February 17, 2005

Taste Matters

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Like it or not, the French are once again ruining your life. Yes, this can come to you as shocking news. After all, they are the coolest, most sophisticated people in the world and we should all try to be just like them in every conceivable way. Either Louis Vuitton covers your entire body, or you might as well change your last name to Hoover, ’cause you, umm, le suck. Face it, America, especially those of you who think you know what the hell’s up with being cool, the French have you in every way. Their infants are even cooler than we are. Remember Jordy, the four-year-old gangsta rapper? He makes Lil’ John look like a lil’ pussy with his rhymes about breast feeding and crayons. In the video, he didn’t even have to leave his stroller. American babies are just stupid and usually ugly. The French are so cool, they don’t have to do a lot of the things that we have to; hit their consonants, give a shit, smoke cigarettes like heterosexuals … I could go on. But, I won’t. So it should come as no surprise to you ladies out there that French women are so skinny and fit because they’re French!

Mireille Giuliano, a French author, recently released a book entitled French Women Don’t Get Fat. While she may or may not get the Pulitzer for most original title, she does raise an interesting point. While some look at the French and attribute their health to the controllable variables of portion size and sensibility, Giuliano basically crushes all of those dreams with her assertion that it is, in fact, because they are French. While this is still debatable, it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it? Well, not really. Only some of it is true. Although Madame Giuliano is correct, and French women can smoke, eat and drink what they want and still be hot, those women and most French people eat like birds during most of the day. Their goddam portions are smaller, idiot! They also walk everywhere and very quickly. How about endless caffeine, nicotine and loud ass techno music? They suppress your appetite like woah.

Also, a lot of the French do not have asses. That’s what I love about you American chicks — you actually have budunka dunks in the trunk, which are generally quite funky fresh. That’s cool. It’s a little jarring when the front and back are almost the same. Anyway, it is not out of our hands to stay in shape. I actually think that simple dietary changes can expand on Ms. Giuliano’s suggestions. According to Giuliano, French women are healthier because they live the French life; they do not become obsessed with their eating habits, but rather eat sensibly and really appreciate meals. She presents simple guidelines, including what I like to call her “compensation theory,” which says that if you eat crap for one meal, have a plate of vegetables for the next one. So your breakfast of a butter sandwich made with Poptarts and bacon should be followed by vegetables, lean meat and whole grains. That can be quite boring and tedious. I wish there was food that could fit that description without killing your taste buds…

You want flavor? How about variety? Croutons? And best of all, you want only a few calories? Yes. I am talking about big, badass salads. Salads have been around for a millennia, ever since the cavemen began to hunt wild lettuce, tomatoes and other carnivorous vegetables. Finally, the hunters domesticated the produce and turned them into what we know as farms. Thus, the rise of agriculture coincided with the birth of the salad. They are the saving grace in a country that needs serious help with its eating habits. The good thing about the salad is that if made correctly, it can fulfill your satiety and dietary needs in one shot. Booya, grandma. Booya. Now, I don’t need to get too detailed about what to put in a salad, since, that’s up to you, bro. If you want to make a salad with Cap’n Crunch and motor oil, go right ahead. But there are some basics we should all know.

First, actually making the salad should not warrant any panic or heartache, mainly because you are not cooking anything. You throw a bunch of veggies in a bowl and then mix them around. Not that hard. The simplest points I can give you are: go easy on the dressing because you want to coat the greens rather than saturate everything and never use iceberg. My second point leads me to other considerations involving salads. If you like iceberg lettuce in a salad, there is something wrong with you. Yes, it is crunchy and goes well on sandwiches in a little place I like to call McDonald’s, but as food, it’s absolutely worthless in every way. A huge wedge of this crap, smothered in Ranch dressing and bacon, is not a salad. Iceberg is only water and cell walls. Most of it isn’t even naturally grown anymore. Instead, eat leafy things that are dark green or other bright colors, like Romaine, Mesculin, Raddichio, cabbage, watercress, or spinach. And if you want crunch, add carrots, cucumbers, baby corn, water chestnuts or hard noodles. I am also a huge advocate of flavor mixing and experimentation. Don’t be a regular Rachel, Laura, Lauren, Becky, Becca or Ali so and Stein — combine sweet and sour, spicy and minty, salty and sweet, etc. That means mixing in fruits like Mandarin oranges, apples, pears and even dried cranberries into your bowl. That sounds good, right? Plus, like most other salad ingredients, the contents are cheap. So if you’re a cheapskate, salads are perfect for you.

Perhaps one of the more poignant issues with salads is their ability to make even the manliest men feel like their panties are in a knot. Guys, if you do eat salads, you will be less of a man if you order some foofy concoction without any protein. Get something with meat in it. Chicken, shrimp, beef, more beef, maybe a whole cow, whatever. Make sure it’s visible, too. If you get a chef’s salad or something with meat chunks that are lost among the rest of the garden products, make sure you call attention to yourself every time you eat some of them. I don’t know — for every ham cube you eat, make some growling noises or grunts and then throw your fork at your friend in triumph. I guess ordering a salad when you’re on a date might make the girl feel like she’s in Trillium with her sorority, so you may want to save it for another occasion. Actually, fellas, if you want more salad advice, definitely ask any girl ever. You know how guys often binge on beer and communicable diseases? Well, girls are salad junkies.

And here’s a salad suggestion for those of you on a “restrictive” diet of basically nothing for breakfast, nothing for lunch, some water and well, maybe, nah, nothing for dinner: get a salad bowl, put some dressing and crumbs on the bottom and act is if you’ve just eaten it — no one will know!

Finally, let’s talk about salad tossing. If you really want to, and few actually can, try to toss your own salad. If not, just get a friend to toss it for you. I know that in an emergency, you may be tempted to just find some stranger on the street to toss your salad. This is not recommended — at least get to know the person first. And if your friends are kind enough to help toss your salad, be kind enough to reciprocate the favor.

Archived article by Jon Rich
Sun Staff Writer