Archive for the ‘food’ Tag

What Are You Eating?   Leave a comment

As those of you who know me well know, I love to cook, and I love to eat.  Over the years due to health problems experienced by various members of the family, I have learned a good bit about a variety of different diets.  When your nose runs every time you sit down to a meal, you start to do some homework.  In the course of this journey, I have learned to always read ingredient labels.

Well…in the interest of full disclosure, I should probably say that I haven’t learned to do this, because I don’t always read ingredient labels.  For one thing, product ingredients can change.  You think you’re on top of what is in something, and don’t bother checking, and then once you get it home you notice there is something in it that you should not eat.  That’s usually what I run into.

Also, there are surprises, ingredients you don’t expect, usually because it makes no sense for them to be in the product you’re buying in the first place.

There are quite a few additives in most foods in the grocery store, and if you want to avoid them, you’re going to need to read labels and buy fresh foods, not prepared ones.  Oh, and did I mention reading the labels?

Here are a few surprises we had lately.

We enjoyed pancake and muffin mix from family as a Christmas gift.  It is organic and non-GMO.  The pancakes were delicious for sure, but the pancakes included organic malt extract and natural flavoring.  If the flavor of organic pancakes is so fantastic, why do they need flavor enhancers?

I was looking at baby shampoo, which of course you don’t eat, but your skin absorbs whatever you put on it, so thinking along these lines for a gentle safe soap for babies, I was thrilled to see that–no whoops, I  mean confused to see that baby shampoo has, among about 15 other ingredients that I couldn’t identify, two kinds of yellow food coloring.  Slather it on!  I’m sure that will have health benefits for your baby.

You’ve heard that if you want to eat healthy, just buy your food from the areas around the outside edge of the grocery store, thus avoiding the processed, packaged foods that make up the majority of the center aisles.  I think in general that is a good idea.  But, even with fresh food, don’t stop reading those labels.  You still have to look for additives.  I recently discovered that conventional ground beef has natural flavoring in it.

Why does plain ol’ meat need natural flavoring?  Honestly, what is wrong with its flavor alone that requires additional support?  I asked the meat guy about this and he told me it’s been in there for years, basically industry standard, and if you want meat that does not have natural flavoring in it, you have to buy organic.

I have to say, that’s the dumbest, wrongest thing I have heard at the grocery store in a long time!  Meat.  That is all it is supposed to be.  But, if your family, like mine, reacts to food additives and flavor enhancers, you are going to have to find an alternative to grocery store meat.

This in itself is wrong.

In a perfect world, you would not have to read every label and get the life story of the food you want to purchase.  But here we are, in a culture where as long as it’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) it can be in your food.  Why not add another stabilizer, another thickener, another flavor enhancer to this product? must be what the companies are thinking.  What’s one more? the public already takes in hundreds of substances that are not actually food, but that are allowed in substances that used to be food.  It must have started somewhere.  Sometime, natural flavoring was the only additive in your food, and you only ate it once or twice a week.  But just a little at a time, more and more preservatives and flavor enhancers and food colorings were added, and you ate more and more of the prepared and processed foods.

And here we are with a grocery store full of substances that I cannot honestly call food.

And people who don’t make a lot of money and can’t afford to buy organic meat are forced to take in all these substances that aren’t needed in the first  place.

And we are pondering why we are chronically ill.

What are you eating?

 

 

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Posted February 2, 2017 by swanatbagend in food

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The World’s Greatest Cookie   1 comment

I recently made one of the world’s most delicious cookie recipes, after quite a long hiatus.  I have to say of everything I cook, most of it, with a couple of exceptions, is recipes from friends and family.  I do use two or three excellent cookbooks on a regular basis, but overall, the best recipes are those in my ratty old accordion file that’s falling apart.  They’re written on recipe cards, index cards, bits of notebook paper, the back of a page of Juan Goytisolo’s Marks of Identify that I read as  college freshman, a few cut out of magazines and the newspaper.

The other great thing about a recipe from a friend, is that when you make it, you think of that person and fun times you had together.

When you make a recipe given to you by someone who has died, I think it’s a way to make them live again, just a bit.

When I make this cookie recipe, I remember how they were always in a glass cookie jar, waiting for me when I went to visit my grandmother in Oklahoma City.  I remember summer dinners in the dim dining room, the window A/C humming away bringing gloriously cold air to us.  I remember my grandmother’s smile and her big brown eyes.  So many memories there.  When I make the cookies I think with so much love of Gramma.

When I eat them I think of her too. Somehow food has that power for good.  Maybe it’s not the most nutritious recipe you’ve ever seen, but hey, it’s  a cookie.  It’s not supposed to be nutritious.

To good food and good memories and the love of a good grandmother.

World’s Greatest Cookie

1 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 6 oz. package chocolate chips

Cream butter and peanut butter together.  Gradually add sugars and cream until blended.  Add eggs and beat until smooth.  Add flour and soda.  (Gramma says to sift flour twice, but I have managed to get along without that step for 25 years now.)  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoon onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake in 325 oven for 15 minutes.  Makes 6 dozen.

Posted June 6, 2013 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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