Monday, March 27, 2006

Health Food

Things are looking up! As I get older (45 as of today) its nice to have things that were once considered vices become good, or at least better, for you.

I use to be a red wine nut, drank quit a bit of it...opened a bottle nearly every day as it was a my after work drink of choice and Mrs. Tiny didn't partake so it was all mine. I subscribed to the Wine Spectator and closely followed their ratings along with Parker and others. And just about the time that a study came out that a glass or so of red wine a day (or was it just alcohol?) was actually beneficial I started to develop an obversion to the tannins, or histamine. Now one small glass of red occasionally is all I can do.

About the same time I became a red wine snob I took up cigars. The Wine Spectator publisher, vice-master Shanken, put a page in the Spectator about a new magazine he was starting (Cigar Aficionado, or CA) . He offered a free first copy and I was in! It was 1992 and that first issue showed up...I read that thing cover to cover several times in the first week...and of course I subscribed. I was fascinated by the art of the cigar, from tobacco leaf growing, drying (or more accurately cooking), selecting the tobacco used for the filler, binder and wrapper (yes 3 in a cigar), to the hand rolling of the differing shapes. I soon became the cigar guru among my friends and supplied many a gathering with the best you could buy. I had a neighbor who made regular trips to Europe and Hong Kong and he brought me back Cuban's every trip. In those days the cigar craze hadn't hit so customs wasn't looking for business men as cigar mules. And smoking fine contraband was also part of the allure.

In the mid 90's I was having 2 fatboys (ring gauge of 50 or bigger) a day. I had a humidor (not a girly sit on the desk variety, a floor standing cabinet) at home and a small one at work. At work I would have a midday Robusto (fat but short) and eventually I held court in what was the smoking area (now the cigar area) with anywhere from 2 to 6 of my coworkers. I was producing fellow aficionados! Unfortunately I haven't yet seen the study to suggest this was an ok, or good, habit. And Mrs. Tiny's dad didn't survive a fight with cancer that was more than likely caused by his own habit of not-so-secretly smoking those flavored pencil thin cigar wanna-bees. So, my regular habit became very infrequent and I moved my big humidor to work. Then in a recent office building move my humidor was broken into and roughly 500 cigars found a new home.

I was full stride into my cigar habit when CA mag enticed my entry into the finer distilled spirits! I soon became an aficionado of cognac and more aggressively single malt scotch. From the earthly ingredients to rich traditions of the worlds oldest distillers the process was complex and individual producing a wide variety of flavors. Still hooked today!

I was however a lost sole, my nightly oaky cab was gone, the after dinner stogey on my front porch a distant memory, I needed to fill the void. I don't know how it happened but Gin became the filler! I think it was an article I read in an airline magazine about the process and complex mix of botanicals in fine gin that got me interested. Good gin had similarities to wine and cigars, the involved process that some turned into an art form. The end product could be dramatically different by subtle tweaks that result in dramatic differences in the taste. It's odd to me that most people I know think straight gin (or single malt) tastes medicinal or chemical....ah, I'm quite happy for most to remain neophyte distillate drinkers and so the few small batch artisan gins haven't gone thru the roof like most single malts have.

Then there is my life long addiction which has been a constant, food! I think from my earliest memories of certain meals my mother made I loved food. My junior year in high school I started lifting weights and I became like a Roman gladiator! Well, except my sword was a dumbbell, and my feast was as many sandwiches as a 16oz can of tuna made. While some eat to live, I live to eat and so calorie burning allowed for mass calorie consumption. At some point I got into cooking and because all of my oral habits (get your mind out of the gutter) involved strong flavors so did my food. Anything spicy, strong heat, rich flavors, over the top powerful taste was what it was about. I mostly cook Italian but I like it all. Of course I also like anything with fat, butter, cream, cheese and beef and pork. I use to mail order a lot of prime grade beef but stopped as red meat got its bad reputation. But I still regularly look for that wonderful densely marbled goodness almost weekly (Costco is a great source) , grill it up and smother it with a nice mushroom gorgonzola sauce!

So imagine my delight to see this news story about genetically engineered pigs whose bodies contain heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids! Oooooh yaaaaaa...bring on the bacon, the babyback ribs, sausage, the pork tenderloin! And, if the genetic engineering police don't F this up, soon I'll be searing omega-3 rib-eyes, filet-migs, tri tip, and.....oh, my mouth is watering! I can't wait for science to make healthy sitting in front of the tv, pounding beers and using tortilla chips to consume a few cups of what I call Karmen's hot lava dip (chili, hot salsa, a few pounds of cream cheese all made molten!). I never thought I would actually desire health food!


Glock 26 said...

Unfortunately my friend, those succulent slabs of "the other white meat" will never see the searing hot flame on your stainless steel barbeque. The loco-left already protests ANY genetically modified organisms (GMO), from pest resistant corn, to boll-weevil resistant cotton, even though simple genetic modification would prevent enormous amounts of pesticides from entering our environment. This porcine modification would be almost as bad to them as George W. getting a third term! Forget it brother, you want Omega 3's? Eat fish---but NOT fish that are on the "Seafood Watch" like farm-raised salmon, California wild salmon, Bluefin tuna, Rockcod, Pacific Snapper, Chilean Seabass, Atlantic Cod, Etc---(for the full list, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium SeaFood Watch but be forewarned, you're going to feel guilty for your last sushi meal!).

LuvSeals Soaps said...

Wine is good in moderation, so go for it!

As for the dreaded swine, I still prefer beef bacon instead and turkey bacon is meh... but give a good sausage link and it's over with.

As for fish, Tilapia... there's no other kind like it.

LuvSeals Soaps - we make soap, so you don't have to!