Is it just me, or does this look as unappealing as it is unhealthy?

Roman Chicken, courtesy the Food Network

This is Giada De Laurentiis’s Roman Chicken, which the Food Network is touting as a “healthy choice,” presumably to pander to all those soon-to-be-blown New Year’s resolutions. Now, I assume the Food Network employs a passel of food stylists, cooks and photographers to ensure that each and every dish is shown to its best advantage, with maximum visual appeal, promising a party in your mouth. So how to account for this? Is it me, or does this look like it’s already been chewed and partially digested? Puzzling.

Anyways, on to the recipe, and here I feel compelled to talk salt, as in sodium, as in heart disease, as in high blood pressure and the scourge of my dressing room, water retention. This recipe calls for:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt     (3540 mg sodium)
  • a can of chopped tomatoes   (280 mg in a can of Hunt’s “healthy” diced tomatoes)
  • 3 ounces prosciutto  (+/-1100 mg)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (430 mg in Swanson’s “100% Natural”)
  • 2 tablespoons capers  (510 mg)

These are just the high sodium items, and measures vary wildly by brand. Since many foods contain ambient, naturally occurring sodium, I think we can safely assume that there is more than the 5,770 total grams my trusty calculator indicates. This recipe purports to feed six, so let’s divide by that number and we get nearly 1,000 milligrams of sodium per portion which is near the 1,100 per day lower limit (1,100 – 3,000) of a healthy diet — in one entree! I am just not buying the healthy label, folks.

Now, honestly, I’m not usually one to worry much about things like this (though I no longer salt the rim of my margarita) and truth be told it kind of goes against my grain to bother, but I’m a big believer in truth in advertising. I also feel compelled to point out that my fabulous husband (who eats no meat, works out daily, surfs, takes yoga and meditates regularly) was finally able to get off blood pressure meds only after eliminating all salt from his diet. I realize not everyone is salt sensitive, but isn’t it worth a try? All you’ve got to do is start reading labels and choosing lower sodium options (Pomi tomatoes in the box, Pacific low sodium chicken stock, Brad’s Organic canned beans, and so on). Sure it’s more expensive, but last time I checked, Lasix wasn’t exactly free. And what’s your health worth anyway?

If the salt doesn’t put you off this little heart attack on a platter, I figure the picture probably will. Thanks for listening; I feel better already.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on January 5, 2012, in Chicken, Dinner and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Nasty plus!

  2. My ankles swelled just looking at the food, which I agree, appears to be already digested (and not by humans).

  3. This looks really yummy! but then again I’m addicted to ‘unhealthy’ food as its always tastier! yumm will be erin that soon!

  4. I must admit that the dish does look like the remnants of a party put on a plate. But, the part I am really intrigued about is the salt!! I had no clue what a TEASPOON of salt translated into as far as daily regiments are concerned. I will defiantly think twice when adding “a pinch” of salt.

    • You will be amazed how much sodium is in EVERYTHING. Once you cut back, I’m sorry to say that your restaurant meals will be significantly less pleasurable and you’ll leave the table parched. On that happy note, let me say, thanks for the visit.

  1. Pingback: Busted! « Kitchen Slattern

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