’t have caffeine after noon” camp, because tea is really the only (non-alcoholic) thing I drink, and ITA that most decaf black teas taste like crap. But I’ve found some delicious other varieties (jasmine green, one particular oolong, some other greens, and one particular white tea blend) that will stand up to multiple brewings (key is to use more tea and brew for a shorter time — first brew is no more than about a minute). That way, my first pot has the caffeine, and I am left with a basket of decaffeinated leaves that I can use to make several additional pots later in the day before they start tasting too thin. At work, we have a Keurig, so I just switch to the decaf green they provide after lunch.

    I am also embarrassed to admit that I still jones for particular versions of really bad packaged crap from my childhood — the things my health-food mom never bought but my grandmas got me as treats. I was never a fan of potato chips or pretzels, but nacho cheese Doritos or crunchy Cheetos get me every time; I have also learned to adore salt and vinegar potato chips, especially the extra-thick-but-super-crisp kind (Mrs. Ihries, Miss Vickie’s, the Dirty ones are ok). But the all-time childhood favorite was Ding Dongs (loved the chocolate frosting all the way around and the “cream” filling; the competing Hostess Cupcakes never had a chance).

    And then in HS I discovered the Tasty-Klair, which I ate at my job almost every night as dessert. On the way back from the beach this weekend, we stopped for gas and snacks, and there in front of me was a whole rack of them. OMG. My knees quavered. I wasn’t hungry, so I forced myself to walk away. But then I ended up caving at the salt and vinegar chips, so I should’ve just gotten the stupid pie in the first place.

  92. N of B – Tetly decaf is pretty darn good for decaf. The first time someone served it to me I thought they made a mistake and gave me caffeinated. It’s weak though: I use two bags when I brew a cup. My goto for caffeinated tea is PG Tips.

  93. I’m addicted to the salt and vinegar potato chips from Trader Joes (Hawaiian style I think). But I’m also a sucker for original Better Maid.

    We’re not vegetarians, but I’ve been very happy with the meatless recipes on Cooksmarts. One week we had three meals in a row without meat and my DH and kids never mentioned it was missing.

    Cereal is my comfort food.

  94. HM, while the avocados in the photos in the article kinda look like Sharwils, the description aren’t consistent with Sharwils.

  95. “Cereal is one thing I cannot abide. I couldn’t imagine eating even one meal of it, let alone subsisting on it.”

    You might need to have words with my son. If he could live on cheerios and dried cranberries or raisins, he would. If it came with avocado or peanut butter or strawberries/blueberries/pineapple he’d be in heaven.

    My version of getting veggies into my picky son is those puree pouches. He isn’t thrilled with cooked carrots or broccoli we eat, but give him the Earth’s Organic pouch and Poof! He LOVES them.

  96. “You might need to have words with my son. If he could live on cheerios and dried cranberries or raisins, he would.”

    Oh, ick, ick, ick. Cheerios are one of the most disgusting substances on earth.

    I should add, though – I do like hot oatmeal. WIth nuts and brown sugar.

  97. I tend to eat cereal for dessert. Though I will eat it with yogurt for breakfast sometimes. When I lived alone and worked late, I often would make sure I had a “big” meal at lunch and then have cereal for dinner.

  98. Finn, internet research suggests that you’re right, Sharwils aren’t really grown in FL, so that would explain why the description of the FL ones as watery and slimy sounds so unlike a buttery rich Sharwil.

  99. My son recently discover that fruitables juice drinks have vegetables in them. His expression was priceless! He was shocked we’d hoodwinked him into having veggies.

  100. Typhoo decaf tea bags make amazing iced tea. It tastes like real tea and if you throw in some fresh mint it is perfect. You can drink it all afternoon and not be awake all night.

    Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt (skyr) has less sugar than most other flavored yogurts. It’s expensive but so much better than the mainstream fruit yogurt. The Greek yogurt craze has pushed lots of regular yogurt off the shelves, so those trying to increase calcium intake in their dotage don’t have many choices. But Siggi’s is terrific.

  101. Sheepfarmer – My SIL is a strident vegetarian, and now vegan. It all started when she was twelve or so, according to her mostly due to objections on how animals are treated. I think really though its more of a control issue for her.

  102. @PTM – I thought the O”Douls Amber was pretty good when I was pregnant. But I mean, compared to nothing I guess. My problem with NA beer was that restaurants/bars sold so little of it that it was often old/skunked.

  103. I hate avocados due to the texture. The last time I had it was in a salad I got at a Mexican restaurant and I did not know it was in there. When I took bite and got that mushy texture when I was expecting crunchy that I wanted to spit it out.

    I also hate Nutella. I do like Peter Pan. My sister is vegetarian and makes a lot of hearty vegetable based meals. A former co-worker was one that existed on grilled cheese. She would go to McDonalds and order a cheeseburger, hold the meat.

  104. @Mooshi – hot oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins and pecans has become my daily breakfast and comfort food. The breakfast place serves the same quantities of all those things so it’s great because it helps me mentally keep my weight control log.
    A few posters have mentioned teens trying to control their weight. My advice would be to keep a food diary. One portion is the size of your fist. Eat twice as many portions of vegetables as meat. Restrict snacking between meals. Fruit after meals and any sweet treat after the fruit. These rules have worked for me for 20+ years now.

  105. LfB – I hear you on loving things that were forbidden in childhood. I didn’t have a pop tart until college and thought they were manna from heaven. I bought some for my kids and they were completely unimpressed. I was kind of disappointed by their reaction.

    I also love Doritos and Cheetos. We only have them when we go camping because a) I don’t care if the kids get their grubby orange fingerprints all over the great outdoors and b) if they’re in our house, I will eat all of them. My kids now think of them as special camping food.

  106. I have been eating cereal with milk for breakfast for as long as I can remember. Almost every single day. I don’t think I will ever change that habit. I know, I know, it’s not good for me. But at least I’m no longer eating the cereals of my childhood. I grew up on Captain Crunch, Apple Jacks, and Quisp.

    MBT — I usually don’t have texture aversions to foods, but I’m totally with you on the avocados.

  107. “For those that are or have family members that are vegans or vegetarians, why?”

    Sheep Farmer: I don’t know. DH went to a wedding in Asia, came back, and said that he lost the taste for meat. Hasn’t touched it since. He used to love eating meat, and is not a picky eater.

    I love my junk food–I could live on coffee, Diet Coke, and Kettle Chips.

  108. Louise – your diet advice is great. However, if I mention it to DD, it would go in one ear and out the other. Also, she doesn’t actually need to lose any weight – she’s quite trim. At home, I try really hard not to comment on her vegan diet one way or the other as I don’t want it to turn into a parent-child power struggle.

  109. L and Ginger — Thanks for the tea suggestions. We have a British-imports store in our town, so I will check to see if they have Typhoo or PG Tips decaf. I get really good caffeinated tea at that shop from Taylors of Harrogate (another British brand), but I tried that brand’s decaf once, and it was terrible.

  110. “grubby orange fingerprints”

    The way to eat Cheetos without the orange fingerprint issue is to use chopsticks.

  111. @Lauren – just curious as to why the kids are not likely to find something to eat at camp ? Is the food bad or are the kids just picky ?

  112. Some camps serve camp food that doesn’t seem to have changed much since I was a kid.

    There are picky eaters, and we saw different options at each camp depending on the place. A few had really great salad bars with alternate options available for picky eaters. Some camps serve family style with fewer alternate choices. Most camps won’t serve peanut butter so the kids end up eating a lot of junk like cereal or bagels if they don’t like the main course.

  113. I never went away to camp but I was a camp counselor one summer. It made me so glad my parents never sent us to camp as kids. I lost a lot of weight (and I was very skinny to start with) because the food not only was appalling, but it was served in preschool portions. For dinner, we might get one sad hot dog and a thimblefull of coleslaw, and that was IT. Lunch would be half a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off. No matter how bad it tasted, I would eat every morsel because I was so hungry. The kids at this camp ranged from 7 to 16, and believe me, they were as hungry as we were.

    Other fun things at that camp – one of the counselors couldn’t swim and almost drowned after he fell out of a canoe. And they had me out assisting the shooting class (yes, they had the kids shooting 22’s) despite the fact I had never touched a gun in my life and knew nothing about gun safety.

  114. A few of these camps have gone in the other direction, and they have amazing food. I don’t think most kids are starving at any of these typical sleepsway camps in mid Atlantic and New England. A few camps have great food, but even the other camps have improved some selections due to increasing numbers of allergy and GF campers. There does seem to be a little more variety.

  115. The way to eat Cheetos without the orange fingerprint issue is to use chopsticks.

    Or just wipe your hands on a napkin.

  116. SSM- your post about your vegan DD set off alarm bells in my head, especially when you mentioned the weight control angle and that she doesn’t need to lose. Because I became a vegetarian in my early teens, not because of ethics but to mask an eating disorder. Please, I beg you, take this seriously if you think there’s any chance that could be going on. Once an eating disorder becomes entrenched it is almost impossible for the person to go back to “normal” ever again. I was extraordiarily lucky and snapped out of mine, but it has pretty much ruined my sister’s life. Check out the book “Just a Little Too Thin- How to Pull Your Child Back from the Brink of an Eating Disorder.”

  117. I was going to say the same thing as Rio — sometimes veganism masks an eating disorder. I didn’t want to seem alarmist but Rio’s right, it’s something to keep an eye on.

  118. I always lost weight at Girl Scout camp because the food was so horrible. In particular I remember the canned, sliced carrots. OMG those were gross. Oh, and you had to have stewed prunes with breakfast to stay regular. I used to hide them in my bland, unseasoned oatmeal and then not eat the oatmeal.

  119. I could have written Rio’s post if I were articulate; in fact, I spent some time trying to compose a similar plea this morning. Rio said it well – those of us who’ve been there are hearing alarms go off.

  120. When I came to the U.S. I ate in the college cafeteria. To me, it served what I saw was quite a variety of foods. Most of it was quite all right and this was before the foodie/healthy eating/allergy wave. Still there were so many complaints about the food, that one would think they were serving nothing but moldy bread. The lines for shrimp or steak night were so long – I wondered where all the students came from.

  121. Thanks Rio, RMS and Hen. Rio – I will definitely check that book out. Currently DD is at a healthy just right weight (and she did eat the vegan cookies I bought last week). But it does concern me that she’s doing it to lose weight and that we’ve gone past the two week fad trend.

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