June 17, 2012

A gastro-navigation course

ARE YACHTSMEN LIVING LONGER than they used to? This question occurred to me when I was reading an article written in the middle of the last century by Robert Neilson. It described how to make a five-course dinner on a yacht in 30 minutes with a minimum of actual labor.
All the equipment required was one burner of the stove and a two-gallon pot half filled with sea water, to which was added:

Ø A can of soup;

Ø A can or sealed jar of meat balls with spaghetti and tomato sauce, corned beef hash with a boiled egg atop, spaghetti and cheese, or any number of similar items;

Ø Any canned vegetable as desired;

Ø Any fresh vegetable that can be cooked in salt water, such as potatoes, onions, squash, carrots, corn, turnips, and green peppers;

Ø For dessert, a couple of bananas can be thrown in and eaten as a vegetable if desired, or with brown sugar and milk.

The instructions were to place all cans in the pot on their sides with their labels removed. “If placed on end, the boiling will make them rattle like a dozen castanets,” said the voice of experience. “On top and in between, place the vegetables and, later on, the bananas, all with their jackets on. Bring to a boil, cook for 20 minutes, and dinner is ready.”

Now, I could hardly suppress a shudder when I read that list. It seems fairly innocuous at first glance, but I couldn’t help feeling that some of this (maybe a lot of this) was mighty unhealthy fodder according to modern thinking.

Times have changed. How would we get along these days without gluten-free cookies, fat-free milk, and cholesterol free meatballs — in fact, meat-free meatballs? Where would we be without organic vegetables and calorie counts on everything?

Which leads me to another questions: Will we still die if we stop eating the stuff that’s killing us, and eat healthily instead? In other words, what is our excuse for dying now that we don’t derive our meals from cans boiled in a two-gallon pot? All I can say is that anyone who dies from now on has got some explaining to do.

Today’s Thought
I want a dish to taste good, rather than to have been seethed in pig’s milk and served wrapped in a rhubarb leaf with grated thistle root.
— Kingsley Amis.

Tailpiece
No doubt you’ve heard a “fly-in-my-soup” joke. Well, I have 30 of them, and I’m not going to waste them by using them all at once. No sir, I’m going to dole them out over the next 30 columns. So stand by with your groans, here goes:

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
(1)“It’s all right, sir, he won’t live long in that stuff.”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

3 comments:

mgtdOcean said...

I think it's clear that the SAD (Standard American Diet) pushed for the past 30-40 years is a failure. Clues, Adult onset diabetes is now almost exclusively called Type 2 because so many children and getting it. Waist lines ever expanding. Try finding a mens 29 in stores. But you did stumble on one item that is a real villain in SAD, gluten. Check out MarksDailyApple for information that is cross referenced to the medical studies. I have no financial involvement with MDA.

Anonymous said...

In the middle of the last century, very few men sat in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day. They spent their days sawing, hammering, plowing, lifting, pulling, etc. One didn't exercise before or after work, one exercised at work. When one exercises for 8 hours a day, one can eat pretty much whatever one wants without adverse effect.

Deb said...

Too funny. My husband and I have this ongoing discussion because my grandson has terrible food allergies and can only eat a highly restricted organic diet. My husband says most of what I fix for them he doesn't even recognize :) Tell me what your favorite (non-healthy)boat meal is and I'll try to come up with a post for it on my boat food blog - www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com