Nutrition, New Phrases, and National Happiness

Fascinating food reads from around the web


Welcome back to Binge Reading. On this week’s program: fast food the world over, eating crow, and what your country’s happiness means for your health.

We get squeamish at the idea of eating bugs in America but you might be surprised to learn that the rest of the world seems to have no problem snacking on the crunchy critters. The LA Times presents a quiz to test your knowledge on all things bugs and food, with just a dash of pop culture. Hint: If you’ve ever had Raisinets, you’ve already eaten bugs.

One of the reasons McDonald’s has been so successful at the international level is the fact that they are willing to readapt their menu to suit the culture and customs of different countries. But they’re not the only fast food chain that’s learned this business secret. See a slideshow of international fast food items you, unfortunately, cannot find in the States at The Daily Meal.

Some of the world’s most famous chefs have proven that food can be a form of art. And even if it’s not quite art, per say, presentation still counts when paying for an expensive meal. But the food photos of Stephanie Gonot, presented by The Atlantic, are pure food art from which you won’t want to take a bite. For work portrays everything from fad diets such as life with out carbs to typical American eating habits and her take on fast food.

One of the strangest aspects of language is the idiom—a phrase particular to an individual culture that has a completely different meaning than one would initial guess. Even stranger is they way food works its way into those ineffable phrases. Know a bad egg? No use crying over spilled milk. The Guardian has put together a list of the best food idioms from around the world. If you need to get a Frenchman off your back, instead of telling him to take a hike tell him to take care of his onions.

We try our best to stay health conscious. But in today’s busy world sometimes “health conscious” is simply looking at a product with the label “natural” slapped on it. Yahoo presents a list of ingredients that are indeed natural, but not so great for our health. Remember to check the list of ingredients on a “natural” product: palm oil is just as bad as trans fats.

Speaking of health conscious, there’s nothing easier for a quick healthy lunch than picking up a salad right? The Huffington Post reports it’s even important to be conscious in the salad realm. Not all greens are equal in notional value. Eating a bowl of iceberg lettuce is almost the equivalent of a bowl full of nothing, but collards and other dark greens ensure you get plenty of fiber and vitamins.

And if it’d be easier to make healthy and politically correct choices if the temptation for processed food was taken away, you might want to consider moving to Bhutan. According to National Geographic, countries that primarily operate by considering the happiness of their citizens are the closest to becoming completely organic.

Mary Sydnor is a Philadelphia arts and culture writer and the Assistant Editor at Drexel University's Center for Cultural Outreach. Her work has been published in the Daily News and The Smart Set.

October 24, 2012
,7:56 pm


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