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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Cook Is a Home’s Nutrition Gatekeeper

Cooking with a Wok in ChinaImage via Wikipedia

I came across this article today and thought it was interesting. However, the choices for types of cook don't seem to fit for me. I'm not much of a cook, so sadly, I can't fit myself into any of these categories...can you?

My husband does the majority of cooking/bbq'ing and also helps with the shopping. I guess you can say our roles are slightly reversed,but that's because I am home all day with the kids and too tired to do any cooking in the evenings. My husband also helps take over the child care in the evenings so I can have some time to relax, blog and catch up with the latest headlines.

I would like to be a better cook, but haven't found an interest yet. I tried crock pot cooking for awhile, and found it fun and easy but then burnt out on the idea of trying new recipes or would forget what recipes we liked most.

Here is an excerpt of the article:
To learn more about gatekeepers, the Cornell researchers queried 770 family cooks about their personalities, cooking methods and favorite ingredients. Five distinct types emerged:

“Giving” cooks (22 percent) are enthusiastic about cooking and specialize in comfort food, particularly home-baked goodies.

“Methodical” cooks (18 percent) rely heavily on recipes, so their cooking is strongly influenced by the cookbook they use.

“Competitive” cooks (13 percent) think less about health and more on making the most impressive dish possible.

“Healthy” cooks (20 percent) often serve fish and use fresh ingredients, but taste isn’t the primary goal.

“Innovative” cooks (19 percent) like to experiment with different ingredients, cooking methods and cuisines, a process that tends to lead to more healthful cooking.

A quiz that can help you determine your cooking personality is at nytimes.com/well. Knowing your type is “going to tell you where your biases are,” Dr. Wansink said.

“A lot of giving cooks believe they are healthy cooks, but they are by far the least healthy,” he added. On the other hand, “if you like food, then the healthy cook is not necessarily the person you want to hang out with.”

“They will trade off a lot for health,” Dr. Wansink went on. “But innovative cooks have the best eye for freshness, yet there is still a big emphasis on taste. If you like great food and still want to eat reasonably healthy, the innovative cook is the person to hook up with.”

Home cooks also need to pay attention to the source of their recipes. Research from Cornell and New Mexico State University shows that even some cookbook recipes have fallen victim to the supersizing trends made popular by fast-food restaurants. They examined seven editions of “The Joy of Cooking,” published from 1936 to 2006. In 14 of 18 recipes studied, the calorie content had surged by an average of 928 calories, or 44 percent per recipe. Then there’s the “tablescape,” the placement and size of dishes, bowls, silverware and drinking glasses. In his book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think”(Bantam, 2006), Dr. Wansink notes that these seemingly innocuous items can increase consumption by more than 20 percent.

For example, beverages other than water should be served in tall, skinny glasses; studies show that even professional bartenders overpour when the glass is short and wide. We pile more food on larger plates and scoop up larger portions when the serving spoon is large. In one experiment, Cornell nutrition professors and graduate students were invited to an ice cream party, and attendees were given different-size bowls and scoops.

Even among these nutrition experts, those given larger bowls and scoops had 57 percent more ice cream.

Join the discussion: nytimes.com/well.
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