Top Five Foods to Give Up in 2014 and What to Eat Instead
Photo by cookbookman17 Yes, it feeds the largest percentage of the world's population, but that doesn't mean it's delicious.
Rice is the most widely consumed food in the world. And that's boring. Yes, it's great with Asian food, and I can definitely get behind some red beans and rice, but by and large, rice doesn't really add anything to a meal. It can serve to sop up extra juices or provide gluten-free carbohydrates, but really, rice isn't a good source of anything but caloric energy. Some varieties, such as black or purple rice, are a little better for you and slightly more flavorful, but in general, rice is just bland, empty calories. I propose we all switch to:
Remember when quinoa was only on menus at health food spots? The seed (not a grain like rice) has totally taken over, and is often part of nutritious, gourmet meals. Of course, by now we all know the issues regarding food security because developed countries are buying up all the crops that used to feed the natives. The stats about that seem to be a bit overblown, though, and the Peruvian government and first-world countries who import quinoa have figured out how to cultivate enough for us and the natives. Superfood for everyone!
2. Synthetic truffle oil
Photo by C John Thompson A tiny piece of truffle does not truffle oil make.
When knowledgeable foodies complain about truffle oil in everything, it's not just because they're snobby and want to appear better than the expensive treat. It's because most truffle oil served in restaurants and found on grocery store shelves is synthetic -- a combination of olive or grapeseed oil and chemicals that mimic the aroma of truffles. On an episode of MasterChef, Gordon Ramsay called synthetic truffle oil "one of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to chef." He and his fellow judges went on to berate the person who used it in her food, telling her that it's a clear sign of an inexperienced chef. Of course, the alternative to synthetic truffle oil is obvious.
Natural truffle oil
Okay, it's not actually so simple that one can just say, "Screw the fake stuff! Only natural truffle oil for me from now on!" The real oil made from stinky tubers can be prohibitively expensive, sometimes retailing for up to $90 an ounce. Still, I say bring me the real deal! If it means having truffle oil only on rare, special occasions, I can handle that. The fake stuff is just far too chemical-y.
Photo by ayustety Ain't no shortage of gochujang!
By now, we've all read the news stories about the shutdown of the Sriracha plant in Irwindale, California, after residents complained of the noxious chile odor in the air. The plant has been in limbo for weeks and courts decide whether to shut it down, and as a result, we've all been in a tizzy trying to figure out where we'll get our favorite spicy condiment if the company stops production, even for a short while. But fret not, dear friends. Regardless of a possible shut-down, there will be spice in your life in the form of another (cheaper, more readily available) Asian condiment.
It doesn't come in a squeeze bottle, but gochujang definitely packs a punch. The fermented Korean condiment is made from red chile, glutinous rice powder, fermented soybeans and salt, and it comes in jars or tubs rather than bottles. It's a little more spicy than Sriracha and slightly less sweet, but otherwise the flavor profiles are similar. And I'd hazard to say gochujang is actually better. Since Sriracha has been adopted by everyone from candy cane makers to Lay's potato chips, gochujang is certainly more authentic. Oh yeah, and there's plenty to go around.