The three pears symbolize food, knowledge, and pleasure.
Gastromancer Logo
Home Page
Mastering the Mundane
Modern Food Issues
A Gourmands Diary.
About and Jason Ryan
Gourmandiary, January 2004
Mad Cow Arrives

January 2004 will forever be known as a watershed month in the history of
American eating for it was in this month that the American Public began to
internalize just what it means for a cow to be 'Mad'.  And just when Atkins had us
convinced that we could eat nothing but steak morning noon and night and be
Here is the article from the NY Times that made the Christmas Eve
Tom Toles wasted no time slamming the food industry!  His cartoon
foreshadowed a veritable deluge of anti-food-industry writing in newspapers
across the country.
Other People's Beefs
What a torrent of editorial, op-ed and letter writing ensued after the Mad Cow
announcement!  While the beef industry struggled in the press to put the genie
back in the bottle, innumerable other non-food-industry food professionals
relished the opportunity to say 'I told you so'.

One of the better articles detailing just how counter-intuitive our food production
industry has become was published in the NY Times on January 5th.  The article
starts with the following shocking sentence; "Jeffrey Behling, a dairy farmer in
Washington State, used to burn the carcasses of his hobbled "downer"
cattle until he found there was a market for their meat."
Read on...
More people mad about cows!

Here's another article from the same January 5th NY Times lamenting the way the
which to date has done a fairly good job holding back a torrent of anger towards
their practices, may have burst this January!

protein, and our government.
protein, and our government.

You can write to tell me if you think I'm crazy...

Here's my hypothesis;

For thirty years the government and professional nutritionists admonished us to
eat a carbohydrate dominant diet based on the belief that foods with a low
caloric density were best for us.  During this time, while the beef industry's profits
were in decline, our USDA was willfully ignorant towards the beef industry's more
unsavory practices (like turning cows into cannibals), which were employed to
these practices and turned away from beef, ironically encouraging the wider
dissemination of the objectionable practices.  Suddenly scientific research into the
glycemic index shows nutritionists that the 'type' of calorie you are consuming
may be as important as the amount.  Excess carbs are too efficiently stored.  Beef
roars back with a vengeance because protein calories are harder to metabolize.  
You can eat only beef, as much as you want, and lose weight!  Now there's a
diet!  But, surprise, the long term effects of decades of waste-not-want-not in the
slaughter-house finally catch up with us and in a year of record beef profits the
USDA must step in to insist that cows not be fed to other cows, and hold the
chicken and pig too.  So, Uncle Sam, what was once good, Carbs, are now bad -
what was once acceptable, feeding downer cattle to other cattle, is no longer

What a strange relationship these three fellows have had; carbs, protein and
Uncle Sam.  My guess is that the weirdness is only beginning...
Obesity Research

A striking piece of obesity related information was reported by the American
Hospital Association on January 22nd.  In 2003 $73 Billion dollars were spent
those costs were covered by Medicare/Medicaid.  Every man, woman and child
would need to pay $125 in taxes to cover that cost.  Here's the

Is there a silver lining?  Well, you can bet there will be a slew of money thrown at
the problem.  2004 will be a banner year for learning more about the different
aspects of our biology that determine our weight.  I'll try to post as many of the
most interesting articles as I can find on!
Anorexia Research

non-psychological theory on the origins of Anorexia.  Read this departing from
past theories on this disease, the author has postulated the first
non-psychological theory on the origins of Anorexia.  Read this
article to see what
article to see what Darwin not Freud may offer the best explanation for this most
to see what Darwin not Freud may offer the best explanation for this most lethal
Darwin not Freud may offer the best explanation for this most lethal of eating
Cheese Laser

For those of you who don't think that the Gastromancer is keeping up with cutting
edge food technology I offer you this
article on the Cheese Laser.
Thanks again for spending some time with me this month, and remember,  
Eat thoughtfully for full pleasure!

I believe that January's news correctly presages the two topics that will continue to
strongly influence food news for the rest of 2004.