Friday, April 23, 2021

Cooking with No True Scotsman!

 So the doc said "No salt for you!" and I have been following that advice. But being the inquisitive type I decided to investigate further. I have an extremely simple diet, potatoes, eggs, meat, water and some fruit juice. Simple, right? What can go wrong?

Here's what - if one, and by "one", I mean me, purchases store-bought processed potatoes and meat then one is consuming whatever the processor of said products decides to dump in there. By carefully reading the nutritional info on the back of the package I gained some insight into how they make that stuff, which looks like they start with a salt lick, cover it with rock salt, dump on some table salt, then add Himalayan pink salt to taste. What I am saying is - that stuff, even without additional salt added by the consumer after it is cooked, is killing me, the consumer.

So, what to do? Being cheap, and having some of those food products already on hand, I figured I would see if I could remedy the issue - first I boiled the meat:

It was processed beef so I boiled it for a while I drained off the water, let it cool, then put it in the refrigerator. Guess what - that worked - the sodium was water soluble, the broth carried away the salt and now the meat is edible.

The taters, well, they are a different story:

They are Ore-Ida brand frozen french fries and even after soaking, draining, rinse, repeat, I cooked them and they are still too salty. Hmm. Well, I can sort this out next time I go to the store. But boy, don't they look stylish sitting in the bottom of a bowl of water? I can answer that - no, no they do not.

After lunch I did go to the store, and what do you know - there are generic brands of fries that contain no sodium whatsoever! Who knew! So I bought some of those and they are next up in the queue for lunch. 

There you have it - meager food, purchased by a cheap bastard, who will now buy even cheaper food. Livin' the dream, I tell ya!

Up next - low sodium haggis! 
Be sure to follow my blog for more recipes. 
One final warning, kids, don't try this at home! That's an order!

We have been having hard frosts for the last couple of days but these flars are hanging in there for now:

Didn't they purdy!

Play it loud and proud.


chickelit said...

So no Natrium. What about Kalium?

ampersand said...

I too am on a low salt diet. It's amazing how much sodium is in processed foods. I assume it's to give food a longer shelf life. I don't find no salt food to be cheaper though. A half size bottle of no salt ketchup is four times the price of a regular size bottle.

chickelit said...

Imagine the amount of agency and self-determination it must have taken in the 1960's to ignore doctors' preaching avoidance of butter and their concomitant urging to eat trans-fat margarine in the 1960's.

Some Seppo said...

We ate Imperial in the 60's. My guess is because it was cheaper than butter, not because of the Sturgeon General's fishy data. My Mom did heed Linus Pauling's admonitions on vitamin C and threw a bunch of tablets into frozen orange juice concentrate every morning. So I grew up thinking OJ from concentrate was naturally chalky and kinda nasty, but a few ounces in a juice glass along with our eggs over easy was palatable enough.

She did say she thought we had fewer colds than our peers.

Why eggs over easy? During an early 60's tour of the Kellogg's factory in Battle Creek my Mom watched them spray the vitamins onto the flakes at the end of the conveyor and decided that she could achieve the same end with supplements without paying the premium for cold cereal. Eggs and toast were cheaper than box cereal to feed a family of six.

And since we were used to eggs and toast during the week and were on our own on weekends, myself and my three brothers all learned to cook by starting with one of the hardest items to get right. We did have a cold cereal option available on weekends sometimes, but it was never Lucky Charms or Cap'n Crunch. It was The Breakfast of Champions, complete with spray-on vitamins.

Sixty, you'll have to learn to make fries from raw potatoes if you want tasty and salt free and above all, cheap. The Veg-O-Matic style chopper makes short work of the prep and you can par cook them and then stash your excess in the freezer instead of buying generic frozen lowered sodium fries. The Fry Daddy takes only 4 cups of oil and if you're going to forego salt you need the fat to help with the loss of flavor enhancing chemistry.

My wife buys canned beans by least sodium grams instead of by brand and so I also cull the salt licks when I do the staple shopping. The differing amounts can be significant.

chickelit said...

I was introduced to dried nutritional yeast after moving here.I live upstairs across the street from a food co-op run by ex-hippies and daughters. They introduced me to what they call "hippie dust." It's actually quite tasty and I use it instead of salt. I even keep it in a shaker and ues it like salt. I've always bought unsalted butter because I prefer its taste to the salted kind.
That being said, I still enjoy a good dose of salt once and a while. Here's another another anecdote for Spinelli:

Years ago (the summer of 1979), I went to Italy alone to spend the summer. I stayed initially with a family in a small rural village in the Piemonte region. The mom there made a lot of tasty dishes. One of them she call Bagna Cauda which translates as "hot dip." Bagna Cauda is made from anchovies, garlic, olive oil. They use it like fondue and dip veggies in it in the winter. The Italians invented canned anchovies as a way to preserve precious proteins. The mom used it as a sauce by cutting the olive olive oil and substituting heavy cream. She slathered it on hot roasted pepper strips. Mmmm. I developed a real liking for that one. I made it a few times over the years when I returned to the states, but I never really found anyone who liked it back.
Just last week, my SIL took me foraging in the woods for ramps which are wild leeks. There are a seasonal thing around here. The broad leaves are quite tender and have a garlicky flavor. I thought of what to do with them and decided to try the banga cauda flavor so I mashed up some anchovies with garlic and cut it generously with warm cream cheese so that it would harden at room temp. I slathered it on ramp leaves and rolled them up -- some like burritos and some like spliffs. I thought they were tasty and so did a few others. But most of the cheezers and geezers rejected them outright.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I strongly recommend cleaning up the diet for all sorts of reasons. Processed food is killing us and making us fat.

Cooking isn't that hard. If you can read, you can cook.

I've had to clean up my diet for various reasons. Liver, eyes, etc. General aging sucks.

I buy copious amounts of organic produce. Fortunate a local chain store called Natural Grocers provides. They only carry organic, and the prices are similar to big box store regular produce. In any case, fresh produce is much cheaper to buy than pre-made processed food anyway.

I love my OXO good grips salad spinner and make sure I have fresh lettuce (spinach or arugula) at all times. I get sick of salad but if you add lots of fixin's and a good dressing - it can be a staple that tastes good. Lettuce, shred one carrot, cucumber, some scallions. I pre-toast some almonds and keep those in a baggie in the pantry. mmmm sliced toasted almonds make a salad.
Asian dressings are my fav.
This one is from "Flower Child"
3-5" piece of fresh shredded ginger (use a micro plane, wee!)
1 Tablespoon of miso paste (the lighter color) ooo salty beware
some grapeseed oil and rice vinegar - 1/4/ or 1/3 cup or so each - vary amounts to taste
table sugar to sweeten - to taste.
shake shake shake. I use a little glass jar to shake and store. so good.

chickelit said...

I buy copious amounts of organic produce.

I live on a town square in an old town. There's farmers market staring up soon which I'm looking forward to.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

We have farmer's market here. It's very popular. So much so that during covid, they require a reservation. ugh. I'm off here shortly for my appointment at the farmers market. LOL. & it's very cold out today.
a few weeks ago I bought a loaf of light German rye bread the size of a football field for 5 bucks. and some tasty baby arugula.

ndspinelli said...

This post makes me miss Chip Ahoy even more.

chickelit said...

it's very cold out today.
a few weeks ago I bought a loaf of light German rye bread the size of a football field for 5 bucks. and some tasty baby arugula.

There's bakery across the square run by two sisters. They make excellent fresh breads three times a week. I grow my own arugula indoors. It thrives.

chickelit said...

I bought a loaf of light German rye bread the size of a football field for 5 bucks...

Let's watch April move the goal posts by correcting her typo.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Indoor arugula. hmmm. I have no luck growing anything inside.
One of these days.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I miss Chip too.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

oh no - I mis-spell stuff and mis-tyhep stuff constantly. Please - It you see something wrong - just fix it yourself!

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

In any case, as of yesterday I am officially a g/d hippy. You'll never guess what I bought.

chickelit said...


Some Seppo said...


Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Worm poop tea.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

It's for the lawn/garden.

Some Seppo said...

Enjoy your humus.

Sixty Grit said...

Worm castings - I used to raise worms just for the vermicast. My girlfriend was a big time gardener and I ended up keeping her worms for her. Okay, that doesn't sound right.

Patchouli - that reminds of my girlfriend from 1968. I will circle back on that.

I know plenty of folks who grow arugula. I cannot eat leafy greens, so no arugula for me.

I sometimes have a rye sense of humor, sometimes not.

Back when I could eat a larger variety of food I used to cook more things than I do now. I cook all my own meals, have for decades, but as my gut has failed I find that I can only eat the things I mentioned - eggs, potatoes, a bit of meat and some fruit juice. Add bread and water and that's my diet in its entirety. Do I wish I could eat other food? Sure. Wishing won't get one far in this life. I am thankful that I can eat that many different kinds of food - as I eat the same meals, every day, year after year, and were I to lose any item on that list my life might seem somehow more constricted, food-wise.

We used to eat yeast back in the late '60s - brewers yeast, if I recall, pretty sure the wife learned about it from Adelle Davis' cookbook. Also, my wife's grandmother, who was first generation over from the old country, was a big proponent of wheat germ, yogurt, sprouts and all of those sorts of things long before they became popular. So we always avoided processed food and paid attention to the labels. That was the way of our people.

Back when I was a kid we had a Veg-O-Matic, and what I remember about it was that it was a pain to clean. When I was first figuring out how to get pertaters without salt I immediately thought of the old V-O-M, but for now I will eschew that idea. I hate peeling potatoes.

But back to Ruthie - I met her when I was living in Bloomington Indiana, and we used to get pizza at the local pizza shop. That was the first time I ever had anchovies. I liked them. I didn't know that I was not supposed to like them. Anyway, these days any seafood is right out, so there you have it - no anchovies for me!

ampersand said...

When I was younger I use to tell my friends when I hit 70 I'd take up smoking again and start using heroin. I'm a year away I better get in shape.

ndspinelli said...

amper, I would like to try heroin and MDMA before I die. No compulsion to resume smoking or drinking.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Vermicast. Need to google that.

Not Dead Yet
You got holes in your clothes
booze on your breathe
You look like hell
and you smell like death
uh huh.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

What Is Vermicast?

"Vermicast is a mixture of earthworm castings and uneaten bedding and feedstock harvested from worm beds. This means that we started with organic materials for bedding and added feedstocks. The worms consumed most of the food and bedding, and left behind a mixture of their castings (worm poop) and undigested organic materials."

In the end - we are all worm poop.