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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Home, home at the range

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

(Photo)
When we log on to news websites each morning, there's a parade of catchy headlines motivating us to click on each link to read more. Then we are overwhelmed by provocative ads persuading us to buy various products. Here are a few of the more eye-catching examples from today:

The Worst Time of Day to Buy Meat

A Vegetable That Can Remove Rust

The Celebrity Chef Who Admits He'd Eat a Human

How Your Electric Can Opener Can Kill You

Some attention-getters, to be sure, but one in particular on my AOL homepage really caught my eye:

Home Cooking Increases Longevity

I know what you are saying. "This is incredible! It can't be true. Do you really still have an AOL account?"

The article reports that people who cook up to five times a week at home were 47 percent more likely to still be alive after 10 years. I'm no expert, but let me explain why this may be the dumbest study ever done. This will take a few minutes, so if you want to order a pizza for dinner first, no problem.

In 2002 researchers interviewed 1,800 people, age 65 and older and living in Taiwan, about their dietary habits. They called the seniors back this year to see how they were doing. Most of the people who had claimed to eat out at least 70 percent of the time could not be reached. Apparently they had died, or so said the scientists. This is just a wild guess, but I bet they were out for dinner when the phone rang at 6 p.m. Or, because they were all near 80, maybe some of them couldn't get to the phone in time. Am I the only person to think of this stuff?

But here's the big flaw in the study. Those Taiwanese who claimed to be cooking at home and living the healthy lifestyle, well, if you think about it, they were probably eating Chinese food just about every night, weren't they? They can call it "eating in," if it makes them feel better, but here in the Wolfsie household, we call that take-out.

I'm quite sure that data on the hazards of dining out were not available in the '50s when I was growing up, which is why my mother was often heard saying to my father, "Would it kill us to go out for dinner once in a while?" Apparently Dad thought it would. He was not only a cheapskate, but also a visionary.

We were planning to go to Panera for a light salad and a bowl of soup this evening, followed by a brisk walk after eating. Instead, we stayed home, barbequed some ribs, finished off a quart of Ben and Jerry's, and sacked out in front of the TV. (I wanted to do the healthiest thing for my family so we'll be around for the next Super Bowl in Indy.)

When Mary Ellen suggested we go out for a bite tomorrow evening instead, I reminded her that according to the research, it would be a real plus for the entire family if she prepared a home-cooked meal every night of the week. I believe I am quoting her response accurately: "You should live so long."