Category Archives: Culinary

Overrated Restaurants

A top six.

I’ve never had Papa John’s, or Chipotle’s and it’s been years since I ate at an Olive Garden, but that’s Patricia’s complaint, too (she used to have a boss who loved to go there for lunch). I concur on the fries at In’n’Out. I like Chick-fil-A, but don’t worship it. I only go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast (and rarely — there are none in LA of which I’m aware, and we have better chain places here, like the Black Bear Diner).

But I don’t eat out much in general unless I’m traveling, because it’s terrible both for your budget and from a nutritional standpoint. Unless it’s some kind of exotic cuisine, I can cook much cheaper and healthier at home, and don’t have to endure the noise of restaurants. The notion of going out for a steak seems absurd to me.

[Late-afternooon update]

Sorry, here’s the link.

Chinese-Restaurant Syndrome

Has MSG gotten a bad rap?

I’ve personally never had a problem with it. I used to keep it on hand, in fact, though I haven’t used it in decades.

[Update a few minutes later, after reading the whole thing]:

As Brendan Nyhan, a Dartmouth professor who has researched how to influence attitudes about vaccines, pointed out to me in an email, it’s hard for people to change their minds about personal health issues because it contradicts what they have perceived to experience in the past. “People who felt bad after eating Chinese food in the past may have blamed MSG … and thus resist information they encounter later about its actual effects,” he said. This may be the result of the availability heuristic, where people make judgments using the easiest information available, rather than looking for alternative explanations.

This could also explain peoples’ resistance to accepting new ideas about nutrition, when (e.g.) they’ve been told for decades to avoid fat.

[Update a while later]

Related: Half the people who think they have food allergies are wrong.

I’m pretty confident in my allergy to tree nuts. Even if no one tells me, I can tell when I’ve had them.