The Non-Expert

Credit: Jennifer Daniel for TMN

The Analyst’s Cookbook

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. We help a reader ferret out the truth about which foods are good to eat, and which ward off bullets.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


Question: What effect if any do olives have on memory? Thank you, Les B.

Answer: The hidden side effects of common foodstuffs are little known. By means of a public service, we offer the following important information about grocery-store mood processing and body modification. All ramifications can be achieved at home, at relatively low cost (bulk purchasing stores and loyalty cards are important here), and with no need for inconvenient drugs or surgery.


It is a common fallacy that olives have an impact upon the mental faculties. Olives neither impair nor enhance memory. However, ingesting as little as one olive a day will dramatically increase your curiosity and capacity for inquisition.


When taken without cheese, they promote impotence.

Diet Soda

Excessive consumption induces irrational exuberance.

Quaker Oats

A thrillingly frustrating mixture of impotence and exuberance.


Well-known side effect: impudent thoughts. Little-known side effect: vivid auditory hallucinations.


When eaten in excess, asparagus can turn the blood green. Mix with grape soda for fluorescent highlights and a spectacular light show.

Boiled Sweets

In days gone by, a timely boiled sweet would do wonders for the air traveller’s inner ear at take-off or landing. What you’re not told: Untimely boiled sweets can expand to massive dimensions, jeopardizing dental work and flight plans.

Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses

Few ill effects, although it is little known that each little swirl of chocolate contains an actual kiss, stolen from a child laborer in exchange for his earthly soul. Eating a surfeit of chocolate kisses renders one stonily oblivious to human suffering.


Did we mention olives? Generations of college kids will tell you they’re great when cramming for an important test—especially when soaked in vodka. Stock up on pickled olives and your recall, manual dexterity, and general all-round attractiveness will soar.

Fig rolls

Promote hemophilia.


Improves the tolerance of those with lactose intolerance, for everything else other than lactose.


The ancient saying, “Dry dates create watery ears,” has never been fully deciphered, but is best not ignored.


The popular strip cartoon should be warning enough—peanuts give you alopecia (except the honey-roasted ones, which generate an itch for change).


Anecdotal evidence suggests bananas’ health-giving properties are only generated by the consumption of 10 to 15 kilograms of the fruit in short, concentrated bursts.


Ostentatious and elaborate consumption of caviar can quite literally turn one’s heart to stone.

Feta Cheese

Small chunks, crumbled on toast with a drizzle of olive oil and tomato and garlic paste, give the imbiber the ability to ward off high-caliber rifle bullets.

Bon appétit!


TMN Contributing Writer Jonathan Bell lives in South London. He co-edits Things Magazine and likes to write about architecture. More by Jonathan Bell