Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Science. Also Chickpeas.

This just in: Put down the low-fat chips, and step away from the uber-processed diet food. According to recent animal research published in Behavioral Neuroscience (and nicely summarized here), laboratory rats that were fed potato chips made with a fat substitute later gained more weight, compared to otherwise identical animals that ate the regular, high-fat potato chips. The researchers point out that our bodies use taste as a cue to expect calories. When those calories don't arrive (because the food has been made with fat or sugar substitutes), it can short-circuit our bodies' natural ability to regulate caloric intake, resulting in overeating later on.

Just the latest in an ever-growing body of research supporting the basic thesis that we're built for eating whole foods.

Speaking of which, we found fresh chickpeas in our CSA box a couple of weeks ago. You may recall my surprise last year upon discovering that home-cooked chickpeas were so much tastier than their canny cousins. Well, this was kind of like that. In the sense that, if you ever find fresh chickpeas, you should immediately do the following:

1. Get them.

2. Shell them. (This is easy. Nothing like fava beans.)

3. Cook them. (Because they're fresh, rather than dried, they cook quickly, in just a few minutes. We cooked ours with spinach, a little garlic, cumin, paprika, rosemary, and thyme, adapting one of our favorite Spanish recipes from a Penelope Casas cookbook).

4. Eat them.

5. If necessary, use your fork to defend your plate from any greedy dining companions.

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