RIP Coconut Oil (2011-2017)

SourceSales of the oil plummeted last year, according to new data from market research firm SPINS, which tracks the health and wellness sector. Coconut oil initially attracted adherents with promises that it boosts immunity and aids in weight loss. But its popularity waned as questions emerged about those claims and the product’s effect on blood cholesterol... Nutritionists and researchers began to question the science behind some of coconut oil’s more extravagant claims — such as the idea that it accelerates weight loss by boosting metabolism. Meanwhile, manufacturers — sensing new demand for alternative oils — ramped up production of avocado oil, algae oil, animal fats and specialty butters... By the time the American Heart Association officially denounced coconut oil in June 2017 — the product has too much saturated fat, AHA said — sales were already beginning to fall, according to SPINS. Over the course of 2017, coconut oil retail sales dropped $52 million, or 24.3 percent.

The origin of food fads has changed over time from a Mad Men style marketing firm, West coast crash diet think-tanks to the basic humans on Instagram (h/t to me for being PC).  However the phenomenon and largely unknown science is how they slowly turn into staples of the American diet.  Edward Bernays the O.G. of public relations and corporate propaganda was the man who convinced Americans that bacon was for breakfast.  Now bacon can be found as part of every meal in the most click-baity recipes on the internet written by simpleton bloggers and bloggettes.  Bernays wrote "the book" on the manipulation of the American mind through advertising and even today his tactics are being used to sway the opinions of the masses. 

Nowadays a single hashtag, meme, GIF or pretty picture can start an avalanche of copycat posts.  Before anyone can blink avocado toast is on your local brunch menu for the small price of $11.  Years ago coconut oil became the darling of the internet; every Tom, Dick & Henrietta was writing why you should be jamming this white paste (gross) in every crevice of your body. 

In honor of the recent findings of the alleged false claims, let us review some of my favorite claims by the coco-nut people:

Heart Health

The obvious starting point had to be the claim that broke the coconuts shell.  Color me shocked that Cheerios never pumped Honey Nut Coconuts (trademark) while I was watching the Price is Right in my 5th year of college.

Hair Care

Rogaine must be doing pretty poorly trying to sell a product for thicker and fuller hair when the market was always looking for matted-down oily hair.  More like ro-loss...

Alzheimer's / Diabetes / AIDs / Cancer

Who would have thunk it, curing the most deadly diseases of the 20th and 21st century wouldn't be done by solving the human genome but merely opening a coconut.

Anti-Aging

I pictured the fountain of youth being full of water, turns out it's slightly more viscous.

Weight-loss & Appetite

After years of trying to reduce fat in my midsection I slowly realized only moving something other than my computer mouse would solve my problems.  That being said, I will give it another few months of rubbing this Coconut oil all over my body before I decide it isn't working.

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Chapped Lips

I had 50 words written about how the primary use of this was to lubricate food down some fat asshole's gullet, I soon realized it was the third ingredient in the balm I was applying to my stupid lips.  Damn you irony!

Teeth Whitening

Often referred to as "oil pulling" this process involves sloshing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.  A quick search will result in consumers being told this removes "toxins" form the gums and teeth.  Apparently all of those "toxins" are making my teeth yellow as fuck and has nothing to do with all the red wine and coffee I am consuming on a daily basis. 

Side note - I think we found the secret ingredient in Kinoki pads.

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Side note #2 - before Kinoki pads I had no idea I could poop out my feet.

 

 

Restaurant Inspirations: Shakshuka

Brunch, the most dismissed meal of the day, commonly contributed to lazy millennials and basic canidae.  How did this most appropriately timed meal get such a raw deal?  Situated between the established hours of eating cereal with your pants off and the mostly required pants wearing sandwich hour, brunch is that missing link on the lazy Sunday.  At a certain age in one's life waking up for breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday is about as unbelievable as death.  These fearless youths see brunch as a time to regain steady hands through a few cocktails and $30 omelets, try and tell me what's wrong with that.  I personally enjoy brunch, however I could go without the things I can make at home and I will typically try to search for the unconventional.

Years ago Remy and I would go on the same walk every Saturday to the same national coffee chain.  I would drink my coffee, watch the new apartment buildings being constructed around the small eating area and the forever famished Remy would inhale a small treat.  The treat would give me a few minutes of peace before the ever needy runt would moan, cry and bark telling me "it's time to go...bitch."  On our loop home we would pass the same bakery that was often packed full o' patrons drinking coffee to eating somethings that were not easily identifiable.  After 100 gazes into the storefront I figured I would at least try the coffee and case the joint inspecting it's viability for a casual dating app encounter.

Tatte Bakery & Café, was founded by an Israeli self-taught chef who took a home business to a brick and mortar location ten years ago.  The (several) locations are full of bright white finishes and feel as though you are in someones kitchen and dining room.  Contrary to what I assumed it would be comparable to a Jewish Delicatessen, it was far from that as the challah replaced any resemblance of a bagel.  The show stopper however was the one thing I have never had, the North African delicacy Shakshuka.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • (1) 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup feta
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, chili powder is an acceptable substitute
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Prepare vegetables by slicing the peppers and onions into long skinny sticks (also known as Julienne).  

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Sauté peppers and onions in oil (or bacon fat) until translucent.

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Add sliced or pressed garlic and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Pro tip; if you don't care to set a timer to cook something for a few minutes, try listening to music and figure every song change is somewhere between 3-4 minutes.  This should give you a great gauge for how long something has been cooking.  Warning, after using this trick I was unable enjoy copulation with music after realizing how few songs played during moments of intimacy.

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Add in all spice and stir to incorporate.

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Leave on low heat while you open the can of tomatoes, stir frequently to avoid burning.  This step is useful to have a helping hand.

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Add in the diced tomatoes, juice and all.

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Cook over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, stir frequently as this will burn if unattended.

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Add in 1/2 the feta cheese and stir throughout.  Use the back of a spoon to create 'wells' or tiny shallow graves to crack 4-6 eggs into.

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Cook in a 375°F oven for 7-10 minutes for medium (runny) eggs, but if you prefer and over hard egg leave in for 3 minutes intervals until done. Finish with extra feta and chopped cilantro for a splash of color.

Enjoy with bread, and if you're not eating gluten well then go fuck yourself.

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Welcome to Skinny SZN

Back in September we declared Soup SZN the time from Labor Day to Thanksgiving, which precedes the self-loathing sweater wearing stretch of the calendar which we as Americans refer to as 'the holiday season.'  The first day of the year is the natural day that those who showed zero restraint at the dessert table would encourage themselves to elevate their heart rate for more than a session of self-gratification.  In this cisgendered white male's opinion, starting the all important Skinny SZN on the 1st day of the Gregorian calendar is arbitrary and foolish.

The pagan holidays we celebrate are not the end of the self-indulgence season.  Football is the one sport that owns a day of the week and for many guys like myself owns the weekend for a third of the year.  For those who cannot battle each weekend as modern day gladiators on the gridiron, can all participate in their own griddle based war of the waistline.  Well what day should we all kick start our metabolisms you ask? That day is the last day of the football season, a non-official Federal holiday, the Monday after the Super Bowl.

If you are looking to justify spending the month of January wearing stretchy waited pants I have three keys to support this theory.  First, it is a known fact you should not start a diet midweek although I have no science to back this up I am fairly confident science will soon back me up.  Second, for most regions the weather is starting to improve which means wearing a sweatshirt hiding your fat might be socially unacceptable.  Third, the herd of amateurs at the gym has thinned out from the initial rush of resolutions, clearing out the ellipticals and stairmasters.

This year's Skinny SZN I will be trying something different and at the same time a topic you might be indifferent to.  I will be telling everyone what I am and more importantly what I am NOT eating.  For example I will be responding to friends and family with the following auto-response texts; oh I am not eating gluten right now, did I tell you I am vegan, ah I don't think that is Paleo, and I am on this new Fox diet where I don't eat meat before sundown.  I will however be doing each fad diet independent from the next.* 

February we at TDM are abstaining from the all (deliciously) evil gluten.  If you have yet to try the gluten-less impostors posing as bagels, bread or pizza beware as these are trash.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barely, rye and oats responsible for elasticity and structure.  Without it bagels are not chewy, bread will be dense and pizza dough falls apart.  I will be searching for ways to satiate My 600 lb Life appetite without cheap gluten-free substitutes, trendy bullshit that looks great in photos and crappy food doesn't live up to the TDM taste test.

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*Cheat meals are a necessary evil as I have very weak discipline.

Super Bowels II: Texas Red Chili

It's that special time of year again, the New England Patriots are facing off in the biggest game of the year versus another team with a less dreamy quarterback.  Friends and family gather around televisions across the globe to view the most watched event of the year.  But what is the real reason everyone decided to spend Sunday night in your Studio apartment in a dodgy part of town that keeps people from staying past halftime? 

If you remember last years post we discussed the rationale for people attending the Big Game, the very not fake poll we conducted told us most people attend for reasons outside sport.  Those eleven people crammed into your apartment were not there to watch the game, commercials or the halftime show on your computer monitor-sized television.  Those people came for that dip Susie makes and whatever slop you have slowly warming up in that off-brand crock pot your Mom gave you for Christmas in 2015.

If you want to have a well-recieved Big Game party you best bring the heat with some grub.  Last year I was diagnosed with a horrible case of the farts which resulted from my alt-right digestive system's intolerance for lactose.  And, unfortunately cheese is hashtag out for 2018.  Now that I have experienced this horrible disease I wanted to give back to the community while still giving a shout out to the land of Football, Texas.

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck, cubes or ground
  • 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 3 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 large white onion, pureed
  • 1 head of garlic, pureed
  • 2 large beef bones, roasted for 25 minutes at 425°F
  • Water, used about 2 cups or whatever it takes to achieve desired consistency
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tbs vegetable shortening, bacon fat is an acceptable substitute

Equipment needed here; measuring cup, can opener, knife, garlic press, large pot (dutch oven), blender and a meat grinder.  If you don't want to grind your own meat buying ground chuck from your local grocer is acceptable but a shortcut none the less.

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Spice blend:

  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs cumin powder
  • 1/2 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick, left whole
  • 2 star anise pods, left whole
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If you bought ground meat you can just admire the following photos.  Season your beef with about half the spice blend and let sit for 20-30 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.

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Set your meat grinder to a course grind and commence the grind.

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Add in the second half of your seasoning and mix thoroughly.

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Place your vegetable shortening into the pan and set your heat to high.  If you don't want to add any fat to this recipe feel free to use a tablespoon of vegetable oil.  The meat I used was fairly lean and adding fat was done to avoid dry beef.

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Brown the seasoned beef, set aside and wipe away any excess fat/oil.

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Missing from this array of photos is the puree of the garlic and onion, you didn't miss anything interesting, that being said if you don't have a blender chop these as fine as you can.  Dump the puree in the same pan over medium heat, cooking out the moisture out until the puree is less viscous and all that is left is little chunks of onion & garlic.  Add in the tomato paste and jalapeños, mix and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

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All that is left to do is add back in the browned beef, diced tomatoes and enough water to create the desired consistency (some like it thicc, some don't).  Bring back the chili to a simmer over medium heat and add in the final ingredients.  By now you should have roasted the beef bones, and to be honest this is not an integral step in making chili but from my experience this gives it an added beef flavor without being overpowering.  Lastly the bay leaf, star anise and cinnamon stick can be added, leave covered for 2-4 hours on the lowest possible heat until your guests are ready to be served.  Enjoy.

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

- Coach Taylor

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