Melissa's blog

Food Writing This Week: Sous Vide, Pastry, & More

Since I was named the editor of the Food & Drink Section at Chicagoist, I haven't had as much time to blog here. A lot my writing there isn't going to be particularly interesting unless you live in Chicago, but I have a scattering of pieces that might appeal to a broader audience I will highlight here from time to time with commentary. 

Flourless Cookies: Re-Thinking "Candy Cigarettes"

I admit I used to be one of those grinches who used the term "Candy Cigarettes" to describe so-called "paleo" desserts made with nut flavor rather than regular flours. My own reasoning was

What's on the menu lately

I'm finally updating this page, which I hadn't updated in almost a year. Not that much has changed except I have less meat since I haven't had time to source for meatshare lately. Fewer vegetables because it's still the dead of winter and I only go to the farmer's market in the winter sporatically. Another change is that there is a ton of fermented and canned stuff, to the point where I have almost no room for normal stuff. 

Here are a few of the things I've made lately

The Real Costs of Cooking

“You should spend less time on food and more time on your career”

A boss actually said this to me once. I was the bad employee who took a full hour for lunch. And didn’t just slurp a bowl of microwaved glop while reading tech listservs like some of my co-workers. I also left at the end of the working day to join friends at dinner or to go home and cook a meal rather than reading documentation until the sun went down. 

Paleodrama: Why I stopped posting on my blog highlighting pseudoscience and bigotry in the paleo community

I occasionally get comments here with the insinuation that I stopped posting on paleodrama because I "lost" or realized "boys will be boys." I didn't stop posting, though I rarely post there now. For the uninitiated, paleodrama was created to highlight incidents of sexism and other bigotry in the "paleo" community, as well as the most obvious examples of pseudoscience.

Ancient Wheat for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

It's great to see so many interesting papers exploring the role of wheat in various common digestive issues. The last interesting paper I wrote about explored the role of FODMAPs in wheat in causing digestive problems sometimes called "gluten sensitivity." A new paperEffect of Triticum turgidum subsp.

Chicagoist Pieces

I did a stint as a guest writer at Chicagoist and wrote a couple of pieces. Most might be kind of boring if you don't live in Chicago, but there are a couple that are of more general interest. 

2014 Upgrade

It's here. After over a year of procrastinating I finally hit the trigger. Along the way I finally figured out one of the main reasons I procrastinate: perfectionism. I figure if I can't do something perfectly, it's not even worth doing. If I had kept to that path, I wouldn't be writing this. I forced myself to stop while I was working and think about whether or not it was really worth it to do what I was doing. To ask whether it's really truly completely necessary. Much of the time it wasn't. I let good enough be good enough. And I can always add things to the site later.

Holiday Cooking: Matsutake pecans, bacon cornbread stuffing

I had to improvise a Thanksgiving meal today because plans with family members fell through. Unfortunately none of the convenient grocery stores were open, so I had to use things I already had. Luckily I've been cooking a lot lately and I had a decent amount of stuff to work with. Except I had almost no vegetables and no thawed or easily thawable meat except bacon. But our meal, while slightly odd, ended up being pretty tasty.

Is "Gluten sensitivity" really a type of carbohydrate intolerance?

What’s the deal with gluten sensitivity? Gluten sensitivity as a proposed disease showed up in the scientific literature in the past few years. The key here is proposed, because there was evidence it might exist, but it remained in a scientific grey area because there was not a known mechanism behind it.

But enough people had already decided or wanted to decide gluten was bad that they took the proposed disease and ran with it, producing and selling a large volume of scientifically dubious diet books featuring “gluten sensitivity”.