Eight (not so) silly questions you ask yourself about food during the holidays

Oysters, champagne, foie gras… These foods that the French like to taste at Christmas or New Year are also inexhaustible topics of discussion during the long New Year’s Eve meals. We have listed some recurring questions about party plates.

Cool, is it really that bad?

It depends on

What is bad are the saturated fatty acids contained in animal fat, palm oil and trans, present in processed products… The American Food and Drug Regulatory Agency (FDA) will ban artificial trans fatty acids from foods in the United States of America by 2018.

But all doctors say it: fat should not be removed; it is necessary to diversify its sources (fish, dried fruit, olive oil, etc.) and consume it in moderation. The lipids or fats in food are essential for our body to function correctly, to produce good cholesterol and limit the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lipids are classified into eight categories, including the famous fatty acids (such as omega 3), such as found in salmon. Organic, but the latter revealed higher levels of mercury and arsenic poisoning than in conventional salmon … but that’s another story.

also read Quiz: As an aperitif, black olive or green olive? Test your knowledge about the amount of fat in our foods

Can you overdose on sugar?

No, except…

During the holidays, the dose of sugar greatly exceeds the recommendations: in addition to chocolate, firewood, candied chestnuts, it is absorbed in many agro-industrial products and even in charcuterie.

Tolerance to overeating varies from person to person, but usually the only consequence of a sugar overdose is digestive problems. Nausea, heaviness in the stomach, gastric reflux… nothing very pleasant, but the vital functions will not be activated.

On the other hand, if you are diabetic, you may not be able to lower blood sugar levels in case of hyperglycemia. The resulting metabolic disturbance can then cause disturbances of consciousness up to coma.

Before reaching this stage, the body will try to eliminate excess sugar, which manifests itself in an increased need to urinate. This increase in the amount of urine results in water loss, there is a risk of dehydration. “Hyperglycemic increases” are also dangerous for the arteries: heart, kidneys, legs and eyes.

Has caviar always been expensive?

No, there was even a “crash”

You can call it the caviar “crash”: the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) in the early 1990s created a veritable tsunami in the market for precious black grains. Institutional supply networks have been turned upside down, the populations of the Caspian Sea have plunged to the oar. The black market intensified and prices fell.

The caviar then dropped to… 700 francs per kilo, or about 100 euros. Today it rarely goes below 1,000 euros per kilo, or even twice that in prestigious houses.

The reason for these price differences: overproduction, due to the generalization of animal husbandry (China has thus become the world’s largest producer). Which is quite reassuring for nature reserves: the frenzied exploitation of the 1990s had led to the drying up of the resource and the banning of all marketing of wild caviar in 1998.

Foie gras: don’t the French have a heart?

It is complicated

The French are not completely insensitive, with 51% in favor of the ban on force-feeding ducks and geese for ethical reasons linked to animal suffering, according to a poll for L214.

But, paradoxically, another CSA survey, carried out for Cifog, interprofessional foie gras, ensures that 93% of them regularly consume this product, which remains closely associated with the holidays.

Is champagne French?

Not so easy

Indeed, champagne is a jewel of French oenological culture, protected by a controlled designation of origin, vigorously defended by the Interprofessional Committee of Champagne Wines (CIVC). But several champagne houses have German-sounding names: Heidsieck, Mumm, Deutz, Krug or Bollinger…

Several of these names are employees of estates belonging to French aristocratic families who believed that a mercantile business was dishonorable: these employees from Germany, especially cellar masters, borrowed their name to indicate the company’s company name.

Another explanation: “Champagne sales in most countries of the world still remained in the 19th centurye century a difficult adventure (…), most merchants used the services of traveling salesmen from Germany, and these often played a decisive role in the expansion of the houses when they did not take over the management.”explains CIVC.

also read Article reserved for our subscribers When champagne spoke German

How many liters does a jeroboam hold?

3 liters

There are several different sizes of bottles, bottles whose names have strange biblical overtones: jeroboam, rehaboam, salmanazar… Names of kings in ancient Persia, thus referring to the Magi and their gifts.

Some have thought about the difficulty of remembering them and have come up with a mnemonic formula:

“Because early in the morning I hardly noticed its natural banality”

Consider the first syllable of the following nouns: quarter / half / bottle / magnum / jeroboam / rehoboam / methuselah / salmanazar / balthazar / nebuchadnezzar.

In reality, this phrase does not cover all the sizes listed by the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine, which are 15 in number.

Do mixed alcohols make you sick?


Mixing different types of alcohol carries no additional risk other than consuming a larger amount of pure alcohol, the Alcohol Info Service website confirms. On the other hand, combining alcohol with other substances (drugs, medicines, energy drinks) can lead to unpredictable and dangerous effects.

There is only one substance that, along with alcohol, has beneficial effects on health: it is food. The type of food consumed also plays an important role. “The fattier the food, the slower the alcohol passes from the stomach to the intestine and the longer it takes for the alcohol to be assimilated, lowering a person’s BAC”, explains the Quebec site Educ’alcool. Be careful, a meal that is too high in calories will cause the intestinal disorders described above.

Subsidiary question: what is the saying worth “White on red, nothing moves, red on white, everything disappears” ? This formula seems to respond to considerations less digestive than taste, the Hachette Wine Guide describes: “The more noticeable liveliness of white wines dictates this order of serving. This is to avoid the return of acidity at the end of the meal. A white wine, especially if it is dry, then appears with an unpleasant greenness, especially with dessert. »

Can you really find pearls in oysters?

It is rare, but it is possible

You can be the happy discoverer of a mother of pearl by opening one of your oysters. The pearl is originally a grain of sand that slipped into the shell, the interior of which is covered with mother of pearl. The oyster gradually covers the foreign body with this white material, which layer by layer will slowly transform into a fine pearl.

These pearls are sold to form jewelry, but don’t expect to become a millionaire: they are worth a few hundred euros at most. Especially since the pearls from edible oysters are considered to be of lower quality than those produced by other molluscs. Most pearls on the market are cultured (artificial insemination of a nucleon to produce one pearl per oyster).

Read again: Oysters, rosé, hot drinks… the questions we ask ourselves about what we swallow in summer

Bonuses: Should we eat more when it’s cold? Are vitamins used to fight infections? A small glass, it warms up, right? Find the (not so) stupid questions about cold and food.

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