Gluten Free Vegan Magic

This goes up as I am cooking for a big party. I will be making three to four deep fried turkeys, the corresponding amount of side dishes, as well as appetizers and specialty items. I have been doing this on Super Bowl Sunday for decades now. There is a long and not terribly interesting origin story behind this tradition, but that is not important. The point is I have cooked for a large number of people many times over many years, and I have noticed some things about people and food that I thought would make a good post.

We live in the golden age of man when it comes to food. We have more than enough to feed all of us, even the poorest of us. We also have every variety of food imaginable. In addition to turkey, I will make an authentic Mexican dish with material from Mexico. I will have sides and appetizers with ingredients from around the world. Despite this bounty, everyone is now afraid of their food. Food allergies, moralizing and whack-a-doodle dietary fads has everyone looking at their plate with suspicion.

Back when this annual event started, it was easy to cook a bunch of food for a bunch of people. Besides the turkey and sides, we had beer and some store bought deserts. Then vegetarians started to show up followed by vegans. That meant adding dishes for people who do not eat meat and those who do not oppress their food, whatever the hell that means. Of course, beer was no longer enough so a variety of wines and cocktails were added to the menu. All of which came with a lecture from the food cultist about the morality and science of their new thing.

Recently everyone has become gluten free, swearing they have an allergy to bread. All those years stuffing cakes and sandwiches into their trap was part of some plot by big food to make them tubby. Statistically, I now have 25,000 friends. The reason is simple math. Science tells me that 0.2% of humans have the genetic defect for gluten intolerance.  I know at least 50 people claiming to have Celiac Disease. Divide 50 by .002 and you get 25,000. That or I have a lot of delusional friends.

The truth, of course, is bread has a lot of calories that the human body can use quickly. That is why humans make bread. It is a great way to feed a lot of people. The trouble comes when we eat too much and exercise too little. Modern humans simply do not get enough physical exercise for the amount of food they consume. When you stop eating bread, magically you reduce your calories and begin to lose weight. You lose weight so you feel better and more confident. That makes gluten evil, at least in the mind of the maniac.

My read on this faux-allergy stuff is it is mostly women. The yogurt makers have figured out how to capitalize on their psycho-somatic stomach discomfort by claiming “probiotics” are the cure. Slap a new label on the old yogurt, double the price and you have a whole new revenue stream for the Acme Yogurt Company. I wish I had thought of it.

That said, men have their own food superstitions these days. I know guys who swallow dozens of supplements every day, believing they are the key to losing weight, staying young, getting a boner, living forever, etc. If the label says good things with words containing “-trophic” then they will shell out fifty bucks for a bottle. The more made up words the better. I read some of these bottles and start laughing as the neologisms are usually nonsense.

Modern times are all about the search for the magic pill or the magic food. This site I added to the blog roll has a bunch of stuff on supplements. Most supplements like daily vitamins are a waste of money at best. Some have some benefit, depending upon your lifestyle. A few have real science behind them like fish oil and vitamin D. But knowing what real science is and what is nonsense not so easy. The linked site appears to get that and take a critical view of the research offered up by the pill makers. But I have not spent enough time there to know for sure so do not take my word for it.

That is the thing that I find fascinating. It is not just that we do not know that much about human dietary needs. It is that we have so much bad science floating around. My guess is there is more money in bogus studies that help sell miracle drugs than in studies that debunk them. The result is a mountain of junk science, burying the good science, if it even exists.

Maybe that is the point of all of this. Science is boring, but believing nonsense is fun. Believing that your cheeseburger is out to get you is more interesting than knowing you cannot live on cheeseburgers without getting fat. If your choice of food can also be a way to elevate yourself on the moral scale, then eating becomes more than a bodily function. It is an act of piety.

My own view is less grandiose. I eat a minimum of carbohydrates because otherwise I would weigh 300 pounds. I stick with poultry, eggs, and some dairy. That way I can eat tasty things, like eggs and bacon, without worrying about my weight. On the other hand, life is for living so having pizza once in a while or a bag of chips (crisps) is not going to kill me. If it does, so be it. At least I had fun with the time I had. That is the point of life. Use the time you have and enjoy it as much as possible. Hell is for people who denied themselves pleasures thinking it was their ticket to heaven.

Enjoy the big game and may your balls never go flat.

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Walter Sobchak
9 years ago

Just remember that Hitler was a vegetarian.

9 years ago

When she was four or five, one of my grand daughters chimed in with, “Eat all you want. Quit when your full.” during a diet conversation her mother and some aunts were having.

9 years ago

Burgers and beer for superbowl for me here in England and maybe a little of my moonshine calvados.

9 years ago

[…] handful, and perhaps one of the reasons, beyond a most lamentable lack of time for such things, is the upsurge in finicky eaters, and I don’t mean two-year-olds in a high chair […]

james wilson
james wilson
9 years ago

It seems so wrong for Vegans to attend NFL parties. Surely they are religiously opposed to animal exploitation, and the NFL is all about exploiting prime beef on the hoof.