Welcome to Ask Fatty Felicity, the write-in column where you get to ask all your burning questions about Fat, Diet, and the Meaning of Life! Let’s get right to today’s burning questions, shall we?
Fatty Felicity, what a lovely name. Is it in reference to your personal tonnage statistics?
Thank you, Jenny. In fact, I’ve taken this name in reference to my favorite food group, fat. Contrary to popular expectation, increasing my daily fat intake from around 30 grams a day to 200 and switching from “heart-healthy” oils to saturated fats like coconut oil and butter has been very good for me. It has helped me lose 145 pounds, put on muscle, and improve all my markers for good health–from cholesterol levels to blood pressure.
Fatty Felicity, I’m in a quandry. I’ve been invited to a friend’s party and I think the only things to eat will be nachos and pizza. Should I take up a life of monasticism?
Artimus, Artimus. Let’s leave the extremes for the vegans, shall we? There’s no reason to avoid people or parties. Here’s some handy tips for you, though:
1. Have you considered offering to bring some food to help out? Then you can bring something both you and everyone else can enjoy.
2. Are you sure you have to eat? Unless it’s actually a dinner party, there’s an excellent chance no one will even notice. People are usually paying less attention to you than you think/hope. Eat something filling and healthy before you go and you should be fine.
3. If you have to eat, there are things you can do. Eat the toppings and cheese off the pizza and reject the crust–in fact you might find someone who only eats crust to share it with. I’ve met many of these asylum escapees myself.
4. Remember to be a pleasant and thoughtful guest. If you help the hostess clean up a little, or spend a few minutes talking with that Oddball that got the pity-invite and no one else wants to be around, that’s what she’ll remember you fondly for. Not that you didn’t eat her nachos.
Speaking of vegans, Fatty Felicity, can I be friends with one?
Fatty Felicity recommends loving others no matter how insane they might be. Try to remember that the longer your friend is a vegan, the more insane he gets. Without essential animal fats and proteins, his brain and hormone production capacity are growing more compromised every day. This can lead to crankiness. Try not to take it personally, and always leave your phone on and an emergency butter stick in the fridge: in case he calls and is ready to talk.
Fatty Felicity, sometimes my friends go to Burger King. What’s the healthiest thing to eat there?
I’m so glad you asked! Fast food isn’t health food, so let’s not delude ourselves. But it’s not going to kill us to go there once in a while, and there are things you can eat that won’t make you feel horrible! I think you already know to avoid things like tiny shreds of chicken coated in enormous, bready batters and fried in toxic oil. You’ll be happy to know that Burger King has a gluten sensitive list where you can find out what unexpected foods aren’t full of hidden wheat–certain salad dressings for example. We also find there, much to our joy, that their hamburger patties don’t use grain as a binder (a common trick) and their fries are actually mostly just potatoes, unlike a certain fast food restaurant with a Giant Ugly Clown which shall remain nameless, which adds “natural beef flavor” to their fries. The “natural beef flavor” comes from milk and wheat. So if it was me, I’d order two bacon double cheeseburgers and toss the buns. If I was feeling particularly like a treat, I might go for the BBQ Bacon Whopper, toss the buns, but have a small order of fries. You only live once.
But Fatty Felicity, wouldn’t natural beef flavor come from beef?
So you would think.
I want to make ice cream, but I want to minimize my whey and lactose because they make me gain weight and feel bloated and have sugar crashes. What do I do, Fatty Felicity?
This is one of the great questions of our time. We want our ice cream, but we don’t want our sugar crash. We want the creaminess and deliciousness, but not the baggage that can sometimes come with milk products. What do we do!?
Until now this question has not been satisfactorily solved. But never fear: Fatty Felicity is on the job. Although Fatty Felicity herself has few dairy issues, her good friend doesn’t do well with too much of it. And the great problem with ice cream is the milk.
Ok, well, the great problem is actually the sugar, soy products, and low fat nonsense that goes into most modern ice cream. The first “ice cream” was literally that: cream (the richest, fattiest part of the milk), often combined with egg yolks, cooled down with ice. One of the earliest recipes we have written down in English comes from The Experienced English Housekeeper. Written in 1769, it calls for 2 cups of heavy, scalded cream and 1/2 C of sugar. This is the base, to which all kinds of fruit, vanilla, or chocolate can be added. Most people at that time also added egg yolks. Note the number of ingredients.
Now let’s take a look at the number of ingredients in a popular current brand of vanilla ice cream: Edy’s Grand French Vanilla. This is the good stuff, too; the stuff that has egg and real cream and everything. It has sixteen ingredients at least, since the number of “natural flavors” is not specified. And while a serving of Edy’s will give you 17g of carbs with only 7g of fat to cushion its delivery to your system–and plenty of extra junk you don’t need to go along with it–the original ice cream recipe above, with eggs, will give you only 10g of carbs and 25g of fat to fill you up and slow the absorption of the sugar. You’ll also be blessed with no other nutritionally useless things like carrageenan, guar gum, soy, or carob beans. Just three ingredients. If nothing else, at 25g of fat you might actually be satisfied with just 1/2 C––the ridiculously small serving size specified on Edy’s ice cream, which no normal humans eats with that type of ice cream. Even worse is Edy’s more popular Slow Churned French Vanilla, which is “healthier” because it’s “low-fat.” You get about the same amount of sugar, but only half the fat to protect you and fill you up–meaning you’re even more likely to keep eating .
Those are the main problems with modern ice cream–way too much sugar for way too little fat, and far too many unnecessary additives. That we can fix by just making it the old-fashioned way. But for some people, there’s another problem. That’s the dairy. Whether you’re the kind of person who overreacts to lactose or whey and puts on 5 pounds just by looking too long at a glass of milk, or you’re the kind of person who just generally feels bloated and blah from too much milk or cream, is there a way to rescue your favorite dessert?
The simplest way is to try using raw milk and cream. Many people have zero issues with unpasteurized, fresh dairy.
If that doesn’t work for you, the most common fix is to use coconut milk. Coconut milk is not a cop-out. It’s not sitting around a gluten-free pizza or Atkins peanut butter cups and pretending to be eating the real thing. It IS the real thing. Here’s why: the thing that makes ice cream so wondrous and gives it that texture you love? Why that’s fat. Saturated fat, to be specific. That’s why Edy’s has to put garbage in their ice cream. To save money, and also make it seem “healthier,” they’re using skim milk. Skim milk “ice cream” has nothing like the texture of actual ice cream, so numerous additives are used to give it the right mouth feel. The reason coconut milk works beautifully in ice cream is that it is very high in saturated fat, just like dairy-fat.
The problem is entirely proportional, and the answer is in mathematics. Cream varies in fat content but should be around 35-40%. Whole milk is about 4.4% fat. In your ice cream, if your proportion of fat is too high, what you get is just “really cold butter-like lump.” Air doesn’t have room to incorporate and the results are unsatisfactory. Thus milk is added to water down the cream a bit and make the ice cream hold air better. If you like your ice cream dense and creamy, you might be wanting a fat content of nearly 40%. If you like it light and airy, you’ll want it closer to 28%. I personally like mine around 35%.
Coconut milk is 24% fat, so using it alone will give you an airy, but not un-delicious, ice cream. If you want it really dense and creamy, coconut milk alone might disappoint. If that’s you, you can add some extra fat. MCT oil is a great choice. It’s an energizing fat that stays in liquid form fairly well. A dollop of that added to your base will up your fat content and make it smooth and creamy. Try adding 4 tablespoons of MCT oil to this coffee coconut milk ice cream recipe, and you’ll knock the fat content from 24% up to 29%.
The only other thing to be aware of with coconut milk is that the fat is not homogenized like dairy-fat, and therefore it can sometimes become a little grainy in your ice cream machine. There’s a way to fix that: just heat your coconut milk up to a simmer and blend it well. That will break up the fat globules and keep it smooth. And honestly you should be doing this anyway, because what you should be making is a coconut milk version of frozen custard. Frozen custard should have egg yolks. These lend creaminess, act as a binder, and improve the whole texture and nutritional profile of your ice cream. For example, add just a little MCT oil to this recipe and you would have coconut milk custard magic.
But Fatty Felicity, I really love dairy and only the whole milk bothers me. Can’t I have a recipe that uses real, creamy dairy, but doesn’t use milk?
Sure! I’ve been working on this a while. What I’d really love to use would be butter, but butter has gone through a molecular change that renders it unfit for use as ice cream. This change cannot be undone. But by happy accident I recently stumbled upon mascarpone.
Fatty Felicity, are you stupid? Mascarpone is a cheese.
The shelves of the import stores of Asia are stocked at the whims of the wind. We have a hard and fast rule here: if you see it, buy it. What happens is that suddenly they’ve got Tillamook cheese. Yum! But you don’t buy any because you don’t need it. Three weeks later you decide you need cheese and you’d like that brand. You go to the import store and it’s gone.
No one knows what you’re talking about. No, they will never have it back again. How did they get it? No one knows, but it probably involved Wang’s cousin Li who talked to his Uncle Zhou who works down at customs and has a sideline in refusing passage to a certain amount of goods each month, which are then “lost” by falling accidentally into the bed of Uncle Zhou’s associate Ming’s truck and taken to certain stores to be sold at 100% profit for Uncle Zhou and a tidy sum for Ming and Wang.
Anyway, I was making cheesecake and no cream cheese was to be had that day. I’d heard that mascarpone is often used as a substitute for cream cheese, so I got that instead. I made the cheesecake, and it was absolutely meh. I was disappointed. The cake tasted like it was made of cream instead of cream cheese. But that gave me another idea: why couldn’t you just use mascarpone instead of heavy cream? After all, mascarpone is just heavy cream slightly coagulated by adding citric acid and then strained through cheesecloth. So slightly coagulated that you can barely tell.
And I was in need of cream. Only one brand of pure cream had been available here–Bulla’s “Pure Cream” from Australia. It was delightful, and then one day it disappeared only to be replaced with Bulla’s new “Original Cream.” This made me very suspicious. What was wrong with the “Pure Cream?” It was just…cream. It was amazing. Sure enough, the “Original Cream” now contained three kinds of completely unnecessary additives, two of which commonly cause gastrointestinal problems.
But I’ll bet you it’s cheaper for Bulla to make.
I wrote to Bulla and received a delightfully corporate-esce response:
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the Bulla Pure Cream
We have replaced our Bulla Pure Cream with Original, to reflect its heritage as one of the first cream products Bulla made.
So mascarpone is my new cream. The fat content of good mascarpone is approximately 75%. This is as much as you can get before you have to call it butter. And it is very, very low in whey, lactose, and anything else that normally bothers people about dairy. Most soft cheeses are quite high in lactose, and it is solely the way it is made that makes mascarpone the exception. Just make sure your mascarpone is not low-fat and check the ingredient list. It should have no added milk.
So here I present to you my full-of-creamy-dairy-but-yet-low-lactose-no-milk Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream recipe. It was developed through an extremely difficult process of forcing The Roommate to do math calculations for me until I got just the right consistency. Enjoy–and if you don’t fancy cinnamon and cayenne in your ice cream, by all means leave them out.
Full-of-Creamy-Dairy-Yet-No-Milk Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
1 1/3 C mascarpone cheese
1/3 C coconut milk
1 C water
1/2 C coconut sugar (or slightly less than that of maple syrup or honey)
6 egg yolks
2 oz chopped fine dark chocolate
2 T good quality cocoa
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cayenne pepper
dash of salt
Simmer your mascarpone, water, coconut milk, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, cayenne and sweetener together slowly. Stir frequently till mascarpone is completely mixed in. The longer it simmers gently together, the richer the flavors. Add chopped chocolate and stir to combine. Meanwhile, whip egg yolks thoroughly. When the mascarpone base is completely mixed and simmered, VERY SLOWLY pour a pencil-thin stream into your eggs, whipping like mad all the while. Continue till at least half your mascarpone base is mixed with the eggs. Then pour eggs back into saucepan and reheat just till it starts to simmer. Do not boil. Chill and use your ice cream maker.
Was it good, you ask?