I follow the cooking blog Smitten Kitchen (as you know if you follow this blog), and her latest post is about a recipe for a super-rich chocolate Italian custard dessert called “chocolate budino.” She has some interesting details about how she tweaked the original recipe, but such is not my point here. Instead, I’d like to focus on this one idea:
A few spoonfuls is all you need, and I encourage you to do the same (rather than weakening its perfection with the goal of eating more).
I’d add the following: “or with the goal of saving calories.”
I hear this all the time: “I did thus-and-so to have fewer calories” or “I did thus-and-so to make it lower fat” or “I used the low-salt version of the such-and-such.” Tow which I say, “Why? Why must you mess up a perfectly good recipe?”
JUST EAT LESS OF A MORE FLAVORFUL ITEM. Your taste buds get dulled anyway after a few bites.
So I had planned to write this brief post today, Saturday, after reading SK, and then, while I was eating lunch I decided to watch an episode of “America’s Test Kitchen” online. Guess what the taste test was? Turkey bacon. Lots and lots of joking around about how the “best” turkey bacon still isn’t very good. Turkey is good at being . . . turkey. Pork is good at being . . . bacon. Why do we have this weird mixture of indulgence and Puritanism that says, “Well, I want to eat bacon, but I weigh too much, or my cholesterol is too high, or I’m trying to be healthier in general, so I can’t eat the real thing, but I can eat the ersatz version, so I’ll deprive myself and indulge myself at the same time and eat turkey bacon, a good example of TURKEY TRYING TO BE SOMETHING IT’S NOT.” (And if you think I just don’t like turkey in general, that is so not so, my friends. The smoked turkey they had at the wedding reception we attended last week was, like, totally awesome.)
The funny thing is, whether you try to make the chocolate budino with a lower-fat milk product than heavy cream or with fewer egg yolks, or you try to substitute fake bacon for real, you’re not going to save yourself much in the end. Turkey bacon has only 25 calories fewer per serving than the real thing, and it has less protein. I can’t give you any definitive calorie info on the budino, but I can say with assurance that if you muck up its richness you sure as shootin’ aren’t going to be satisfied with the 1/4- to 1/3-cup serving that’s recommended. You’ll probably end up eating just as many calories but getting less satisfaction from it.
What’s the point in that?
Eat a Small Serving of the Real Thing