Butter + Mayo + Sour Cream = Irresistible Cuisine?

With her predilection for bacon-wrapped and lard-topped foods, Paula Deen may be the Food Network’s most obvious coronary case. But Barefoot Contessa host Ina Garten—despite an address in the Hamptons, where everyone is supposedly rich and thin—is really the one to watch out for. As the Amateur Gourmet explains, the woman combines butter, cream cheese, mayo, and all kinds of other fats with reckless abandon. Her pan-fried onion dip includes:

4 Tbs butter, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 4 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Jeesh! Her sun-dried tomato dip: 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise.

Her cheddar corn chowder has 8 oz. bacon, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 cups of half and half plus 1/2 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese.

Are you getting the picture?

The AG theorizes that Ina’s fat-saturated dishes are a holdover from her days as a caterer, “and when you’re catering a party or event you don’t care about health, you care about umph.” Using a ton of fat gives food that impact, so Ina has kept it up—and “[i]t sells cookbooks.”

But one of the AG’s commenters takes him to task for this assessment:

I can see you have probably never worked in a restaurant; if you had any idea how much fat goes into everything you eat when you’re eating out, you would probably never do it. It used to be that dining out was about indulgence; for the most part, chefs aren’t there to show you a healthy way to eat, they are there to feed you delicious food.

So are those cookbooks that supposedly give us a restaurant’s actual recipes tweaked to reduce the fat content? Or do many chefs actually take health into account these days?

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