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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Oprah's bacon-is-OK diet, halal chicken, sale on organics, Icelandic fish and more

This photo of Oprah Winfrey ran with a Dec. 22, 2016, story on People.com, reporting she lost more than 40 pounds on a Weight Watchers diet (she also happens to be part-owner of the company).


Have you seen Oprah Winfrey on that Weight Watchers TV commercial claiming "you can have whatever you want," even bacon, and lose weight?

I'm not the only one taking her claims with a grain of salt:

The billionaire media magnate bought a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers International for $43 million in late 2015 -- netting an immediate $70 million profit from the resulting stock increase, according to one account -- and agreed to serve as a promoter of its services. 

Still, telling overweight viewers they can eat bacon is awful, given how much pigs suffer on industrial farms and how the vast majority of fatty bacon contains harmful antibiotics and preservatives.

Plus, the saturated fat in bacon has the potential to clog your arteries.

A page from The Costco Connection magazine, which is promoting a cookbook from Oprah Winfrey.

Maui and truffles

Another side of Oprah is shown in a cover story for The Costco Connection, a lifestyle magazine for members of the discount warehouse club.

"Oprah Winfrey dishes on food, health and life," one of the headlines says.

The article in the January 2017 issue reports her new book, "Food, Health and Happiness," contains 115 recipes.

Her favorite dish in the book, she confesses, is pasta with truffles, which only the wealthy can afford.

In photos, Oprah is shown on her ranch in Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, shelling peas and serving lunch to guests in her vegetable garden.

Bacon isn't mentioned.

Just because a chicken is halal or kosher doesn't mean it was raised naturally. This halal chicken is labeled "all natural" and "hand raised on family farms," but nowhere does the label state it was raised without harmful human antibiotics.
At the ShopRite in Paramus, the whole halal chicken was displayed next to a Coleman Organic Chicken, right, and the first thing listed on the Coleman label is "no antibiotics ... ever."
Also at the Paramus ShopRite, I couldn't find a creole seasoning that is made without lots of salt, above and below.
Salt is the first ingredient in Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, and just a quarter-teaspoon contains 15 percent of the daily recommended intake of sodium.
Costco Wholesale in Teterboro is having a sale on packaged and bottled organics through Feb. 19. A 59-ounce bottle of Suja, an organic fruit-and-vegetable drink, was $6.69 after an instant $2.30 coupon.
The ingredients in Suja, a refreshing juice with a pronounced taste of ginger. The label says, "It's like a farmer's market in a bottle!"
Above, two 25-ounce bottles of Paesana Premium Organic Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce were reduced to $4.99. They contain no added sugar, unlike another item at Costco, Bertolli Organic Pasta Sauce, below.

A 64-ounce bottle of Organic Acai Juice is on sale for $5.99.
The ingredients in Sambazon-brand Organic Acai Juice.
Costco stocks two of Italy's great hard cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano, made from cow's milk, above; and Pecorino Romano, from sheep's milk, below. Slices of both aged cheeses are perfect with dried or fresh fruit for dessert.
Although the Kirkland Signature cheeses aren't on sale, Costco's price per pound is lower than at any other store I know. The Pecorino Romano label suggest coarsely grating the cheese over grilled vegetables, pasta dishes "and more."
On a snowy Tuesday morning, shopping at the Teterboro warehouse was a pleasure. Aisles were uncrowded, I didn't have to wait at a checkout counter and only one member was in front of me at the food court.
The Teterboro Costco also is a reliable source of fresh fish from Iceland, such as the skinless-and-boneless haddock fillets I picked up on Tuesday for $8.99 a pound, and prepared at home for dinner. Ingredients included Asian Indian spices, kale, enoki mushrooms, organic diced tomatoes, pitted olives, fresh lemon juice and grated Parmesan Cheese.

I started with a large rectangular pan lined with parchment paper and filled with triple-washed Organic Kale (a 1.5-pound bag from Costco was $4.79).
I drizzled the kale with Greek extra-virgin olive oil, above, and added a little salt, then followed with the spice-coated fish fillets and the other ingredients, squeezing fresh lemon juice over everything.
I put the pan into a preheated 400-degree oven and the Fish & Vegetable Medley was ready in 15 minutes.
A little over a week ago, I made another Fish & Vegetable Medley with fresh Atlantic cod fillets from Iceland ($7.99 a pound at Costco), and fresh spinach, below. You can buy a Fish & Vegetable Medley ready to pop into your oven at home at The Fish Dock, a shop that sells fresh Icelandic fish and other seafood on Closter Dock Road in Closter.

A delicious Titan Roll from Maguro Sushi House in Rochelle Park is made with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, cooked egg, avocado, cucumber and spicy sauce ($8.63). Maguro's sushi rolls, seaweed salad and other items are available in the cafeteria at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, both customers and employees shivered inside H Mart, the Korean supermarket in Little Ferry, where it felt as cold in the store as it did outside. Workers wore coats, scarves or gloves to stay warm. I called the marketing department at the chain's Lyndhurst headquarters, were a woman named Sofia said the heat is turned down to keep produce on display as fresh as possible.

For past coverage of food shopping, restaurants and related topics, see: