Not A Fat Nazi: Healthy Food Should Not Taste Like The Box It Came In - Blog at - 269967

Not A Fat Nazi: Healthy Food Should Not Taste Like the Box It Came In 
Mar. 12, 2012 6:48 am 
Updated: Mar. 24, 2012 9:38 am
I am writing one of many books on a new way to approach your cooking: Follow your nose.

"Ad hoc, ad loc quid pro quo. So little time, so much to know." The words of J.H. Boob of the Yellow Submarine ring through my ears. He is my muse.  I wrote the book on oddly busy. I ran the first sports magazine on the Internet for 11 years. I blog for the Huffington Post and my  I'm working on a  pair of novels, slowly. I run a public Jazz wiki for student musicians and new jazz fans called, and we have an exciting new ezine called about new music artists that is about to launch.  In the fall we'll be launching an e-Pub about hydroponic gardening and growing great food to add to your great cuisine.  I also am the Lewis & Clark of dining experiences over at   I love food. I like new tastes, new smells.  I am an unabashed foodie. I go to restaurants to try new things, and see how chefs transform common ingredients into culorgasmic taste experiences.  Now, I'm tackling the final frontier: Using what I've learned over 35 years in the kitchen cooking for 7-20 people a day on top of all of that.

What I don't like is fat. 

There's too much of it in the food that we eat. Especially when we go out to eat, because it comes from centuries-old cooking that has been dogmatically taught like religion from one generation to the next, without people really looking at the recipe and breaking down what it's all about and rethinking it.  Food is about smells. About mouth feel.  The richness of it is a learned thing, and we can fool our taste buds more often than you'd think without sacrificing the god of cooking: BIG FLAVOR.

That's what I am going to do in this new book, and, if you would like to follow this blog, with you as I try to redefine and test out my theory that sumptuous food and the high fats that we've slogged along with through the ages are a, modest pun intended, fork in the road.

I believe that the fat gets in the way of, not enhances many a culinary experience, although I know many prominent fat-schooled chefs who will disagree.

Do not get me wrong. There is a place for fats.  Also using the right fats is very important.  There is an amazing book called "Extra Virginity" about olive oils that will change your life, and your thinking about fats as a cook. I highly recommend that you read it.

Sometimes you can make healthy substitutions that will go undetected and improve both the calorie and the fat counts and still get the big flavor that you're looking for. 

Let's take bacon. It's on the knock list of pretty much every fat nazi cookbook and diet plan.  Bacon has big flavor, and it enhances the taste of dishes in a lot of cuisines.  I cook bacon in paper towels in the microwave to wick off the grease. I cut out the meaty portions, toss them into a food processor, and chop them into bacon bits which I keep in my refrigerator.

When I make "diet" green beans that are quick, not gourmet, I'll take a can of green beans, rinse out the extra salt and bean broth they've been stewing in, and toss them into a microwave dish with a few splashes of home made beef broth that is big on flavor, a teaspoon or so of the bacon bits, and a tablespoon of French's fried onions.  The last two have salt along with the beans so I don't have to add anything else.  I throw them in the microwave on the canned veggies setting and viola! We have fast dinner beans that have a nice bean/bacon flavor without a ton of fat.

This is a recipe modified from one that a chef from New Orleans in a restaurant that is no longer with us showed me a long time ago. Hers had about a tablespoon of bacon fat in addition to this.  I loved the taste enough to remember the recipe, but when they're not greasy, they are so much better.

Speaking of N'Awlins, Cajun food is a particular weakness of mine. It is an incredibly high-fat food, in most cases. I make a wicked gumbo, the recipe for which I will share in an upcoming addition to my recipes, where I'm able to cut the fat by 80-90% and still serve up big flavor, texture, and the right gumbo color.  

Some things, though, just are what they are.  If you are going to eat ice cream, or macaroni and cheese, or certain other dishes where the fat's where it's at, then you're going to be using milk-based fats.  I make some wicked recipes there too, which I'll share.  There balance comes into play. If you have a high fat food, then try to make the other items, and the rest of the meals of the day, load balance it out.

Eat ice cream, and probably not the meal that I would serve a cream of cauliflower and some brisket.  I might start with a light salad, some nice chicken dish that is baked or steamed, and then save up the fats for that splurge.

Healthy food should be every bit as good as the best gourmet meal that you've ever ate. I will teach you how to cook BIG FLAVOR without BIG FAT, but always promise me: Never let the food taste like a cooked version of the box that it came out of!

Enjoy your Monday, and back to the other writing!
Baked callas. An old N'Awlins recipe without the fried fat that tastes great as a griddle cake!
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Risotto not loaded with butter? Blasphemy! This risotto got raves from my picky eaters. In my box!
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A terrific indian chicken salad that's quick, very tasty, and near zero in the fats dept. In my box!
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Mar. 12, 2012 9:01 am
loved the blog and it is so true, fats, sugars and salts are the ingredients we can pronounce that are hurting people. Moderation has been removed from some people's vocabulary. Ingredients that look like drawings on a wall are in so many foods. Cook healthy, enjoy the flavour, then get your arse off the couch once in awhile and we would mostly be in fine shape.
Mar. 12, 2012 7:47 pm
Loved the chicken salad. Can you share the recipe?
Mar. 18, 2012 3:11 pm
The Chicken Salad recipe is here in my recipe box on
Mar. 24, 2012 9:38 am
You are so right, cooking skills are passed down. It is only in the past couple of years since I found Allrecipes, that I can truly say I've increased my repertoire.I'm very interested in following your blog. Thanks
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Brian Ross

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About Me
Author, screenwriter filmmaker, journalist, publisher, foodie.
My favorite things to cook
New Mexican, anything Asian, Italian, although I'm learning Georgian and Polish cuisine right now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Smoked meats
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