Archive for Kitchen Quotes, Poems and Musings

Half-Priced Chocolate Day

For the first eighteen years of my life I thought Valentine’s Day only existed so we could have half-priced chocolate day on the fifteenth of February. For the next seven years I drifted towards the attitude that you might as well give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice over it as to point out that Valentine’s Day existed, but in the end, half priced chocolate the next day wasn’t such a bad way to make it up to me. And, for the past four years I’m such a daily sappy romantic that I either refuse to admit that I could be even sappier one day a year, or insist that one day a year (that’s been taken over by Hallmark) is completely irrelevant.

(How are your math skills? Did you figure out how old I am yet? You’ll really want to hone those skills for calculating how much your chocolate is going to cost at various percentages off over next week or so. You’re welcome.)

I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten anything heart shaped in the first half of the month of February.

It was sad the day I realized that conversation hearts taste like chalky sugar, because the idea of having an entire conversation by exchanging candies was always far more amusing than it should have been. (And going back to that calculation of how old I am… conversation hearts aren’t quite the same as they used to be, anyway. Now they say strange things like ‘text me’ and ‘< 3’.)

The best Valentine’s candy I can remember eating was chocolate mint hearts. It took me years to realize they were basically the same as Andes mints, just heart shaped.

I’ve never really liked chocolate covered cherries. The ones I’ve had usually taste like sugar bombs that have been waved in the vicinity of something that used to be a cherry.

Now that I write a health food (ish) blog and try to avoid GMOs and processed foods such as corn syrup, I should probably be above searching shelves for half priced candy that was being sold at an inflated price to begin with…

But whether it’s the thrill of the hunt or connecting with my roots or just the complete genetic inability to walk past a clearance sign without pausing, I remain firm in my belief that half priced chocolate is some of the important stuff of life.

I’ll happily bypass the conversation hearts and chocolate covered cherries though.

 

Carmine Coloring in Yoplait: Why I Don’t Mind Bugs in My Yogurt

I heard something shocking on the internet recently. I heard that Yoplait yogurt stopped coloring their strawberry yogurt with nasty chemicals and started coloring it with a more natural substance derived from bugs. BUGS! In our food!

Now, it seems that some pretty nasty chemicals can be used in the process of removing this natural coloring from the bugs, and in addition, some people have allergic reactions to this coloring. But that’s not what people are all worked up about. As far as I can tell, everyone is upset, because eating bugs is gross.

Seriously?

People out there who are concerned about healthy eating are taking up valuable time and using up what short attention spans the public has for health concerns in order to announce ‘don’t eat this, it’s gross’.

There are plenty of healthy foods that most people are grossed out by. Fermented cod liver oil. Liver. Brussel sprouts. And when it comes to those things we say things like, ‘you should try it, you’ll get used to it, it’s not so bad, it’s all in how you fix it’.

I think one of the really important things about eating healthy is being willing to have a spirit of adventure in trying new foods and new ways of eating foods and especially new ways of cooking those foods, since cooking more foods at home makes eating healthy simpler and less expensive.

So why are we going around undermining that spirit of adventure by telling people not to eat food that we think is gross?

And honestly, if you don’t want to eat bugs, I’m okay with that. Sometimes, on a personal level, there are certain kinds of grossness that it’s very hard to get past, and it may not be worth the energy to even try. That was how I felt about trying frog’s legs. I ate one, it tasted fine, but it was just too weird looking for me to really be able to enjoy it.

If you don’t want to eat bugs, don’t eat them. Just save the public outcry for real problems that actually matter.

So, Yoplait, I really appreciate the effort that you’re putting into revising your products to fit better into a natural and healthy lifestyle. I don’t think the carmine coloring is as much of an improvement as I would like it to be, but please don’t go back to the nasty chemical colors. Speaking for myself, I’m perfectly fine with eating yogurt that’s colored with bugs, I just want some way of knowing that your new bug coloring is actually eliminating the nasty chemicals instead of just introducing a new form of nasty chemicals.

For everyone else, I have a thought: try something new today. Make a new recipe, or buy a new ingredient you’ve never cooked with before, or at least order that dish at the restaurant that looks interesting but you’re always afraid won’t be as good as your regular order. Maybe it’s not that great, but it might just be spectacular, and it’s time to find out.

A Quote on Baking Bread

If all goes according to plan, on Friday I’ll have a recipe and video for 100% whole wheat bread that my carb-loving, ‘Why don’t we just use white flour for everything?’ husband enjoys. In the meantime, here’s a quote on baking bread, from a cookbook by Ada Lou Roberts. (If you are at all serious about baking bread, you should probably read, if not own, her cookbook A New Book of Favorite Breads from Rose Lane Farm.)

‘A fascinating little book, Cottage Economy by William Cobbett of England…contains a vigorous sermon urging laboring-class people to take care of their baking at home for reasons of both economy and health. He states flatly that, “Every woman, high or low, ought to know how to make bread. If she do not, she is unworthy of trust and confidence, and, indeed, a mere burden upon the community! Yet, it is a sad thing that many women seem to know nothing about bread other than the part which belongs to its consumption.” Mr. Cobbett was a large landownder and, to put his beliefs into action, he always asked a prospective tenant if his wife could bake. If she could not, there was no chance of her husband being hired. Mr. Cobbett figured that not only would a baking wife be worth a pound or two more to the family in savings, but that the husband would be worth more to him for, being better nourished, he would be able to do more and better work.’

Breads and Coffee Cakes with Homemade Starters by Ada Lou Roberts