The cheese doesn't stand aloneDon't discount pairing this dairy product with fish.
There are a lot of myths when it comes to food, especially in the area of health and nutrition.
For example, many of you may have heard someone say at one time or another that fresh fruit and vegetables are healthier than frozen or canned or that eating carbohydrates will cause you to gain weight.
Then, there’s my favorite, eating just before bedtime is fattening.
Of course, none of those statements are true. According to the American Dietetic Association, research shows frozen and canned foods are as nutritious as fresh. In fact, since lycopene (a powerful antioxidant that is touted as a cancer-fighting agent) is more easily absorbed in the body after it has been processed, canned tomatoes, corn and carrots are sometimes better nutrition choices.
The ADA also says calories cause weight gain and that excess carbohydrates are no more fattening than calories from any source. Despite the claims of some diet books, a high-carbohydrate diet does not promote fat storage by enhancing insulin resistance.
Finally, what you eat, not when, makes the difference; calories have the same effect on the body no matter when they are consumed. Evidence does suggest that eating regular meals, especially breakfast, helps promote weight loss by reducing fat intake and minimizing impulsive snacking.
It’s always important to keep this information in mind, and especially so now during March, which is National Nutrition Month. (Go to eatright.org and use the search feature for food myths for more interesting facts.)
Health and nutrition aren’t the only areas in which misstatements or subjective opinions about food occur. There’s the idea of some people that certain foods never should be paired. Just last week, my column was about meat and fruit combinations and how some people simply abhor even the thought of that, a sentiment that I don’t share.
Demystifying another myth
Since then, I’ve come across another “myth” on this pairing-food subject that runs contrary to my own thoughts — the idea that cheese and fish don’t go well together. (Apparently, for many Italians, there is no greater offense.)
Being a cheesemonger, I can come up with at least a half-dozen fish-cheese combos just off the top of my head that demystify that notion.
Tuna melts are one of my favorite comfort foods. I particularly enjoy having them when Therese is gone. It’s one of the leftovers from my bachelor days and is really easy to fix. All you have to do is mix up a little light chunk tuna with some mayo or Miracle Whip, add a tablespoon or two of chopped-up sweet pickles — and a little juice — and maybe half-teaspoon of sugar and a little diced onion. Then, you spread the mixture on a piece of crusty bread or bun, top it with some cheese and place it under the oven’s broiler until the cheese melts.
Casseroles are another one of my culinary favorites, and ones that combine fish or seafood with cheese rank near the top of my list. I’ll never turn down a tuna casserole that’s topped with cheese, and a Taste of Home recipe called Sunday Shrimp Pasta Bake (with Velveeta cheese) is especially yummy.
Besides the aforementioned cheese-fish recipes, I’m looking forward to trying a couple of new ones that came via e-mail from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board — Colby-Jack Topped Salmon Burger and Shoreline Casserole).
(For a more extravagant version of the tuna melt, the shrimp pasta bake recipe and the ones from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board), go to www.grandforksherald.com/ event/ tag/ group/Features/tag/food/.)
With all of those options, I won’t have any problem going meatless on the remaining Friday of Lent.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.