2011.09.14 What's for lunch?

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

 Is there something inherently wrong with eating potato chips for breakfast? Even followed by a healthy fruit salad full of brain power booster berries like raspberries and black raspberries, plus strawberries, peaches and pears?

OK, I know it’s really wrong. But that’s one of the great perks of being a grownup whose children have flown the coop and whose husband is in the other room—nobody to tell you what to do. Nobody to tell you: Put those chips back and eat a bowl of oatmeal.

Nobody, except the voice in your head of your husband saying, “Leddy, are you crazy? Put those chips back and eat a bowl of oatmeal!”

It’s a big bag of potato chips. I didn’t realize how big when I first bought it.

“You didn’t notice the weight of it?” David asked when he hefted the two pound bag.

“I just wanted potato chips so I grabbed them,” I replied.

We don’t eat a whole lot of potato chips and I don’t buy them on a regular basis. They have to be on sale and they have to be one of only two brands. So, when we finally have them, it’s a case of deprivation-induced desire winning out over Puritan-inspired restraint.

The Puritans always lose out around me.

After eating a hearty handful of potato chips one morning, I remembered I’d also bought a jar of pickles. And nothing beats pickle and potato chip sandwiches (sliced pickles layered between two potato chips)—except fried potato sandwiches (fried potatoes slathered with fried onions and ketchup between two slices of bread).

I would propose that potato chips for breakfast is probably better than my next dietary transgression:  dark chocolate for dinner. I didn’t plan that meal in advance, but after consuming half a 3.5 ounce chocolate bar, I worked right through the dinner hour and half-way into the night. If you need to get a lot done, dark chocolate for dinner is a sure road to success.

I was feeling guilty about eating such a poor dinner, but then I remembered a snippet of news I’d heard recently supporting the health benefits of chocolate.

The New York Times covered the story, but WABC-TV News in New York summarized it more readable language.

Researchers analyzed the results of seven studies that included more than 100,000 people with and without heart disease.

They compared those who ate large amounts of chocolate to those who ate very little, and found those who consumed more chocolate reduced the risk of having heart disease by more than a third. 

Chocolate-eaters were 29-percent less likely to have a stroke.

The studies included all types of chocolate, including chocolate bars, drinks and cookies.

But usually dark chocolate has been found to have the strongest benefits because it contains more antioxidants that may lower blood pressure and help ward off Type Two diabetes.

There is, of course, a catch. None of the research proves that the chocolate is creating the benefit.

Chocolate, we all know, is also creating wider hips, bigger stomachs and higher numbers on scales. Just ask me. I’ve been a steady consumer for years. Wider, bigger, higher—I’m all that. 

Not the most enviable shape to be in 10 days before my 35th high school reunion, but I’m looking on the bright side. I’ve calculated that I’ve gained one pound for every year since I graduated in 1976. Surely there must be an award for that?

That award might be in jeopardy, though. I went to Dallas last week to participate in a library related focus group (all expenses paid by the sponsoring organization) and attend the Association for Rural and Small Libraries conference. 

During the focus group meeting, the hotel people kept popping in with food all the time...brownies and chocolate chip cookies, warm popcorn, Cracker Jacks, hot New York-style pretzels with mustard, and the topper: a little ice cream cart filled with Haägen Dazs ice cream bars. “One of everything” is my motto when it comes to dessert offerings. 

It’s no wonder I gained five pounds in the five days I was gone. A pound a day—do they give awards for that?

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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