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annc
12-14-2005, 02:14 PM
Since we're talking about food...

I was positive that Franca said in a message back in the CompuServe days that she'd discovered Nutella and had found it quite addictive; but she assures me it wasn't her, and she doesn't like it.

So who was it? Now I just have to find out!

ktinkel
12-14-2005, 04:48 PM
So who was it [who loved Nutella]? Now I just have to find out!Well, not me, that’s for sure.

I remember that thread, and next time I saw it, I bought a jar of Nutella. Yuck! The worst sort of cheap milk chocolate with semi-rancid nut butter.

Look elsewhere for this one!

annc
12-14-2005, 04:54 PM
Well, not me, that’s for sure.

I remember that thread, and next time I saw it, I bought a jar of Nutella. Yuck! The worst sort of cheap milk chocolate with semi-rancid nut butter.

Look elsewhere for this one!Oh, I knew it wasn't you!

Now whoever it was won't be game to own up. ;)

ktinkel
12-14-2005, 04:59 PM
Oh, I knew it wasn't you!

Now whoever it was won't be game to own up. ;)Oh, sure they will. It is fabulously popular, all around the world. Inexplicably, to me. But nonetheless!

Michael Rowley
12-14-2005, 07:27 PM
KT:

The worst sort of cheap milk chocolate with semi-rancid nut butter

I don't care for Nutella much, but all my children loved it. However, I don't think the ingredients are as you describe: its main ingredient is ground hazel nuts. I suspect that you acquired some very old stock!

groucho
12-22-2005, 01:11 PM
Ann, I remember the thread too (vaguely) and hearing some folks like it and some absolutely hate it. If it wasn't for all the hydroganated (sp?) oils in it, I wouldn't mind it for some limited uses. It's not the world's best chocolate or hazelnut flavor, but it is interesting in limited doses. Except, for the hydroganated part. I try to "Just Say No" when I see that in any alleged food product.

And speaking of chocolate products...Has anyone tried the Ghirardelli's hot chocolate mixes? The concept looks interesting, but when I'm taking a thermos out in cold wx I usually roll my own using dutch cocoa (often Droste's) and just smile when people ask why it tastes so good. I mean, how do you explain it tastes better because IT AIN'T A MIX and it isn't any harder to make?<G>

annc
12-22-2005, 01:37 PM
Ann, I remember the thread too (vaguely) and hearing some folks like it and some absolutely hate it. If it wasn't for all the hydroganated (sp?) oils in it, I wouldn't mind it for some limited uses. It's not the world's best chocolate or hazelnut flavor, but it is interesting in limited doses. Except, for the hydroganated part. I try to "Just Say No" when I see that in any alleged food product. That's another reason to avoid it. I hadn't thought of Nutella having trans fats in it.

One good thing about no longer travelling out to work is that I eat home-prepared food three times a day now. Hasn't helped my cholesterol, but at least i know I'm getting very little food containing trans fats.

And speaking of chocolate products...Has anyone tried the Ghirardelli's hot chocolate mixes? The concept looks interesting, but when I'm taking a thermos out in cold wx I usually roll my own using dutch cocoa (often Droste's) and just smile when people ask why it tastes so good. I mean, how do you explain it tastes better because IT AIN'T A MIX and it isn't any harder to make?<G>Don't know them, but then I don't like hot chocolate.

Franca
12-22-2005, 02:54 PM
And speaking of chocolate products...Has anyone tried the Ghirardelli's hot chocolate mixes? The concept looks interesting, but when I'm taking a thermos out in cold wx I usually roll my own using dutch cocoa (often Droste's) and just smile when people ask why it tastes so good. I mean, how do you explain it tastes better because IT AIN'T A MIX and it isn't any harder to make?<G>As a bit of a chocolate purist myself (mix my own hot cocoa as well) I have to say the Ghirardelli pre-mixed ones are not at all bad. Someone gave me a couple of tins for Christmas a couple of years ago and I enjoyed them. They were not like those odious mixes that come complete with fake mini-marshmallows. I've repressed the name ... oh - Swiss Miss. Ick. Anyway, the Ghirardellis are good to keep around in case of hot chocolate emergency and you simply can't spare the extra few seconds to add your own sugar, etc. ;)

groucho
12-22-2005, 03:44 PM
Thanks, Franca. That's exactly what I was planning, to send them to someone who's stuck with near-zero cooking facilities as "emergency rations".<G>

Michael Rowley
12-22-2005, 04:36 PM
Ann:

I hadn't thought of Nutella having trans fats in it

I thought hydrogenation reduced the number of trans-double bonds, not increased them! The use of hydogenated fish oils used to be confined to fat for margarine, but Ferrero may have cottoned on that they are a good (i.e. cheap) alternative to using nut oil: on the other hand, possibly that's a libel.

groucho
12-22-2005, 04:49 PM
I'm not sure of the interaction between hydrogenation and transfat but recall one summer when the Noozed announced that because of hydrogenation, butter was now healtheri [sic] than margarine, and a surgeon friend of mine gave his wife a big gloat--because he'd always felt butter in moderation wasn't hurting him. The study vindicated him.<G>

The problem is that hydogrenation basically turns "oil" into "plastic" literally like Bic pens. You can't digest it, can't metabolize it, so once it gets in--it stays in. AFAIK trans-fats are fats that have been hydrogenated, or close enough that the presence of either is a bad thing.

OTOH plain "nut butters" made without hydrogenizing anything, aren't bad for you. So no more "commercial" peanut butter for me either, just the stuff where you have to remix the oils. Not that I eat much of that either.

annc
12-22-2005, 08:36 PM
It's the partially hydrogenated oils thar are considered dangerous, Michael. But I gather that they're often listed in ingredients as hydrogenated. Where they're listed at all, which they aren't in McDonalds, KFC etc., of course.

Or in the fish and chips from the local fish and chip shop.

Franca
12-22-2005, 09:24 PM
It should be more than up to the task. <vbg>

timc
12-23-2005, 01:17 AM
Oh, sure they will. It is fabulously popular, all around the world. Inexplicably, to me. But nonetheless!

I think you should think snarkish...

Wasn't it Binky after her visit to Europe and encountering it with ncmphoto in Paris? timc - pointed in this direction by recent nano winner Robin S

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 04:50 AM
… pointed in this direction by recent nano winner Robin SHey! Hi, Tim. How have you been?

Michael Rowley
12-23-2005, 07:28 AM
Ann:

Or in the fish and chips from the local fish and chip shop

I shouldn't like to think of the oils they use in Australian fish and chip shops (denaturalized eucalyptus oil?), but I understand that the real experts in ***shire (I'm neutral) dispute the question, 'What is best for frying chips: beef dripping or lard', and all food faddists are deported.

Richard Hunt
12-23-2005, 08:10 AM
The worst sort of cheap milk chocolate with semi-rancid nut butter.

When I was at college, I watched aghast as one of my German friends ate a four-ounce jar of the stuff with a spoon. :eek:

On the other hand she failed to understand Marmite and Branston pickle.

Richard

Richard Hunt
12-23-2005, 08:15 AM
It's the partially hydrogenated oils thar are considered dangerous, Michael. But I gather that they're often listed in ingredients as hydrogenated. Where they're listed at all, which they aren't in McDonalds, KFC etc., of course.

Or in the fish and chips from the local fish and chip shop.

My local fish and chip shop fries in beef dripping :)

Richard

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 10:09 AM
When I was at college, I watched aghast as one of my German friends ate a four-ounce jar of the stuff with a spoon. :eek:

On the other hand she failed to understand Marmite and Branston pickle.Goes to show: There really is no accounting for taste! <g>

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 10:14 AM
… a surgeon friend of mine gave his wife a big gloat--because he'd always felt butter in moderation wasn't hurting him. The study vindicated him.Turns out there is a slight gotcha in that: when butter gets rancid (something it is very prone to do), “natural” transfats are created. They are no better for us than the manufactured kind.

However, rancid butter declares itself: looks like a darkened rind around the outside of the stick. Since it also tastes a bit off, you can just trim it away and enjoy the butter. (I keep all but one stick wrapped in foil in the freezer, which helps prevent rancidity.)

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 10:16 AM
'What is best for frying chips: beef dripping or lard', and all food faddists are deported.Actually, today’s fad is to use lard. Good lard is difficult to find in the U.S., but it is becoming very popular.

You cannot beat a pie crust made of a mixture of butter and lard. Aces all the others for texture and flavor.

groucho
12-23-2005, 10:54 AM
I suppose beef or other animal fats in the oil begs a whole other issue: People who won't want to eat meat when they order fish. That was a problem for one of the junk food chains in the US, because their fries used beef product in the oil and "holy cow" is literal for some religions, not to mention vegetarians.

Personally I don't care what they use as long as they LABEL it somehow. I'm allergic to wheat flour (gluten) and have found that one chain uses it to put "grill marks" on their grilled chicken. Another uses it to lubricate their frozen fries, and to thicken their "ice cream" and "shake" products. "Have a shot of drain cleaner in your coffee?" Why sure, I don't mind that either...go figure what food scientists are putting in the food. UGH.

Fat and lard? Not that I'd order a bowl of either...but at least they won't kill me the way gluten will.

Michael Rowley
12-23-2005, 11:14 AM
KT:

when butter gets rancid (something it is very prone to do), “natural” transfats are created

No: rancidity is caused by oxidization of the double bonds, and then there is no cis or trans form. Mind you, I've never seen rancid butter never having kept it long enough; try getting to the grocer weekly!

Michael Rowley
12-23-2005, 11:29 AM
KT:

Good lard is difficult to find in the U.S.

I'm surprised at that, for nearly all our lard is marked 'Product of USA' (of couse, that may be the reason it's difficult to find there!).

You cannot beat a pie crust made of a mixture of butter and lard

Is there anything else to use (except leaving out the butter)?

Seriously, there was practically a war between the adherents of dripping for chips and those of lard. In the effete south of England, vegetable oil has long been used as a substitute.

I am told that your semi-synthetic fats in the USA are largely based on soy bean oil, which of course isn't a European product. That probably explains why we are less conscious of the perils of 'partially-hydrogenated-fats'.

Michael Rowley
12-23-2005, 11:31 AM
Richard:

My local fish and chip shop fries in beef dripping

Well, it would, wouldn't it? The owners don't want to get lynched.

ElyseC
12-23-2005, 11:31 AM
It's the partially hydrogenated oils thar are considered dangerous, Michael. But I gather that they're often listed in ingredients as hydrogenated. Where they're listed at all, which they aren't in McDonalds, KFC etc., of course.McDonalds made the news here recently, announcing that soon (as of the first of the year?) there'd be some kind of "Food facts" panel on all wrappers and such on their foods. The media of course mused whether people really want to know what's in that Big Mac or a chicken McNugget.

groucho
12-23-2005, 11:38 AM
eec-
<< "Food facts" panel on all wrappers >> Not to worry, their most important customers are too young to read anyway.<G> IIRC they are the world's number one toy company, ahead of ALL the others, because of their co-marketing deals. The little ones want the toys, the parents want to buy peace...Perfect marketing. Ahem.
But for those of us with food allergies...the labelling is not an option. If food has no label and hasn't "come from the ground"...I tend to smile and wave as it goes by these days. New federal labelling laws for allergens start to phase in Jan.1st over the next 2-3 years, but that's only for packaged stuff. McDonalds? Well, I can make a better burger at home. With one hand tied, blindfolded, starting with a raw cow and no metal utensils.<VBG>

Franca
12-23-2005, 11:40 AM
I'm allergic to wheat flour (gluten) and have found that one chain uses it to put "grill marks" on their grilled chicken.How delightful. Poisonous fake grill marks. :p I'm fortunate that I've yet to discover any allergies/sensitivities (food or otherwise) that will kill me but there are things that can make me pretty uncomfortable! Hm. I guess the ones most likely to kill you are the ones you haven't discovered.... I have a friend deathly allergic to nuts (poor thing!) but at least she can try to avoid them and she is prepared to deal with a reaction quickly should she encounter undisclosed nuts.

annc
12-23-2005, 11:51 AM
Ann:

Or in the fish and chips from the local fish and chip shop

I shouldn't like to think of the oils they use in Australian fish and chip shops (denaturalized eucalyptus oil?), but I understand that the real experts in ***shire (I'm neutral) dispute the question, 'What is best for frying chips: beef dripping or lard', and all food faddists are deported.My mother used to make wonderful chips with the contents of the dripping tin in the fridge. But these days, the fish and chip shops here (can't speak for the rest of Australia) use oil. Dunno which ones, but too many of them are too slow to change it, in my opinion. At this time of the year, it goes off very quickly.

ElyseC
12-23-2005, 11:51 AM
New federal labelling laws for allergens start to phase in Jan.1st over the next 2-3 years, but that's only for packaged stuff.Did you hear about that little girl who almost died, because a kid horsing around on the school bus shoved a peanut butter sandwich onto her face? She's deathly allergic to peanuts, went immediately into anaphylactic shock, but got help just in time.
McDonalds? Well, I can make a better burger at home. With one hand tied, blindfolded, starting with a raw cow and no metal utensils.<VBG>I have no doubt. So can I, with grass-fed/grass-finished beef I buy locally. We have excellent organic dairy products and eggs, too, from local sources. Amish/Mennonite country is a great place to live. :)

groucho
12-23-2005, 11:54 AM
Franca-
Celiac disease has only gotten a lot of press in the last 2-3 years. Until now drs. only thought it affect infants as a transient thing, but now they've finally (duh!) figured out it recurrs later in life. Unlike anaphylactic shock (nut or seafood poisoning) it kills very slowly, by irritating the lining on the intestine and killing the villae. That results (children should be taken out of the room now<G>) in severe cramps, explosive diarrhea, and malabsorption of all sorts of nutrients, eventually followed by death of parts of the intestine, and a host of autoimmune complications. The intestinal death can result in various intestinal cancers. The autoimmune complications include general stiffness and soreness, fullblown arthritis, and a susceptibility to a herpes-like skin condition. Quite a range of symptoms, which can take 5-10-20 years to kill you, but which WILL kill you eventually. All in all, given the choice of a long slow lingering death of a sudden gasping one that might be stopped with an epipen...I think I'd prefer the seafood allergy.

Up to recently, drs. just thought celiacs were dying of these other consequences, with no "cause and effect" understood. Now, they suspect 2-3% of the US population has celiac and MUST NOT eat wheat/gluten products at all, ever, in any dose, since the dose and damage are cumulative over life. (Every exposure causes intestinal damage, and given "enough" damages, cancers will happen.)

This all got some big press in the US two summers ago with a RC family in NJ who were asking papal dispensation--literally--because their daughter has celiac and the RC Communion Wafers are wheat wafers, which she cannot take since they poison her. Seems like both sides forgot the larger question, i.e. if she's being poisoned by them...the sacred transformation isn't happening. Hmmmm. How to explain that one.<G> As usual, the Nooze forgot to ask.

annc
12-23-2005, 11:56 AM
My local fish and chip shop fries in beef dripping :) How can you be sure?

groucho
12-23-2005, 11:58 AM
<but too many of them are too slow to change it, i> That's actually a big issue in the fried foods industry. The hydrogenated oils last longer, so there's economic reason to use them and not the healthier oils. And, whatever they use, oil is a BIG expense to buy and another big expense to dispose of. In the US, they pay to have it carted away, it can't just be dumped. (If they get lucky, some biodiesel fans will pay to take it away.)

So there's a fine line to balance in flavor, and a BIG difference in their operating expenses, as each operator tries to figure out how long they can use the oil. That's why so many push it too far, into the "well no one complained" range.

groucho
12-23-2005, 12:01 PM
Horsing around? There was some poor kid who died about a month ago, a boyfriend/girlfriend around 15 years old when one had eaten a PBJ for lunch and then they kissed afterwards. Talk about paying a price...

ElyseC
12-23-2005, 12:20 PM
Horsing around? There was some poor kid who died about a month ago, a boyfriend/girlfriend around 15 years old when one had eaten a PBJ for lunch and then they kissed afterwards. Talk about paying a price...Heard about that one, yes. How horrid the boyfriend must feel. And to think it had been a bunch of hours before that he'd eaten it. Wow.

terrie
12-23-2005, 12:25 PM
elysec: And to think it had been a bunch of hours before that he'd eaten it. Wow.9 hours according to the article I read. The article also said that she'd not told anyone she was allergic to peanuts and that the boyfriend would have understood as he has an allergy to eggs...very sad...

Terrie

terrie
12-23-2005, 12:28 PM
groucho: Celiac disease has only gotten a lot of press in the last 2-3 years.My niece has Celiac disease...your post was very interesting...I'd not realized the serious consequences of the disease...

Terrie

groucho
12-23-2005, 12:42 PM
Terrie-
If she's "infant young" the disease usually goes dormant by 2 years of age. For some people, it is always there but for most, it remains dormant into the 40's. Supposedly. For some people it just results in a "bloated" feeling, for others there are no symptoms, and a set of blood tests (simple protein tests) is used to confirm the disease in that stage.
But somewhere in the 40's apparently a stress factor (job stress, environmental, no one knows yet) triggers full blown celiac again. A lot of this was just dismissed as "irritable bowel syndrome" which is a coverall term meaning "patient has digestive problems, cause unknown". So, whatever age she is, she needs to understand the disease and the long-term consequences of it. The odds are that there will be a totallt different understanding of it, but maybe not for 50 years.
Right now there is some talk of a third nervous system in the body, consisting mainly of what we call the digestive system now. Apparently there's been a tie-in with depression and antidepressants (serotonin uptake inhibitors, SSRIs, etc.) and some of the body chemistry that regulates major brain activity apparently comes from what we thought was just "the digestive system". Which in turn is where the tie-in to stress factors may come from. There's a whole area of complex neurochemistry revolving around "the gut" that basically hasn't been studied at all until recently.

Oh, and another side effect? Once the villae have been damaged by gluten, thepatient becomes lactose intolerant as well. The villae digest lactose, so when they are damaged or destroyed...you can't digest dairy products either. With "lactaid" or other aids, in moderation, or when the gut isn't inflamed or too badly damaged, yes. Otherwise...the dairy doesn't do any harm, but it simply flies through. Which can also cause osteoporosis, especially in women. One more complication.

There's a lot to be found online now, resources that just didn't exist a few short years ago. Still a lot of debate and uncertainty, as there has been confusion about which grains cause the reactions, cross-contamination in grain handling/processing, and the major question of whether gluten can be "killed", processed out of foods safely or not. The jury is still out. And in pursuit of the alleged gluten-free beer, since barley and wheat are both totally verbotten and rice beer, well, it ain't beer. :-(

(A moment of silence will be held in memory of my last Guinness, fondly remembered.<G>)

Michael Rowley
12-23-2005, 12:51 PM
Ann:

At this time of the year, it goes off very quickly

I imagine that deep frying is not very suitable for hot climates anyway, but animal fats like lard and dripping (to say nothing of rendered suet) would possibly be better.

I've come to the conclusion that eucalyptus oils probably are too low in triglycerides to be useful for cooking, and anyway their uses in pharmacy and perfumery would make them too dear. I've also found that one of the chief supporters of ecucalyptus plantations is Murdoch University, and I'm allergic to Murdochs, unless they can prove that they've no connexion with that Murdoch.

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 12:52 PM
I'm surprised at that, for nearly all our lard is marked 'Product of USA' (of couse, that may be the reason it's difficult to find there!).Part of the problem is that good pork is hard to find here, and pig-factory pork doesn’t make much decent lard in the first place.

You cannot beat a pie crust made of a mixture of butter and lardIs there anything else to use (except leaving out the butter)?You do not know what you are missing if you do that. The texture from butter is softer, yes; but the flavor is sublime.

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 12:53 PM
My mother used to make wonderful chips with the contents of the dripping tin in the fridge.My father’s second wife used to use bacon drippings to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I found it somewhat revolting to look at, but it was very tasty.

terrie
12-23-2005, 12:55 PM
groucho:If she's "infant young" the disease usually goes dormant by 2 years of age.She's ummm...in her late 20's/early 30's...as a toddler, she had some sort of biopsy done to diagnose the disease and at one point was one some sort of prescription supplement which if I'm remembering correctly really played havoc with her emotions and my sister and brother-in-law weaned her off of whatever that was and made an even more concerted effort to make sure she ate nothing with gluten--my brother-in-law used to make the most wonderful rice flour cake which was very delicate and light. All her friend's parents were very good about it too...always making sure that at birthday parties she had some sort of gluten-free treat...

She continues this today...


>>There's a whole area of complex neurochemistry revolving around "the gut" that basically hasn't been studied at all until recently.

Sounds fascinating...makes sense to me too...

>>Oh, and another side effect? Once the villae have been damaged by gluten, thepatient becomes lactose intolerant as well. The villae digest lactose, so when they are damaged or destroyed...you can't digest dairy products either.

Very interesting...my mother is somewhat lactose intollerant as she always boiled milk before using it for her coffee (and not that American swill they call coffee either but good Italian coffee...'-}}). I think that boiling it does something to the lactose.


>>And in pursuit of the alleged gluten-free beer, since barley and wheat are both totally verbotten and rice beer, well, it ain't beer. :-(

Sake anyone...'-}}

Terrie

annc
12-23-2005, 01:36 PM
My father’s second wife used to use bacon drippings to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I found it somewhat revolting to look at, but it was very tasty.It was all mixed up in our house - just the one dripping tin in the fridge. We ate roast beef and lamb, beef and pork sausages, and lamb chops. But rarely bacon. So it was probably mostly beef, lamb and a bit of pork.

Molly/CA
12-23-2005, 04:44 PM
Read the Nutella label aqnd you'll see that the main ingredient is now some kind of grease, at least in the U. S. I remember the old Nutella, vaguely, and it was quite tasty. Perhaps the people who like it have adjusted gradually to the new formula (or it was adjusted gradually). Which I found really AWFUL.

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 05:01 PM
Read the Nutella label aqnd you'll see that the main ingredient is now some kind of grease, at least in the U. S. I remember the old Nutella, vaguely, and it was quite tasty. Perhaps the people who like it have adjusted gradually to the new formula (or it was adjusted gradually). Which I found really AWFUL.Really, hazelnut paste is wonderful. Nutella (today, at least) has it all wrong.

But I remember some truly rhapsodically wonderful hazelnut cremes in France, years gone by!

It is not hazelnot that I despise. Only awful stuff!

ktinkel
12-23-2005, 05:03 PM
No: rancidity is caused by oxidization of the double bonds, and then there is no cis or trans form. Mind you, I've never seen rancid butter never having kept it long enough; try getting to the grocer weekly!Well, you are a chemist so ought to know. But I have read this repeatedly here. Do you think that rancid butter is good for people? (It certainly tastes nasty, which has some force to me!).

groucho
12-23-2005, 05:19 PM
<<Read the Nutella label aqnd you'll see that the main ingredient is now some kind of grease,>>

Not QUITE.<G> First ingredient in the US is sugar. Second is peanut oil. Neither of those is quite the same as grease. While spreading "oil" on bread might seem odd, that's pretty much the same as spreading butter, or margarine, or, as the trendy "authentic" Italian restaurants have taken to doing, serving olive oil to spread on the bread.

Richard Hunt
12-24-2005, 01:08 AM
How can you be sure?

Seen the delivery and the empty cartons waiting for disposal.

Getting rid of the "used" stuff must be a problem.

Richard

annc
12-24-2005, 02:12 AM
Seen the delivery and the empty cartons waiting for disposal.

Getting rid of the "used" stuff must be a problem.

RichardSurely your local authority has a collection service?

Of course, in a cold climate like yours, getting it into a suitable receptacle could be a problem. ;)

Richard Hunt
12-24-2005, 02:59 AM
Surely your local authority has a collection service?

Of course, in a cold climate like yours, getting it into a suitable receptacle could be a problem. ;)

No doubt there is a disposal service, part of the trade waste collection. I daresay you could find some details on www.selby.gov.uk (http://www.selby.gov.uk) if you really look. Actually it must be horrible stuff for the council to get rid of in bulk (say a couple of hundred chip shops/pubs/takeaways/restaurants in the district, all producing 20 gallons of waste oil/fat a week - runs to hundreds of thousands of gallons a year). Putting it in landfill is not a viable option. because it attracts rats and flies. I suppose it might get incinerated or even re-rendered for use in animal food. The domestic chip pan is worse, because people tend to pour the oil down the drains, where it congeals, attracts vermin and causes blockages. The dpmestic chip pan is a major fire risk roo.

Richard

Michael Rowley
12-24-2005, 06:12 AM
KT:

'Do you think that rancid butter is good for people?'

No, certainly not: the oxidation products can make you quite ill. On the other hand, rancidity in butter is so easily tasted, that very slight rancidity—probably harmless—apparently has no ill effects; and isn't rancid Yak butter used instead of cream in tea by Tibetans?

iamback
12-24-2005, 06:54 AM
isn't rancid Yak butter used instead of cream in tea by Tibetans? Yak butter certainly is used; "instead of cream" doesn't come into it though, and I never tasted anything rancid either. ;)

It actually tastes more like broth than like tea, the yak butter is an important ingredient, and tastes a little bit salty, too. Don't think of "tea" and it's quite nice - especially when it's cold!

Michael Rowley
12-24-2005, 07:43 AM
Marjolein:

'It actually tastes more like broth than like tea'

I thought you might have tasted it. The idea of replacing cream (or milk) in tea is not far-fetched though: in a place where no milk is delivered to your door daily (I don't mean modern Germany!), yak butter is the obvious thing to balance the bitter taste of tea; and it would be salty, as unsalted butter does not keep well. Just think, 'Dairy product', and the whole thing falls into place.

I learned of yak butter and tea more than sixty years ago, when the idea of butter being a little rancid was not strange: not many people in Europe had refrigerators (or ice boxes), and butter was the first thing to go 'off'; unlike milk, it was usually purchased weekly—and was usually salted too (in England).

ktinkel
12-24-2005, 07:57 AM
… rancidity in butter is so easily tasted, that very slight rancidity—probably harmless—apparently has no ill effects …That is what I always assumed, but now they tell us that no amount of transfats is harmless.

But before worrying about that, I do taste even slight rancidity (or slight moldiness), and avoid it because it tastes nasty.

Michael Rowley
12-24-2005, 09:01 AM
KT:

'now they tell us that no amount of transfats is harmless'

Rancidity in butter has nothing direct to do with trans-double bonds but with oxidation of the double bonds, which may form aldehydes, ketones, or acids. They are all inclined to taste nasty, and sometimes smell nasty too. But oxidation will be faster at elevated temperatures, which if prolonged can lead to the formation of trans-double bonds because of the breaking and recombining of cis-double bonds. Trans-double bonds won't do you any harm immediately, but radicals (they used to be called 'free' radicals) may also be formed on heating, and those are believed nowadays to have something to do with cancers.

On the bright side, food fried in butter is supposed to be all right, because of the lower temperatures involved.

iamback
12-25-2005, 12:18 AM
The idea of replacing cream (or milk) in tea is not far-fetched though: in a place where no milk is delivered to your door daily (I don't mean modern Germany!), yak butter is the obvious thing to balance the bitter taste of tea; and it would be salty, as unsalted butter does not keep well. Just think, 'Dairy product', and the whole thing falls into place. The idea isn't far-fetched - but it just misses the mark. :) Let me try to explain:

Indeed, the milkman doesn't come daily: think nomads! Apart from city dwellers, most Tibetans are nomands or live in villages. Every family has at least one cow - daily fresh milk! The nomads have sheep, goats, and what I call "cowyaks" - pure yaks are actually rare but nearly every "not-quite-cow" has a percentage of yak blood: it creates animals that are much more docile than real yaks, but do have the essential properties of resistance to cold, adaptation to height, and very rich milk. The yak is central to Tibetan culture; yak butter is not only a staple food (like barley), it also plays an important role in Buddhist temples.

It's not as though they think, oh, we have no cream, let's use the butter to offset the bitter taste of the tea - the tea is not all that bitter in the first place, even though the Tibetans use black rather than green tea. The butter is not there to offset any taste, it's there because the yak butter is an essential staple food, providing immediate energy and a good source for storage of fat in a climate with mostly cold nights and cold winters.

City dwellers may go to the market daily or at least every few days, everyone else (having at least one cow per family) can have freshly-churned butter for their tea (and other food). I don't think it's the butter that's actually salted (and when used for oil lamps and tsampa sculptures for the temples it doesn't matter if it does get rancid at all), since the tea is often served with salt on the side so you can add it to taste. Tsampa (roasted barley ground into a fine flour) may be part of the ingredients as well: "butter tea" is more food than drink just like soup is more food than drink.

One thing I don't know is what's done with the rest of the milk (the buttermilk) after the butter has been made; one thing's for sure: nothing gets thrown away - everything, literally everything, of a yak is used. Since they also make cheese from yak milk, I imagine some of that at least must be used in cheese-making, but that is pure conjecture.

Michael Rowley
12-25-2005, 09:37 AM
Marjolein:

'City dwellers may go to the market daily'

Your remarks about Tibet's nomads corrects my ideas (and most people's, I imagine) that all Tibetans live on the top of mountains, but I can't swallow those about 'city dwellers', because I find it difficult to believe that Tibet has many towns of any size; you must remember though that my idea of a town is a European one, not an American.

Thank you all the same for a very interesting report. You have to remember that my ideas of Tibet were mostly formed in my puberty from writers of the twenties and thirties.

iamback
12-25-2005, 10:57 AM
Your remarks about Tibet's nomads corrects my ideas (and most people's, I imagine) that all Tibetans live on the top of mountains, but I can't swallow those about 'city dwellers', because I find it difficult to believe that Tibet has many towns of any size; you must remember though that my idea of a town is a European one, not an American. Quite true, but the capital Lhasa certainly qualifies as a city, not a town. And there are smaller towns, of course, where even Tibetans live a settled life (usually not mixing much with the "imported" Han Chinese). When I can find the time I'll update my site with data about the places I visited, such as exact location, a map if I can find one, and number of inhabitants...

What I can quickly find for Lhasa is 150,000 in 1994 (70% Han); Shigatze 50,000; another source from 2002 mentions 200,000 for Lhasa and I find a source from August 2005 which says Lhasa has 272,000 - just to give you a rough idea. I have no idea about the reliability of these sources though. More than 200,000 (with more than half Han Chinese) would be conservative I think - and that's more than the university city of Groningen in the Netherlands.

That said, roaming around the inner city of Lhasa looking for the nunnery, we ended up in a dead-end street where a houshold was keeping sheep - in the street, feeding them hay. :)


Tibetan tour' s mystery is being desalinated with the fast development of Tibetan tour and more tourists. And for seeking and enjoying the remaining mystery, tourists should come to Tibet as early as possible.http://swedenembassy.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/11723.html
(Lots of Chenglish there, but don't believe all of it! :D)

Michael Rowley
12-25-2005, 12:19 PM
Marjolein:

'the capital Lhasa certainly qualifies as a city'

Yes, I suppose it does, even without the Chinese, who certainly wouldn't have been present not many years ago, and even by European standards. I've been looking up what we call 'a city': in England & Britain generally, a city has to be chartered as a city, and I believe the same goes for the USA; in Germany, places were given 'Stadtrechte' by the ruler, and there are strictly no cities (they haven't a word for 'city'), and I assume the same goes for the Netherlands. Nowadays the classification is largely by size, but I suppose other considerations apply, e.g. whether or not they are administrative centres.