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Jewish World Review August 2, 2002 / 24 Menachem-Av, 5762

Andy Rooney

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Consumer Reports

The more you eat ... | What follows is a list of the 10 best tastes.

No. 1: SUGAR. This sweetener is at the top of the taste list even though too much of it is cloying and unpleasant. It's the most important ingredient in many things we eat - even things we don't consider sweet. I've just made a loaf of bread with six cups of flour. No one wants sweet bread, but I put a full tablespoon of sugar in the flour because of what sugar does for the yeast.

No. 2: SALT. Without salt, anything is tasteless. I like a little too much salt; two tablespoons in the bread.

(Too much sugar or too much salt is bad for us, but one of the things we all recognize is the direct relationship between how good something tastes and how bad it is for us. The better it tastes, the worse it is for us. There is some eternal equation.)

No. 3: BUTTER. Nothing improves the taste of anything as much as butter. Fake butter was an unfortunate invention and it isn't much cheaper or any better for you than the real thing.

No. 4: BREAD. It is with some hesitation that I put bread on the list because commercial bread in the United States is terrible. How it ever happened that the French eat such great bread every day and Americans eat such bad bread is a mystery.

A great bread-maker in the Bronx, named Terranova, makes a round loaf so hard you can drum on it with your fingers. When I asked him what he put in his bread to make it so good, he said. "It's what I (ital) don't (end ital) put in it that makes it good."

In spite of the waxed-paper-wrapped mush in the supermarkets, almost every city or town has a good bakery where you can get real bread. You can tell a good restaurant before you eat your meal by the bread they serve.

No. 5: CHOCOLATE. Clearly one of the 10 best tastes, chocolate is another thing Europeans make better than we do. A chocolate bar from Belgium, Germany, Switzerland or even England, is better than one made here. Vanilla is a good taste but not as important as chocolate. Chocolate is important.

No. 6: CHICKEN. Chicken not only tastes good but it's also cheap and can be cooked in a thousand different ways. It can be baked, fried, deep-fried, stewed or broiled. It's the best leftover you can have in your refrigerator.

No. 7: STEAK: I'm embarrassed to have it on the list but can't leave it off.

No. 8: POTATO. The taste of potato isn't good or bad until you do something with it. You can bake potatoes, mash them, boil them, fry or deep fry them. You can scallop them and if you're good in the kitchen, souffle them.

No. 9: PASTA. If you have a variety of pastas in the cupboard, you never have to worry about dinner. You can find something in the refrigerator or on the shelf to go with whatever pasta you have on hand. Just don't overcook it.

No. 10: RICE. Rice is on my personal 10 best foods list. Basmati rice is best. Use only a cup and a half of water to a cup of rice.

No. 11: ONION and GARLIC. I know I said 10, but I can't leave either of these out.

Maybe this was a bad idea. I'm up to 11 and I haven't mentioned the tastes of orange, lemon, tomato, strawberries, peanuts or eggs. I haven't even mentioned two of the world's great tastes: vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, or a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich - without chocolate sauce.

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© 2002, TMS