Today was an uninspiring news day (Sen. Burris might be a bit shady after all? I never in a million years imagined that), but I did see this nugget of an article that came from the Los Angeles Times. I am in no way suggesting that this news source is comparable to the New York Times, only that I wasn’t inspired to blog about salmon brain injuries today or you know, any of the actual news.
This article is fascinating though, so even if I’m bending the rules, I hope you enjoy it just this once. In a comparison of 18 difference recipes in the Joy of Cooking–recipes that stuck around from the 1931 edition to today’s–researchers found that 14 of those recipes have increased their overall calorie counts by an average of 982 calories or 44% per recipe. The article notes several reasons for this calorie increase:
- Changing serving sizes–a 1997 waffle recipe made 12 waffles, the exact same ingredients made 6 waffles in 2006.
- Adding more of certain ingredients-beef stroganoff apparently needs a whole cup of sour cream these days, when just a decade ago it needed 3 tablespoons.
- Making substitutions to use more meat instead of vegetables-since meat was a lot more expensive in 1931, people ate less of it than we do now).
I did my own mini-study at home since I have both a 1976 and a 2005 copyright Better Home and Gardens New Cookbook (that’s the red checkered one). One recipe I often make from this cookbook is Banana Bread. Both recipes make the same size loaf, but in 1976 the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup shortening. In 2005, you need a whole cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of shortening. So, if you’re reading this and you are lucky enough to get to partake of my banana bread on occasion, I’m going to begin retro-themed baking and use the 1976 recipe. And I”ll also do my part to bring back Ham Medley and Company Creamed Tuna and maybe a nice elegant rice ring, since those recipes somehow were left out of the 2005 edition.
I often argue that eating at home instead of in a restaurant is one of the easiest ways to eat better and lose weight, and of course save money. But, as this study shows, our food troubles extend beyond restaurant fare and into our own cupboards. The article also briefly highlights the growing size of our plates and utensils–an actual serving of pasta looks tiny and unsatisfying on a giant plate so we eat more. PL and I got new “everyday” silverware recently (from my mom of course) to replace an older set my late aunt and uncle used for forty years. The new teaspoon is the size of the old soup spoon, and the new soup spoon? It won’t even fit in my mouth and we use it as a serving spoon. The trend is also noticeable with our new dinner plates (also from my mom–who needs to get married anyway?). We have a set of my grandma’s plates from the 1960s with a 10 inch diameter (most older plates are even 9 inches), and our new set of plates made in 2008 has a nearly 12 inch diameter–if we had older cabinets the dishes most likely would not fit in them.