When it comes to food fads, life can be terribly confusing. One minute the doctors are telling us that eating butter will blow our cholesterol sky high and we must avoid it like the plague. The next? Butter is hailed as a hero in a world of margarine scare stories.
Meat is good for us, meat is bad for us. We'll become mad cows. We need to eat more iron. Too many carrots will turn us orange, or help us see in the dark. Listeria from dodgy salad leaves will turn us green…bean sprouts are top sources of protein. Bean sprouts give us botulism. It seems that whatever we do, we just can't win.
In the last week or so yet another food-stuff story was splashed across the headlines. But this time, it was good news for a change. Fried food is not bad for your heart after all, it appears. It is true that your choice of oil is crucial - but get it right and you can sauté in sunflower, or sizzle in olive til the cows come home.
So "hurrah" cry generations of deep-fried Mars Bar lovers north of the border. "Huzzah", fish and chip lovers the length and breadth of Britain shout.
"Oy vey, the relief", those of us for whom Chanucah is a battle of weight-watching versus will power - with the score somehow ending up at eight nil in favour of the doughnuts, year after year after year.
Latkes you know are practically a health food
So who has come up with these latest findings? Scientists studying the typical Spanish diet, in which the "healthy" oils are used in abundance, yet "no heightened risk of heart disease or premature death linked to food" could be found. And this can surely only be good news for those of us partial to a bit of festive feasting.
The latke? Dripping in grease perhaps, but didn't you know it's practically a health food?
The honey cake? Yup, chock full of healthy oil - I'm only forcing myself to eat two pieces of it in order to stay fit. Kneidlach, smeidlach… matzah meal, egg and sunflower margarine. Which is surely made from sunflower oil? I rest my case.
Of course the calorific catastrophe caused by this new discovery is something not to be ignored. But it's great to know that while we're piling on
the pounds, our hearts are still going to be happy
I'm wondering what breakthroughs we might read about next? We already know that chicken soup is good for the soul, a cure-all for everything from broken legs to broken hearts. So surely it can only be a matter of time before someone discovers that chopped liver is a superfood. That lokshen holds the key to longevity. Or that brisket is the cure for chicken pox.
I figure that if we wait long enough there's bound to be good news surrounding all of our traditional favourites. But perhaps there's no harm in pushing things along a bit. Anyone out there who fancies funding a study on shmaltz?