Food for Health

Don’t let them fool you, breakfast still counts!


This is one of those common-sense moments. If you picked up the Sunday New York Times recently and read the story in the magazine about breakfast, you might have come away with the impression that eating breakfast isn’t as important as everyone says it is.

The part of the study that is cited in the magazine article relates only to one question: Does skipping breakfast lead to obesity?

The answer is a fairly resounding, “We don’t know but it’s possible.”

Tasty enough to feel like a splurge

I’ve heard there are scientific reasons why everything that tastes good is bad for you. It all boils down to economics: Companies that produce junk food are actually designing their products to be addictive so that consumers will buy and eat them.

So in an attempt to foil Corporate America, I’ve been trying to find the exception — a food that tastes good enough to be addictive and yet is also healthy.

Behold, the avocado.

The avocado is a fruit (its seed is inside) that falls within a category colloquially known as “super foods” due to its many and varied health benefits.

Ode to a peach, summer’s great delight

In my childhood, I knew a man from Georgia. He was tall — taller than tall — and wide. His voice boomed, in a syrupy southern drawl: “It ain’t summer until there’s peach juice running down your arm.”

I was already convinced. Of all the summer fruits, peaches are the lightest, the sweetest and the most fragrant. They are one of the few fruits that may be truly described as “floral.”

When they’re good, that is.

As much as I love the fruit, peaches are fickle products, and I was never lenient. When I was younger, I used to rank my peaches on a scale of 1 to 10.

Keeping an eye on cucumbers (and vice versa)

I’ve always wondered why people put cucumbers on their eyes.
I think of cucumbers as a way to perk up a green salad. I also like them doused in salt brine and transformed into pickles.
But I never realized that cucumbers were good for your skin, too.
I’ve seen a few movies where women spread a green and gunky substance on their faces and then covered each eye with a cucumber slice. I had to question whether the cucumbers were actually serving a purpose or were simply there for decoration.

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Learning to love marshmallows just as they are

Chances are that if you’ve sat around a summer campfire, you’ve also enjoyed a tasty s’more.

S’mores are among life’s simplest pleasures. Making one is as easy as taking a graham cracker, putting on chocolate squares, roasting the marshmallow, smooshing and scarfing. However, for those among us who are vegetarians, roasting the marshmallow isn’t quite as easy.

This summer I went on a search for marshmallows that I could eat and found that most are made with gelatin.

Rice as centerpiece or side dish

I used to blame my “freshman 15” on rice. My friends and I, who lived on sticky rice during freshman year at Kent School, seemed to have gained extra weight, compared to the non-rice-eaters. As a solution, many of my friends went on a gluten-free diet, suffering through the withdrawals from cake, pasta and, yes, rice.

Tomatoes? Ketchup? I say it’s all spinach …

Tomatoes are like a Hamlet thing for me. On the one hand, I don’t like them. On the other hand, ketchup is one of my favorite condiments.

Tomatoes themselves are full of contrasts. What are they really? A vegetable? A fruit? Botanically, they’re considered to be a fruit, but for culinary purposes they are usually treated like a vegetable.  

Watermelons: a cool and surprising treat

I think of watermelon as a late summer food, something to be eaten when it’s so hot even I begin to wilt. 

But for some reason watermelon is appearing at grocery stores and on the blogs of my teen daughter’s friends. 

It’s not a joke — you can eat dandelion greens


I’m exhausted from the past few weeks of hunting around in the woods for elusive forage-foods such as morels and ramps. I’m ready to eat something a little easier to get my hands on. 

Dandelion greens, for example. 

Pickle juice: Take a sip. It’s the salt.

I thought it was only my father who did this but apparently other people do it, too. That is, they sip juice from the pickle jar. 

For those of us for whom pickle sipping isn’t a secret passion, it’s hard to understand what the attraction could be. But a report from Vanderbilt University sheds some light on this curious but apparently compelling beverage choice.