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Journal of No. 118

May 4th, 2009

The dangers of increasing mass @ 04:41 pm

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Researchers comparing the current Joy of Cooking to its 1936 first edition discovered that "The average calories per serving increased for 17 of 18 recipes and were influenced by both changes in ingredients and changes in serving size. The resulting increase by 168.8 calories difference (from 268.1±57.7 to 436.9 ± 77.8 calories) representing a 63.0% percent increase (P < .001) in calories per serving."

I finished Phil Plait's Death from the Skies! Plait blogs Bad Astronomy, which means he's The Bad Astronomer without (so far as I know) being a bad astronomer. The book details the many ways in which the universe can kill us all, from asteroids and supernovae to the final boring end of the universe. I enjoyed the book, but found it a little frustrating. It told me more than I did know, but not as much as I could know. But that's probably only because I have a physics degree or two and wanted more detail than really ought to be in a popular science book.
If you're a compulsive worrier, you may not want this book.
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Date:May 5th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
Earlier recipes were often for more people - families bigger, etc. I wonder how many of the Joy of Cooking recipes had their serving sizes increase because they didn't bother changing the recipe, just the number of servings a recipe makes?
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Date:May 5th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
That doesn't appear to be the case. The linked paper (though it's a crummy .doc file) has a table at the back.

Total calories per recipe (not just per serving) increased 43.7%

And servings per recipe were relatively unchanged, down 2%.

[Which means there had to be a weird interplay with some recipes getting more servings and other getting fewer, and somehow the average turned out really bad. Either that or the guy did the study wrong.]

Edited at 2009-05-05 12:32 am (UTC)
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 5th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
I can testify that in the Joy of Cooking edition I have (less than a decade old), most of the serving sizes are too large. The recipes which make "4-6 servings" really make something more like 8-10 servings. Of course I still usually double or triple them, but then I'm kinda weird in that I'm usually cooking for 20-30!

Journal of No. 118