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Why don't recipes always contain basic nutrition information

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Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:04 pm    Post subject: Why don't recipes always contain basic nutrition information Reply with quote

I'm an engineer who cooks, and proud of both. Like most engineers, I'm creatively lazy, that is, while I can do tedious calculations, I prefer not to do them over and over. I'm also on a life-long controlled diet.

All that being said, before I start using a recipe, I want to be able to measure not just the ingredients, but also the results. I need to know if I will be able to eat it., and how much. So whenever I use or create a new recipe, I calculate the basic nutrition information ONCE, and include it in the recipe. This saves a lot of later anguish, as I don't waste time cooking or passing along recipes that I can't eat,

The basic information I need to know is:

1. Portion size in gm, oz, or some other appropriate measurement.
2. Calories per portion
3. Grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates per portion.
4. Amount of sodium per service.
5. Storage life and recommended method. If the recipe serves 6, and can't be scaled, do I really want to eat it 3 days in a row?

You would think that by now every professional cook, and most good amateurs would include this kind of basic information in every recipe, but in my experience it's the exception, not the rule.

Anyway, since this is supposed to be a forum for engineers, is it out of line for me to suggest that we all start ENGINEERING recipes?

Any thoughts?
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Joined: 19 May 2006
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about others and I also don't know how strict your diet is, However, I don't calorie count at all, I know that oils aren't the best for me, but I know some oils are better then others.

I don't really measure out how much onion or many other ingredients it tends to be more, how much I like each item and what looks right to me.

I would hazard a guess that most (although, not all) are much the same.

However, if you want to work out everything then there is software out there.

I have used this when I wanted to lose weight when I didn't really know about foods, you can use it to find out the calories of everything you can eat, both packaged and everything else, like flour, onions, creams, butters and meats.

Perhaps it will be helpful for you and others who wish to control there calorie intake more precisely.
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Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I have no problem calculating these various measurements of a recipe. A digital scale should be in every good cooks kitchen, and it shouldn't take a computer program to multiply grams by 4 or 9.

I do realize that many people don't care, or perhaps I should say, don't care to KNOW, what they are eating, but half of all Americans and western Europeans are categorized as medically obese. I don't want to be responsible in any way for their faster demise, or be sued. (Someone sued Burger King for their becoming fat eating Whoppers).

My goal is to live a longer, healthier life than many people - while eating things that are as good or better in every way than what they do..

Do I ever eat something without knowing exactly what is in it? Yes, but I do it cautiously, and do the best I can to estimate its content. Do I occasionally prepare and eat things that are outside my diet? Yes occasionally, with an understanding of what I need to do to compensate for it. Do I prepare ad hoc recipes without fine measurements? No, I make notes as I go. That's the way you create a new recipe, which is a FORMULA. From these measurements I calculate the content and servicg size.

But as an engineer, (not just someone who has a title and gets paid to do technical work, but someone who lives as an engineer) from a pure professionalism standpoint, I wouldn't prepare a recipe without noting basic nutrition information. I wouldn't PUBLISH one without including accurate data.

For a couple of reasons:

1. I'm not going to serve food to my family unless I know that it is GOOD for them.

2. Recipes are seldom served in isolation, but rather as part of a more complex meal. Why make every cook who uses a recipe recalculate its content to see if the planned meal is nutritionally balanced? I'm lazy, and respect the laziness of others. I don't like to do anything twice if I can avoid it ,or ask someone else to do it if I've already done it. It's inefficient, I'm a GOOD engineer.

3. To demonstrate my proficiency as a cook. Anyone can create something that tastes good,. It takes skill and understanding to do this while making something that is nutritious, palatable and repeatable.

4. Some recipes are deadly delicious, and addictive. A health person eating them frequently with unmeasured portion sizes could gain weight quickly and have a problem with cholesterol or sodium. Nutrition labeling can be a warning label. (The Surgeon General warns that gluttony has been proven to cause diabetes, hypertension, obesity, bunions, psoriasis, loss of libido, shortness of breath, tight pants and death. Ask your doctor about Damnitall (LOL).)

5. I figure that my recipes are better than pre-packaged food, or I wouldn't publish them. I'll be darned if I'm not going to show that I can beat their published numbers while producing better products.

I said in the beginning that calculating dietary information was easy. This becomes even easier if you start with the nutritional information provided on primary ingredients, calculate the content for common standard ingredient measurements ONCE, and put the measurements on your storage containers. As examples, for flour, the gm of carb per TB or gm. For salt gm of NA per 1/4 tsp or gm. For butter, gm of fat per TB or gm.

Given this information, multiplying gm carb or protein x 4, or fat x 9 is trivial.
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Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 97
Location: GA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. Why eat all these things you don't know? I don't normally have a problem when I find recipes on the web or in cookbooks but when I make one up I don't know the calorie count.What I do is that I see if the food looks or tastes fattening( sugary, cheesy,etc.) and make adjustments next time. Also I include veggies a lot( and I cook those most) and if something seems slightly unhealthy when we eat our regular sering,, I make us eat less of that and more veggies. If I can never get a recipe to be not too unhealthyI cut it out from our weekly eats and eat it maybe once a month. Big smile
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