Top Five Foods to Give Up in 2014 and What to Eat Instead

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Photo by cookbookman17
Yes, it feeds the largest percentage of the world's population, but that doesn't mean it's delicious.
3. Rice
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:

Quinoa
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!

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Photo by C John Thompson
A tiny piece of truffle does not truffle oil make.
2. Synthetic truffle oil
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.

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Photo by ayustety
Ain't no shortage of gochujang!
1. Sriracha
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.

Gochujang
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.

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4 comments
svburt
svburt

Natural truffle oil can be hard to find but OLIVE & VINE at CITYCENTRE has the real deal.  It's made using the "tea method" where the truffles are steeped in premium extra virgin olive oil. The flavor is amazing and it's quite reasonably priced.

daniel
daniel

try indonesian hot sauce called sambal (not sambal oelek). There are many variety and it packs lots of flavor

CarlRosa
CarlRosa

I was just forwarded this article.  I must adamantly disagree with the reference to tuna.  'Fatty' is not better - not by a long shot.  If a person selects chu-toro or o-toro before (or more than) akami, I believe they have a very long way to go in comprehending sushi at all.  The flavor of quality sushi is not paramount.  The balance of flavor is everything.

“Without a fundamental understanding of sushi, you’ll always lean towards the fattier side of the menu.When a customer orders, it’s easy to tell the experienced from the inexperienced.” - Yousuke Imada

Fatty this, fatty that…you can always tell when an American orders sushi.”- Hachiro Mizutani

"The taste of fatty tuna is simple…and predictable.But the flavor of leaner tuna is subtle and sophisticated.The leaner carries the essence of flavor.” – Jiro Ono

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@CarlRosa I will certainly admit to being an inexperienced sushi-eater. And I will also acknowledge that there is a more subtle and varying flavor to leaner tuna than there is with fattier tuna. But damnit, I love toro, and I prefer it. Call me American, inexperienced, predictable--whatever--but texture is a big part of the dining experience for me, and I think the texture of toro is generally preferable to akami. 


You definitely don't have to agree though! This comment section is made for insights like yours, and I appreciate your thoughts on the article.

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