Saturday, 3 August 2013

Things we didn't really need to know

I love the BBC website, especially its "10 Things We Didn't Know Last Week" articles in the magazine section:  There are all sorts of fascinating discoveries.

For a start, Penn State University Pennsylvania have come to the conclusion that fish with interesting surroundings are brainier.  If your little goldfish is swimming around in his tank with only your living room as a stimulant and you spend most of your time on your mobile or in front of the television, it is very probable that little goldfish is something of a nerd.  Put colourful toys into his water and watch his IQ rise.

Another interesting fact highlighted in a New York Times article ( - go to the Europe section on 31/7/2013) is that the French eat less baguettes than they used to.  French men eat only half a baguette a day compared to a whole baguette in 1970 and more than three baguettes in 1900.  Women eat around a third less than men.  The French bakers and millers association are getting worried and have started a campaign to get people to buy bread - if you speak French you can visit their website (have you picked up the bread? for non-French scholars)  They point out that good bread is part of French civilization. Eating bread is better than eating chocolate, they reason.  Sitting round a table and talking over a meal of baguettes and (presumably) typical French food promotes conviviality.  If you buy a baguette on your way home from work it means that you have thought of your family and show your love for them.  Heady stuff.  But we expect the French to be romantic, don't we?

My theory on the baguette issue is that nowadays there are so many different kinds of food to tempt us that we don't always have to reach for the bread loaf.  But the French do have a point.  Instead of grabbing that McD burger or a Chinese takeaway, how about we buy a crusty loaf of bread and whip up a healthy salad, which after all boils down (no pun intended)  to washing a head of lettuce and cutting up a few tomatoes and a cucumber.  Maybe get some cold chicken at the deli.  Break out the chilled wine and the meal is perfect.  Yummy.  I just made myself hungry.  Bon appetit.

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