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If it tastes too good to be true, it'll kill you


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Why is it that everything I like to eat or drink is bad for me?

 

Remember when we weren't supposed to use real butter or whole milk?

 

And then my doctor eliminated the coffee and rum.

 

I ignored the scientists that told me butter was going to cause heart disease, but I did quit drinking coffee and most of the rum.

 

For the past 15 years in Costa Rica I have been enjoying the roasted chicken that is cooked over the coffee wood and now I read that it's killing people all over the world.

 

Should we stop eating food cooked over solid wood and buy all our Latino friend's electric stoves so they can plug in and get sucked into our healthy global economy too?

 

EarthTrends Update: October 2007 - Solid Fuel Use and Indoor Air Pollution By Lisa Raffensperger

 

Indoor air pollution causes 1.6 million premature deaths every year and afflicts nearly half of the world's population, predominantly the rural poor. This makes it the second leading environmental health threat in the world and a critical barrier to poverty alleviation in low-income countries. Yet this issue is rarely discussed outside of public health circles, probably because the health consequences of indoor air pollution are not immediate and can be difficult to trace. Thus, indoor air pollution remains a quiet and neglected killer, with lack of global awareness being one of the primary obstacles to the widespread implementation of existing, proven interventions.

Indoor air pollution is a pressing health threat that, at its root, is really an energy problem. It stems from indoor burning of solid fuels, which include coal and biomass (wood, dung, crop residues, charcoal). Solid fuel burning is very inefficient, so indoor fires and traditional stoves emit a substantial amount of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and hydrocarbons. Combustion of wood, one of the cleaner biomass fuels, emits 50 times more household pollution than do gas stoves

Solid fuels are the primary fuel source for the world's poorest people. Over 3 billion people worldwide use solid fuels for cooking, boiling water, lighting, and heating (Rehfuess et al., 2006). These fuels account for more than 95% of domestic energy use in twenty-five of the world's low-income countries. In contrast, virtually no households in developed regions use solid fuel as their primary energy source

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I'm sorry, I don't want to tick you off, but even if I agree with what you say, what does this topic have to do with living or retiring in CR? Don't you think it would fit better down below, in the "open" forum?

 

 

I don't know.... I enjoyed knowing people cook with Coffee Wood in CR ! I can't imagine the taste and look forward to trying it. In Alaska we use Alder or sometimes Red Cedar if cooking fish fillet on a plank, in the barbeque.

 

Makes me wonder what planked chicken on coffee wood might be like.

 

Nikki

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jdocop. I have learned that what I think can't make even a few of the people happy all the time. But I still keep trying...

What I was thinking was that anyone who had lived or retired here in CR probably had considered dining in one of the many establishments that roast food over wood. I know that myself and many of my friends, who live and some who have retired here, have sat around the roasted chicken restaurants we've frequented over the past 15 years and watched those chickens go round and round on the open fire that always smells so appetizing. It's of interest to me that I might also be inhaling deadly fumes when I thought I was eating a healthy and tasty meal. I imagine those who live or retired here might find this information useful as well. Thanks for your insight.

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It's of interest to me that I might also be inhaling deadly fumes when I thought I was eating a healthy and tasty meal. I imagine those who live or retired here might find this information useful as well.

 

Good news about smoke. Humans have been sitting around a campfire for about two million years and those not able to handle smoke are long gone from the genome. Alaska Natives have never been exposed to concentrated sugar so they are dying of diabetes at absolutely alarming rates. They are experiencing a natural selection of this new diet. In fact, among animals humans are SPECTACULARLY resistant to the effects of smoke. It's why we can (or would) smoke things when other animals won't.

 

On the other hand, one should limit the carcinogens concentrated on the surface of the food. In western Alaska people culturally smoke their fish until it's black and suffer some of the highest stomach cancer rates in the entire world. The carcinogens in smoke are actually what preserve it, being anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Consider that concentrating smoke for food preservation is a far more recent social development, and we too as a species are going through this 'winnowing' process. That's why Nutritionists keep telling us that Bacon / Sausage is not great for your health. It's actually a 'new' dietary development for our species.

 

Think about this: Meat on a Stick is mankind's OLDEST recipe ! If your chicken is broiled without smoke containment it's probably quite safe and healthy. In fact it's far better than if cooked on an American barbeque using COAL as a heat source !! That's really quite new in our genome -- not to mention our bizarre practice of using Diesel to get it lit.

 

I personally believe one should consider the dietary customs of one's ancestors when choosing a diet regimen. Healthy eating is not the same for all humans. Northern Europeans eat far differently than Asians for an extreme example, and if one bucks the trend it's up to their personal genome to prove its' ability to adapt -- or not.

 

Nikki

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I'm sorry, but I can't let that post stand. I certainly cannot speak for Alaska, but I can tell you this, from one of the world's great barbecue chefs (that would be little old moi): who in the name-of-all-that's-holy would use COAL???? or DIESEL for a barbecue????!!!!

 

Personally, I use charcoal (either hickory or mesquite, depending on what I am cooking), and either plain old rubbing alcohol or commercial lighter fluid to start my fires.

Coal? puuuuuleeeeeeze!!!!!!!!

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I'm sorry, but I can't let that post stand. I certainly cannot speak for Alaska, but I can tell you this, from one of the world's great barbecue chefs (that would be little old moi): who in the name-of-all-that's-holy would use COAL???? or DIESEL for a barbecue????!!!!

 

Personally, I use charcoal (either hickory or mesquite, depending on what I am cooking), and either plain old rubbing alcohol or commercial lighter fluid to start my fires.

Coal? puuuuuleeeeeeze!!!!!!!!

 

Now, now, my friend. Let's cut our neighbors in the far North a little slack. (-:

 

Richard

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Thank you Richard -- a great moderator !

 

JDO's challenge left me less than sure about the Coal content in briquettes, so I did the research:

 

http://www.answers.com/topic/charcoal-briq...?cat=technology

 

Raw Materials

Charcoal briquettes are made of two primary ingredients (comprising about 90% of the final product) and several minor ones. One of the primary ingredients, known as char, is basically the traditional charcoal, as described above. It is responsible for the briquette's ability to light easily and to produce the desired wood-smoke flavor. The most desirable raw material for this component is hardwoods such as beech, birch, hard maple, hickory, and oak. Some manufacturers also use softwoods like pine, or other organic materials like fruit pits and nut shells.

 

The other primary ingredient, used to produce a high-temperature, long-lasting fire, is coal. Various types of coal may be used, ranging from sub-bituminous lignite to anthracite.

 

Minor ingredients include a binding agent (typically starch made from corn, milo, or wheat), an accelerant (such as nitrate), and an ash-whitening agent (such as lime) to let the backyard barbecuer know when the briquettes are ready to cook over.

 

 

Gotta love Corporate ingenuity ! (gag) And as far as the lighter fluid I'm sure it's refined diesel -- you can smell it.

 

I'm sticking to propane....

Edited by Alaskagrrl
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Oh, give me a break! I still stand by my statement, as you should now clarify yours! Your statement has two elements that need clarification here:

 

First of all, you said barbecuing, yes? Anyone who has spent any time cooking outdoors knows that there are two ways to cook outdoors: barbecuing or grilling.

 

Most people make the mistake of referring to their grilling as barbecuing, and there is a big difference. Grilling is how most of us cook a steak, or pieces of chicken, or even burgers & hot dogs - high heat, short time.

Barbecuing, on the other hand, takes lower heat, and a long time - up to 10-12 hours. You should know that the best barbecue chef achieves his/her best results with indirect heat, and smoke. Guess what? That tends to minimize any exposure to the carcinogens that might be present when high heat/metal grill/meat come together!

 

Personally, I do not expose the meats that I cook to coal. Never have. Never will. If I choose to grill, I use mesquite charcoal, and I do not buy brand name mesquite charcoal. Hell, I live in Texas, and West Texas produces huge amounts of real mesquite charcoal, in plain brown bags!

 

Now, your statement did not indicate the fact that commercial charcoal may contain a minute quantity of coal. What you actually said was that Americans actually use COAL as their heat source, not charcoal. There is a difference, and rather than haul out your lame 'wiki-esque' reference, please now have the courage of your convictions.

 

Furthermore, please note that my statement only refered to charcoal, and your reference is specific to charcoal briquets. I would respectfully submit to you that there is a difference!

Edited by jdocop
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Gosh, I forgot you were from Texas... boy, it shows. Just remember if Alaska were to split ourselves in half Texas would be the third largest state. Only teasing in good fun -- these are old Alaska Jokes. Right along with the one that says the most beautiful sight in Alaska is a Texan walking south with an Okie under each arm.

 

(For those of you who don't know, Alaska and Texas have battled each other since the Oil Patch Cronies took over our politics... I predict a typical "Don't mess with Texas" response, it's actually their State Motto).

 

So now I find myself enjoying a grilling/ barbecue argument with someone entranced enough to elevate it to an art.

 

You win -- but don't insult my research. I'm not writing a doggone dissertation here. I'm trying to help people understand something I know to be true:

 

COMMON Charcoal briquettes are actually about half coal -- and most people light it with refined Diesel.

 

Further I stand by my statement: Cooking over Coal using diesel for ignition is insane. Most do it without knowing. Maybe now a couple more won't and that makes the effort worthwhile to me.

 

Oh, and then there's this from the Oxford Dictionary (not some Wiki Source):

 

barbecue |ˈbärbiˌkyoō|

noun

a meal or gathering at which meat, fish, or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a portable grill.

• a portable grill used for the preparation of food at a barbecue, or a brick fireplace containing a grill.

• food cooked in such a way.

 

Now aren't you holding my FEET TO THE FIRE just alittle ? (smile). You're slaying me with your colloquialisms.

 

I've almost certainly cooked outdoors as much as you have. We BARBECUE entire animals for potlatch and big ones too, over FIRES. It's our life here. Isn't it mostly a hobby there in Texas ? So you give me a break.

 

I did a good thing informing people of this little known fact about Coal. Let it stand and move on.

 

N

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Richard, you are correct. I cannot ignore her now blatant statement that charcoal briquets are more than half coal! I am sorry, but Alaskagirl, your efforts to "inform" people are more along the lines of mis-informing them. I will grant you that charcoal briquets have some coal in them, but the percentage is actually less than 5%! Even your 'wiki' reference gave it less than 20%! As for calling charcoal lighter fluid a "refined" diesel, I won't let you get away with that statement either. Actually, whatever accellerent one chooses is rather moot, since no one starts to actually cook until all of the accellerent has burned away, so what difference does that make, anyway?

 

As for my "colloquialisms" slaying you....exactly what regional saying or use of a dialect did my post contain?

Finally, you say tomahto, I say tomato....you are entirely correct about Texas and Texans.....we simply cannot equate roasting a haunch of Elk or Moose over the direct heat of an open fire, with a soft wood like pine, or fir, with barbecuing a rack of ribs (beef or pork) over the coals of a hardwood fire, preferably to one side of those coals, so as to use the benefits of indirect heat and to gather in the flavor of that hardwood smoke......sorry....let it stand, and move on.....I will, thankfully, over here to the side of the fire where there is heat, but less smoke, and where my meat won't become charred by your open flames......

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you are entirely correct about Texas and Texans.....we simply cannot equate roasting a haunch of Elk or Moose over the direct heat of an open fire, with a soft wood like pine, or fir, with barbecuing a rack of ribs (beef or pork) over the coals of a hardwood fire, preferably to one side of those coals, so as to use the benefits of indirect heat and to gather in the flavor of that hardwood smoke......sorry....let it stand, and move on.....I will, thankfully, over here to the side of the fire where there is heat, but less smoke, and where my meat won't become charred by your open flames......

 

 

Idocop, Oh yes, I remember. My son, Matt, lives in one of the small towns that surrounds Houston. I would spend every 4th of July with him and his family, and the tradition was always the smoker and mesquite wood/chips. He would cook (smoke) that brisket or rack of ribs all night. And, the next day, HEAVEN! Hey, call me when you are ready to put on rack of ribs! (-:

 

Richard

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