November 14, 2006

"Chocolate thins blood and protects the heart in the same way as aspirin."

Okay, then. We'll eat chocolate!
You have to eat at least a couple of tablespoons of dark chocolate a day to see some benefit -- and it's still not as effective as a single baby aspirin, which is usually prescribed to heart patients.

Matching aspirin would require eating several bars of chocolate a day, which could lead to other problems, such as obesity and diabetes -- to say nothing of tooth decay.

"I would never tell people to go ahead and eat chocolate because chocolate travels with a lot of friends, like fat and sugar," said epidemiologist Diane Becker, who led the study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
So.... Never mind. Why I read the nutrition news.... I don't know.

IN THE COMMENTS: Lots of first hand experience with heart attacks. (Why isn't there any first heart experience with hand attacks?)


The Drill SGT said...

Some of you already know that I had a Myocardial infarction (MI)
(e.g. heart attack) 18 months ago.

With the onset of chest pains, take 4 "baby aspirin" or 1-2 regular and chew (not
swallow) them in the mouth to get immediate blood thinning. Swallowing them slows that process.

If you aren't having an MI, no harm, if you are, it could save your life.

LoafingOaf said...

Mmmm. I'm a chocolate eating fool. This is good to know!

Wine is good for you.

Chocolate is good for you.

Now if only smoking were good, too.....

Christopher Hitchens says smoking is good for your digestion, is very social, and helps with concentration, at least.

Don't worry about that chocolate causing tooth decay jazz. There's these things called toothbrushes and Listerene.

Internet Ronin said...

I popped 3 full-stength apsirins and used up a bottle of nitro tablets (under my tongue) while having mine and waiting for the paramedics to arrive (which only took 3 minutes, fortunately).

In case anyone doesn't know this already, aspirin is good for strokes, too, BTW.

LoafingOaf said...

Wow, I gotta start keeping aspirin around the house. I didn't know it works that quickly. I hope you guys are okay after your heart attacks.

Theo Boehm said...

Good advice, Sarge and Ronin.

Some of us of...uh..."a certain age" may think we're indestructible and have great circulatory systems, but just look at what happened to Glen Reynolds' wife in the prime of her life.

Anyway, it's great news that chocolate is good for you!

We know the health benefits of drinking red wine. Now comes this.

Why is it that if I drink red wine and eat chocolate I wake up with a splitting migrane the next day?

Just too much health food?

Brent said...

I am diabetic(type 2).

I do enjoy some of the "sugar-free" chocolates, at least those that contain some chocolate liquor.

I wonder if that counts?

Hope there's value in Breyer's Dove Chocolate Covered Sugar-Free Ice Cream Bars. If so, I'll increase my intake by , oh . . . 5 or 6 a day if that helps.

downtownlad said...

Everything in moderation. Why is that such a hard concept for people to grasp.

Brent said...


Why is it that I feel that, if you like chocolate, you know the absolutely best places in Manhattan to get it?

If you are a chocolate lover - I are one - I would greatly enjoy your reviews on anything chocolate . . .

LoafingOaf said...

Everything in moderation. Why is that such a hard concept for people to grasp.

It's not hard to grasp. It's just hard to do. That's the catch with the wine-is-good-for-you thing. They always add, IN MODERATION. Who can drink just one glass of wine?? I'm almost done with one bottle tonight, and ready to open the second. I guess whatever good I was doing with the first glass I've already wiped out. :(

To tell you the truth, I think it's all just a crap shoot and what medical problems one gets is mostly determined by your genes.

Internet Ronin said...

DTL is right - everything in moderation. The key to a long life. (And if you can't be moderate about something, don't have it around).

LoafingOaf I'm doing fine, thank you. Had 2, one at 44 and the other at 46. The first was probably brought on by medications for something else, and the second by a bout with pneumonia (obtained by reporting for jury duty, as no other co-factors involved.

In RE: genes - a lot to be said for that, but I'm the exception to prove the rule, apparently. Average age at death for one side of the family going back 12 generations is 78, and the other side is 77. Go figure.

Theo Boehm said...

I hasten to add that my migranes are *NOT* hangovers. Uh...unless I'm starting to get hangovers on a couple of glasses of cabernet. Now THAT would be a really dreadful effect of aging, if you ask me.

I console myself with the knowledge that I get "classic" migranes—photophobia, auras, etc., and that chocolate almost always plays a role. If this is another effect of aging, it's almost as bad as the first, damnit.

I wonder how long it will be before I'm drooling in my oatmeal?

Mark Daniels said...

Except that aspirin doesn't make me break out in zits the way chocolate does. My son bought a batch of chocolate cookies last week. They were so yummy. But for the past two days, my face has been exploding like Vesuvius. (Yes, I still break out in zits at age 53, which is really weird. I never thought I'd get gray hair, wear bifocals, and have acne all at the same time!)


The Drill SGT said...

The full description:

Some of you already know that I had a Myocardial infarction (MI)
(e.g. heart attack) on (a while ago now, this is an old email) Saturday. Short version is that I'm home and fine.

Slightly longer version. On Saturday morning I was laying on the
couch reading for several hours. after a while, my left shoulder joint
began to ache and my left arm felt tingly as though it was asleep. I was
resting on my left elbow so I got up, and after a few minutes the symptoms
went away. I went through the rest of the day I fixed dinner, we ate and
while I was watching the news in the same left elbow position, the symptoms
returned. After a few minutes they did not decrease and I felt a bit clammy.
I took 3 81mg baby aspirin and some Aleve on general principles.

With the onset of chest pains, take 4 "baby aspirin" and chew (not
swallow) them in the mouth to get immediate blood thinning. Swallowing them
slows that process. I swallowed 3, but it's a lot better than nothing :)

I went up stairs with my cell phone and got Sadie out of the shower
and told her that I might be having a heart attack. she told me, CALL 911.
I did.

Medics showed up and hooked me up to a toy EKG and couldn't find
anything, though my pulse was elevated and my BP was very high.

LESSON LEARNED: My heart attack symptoms were not the classic sharp
pain in the left center of the chest. I felt:

1. pain in my should joint. non-standard
2. weakness in my left arm. standard, but confusing with the
apparent shoulder joint pain
3. clamminess. standard, but the last symptom to arrive. It was
this one, considering that I wasn't exercising that set me off on the 911
I didn't not feel:
4. I Never had shortness of breath.
5. Only late in the process, after I had been convinced that it was
a heart attack, could I sense a diaphragm tightness.

They put me into the ambulance and took me to the Innova Springfield
ER across from CALIBRE. Apparently along the way things got more
interesting. I had some big EKG issues and they had to shock me. Sadie was
along for the ride.

Got there, ER doc started me on nitroglycerine drip (pipe enlarger),
saline, heparin (blood thinner) and a few more things I guess. He told me
that I should be transported to Innova Fairfax Hospital. Now this might be
a little cross-corporate revenue sharing, but my regular doc says that if
you have heart problems around here you go straight to one of GWU,
Washington Hospital Center or Innova Fairfax. Anyway they called Fairfax
and a transfer ambulance and eventually I was on my way.

LESSON LEARNED: Go to a high quality, high volume hospital for your
heart work. Nothing beats practice. one of GWU, Washington Hospital Center
or Innova Fairfax. My guidance is for folks South of the river. there may
be other good places North, like Johns Hopkins, but my Doc was giving me
Virginia burbs advice.

BTW: I didn't have my health insurance card or wallet with me and
all the first 24 hours care was on faith that somebody was eventually good
for it. Since then, folks have called for account info :)

Two asides here.

1. The ER Doc says, you should get a stint put in, it's one of the
options, don't quibble, do it.
2. The transfer medics screwed around a bit after they got there
and the ER doc came over and told them, "what the hell is he still doing
here"....Apparently the ER Doc wanted me gone.

The ride to Fairfax was uneventful.

When we got there, a security guard was waiting for us and we rolled
in through doors and right into the Cath Lab where a team of folks shot me
up with dye to see what vessels were blocked. Apparently I had one large
artery blocked. They numbed my leg and ran a tube up my femoral artery and
put a stint in. Think little metal mesh "Chinese handcuff" sits in the
artery and hold the thing open.

Anyway, I came out of the lab and up to cardiac ICU where some folks
watched me that night. I should have gone off ICU that next day, Sunday,
but there weren't beds in the lower level area. So 2 nights in ICU and one
in the lower level PCCU. Out on Tuesday.

LESSON LEARNED: Make sure you get pajama bottoms early. I had the
damn top robey thing and didn't learn about the bottoms till day 3.

The graduation test was an echo-cardiogram to see what heart muscle
I had lost. Apparently I graduated with high honors. The tech said "no
appreciable loss" and the Doc said that I had complete function in the area

So, I'm home, working with exercise, diet and lifting constraints,
that will decrease over the next few months.

downtownlad said...

Brent - I do know the best places for chocolate in New York.

My fave is Jaques Torres, who has a branch in Soho as well as Dumbo in Brooklyn.

Their "wicked" hot chocolate is to die for.

I also like MarieBelle in Soho.

Here's a good list:

Maxine Weiss said...

Aspirin is a drug. Shame on the Althouse blog.

Silly me, I like using things in the manner for which they were intended. Aspirin was never intended to be a vitamin.

The risks are potential ruin to the lining of the stomach, stomach upsets, bleeding problems....

People take aspirin for blood clots. It stops the blood from clotting, but think about it:

If you cut yourself, don't you WANT the blood to clot, in that case?

Yet, you've been popping Aspirin like vitamins, you're increasing your chances of bleeding to death.

Bloody noses. There are times when you need the blood to clot, Aspirin interferes with that.

Aspirin is a billion dollar industry, and they've been very clever on getting Doctors (kick-backs) and adversting promotion.

There are plenty of NATURAL substances which increase bloodflow. Cayenne pepper, fish, or better fish oil, beans of all kinds, spicy foods.

Don't be fooled by the Aspirin racket.

Peace, Maxine

Internet Ronin said...

Drill Sgt: And my indications were not on the left but on the right side (and always will be in my case, according to the cardiologist). Go figure. In fact, had I not had fee-for-service medical insurance but HMO coverage, the Internist probably would not have been allowed to refer me to the cardiologist the first time, due to the unusual right-side symptoms and an apparently clean EKG. But he could. So he did. Three days later, I lasted less than 2 minutes on a treadmill before symptoms started appearing. While waiting for the cardiologist, the nurse kept popping in what seemed like every 30 seconds to check on me. When he arrived, the cardiologist graciously offered me a choice: "You can have your heart attack at home or in the hospital. But, I'd prefer you have it in the hospital." How could I refuse so polite a suggestion? (I aged a year while there, too: in at 44 out at 45. Funniest part of meeting the cardiologist was when he said "You look great for 55!" And I said, "But I'm 44! I was born in '55.")

Cedarford said...

OT - Jim Webb with a good WSJ op-ed.

I am beginning to be glad this guy was elected over Allen. I can't abide Far Left, enemy rights loving liberals........but I think it is real important to remember that moderates and Reagan Democrats (now like Webb, headed back to the Democrats) may be on the middle ground - but that doesn't mean their voice cannot grow loud and strong if they feel they must raise their voices.

Forget the "base" argument with 80% of America ignorable because they are not "activist".

That 80% is not blubbering for the precious rights of terrorists, nor are they cheering when CEOs get 400 times the pay of their average worker or the lion's share of the nations economic gains go to heavily pork-bestowed corporations and individuals in the upper crust Ruling Elites.

Susie said...

I recently received a free bag of Adora Dark Chocolate, a disc of which contains half a days worth of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

It tastes like any other dark chocolate, but I feel very healthy eating it because it's a vitamin.

Cedarford said...

Rats! Forgot the Webb link and you can't edit, only delete a past post!


BTW, Drill Sargent, I myself had all the fun of a heart attack without the damage at age 39. I burned my foot and it got infected. And got worse. Foot swelled and I toughed it out. Felt weak and a little short of breath. Then at work my left shoulder suddenly felt like a hot poker was in the middle of it...I got clammy all over, couldn't catch my breath at all, and people said later I went sheet white.

Like Dr Helen, the emergency room people completely misdiagnosed it - gave me a demerol shot for "nonspecific chest pain" and called it "stress reaction" in a challenging profession and recommended no caffeine.

Two days later I was the same barely able to breath and in wicked pain chewing aspirin and doing shots of tequila, wife was going nuts about my condition and the ER saying I was fine - and hadn't slept in 48 hours. Luckily, my reg physician was finally back in town. And I called - or my wife called since I lacked the breath to speak more than a sentence w/o gasping.

His rush tests showed I had gotten a heart infection of the lining around my heart - pericardiasis - which mimicked all the symptoms of a heart attack, had dropped by heart down to 20% efficiency because the pericardial sack was full and it's pressure was blocking my heart from pumping -and had come close to killing me after the misdiagnosis by another technical heart failure condition. Said chewing the aspirin and even the tequila were good help - though I was stupid to tough it out so long.

Back to the hospital. Discussion of shoving a big needle in my chest to drain my heart liner. Said I avoided that needle by it being missed earlier by the ER.
Antibiotics. (ironic that the foot infection from the burn was healing finely but the Listeria bug had gotten in and hit elsewhere.)

Two days later I was normal. Then got injected with radioactive Thallium to verify no heart damage ( that had a squad of counterterror assholes pointing guns at me when I set off a covert rad detector inside a noted Federal agency I was going to a meeting at)

Well, moral(s) of the story?

1. Agree. Asprin. But real aspirin that Navy Vets chew. Only Army Vets and gays wuss on baby aspirin.

2. Don't tough it out - or trust an ER to get it right. They and other medical people kill 95,000 people a year by misdiagnosis or "misadventure". If you leave an ER thinking they didn't fix a thing, Occam's Razor holds that theory is far more likely than some complicated psychobabble cause they say to patients they try treating but are too busy to deal with in depth.

3. Like aspirin, tequila can't hurt. And if you do die, tequila will add hours before your body begins to rot and stink.

4. Get injected with radioactive stuff - watch where you go. Avoid wearing backpacks and put your briefcase down carefully when the nice men with guns talk of blowing your F**king head off - then when the guns are down explain they need NBC training so they understand a dirty bomb is not something anyone can put in a thin briefcase.

LoafingOaf said...

MAXINE: There are plenty of NATURAL substances

The words "natural" and "unnatural" are pretty much meangingless. Everything is part of nature. What makes aspirin "unnatural" compared with your fish oil capsules?

But I'd only take aspirin on a regular basis if a doctor told me to.

SteveS said...

Funniest part of meeting the cardiologist was when he said "You look great for 55!" And I said, "But I'm 44! I was born in '55."

Ronin, I'm glad your cardiologist's treatment skills exceed his math skills.

Ritter Sport chocolate is one of favorites for everyday chocolate (is there such a thing?). You can get it in a lot of NYC delis. The Alpine milk is delicious, though I suspect dark chocolate is probably much better for you.

Also, I like the word Sport in the title. Helps to maintain the self-delusion when you are eating it.

Derve said...

Why isn't there any first heart experience with hand attacks?
Oh, there is. Think pick-up cabs and young love. I suspect folks just aren't so keen to share early memories...

MadisonMan said...

Wow, as someone with a family disposition to heart problems (Mom's male relatives all die around 50), this is fascinating reading. But I'm the youngest of 3 brothers, so I call my brothers the canaries in the coalmine. They're still alive.

And I eat chocolate every day!

Bruce Hayden said...

This is, of course, just another excuse for women to eat chocolate, as if one were needed.

That said, the answer is to eat the more expensive chocolates without most of the bad stuff in it. And, of course, just like red wine, do it in moderation.

Since I can't eat chocolate in moderation (despite being a guy), I will forgo this, as I do red wine. Actually, I can drink wine in moderation, but drinking wine is social for me, and living alone, I refuse to drink alone, and, thus, no one glass of red wine.

knoxgirl said...

I knew Maxine would tear you a new one for this post!

Maxine Weiss said...

"I'd only take aspirin if my doctor told me to"

Because Doctors never have agenda's right? Doctors never push the latest and greatest drug for reasons other than your own well-being, right? And aspirin isn't a billion dollar industry, right?

Look, if I felt a stroke coming on (and there are signs), or if I felt a pounding headache (which I never get) that wouldn't go away...

....I might take two or three aspirin.

In an emergency, which is in keeping with the manner aspirin was intended.

That was the intended use. Natural, or unnatural, It was never intended to be popped like candy.

Chocolate is a bean from the ground. Coffee is a bean from the ground. Those things speed the blood flow. I think there are better alternatives to even those. Like black beans----that's a dark bean without nearly the caffeine, or fat of chocolate.

Fish is brain food, why? speeds blood to the brain, which is why it prevents stroke (fish has mercury though) so the fish-oil capsules are better.

Aspirin is big business now, but remember there's a dark side to everything. Anything that has the power to help you, might also have the power to harm you.

But, nobody thinks about that. What happens when you need your blood, to, in fact, clot....and it won't because you've now been popping aspirin like candy....on the advice of your oh-so-trusted doctor.

I was brought up to question Doctors at every turn...which is why they (and others) can't stand me.

Go make some dark black bean soup...that's a dark bean, add some red pepper flakes, and finish with a few fish oil capsules......that'll do the same exact thing as aspirin without the drug-like risks, and without the fat or caffeine of chocolate and coffee, and it certainly tastes a whole lot better than....Aspirin!

Peace, Maxine

El Presidente said...

Maxine is obviously a plant by the fish oil industry.

"Anything that has the power to help you, might also have the power to harm you."

That is why, in the socialist paradise, we avoid anything that could help you.

And by the way, when having a heart attack, the best hospital is the closest hospital.

Lou Wainwright said...

Another story and lesson. Two years ago at 33 I started feeling chest pain on a Saturday afternoon. I certainly didn't associate it with a heart attack though, I'd had really bad Strep Throat for 4 days and hadn't been able to eat hardly anything so I thought it was some kind of heartburn. The pain went away after 45 minutes. Saturday night same thing, I had my wife go get some seemed to fix the problem. Sunday morning I was woke up out of a deep sleep at 4:30am, again with increasingly intense chest pain. I drove to the 24hr pharmacy and bought Tagmet. By 7am the pain was dimming. At this time I looked on Tagmet's web site and they had a nice little table called "How to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack". I told my wife I was feeling better, the Tagmet helped a lot, and laughed and said that according the website my symptoms were heart attack ones, not heartburn. 4pm that afternoon the pain comes back again. After 30 minutes I decide to go to the ER just to see if they can give me something stronger for the heartburn (that I'm still sure I have). It's only on the way to the ER when I notice that my left shoulder is starting to hurt and that my arm is going numb. When I check in I notice that I'm short of breath. About 5 minutes later I'm having an EKG, and 30 seconds later I'm told I'm having a heart attack.

As it turns out, like cedarford, I didn't actually have an MI. I had myocarditis, an infection of the heart muscle itself (although I was in the hospital 4 days before we knew for sure). After 3 weeks of rest I was just fine with no permanent damage. I got damn lucky that my denial of the possibility that I might by having a heart attack didn't end up killing me. The lessons. You can have a heart attack in your 30s. There is no shame in going to the ER with chest pain even if it turns out to be nothing - tough and dead sucks. If a diagnostic table says that you are having a heart attack not heartburn, don't laugh and assume you know better. Oh yeah, one more thing, if you are having a heart attack remember that you are a lot better informed about what is going on than your family is and that they are probably a hell of a lot more scared about what is going on than you are.

Internet Ronin said...

Steves: I like your idea - if has "sports" in the name, it must be good for you! As I was born and raised in California, See's chocolate will probably always be my favorite.

El Presidente: You got that right! The hospital was less than 5 minutes away.

Internet Ronin said...

Oh, Maxine, I'm sorry, but much of what you are saying seems so silly that there is no point in trying to respond, except to ask if the aspirin industry is so all-powerful why is it that just about every physician and hospital use or recommend Tylenol in most instances for pain relief? And its a generic drug, Maxine, produced by dozens of manufacturers, which means that the profit margins are not astronomical.

By the way, some of the things you recommend using instead can be quite dangerous and have serious side effects.

Susie said...

I've been swallowing fish oil and Vit. E capsules an hour after lunch in my attempt to follow the "Shangri-La Diet," by Seth Roberts, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology. Even if the diet doesn't work, I figure that the fish oil is good for the heart and brain and Vit E is good for the skin, hair, and nails.

It's probably not enough flavorless calories to work as Professor Roberts describes, but I'm considering getting flax seed oil capsules and taking ten at a time.

SteveS said...

Ronin: yes, See's is most excellent. Whenever I'm in CA I feel an overwhelming compulsion to enter every See's store I pass. Buttercream centers with dark chocolate coating.....uuuuuuuhhhh I'm having a Homer Simpson moment.

Independent George said...

Aspirin is available over the counter in several dozen generic forms; before my last vacation, I bought a bottle of 100 tablets for $1.99 at CVS. If it's a billion-dollar industry, it's due to volume, and not margin. The notion of doctors getting kickbacks from the aspirin industry is about as likely as them getting kickbacks from the Mead corporation to keep using hand-written prescription pads (which, incidentally, is a much bigger source of worry to me than the overuse of aspirin).

Theo Boehm said...

Yes, Ronin and Steves, I'm a Californian expat living in Massachusetts, and Steves, don't do that to me! I'm having a See's attack right now! I just finished lunch, checked this blog, and was heading back to work, when you had to go and remind me! Arrghh! Ann should not wonder about hand, but about See's attacks. Best American chocolate, hands down.

One reason I look forward to a visit from my mother-in-law is she always brings a two-pound box. Hope she shows up soon.

Internet Ronin said...

Steves & Theo: Dark chocolate Bordeaux are my favorite, although buttercreams and raspberry creams are right up there. They used to make a mint cream that was out of this world as well.

BTW, did you folks know who owns See's Candies? Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet's company) bought it years ago as part of their purchase of Blue Chip Stamps (remember them, Theo?). Long-time President Charles Huggins just retired this year. Hope the new one is as committed to preservative-free candies made with all natural ingredients as Huggins was. (They did swith to using vanillin in some candies a few years ago, though.)

LoafingOaf said...

MAXINE: Because Doctors never have agenda's right?

I wouldn't go to a doctor I didn't trust. My doctor rocks!

BRUCE: Actually, I can drink wine in moderation, but drinking wine is social for me, and living alone, I refuse to drink alone, and, thus, no one glass of red wine.

I live alone but still think eating dinner without wine or beer is half-assed! Of course I drink more after dinner. Law school made me drink a lot more. And smoke a lot more. And eat more chocolate.

Chocolate recommendation: A German chocolate bar from Wendler called Schticht-Nougat-Barren. A layer of dark, a layer of light, and quite heavenly!

I'm also a fan of Marabou from Sweden, although their boxes of chocolates have declined severely in quality...I think because Kraft bought them. :(

SteveS said...

Ronin, you are seriously contributing to an escalating case of See's withdrawal with these comments. I may find it necessary to visit their website with its charming Create Your Own Custom Mix page before the night is over.

I did not know that about Berkshire Hathaway. There will be hell to pay if they muck up See's unmatched deliciousness. (If Buffet thought he was getting grief for his political activities, he's in for a real surprise if he screws around with something this vital.)

Theo Boehm said...

Ronin: I didn't know that about Berkshire Hathaway, either. Thanks for the fascinating bit of corporate history.

Blue Chip Stamps
! My God, that deal must be older than dirt. I remember sitting at our Fomica-topped dining table (fake walnut tones, of course) dabbing endless sheets of Blue Chip Stamps on a a sponge (pink cellulose, of course) and pasting them into cheap newsprint booklets (slightly too small, of course) so we could get an All-New Anodized Aluminum Jell-O Salad Mold Set.

James Lileks where are you? Wanna do a Blue Chip Stamp retrospective? You need some more California in your blog.

Anyway, it appears that Berkshire Hathaway and Charles Huggins meant relative stability at See's all these years. However, my wife did return from a trip home (to California, of course) a few years ago, and announced in sad tones that See's had started using—pardon the expression—vanillin (hiss! boo!). I remember literally wiping a tear from my eye. We had a sombre evening where the topic of conversation was the End of California as We Knew It. Now we find out it was all Warren Buffet's fault.

SteveS: Yes, Ronin has done his dirty work. I'm spending an evening trying to figure out how to get a pound or two of See's delivered in time for Thanksgiving. And, yes, who cares about the fate of the Republic. I totally agree: Warren Buffet and all the other plutocrats can do their worst. Just don't touch See's.

And if, God forbid, a terrorist attack were to damage any See's facility, that would be reason enough for me to justify a full nuclear response. I have my priorities straight.

Internet Ronin said...

We, too, cried all night when we discovered vanillin was being used. (I've always wondered when Blue Chip bought See's.) I think Buffet bought Blue Chip in the late '70's or early '80's.

I wonder if anyone grew up in Southern California and remembers Van de Kamps bakery products in the supermarkets (like Entenmanns is now). They had a bread, salt-rising bread, that my family loved - it wasn't Sunday morning without the odd smell (some might say off-putting smell ;) of salt-rising bread wafting through the house.

Alas, it disappeared in the '70's. Half my family would kill for a loaf of that today.

The Drill SGT said...

Here you go ronin

Internet Ronin said...

Thanks, Drill Sgt. I didn't know they started out with potato chips. As a child, I remember being surprised when one of my grandfathers talked about Laura Scudder as if she was a real person ("She used to make a good chip....") and then finding out he knew her from the time she first opened her potato chip shop.

(I have to confess that at first I thought you'd found someone making Van de Kamp's salt-rising bread today and was very excited. That reminds me that it's been some time since I did a google-check and that I ought to do so again.)

I wonder who owns the recipes? I do recall when Richard J. O'Neill, former head of the Democratic Party in Orange County, bought the restaurants and, IIRC, the frozen food operation, which is still in existence, undoubtedly with a large corporate owner today.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Theo Boehm said...

Sgt: Great link. Wow, does the sight of all that stuff bring back memories! Van de Kamp's was like Knudsen dairy products. It was just part of living in Southern California, and who could imagine it could possibly not be there?

And Ronin: Yes! My mother, especially, doted on Van de Kamp's products. She could bake if she wanted, but Van de Kamp's stuff was always a treat. I think I remember that bread, but I'd have to see a loaf to be sure. Excellent quality it all was, alas, now gone. Remember the revolving blue neon windmills? My grandmother, on the other hand, was a classic Grandmother from Central Casting. She baked apple pies every week, and snorted that Van de Kamp's made "percentage pies."

You know, we should start a Lileks-esque group blog devoted to Southern California nostalgia. Having been away all these years, it's always a shock to go back. It just isn't the summer of '62 anymore, damnit, but it should be. That was the year I discovered Lost Lake (in the Cajon Pass), Sue (in my Social Studies class), and See's candies (in my aunt's living room). All memorable, but See's is the only one that's still available.

The Drill SGT said...

I on the other hand am a superior being... A Northern Californian.

My memory is of sour dough, fresh and smelling of yeast.

You carpet baggers stole our water :)

For you Easterners, all land fights in the West are ultimately about water

Internet Ronin said...

Theo: I wonder if someone is already doing a Lileks-like SoCal blog. John Stodder might know, but he probably isn't reading this thread any more (if he ever was).

As for Blue Chip: Believe it or not, they are still in business! IIRC, they produce and implement sales incentive and similar other programs for companies.

(I'm glad to see you have your priorities in order with regard to nuclear response ;-)

Drill SGT: Yes, I was born a sinner, but I sin no more, having long since relocated to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Now, who's a sinner? Hmmmmm? Are you taking OUR water?

Theo Boehm said...

Drill Sgt.: Northern Californian! It's nice to run into another California expat, even if it's only in the Virtual Land of Ann.

You know, I'm in a mixed marriage: My wife if from Oakland, and I was born in LA (Hollywood, to be exact). So, yes, I've heard your exact words from my wife. "You stole our water!" To which I say, "Stuff it! We needed it!" She says, "We had real sourdough bread, not mediocre commercial garbage festooned with kitsch windmills." To which I say, "Yes, but few people on the planet grew up with as much plastic crap as I did. It just doesn't exist any more." To which my wife would say, "Thank God for that." And I reply, "Give me a little kiss. My distant relative, Peter Hardeman Burnett, was the first Governor of California." And my wife says, "My family's been in California for 120 years, and at least they weren't crooks like your colorful crew." I say, "Yes, but they weren't crooks in California. They did that sort of thing elsewhere." It's the fate of married people from either end of California to bicker when it comes to the Golden State.

Ronin: Amazing about Blue Chip. I thought they were long gone. At this point, it would be heaven to move to your part of California. Massachusetts has its charms, but, weird as it was, California will always be Home. And, of course, you can get See's by just walking into a store.