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December 18, 2012

Fatty liver

Filed under: Asian Food,Dieting,Mr. Henry — Mr. Henry @ 12:54 pm

Men, if you think hair loss, knee pain, backache, a pot belly and manboobs will be the most fearful consequences of old age, add one more specter to the list: a fatty liver.


Mr. Henry has one. (The wags might say Mr. Henry is one.) The discovery of this ticklish condition, however, has led to a new diet breakthrough.

Mr. Henry’s surefire weight loss method. Lose ten pounds in ten weeks!

How? You ask how?

First, develop an undiagnosable digestive disorder preventing you from eating more than appetizer portions at one sitting. Coffee, cheese, or anything fatty gives you nausea and stomach cramp, so they’re off the menu until further notice. Because your liver has grown fatty, your gastroenterologist will advise you to limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day. (You can sneak another, but don’t tell Dr. Romeu.)

Second, when the child goes off to camp for three weeks, prepare nothing at home more ambitious than salad with something grilled tossed on top (and maybe a little green tea). If you go out to eat, order only the appetizer. (Refusing to be buffaloed by wait staff, Mrs. Henry has been doing this years.)

Third, make sure your air conditioner breaks on Saturday evening. New York City repairmen don’t retrieve messages until Monday, no matter how plaintive, and don’t begin to act until Tuesday or Wednesday. Furthermore, make the AC chiller unit shatter its drive shaft. (Replacement shafts are never in stock.) If you do this during the worst heat wave of the summer, you’re bound to lose nearly a pound per day. Mr. Henry offers his personal guarantee. When it’s this hot, the most anyone can hope to consume is popcorn and white wine.

Fourth, eat a diet inspired by French cures for la crise de foie, even though such a term is not accepted by medical science, even in France. Eat artichokes, salad, bitter greens, lemon, papaya, mint and ginger. (Ginger helps the stomach empty its contents into the duodenum. You had to ask.) Then eat more artichokes.


Here is a southeast Asian style salad dressing that transforms romaine lettuce, carrots, Thai basil, tomato and grilled chicken into princely fare:

1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon peanut butter (or sunflower butter)
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
three dashes of Tabasco
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive oil is not the best, but it’s OK)

May 26, 2010

Manolo for the Men

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Henry @ 7:48 am

Although Mr. Henry will continue to write about food, just for the moment he prefers not to.

Instead, please find him on Manolo for the Men.

May 4, 2010

Conclusions on Chemex

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Henry @ 3:33 am

For Immediate Release:

Exhaustive tests conducted by the elite scientific division of Henry Laboratory, New York, have determined conclusively that coffee made in the vaunted Chemex glass beaker is less flavorful than coffee made in the cheapest electric drip coffee maker.

After a frustrating week of pouring water in circular motion, calibrating measurements of temperature and quantity, and altogether bedeviling himself in the wee hours of the morning when patience is thinnest, Mr. Henry accepted defeat and resignedly placed his new Chemex beaker and its patented thick paper filters back in the cupboard.

This discovery flies in the face of reportage published in The New York Times. Have years of take-out “regular” coffee dulled their senses? Could New York Times articles be less than fully reliable sources of information? The Henry Laboratory Chemex report bears weighty repercussions.

But don’t smash your elegant Chemex. At A Thirsty Spirit Mr. Henry found a clever use for it as a filter for cold-brewed coffee extract, quite handy for making summer drinks, coffee desserts or coffee ice cream. Indeed, because its paper filter is so thick, cold-filtering may be the best use for a Chemex.

To Mr. Henry’s demanding nose the Chemex filters out too many oils and volatile aromas, the very essences he seeks in coffee – essences that magically purge morning depression, headache, and other children of the night.

April 20, 2010

Not hungry

Filed under: Asian Food,Coffee,Dieting,Food and Fashion — Mr. Henry @ 8:16 am

The deep satisfaction of vegan cuisine on the magic mountain of Koya-san seems to have stymied Mr. Henry’s urge to write. He feels spiritually cleansed. He feels gastro-intestinally cleansed. Ideas and aperçus about food in its many transmogrifications flit continuously through the Henry imagination, but fail to perch on solid outcrop. What is happening?

Mr. Henry is simply not very hungry.

The seasonal combination of warm weather, flowering trees, and a noticeable layer of winter fat round the waist together with a strange energy bounce from reverse jet lag left him without an appetite for anything more than good coffee, bananas, yogurt, pecan raisin bread and dark chocolate in the morning, and for salads, cheese and wine at night – all foods difficult to find in Japan, apart from good coffee, that is, which was uniformly excellent except at the one expensive hotel the Henry party visited, the Swissôtel in Osaka.

Mr. Henry is usually disappointed by restaurant coffee, particularly in fine dining establishments where management bumps up your bill an extra seven bucks for an acrid, watery, lukewarm espresso instead of charging an honest buck fifty for a hot cup of paper filter drip.

A recent New York Times article decried the nauseating coffee you get in Paris. Of all beautiful places where you most want to sit outside, drink a coffee, and watch impeccably dressed women swish-clicking past, Paris was once the first choice. But since the French all suffer from rotten-coffee stomach cramp, it’s no wonder they are so depressed.

People watching in Japan holds special merits. Thigh-high boots are de rigueur. Although this is a fashion mistake, and although women in Japan all seem to have misshapen knees from kneeling on tatami mats, and although high heels induce an awkward gait (apologies to The Manolo), when sitting gazing from behind your cup of rich, delicious coffee you need not wait very long for the happy chance to examine yet another youthful thigh.

Fashion trends no longer originate in Paris. Look to Tokyo for the next new thing in fashion as well as in food. Pickles and raw egg on rice for breakfast, anyone? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

April 5, 2010

Vegan dinner at the temple

Filed under: Asian Food,Chocolate,Coffee,Tea — Mr. Henry @ 2:42 am

For two weeks the Henry family has been traipsing across Japan, land of salty snacks and tepid green tea. Back home in New York they find that crunchy rice crackers (senbei with nori) inhabit each jacket pocket.

The trip’s one great discovery, found in the famous Kyoto covered food market street (Nishiki-koji), were dried umeboshi, the tart salt apricot-plum found in a bento box. Dried ones pack all the punch of fresh ones, but taste slightly sweeter, an amazing mouth experience that keeps the palate satisfied and amused long enough for the shinkansen to travel from Hiroshima to Osaka.

In case you go, be forewarned. In Japan there are very few internet connections, no iPhone service, and no trash cans, all the more remarkable because Japanese streets are immaculate. You could eat off the floor.

In the Ginza Mitsukoshi a fresh-faced young woman offered Mr. Henry a free chocolate truffle imported from Paris (over $1 each). Although excellent coffee is widely available ($5 per cup), fine dark chocolate is very scarce. After eating half, he passed the uneaten portion to his devoted consort who characteristically took no notice of him. The truffle dropped to the floor. Seeing no trash can nearby, confident in the cleanliness of Japanese floors, and unwilling to waste the precious truffle, Mr. Henry straightaway picked it up and popped it in his chocolate-deprived mouth. Her spine shivering, the Mitsukoshi woman squeaked in horror.

The one unforgettable meal took place in a 15th-century Buddhist mountaintop temple (Shojoin-in, Koya-san) partly converted for use as a ryokan. In a beautiful tatami room adorned with painted six-panel screen, a muscular monk with shaven pate served a vegan dinner comprising every conceivable fresh bean, mountain yam, and tofu preparation.

Koya-san signature fresh tofu had a toothsome custard-like texture and a slightly caramelized flavor. Cold boiled spinach had been quick-pickled in a light rice wine vinegar and seasoned with a sesame peanut sauce. Of the many pickled and preserved fruits and vegetables, the most unusual was the whole pickled kumquat. You eat the whole thing, seeds and all.

March 12, 2010

Color Theory

Filed under: duck,Ice cream,Mrs. Henry,Philosophy — Mr. Henry @ 7:47 pm

When considering a balanced meal, Mrs. Henry thinks of complementary colors.

Composing a menu she employs a palate fully as pleasing to the eye as to the tongue. This is not a casual belief.  She maintains firmly as an article of nutritional science that color and taste are linked. Good color matches make for good flavor matches and even for good digestion.

During the last snowstorm, when forced to prepare dinner from whatever happened to be in the fridge, Mr. Henry served his family chicken, mashed potatoes, and cauliflower, an all-white menu for which he still suffers recriminations.

When the Duchess and her family came to dinner last week, the meal became a feast not only because peers of the realm were seated at high table, but also because duck breast, potatoes au gratin, and green beans were enlivened by the vivid scarlet of red cabbage. (The astringent sweetness of the cabbage prepared with red wine vinegar and a touch of sugar cleansed the mouth, as well.)

For taste and for color Mr. Henry likes the marriage of duck and orange, but he didn’t think a classic duck à l’orange would pair well with red cabbage. Instead, for dessert he elected to serve sliced navel oranges (Moroccan style – topped with a touch of ground cinnamon) along with two ice creams from Grom – dark chocolate and stracciatella with candied orange, grapefruit, and pistachios.

March 8, 2010

Push cart peddlers

Filed under: American Food,vegetables — Mr. Henry @ 11:13 am

Push cart peddlers clog New York streets! Mayor LaGuardia up in arms!




In 1936 the mayor rose up in anger against immigrants clogging the streets hawking wares from push carts. Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore? Phooey. LaGuardia thought them positively unsanitary.




Today, in spite of all the specialty food online, push cart peddling has returned. With only an occasional foray to Citarella or Zabar’s, Leyla manages to shop principally from farmers markets. Wednesdays and Sundays are Union Square. Saturday is Columbus Avenue beside the Museum of Natural History. Shlepping milk 80 blocks takes a lot of time and trouble, but her table is set with the freshest, tastiest foods.


It’s all local – Ronnybrook Dairy milk and yogurt, artisanal sheep and goat cheeses, dark wintered-over greens, bosc pears, and apples of every description. Recently Mr. Henry has fallen in love with Quaker Hill Farm honey and eggs (goose eggs, no less).




When La Guardia insisted that push cart peddlers take up residence in covered market stalls, the grocery business began to consolidate into mom and pop stores run chiefly by Italians. These in turn consolidated into a few large chains. Then in the 1980’s came the Korean-owned fruit and vegetable markets featuring salad bars, the go-to solution for harried office workers.


Now Fresh Direct trucks clog city cross streets, hardly an improvement over the push cart of yore. The very best fruits, vegetables and dairy can be found once again on sidewalk peddler carts. Weathered panel trucks with New Jersey and Pennsylvania plates sidle up and disgorge large ice chests of the most remarkable goodies imaginable. Sic transit gloria mundi.

February 23, 2010

Snipping parsley

Filed under: appliances,vegetables — Mr. Henry @ 5:36 pm


What does Christina Hendricks eat? Anything she likes, it seems.

On her divine frame those extra winter pounds find graceful placement.

While winter sinks its chill fangs deep into our bones, a fortunate few may take comfort in knowing they can sink their own teeth into a hearty meal without worrying too much about over-indulging.

In winter it’s more difficult to find fresh vegetables with exciting flavor. More than in the warm months, meat dominates the menu, perhaps more than it should. The menu’s balance shifts towards foods dense in calories and fats.


It’s a great time for big red wines, a good digestive aid, but the craving for greens remains. Salads are a mainstay, and that’s fine. But what do you do when even the lettuce is boring?

Parsley has intense chlorophyll. It’s a natural cure for bad breath. Even the Henry’s noble hound Pepper loves it. (By the way, it cures bad breath in dogs as well as in people.)
But when chopping parsley with a knife, sometimes the little leaves lose their appealing shape.

The solution is to use a simple pair of kitchen shears. Wash and dry the parsley well before snipping so the leaves will be crisp enough to cut.

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