Last month, the American Heart Assn. once again went after butter, steak and especially coconut oil with this familiar warning: The saturated fats in these foods cause heart disease. The organization’s “presidential advisory” was a fresh look at the science and came in response to a growing number of researchers, including myself, who have poured over this same data in recent years and beg to differ. A rigorous review of the evidence shows that when it comes to heart attacks or mortality, saturated fats are not guilty.
To me, the AHA advisory released in June was mystifying. How could its scientists examine the same studies as I had, yet double down on an anti-saturated fat position? With a cardiologist, I went through the nuts and bolts of the AHA paper, and came to this conclusion: It was likely driven less by sound science than by longstanding bias, commercial interests and the AHA’s need to reaffirm nearly 70 years of its “heart healthy” advice.
The diet-heart hypothesis has been tested more than any other in the history of nutrition, and thus far, the results have been null.
Most of this is obvious; and I agree with the part about using olive oil or butter instead of cooking spray. I usually heat my pan before adding oil or butter, but I guess I’ll change that when using nonstick!
How pleased we are to host – for the fifth year – René Schlatter and his Merryvale Vineyards wines. The evening has always been magical and we are sure to sell out again this year. The event will be on Friday evening, February 3rd at 6:00 pm at The Blonde Bear Tavern.
The Menu (subject to change):
Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP with 12 year-old Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP
Freeskier magazine has just nominated The Blonde Bear Tavern as one of the top Après Ski venues in North America. From October 1st to November 4th the magazine is inviting readers to vote once daily for the après destination they think is “most deserving of the esteemed throne.”
. Once the contest is over they will announce the big winner. Then they’re going to hit the road and throw “the best après parties you’ve ever been to.”
. From New England to the Rockies, they will kick off their Elevated Après Tour. So help us get recognized by voting every day and just maybe they’ll throw a party at The Blonde Bear Tavern!
We are pleased that The Blonde Bear Tavern will be participating once again in this year’s 30th Annual Taos Winter Wine Festival and celebrating the return of René Schlatter from Merryvale Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries. René and I will be hosting a special wine dinner to guide guests through six of Merryvale’s most notable wines. We have carefully developed the menu to highlight these wines in a way that will engage the palate of both wine connoisseurs and novice wine lovers alike. Last year’s dinner proved to be simply magical; we’re working to ensure this year’s will be as well.
Merryvale Vineyards’ Cabernet-centric portfolio includes wines that are complex and rich, balanced and expressive of Napa Valley’s fruit but also reflective of classic styles. Merryvale’s winemaker Simon Faury’s meticulous attention to detail calls for handpicking grapes in small batches and using custom-made Rieger tanks tailored specifically for the character of the grapes in each vineyard block.
Since his appointment as Proprietor & CEO of Merryvale Family of Wines in 2008, René Schlatter has firmly established the company as one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious and well-respected wine companies. Through an unyielding commitment to wine quality, customer service, and investment in the community, René continues to uphold his family’s legacy in the winegrowing world.
A native of Switzerland, René has lived in the U.S. since 1987, having attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas as undergraduate. A top junior in his country, René arrived in the U.S. to play Division I tennis at Trinity University, during which time he and his team were ranked among the top 20 schools in the country. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, René returned to Europe and worked for several years as a businessman in various industries. In 1994, René moved back to the US, earning a Master’s Degree from Arizona’s Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management.
In recognition of the success of the business, Wine Enthusiast magazine honored René with its prestigious “Person of the Year” Award in 2011. Presented at its Annual Wine Star Awards, the magazine included these comments: “Since 2008, the president of Napa’s Merryvale Vineyards has pioneered green initiatives while preserving the winery’s family legacy and excellence in producing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.”
Says René: “I enjoy drinking wines from all over the world – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Switzerland, and Napa Valley. No matter what the origin I look for purity of fruit, personality, character and a sense of place. For a wine to be great it must stand the test of time.”
René and his family are very committed to protecting and preserving the Napa Valley for future generations using sustainable practices. Both of Merryvale’s estate vineyards have been Napa Green Farm certified. He and his wife, Laurence, live in the St. Helena community with their three young daughters, Jenna, Jade and Corinna.
“92 points. The flagship wine at Merryvale is their Profile, and the 2012 Proprietary Red Blend Profile carries a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 10% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Beautiful blueberry, white flowers, black and red currants, as well as some incense and camphor jump from the glass of this stunningly proportioned, complex wine. The mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied with superb purity, enticing texture and oodles of beautiful ripe fruit that cascade over the palate. I think of it as a gracious and somewhat restrained, but authoritative Napa Red Wine. It should drink well for 12-15+ years.”
(Menu subject to change)
Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP with 10 year-old Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar
Starmont Sauvignon Blanc
Seared Scallop on a bed of Baby Lettuces with Blood Orange Vinaigrette
“For breakfast, go to Café Naranja in the Edelweiss, which serves entrees like pancakes made from organic Hopi heirloom blue corn and whole piñon ($7).”
The author has several quotes from our own Matt Gorman, who is a massage therapist here at the Edelweiss. He’s been in Taos Ski Valley since 1999. I liked this quote:
And everywhere, Matt shouted greetings to people he knew. Everybody knows everybody here. He said hi to Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico who is a die-hard skier and who has a house in the area. “I joke and say that it’s not a season pass, it’s a membership card,” Matt told me on the lift. “It’s like a working-class country club. It’s not snooty. The locals are here, working hard, because they love to ski.”
And this quote from Louis Bacon:
“We established three goals: to upgrade the infrastructure and experience, to safeguard Taos’s unique character and to earn a return on our investment. Any two of these are doable, but accomplishing all three will be a challenge. I’m confident that by focusing on the first two goals now, we’ll get them all right for the future.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you undoubtedly heard the media blast on Monday that consuming processed meats – and “probably” red meat itself – causes an increased risk or cancer. Talking heads, newspapers, and the Internet were breathless with the news. Here’s an example from The Washington Post:
The WHO findings were drafted by a panel of 22 international experts who reviewed decades of research on the link between red meat, processed meats and cancer. The panel reviewed animal experiments, studies of human diet and health, and cell processes that could explain how red meat might cause cancer.
Each 50-gram (1.8-ounce) portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, the agency estimated.
A 50-gram portion would be the equivalent of eating one hot dog or two slices of bacon. Americans eat about 21.7 grams of processed pork per day, according to a 2011 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The news reports are referring to a World Health Organization study that was drafted by a panel of 22 international experts who reviewed decades of research on the link between red meat, processed meats and cancer. The panel reviewed animal experiments, studies of human diet and health, and cell processes that could explain how red meat might cause cancer.
So what does that mean – an 18 percent increase in colorectal cancer risk? Sounds scary, right? Blogger Da Tech Guy is skeptical:
Right now a lot of lawyers are licking their chops and a lot of members of the food Gestapo are preparing to demand changes in school heath programs, school diets etc etc and I can feel the sheer panic among shoppers at Whole Foods from here.
And the reason why this is coming? Well there are two:
Americans are really ignorant about math
What are the actual odds of getting colorectal cancer?
The American Cancer Society, on its website, calculates the lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer. The lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer refers to the chance a person has, over the course of his or her lifetime (from birth to death), of being diagnosed with or dying from cancer. The risk is expressed both in terms of a percentage and as odds.
The risk for men of developing colorectal cancer during their lifetime is 4.84 percent. Put another way, 1 out of every 26 men in the United States will develop this type of cancer during his lifetime. The risk for men of dying as a result of colorectal cancer is 2.04 percent or 1 out of every 49.
What if he eats a hot dog or two slices of bacon every day? Most people (including journalists, apparently) would say his risk of contracting colorectal cancer would increase by 18 percentage points from 4.84 percent to 22.84 percent. Right?
Wrong. My Lincoln Elementary School math teacher Mrs. Buckley would write the words “of” and “by” on the chalkboard, then write a giant “X” over them. “Multiplication!” she would tell us. “These words in a math problem mean multiplication!”
A risk of 4.84% increased by 18% is 5.71%, a difference of only 0.87%. This makes headlines?
Back to Da Tech Guy:
In other words, if this study is absolutely positively spot on correct, eating that hot dog every single day for your entire life raises your odds of catching colorectal cancer by nearly, but not quite….1%.
Now when you put it that way, if you told a guy that giving up bacon decreases your odds of getting cancer by less that 1% most people would decide those odds aren’t worth panicking over and would rightly consider such panic as idiotic.
To be fair, there is absolutely nothing wrong if person decides that 1% increase warrants decreasing one’s intake of processed meats, if an individual thinks the increased risk isn’t worth it it’s their life and their choice to make.
But if you do make that choice do so on the actual evidence not due to panic and deception.
I think I’ll keep eating – and enjoying – my bacon.
The Washington Post – “Hot Dogs, Bacon and other Processed Meats Cause Cancer, World Health Organization Declares”
Yahoo News – Bacon and other Processed Meats Can Cause Cancer, Experts Say
The notion that you cannot refreeze thawed foods “is a myth,” said Tina Hanes, a registered dietitian with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Any raw or cooked food that has been thawed can be refrozen.
There’s an important caveat, though:
As long as it was thawed properly — in the refrigerator, not on the counter — and hasn’t spoiled. That includes raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood, Ms. Hanes said.
You should never thaw frozen meat, poultry, fish or seafood by placing it on the counter at room temperature or by running it under warm tap water, she said, “because bacteria like it warm, like we do, and multiply rapidly at room temperature. Thawing on the counter is not safe, period. You should never do that.”
I think a lot of people thaw frozen food on the kitchen counter. It’s a no no.
Home kitchens are notoriously full of germs and bacteria. Much more so than commercial kitchens, or even home bathrooms. NSF International, a nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich., that has been promoting proper cleaning of kitchen tools and appliances since the 1940s. NSF International recently put out recommendations on kitchen hot spots based on studies done in 2011 and again in 2013:
Creepy fridge compartments
Separate the spatulas and clean the can opener
Wash water dispensers and coffee reservoirs
Cleaning a few often-overlooked areas in the kitchen can offer additional protection from E. coli, salmonella, listeria, yeast and mold.
With the extensive construction of the new Taos Ski Valley hotel across the street, we decided last spring to close the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa – along with its two restaurants – for the summer. So with nothing to do this during this time, I reached out to friend and Executive Chef Cheryl Scantlebury of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa. I know Chef Cheryl because we both procure our beef from the same New Mexico ranch – Four Daughters Land and Cattle. “Why don’t you hang out with us this summer?” she asked. Why not?
The resort resides on the beautiful Santa Ana Pueblo, located between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, along the banks of the Rio Grande River, with the majestic Sandia Mountains serving as backdrop. The Pueblo, named “Tamaya” in the native language, administers a total reservation land of 79,000 acres, of which 550 comprise the resort and the Twin Warriors Golf Course.
The Hyatt Regency Tamaya offers a creative dining scene with unique restaurants. These are some of the best restaurants in the Southwest and feature fresh, seasonal foods that are good for guests, good for the community, and good for the planet.
The culinary program is under the quite capable auspices of Chef Cheryl, who has assembled an impressive leadership team: Executive Sous Chef Patrick; and Chefs Charity (Pastries), Eric (Corn Maiden), Jonathan (Santa Ana Café), Matthew (Banquets), and Noe (Garde Manger).
Most of my time has been spent between the Corn Maiden and the Santa Ana Café. At the Corn Maiden, I have focused on the grill and the restaurant’s signature rotisseries. The Santa Ana Café is really the workhorse restaurant of the resort, providing breakfast, lunch, and
dinner for guests. The Café also provides a daily vegan special, which is also dairy- and gluten-free. Design and preparation of the vegan special is typically part of my daily routine.
The culinary team has recently planted two large vegetable gardens on the property, along with new fruit trees and a beautiful herb garden. You can’t get any fresher than this. I have used vegetables and herbs from the gardens countless times to create the day’s vegan special.
It’s been a wonderful experience for me. Everyone at the resort has been friendly and helpful. It’s been a time to work on cooking fundamentals – culinary boot camp if you will – and I’m becoming a better professional because of it.