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 V.13 No.5 | January 29 - February 4, 2004 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Fair trade bananas make me happy!
Banana Link
Fair trade bananas make me happy!

Did you know that McDonald's Crispy Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad has more fat than a Big Mac and an order of fries? With the dressing, it contains 50 grams of fat, about 70 percent of your daily allowance if you're not on a diet. Seriously. Don't kid yourself that you're eating healthy just because you're eating a salad. Lettuce on its own has very little nutritional value—or taste for that matter. So by the time you pile on cheese, croutons and ranch dressing, your salad has lost any advantage it might have had over a burger and fries. The way to win with salad is to pile on vegetables, not cheese, meat or fatty dressing. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over it, toss and then sprinkle with oil and vinegar or low-fat dressing (if you must). Use about a third of the amount you think you'll need. By the way, another common pitfall is juice. Before you pat yourself on the back for drinking lots of juice blends, look at the nutrition facts box on the back of the container and multiply the calories by the number of servings. A 300 calorie juice is not a diet food. It's empty sugar calories. Give it up.

Speaking of junk food, have you seen those commercials for black and white M&M's? For the next few months the candy-coated chocolates will only rub off white and black into your sweaty palms because of a dramatic increase in the cost of food-grade dyes. No, really, it's just some sort of marketing campaign designed to get simple-minded media members to hype their product for pretty much no reason. Wait a minute. ...

In other news, Wild Oats Community Markets announced this week that they have become the first grocery store to stock Fair Trade Certified bananas. A press release stated that “supporting fair trade bananas further extends the company's strong commitment to the Fair Trade Certification model which allows Wild Oats to ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their products.” The press release neglected to mention that the bananas sell for $100 each. Kidding! Fair trade is a good thing. You should all buy these bananas right now.

By the way, have you ever bought a boned leg of lamb or a stuffed salmon steak that was held together by something that looked like a piece of white fishnet stocking? This super elastic stuff may look like something that would be attached to Marilyn Manson's garter belt but it works better than skewers or trussing for keeping many cuts of meat together in the oven. I tried to buy some from the Whole Foods' seafood counter but they gave me a little piece for free. I bet if you ask nicely your butcher will do the same for you.

Winter is a slow time of year for food news and a fast time of year for cruising the Internet in search of naked pictures of that hot guy Smith from Sex and the City. So if you know anything about cool new restaurants, scrumptious dishes you've had recently or anything else food related, let me know. E-mail all your tips to food@alibi.com, call 346-0660 ext. 245 or fax 256-9651.

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