What I learned from a 1980 tortilla casserole recipe

It’s probably a good thing I don’t need to wear coats very often—where would I put them?

Forty years ago we moved into our 1923 California bungalow style home. At the time it was a good-sized parcel of property with a very small house we knew we could expand. We have added to it over the years, but we will always be very short on closet space.

Apparently 90 years ago people weren’t  nearly as devoted to accumulating “stuff.” We Americans love to super-size–even closets.

I’ve been sorting and cleaning, and somewhat painfully relinquishing a large accumulation of books.

Books in tubsI came across an old “favorite,”  a cookbook I haven’t even touched in twenty-five years.

Cook book

Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Jackie Olden was a very popular Southern California radio and television host in the 70’s and 80’s, long before Cooking Channels or the almost unlimited number of culinary personalities we all know today.

At least in our SoCal market Jackie was definitely a pioneer.

Thumbing through this 1980’s cookbook really takes me back. And it also illustrates some of the differences between “then” and “now.” 

While enjoying the Stephen Frears’ directed movie, Philomena, starring Judi Dench as Philomena Lee and Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith, there was a low rumble of barely suppressed laughter in the audience when Philomena makes an honest remark about American obesity.

When Martin questions her about why the concern, she responds, “Because of the portions, Martin.”

This week as I looked through Jackie Oldham’s cookbook I noticed hundreds of recipes and not a one was labeled  heart-healthy or fat-free.  There wasn’t an overt concern with salt or gluten, and many were what we’d now call “heavy,” with plenty of beef, cheese and sour cream.

I even spied a few that proudly headlined American Cheese.

What is American cheese?  There’s a whole history to the introduction of a processed “cheese” product that is best known because it melts well. Food value?  I’m still looking for it.

After looking closely at a recipe for a tortilla casserole I noticed the ingredients: beef—with no mention of it being lean, corn tortillas, packaged taco seasoning, 3 full cups of Monterey Jack Cheese, sour cream and added salt and spices.  Oh yes, spinach was added, too, but not enough to counterbalance all the fat in this casserole.

Now remember…this recipe was published thirty years ago.

And how many servings were in this recipe?


That translates to:

  • 3.2 ounces of meat per person
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 2.4 ounces of cheese and a rather meager dollop of sour cream.

In today’s plate-FULL economy, that’s a very small portion per person.

I’m not saying that this is a particularly well-balanced meal option. But I was fascinated to recall that we did eat this way, routinely, at one time, yet obesity rates were substantially lower than they are today.

Of course, we were more active, I suppose, and we didn’t snack as regularly as we seem to now.

But probably number one on the list of what “used to be”–we ate smaller portions!

I’m not convinced the average American adult is going to change, but if we have input into the lives of little people, it’s in our best interest to be informed.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, for the first time in 200 years the current generation of American children may have shorter life expectancies than their parents!

It is important to me to stay on top of current and relevant food and health-related information, and one way I do that  is to closely follow some very influential pioneers in food matters.

If you’re as interested as I am in food-related, health and obesity issues, I’d like to recommend a series of TED talks: Chew on This.

The fourteen somewhat random episodes run from four to fifteen minutes, and I found each one tremendously interesting, particularly because Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver, Ann Cooper and many others are passionate about developing healthy, sustainable food systems.

Just to get you started, I’ll offer Mark Bittman’s, “What’s Wrong with What We Eat?”

Your thoughts on this broad topic always interest me, so don’t hold back–or I’ll have to get started on my rant about how the pharmaceutical companies are making out like bandits with our poor diet.

Oh my…I need to stop and take a cleansing breath!

That’s better…I’m breathing lighter again.

68 thoughts on “What I learned from a 1980 tortilla casserole recipe

    • It is scary stuff, Jim. Our young ones are going to bear the brunt of some serious disease! I could do better myself with a little running…LOL! Well, maybe not. I have a habit of falling down when I get too quick about things, don’t I. Maybe a little more walking…or dancing would be fun! And if you get the 8-mile run in half an hour, you’d better get on with a good brag! 🙂

      • Yep be careful if you decide to run – a crash helmet and bubble wrapping may prove useful. My run took longer than half an hour, it was pouring and there was a howling gale. Last time I trust the BBC weather forecast…..

  1. I would love to read your take on how the pharmies are enjoying all our bad eating habits, as well as big business that are cashing in on the GMO’s and other horrifying things that are being pumped at us today, so that they can control the food sources and make more money than ever, killing us in an almost legal way… go on have I stirred the pot now… one of my favourite subjects on another site where I wrote articles…

    • If it’s still viable, I’d be interested in your other site, Rob. I like the way you stir the pot…and you didn’t mince words. It is a horrifying situation. I am so distressed about the fact that here in California, bread basket to the world, we can’t pass a simple law to label our genetically modified foods. People don’t pass the silly law because the “big guys” swoop in and tell lies. This whole matter of playing fast and loose with our food supply is really distressing to me, and it’s not about me. It’s about my grandchildren, and that’s what gets me so worked up. So we do what we can do, and then the rest has to be one-to-one evangelism I think. Seriously, if you follow some other sites that address these issues, I’d really enjoy following along.

  2. Sorting and cleaning–hurray! Try wearing something red on your sorting projects, it will give you that extra needed energy to continue creating a cozy nest. As for the food related ranting, I don’t think we rant enough! We shouldn’t stand by and watch our food sources being tinkered for the sake of big business and their deep pockets. I have to remind myself to breath lighter with thoughts of the devastating effects of our ever increasing manipulated food supply and everyone in the health industry supporting it so that a pill can be prescribed to “fix it’.

    • I love the suggestion for wearing red! I have one or two little red sweaters and “wraps” that would be comfortable. I am very slow to get started on the sorting and cleaning out areas that somewhat hidden, but once I begin, I do love the effect! I appreciate the comment that maybe we don’t rant enough. At times I feel self-conscious because I think it is so important that we feed our children healthy, whole foods, and that we teach them to eat responsibly in all areas of concern, and yet we see so little effort in that area and I get worked up over that! I could just go crazy over the way “corn” has made it’s way into everything and the literal dependence people have on salt and fat…and we were somewhat duped long ago into thinking some of these conveniences had a positive purpose. See? I found a kindred soul and here I go again. LOL! The manipulation of the food supply is a crime, and I’m glad some of us are not being fooled on that point. Thank you, Cristine!

  3. Although obesity isn’t quite as bad a problem in Germany (I think the UK has significantly higher rates) there is a lot to be worried about here too. The various food scandals and diet trends often make me wonder why people eat what they eat! I think time is one factor that makes snacking and high fat food more attractive – cooking a healthy meal every day is not a priority for most people I know. And portions are way too big here in restaurants too – my father ordered a “senior” portion once (some better places offer this smaller portion at a slightly lower price) which looked plenty and he barely managed it! There is a movement in some states of Germany for restaurants to offer smaller portions only, and reduce their prices. It hasn’t really taken off though. The main thought behind it was to avoid so much food being wasted and simply thrown away. I also remember when the chocolate bars all suddenlygrew…. a Mars, Snickers or Milky Way (do you have them in the States?) used to be a small bar of three or four bites…. suddenly they became twice the size and even bigger! The same with potato chips, peanuts, you name it! Your post has got me thinking now… I must take a look at some old recipe books of mine too!

    • Yes, Cathy! Everything has a “super-size” offered. From candy to soft drinks to popcorn at the movies…and it’s not just the so-called “junk food,” restaurants often serve absolutely huge portions. I think you’ve also hit upon something that concerns a lot of people. The waste! It is a huge problem, I know, but because it is beginning to really impact health in so many people, and that in turn effects the economy and all healthcare resources, we are headed in a huge spiral downward if we don’t create awareness. And I think the only way to do it is individual by individual. I think talking about this is also in part to keep me on track! I can’t be critical of anyone else when I know I can do better, too! Thank you so much for sharing your observations from Germany. I wonder if in Germany people might walk more? That may be an understanding I only know from friends who have traveled, and that would be different from region to region. We are such a “commuter-car” society that walking is something people do on a treadmill! We have a long way to go, I think!

      • From what I hear of America it seems we walk a lot more here – and cycle too. And not just at the weekends. We have footpaths and cycle routes just about everywhere in Germany, and if you live in town it is much better to walk, cycle or take a bus into work than drive – parking is so expensive here. I also know of at least one company near us that donates money to charity for each time an employee takes the stairs instead of the lift!

        • That’s wonderful that walking and cycling is the norm! We live in our cars, and that’s not a good thing. There is an effort to entice people out of their cars and to cycle to work, but that only works for people who happen to live within a reasonable distance from work. Maybe over time this will be more normative. At least there’s an interest! 🙂

      • Hi Debra. Just watching a TV report on a famous beer garden/restaurant in Munich – meat portions have been reduced from 350g to 200g per person and prices reduced, and a Chinese restaurant has introduced a fine if people take food from the buffet and then leave it uneaten on their plate! New ideas – hope they catch on!

        • Oh wow! I’m impressed to hear that restaurants would deliberately make the portions smaller, and good for them to reduce the price at the same time! I do hope that catches on with others, and maybe over here we can take a lesson! Now I’m not as sure about the buffet! I’m sure they’re looking out for waste, which is reasonable, but I wonder if people will stuff themselves rather than pay an added fee! LOL! Anything to call attention to the problem of waste as well as over-eating is moving in the right direction! Thank you, Cathy!

  4. I loved LOVED Philomena!!!!

    I do believe we are killing ourselves and creating horrid conditions in our children with ‘what’ we eat. When chemicals are “ingredients” we are asking for troubles. And the world of “progress” we are creating is a world that for some reason demonizes family time, play time, and rest.

    Great thoughts Debra.

    • I’m really glad you saw Philomena, Colleen. I want everyone to see it! LOL! I am more and more appalled at what passes for “food” and how young families are so stretched that what we used to take for granted as healthy home cooking is now being touted as something new and fashionable. There’s a sense of cooking being “cuisine” and eating is “dining” and as great as that is overall, it tells me it’s not the norm. I cooked every day my children were young not because I was so great, but because we couldn’t afford to eat out–even take out at the time was a luxury. But I’m grateful now that we learned how to eat well and economically. If we can’t eat really healthy food, we need to eat as little as possible to compensate! I don’t think this is a simple problem, but it sure does bother me! Thank you for sharing in this concern as well! ox

      • I’m completely with you on this Debra. And part of the problem is our continual push to DO more and be in more places. ACCOMPLISH. Isn’t family time around a table with food prepared by ourselves….a very good accomplishment? 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness, don’t get me started. You hit on a topic about which I’m very passionate. I follow Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, which was a complete lifestyle change for me. While it was hard at first to cut the chains that tied me strongly to sugars, fats, and salts, it got much easier after the first few months, and now I can’t understand how I used to eat so “self indulgently”. I feel so much better now, my blood tests have gone from fifty numbers out of whack and three on target to fifty-three exceeding their target goals, I lost 30 pounds and am at my optimal size – and with this new dietary plan, I have no trouble staying a size 2. But it’s not the weight loss that keeps me eating healthier, it’s how much better I feel, my higher energy levels and clearer brain function. I wouldn’t go back for anything. I recently looked through one of my grandmother’s cookbooks from 1915, and like you, I was shocked at the high fat content. But like you said, portions were much smaller and people were far more active….but still…… Getting off the soapbox now, sorry about that!

    • I’m so glad you mention Dr. Weil. I think he’s an amazing voice in the fight against diet-related disease. And look how long he’s been working at it. He’s a good example of someone who just keeps putting it out there and people find “him” and his voice when it’s their time to make changes. I haven’t specifically followed his complete program, but I get his emails and read his information a lot. And I would say that if I were to label my personal program, it probably is an anti-inflammatory diet. Or as close as I understand it at this point. I just bought another book on the subject, so I’m obviously searching that out! Fantastic about your weight loss! I do think there’s got to be better balances for all of us…it’s just finding what works, isn’t it! I would imagine it was great fun to look back to a 1915 cookbook. People worked so hard back then, and walked everywhere! I’m sure our advances and conveniences aren’t doing us any favors! Thanks for sharing the soap box. It gets lonely sometimes. LOL!

  6. The whole issue of food is so multiheaded it makes my one little pinhead spin. A century of kitchen gadgets and convenience foods has replaced Mrs Patmore and Daisy. I spent a few weeks cooking from scratch last year; tasty and nutritious, sure, but there wasn’t time to do anything else (good thing I don’t have a regular job). And if not convenience foods and not frozen foods and not that beautiful fresh dragonfruit that crossed an ocean and a continent to reach my grocery store, what CAN we in the snowbelt eat in winter? Pickles, okay, but I still have jars in the fruit cellar that I put up in 2010. And anyway, pickled vegetables were historically meant to accompany — uh-oh — meat. There’s no going back, but how the heck do we go forward?

    The portion size issue, though — the closest E.g. and I have ever come to a “diet book” is one of Weight Watchers recipes. The week or so we stuck to them, we were shocked at how sensible the portions were and how nonsensical our eating had become. Then we got bored. Then our attention to portion size lapsed.


    • You most definitely made me smile with the reference to Mrs. Patmore and Daisy! Yes, look how hard those poor dears worked to make a good meal. No convenience foods for them! The reason I prioritize portion size as the bigger of the issues is that all other factors really aren’t equal. In Southern California I have so much fresh fruit and produce available year round, and at bargain prices, simply because California is a an agricultural state with the right climate conditions to provide abundance. We have no excuse for not eating local, and not eating well! If I were in another region it would be more of a challenge, and I would need to be less concerned with eating local. I did work the Weight Watcher program a few years ago and it really was a shocker to me then when we had to measure portions! I was stunned at how small they seemed. LOL! We need to do the best we can, and if we make choices that aren’t always the best, at least know what we’re doing. I’m really pleased to have your comments. And yes, you eat what you want to in winter. You must burn plenty of calories just keeping warm, don’t you think? 🙂

  7. What an insightful and well worded post, Debra! I saw this yesterday and rummaged around and inside my old cookbooks, instead of writing a comment. I am so easily distracted these days. Anyways, how true it is that we Americans go for the bigger portions. I remember when restaurants started serving huge portions, warnings were made, but, as a society, we kept ordering and eating and eating and eating. Julia Child was once asked about the amount of butter and other rich ingredients in her recipes and she responded about it being in the size of proportions that one needed to watch for.

    • I think that’s a fascinating quote from Julia Child, Penny. So long ago, and known for her very rich food, she had the right idea. I enjoy watching a variety of shows like “Top Chef” and note the very tiny portions, beautifully plated and made with only the best ingredients. They are literally mouth-fulls, not plate-fulls. You must realize that I’m preaching to myself as well as the rest of the nation! LOL! But it is becoming more of a concern to me as we almost daily hear something about the “Obesity Epidemic,” but so little changes. I hope you had some fun looking back at the older cookbooks. Some of those recipes are like old friends, aren’t they? 🙂 Sometimes we need our little comfort foods, I must admit that. ox

  8. I’m not a big eater and I never have been. My grandmother emigrated from Austria-Germany and her style of sweets wasn’t sweet. Even today I can’t do the fancy, heavy, overly sweet deserts you find in stores or restaurants. My husband has lost 15 lbs. in the last year. He cut back to one bagel for breakfast (yes, I don’t know how you can possibly eat two) and his meat portion at dinner. That along with continuing exercise did it for him. I always make way more veggies than meat and neither of us have weight issues. I am starting to find it hard to find a size small in our local stores though. Does that say it all?

    • Kate, That is just excellent news about how your husband has lost some weight! A fabulous accomplishment because it isn’t easy for anyone, and yet he made some conscious choices to pare down his portions and he’s changed habits in a reasonable manner. I don’t think extremes work well for most of us! I will say that Jay and I have one thing going for us that many of my friends find a struggle. We really love vegetables and have never had to work at incorporating them liberally into our diet. I think it is VERY telling that you can’t find smaller sizes as easily as you once did. I hope your husband can keep up the good work! His efforts show that it can be done! 🙂

  9. Debra, great post! This topic is near and dear to my heart. I think portion sizes are a major contributor to the current obesity epidemic in North America. Certainly the consumption of non-food doesn’t help.
    And I could rant for days on the role big pharma plays in all of this, enabled by the medical professionals who blindly write out the prescriptions rather than counsel and coach on ways to heal yourself with a little hard work versus by popping a magic pill.

    • Just look at your own excellent example from last year’s effort, Nancy. It was work, wasn’t it! I love the title of your blog, “My Year of Sweat”–not “My Year of Magical Thinking.” LOL! It takes hard work. I am not a perfect example of anything diet and health related, but I’m sure committed to doing better and I won’t go down without a fight! LOL! Big Pharma makes me so angry on many levels, but in fact, we are giving them the reins of the kingdom and so unless we work to change the course, it’s really not a fight to win. I literally despair for young people who have never known differently. Well, thanks for being my ranting partner. Many of my “in-house” friends are a little tired of my speeches. LOL!

  10. That is an important message for every one. Thank you, Debra!
    The eating habit of young kids and young adults is very worrisome, most of them don’t eat enough veggies and fruits… My husband and I consume small servings of meat each meal. I trim out fat before cooking and rarely add butter and cheese to food.

    • You hit upon my greatest concern, Amy–children and young adults. They have never known anything but huge portions and when the fast food industry can satisfy all of the cravings for under a dollar, I’m not sure how they’re going to be persuaded that they are borrowing years off their future. It deeply saddens me. I’m not too bad at identifying problems, but not nearly as adept at the answer part! 🙂 Those of us who know better at least can keep clanging the warning bell, I suppose? 🙂 I agree with you about fruit and veggies. One of the videos I watched went into a school and asked children to identify whole fruit and vegetables and they didn’t know what they were! Now that was shocking. Thank you for adding your voice to the concern.

    • I watched it again last night after I’d already posted it, and forgot that it started out with Bittman’s comments about global warming and the environment/cattle production. I hoped anyone who isn’t so interested in the ecological connection would hang in there at least to where he begins to talk about health and diet. Although both issues are extremely important and we can’t really separate them. Or shouldn’t, perhaps. Many of the TED series I mentioned are on Netflix and I recently got started watching them and couldn’t help but be fascinated with the different ways people are trying to get their message across. They made me feel better about my “soap box” and sometimes feeling a little to evangelistic; some of them are downright zealots! And we need them to be!

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  12. Fascinating! Hadn’t even thought about the differences in portion sizes between now and then. It would be fun to look at a cookbook from back then. Going to have to pull one out!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • You might have fun with looking at the difference in portions over the years, Kathy. I wouldn’t have noted it, perhaps, except I was already thinking about this topic. Where you’re living now I think you can worry less. You must be doing tons of walking! I think the whole lifestyle change would be tremendously healthy! 🙂

  13. The presentation of cookbooks certainly has improved over the years – you wouldn’t get away with that these days! Although America holds Number 1 spot for highest obesity rates in the world, I think here in Oz, we come a close second. I think as well as portion size increasing, we just eat too many things that don’t look like foods. I like how Jamie Oliver says that if you can’t tell what it’s made from or you don’t recognise it, best to avoid it. That brings us back to eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and some protein etc which is what everyone used to eat and there were no obesity or other health issues xx

    • Do you remember when Jamie Oliver tried to make changes to the American school diet? He was just skewered by the press and anyone with a microphone. How did he expect children to learn to eat quinoa! What’s wrong with french fries! And so on…he was doomed before he even got started because there was so little buy-in! We have big problems when children don’t even recognize certain basic fruits and vegetables by name. Well, we’ll only make little changes perhaps and now you know why I don’t get on this subject too often. It pushes my hot button! 🙂

  14. I still recall someone moving to this country who commented, “Everything is big.” I’m a good eater, but we once on vacation, I took home a meal that I also got not one, not two, but three lunches out of the take home portion … so I still can’t imagine the size of the portion … and yes, big pharma is laughing all the way to the bank.

    Meanwhile, going through old stuff can be fun and loaded with memories … but yes, the purging needs to be done.

    • I have a lot of trouble paring down, Frank. I’m very sentimental and I really struggle sometimes. But when it gets to the point I really can’t put things away I finally get a little bolder! I would imagine with your move you’re doing a lot of sorting. I was with a friend tonight who is moving across the country and we spent a lot of time talking about how attached we become to things!

  15. good to read your post on this topic, so crucial for people to wake up to what they are eating and try to find wholesome unmanufactured foods …. even so-called organic food can be mass produced within the legal guidelines and do not end up being healthy or sustainable… that is why we are so involved in the local food movement here, where growers and shoppers are taking delight in fresh food and totally bypassing the supermarkets with their big trucks 🙂

    • I will say that here in California there is a growing interest in the local food movement. It’s helpful that we have so much good produce and fresh food close at hand. I think that’s what amazes me the most, however, that with a truly bountiful supply of farm-to-home abundance there is still a fast-food “palace” on every corner. There is a lot of work yet to do to change people’s attitudes. But the infrastructure for massive change is all in place, if only people can be persuaded to think a little differently.

        • No, I wouldn’t think the traditional press helps much at all. Public radio is a good source of information, but changes are slow. I think word of mouth, person to person and a lot of personal evangelism probably begins to make small changes. But on a grand scale there really isn’t much awareness, or so it seems. I tend to get excited about very small movements and then forget that they are just that–small! 🙂

  16. Yay I am vegetarian! 😀
    I can’t imagine the whole super sizing on meat meals with the cheese dripping off and everything – I can’t imagine it tasting good!
    Great rant 😀


    • You must have seen some of the “super-sizing” during your time in the U.S., didn’t you? There’s a lot of waste that takes place with so much food, too. I’m glad you didn’t find my rant to off-putting! I try not to let the words “rant” and “breathe lighter” occupy the same space, but every once in a while I just can’t help myself. LOL! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, CCU… and I do prefer a vegetarian diet, although once in awhile I slip–I’m not as committed as I could be. I”m working on that. 🙂

  17. What a great post! Our standard of living seems to always get just higher and higher…. but every coin has two sides. I think we adults are in charge of setting a good example for the next generations. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing, Rondita. I do think the reason I feel like ringing the alarm bell is because of the younger generation. It was interesting to me that the day following my posting I heard on the radio how Sesame Street is getting in on this topic! I didn’t follow the specifics, but the reporter was stating even the Cookie Monster was going to cut back. I thought that was so funny, but they were serious, and maybe they’ll have a little effect on educating young parents, too. IT’s a big problem, I think! I’m glad you stopped by. 🙂

    • I have seen Dr. Fuhrman on PBS, Tom, and find him really interesting. He’s reasonable in his approach and for the most part his methods just make sense. I would imagine he has a book…I should look into it! 🙂 Thank you!

  18. Oh, cheese…my undoing. Why would a creator make cheese so incredibly gorgeous? This is an argument for there being no creator, for surely he/she would have made spinach or cabbage or sprouts totally irresistible so that a full and healthy life was out default option…

    • That whole “free will” dialogue surely comes into play with how the Creator puts it all out there and we have choice, Kate. 🙂 McDonald’s or a Veggie Burger…eternal questions. LOL! Totally agree with you about cheese! I keep telling myself it’s not the “what” it’s the “how much.” ox

  19. I will have to come back and see this Ted Talks.. they’re always so interesting and informative. I think our obsession with the “sorts” of foods we have banished because they’re “unhealthy” has somehow created the mindset that anything goes after that. ie. as long as it’s gluten-free, I can eat lots of those flourless, caramel sauce soaked brownies studded with vegan chips.. because I’m not eating wheat.. right? Crazy.. it’s all about portion size, you’re so right! I love baking, but try to share it or make less. It’s so important to have balance in your life.. and exercise, lots of exercise! xx

    • That’s right, Barb, balance, balance, balance…that’s the way to go! I always think of my grandparents, who were neither overweight or unhealthy. They lived long lives…eating everything. But they came from a time when people were physically more active and still believed in limits! If you have the time to watch the TED talks I guarantee you’d find them really interesting. Most of them aren’t long at all. Once I got started, though, I couldn’t stop. Then I was all “riled up” so perhaps pace yourself. 🙂

  20. If you don’t eat between meals and don’t have sugary drinks, three meals a day of a decent size and of good balance should keep you fit and healthy. A glass of water instead of a snack maybe? An apple and walk in the park when you’re peckish? Easy advice but difficult to follow maybe!
    I agree about portion size here too: in the UK the portions have grown hugely over the years.

    • I am really frustrated that our government pays lip-service only to the problem of an obesity epidemic, and Type II diabetes in even very young children. At the very same time fast food is government subsidized. The hypocrisy is shocking to me. But you’re right, of course. It is an individual responsibility to care for one’s health and overall habits. The super-sized portions that are served are also wasteful, but in the short term, I don’t see anything really changing. It will still be up to us to improve upon our own dietary habits. Thank you, Pseu. The not eating between meals was how I was raised, but there’s an entire snack food industry now. And it doesn’t include a piece of fruit. 😦

  21. Ok so you asked, I won’t hold back 🙂
    I remember my first and only (so far) visit to the US in the early 80s and the portions ASTOUNDED me, I realise I’m shouting but I was honestly gobsmacked! My UK / European experiences did not prepare me for the amount of meat and the sheer size of a dish; I remember ordering pasta in a restaurant and my American Aunt say, are you sure Claire, it will be big, I had no idea how BIG she meant – a whole Tureen full. As opposed to a small plate/bowl……
    But back to cookbooks, I love reading older style ones, often because the ingredient lists make me laugh, and you realise how dated some of the recipes are.
    But back to my soap box – what worries me most is that for the first time in history the poorest are now the most over weight, it was always the rich who had that privilege, but with cheap food full of saturated fats and sugar it’s now the poorest part of the population who sadly are more likely to be overweight – and i know there are exceptions to every rule but that’s what the stats are saying. Sad
    OK off my soap box now 🙂

  22. Portion size is key, I think, Debra, especially with high fat, high calorie food items. I have a husband who likes to feel full after a meal, so I have to concentrate on giving him plenty of different vegetables with his modest portion of meat. I must admit my mind does boggle at the thought of a recipe which includes meat, cheese AND sour cream, so it’s probably a good thing that we now have a collection of menus which we find tasty and filling without being bad for us. 🙂

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