Sad things done to good food....

In the name of bad diets.

What’s the saddest modification of a recipe you’ve seen to make it low fat/carb/salt, etc?

I once stumbled upon a recipe for guacamole that warned of all of the fat lurking in avocados, so they were omitted and replaced with frozen green peas, ground up in a food processor. Can you imagine being at a friend’s party, dipping a tortilla chip and taking a big bite of what’s basically baby food? The recipe did allow some modifications - Tabasco (optional), chopped cilantro (optional), or a splash of lime juice (again, optional). Gee, I can’t imagine getting fat by eating too much of this stuff, so I guess it would be effective “diet” food. Ick.

I also saw some fad diet cookbook that basically equated sauteeing onions and garlic in a wee dab of oil (as many recipes start) as a one way ticket to the cardiac unit. Omit the oil, it said, and use water instead - apparently one would be hard pressed to tell the difference. I dunno, but a recipe based on boiled onions would probably be pretty gosh darn different than one that used a few teaspoons of olive oil to get them caramelized and tasty.

I’m sure that the extreme dietary pendulum swings of the last 20 years (All fat is evil! No! Carbs must be eradicated!) must have produced some whacked out food suggestions - what have you had the “pleasure” of finding?

Don’t know if this is what you’re after, but I was visiting the east coast recently and we were all ordering yummy, greasy, perfectly decadent pizza. [Finally, real pizza!] Except one family member, who wanted avoid the fat so got it plain, without the cheese. :smack:

But wouldn’t the sauce & crust be kind of dried out and tough without the moisture-retaining cheese lid? Ewwww!

Reminds me of a co-worker who ate nothing but cottage cheese and boiled chicken (some body builder type she was dating swore by it) Apparently she wouldn’t even grill or broil it, just boiled chicken. Another co-worker summed it up best:
“That’s not diet food - that’s…jail food!”

I saw that “green pea guacamole” recipe somewhere, too! I love peas, but this sounds completely wrong.

As for pizza, I prefer less cheese and more sauce on mine, and not for dietary reasons. To me, mozzarella is tasteless, so I don’t like piles of it congealing all over my slice. Good crust and good sauce make a tasty pizza!

I always think it’s a bit odd when perfectly beautiful seared steaks are slathered with odd sauces. That’s a great way to ruin a great steak!! Just gimme the meat with maybe some mushrooms on the side and we’re set!

In the name of bad diets, well, I realize they are not recipes per se, but reduced fat cheese, sour cream, milk…all are horrible beyond words! Real food is always better for you than these fake foods, IMO.

Do not use margarine. Ever. It’s butter or nothing, please.

In the name of eating healthier, I usually buy reduced fat sour cream, 2% milk, and neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat than cream cheese), and they all taste good to me. But you’ll never catch me buying the FAT-FREE sour cream or milk! Those are the tasteless, nasty ones, and I grew up in a household where my mom only bought skim milk! Eurgh, gray water.

However, I buy Miracle Whip Light and actually like it more than mayonnaise or even regular Miracle Whip on the occasional tuna or egg salad sandwich. Tangy and a LOT healthier than the “real” thing.

Egg salad with tofu to replace some of the eggs. As if egg whites are much worse for you than tofu. I guess maybe they were thinking that it would be wasteful to boil up a bunch of eggs and then throw away a few yolks?

May I direct your attention to Weight Watchers Recipe Cards from 1974?

Check out the Fluffy Mackerel Pudding.

And in the grocery store today I saw sugar-free, reduced fat Fudgesicles. That’s just not right.

I have a recipe for a fat-free cheesecake. I’ve never been masochistic enough to make it, but it involves fat-free cream cheese, fat-free sour cream or cottage cheese, and some fat-free margarine substitute, like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. It sounds repulsive.

As an aside, what the hell is “fat free” half & half? This is something I’ve never seen until moving to the US a few weeks ago. If it’s fat free, wouldn’t it basically be skim milk?

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding, Tofu egg salad, fat free margarine? Good Lord! I knew you people would be able to horrify me! :smiley:

My mom was quite the follower of strange diet fads in the '70’s and early '80’s, so as a wee kid I saw a lot of strange things in our kitchen - I’ll try to remember some of the choicer gems from those days.

It’s probably found in the same alternative universe as “sugar-free caramel.”


I have one of those Junior League or women’s church group cookbooks from the 70s that has a penny-pincher lasagne receipe.
It calls for ketchup instead of tomato sauce and cottage cheese instead of ricotta and mozzarella. It sounds horrifying.

I love tofu salad, but not as a replacement for egg salad, just something else different and yummy.

My mom once bought ‘low carb high protein’ pasta made out of lentils. That stuff was just terrible.

That’s probably the exact recipe used by the “lunch ladies” at my elementary school. I know they used cottage cheese, cause I could see the curds, and it’s what made me think I hated lasagna until I was in college. :smack:

Just to ask, what’s the difference betwen boiled chicken and poached chicken? Isn’t the method of cooking the same? I can’t imagine cooking one longer or shorter than the other…

Boiling is with water that’s actually boiling, 212 F/100 C. Poaching is done at a simmer, the water is between 170 and 190 F. The poaching will take longer, but won’t dry out the food as much and will give a better texture (and yes, you can still dry out food even though it’s being boiled in water.)

I asked the same question re: boiling chicken, and yup, that exactly what she did - get a big pot of water and boil away.

The ketchup lasagna reminds me of one of my brother’s memorable cooking moments when we we kids. While this wasn’t motivated by weird fad diets, it shows how easily things can go sideways. He wanted to make individual pizzas for lunch. Here’s a step by step of where it went wrong:

  1. For the crusts, let’s use english muffins!
  2. We’re out of pizza sauce, well, ketchup is a tomato sauce, right?
  3. No Mozza? I’m sure kraft singles will do!
  4. Lacking in pepperoni, he carefully cut a HOT DOG into little round slices and used that.
  5. Baking? We don’t have all day! Let’s microwave them!

Unbelievably, the man now makes a pretty nice living as a professional chef.

Barilla now makes a whole-grain pasta that gives you about 17 grams of protein per cup, and it tastes good.

It wouldn’t have been anything like actual pizza, but it would have been remotely decent IF the muffins were toasted, the dogs were microwaved, & then the cut-up cooked dogs put on the muffins w/ the ketchup & Kraft cheese & then lightly mircowaved just enough to melt the cheese.

No, no, no, that wouldn’t make it any better. :barfing smilie:

If you want english muffin pizzas (which I make with my kids at preschool), we do toast the muffins, but you have to use actual tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Ketcup is way too sweet, and Kraft singles are not real cheese. Hot dogs… have no place on pizza.