The title of today’s post could almost be the title of a new movie or TV show. But alas, it is not. 

Shockers are the surprising, shocking, and often hidden ways restaurants add more oil, extra  fat, and thus more calories to the foods they serve you, even normally healthy foods like salads and steamed vegetables.

I am not talking fast food restaurants here. I am talking about good, sit-down restaurants.

Restaurant Shocker, blares the headline in a  Shape magazine  article that lists 7 common restaurant practices that can sabotage your best diet intentions. 


One of the shockers is that even steamed veggies are high in fat in many restaurants.

Vegetables are often sautéed in duck fat. One high end restaurant chef confessed, “Every order of spinach I made got about 2 ounces of butter.” That’s 4 tablespoons, which adds 45 grams of fat (32 grams saturated) and 400 calories to a single side dish.” [emphasis mine]

I feel pretty, I feel pretty….. sang Maria in Westside Story.  But restaurants use oil to make food look prettier and fresher. Really!! You can’t make up stuff like this.

“Grilled veggies don’t fare any better. They either get an oil-based marinade or are brushed with oil before grilling and then rebrushed on the plate so they look prettier. Even steamed vegetables aren’t safe. I recently ordered steamed vegetables from room service at a New York City hotel. Sure, they steamed them. But then they tossed them in so much butter and olive oil that I would have been better off ordering a banana split,” says another chef.”

Another shocker is that “plain” toasted buns are covered in butter (or worse.)

“It’s pretty obvious when you take a bite of garlic bread at a steakhouse that it’s dripping with butter. But butter or other fat is added to bread a lot more often than you know. It’s common practice to slap sandwich buns with some form of grease to keep them from sticking to the flattop grill. You may think you’re having a plain grilled chicken sandwich, but there’s a good chance those wheat buns were smeared with margarine before being toasted. This adds 5.5 fat grams (4 grams saturated) and 50 calories.”

But, did you also know that the bread in your sandwich may be spread with mayonnaise first? Read on.

“But that’s not the end of it. The outside of the bread may be smothered in mayonnaise before it’s toasted, says one chef, who admits to making grilled turkey sandwiches this way at the tony restaurant where he last worked. “That’s how bread gets that beautiful golden color,” he explains.”

Think eating a salad is a safe and healthy alternative? Think again. Not always!

Your “healthy” salad is probably drowning in oil.

“Think ordering an entree salad will help you cut calories? In many cases you might as well be eating fast food.  [Emphasis mine] At least 1/4 cup of dressing is used to toss a salad, often more. That harmless-looking ladle of creamy dressing has 38 grams of fat (6 grams saturated) and 360 calories, about the same as a cheeseburger. But “creamy” isn’t the only culprit, says May. ‘Most dressings are based on a 3-1 ratio: three parts oil to one part acid [vinegar], so even a balsamic vinaigrette has a high fat content.'”

Geez!! That is a lot of salad dressing for one salad. I use ¼ cup of dressing for 4-6 people.

I did not do the following with my Wild Salmon Pasta Salad in my last post. I swear on a stack of Bibles!!!  That’s because I didn’t know you could. Live and learn.

“Pasta salads, with their colorful broccoli florets and red pepper strips, also can be deceiving. A generous amount of oil is used when they’re prepared. But to preserve that freshly made look, restaurants often add extra “coats” every few hours until they’re served. By the time the salad hits your plate, the oil alone could add as many as 28 fat grams (4 grams saturated) and 250 calories for a 1/2-cup serving.”

The really nice thing about the fyll article is the author gives you a savvy-diner strategy for each of the seven shockers. For instance, “Order your veggies steamed or grilled and make clear to your server that you want no butter or oil added at any stage of preparation.”

To read the full article, read about the other shockers, and get all of the savvy-diner strategies you can use this link or the link above.

As I have written before it’s not safe anywhere. It’s a jungle out there. Be careful.

Featured Recipe:  Vanilla Roasted Peaches with Raspberries  

I am really enjoying reading all of your comments on the recent survey sent to subscribers and posted here at More Thyme. I will be using many of your ideas and suggestions over the next few weeks. Collin in Maryland suggested I share some fresh peach recipes.

So todayI am featuring one of summer’s most glorious fruits – fresh peaches. 

I know when I can smell the peaches as I near the display that peaches are ripe, are ready to buy, and will be delicious. Such was the case today. Most of the stores here in Columbus have peaches on sale this week too. I got mine for only 88 cents a pound.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe from her Everyday Food magazine and it is truly Martha at her very finest. This is a heavenly dessert. Two wonderful fresh fruits and ice cream combine for some healthy decadence!!! What’s not to love about this?

The recipe calls for 4 peaches. Unless I am making this for company I use only 1 peach (as I did here) and only half a package of raspberries. But I made a full batch of the sauce. I will eat one half of the peach with ice cream for desert, and eat the other for breakfast  sans the ice cream but with some raspberries, for breakfast in the morning.

For several years I used the vanilla pods and seeds. But both last summer and this summer the cost of vanilla beans has just been way too expensive. So I started using the vanilla extract. The taste is pretty much the same. In fact, I like it better with the extract.  With the pods and beans the vanilla taste is a bit more intense. But the extract still gives that vanilla taste I love. And I find the extract makes the syrup more syrupy, which I like a lot.

If you make this recipe both ways I would be interested in which way you like best. Just leave a comment in the comments section of this or a future post.

This is what you will need for 4 servings*:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1 vanilla bean halved and scraped OR 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 firm ripe peaches halved and pitted

Vanilla ice cream

1  5-6 ounce package fresh raspberries

* Reminder, my pictures show only 1 peach and half the raspberries as I made this for just me. The rest of recipe is made with ingredient amounts as given by Martha Stewart.

Here is what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the number of peaches you are using in half and remove the pits.

 In a large, shallow baking dish combine melted  butter, lemon juice, sugar, and either vanilla beans or extract. 

Add the peaches and turn to coat with the butter mixture. Arrange cut side down in a single layer.

Roast until peaches are tender and cooking liquid is syrupy, 15-25 minutes, brushing with cooking liquid half-way through.

Here they are fresh out of the oven.

Serve warm. Place one half of a peach and some of the raspberries on each plate. Drizzle with some of the syrup.

Now add the ice cream.  Drizzle all with a bit more of the syrup.

This dessert is truly a slice of heaven here on earth.


2 tablespoons butter                                    $0.30

2 tablespoons lemon juice                            $0.34

2 tablespoons sugar                                     $0.04

1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon extract               $0.71

4 firm ripe peaches                                      $1.72

Vanilla ice cream                                          $2.98

1-5-6 ounce package raspberries                   $2.50

Total cost = $8.59
Cost per person = $2.15

Bon Appetit, my friends!!!!


Quote of the Day:    What really matters is what happens in us, not to us.                Author Unknown

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3 comments to Shockers

  • LHunter

    I must say I am extremely surprised to hear that about the steamed or grilled vegetables. I always order veges as a side, and now I am having conflicting thoughts about ordering them again, but what other “healthy” options are there?

    • Roberta

      I don’t think you stop ordering veggies. Just make clear to the server when you order that you do not want any oils or butter AT ALL used before, during or after preparation. Hope this helps, Leslie.

  • islander

    What a killer recipe. I cant believe I was so “chicken” to cook..this was a total hit.