Wild Rice

Andy Briscoe, president and CEO of the Sugar Association, will not be coming to my dinner table any time soon. In an article on sugar this morning in the L.A. Times, (in reference to Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of clinical pediatrics at U.C. San Francisco who has done extensive studies on sugar) Mr. Briscoe (you notice I said Mister, not doctor) was quoted saying: “Lustig doesn’t know the science”. He also said that we were eating just as much sugar in the early 1970’s “and we didn’t have all these problems with obesity or all this metabolic stuff.” Spoken like a real scientist. Actually, Mr. Briscoe has a Bachelors of Science degree from Texas A.M. But since then the only science he has been practicing is the science of spin. I don’t need to defend Dr. Lustig. He makes his point very clearly and if you haven’t investigated him from mine or others recommendations here is the long but worthwhile clip: “Sugar, The Bitter Truth”.

I grew up in the 1970’s and Mr. Briscoe’s point is both inaccurate and incriminating. In the 1970’s there were no Big Gulps, no “Supersize Me”, no large candy bars and McDonalds was a treat, not a meal. People did not drink soda with their dinners, schools did not have vending machines and most parents regulated the amount of “sweet treats” that their children ingested.  Sure, kids ate sweets but it was never considered food or “good for you”.

The restructuring of the federal farm subsidies program did not happen until the early 70’s (Thanks to Earl Butz) and therefore did not gain momentum, providing subsidized, cheap corn to manufacture High Fructose Corp Syrup (HFCS) until well into the 80’s. In other words, we did NOT consume the same amount of sugar (s) as we do now. From all of the studies and graphs I have found, it seems that the total sugar intake has just about doubled since the 70’s.

Added sugar has no nutritional benefit whatsoever. The claim that the Sugar Association makes that sugar is natural and therefore not harmful is true. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, but not without all of the other nutrients and substances such as fiber. Added sugar, or sugar on it’s own has none of the benefits of a piece of fruit, and all of the negative aspects. I’m afraid it’s not Dr. Lustig, with his years of research and clinical studies that doesn’t know. I think that “Briscoe doesn’t know the science.”


  • 2 Cups Wild Rice
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins (or dried Cranberries)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Large Saute Pan
  • Large Pan
  • Chef’s Knife
  1. Rinse wild rice. Wild rice is actually not rice, but a grain from grasses.
  2. Follow instructions on packet for cooking rice. It usually takes twice as much water and needs to cook for around 45 minutes, until the liquid is gone. 
  3. When the rice is nearly done, in the saute pan, add a good amount of olive oil to cover bottom. 
  4. Saute the onion until translucent.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the onion.
  6. Add the pine nuts and raisins. Combine well. This should take a few minutes to allow the dish to come together. 
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this with tomorrow’s special treat.
(Note: If you read: “on today’s date”, you would have noticed that Grapes of Wrath was released on this day in 1939. My wife pointed out to me that many things have changed since then: women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights. Much progress has been made. But not much has changed when it comes to hunger and poverty. A billion people in this world do not have enough to eat each day.)

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