Meredith Balkus wrote . . . . . .
People all over the world love Nutella. No kidding: A French family actually tried to name their kid after the stuff, someone invented a lock specifically to secure Nutella jars, and McDonald’s Italia recently unveiled a Nutella burger.
But where did this addictive treasure come from? As it turns out, the story runs thick with cocoa, hazelnuts, and blood. That last part isn’t literally true, but hey! Now that we have your attention, buckle up: You’re in for a crash course on the history of Nutella.
Let’s start at the beginning — in 1806, that is, during the peak years of the Napoleonic Wars. You can credit the origin of the first cocoa and hazelnut combination to the tiny French emperor himself: It was his Continental Blockade that hampered trade and cut off access to the Piedmont region of Italy — which, at the time, was the producer of the finest chocolate in the world. Cocoa prices skyrocketed due to high demand and low supply, and chocolatiers in the capital city of Turin began adding hazelnut — an ingredient that was bountiful in Piedmont — in an attempt to stretch out their batches, resulting in product called gianduja. While delicious, the combination didn’t replace chocolate entirely; once the war ended and cocoa was accessible again, pure chocolate came back in style.
But hazelnut did return once more, this time to play a vital role during World War II. Food rationing was in full effect across Europe, and not only was chocolate insanely expensive — it was also virtually impossible to find. It wasn’t until a pastry baker named Pietro Ferrero (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) with Piedmontese roots decided to incorporate hazelnuts into his craft. He created a paste — predominantly consisting of blended hazelnut, and a touch of chocolate — and called it Pasta Gianduja, a riff on the original name from the Napoleonic Era. Its thicker consistency made it easy to cut into loaf-like slices, which he then wrapped in foil and distributed in the streets. It was popular amongst mothers, who would serve it between two slices of bread, in a sandwich-like treat for their children. Unsurprisingly, the kids ditched the bread and went straight for the chocolate in between.
Ferrero had the thought: Why not make the treacly substance creamier, so it could be spread more easily (and more difficult to divorce from the actual sustenance of the meal) on bread? He altered the recipe, and called it Supercrema Gianduja. While popular, the name was a mouthful, and was later changed in 1964 to something more approachable: “Nutella.” It became an Italian staple, and it has been ever since.
So the next time you look in your pantry and find that ol’ jar, with its cheery, lowercase typeface and iconic image of a well-smeared slice of bread, remember this: If not for Europe’s lengthy history of bloodshed and geopolitical conflict, a short-statured Frenchman, and one resourceful Italian pastry chef, your go-to snack wouldn’t exist. Be thankful, and grab a spoon — if you don’t polish it off now, your roommate totally will when you’re not looking.
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5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
generous 1-3/8 cups dried sour cherries or dried cranberries
1 cup fruity red wine, such as Valpolicella
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
generous 1-5/8 cups risotto rice
4 cooked fresh beet, diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
salt and pepper
generous 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Wanda Thibodeaux wrote . . . . . .
When I first resolved to exercise every day, I mainly just wanted to fit into my pants. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to set an example for my kids.
It’s been more than four years since I made that resolution, and I’m proud to say, I’ve kept it. And over those roughly 1,460 workouts, I learned about myself, the world, and work. I’m better because of it. And because every individual has the potential to grow, because you can reach higher too, here are the indispensable gems I have taken from every drop of sweat.
1. What’s hard doesn’t have to stay that way.
When I first started exercising, I was so out of shape I barely made it 20 minutes. Weights heavier than 10 pounds? Pffft. (You’re funny.) But eventually, 20 minutes was doable. Then 30. I had to buy more weights. I ran half marathons. And sometimes the whole reason something in life is hard is because you simply haven’t done it before. But as you learn and get more information and practice, you get faster and more productive, and suddenly what seemed so difficult doesn’t scare you anymore. Ease comes with experience, and your perception of what’s challenging depends on how much you’ve been willing to face.
2. Willpower isn’t a guarantee you’ll hit a target.
I have had many days where, mentally, I was right on it. I had a plan. I knew what I had done in previous workouts. But when push came to shove, when I hit muscle failure, I hit muscle failure. No amount of positivity, no number of mantras was going to substitute for rest. I couldn’t do another rep just because I wanted it to happen. So it’s not about what you “should” be able to do–that’s preconception, construct. It’s about pushing the limits to find what you actually can do–that’s reality. And what you can do might vary from one day to the next. That’s Ok. Don’t be disappointed in yourself or feel like you’re not strong or committed enough just because those variations come up. Just give it everything every time, whatever “everything” might happen to be.
3. You don’t have to be a sheep and follow what everyone else does.
I’m a little person. I don’t let that stop me. But the reality is, machines and equipment designed for larger individuals don’t fit me. I could get hurt if I use those tools. So I improvise and modify. And if the 10-pound weights a crew uses in a workout video don’t feel difficult enough for me, guess what? I pick up the 15’s. We compare ourselves with others because we want to feel like part of the group and have a sense of normalcy, but adhering to the norm doesn’t always help us move forward. It even can put us at risk. So look in the mirror. Acknowledge what you need and who you are. Find your own way to work and assess progress based on where you were, rather than based on where others are.
4. Being present matters.
When you’ve exercised 1,460 times in a row, the odds are pretty darn good that you’ll be coming back to a move you’ve done dozens or even hundreds of times before. And familiarity makes it oh-so-tempting to zone out. But zoning out is a mistake–don’t do it! Maybe you have done 8,349 pushups. But how does this one feel? You will never experience it again. Analyze it. Feel it. Savor it. Whether you’re scrolling through Facebook, scarfing your usual from the drive-thru or just being lazy on the couch, recognize the purpose and importance of what you’re living.
5. It’s OK to take a break.
Did I really do 1,460 workouts, day after day after day? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t hit the pause button. It doesn’t mean I didn’t opt for yoga sometimes instead of high-intensity intervals for an hour. Because that’s the way we’re made. To break ourselves down a little, rest, and build up. Rinse and repeat. In fact, even the brain works that way, operating in cycles and requiring routine downshifting to function at its best. We forget that in a culture that encourages hours of overtime, that sees busyness as a sign of status and security. But if we don’t stop, eventually, our hearts will break. That’s as true in the emotional sense as it is the physical.
Only about 24,000 more to go
Consistent exercise has taught me to do my best, pay attention to myself and others, and be brave enough to embrace individuality. It’s taught me to absorb and appreciate as much as I can and not take anything for granted. It’s taught me courage and flexibility. And I go back to it every day to reconnect to those lessons and let them shape what I do, to remember who I am and what I want to be. There’s more than enough value in that to encourage me to put on my sneakers, and it feels incredible to know that, 1,460 workouts in, I’m really only getting started.
In two recent peer-reviewed papers published by Nutrients and Growth Hormone and IGF-1 Research, Skidmore College exercise scientist Paul Arciero and colleagues report proven benefits of consuming moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout the day (protein-pacing) combined with a multi-dimensional exercise regimen that includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching and endurance exercise.
Based on Arciero’s studies, when followed for 12 weeks or more, individuals show improved fitness, decreased total and abdominal fat, increased lean body mass, and optimal metabolic and heart health.
To make the diet and exercise regimen easy for the public to remember, Arciero has coined the acronym, “PRISE.” The “P” stands for protein-pacing, the “R” stands for “resistance,” the “I” stands for “interval,” the “S” stands for stretching, and the “E” stands for endurance.
“Whether your goal is to improve fitness or heart health, the quality of your diet and a multi-dimensional exercise training regimen (PRISE) can make all the difference,” said Skidmore College exercise scientist Paul Arciero. “It’s not about simply eating less calories and doing more exercise. It’s about eating the right foods at the right time and incorporating a combination of exercises that most effectively promotes health and fitness.”
A member of the advisory board of the American Heart Association and a fellow of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the Obesity Society, Arciero is very familiar with the diet and exercise recommendations issued by these and other governing health organizations.
Arciero and his team enlisted 30 women and 20 men between the ages of 30 and 65 who could clearly be described as ‘physically fit’. They entered the study reporting they exercised a minimum of four days per week for at least 45 minutes per session, including both resistance and aerobic training for at least the past three years. Combined, these men and women had an average body mass index of 25 and average body fat percentage of 26.
Dividing his subjects randomly into two groups, Arciero conducted a 12-week trial in which all subjects consumed the same amount of calories and performed the identical exercise routine he has previously demonstrated to improve health (PRISE), but diet quality differed. One group consumed commonly recommended protein and fitness/sport nutrition products and the second group consumed a slightly increased protein intake and antioxidant-rich supplements.
When the trial ended, Arciero and his team found that although both groups improved on nearly every measure, those who had followed the protein-pacing and antioxidant-rich diet showed the greatest improvements in fitness, including upper body muscular endurance and power, core strength, and blood vessel health (reduced artery stiffness) among female participants; and upper and lower body muscular strength and power, aerobic power, and lower back flexibility among male participants.
These findings support three earlier studies by Arciero’s team that showed the PRISE protocol of protein- pacing with either whole food sources or whey protein supplementation, were equally effective at improving physical fitness, as well as decreasing total, abdominal and visceral fat, increasing the proportion of lean muscle mass and significantly reducing blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels.
Overall, these five studies support a rethinking of current assumptions about diet and exercise, which Arciero believes place too much focus on the quantity of calories eaten and amount of exercise people do, rather than the quality of the food eaten and the exercise.
For Arciero, PRISE is the culmination of research he has conducted and published over the last 30 years in an attempt to identify the most effective lifestyle strategies to improve health and physical performance.
“My original intention of becoming a nutrition and exercise science researcher was to provide people the tools to live a life of optimal health,” said Arciero.