Smooth juice, smooth delivery
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Looking like a still life, fresh produce sits on the counter at the Blue Ribbon Cooking Center on Tuesday at The Altamont Fair right before Jim Haas gave his “Fun with Smoothies” presentation. Haas, of Altamont, a chef for 38 years, made nutritional blends for the fairgoers.
ALTAMONT — Jim Haas is neither a vegetarian, nor a preacher, but he thinks people need more nutrients in their diets.
Before giving his “Fun with Smoothies” presentation at The Altamont Fair on Tuesday inside the Blue Ribbon Cooking Center, Haas, of Altamont, quoted Charles Dickens from his 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It’s the best of times, the worst of times,” he said. “Right now, we could eat better than kings, but we don’t.”
Haas, a chef since 1976 — once owning a restaurant in Delmar for 12 years — mentioned obesity, cancers, and an inspiring documentary by Joe Cross called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. The sequel to the film, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2, will be released on Sept. 18.
“There’s a fast-food problem; people aren’t getting enough of the nutritional powerhouses,” said Haas, who later let loose a sarcastic chuckle when I crossed his path with some loaded chili cheese fries in my hand. “Red meat consumption is down, but, when people go out to eat and see nice, heart healthy menu choices, no one buys that,” he said.
There is soluble and insoluble fiber, and smoothies have both. Insoluble fiber takes longer to digest, and, if someone had a smoothie in the morning, Haas said, they could hold off hunger for a while.
“It’s packed with the good stuff,” said Haas of the blended beverage. “For a man, 35 grams of fiber per day is proper. For a woman, it’s 28 to 30. Now, an apple has about 7 grams of fiber…”
Asked if having a smoothie for breakfast every day were a good idea, Haas said, “Yes.”
Haas used a homemade gas-powered blender made from a weed-whacker engine, and his comedic personality was reminiscent of the character Sal Goodman, a wise-cracking lawyer, from the hit television series Breaking Bad.
He kept saying that his wife, Melissa, who lost 40 pounds from juicing, wouldn’t be taking any questions. At one point, Haas dropped the crown of a pineapple into the blender, held tight by his daughter, Jamie, only to frantically take it back out. The audience laughed.
“Well, that’s not going to work,” said Haas, who was wearing an “Education by Design” T-shirt. “You got to be creative. You can throw yogurt in there, almonds, flaxseed, whatever. Just be creative.”
Using coconut milk, ice, and produce — strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mango, pineapple, grapes, avocado, bananas, kiwi, lime, and melon — for his smoothies, Haas also had fresh kale and mint from his wife’s garden. He made three versions: “Peaches & Cream,” “Pina Kalelada,” and a random mixture.
The “Pina Kalelada” was zesty, very good, and the best of the fresh bunch.
“We’re making it fun,” Haas said, cranking his blender handle as if he were riding a motorcycle. “Smoothies taste good and give you lots of energy. It goes right into your system.”
Indeed, he provided education by design with a little comedy relief to smooth it over.