What's in your basket?

'This is my basket for a lazy, stay-at-home Sunday. I've been cooking for a living for over 25 years, so there's no question of elaborate, preparation-heavy meals. At my restaurant (Les Halles, New York) I may be a hyperactive control-freak, but at home I get in touch with my inner lazy hippie. I do NOT want to find myself scrubbing out a lot of dirty pots or packing tuna tartare into metal rings - that's work, not play. I want to stay as close to comatose as possible - the whole day.

I'll usually have a toasted bagel with Philadelphia cream cheese and Nova smoked salmon for breakfast, while I read the papers: The New York Times for what's happening - and the NY Post for fun. The newspapers can serve as a handy-dandy tablecloth spread over the bed to protect it from dripped sauce. I'll spend some time writing and smoking Marlboro Reds followed by down-time smoking weed and watching TV in bed. A ham sandwich looms as a lunch possibility along with a bottle of Kronenbourg beer - I would prefer to drink Guinness, but only on tap and only in Dublin.

If I get the munchies, I have two Krispy Kreme donuts. And I love slow-stewed and braised dishes made from the less lovely cuts of meat. Veal shank is one of my favourites. For dinner, I'll make Osso Bucco Milanese with saffron risotto, garnished with freshly grated orange zest and herbs. I love how this dish goes on the fire raw and ugly and mellows into something wonderful. It's easy, needs only two pots, and - except for the risotto - can simmer while I doze, nap, watch the latest trial on Court TV. I'll make the risotto at the last minute. Like all great stews, it tastes better the next day, so I'll look forward to leftovers which I can add an egg yolk to with some orange zest, flour, egg wash and fresh bread crumbs from the baguette - and I'll make arancini di riso : little fried rice balls, for a snack.'


Foods based on refined wheat flour such as this tend to precipitate surges in the hormone insulin, which in turn can cause an assortment of undesirable effects including weight gain, raised levels of unhealthy blood fats, and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Bagel, schmagel, I say.

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Doughnuts are made from refined sugar and starch, and will almost certainly contain a hefty dose of heart-stopping trans fats too. From a health perspective, this American invention is about as close to a weapon of mass destruction as one is ever likely to find.

Philadelphia cream cheese

Soft cheeses and many processed foods can contain a fair dose of trans fatty acids. Excessive consumption of trans fatty acids is thought to be an instigator of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.


Weight for weight, French bread releases sugar almost as quickly into the bloodstream as pure sugar. The refining process also denudes the flour on which this bread is based of much of its fibre and nutrients. Generally, I'm enthusiastic about the traditional French diet, but see the baguette as a bit of an aberration that is best consumed in limited quantities only.

Nova Smoked Salmon

Salmon is a fish naturally rich in omega-3 fats that have been linked with a range of benefits including relative protection from heart disease, prostate cancer and depression. This smoked salmon is probably the healthiest item in Anthony's basket.


Pork is usually an intensively reared meat, and its transformation to ham may taint it with quantities of salt, sugar and chemical additives. Roast organic pork (with an optional dab of mustard for taste) would be a better meat for Anthony to pig out on.


Even quite modest alcohol intakes seem to have been linked with a hastening of our demise. However, I do think this should be taken in the context of the diet as a whole. Unfortunately, in Anthony's case, there seems to be little cause for comfort in this respect.

Risotto rice

Another refined starch that is likely to destabilise the body's chemistry and has precious little to offer in other respects. However, I think Anthony is doing the right thing by using this fodder as an accompaniment to, rather than the basis for, a meal.

Marlboro Reds

Cigarette smoking, apart from its well-known life-curtailing effects, may dull the senses of taste and smell. Anthony's tobacco habit may erode his enjoyment of food.


Marijuana is renowned for its ability to stimulate the appetite, and generally for fat and sugar-laden fare such as Krispy Kreme Donuts.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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