The Perception Gap


Human Thinking Patterns


I reran yesterday’s post, Is Organic Always Better because I wanted to give you an update about organic foods. But yesterday’s post was too long to add any thing more, so I saved this new information for today.

You may remember about two months ago there was a big scare and some deaths from a salmonella outbreak in Europe. Over at the website Big Think they ran an article about six weeks ago titled: Organic = Good, Right? OOOPS! about this outbreak.

The latest research into the outbreak seems to show the salmonella outbreak may have come from organic bean sprouts.

However laying blame or slamming organic is not the gist of nor the purpose of the Big Think article. What the article delves into is human thinking patterns. How the human mind works.

When foods, nutritional supplements, and medicines are labeled with words like “natural,” or “organic” we humans tend to think they are intrinsically better and healthier than  so-called “non-natural,” or human made items.

This perception however  may or may not be true. When it is not it could lead to harm or even death.

Big Think therefore delves into WHY we think natural or organic is intrinsically better in the first place.

The way those foods [organic] are produced and processed and shipped is part of the risk, but we make it worse because of the positive/healthy/better-for-you reputation organic food enjoys. That encourages the assumption that organic food poses less danger of carrying disease. That leads to less of the caution that should be applied in handling all foods; washing, cooking, temperature control.  So our benign assumptions about organic food can raise our risk. [All emphasis mine]

Big Think goes on to say this brain or thinking phenomena occurs in many situations. We humans seem to get an emotional high from terms like, “Natural.” That word alone conjures up deep subconscious psychological filters in all of us that say something like: natural = good; man made = bad. “Natural risks,” says the author, feel less scary

We think it is safer because of the words, “natural,” or “organic”,  therefore we do not take the normal precautions we would with non-natural or non-organic products.

And in that thinking pattern there is a problem. This thinking pattern can be detrimental to our health. Big Think calls it The Perception Gap. Some words make us feel some things are safe or safer when in reality, they are not. The facts are far different from what we perceive from the words. [Emphasis mine.]

Below are two examples of the Perception Gap:

 We are less afraid of herbal and natural medicines than of the human-produced kind – [of] pharmaceuticals. That can be dangerously dumb. Ephedra and St. John’s Wort  are just a couple high profile cases of natural drugs that caused harm. A 2004 study of Ayurvedic herbal medicines found that one sample in five purchased from local stores inBoston contained up to 10,000 times more lead, mercury, or arsenic thanU.S. safety standards deemed safe.

Most of us are less afraid of radiation from the sun, which causes 1.3 million cases of skin cancer a year in theU.S.and approximately 8,000 deaths from melanoma, than radiation from cell phones and nuclear power plants.

You can read more over at Think Big and get more examples of the Perception Gap and some tips on how to reduce the chance of assessing the risk wrong, or in other words when ” when our feelings don’t match the facts.”

It is a great read and I encourage you to click the link (here it is again, Organic =Good  Right, Ooops ) and read the entire very short article.

It could save your life!

Our interesting and endlessly fascinating mind at work.

Featured Recipe        Chicken Shanghai

I don’t know where this recipe came from. After my mother died and I was cleaning out her house I found clipped-from-magazine-recipes all over the place; in cookbooks, in drawers, in and books of all sorts, including one in the telephone book.

I am pretty sure the recipe came from some magazine. It is on magazine style paper. But it was only the recipe, no identification what-so-ever. As far as I know she never made this recipe.

But is sounded good so I made it. I like it. It is easy. It does not use too many pots and pans so there is little clean up. This lazy gal’s kind of recipe!

This is what you will need for 3-4 people:

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons light brown sugar*

1 tablespoon dry Sherry

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 pounds chicken legs**

Orange wedges***


*I used dark brown cause it was what I had in my pantry.

**I used chicken wings or wingettes.

***I added some lime wedges because I had some leftovers from the Limeade the other day.

Optional Ingredient: Sesame Seeds

The recipe does not call for sesame seeds. This is my addition. Makes sense to me.

Here is what you do:

I wiped the chicken off with paper towels as the wings were very wet.

Combine soy sauce, water, brown sugar, Sherry, and the ground ginger in a bowl…….

…….and mix well.

Place chicken in a heavy large skillet.

Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Bring mixture  to a boil, that is till it starts to bubble. If you look closely in the photo below you will see some bubbles in the sauce.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes, turning chicken occasionally.

While the chicken is cooking wash the oranges and limes and cut them into wedges.
When the 30 minutes is up uncover the pan and increase heat to medium-low.

Simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens to a glaze, turning chicken occasionally, about 15 minutes.

NOTE: I have always found it takes longer than 15 minutes. It takes about 20-30 minutes for the sauce to get thick and become thick enough to glaze the chicken. Your stove may vary. I also turn the chicken often so that the wingettes are covered in glaze.

The directions say to alternate chicken and orange wedges on a platter and serve. If you are using the sesame seeds sprinkle some on the wings.

I usually just  take chicken from the pan to my plate. Today I served with rice with a topping of green onions and a tomato salad with olive oil, salt & pepper, and green and black sliced olives and capers.

In addition to eating the fruit wedges I squeeze some of the juice on the chicken; only one flavor at a time though.

A very filling and delicious meal!!!

Bon appétit!!!


1/3 cup soy sauce                              $0.90

1/3 cup water                                    $—–

2 tablespoons brown sugar                $0.11

1 tablespoon dry Sherry                    $0.12

1 teaspoon ground ginger                  $0.55

3 pounds chicken legs                       $6.77

Orangewedges                                 $1.98

Total cost = $10.43
Cost per person (3) = $3.47
Cost per person (4) = $2.61

Quote of the Day

Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today.  It is already tomorrow in Australia

Charles Schulz


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