"Mindless" in Minnesota, Part III: Eat, Think, Man, Woman

Friday, March 20, 2009 43 comments

Tangled comfort food: rice with black beans and avocado

This is the third in a 4-part discussion of the book Mindless Eating by Dr. Brian Wansink, in collaboration with fellow blogger, Joie de Vivre:
"Are you your family's nutritional gatekeeper? Did you know that nutritional gatekeepers consciously or subconsciously control 72% of the food that enters their families' bodies? Learn about how to make better decisions as well as how being a the kind of cook you are influences what your family eats. Join me as I discuss "Nutritional Gatekeepers and the Good Cook Next Door" as well as "The McSubway Study and Information Illusions" from Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink."
For more of "Mindless" in Minnesota, read Part I and Part II.

Penultimately Tangled on Mindless Eating

(photo from Amazon.com)
The moment we are seated at a table in our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Mr. Noodle and I begin arranging our condiments, soup spoons and chopsticks. There's no need to peruse the menu because we'll be ordering the usual: a plate of gui con (fresh spring rolls) and a bowl of pho thap cam (beef noodle soup with assorted meats) for him and pho bo vien (meatball noodle soup) for me. When the food arrives, we efficiently divvy up the spring rolls, add herbs and seasonings to our soups, and dive into our meal. Twenty minutes later, the sounds of serious eating give way to a final clatter of chopsticks and spoons as they come to rest in two equally empty bowls. Then, the self-recrimination begins. You see, I have just matched, bite for bite, a healthy 6-foot, 180-lb male in a lunchtime chow-down and it's not sitting well on my mind or on my hips. While I silently agonize over the amount of food I've just eaten, Mr. Noodle sits contentedly, waiting for the check.

As another well-known book states, men are from Mars, women are from Venus and the differences between males and females extend even to our attitudes toward food. Although Dr. Wansink alludes to these gender differences in the following chapters, I would like to add my own thoughts to his discussion of their role in our ideas of comfort foods, the influence of primary food providers on future eating behaviors, and how we undermine good habits by using labels of healthiness to justify mindless eating.

Chapter 7 - In the Mood for Comfort Food

In an earlier post, A Question of Comfort, I explored the idea of 'comfort food' and how it is unique to each individual and, therefore, nearly infinite in variety. Wansink's research unexpectedly found that comfort foods aren't always the chocolate-drenched, deep-fried, or salt-covered snacks we might imagine. Instead, many are dishes like casseroles and stews that can be found on a family's dinner table any given day of the week (140). These preferences are almost universally rooted in past experiences, which create associations between certain foods and such markers as a beloved individual, a special event or a particular emotion (148). So, while the food itself differs from person to person, the reason behind its perceived soothing quality is common across the board:
"These people not only wanted a great-for-the-moment-taste of fat, salt, or sugar, they also wanted to tap into the psychological comfort that these foods provided and the memories linked to them . . . [they] are the foods that feed not only our body, but also our soul."
(Wansink, 140)
Top comfort food (photo by St0rmz)
But Wansink also discovered that our ideas of what constitute 'comfort' differ dramatically along gender lines. While ice cream topped both sexes' lists of favorite comfort foods, next in line for women were chocolate and cookies, whereas men opted for soup and pizza or pasta . The significance? Male preference for these meal-type foods, which require a bit more preparation, made them feel 'pampered' and 'cared for' - feelings "associated . . . with being the focus of attention from either their mother or wife" (142). Not surprisingly, women's associations with these kinds of food ran more along the lines of 'hard work.' So instead, their choice of snack-type comfort foods reflected the desire for effortless, labor-free enjoyment (141-2).

Wansink previously referred to gender differences in Chapter 5, explaining how 'eating scripts' (discussed in 'Mindless', Part II) led people to adjust their consumption in the presence of the opposite sex based on social expectations. Female subjects ate less because it was considered a desirable feminine characteristic; conversely, male respondents felt free to eat heartily because it was perceived as an attractive, manly attribute (100-1). These differences in consumption attitudes based on social norms are supported by such studies as the June 2005 report, "Eating and Dieting Differences in Men and Women," in the Journal of Men's Health and Gender (2.2.194-201) which found profound variance between the sexes. 

According to the  report, women on the whole eat more healthily and are better informed of nutritional recommendations than men. But the authors also found that women preferred 'restrained' eating for weight management as opposed to males who considered physical activity as more effective. As such, the researchers noted:
"Men's attitude to food is more frequently uncomplicated and enjoyable [while] women more often have an ambivalent relation with food . . . They are in general, irrespective of their actual BMI [body mass index], less satisfied with their weight than men are, and more often aspire to [social body] ideals."
(Kiefer et al., 5 [online ed.])
Their conclusions suggest that despite being more knowledgeable about nutrition and more likely than men to eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, some women may react to external social pressures about appearance and ideal body weight by taking these 'good' habits too far, depriving themselves not only of enjoyment in the act of eating but also potentially, and detrimentally, of needed nutrition if they resort to severe calorie restrictions.

Although Wansink doesn't address such an extreme instance, he does acknowledge the importance of not letting concerns about overeating actually undermine mindful eating. "Comfort foods help make life enjoyable," he wrote. "The key is learning how to have your cake and eat it, too." To that end, he reminds us that many comfort foods are relatively healthy and should be enjoyed in moderation (160).

Chapter 8 - Nutritional Gatekeepers: Food Inheritance

Our attitudes about eating are shaped by our experiences, or so we believe. But as discussed in this chapter, they are also heavily influenced by the people closest to us and are learned as early as infancy. According to Wansink, an adult's facial expressions can cue an infant to expect a pleasant or unpleasant experience, hence the forced smiles to convince Baby that mashed peas are 'yummy' (170). He then cites a Yale study that found mothers who were overly concerned with weight issues apparently projected these attitudes onto their children, who then displayed erratic eating behaviors in seeming emulation (171). Frustratingly, Wansink delves no further so I would like to pick up the baton.

In the aforementioned study on eating differences between the sexes, researchers noted that gender-specific attitudes, especially concerning healthy eating and weight control, generally appear during adolescence, perhaps due to greater social interaction outside of the family and growing awareness of body image (Kiefer et al. 1 [online ed]). But in a recent New York Times article, "What's Eating Our Kids? Fears About 'Bad' Foods," author Abby Ellin reports on an increasing number of young children of both sexes who are exhibiting profound anxiety about nutrition and food safety, initiated in part by their parents' well-meaning concerns about food choices.
"While scarcely any expert would criticize parents for paying attention to children's diets, many doctors, dietitians and eating disorders specialists worry that some parents are becoming overzealous, even obsessive, in efforts to engender good eating habits in children. With the best of intentions, these parents may be creating an unhealthy aura around food."
A parent is most likely to be what Wansink terms the 'nutritional gatekeeper'  - the family member who does the food shopping and cooking, and thereby controls 72% of the household's food choices. For the most part, says Wansink, most family cooks wield this power responsibly by preparing healthy meals of wide variety that encourage other members to be open about different flavors and ingredients (165). But as the study and the newspaper article suggest (and Wansink himself briefly observed), it can also work in a less positive manner when strong feelings and attitudes about food and eating create unnecessary anxieties in children about consumption that are then potentially carried into adulthood. As an interviewee says in the Ellin/NYTimes article, "It's a tragedy that we've developed this moralistic, restrictive and unhappy relationship [with eating] . . . It's sucking the life out of our relationship with food."

As the family's nutritional gatekeeper, it may now seem daunting to know how much influence one has on other family members' eating habits and attitudes. However, Wansink suggests that one way to help your household develop mindful food behaviors to carry forward is by offering a variety of different foods that will introduce more nutritious options and encourage a willingness to try new flavors.

Chapter 9 - Fast Food Fever

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the 'health halo' phenomenon (There's No Such Thing as Free . . . ), by which the perception of health implied by marketing labels (e.g. low-fat, low-cal, fat-free) has the effect of allowing us to justify mindless eating. It is one of the surprising effects of the food industry's many strategies to get us to buy more of their products. Wansink goes rather easy on food conglomerates by stating that they are, above all, for-profit businesses who provide us with what we think we want - a lot of food for little money. From the super-sized meal at McDonald's to the bulk foods at Sam's Club, we apparently love getting the most bang for our buck. Unfortunately, having so much food within easy reach creates the perfect environment for overeating and, in keeping with today's theme of differences between the genders, there is a more serious implication for women when tempting foods are readily available.

In a study conducted by researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (106.4.1249-54), a group of 13 women and 10 men were asked to try and suppress their desire for their favorite foods before they were allowed to see, smell and have a small taste of them. Although everyone described themselves as being less hungry and having no craving for the foods, the women's brain activity belied their response. "Even though the women said they were less hungry when trying to inhibit their response to the food, their brains were still firing away in the regions that control the drive to eat," said lead author Gene-Jack Wang. "[It] is consistent with behavioral studies showing that women have a higher tendency than men to overeat when presented with palatable food or under emotional distress" (read the BNL article here).

Although these results are derived from a very small sample group and are considered preliminary, it's still not exactly a morale-booster for us ladies. Nevertheless, Wansink offered good suggestions to avoid placing ourselves in such a position: 
  • If you have them in your home, 'de-convenience' these foods by storing them in out of the way places, like the basement;
  • If you buy foods in bulk, take the time to separate them into smaller portions; otherwise, look for products that are already pre-portioned (e.g. 100-calorie snacks)

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

Black Bean and Avocado Rice Salad
(Recipe from Rice & Spice, by Robin Robertson)
My favorite comfort food is rice but it wasn't a common food for Mr. Noodle during his childhood. As our family's nutritional gatekeeper, I incorporated it into our regular meals and now, my husband enjoys it as much as I do. Normally, rice is cooked plain to accompany meats and vegetables but keeping in mind Wansink's encouragement to offer 'variety' with our food, I'm varying this humbly delicious grain by offering it as a complete dish.

Serves 4


1 tsp minced lime zest
3 Tbsps fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsps fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder (I've also used chipotle powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more for added kick)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 avocados
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups cold, cooked long-grain white or brown rice
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned black beans, rinsed if canned
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (4 oz) can minced jalapeño chiles

To make:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients from lime zest to cayenne (first 9 ingredients);
2. Whisk in olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified and smooth. Set aside;
3. Peel and pit the avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice, and toss with lemon juice;
4. In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, onion, jalapeños, and avocoados;
5. Add the dressing and toss gently to combine.
6. Serve as a side or as a main meal. Enjoy!


  • Chef E said...

    My parents both coming from farms, had a 'lean' approach to eating, and beans and rice were a common table food for me, so I too can consume it without much thought. I love the 'gatekeeper' mentions, and have taken that role on with honor in my house since my kids were little. My weakness has been sweets, but with dark cocoa on the market, I now nibble with joy and little guilt!

    Tangle- I say and will continue to feel that you are a wonderful and helpful soul in my food journey!

  • Heather S-G said...

    yes, this is wonderful comfort food...so warm and delicious. I'm gonna have to sit down for a while with this post and take not...I am definitely the gatekeeper and probably need to step back and re-evaluate. thanks again for doing these posts!

  • Lori said...

    Okay, so I can't decide if I am enjoying your discussions more or your recipes. I think it is a tie! This sounds amazing. I can't wait to try it!

  • Joie de vivre said...

    I love the cartoon. I find myself doing that more and more. "Can I have that cereal?", "No, look at the ingredients, high fructose corn syrup and Yellow Dye? That is not healthy for your body."

  • Bob said...

    I often do rice as a meal, it's a great way to use up leftovers. Heh. That looks wicked good, I've been trying to eat more avocado, since it's a good fat.

  • Kiezie said...

    Lots of great food for thought here!! I used to match K bite for bite and finally I just put down the fork and make myself smaller plates. It was unconscious when we first met but it caught up with me quickly. Awareness is an amazing thing!!

  • Anonymous said...

    I'm continuing to enjoy these discussions! As a current nutritional gatekeeper I had to learn everything from scratch as growing up, nutrition was not really an issue that we ever thought of. Basically, we had whatever was available. My mom's main concern was getting vitamins for us with fresh veggies/fruits that were only available in the spring/summer. Otherwise, one of the favorites was smoked pork fat :)

    I love your rice dish - excellent combo with black beans and avocados!

  • Anonymous said...

    I'm definitely the nutritional gatekeeper in my house. Hopefully, I wield the power responsibly! Your rice salad looks fantastic.

  • Anonymous said...

    When we have children I will make sure my kids try everything all the time. The worst is someone who turns their nose at everything and it is usually because they are unfamiliar with it.

    My husband (who's 6'3" and 215) get out-eaten by me (almost a foot shorter and um around 100, ok 90-ish pounds lighter) whenever we are eating Korean. p.s. I always regret it too, but I don't cook much Korean at home and I'm always craving it so when I get it I treat it like its the last meal I'll have in weeks.

    Though I must thank his mother (who is Norwegian) for feeding him smelly fishes and things as a baby so nothing grosses him out...bring on the chicken feet and fish eyeballs!

    On getting your bang for your buck... I feel that way - I should get what I'm paying for, and more! Clear the plates when served at a restaurant, order the venti it's only 25 cents more! But actually over the past few years I've realized that 25 cents more means extra calories that I feel like I'm forced to eat because I'm getting a deal - it's so not worth it.

    The black bean + avocado salad looks delicious. Did you know avocado imports are the fastest growing food import (percentage-wise) in the UK?

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you for all your wonderful comments!

    Heather - They are such a great combo!

    Spryte - When I first read the recipe, I thought they'd compete with each other but all these flavors blend so well. I should note from experience that this tastes even better the day after!

    ChefE - You know you'll always have my support and that of so many others! It's just me and Mr. Noodle but it's still important for me to keep both of our health in mind.

    Girlichef - Thank you! It's a tasty dish and despite the length of ingredients, very easy to make. Being responsible for your family's food is really huge but I never used to look at it that way when my mom was the cook. It's just two of us now but I sometimes stress over what to make for dinner - imagine if I had children to consider as well. My hats off to moms all over!

    Lori - I enjoyed your newest post of eating and economics. It is going to be interesting to see if and how the discussion of food in the US changes. We've been focusing on sustainability and organic methods but will people start turning away in greater concern over making their dollars stretch?

    Joie - I came across it last night and it was so perfect with the NYT article. What a Catch-22: children should be taught about nutrition but are we scaring them or giving them too much, too soon?

    Elra - Thanks! The creaminess of the avocado really pairs well with the rice. BTW, I used Basmati because it's less sticky so that the grains mixed with the other ingredients better.

    Bob - I love avocado so I jumped on this recipe. Now that you mention it, some shredded chicken or pork would make this even more of a complete meal!

    ChefBliss - I still freak myself out when I eat the same amount as Mr. Noodle but as we speak, he's also snacking on some pretzels. Basically, I may match him ounce for ounce at dinner but I'm definitely more disciplined when it comes to in-between snacking. Thank goodness for small mercies!

    5 Star - I have to say that smoked pork fat actually sounds really good! It was the same in my family when I was a child; nutrition was not an issue. In a way, it may have been simpler then b/c my mom, for instance, just kept in mind to serve vegetables with every meal and to have a different dish as often as possible. As for the recipe, it's a definite favorite in our home!

    lisaiscooking - Thank you! Although it's only me and my husband, I sometimes get rigid about food because I'm a little neurotic about my diet. I sometimes forget that a full-grown 6-footer may not be content with just a green salad and bowl of soup for dinner! Reading about this makes me realize that whether it's one other or 6 others in the family, I need to be more balanced about choosing food for us.

    Duo Dishes - Thank you! It really is more efficient to do it this way, instead of cooking rice, meat and veggies separately. On my plate (and in Filipino foodways) it all gets mixed together anyway!

  • Sapuche said...

    Great post! It would be an interesting exercise to try to link certain foods with our emotional responses to events in our lives. Developing an awareness of these patterns seems like the most effective way of breaking them (when they’re unhealthy). As the NYTimes article mentions, it’s a shame that the relationship between healthy eating/weight control/body image has become so difficult to balance. I really like the idea of offering variety in meals to encourage mindful food behaviors; I also think it encourages curiosity, which in turn engenders a wider knowledge about food in general. This is a great discussion, and I’m looking forward to more!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Gastroanthropologist - Hello! I hope the move has gone well and I'm assuming that your Internet hook-up has gone smoothly!

    Absolutely right about exposing children to all manner of food. Imagine all the wonderful flavors missed when people refuse to even try something new. At the same time, when we were forbidden to have sweets, we really craved them. When I was old enough to earn my own money, I would eat chocolate bars for breakfast - true story.

    My husband is also adventurous - his mom grew up on a farm and wasn't averse to serving strange bits so he didn't blink when my dad offered him balut, the fertilized duck egg that's a common "Fear Factor" challenge.

    And as for getting the most food for the money, it's the reason I no longer go to buffets - I would eat near to bursting until I was satisfied that I'd eaten X dollars worth of food! Ugh.

    I didn't know that about avocado - it's a great fruit but I wonder why it's gaining such popularity? Do you see it correlated to any cuisine or health trend?

    Whew! Long reply - I guess I miss posting comments on your blog!

  • Anonymous said...

    I love these searches and observations in that book. I agree on gender differences of food choice and eating style. But I never thought why men prefer food which are difficult to make or requires more preperation. I got the idea now, they feel more "cared for". How come I couldn't think it before!

    Thank you for all these. You're doing a great job here. I admire these well written posts and enjoy reading them.

  • Anonymous said...

    I hate to succumb to the stereotype, but I admit that this woman will fall for a good cookie or great piece of dark chocolate in a heart beat. Is that so wrong? ;)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Sapuche - Thank you! I've tried to think about my emotional responses to food and find that it my most emotional eating is with Filipino food. Because I cling to it as a way to retain a sense of my ethnic heritage, I usually throw any caution/sense I've developed about overeating. Of course, there's a point when I'm just stuffed! I know firsthand how it is to lose enjoyment of eating because concerns about weight/body image have crowded it out but I'm learning to regain it. Writing a food blog really helps because I have become more 'mindful' about the food I make and eat.

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments you always provide!

    Zerrin - Thank you very much! I'm so happy that you are enjoying these posts. I also thought that the reasons for comfort foods for men were surprising but it does make sense, doesn't it? We women are still traditionally the 'caregivers' of the family and cooking is a big part of that. But then, who cooks for the cooks? 8-) That's why we love to be taken out to romantic restaurants . . . (are you listening, gentlement?)

    Carolyn - Absolutely nothing wrong with a rich piece of dark chocolate or a great cookie, especially if they're as awesome as the orange butter cookies you posted!

  • Reeni said...

    You've given me so many relevant things to think about. As for matching Mr. Noodle and what he eats, I eat as much, sometimes more than my Dad, and faster, too! An embarrassing fact that needs to be changed.

    Pasta is for me what rice is to you. I love black beans and avocado-a great pair!

  • Sophia Lee said...

    wow! that looks amazing! I actually dislike avocado, but am willing to give it a second chance. perhaps this will redeem itself! can I sub the rice with barley?

  • Anonymous said...

    Excellent follow on to parts I and II, looking forward to Part III. In addtion to the articles you mention, the NYT also had an artcile in the March 17 edition called Who's Cooking (for Health It Matters) that compliments a lot of what you say.

    The black bean and rice salad looks delicious with some Cuban influences. Perfect for an early spring day.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Reeni - The guys have nothing on us! 8-) Your love of pasta has been a boon to everyone in the blogosphere - rice and pasta rule!

    Sophie - It's great that you had such wonderful teachers! Having children try different (even strange) foods is one way to help them be open to new experiences in other parts of their lives.

    Diva - Thank you so much for passing on your award! I'm so pleased we connected through 'talking food' - I love visiting your blog!

    Burp and Slurp - I don't see why you couldn't make the sub. As a matter of fact, I hope you'll let me know if you do and how it turns out. I also hope that avocado can prove itself to you; if not, I wonder if there's something else we could switch it with? Thanks!

    Oyster - Thanks! I did read the article - what a great coincidence that it came out while Joie and I were reading Chapter 8, which the story summarized and reiterated very well. And this dish is definitely one of Mr. Noodle's favorites any time of the year (depending on good avocados, of course)!

  • Anonymous said...

    Rice and pasta rule? Ouch! There's surely room for another starch at the table, huh? :)

    Y'know, maybe we should just have a rice/potato face-off one of these days, Ms. Noodle, whaddya think? Is there perhaps a mini-series in there somewhere? On with the thinking cap for that one, because I do intend to get to rice on my blog. Goodness knows I eat enough of the stuff and your beans+rice is the kind of thing I love to eat. The rest of your post is, as always, the food that I love to think :)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Daily Spud - Yikes! Have I just jeopardized my invitation to the party? Apologies for the lapse and please allow me to re-phrase my answer to Reeni: POTATOES, rice and pasta rule!

    Except for the cabbage rolls, I don't think I have another recipe that incorporates potatoes. That is a one serious oversight! You may be on to something - how about a trade? When you're ready to feature rice, let me know and I'll try my hand at a potato dish. 8-)

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

    Love all the whole article! Speaking about women vs men, general talking, women should know more about nutrition but the social pressure is more intense- in all type of media-than men, to have a ideal body (I don't know which is??)

    Very gorgeous your rice salad is healthy and potent-pleasant for the tummy :)

  • Maria Verivaki said...

    being a nutritional gatekeeper is a very stressful job, as the ultimate responsibility falls on just one person to ensure that teh family is being fed in a healthy way
    it's a tough assignment and we probably make mistakes too!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Gera - Thank you! The salad is definitely delicious, healthy and filling. Regarding social pressures - it so true. The image of tall and slender women is considered an ideal even in countries and cultures where morphologies as so different, it's impossible for the women to live up to them! The women in my family, for instance, are petite but very curvy. But I still find myself wishing I were 5'11" and 110lbs!

    Jenn - The book is a really interesting read and the dish is defintiely delicious. I hope you'll try both (or either) of them out!

    Gaby - Thanks! You're recent gnocchi post has given me hope that I can make it fairly easily.

    Mediterranean Kiwi - I agree with you, and I only have to worry about one other person! It's such a daunting task because as this book points out, eating healthfully just for ourselves can be a challenge much less being responsible for children. No one is infallible but I know from reading your posts that you have managed to instill good habits in your children while encouraging them to be open to so many different foods!

    Girlichef - Thank you so much! I really appreciate it and I hope to post in the next couple of days to acknowledge it and some others, as well! It seems like i've been reading your blog for ages so it was a weirdly surprising when I read that you've only been up and running for 1 1/2 mos! Keep up the great blogging!

  • Brenda said...

    I can sympathize a little too well with the description of your Vietnamese meal with the hubby - I almost always find myself eating as much as him at restaurants and often even at home! I've been trying to consciously serve him more than me, but my eyes are far bigger than my stomach. It's hard. :)

    That said, I think we are probably (happily in some ways) a-typical women in that aspect. I feel like most of my friends eat like birds and when we go out with other couples I am always shocked at how the women are shoveling the left overs to their husbands (while I'm greedily hoarding mine away from Matt!). haha But it is an insightful and true thing that men and women naturally adjust social and eating habits based on pressures, and i am aware that even I do it sometimes.

    This book sounds great. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. With the little one on the way, I am determined to make him as much of a natural omnivore as possible. And if he gets hooked on any of my bad habits, at worst he'll be eating bell-peppers like apples, so I think we're ok! :)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Brenda - I do the same thing: I try for a 60-40 split (can't quite bring myself to anything more) of shared food with the hubs. Even though he might eat more throughout the day, it makes me feel better. As for adjusting my eating in social settings, I do it not because of self-consciousness but rather because I'm too busy being a chatterbox!

    I'm not at all worried for Ludovictus - judging by the incredible recipes you've posted, your family will eat heartily but healthily!

    BurpandSlurp - Please do! I'm a recipe-follower myself so I'm always eager to hear what more adventurous and creative cooks can do to shake up a dish!

    Netts Nook - Thank you! I'm so fortunate that Joie asked me to join her - I've had to follow her lead since she's the pro. I hope you'll return next week for the finale!

  • Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

    I'm so enjoying these Fridays. I'm sorry I got busy and am late. This book is packed with terrific information on our eating habits. I'm the gatekeeper and after reading this, it makes me think how important this role is in a family.

    Just as I thought I knew pretty much everything he was going to talk about, he jumped in with the difference between men and women in comfort food.....that was a total surprise to me.

    Fabulous job you and Joie de Vivre are doing. I'm protesting because I don't want this series to end. Please continue to find interesting and informative books or articles to review. This is a terrific thing you are doing.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Sam - Thanks so much and please don't apologize! I'm a bit behind myself but I eventually make my rounds of my favorite blogs. This has been a great book - Wansink's research is fascinating and really gives us all a lot to consider about how we are so influenced by outside factors.

    Joie will be starting a new book for her April French Fridays which I'll be following enthusiastically. I'll definitely see you there but hope you'll continue to find some interesting reads here as well!

    Hornsfan - Thanks! The flavors and ingredients here should be right up your alley. 8-)

  • Anonymous said...

    Do you have ANY idea how well you write????
    I love this blog - but I can't even think of it as a blog, it's an online food magazine and it's outstanding! Whenever I plan to read you, I make coffee get on top of the bed, prop up a cadzillion pillows and simply disappear in a world of my own!
    Thanks for taking the time and making the effort you do - there's someone over the ocean that LIVES for each new post.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Jacoba - Your comments are so incredibly kind! I'm so happy you enjoy reading my posts; I love doing this and your response motivates me to continue making the effort to write meaningful posts.

    I've been collecting so many of your recipes and need to start making them! They are so unique - thank you for sharing them.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Ragne - Thank you for your comment and for stopping by! I love dishes and this is one of my favorites. I just visited your site and I love your recipes for bean pate and yeast pancakes. I look forward to seeing more! 8-)


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