The Feed Zone

Feed Zone Table Recipe: Almond Cornbread with Grilled Stone Fruit

Chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim have returned to the kitchen to champion dinner, the most social meal of the day. In their third cookbook, Feed Zone Table, Biju and Allen offer over 100 all-new recipes to bring friends and family to the table in a way that nourishes life and sport.

Try Almond Cornbread with Grilled Stone Fruit from Feed Zone Table! This is a delicious gluten-free cornbread that you can serve as a great dessert or hearty side to your meal. Dense with healthy fats and protein, almond meal is a fantastic gluten-free flour that is easy to work with and yields a rich, moist cornbread or cake that doesn’t feel heavy. Corn flour will give you a smoother texture than cornmeal. 

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table. Please contact us to republish this recipe.

Serves 8

Feed Zone Table by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim recipe

ALMOND CORNBREAD

2 cups almond meal
2 cups fine-ground cornmeal
4 eggs
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

GRILLED STONEFRUIT

8 pieces stone fruit (peaches, apricots, or nectarines)
olive oil
sprinkle of coarse sugar

ON TOP
plain Greek yogurt
honey
cinnamon

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend all the ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be thick and smooth. Let rest for 30 minutes if you have the time.

Pour the cornbread batter into a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet (a 9 × 13–inch baking dish also works) and bake for 60 minutes, or until the center is set.

With about 10 minutes to go on the cornbread, heat the grill to high. Cut the fruit in half, remove the pit, and brush the flesh with olive oil. Add a sprinkle of sugar. Grill the fruit cut-side down for 3–5 minutes or just long enough to warm the fruit and make some lovely grill marks.

Serve up the grilled stone fruit alongside your almond cornbread. With a spoonful of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and a hit of cinnamon, this makes a fantastic dessert.

Invite some friends over for drinks and dessert! Inspire your dinnertime with more family-style meals from Feed Zone Table.

Feed Zone Table Feed Zone Table includes more than 100 all-new recipes to inspire family-style dinners in a way that nourishes life and sport.

VeloPress
Skratch Labs
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
local booksellers

Complete footnotes and references for studies cited above are available in the print edition of Feed Zone Table.

Feed Zone Table Recipe: Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bolognese

Chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim have returned to the kitchen to champion dinner, the most social meal of the day. In their third cookbook, Feed Zone Table, Biju and Allen offer over 100 all-new recipes to bring friends and family to the table in a way that nourishes life and sport.

Try Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bolognese from Feed Zone Table! Professional cycling teams are served plenty of boiled chicken and overcooked spaghetti when they are traveling from race to race and eating hotel fare. At the 2015 Tour of California, Mark Cavendish requested that we make him some Bolognese. Our team made him a special batch, and he went on to win that day’s stage . . . just saying.

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table. Please contact us to republish this recipe.

Mac & Cheese Bolognese from Feed Zone Table by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim

Serves 6

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni or curly noodles
1 cup minced bacon
1 pound ground beef
½ cup minced onion
½ cup finely diced carrots
½ cup minced celery
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup whole milk
1 large tomato, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, basil, or a mixture)
coarse salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Brown the bacon in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Add the ground beef and continue to cook until browned. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 5–6 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pan.

Add the tomato paste and use a wooden spoon to fully incorporate it, scraping the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the white wine, cooking about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid and let the flavors meld. Turn the heat off and quickly stir in the milk until well combined.

Finish with the diced tomato and fresh herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta and garnish with Parmesan.

You can make dinnertime better right now. Inspire your dinnertime with family-style meals from Feed Zone Table.

Feed Zone Table Feed Zone Table includes more than 100 all-new recipes to inspire family-style dinners in a way that nourishes life and sport.

VeloPress
Skratch Labs
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
local booksellers

Complete footnotes and references for studies cited above are available in the print edition of Feed Zone Table.

Social Eating and the French Paradox Explained?

By Dr. Allen Lim

Adapted with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table by chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim.

We mentioned in this earlier post that one way to understand differences in social eating is by asking those who have little choice in how dinner is served—our children. We showed that Americans have a lot of room for improvement at the dinner table, but that the British are perhaps in even worse shape.

One culture that’s getting it right, though, is the French. The French excel as a nation when it comes to creating consistent and structured meal patterns. A five-year study on French eating patterns found:

  • 97% of the children ate breakfast.
  • 100% had lunch, with most (67 percent) having lunch at home and the rest (33 percent) in their school cafeteria.
  • 88% had a traditional snack after school.
  • And 99% had dinner, almost always at home with all family members (87 percent).

Compared to data from the United States, the French statistics are utopian, especially if we believe that family meals are important to our children’s health and well-being.

Though it’s hard to argue against the benefits of family meals for children, how this relates to the greater public health is another question.

Feed Zone Table by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim

The Heart Speaks Truth

Most studies show that physical inactivity, diabetes, smoking, obesity, hypertension, family history, and a high-fat diet are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The “French paradox” is the observation that the French have extremely low rates of cardiovascular disease despite a high intake of dietary cholesterol and fat.

There are reports that place the total fat consumption of the French in the range of 38–40 percent of total caloric intake, with saturated fat in the realm of 15 percent.50 Despite this high fat consumption, the World Health Organization reports that from 2000 to 2007, the average age-standardized mortality rate in France from heart disease was 8.3 per 100,000. This is second only to Japan, which had a mortality rate from heart disease of 6.4 per 100,000 from 2000 to 2009. In contrast, from 2000 to 2005, the United States had a mortality rate from heart disease of 26.4 per 100,000—a death rate more than three times higher than the French and four times higher than the Japanese.51

There are many explanations for the French paradox which include

  • the possibility of underreporting deaths related to cardiovascular disease,
  • a higher polyphenol intake from red wine, which may be pro­tective to the heart,
  • a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables,
  • more consistent physical activity (i.e., not sitting all day),
  • and a more holistic attitude about food that emphasizes higher quality, more diverse foods, and sharing meals.53

 

Feed Zone Table FZT_600x400_quotes_shift gearsAlthough all of these factors are important and likely play a role in explaining the French paradox, it’s the cultural differences in our attitudes about food and its role in community that I find most interesting. I write more about this in the Introduction to Feed Zone Table.

What’s fascinating is that the differences in cardiovascular disease between the French and Americans aren’t explained by what we eat, especially with respect to total fat and saturated fat. It’s likely that the differences in our cultural attitudes about food play a more important role in this health disparity because they directly shape how we eat.

If there’s one single or culminating behavior that best explains the French paradox, it’s simply that the French eat less than Americans do. In French restaurants, portion sizes are smaller, as are individually wrapped portions of food in French supermarkets. Even French cookbooks list a higher serving number for a given amount of food.

Of note, not only do the French eat less than Americans do, they also take much longer to eat, relishing in the experience rather than just trying to get on with their day.55 How is it that the French eat less but take longer to eat? The simple answer is that the French eat together.56

Eating Alone & Quickly

FZT-Healthy-Diets-BehaviorsIn fact, as studies on French and American family meal frequency and structure clearly demonstrate, the French eat together in orders of magnitude more than Americans do. I can’t help but think that this is a critical though rarely discussed explanation for why Americans die from heart attacks at a rate three times higher than the French. Rarely does someone just linger over a small meal by themselves.

Given the countless factors that are responsible for cardiovascular disease, it may seem far-fetched that one behavior—eating together—may be a key to preventing cardiovascular disease. Certainly the people we eat with can reinforce both negative and positive behaviors.57 So just coming together isn’t enough. Still, France isn’t the only place in the world where the combination of eating with family and a positive social dynamic is linked with a diet-health paradox. Japan’s food culture includes a lot of fast-food eating, but those restaurants are filled with families sharing food and conversation instead of people eating alone and quickly.

What We Eat May Matter Less than How We Eat

What diet-health paradoxes in places like France and Japan demonstrate is that it’s not solely about what one eats when it comes to a society’s health. It’s also about how we eat and who we eat with—that we need both people and food to be fully satiated.

Inspire your dinnertime with family-style meals from Feed Zone Table. Feed Zone Table Feed Zone Table includes more than 100 all-new recipes to inspire family-style dinners in a way that nourishes life and sport.

VeloPress
Skratch Labs
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
local booksellers

Complete footnotes and references for studies cited above are available in the print edition of Feed Zone Table.

Feed Zone Table Recipe: Red Chicken with Baked Biriyani

Chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim have returned to the kitchen to champion dinner, the most social meal of the day. In their third cookbook, Feed Zone Table, Biju and Allen offer over 100 all-new recipes to bring friends and family to the table in a way that nourishes life and sport.

Try Red Chicken with Baked Biriyani from Feed Zone Table! This fragrant and colorful dish can easily feed a large group. Beets were traditionally used in dishes like tandoori chicken to get that vibrant red color. I think you’ll find this made-from-scratch marinade is well worth your time.

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table. Please contact us to republish this recipe.

Red Chicken with Baked Biriyani from FeedZoneTable_BakedBiriyani_0070_JN_1600px

Serves 8

8 chicken drumsticks
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 small red beet, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1½ teaspoons coarse salt
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

BAKED BIRIYANI
3 cups uncooked basmati rice
2 cups water
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
½ cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped cashews or peanuts
2 jalapeños, sliced into thin strips (remove seeds for a milder flavor)
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Prep the chicken by trimming off the excess fat. Remove the nubby ends of the drumsticks with a sharp knife—with a firm whack the ends will pop right off, making it easy to remove the skin and giving the dish a more finished look. Place the drumsticks in a baking dish and set aside.

In a blender or food processor combine the yogurt, beet, ginger, garlic, spices, salt, and purée. The yogurt mixture will be a bright red color.

Thoroughly coat the chicken with the yogurt mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight to let the meat soak up the flavor.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the biriyani, rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Place the rice directly into a large baking dish (approximately 9 × 13–inch). Add the remaining biriyani ingredients and gently stir until the spices are evenly distributed. Cover with foil and place on the middle rack of the oven. Starting the chicken separately in the oven maintains their distinct colors and flavors.

After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, cover the chicken with foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken and the biriyani from the oven. Pour off the excess marinade from the chicken and reserve for serving, if desired. Fluff the biriyani with a wooden spoon and lay the drumsticks on top. Return to the oven to bake uncovered for another 20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Finish with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

You can make dinnertime better right now. Inspire your dinnertime with family-style meals from Feed Zone Table.

Feed Zone Table Feed Zone Table includes more than 100 all-new recipes to inspire family-style dinners in a way that nourishes life and sport.

VeloPress
Skratch Labs
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
local booksellers

Complete footnotes and references for studies cited above are available in the print edition of Feed Zone Table.

Social Meals Are Better for Your Health

by Dr. Allen Lim

Adapted with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table by chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim.

Though many of us intuitively feel that meals with others are beneficial, there is also clear scientific evidence that children who eat more frequently with their families are physically and psychologically better off.

First and foremost, family meals improve the diet quality and long-term eating habits of children.32

Feed Zone Table by Biju Thomas and Allen LimSpecifically, kids who eat more frequently with their families gravitate toward healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables and tend to stay away from unhealthy foods such as soft drinks and fast food. As a result, their intake of fiber is higher, as is their intake of important vitamins and minerals.33 It’s an effect that seems to last well into adulthood, as kids who eat more frequently with their families end up continuing their healthy food choices and eating habits, including cooking at home and eating with others as adults.34 Of note, children who eat the same foods as their parents also have better diets and enjoy their food more. Based on this fact, parents don’t need to give in to the pressure to let picky children demand a separate meal or dictate the entire meal.35

Beyond improving diet, higher family meal frequency may also stem obesity patterns in children. Some data shows that the odds of being obese are greater in kids who eat less frequently with their families.36 But for kids who aren’t already overweight or obese, the chances of becoming obese don’t seem to be related to family meal frequency.37 This relationship, however, may be specific to white children, who show lower odds of being obese with an increase in meal frequency, whereas black or Hispanic children do not seem to incur a protective effect from an increase in family meal frequency.38 Finally, there is also data that does not describe a relationship between weight and family meal frequency, highlighting the fact that childhood obesity is a complex multifactorial problem but not diminishing the idea that family meals can be an important part of the overall solution.39

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano

Feed Zone Table FZT_600x400_quotes_wearewhoThe most striking benefit of family meals, however, is not just physical—it’s psychological. Kids who eat more frequently with their families have lower rates of eating disorders such as binge eating, purging, or anorexia.40 They exhibit less high-risk behavior, including substance abuse, violent acts, sexual promiscuity, and disciplinary problems at school.41 High family meal frequency is also related to improved self-esteem and academic performance.42 Frequent family meals are also associated with lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts. Interestingly, the positive effect of family meals seems to be greater in girls than in boys, especially for factors such as disordered eating.43

Much of this psychosocial benefit may be explained by the simple fact that family meals improve communication between parents and their children.44 Essentially, family meals give parents an opportunity to actually parent. In fact, it is thought that eating with our children is the basis for how we teach them basic social skills, ethics, language, and culture. For example, at only 12 months of age, young babies point at objects at the dinner table, not only because they want something but also because they want to share an experience. Not only do babies want to share food, they want to share emotions and a sense of belonging. From the very start of human life, eating together is essential to figuring out our basic relationship to others and the world.45

You can make dinnertime better right now. Inspire your dinnertime with family-style meals from Feed Zone Table.

Feed Zone TableFeed Zone Table includes more than 100 all-new recipes to inspire family-style dinners in a way that nourishes life and sport.

VeloPress
Biju’s Little Curry Shop
Skratch Labs
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo
local booksellers

Complete footnotes and references for studies cited above are available in the print edition of Feed Zone Table.

 

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