Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Quickies #4: Mindless Eating, Appetizer Affair, Halloweenie, A Diff. Kind of Taste Test

Mindless Eating: Finally got around to reading Prof. Brian Wansink's fascinating book on subconscious eating cues and how that affects how much we eat--it was a mosty fun read with interesting findings. Some we may already be familiar with (bigger plates, bigger utensils & bigger variety of food generally lead us to serve and consume more calories), others not-so-much (how even the "illusion" of variety encourages eating more, exemplified by his research participants grabbing munching extra M&Ms when colors are mixed together).

Marion Nestle, he generally cuts more slack for the food industry, advocating more personal responsibility for "mindlessly" eating less. Most of his advice to go about that are pretty sensible but already well-known approaches (pre-portion your treats in smaller bags if buying in bulk, don't cut too many calories at once, fill up half the plate with veggies & salad) with a few novel psychological tricks worth trying (e.g. at a gathering, don't bus out the "evidence" of bones, toothpicks, plates and glasses, which makes people more aware of how much they ate and limit themselves.)

My Love/Hate Affair with Appetizers: Speaking of mindless eating and growing portions, as of late I've taken to just making a meal out of an appetizer or two when I go out. On top of generally smaller portions, I love how they usually come out quicker and a bit less pricey. Of course, what's not to like is that variety can be monotonous (seared ahi tuna slices? fried calamari? oh, I've never had that before) and there's a strong tendency for unhealthy cooking methods, since the deep-fry is so fast and easy. Also portions can be unpredictable, with some appetizers being entree-sized (Cheesecake Factory stands out in my mind, the tamale cake appetizer leaves me beyond full every time) and others being teensy-tiny. Asking the server is not foolproof either (don't say "football" if it's more like a tennis ball.)

Halloween plans: I usually get MAJOR sweet tooth cravings around Trick-or-Treating time, but that has been largely absent this year (I haven't stocked up on the fun-sized stuff yet, if I'm too lazy/forgetful by Wednesday, I hope kids like little baggies of polenta, couscous and grated parmigiano-reggiano.) Likewise, I don't have any solidifed plans for this weekend or Wednesday night asides from a
Walt Disney Concert on Sunday night. In fact, this year I'm feeling oddly un-Halloweeny (maybe 'cause it's on hump day).

Caroline, however, is breaking all out with her wrap-up on spooky cupcakes, summary of (mostly) costumed nightlife events and checking up on what other trendy people are up to.

Taste Test of a Different Sort: Doug from
Blogsoop sent me a kit to test if I'm a supertaster. Turns out that while I'm not a bonafide supertaster like Javier/Teenage Glutster, I am more taste-sensitive than the average joe. But it'll be interesting to see how the bell curve goes for foodies compared to the norm.


Chubbypanda said...

Imma super taster. =) Most of the males in my family are.


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