"Mindless" in Minnesota, Part II: Calling It as I See It

Friday, March 13, 2009 39 comments
Un Cassoulet aux Haricots et Saucisses sur Riz . . . or is it?

This is the second in a 4-part discussion of the book Mindless Eating by Dr. Brian Wansink, in collaboration with fellow blogger, Joie de Vivre:
"Come join me as I discuss the 'skinny' on "The See-Food Trap" and "Family, Friends, and Fat". The tips gleaned from these studies are particularly useful to me in my own weight loss journey. Curious? Find out what they are!"
For Part I of "Mindless" in Minnesota, click here!

Still Tangled on Mindless Eating

(photo from Amazon.com)
I really do have food on the brain. From the moment I wake up in the morning until the second I doze off at night, my thoughts are on eating, cooking, studying and blogging about it. Even as I'm consuming a meal, I'm already thinking about the next one. Is it an eccentric preoccupation or a strange obsession? Am I just passionately consumed by consumption or helplessly enslaved by edibles?

For now, I have been able to walk the tightrope between simply thinking about food and actually acting upon it but according to Dr. Wansink, the ability to maintain this balance is constantly under barrage by invisible influences within and around us.

Chapter 4 - The Hidden Persuaders Around Us

In the previous chapters, Wansink stated that both mental and visual perceptions serve as hidden persuaders which are triggered or reinforced by the way food is presented, from the label on a bottle of wine to the size of a dinner plate. These cues create anticipation of the amount of food we think should be eaten, which may then lead us to tailor our consumption toward overeating in order to meet those expectations and achieve satiety. Although he offers some strategies to counter these effects, such as using smaller dinnerware, Wansink points out in this chapter that the mere sight - or even a mental visualization - of food is enough to set off a Pavlovian urge to chow down. 

It's not simply conjecture: in a 2002 study published in the journal Synapse (44.3.139-45), researchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory observed elevated levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (linked to pleasure and reward sensors), usually seen in drug addicts, in study participants who were only allowed to see or smell their favorite foods. Said lead investigator Nora Volkow:
"[This shows] that the dopamine system can be triggered by food when there is no pleasure associated with it since the subjects don't eat the food [emphasis mine]. This provides us with new clues about the mechanisms that lead people to eat other than just for the pleasure of eating, and . . . may help us understand why some people overeat."
These observations were made in the controlled environment of a research study but, as Wansink warns, there are no somber scientists in our daily lives to whisk away temptation when our brains our flooded with dopamine upon seeing some delicious treat. More often than not, we end up acting on our craving, especially if it is conveniently within reach.

And therein lies the solution (and my saving grace). I may think about food constantly but it's more difficult to eat a mental image than something that is right in front of me. So, Wansink suggests 'de-conveniencing' certain foods by storing them in out-of-the-way places like the top shelf of the cupboard or by eating them only in certain circumstances, such as while sitting at the dinner table. By forcing us to expend greater effort to access such food, he says, it also gives us a critical moment to re-consider our craving (93).

So far, Wansink has offered numerous studies on how our individual perceptions can influence our eating behaviors but in the following chapters, he identifies surprising new culprits, which left this Noodle steaming just a bit.

Chapter 5 - Mindless Eating Scripts
"One of life's great pleasures is to share food with family and friends. What we don't always realize is how strongly [they] influence what we eat. When we're with people we enjoy, we often lose track of how much we're eating."
(Wansink, 95)
How much do we lose track? Wansink cites psychologist John DeCastro, whose research has found that the number of dining companions with whom one eats can greatly increase, by as much as double, the amount of food one consumes (97). Apparently, we are inclined to follow the lead of what he terms the 'pacesetters', the  fellow diners whose eating patterns we attempt to mimic in a case of group behavioral conformity. Referring to a 2003 study that found people who ate less on their own consumed more when dining with a group, and vice versa, Wansink suggests that "if you tend to be a heavy eater, you should eat with the group. If you're a lighter eater, you should eat by yourself" (99). But as my dear mother-in-law would say when she's unconvinced by an argument, "That's very interesting."
A Noodle Christmas in the Philippines:
The food was delicious but the focus was family
While I do not disagree with Wansink's assessment that meal-sharing can lead to individual overeating, I do think that this conclusion falls short of a complete picture. For one thing, commensality - the act of eating together - is rarely undertaken with food as the central motivation. It is instead the means by which a group comes together to create or solidify bonds, whether it is a family sitting down for a holiday meal or co-workers on a lunch break at the local Ruby Tuesday's. By implying that 'light eaters' should eat alone or at least choose do so only with others who follow a similar consumption pattern, Wansink's strategy seems to ignore the critical, primarily social role that commensality performs. 

It also fails to address the broader cultural issues that underlie the kinds of food that are consumed in this context. Wansink asserts that shared eating habits explain why "couples and families tend to be similar sizes" but he cites only "frequency, quantity, and time spent eating" as the main causes, without mentioning the quality of food (99). Keep in mind that many other societies engage in communal dining with few of the problems of overconsumption and obesity that underscore the debate here in the United States because the kinds of food eaten in those cultures may be of higher nutritional quality, i.e. fresh  versus heavily processed ingredients.

Finally, I feel that there is a much more complex reason that 'heavy eaters' (which, to me, referred to overweight diners) eat less when dining with others than just following a lead. Group opinion is considered a primal and indirect form of social control: what others think of us, or what we believe they think of us, often drives conformity to prescribed public behaviors. Given what is arguably a widespread attitude in American culture that being overweight is a sign of lack of control or willpower, a person who is already heavy may be acutely sensitive of their food consumption in a group setting if they believe that others will judge them by it. In this context, the purpose of commensality is once again subverted for certain individuals. In both instances, the key to controlled eating in a group setting may lie more with changing social attitudes about the quality of food and opinions regarding body image and weight control.

Despite these concerns, I do support Wansink's central point in Chapter 5: what, when and how much we eat is often based not on physical and nutritional needs but rather on 'scripts' - from "We always eat popcorn with a movie" to "I don't want my date to think I'm a pig" or "It's the holidays/a party/a vacation." But please don't pick on the family dinner!  

Chapter 6 - The Name Game

Thankfully, Wansink moves to another 'hidden persuader' of truly subliminal power** that belies the childhood recitation, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." According to the author, mere words have the ability to influence our food choices for better or for worse, creating certain expectations of eating behaviors mentioned in earlier chapters. Remember the North Dakota versus California wine experiment in Chapter 1, and the resulting effect on diners? By using descriptors drawn from four basic themes (geography, nostalgia, sensory and brand), food marketers and advertisers evoke a strong response that may determine our anticipation of enjoyment of the food and, consequently, how much we will eat (128). This can certainly prove to be a pitfall when dining out.

But the language used to describe food can have a positive effect, says Wansink, whose most recent study found that pre-school children ate twice as much vegetables when the produce were given names such as 'Dinosaur Broccoli Trees' and 'Tomato Bursts'. Similarly with adults, the resultant feelings of satisfaction and satiety with our meals can be managed by consciously forming these expectations ourselves at home. 

"[W]e taste what we expect we'll taste," writes Wansink, so he suggests describing the food you prepare yourself with positive, evocative terms and creating a special atmosphere, for instance, by using pretty dinnerware or linens (138). Presumably, this strategy should make even a small portion feel super-sized. Does it work? Perhaps you can tell me with the recipe below . . . 

Please join me and Joie de Vivre again next Friday as we continue our discussion of this fascinating book!

[**For an excellent study on the power of language, I recommend the PBS Frontline documentary, The Persuaders, which examines how marketers, advertisers, pollsters and pundits skillfully manipulate words and phrases to influence public and personal opinions]

A Stew by Any Another Name . . . 
I refer to this simply as the 'bean dish', whose interchangeable primary ingredients - beans, meat, seasonings - make it a dependable regular in our dinner rotation. We've always enjoyed it, generic name and all, but I must admit that calling it a 'cassoulet' (though it barely qualifies as such) gives it a certain Gallic flair. Bon appétit!

A Humble Sausage and White Bean Stew

Serves 2-4


1 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
1 cup red onions, diced (about 1/2 large onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz chorizo* sausage (approx. 3 links, casings removed)
1 (15 oz) can white** beans such as cannellini or Great Northern, rinsed
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper***
1/2 tsp oregano***

Feel free to change up the meats, beans, and flavorings! Some suggestions: 
* Italian sausage, ground lamb
** black beans, red kidney, black-eyed peas
*** Italian, Greek, Indian seasonings and spices

To make:

1. Heat oil in a fry or sauté pan then add garlic and onions and sauté until soft;
2. Add chorizo, breaking it into small pieces, and sauté until cooked through;
3. Add beans and diced tomatoes and bring to a low simmer;
4. Add chipotle pepper and oregano and continue on a low simmer for 10-15 minutes, partially covered, and stirring occasionally;
5. Remove from heat and serve over rice or, as a stew, with a rustic bread.


  • Joie de vivre said...

    I loved the "name game" study too. I try to use it to fool my boys sometimes into eating something good for them. :)

    I agree with your points about eating in a group too. Eating with family and friends does not have to be a "heavy" issue, as long as the focus is on being together and conversation, not eating mindlessly until everyone is finished. It could explain the "Thanksgiving syndrome" though. Do you think you would eat as much at Thanksgiving if you were dining alone? Not that I would want to do that for a second, even if it saved a few calories, I'm just wondering. Sorry for the rambling comment. :) Time for me to go have some coffee!

  • Chef E said...

    Bravo!!! On the 'name game' thing, I was thinking of how when I go out that I order according to the name and what is in a dish, but get so disappointed when it is called by a name that makes it seem much more than what is sat down in front of you, and it so is not what I expected...because eating out for me is a 'treat' I have learned to put aside junk eating out...

    I feel the same way about the group eating and have been successful in not falling into that trap, and hubby also has put his foot down at the holidays about the gorging that goes on. He gets sick every time if he is weak and will reach for whatever they have put out...

    I love this stuff you guys are putting out there for us to follow with you, hooray!

  • Anonymous said...

    The name game is an interesting issue. In a lot of 5-stars recently I've noticed that the fancy names are gone, and instead only featured ingredients are listed. In Joel Robuchon, for example one course simply La Tomate with description of Salad with tomato, olive oil, and basil. We were a little confused and expected something very simple and instead we got a dish with a presentation and flavors we've never seen before - it was so much more complex that the name suggested. So in this case, lower expectations let to higher ratings :)

    I love your cassoulet - it looks fabulous!

  • Dewi said...

    A Humble Sausage and White Bean Stew sounds really delicious, I really like the addition of chipotle pepper. It's my favorite pepper.

  • Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

    I love these Friday discussions and thanks for allowing us to read along with you and Joie de Vivre. Your cassoulet looks so healthy for a cassoulet. I did a post on one recently with black eyed peas (a southern, smoky touch) but yours is much healthier without all of the typical fat. I would have never thought of the chipotle peppers but I bet they make big difference in the flavor.

  • Reeni said...

    The Friday discussions sure are giving me a lot to think about. The past week or so I've seen my habits changing along with my thinking. I know that's a vague statement. But I feel like my attitude towards eating is changing. I know I've been satisfied with smaller portions all week. Thanks for doing this! Your Cassoulet looks spicy and delicious. I've never eaten one or cooked one. It reminds me a lot of chili.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you all for stopping by to read!

    Joie -The 'name game' is so fascinating: that we can be influenced by so little as one or two words! As for family dining, I think that we can focus a lot more on companionship and conversation if we didn't have to worry about the kinds of food on the table. Luckily, these type of feasting events happen only a few times in the year but providing healthy daily meals can be such an issue.

    Heather - Thanks and I hope you do get a chance to read it. It really is fascinating and a little weird: as I was reading, I recognized myself doing the very mindless things that the author described!

    Chef E - Thank you! When we go out to eat, I tell myself to order what I can not make myself but I'm susceptible to descriptions, especially the word 'creamy'. That gets me every time! I'm so happy you're enjoying these posts; the book is a real eye-opener!

    5 Star - Thank you! I admit that calling it a 'cassoulet' is a bit of a reach but it is a strategy suggested in the book . . . ! 8-)

    That is a very interesting observation regarding the descriptors at 5-star establishments - do you think it's in response to current economic conditions, i.e. the desire to downplay images of 'conspicuous consumption'?

    Sophie - Thank you so much! I'm trying to be a bit more of a 'spontaneous' cook - testing my knowledge about flavors and their pairings. This was a bit of cheat, though - the chorizo already had a smoky, spicy flavor so I figured chipotle would go well. I might have used black beans instead but the white beans, I thought, would give the dish a 'creamier' texture that might counter the spice.

    Elra - Thank you! Chipotle and ancho are my current favorites, too. I'm starting to develop a taste for spicier foods so I've been experimenting with other kinds of peppers (although still not the very hot ones like habaneros).

    Chef E - Thanks! I'm a little embarrassed because it's not a true, true cassoulet but it was quite delicious. Cooking Light recently featured a cassoulet recipe that I hope to try out!

    Sam - Thank you! I love black-eyed peas, which I started using in place of chick peas in some recipes when I developed an intolerance to garbanzos. Chipotle is one of my current favorite flavors and it was an easy choice since I used chorizo. However, I do want to make a more 'traditional' cassoulet (I understand that it also has duck!)

    Reeni - I'm happy to hear that you're developing some new eating habits! I still think I have problems with putting food on my plate - the whole "my eyes are bigger than my stomach" deal. So I concentrate instead on making less! Instead of a full recipe, I try to halve it so that I'm not tempted to take a lot b/c I see so much left over in the pot or serving dish. It's been working well so far although it means no leftovers, which means I have to cook something new every night. Thank goodness for frozen pizza! 8-)

    And the 'cassoulet' is a lot like chili - very saucy which is why we love it over rice although I could definitely have it with a few slices of thick, crusty bread!

  • Anonymous said...

    I loved your comments on eating with a group. The writer may be right on eating more with a group, however it's related to socail issues. I myself don't like eating alone. I love having a conversation with friends while eating. Eating shouldn't be just eating. It's more meaningful when you eat with a group of friends or your family.

  • Anonymous said...

    I think it's a trend aimed to achieve the wow factor where simple ingredients are expected - the opposite name game :) I wonder who started it (betting on Alinea).

  • Sapuche said...

    Another interesting and thought provoking post! In Japan there’s a gastronomic principle that many people adhere to, which is to eat until you’re 80% full. None of my Japanese friends eat that much, and none of them are even close to dealing with weight issues. It’s interesting, too, to consider the importance of presentation in Japanese cuisine, and the predominance in meals of many small courses (usually made with fresh, low-fat ingredients such as fish, tofu, and pickled veggies). It’s like the appetite is partly sated by how beautiful the food is prepared (often in beautiful bowls that are used according to the season). Whether or not that aligns with Wansink, I dunno! Btw, I don’t know if you’re a fan of “memes,” but I have one for you at my blog. If you don't like them, I’m sorry to add length to my comment like this. It just means I'm a fan of your site!

  • Maria Verivaki said...

    family life in a rural kitchen like mine focuses very much on food. as soon as one meal is consumed, we debate over what to have the next day, so the appropriate preparation takes place the night before

    as for deconveniencing certain foods, i did that for a long enough time to get my family to realise they cant have eg crisps every day or just when they felt like it. now i don't always store convenience food in out of the way places, but the rule has set in, and we all know where to look when the evening (which is the only time we'd look for such food) calls for an easy meal

    in my particular case, i feel that eating with others makes me eat more, because i am not particularly fond of the eating ritual of sitting at a table, chatting about whatever, while trying to eat (slowly) at the same time!

  • Michele said...

    Noodle, the name game info was really interesting. I liked your take on it =)
    And your comment about having food on the brain morning, noon, and night -- wow, that made me feel so much better because I thought I was the only one who did that!! I often drift off to sleep thinking of creative blog-worthy recipes (low cal of course...)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Zerrin - I wholeheartedly agree! Eating together to me isn't primarily about 'eating' - it's about conversation and companionship. In fact, when I'm in deep conversation with someone at the table, I don't even eat! You can't talk if you have food in your mouth . . . and you can't eat if you're talking!

    Sapuche - Yes! I've heard that 'rule' as well and I've tried it although I'm not quite sure yet if I know how much 80% full feels like! Wansink does mention a Japanese term, "katachi no aji" meaning "the shape of the taste" in the chapter regarding the Name Game. It refers to the importance of visual presentation in creating positive expectations of your meal and helping you toward satiety without overeating. Japanese cuisine has very sublime flavors but the punch is provided by the visual senses .

    And thank you for passing along the meme - it's my first one so I have to give it some very good thought! I just read yours: please let us know if the grape count has increased in adulthood!

    Maria - I had you in mind when I commented on how communal eating in other cultures often feature fresher ingredients: I think about how you collect wild greens from fields and meats come from local sources for your family meals. And it's great that your family's habit regarding 'convenience' food is now ingrained as something that has its proper place and time but should not be a norm just because it's there.

    For me, conversation is a great tool to keep from overeating at large gatherings - knowing I'll be chatting (and I love to talk!) keeps me from stuffing myself.

    LisaIsCooking - Thank you! I'm still working on cooking with more fresh ingredients (this recipe, as you notice, uses canned beans and tomatoes) but whenever I do, it really does add 'something' to the meal that's missing when I'm just trying to toss together dinner in 30 mins or less.

    Carolyn - Ooooh! I didn't think of that; or maybe over a soft polenta . . .

    DKS - Thanks! The book really has some fascinating studies and strategies - I hope you get a chance to read it!

    Michele - A kindred spirit! 8-) I have actually gotten up in the morning and hustled over to my desk to jot down some idea that came to me in my sleep (or half-awakening). But I've told my husband that I believe it has made me a better cook because it has really forced me to think about techniques, ingredients and how to put it all down in writing. Isn't food blogging fun?

  • Lori said...

    Really interesting discussion about the family meal issue. I find the family meal to be so important and falling apart in many ways with our current society. I do know for myself though it is an atmosphere for overeating. As much as I love being home with my family there is a level of anxiety that leads to overeating for me. I love our time together, but I do have to watch my food intake.

    When it comes to culture, food and family though I agree with you that when it is there and a special practice it shouldn't be tossed in with unhealthy habits that lead to obesity. It should be left alone and the process supported. It has a special purpose in and of itself.

  • Anonymous said...

    I'm always taken in equal parts by your ability to write and your love of food--it's a fantastic combination! I've been enjoying the thought-provoking musings on Wansink's book, too. I'm completely with you on the dining-in-a-group discussion. I haven't read the book, but you can't eat w/others without examining the social aspects of the experience. Well said, TN:)

  • Spring Girl said...

    It's funny that I my eating seems to be opposite to what Wansink suggests. If others go back for seconds at a dinner party, I usually find that to be a 'green light' to overeat as well - social opinion only curbs my portions if everyone else eats lightly. The only way I found to control this was to approach the situation by telling myself my stomach is different and I will only eat until I'm satisfied regardless of others. Apart from some strange looks (I ate half what others did at breakfast) it seems to work!

  • Admin said...

    Very interesting read. I totally hear you about constantly having food on my mind. :) Blogging about food only makes it worse -- much worse. Interestingly enough, though blogging about food makes me think of food more, it makes me eat less and become more selective about what I eat.

  • Anonymous said...

    Well, that's a first time I see a combination of Cassoulet from my home country in France and rice from Asia!
    Why not?
    Careful with calories, though!

  • NKP said...

    I agree that it is the quality of food or lack thereof that is the real problem with peoples' diets these days. They are left unsatisfied even after a large meal, as real foods are being replaced with processed food products.
    I love your simple stew, and the cute dish it is served in!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Apologies for this late reply!

    Lori - That was so well-said! I also tend to eat more than normal when I am at a family gathering but I am conscious of it so I try to make up for it elsewhere (a lighter breakfast, perhaps) so that I don't focus on how many cals I'm eating instead of enjoying the company.

    OPC - Thank you! Although I enjoy cooking and love eating(!), no aspect of food captivates me as much as the socio-cultural meanings. Beneath all the issues - sustainability, ecological/environmental, political, economic, dietary/nutritional, etc. - are the intangible variables such as history, traditions and even emotions. I could go on . . .

    I'm so happy you're enjoying these posts!

    Spring Girl - I think that is the tricky part of this or any other nutrition book: the strategies are great but not necessarily for everyone. In the end, we each have to find our own ways of dealing - for me, I would rather adjust my eating or exercise routine before or after an anticipated feast because I don't want to worry about regulating myself during that time. But you're approach makes a lot of sense, too - not worrying about others' responses about something that you're doing for your health.

    Thanks so much for sharing your input and experiences!

    Maria - Thank you! I just took a quick visit to your site and I'm blown away by the amazing variety of delicious recipes. I love the lemon buttermilk cookies and roasted veggies over polenta looks fantastic. I will be returning!

    Leela - That's exactly the same for me! Now that I could potentially blog about a dinner I'm making, I really try to put more thought into the ingredients and cooking techniques. I also have so many bloggers such as yourself who are tweaking recipes in so many new and creative ways. So even though I'm even more food-obsessed now, it feels really good!

    Robert-Gilles: Merci! I can't help myself: no matter the food (except pasta) or its origins, chances are that a scoop of rice will be found next to it.

    Natashya - Thank you! The dish came from CostPlus WorldMarket but they've closed ALL of their MN stores. 8-(

    As I'm learning how to use spices, herbs and other condiments and fresher ingredients over all, I realize that complex flavors really help to satisfy the appetite - quality over quantity. Of course, there are plenty of times when I want seconds!

    DuoDishes - Thank you! Wansink's research on consumer behavior with regard to food is so fascinating and scary: I never realized how gullible I am/was to skillful marketing.

    Thank you for your compliment regarding the dish - it's such a go-to meal for me because of its interchangeability. As a matter of fact, I did an earlier post using lamb and black-eyed peas. 8-)

  • Jennifer said...

    Wow-no wonder you told me you needed the whole week for this post. We still need to talk about the Phillipines. Award for you my friend:

  • Anonymous said...

    Great post, I started to put in "good food for thought" and "there's a lot to digest", which only made me think why are all these phrases food related? Like Zerrin I prefer eating in a group its part of the complete experience, you nourish your spirit and not just your body. I like to eat but I counter it by running, so I can get by, I am not aware of specific triggers but I think its more a matter that I have not been senstive to them.

  • Anonymous said...

    Gosh Ms. Noodle, I have been getting so behind on my essential blog reading, but this deserves my full and undivided attention...

    The name game is a fascinating one. I was interested in 5 Star Foodie's comments on the trend towards the inverse name game, because if there's one thing that irks me no end, it's overly fancy names, where the food subsequently disappoints. It is undoubtedly the case that a verbal description can conjure up an image which may affect your whole experience of a dish. I guess it's not that big a stretch to consider that the words can even affect how we taste the food, in the same way that the social setting in which we eat, or even the knowledge of who it was that made the dish, can affect our experience of food. There's so much more involved in tasting than just our tastebuds.

  • Teanna DiMicco said...

    Great post. I fully agree with you that meal sharing is a means by which a group can come together to "create or solidify bonds". I think you put it absolutely perfectly. Great post and your stew looks delicious!

  • Anonymous said...

    What an excellent entry! This is the first I've had to read your entries about Mindless Eating and I think it is fascinating. I too think about food constantly. It is interesting hear about these theories of how our eating habits may be affected by much more than we normally would expect. I completely agree on the "name game" front, how that can completely change how satisfying a dish is.

    I find the idea of scripts very interesting as well...and quite applicable to my own life! I actually found myself this morning saying to a coworker that he should enjoy as much food as he wants today because it is his birthday (with the idea that birthday celebrations are "freebie" days to just enjoy whatever you want).

    I look forward to reading your next entry from this book! Wonderful entry.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Sorry again for my tardiness in replying!

    Ricardo - Thank you! Growing up, we ate rice at every meal so I can't resist putting everything on it!

    Jennifer - Thank you so much for sharing your award! Now, if you could share some of your organizational and time management skills, too . . .!

    OysterCulture - Thanks! I've seen firsthand your running regimen and after that many miles, you've totally earned your meal and more! But definitely eating together is so important that it would be a shame to miss out on such experiences.

    Daily Spud - Well said! While descriptors might enhance the flavor or experience of a dish, I agree that high expectations also mean that reality can prove to be crashingly subpar. My pet peeve re: eating out is the pressure I sometimes feel going to 'fine dining', expensive or highly-reviewed restaurants: if I don't like the food, do I have the nerve to say so? Probably not because I'd be worried about looking like a plebeian. The environment, prices, and reviews can be intimidating, frankly.

    Teanna - Thank you! BTW, I've been having some tech issues and couldn't get onto your site. It looks all cleared up so I have some catching up to do! Has your dad made any more lovingly snarky comments?

    Cris - Olà e obrigada, mi amiga! Yes, the chorizo and chipotle give it that southwestern/Mexican flavor twist. Depending on the flavor I'm craving, I just change the meat, beans and spices for something new!

    Gaby - Thanks! You've been making some awesome dishes yourself (I'm loving the stuffed pizza).

    Foodwanderlust - Thank you! I also never realized how easily I bought into the 'it's a special day!' script of eating and I still do it. If I have a particularly good day, I feel like 'celebrating' with a treat, etc. Although this book deals with eating, the author is primarily a consumer behavior psychologist - I've been thinking about how to apply this to other aspects of my life that can be influenced by marketers, advertisers and even politicians!

  • Anonymous said...

    Chorizo and chipotle in one dish? Oh my! I thought I was done with cold(er) weather food as of today, but I'm going to have to squeeze one more in before officially moving on to spring!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Wicked - Thanks and welcome! I've been moaning about the cold weather but the fact is that I've been enjoying all the hearty meals that make it bearable. 8-)

    Speaking of cold weather treats, your Nutella hot chocolate idea is a must-try!


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