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Sep 25, 2011 10:46 AM

What Are Your Irrefutable Food Rules? [moved from Not About Food]

What rules do you live by when it comes to food? I have many, but here are the top 3:

1. NEVER FRY BACON WHILE YOU'RE NAKED!-Pretty self-explanatory

2. NEVER wash a coffee mug or cup with soap!-The soap leeches into the cup and taints the coffee

3. ALWAYS take a first date to an Italian restaurant.-There is NO WAY to be fake and pretentious while eating Linguini and Clam Sauce or Mushroom Lobster Ragu with Pappardelle. If she only orders a dinner salad, no second date.

How about you? What food rules do you live by?

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    1. re: James Cristinian

      Why not? what about oysters, abalone or such? Indeed, the only legal abalone for sale in California is farmed raised. Your alternative is catch it yourself. Similarly, farmed oysters account for the vast majority of oyster consumption world-wide (The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch says that farmed oysters account for as much as 95% of the world's consumption.) Not sure if your goal is to only eat sustainable seafood, to avoid fish farming methods that harm the environment, or taste, but while avoiding farm-raised seafood will often go a long way to meeting one of those stated goals, it definitely isn't irrefutably true that farm-raised seafood is always harmful/non-sustainable/less flavorful than wild.

      1. re: susancinsf

        Actually, I do catch my own fish. It includes speckled trout, redfish, flounder, croaker, and on the freshwater side, bass, crappie, catfish, and perch. Plus, I am lucky enough to live on the Gulf coast where wild oysters are plentiful, plus Gulf/Bay shrimp as well. Have you seen some of the articles on farm raised shrimp and fish? There is some pretty nasty stuff out there.

        1. re: James Cristinian

          I realize that , as I think my post indicates. However, I was wondering why you would make it an irrefutable rule never to eat the farm raised stuff regardless of item of how it is raised. Sounds like the answer is really, "I only eat seafood I catch myself.",(or so I assume since many of gulf oysters one can purchase from commercial operations are indeed farmed, as they are elsewhere in the world. bottom line: if you are buying oysters from someone else, as opposed to picking them yourself, there is a pretty good possibility that they are farmed).

          Anyway, I can definitely understand having a rule that "I don't eat it unless I catch it" (although it wouldn't be a practical solution where I live, particularly since I am no longer 'insf'.)

          There are definitely some types of farmed fish I would never eat (such as Atlantic salmon for example, and many if not most varieties of farmed shrimp), but I think it does sustainably managed seafood farms, and our oceans, a disservice to leave folks with the impression that ALL farmed seafood is inherently harmful. Sometimes farmed *is* the best option from that standpoint. Like everything else, it depends.

          1. re: susancinsf

            No, the oysters here are not farmed, not in The Texas bays, as they don't grow in the Gulf. I don't know where these Gulf coast oyster farms are that you speak of, as I have fished virtually every bay, where they grow, on the Texas coast and have yet to see an oyster farm. I refuse to eat farmed shrimp when I can get wild for a few bucks more a pound, not to mention the environmental issues, although in my 50 plus years on the planet I have seen the water and air quality improve vastly. Two examples, the once dead Houston Ship Chanel, and Lake Erie, now probably the best Walleye fishery in the USA.

            1. re: James Cristinian

              I am relying in part on the Seafood Watch statement about the percentage of farmed vs wild-caught oysters, (ie 95% of oysters consumed being farmed); they (edited to add: and I: after all, I think that no rule is irrefutable :-)) could be wrong. That said, there are oyster farms in the gulf, including in Texas. Here is an article about one:


              The article does imply that 'off bottom' oyster farming in the gulf is a new concept (but I don't know enough about oyster farming to know if that is the only way oysters are farmed.


              I am with you on farmed shrimp, completely. Wild shrimp is difficult enough to get in my area that I have cut way back on my shrimp consumption.

              And I am glad to hear that you think water and air quality is improving in your gulf. I too have over 50 years on this planet, and have been (scuba) diving for about 20 of those years, including every year in the same area of southern CA (off of Catalina Island). Just got back last week from my annual Catalina dive trip in fact. And, I am sad to report, in my area fish populations are greatly decreasing from what they were 20 years ago. Twenty years ago we'd see terminal Sheepshead (a species often fished locally) and schools of rockfish on every dive. Now both are rare. (No sheepshead at all this trip, except for one or two small females). Interestingly, since the spiny lobster population is protected in parts of California, including the area where I did a lot of my dives, which is a lobster conservation ('no-take') zone, we do see as many lobster as ever. (big ones too, taunting us :-)) Being aware of what we eat and conserving can made a difference.

              1. re: susancinsf

                No troubles, just bubbles...:)
                carry on!

              2. re: James Cristinian

                errr... what? You've seen water and air quality improve vastly? Does this specifically relate to your personal haunts, or a blanket statement about the earth/environmental as a whole? Just curious...

          2. re: susancinsf

            I don't eat oysters or abalone. Avoid farm raised.

          3. re: James Cristinian

            My wife is a "no farm-raised seafood" person (for reasons focused on health-consciousness) and I'm wary of much wild-caught seafood (for reasons focused on sustainability). So we end up with only a short list of mutually acceptable seafood... the Seafood Watch "Super Green List" (which purports to identify seafood that's both "healthy for people and for the oceans") has been helpful to us.

            1. re: drongo

              The natural meats and seafood at Whole Food is a great alternative. Farm raised but in a healthy humane manner.

            2. re: James Cristinian

              Don't waste money or calories on mediocre food, but if it promises to be exceptional consider
              busting the budget.

              We splurged on the truffle degustation at the old Alain Ducasse in Paris. The meal cost more
              than our combined air fares to France but it was worth every franc

            3. What Are Your Irrefutable Food Rules?


              That there are no irrefutable rules when it comes to food.

              2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  ipsedixit, you took the words out of my mouth!

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Which I'm not. So no margarine in my house.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        What did a vegan ever do that was so bad that they are forced to eat margarine. Nasty stuff. Plenty of other fats out there without resorting to junk.

                        And don't say Earth Balance blah blah. That stuff is nasty too.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        What about olive oil?

                        I agree with no margarine. Foul stuff.

                        1. re: plf515

                          Olive oil is fine... totally different than butter though.

                          1. re: plf515

                            Margarine isn't the best choice for most things, but it isn't foul. We use Smart Balance light and frankly it is fine. I like to flavor with butter lightly when I cook certain things, and I like to use at least some butter in the baked goods I occasionally bake. Really, I am taking issue with your use of the word foul. We are allowed to like or dislike whatever we want. But margarine is not foul.

                            1. re: iluvcookies

                              I grew up in the 60's/70's when margarine ruled the day. It ain't always great for you, but it's better than butter in some applications. Butter won't make the hot sauce stick to your fried buffalo wings the way margarine will.

                              1. re: agoodbite

                                Paul Prudhomme has said in his books that he uses margerine when butter doesn't have enough oil in it to do what he wants. I have found that, in that case, I use oil and flavor it with a bit of butter at the end.

                                1. re: jmckee

                                  I usually use a combo of butter/oil when sauteeing, but never margarine.

                                  And no margarine for flavoring things or on bread.

                                2. re: agoodbite

                                  +1. Magarine is the best choice for buffalo wings.

                                  1. re: CTownFeedR

                                    Ah... see, since I don't make buffalo wings, this isn't a problem for me :)

                                3. re: iluvcookies

                                  Absolutely - I haven't bought margarine in years! Haven't found any foods where oil or butter won't sub for margarine perfectly well (although I don't cook buffalo wings!).

                                4. NO CHEESE ON SEAFOOD!
                                  Thank you,
                                  Scott Conant

                                  19 Replies
                                  1. re: monavano

                                    well if you're not gonna eat it, would you push it over here so I can?

                                    Anybody wanna share?

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      My baked salmon with mayonnaise, dill, and coarse romano would really get slammed here. I'll share!

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        Dang, I'll take some of that, as long as you allow me some really coarse pepper.

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        And I'll take monavano's Oysters Rockefeller and Lobster Thermidor, or maybe the classic French Coquilles St. Jacques or Greek Shrimp Saganaki. And I'd be more than happy to share.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          And a classic fish pie topped with buttery mashed potatoes and cheddar? I'll share that with you too!

                                      3. re: monavano

                                        I agree with no cheese on seafood

                                        1. re: laliz

                                          There's a fresh tuna and pasta dish in Lynne Kasper's "The Italian Country Table" that uses fresh mozzarella. It's a great exception to this rule.

                                        2. re: monavano

                                          I don't eat cheese on anything anymore, but back when I did, I must say I did enjoy a nice tuna melt every once in a while.

                                          To each their own, right?

                                          1. re: PaulF

                                            For a while all I ate was a tuna melt on rye for lunch. I tend to do that with food sometimes till I'm done with it :P

                                            1. re: PaulF

                                              I like a nice tuna melt to this day.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                To grapple with tuna and mayo and cheese and the softness of bread be now broiling... Delightful the meld that we call "tuna melt." Delightful indeed.

                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                  Me too. I understand where seafood and cheese my clash and one will over power the other at times. I think some people adopt these rules after hearing it so many times by so called food expects like Scott Conant to be gospel. It's really an Italian rule. Also depends on the cheese and seafood. Your basic tuna melt uses very mild cheese and the tuna could use some toning down. We're not talking fresh tuna cooked rare here.

                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    Oh yum...haven't thought of tuna melts in a while. As a child, my mom would make an English muffin, split, tuna salad (Miracle Whip & tuna ONLY - nothing else) and a slice of American cheese. Then - under the broiler until nice and toasty... LOVE those - time to make them again...

                                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                                      I know we don't yuk somebody's yum here, but just the thought of tuna, (the dreaded) MW, and american cheese gives me the skeeveys.

                                                      Glad that is a great memory for you. Mine would be my first tuna sandwich made with toasted bread, real mayo, and lettuce and sliced tomato. who knew???? I'd grown up on squishy white bread, tuna, and MW sandwiches. needless to say, I dreaded tuna sandwiches.

                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                        Then you're REALLY going to hate the other tuna/American Cheese omelette...another total yum for me (but leave out the MW - just eggs, tuna and that good old American Cheese!)

                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                          the egg/cheese would be fine; no MW is a huge bonus; just say no to hot tuna

                                                2. re: monavano

                                                  Shrimp with garlic and feta cheese is good.

                                                    1. Can you give me your evidence for #2? Is that true regardless of the material of which the mug is made? Have to admit, I am a bit skeptical that this is always the case....

                                                      Although I haven't been on a first date in years, I do like #3. Hubby took me to a great Italian restaurant on our first date, and it was uphill from there. Of course, it could be that the date who orders a salad is simply gluten intolerant, so even that shouldn't be a hard and fast rule. But then there is my friend who likes to take dates for ice cream on a first date; he claims he can tell whether the relationship is likely to go anywhere based on whether his date orders ice cream in a cone (a yes) or insists on a cup and spoon (a definite turn off for him. Think about it :-))

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                        I don't understand the no soap in the mug either. Wouldn't that then stand for ANY dish or cup?

                                                        1. re: iluvcookies

                                                          A little background, I NEVER drank coffee before I became a truck driver. 18 years later, I am now a total coffee hound. The no soap thing I always thought was a coffee hound thing, but maybe it's a truck driver thing. I never said it was factual, it's just what I have always been told.

                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                            there are hardcore wine enthusiasts who won't wash their wine glasses with soap, either...

                                                            but if they're rinsed well, no, the soap won't really infuse into a hard-glazed mug, any more than it will into a piece of glass.

                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                              I learned in my adolescent days working in a restaurant to clean coffee mugs with a paste of baking soda. It cleans the residue that builds up, without leaving any off-taste. Works great with teacups as well.

                                                              1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                Seconded- works like magic, even with ancient coffee stains.

                                                          2. re: susancinsf

                                                            As a retired Navy chief, you wash my coffee cup, you get thrown overboard.