Questions That Don't Deserve Their Own Thread

We have non-flavoured yoghurt called Nature-Joghurt in Switzerland, but also different brands of Turkish (-ish) yoghurts and cheeses. Our big supermarket chains have their own greek-style yoghurt which is enrichened with cream. I think it’s quite different from what you get in Greece. The normal nature-joghurt is firm, i.e. you can dig holes in it, while the greek-style yoghurt is not.

About olive oil, I watched a docu about olive oil business some time ago. Apparently, a “fair” price for actual ‘Extra vergine’ in Switzerland should be CHF 20 (about 20 US$) per litre or more. Thing is, most olive oil you can get in our supermarkets is labeled ‘extra vergine’ but does in fact not live up to this standard at all. There are about four grades of olive oil, I think, and the top three are quite alright. But buyers think only extra vergine is good, so companies write it on every bottle and cheat on all levels to get it on the label.

And then there’s lots of mafia stuff going on.


I agree, and believe this to be generally true in any location where people have lived for over 100 years. However, you’d also be surprised to learn how young certain cuisines are.


It amazes me that tomatoes are from the New World yet are a cornerstone of Italian cuisine.

In most supermarkets in the USA, distinctions between yogurt of Turkish, Greek, or Bulgarian origin are not made, and the entire style is generically called Greek yogurt. We also don’t use an “H” in the word yogurt in the USA. Similarly, we broadly generalize and have products such as “Swiss cheese” and “Italian sausage” without any further clarification.

I find the Turkish/Persian origin of that style of yogurt to be believable. After all, what are you left with after straining off the whey? The Kurds


I don’t think you intended to make this post look like this, but it made me chuckle.

Or is it a pun I don’t get?

No, no, that atrocious pun was intentional…


Good God! Forget the old stereotype of driving a car full of money to Switcherland. We need a new one where you drive the tanker truck full of olive oil :smiley:

Quite so, you remember correctly and indeed it is mostly marketing (more adjectives = better stuff) though to be perfectly honest I have never seen that yellow category three being sold anywhere here:

The only thing I ever knew about it was that the acidity is all that matters.
If it goes over 2-3 the oil is not going to be very good for culinary usage, but if you are not greedy it is easy to produce oil with 0.1-0.5 acidity.
A lot of people will boast and say that producing good oil “is an art” and “it is a trade secret”, but that is just idle bragging to up the price.
All you have to do is to actually not put any low quality olives in the mix like some old-timers used to do … they’d even throw in their collecting bags olives that had dried up or been bitten by birds or olive bugs and then wonder why their olive oil was bad :stuck_out_tongue:

True. Potatoes are a good example of it, I think. It is a staple of the “traditional” cuisine of quite a lot of european dishes/countries, but they have been around in Europe for only 350+ years.
Another amusing example is how here in Greece in one specific day it is “tradition” to eat cod fish with a garlic-spread we make. To my best of knowledge there are no cod fish in the Mediterranean, so where does this tradition comes from? And where did they find the cod to start doing that in the first place? And why cod fish? It is very weird.


My few thoughts on the subject(s):
My impression is that in the US sugar is added to much more stuff than here, partly due to the 0 fat fad that squeezed the flavor out of everything. And this caused the even worst trend of sweeteners, which spilled everywhere. (this pains me personally, because I like sweets, but I can’t stand sugar in things that should be plain. For example, the cappuccino sachets that are supposed to have no sugar, have sugar :rage:).

The Cyclops in Odyssey were making yogurt, so we win this battle with the Turks, I guess. :stuck_out_tongue: (I should search for the word in the original, tho.)

I’ve tasted the same product in the Greek version and the “for export” version before, mainly dairy products (Dodoni is near my hometown and my maternal grandparents used to provide sheep milk to them, officially and all, years ago), and they taste a lot different. I think the exported ones are sometimes adjusted in flavor for the local market. I tried feta in Germany and it tasted like dried paint, but it was supposed to be the original. Marketing can be very deceiving. :woman_shrugging:

In my understanding, watching cooking videos mostly, in many countries olive oil is considered a luxury cuisine staple. Here we bathe every single potato in it, and chefs internationales sprinkle exactly six drops religiously.

The Varangian Guard is one of my favorite historical elements ever. :innocent:


aah, curd!


The one I like a lot is that salmon sushi wasn’t eaten in Japan, because the Asian variety of salmon contained too many parasites to eat safely. It only got popular after Norwegian salmon was imported, from Norway, a couple of decades ago. It’s now probably the most popular sushi topping in Japan.

Many conveyor belt sushi places also serve California rolls, which are of course an American invention, although they’re hard to find in the more traditional sushi shops.

We get our ‘feta’ from the Turkish shop, although it’s Turkish feta. But it’s infinitely better than the rubber they sell at the grocery shop.


The comments regarding breakfast cereal got me thinking about an old tv ad for Grape Nuts Flakes, created by the Post company. The ad ran for about ten seconds, and as I recall it featured a young guy sitting on a pier eating Grape Nuts Flakes while in the background somebody is strumming a guitar. The song goes like this:

There ain’t no grapes, there ain’t no nuts
in Post Grape Nuts Flakes.

It has an almost koan-like sensibility don’t you think?

I’m afraid this is all I have today.


Word I learned today. Now I’m interested. Off to google some more.


According to your likes in the first two posts of this topic you already knew what a koan is. :stuck_out_tongue:


The knowledge was within us all along. Socrates (or sth).


I’m certain they are even more insightful in their original language, some things just don’t translate.
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Grape Nuts Flakes is my favorite cereal. Unfortunately, they have had very unreliable distribution over the past 20 years. Although I am in a major suburban area, they were unobtainable for about 4 years in the early 2000s. More recently I couldn’t get them anywhere within 30 miles for about 2 years. Now I can get them easily again, and I am contented.


Yes, sugar is added to practically everything in the U.S. today, and I find it appalling. And it is much worse today than when I was a youth. The market has responded with “no sugar added” products, which are usually more expensive. That seems like an oxymoron, paying more to stop them from adding something, but I guess it is because they must alter the production process to something less efficient due to the lower volume produced. Fortunately I don’t drink sodas; stopped about 40 years ago. For my coffee and tea, I use stevia, a natural sweetener that works quite well I think. Of course, it is about 3 times as expensive as sugar, but I think it is worth it.


I don’t like stevia flavor at all, it leaves a weird aftertaste to me. And I especially dislike when I buy something, ask “no sugar” and they give it to me with stevia by default. I’ve thrown away countless takeaway coffee and snacks because if that.


If I had to guess, I’d say that we do not sell them the good stuff, so when they come here as tourists they will think that the food tastes better because we are somehow better at cooking, when it is just that we have the correct ingredients.

It is a funny thought, but our love for “minimum effort” is such that I wouldn’t put it past us for it to have a grain of truth in it (or even a small silo worth of grains) … after all, some morons that own a tavern do not even wash and defrost the frozen shrimps before putting them in a pan and serving them as “fresh” for crying out loud …

For example, the cappuccino sachets that are supposed to have no sugar, have sugar

Half of it IS sugar according to the contents O_O
Wouldn’t it be funny if a new law demanded that the most prevailant ingredient has to be first on the name of the product as well? :wink:

So, you’d have things like:

  • “Sugar with some coffee, in sachets” instead of cappuccino satchets
  • “Fat with strips of meat” instead of bacon
  • “Fat with sugar and some cocoa” instead of “chocolate”
  • “Sugar with water and some fruit juice extract” instead of “natural juice”

Come to think of it, most products would have to be renamed to “fat with sugar and …” or “Sugar with …”

Maybe you missed the real pun there … the product is named “Post Grape Nuts Flakes” , meaning that we are after/over with the grapes and nuts (like in the phrase “post war” or “post apocalyptic”), that is why it doesn’t have any :wink:


Oh come on, you overdid it there. :stuck_out_tongue: It’s mostly A. They buy something that has the correct label, but don’t check further (the same way lots of Greeks buy “olive oil” off-brands just because they are cheaper in the supermarket because they are from the city and grew up on that stuff and don’t know better, but to you and me it smells like a gas station). B. Most usually the “original” taste is not to their taste, different cultures :woman_shrugging: . Same thing with Chinese restaurants in Greece, nothing like the actual Chinese cuisine. Or even Italian sometimes, and we’re literally next door.


Well, since it is cheaper they know that it is “off-spec” in some way, but it is still ok … after all cooking, as a skill, seems to be on the decline, which is odd since nowadays there are so many video tutorials about a million succulent and tasty recipes.

Now there is something worth a question. Ok, a company does that because it wants to sell more, but why would any customer buy an exotic product, if it going to taste like something closer to home? What is the point?

I buy “non-native” stuff sometimes to taste them (like a mango, an avocado, a pineapple, some random weird beers and stuff like that) and I like some of them, some of them I find odd (e.g. the mango was great, but why do people like avocado is beyond me), but I appreciate the experience. That is the point of buying something exotic, isn’t it?

In a discussion I had an hour ago I just realised that quince is a fruit that is not really found in most of Europe. Suppose you are a German and you want to taste that quince “spoon candy” we make and you buy some. Wouldn’t you want it to have the unique taste of the original, instead of, for example, tasting like an orange?