Sunday, November 30, 2008
- Preheat over to 400 degrees
- In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt and set aside
- In a medium size bowl, combine the soy milk, maple syrup, corn kernels, oil and chiles and set aside.
- Heat a well-oiled coast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. While the skillet is heating, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with with a few quick strokes. Transfer the batter to the hot skillet and bake on the center oven rack until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes (it only took mine 20 minutes). Serve hot or warm.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Its been a long time since I picked up a book that I couldn't put down until I flipped the last page. Michael Pollan succeeded -- I consumed his latest book, In Defense of Food, An Eater's Manifesto in less than a week. I was skeptical at first with the author because I couldn't finish his previous book, Omnivore's Dilemma (too technical and confusing at spots). Obviously, THIS book held my interest and embedded even more food thoughts in my brain. Many of his concepts are not unlike the Eat Local Challenge (in which he references in the back of the book). In a nutshell, the book is about how most "food" in the grocery store isn't really food but the over processing of food substances into product the food industry, nutritionists, and marketeers sell us as "food." An easy summation of the book is his compelling practical ways to separate and defend, real food from the cascade of food like products that now surround and confound us:
- Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. (squeezable yogurt?)
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup. (have you read the ingredients in a loaf of bread lately?)
- Avoid food products that make health claims (low-fat isn't all its cracked up to be)
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle (where the processed stuff is).
- Get out of the supermarket whenever possible (shop farmer's markets)
- East mostly plants, especially leaves (packed with nutrients)
- You are what what you eat eats too (he's OK with meat... but make sure its grass-fed)
- If you have space, buy a freezer (when you find that grass fed beef, stock your freezer)
- Eat well-grown food from healthy soils (organic!!!)
- Eat wild foods when you can (more nutritious)
- Be the kind of person who takes supplements (healthy people usually take supplements, but you don't need the supplements if you eat a diverse plant diet)
- Eat more like the French or the Italians or the Japanese or the Indians. (get your culture back -- eat what your grandma ate)
- Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism (soy protein isolate?)
- Have a glass of wine with dinner (full of antioxidants - very healthy)
- Pay more, eat less (the LOCAL organic beef and veges ARE worth it).
- Eat meals (quit the snacking!)
- Do all your eating at a table (not the car while rushing somewhere)
- Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does
- Try not to eat alone
- Consult your gut (when you feel full, stop eating!)
- Eat slowly (slowfood usa)
- Cook, and if you can, PLANT A GARDEN! (of course, my favorite)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This is a meat story written by part-time vegetarian. I have the good fortune of being surrounded by meat lovers and can't deny my loved ones their food preference. While I annoy them to death with my opinions on this food thing and the environment, they certainly aren't going to stop eating meat for me (I must add they eat mostly local so they do NOT support industrial farming of meat). So I have to accommodate them at Christmas. Yes, I stuff my hand up a dead bird's cold ass and think to myself how much I love my family while I do it. I don't eat the turkey. Last year I did, but this year I'm not. Why? Because last year we had a free range organic bird that cost me $54.00, but that won't be the case this year. Has anyone priced an organic free-range turkey lately? At Natural Acres in Millersburg, $5.69 a pound is the going rate. My dad said, "Did you tell them to "stuff it?" After a little more research on prices of organic birds, I discovered Natural Acres may be ripping people off, although the prices aren't a whole lot lower -- $3.99 is what I'd pay if I would drive about a 100 mile round trip to Eberly poultry to pick it up (same supplier to Natural Acres). Why so much? Why organic or another route folks are going "Heritage?" Read on. Here's a short lesson on turkeys:
- Free-Range Organic - the birds run free in a field and eat organic feed. No antibiotics or other chemicals injected or pumped in their food. Totally natural and humane.
- Free-range natural - the birds run free and eat "natural" feed (grains). No antibiotics or injections -- its not certified organic, thus they can't label them "organic." 2nd best choice.
- "Natural" turkey - you'll see this on the package in the big chain stores on the cheap turkeys. Don't believe them unless they specifically say they use no antiobiotics or injections. The birds were likely factory farmed, raised in a crowded cage and not permitted to move much their entire lives.
- The .89 lb turkeys - Butterball and all others. Factory farmed birds likely raised in a crowded cage and injected with antiobiotics to prevent illnesses from crammed quarters. They are fed a chemically-laced commercial feed grown on industrial farms. Butterball even takes it a step further and injects their birds with extra Butter and "flavorings", thus, Butterball. Avoid these birds at all costs - there's a reason they are cheap that could cost us the environment some day. Is that a price to pay?
- Heritage Turkeys - just like heirloom fruits and vegetables, heritage turkeys are original breeds of turkeys not commonly raised. Thus, they are expensive and usually have to be ordered in the summer - BUT apparently they are very tasty, much more than the normal turkey. Many of the heritage breeds are rare and hard to find.
New York Magazine has a much more in-depth description of the turkey market. Its a good education. Some folks opt to raise their own turkeys which I couldn't do because I couldn't kill it. Its actually the cheapest way to go at a cost of $2.00 a chick, but you have to factor in feed costs and if you need to build a pen for it, etc. Crunchy Chicken has an interesting story on her bird this year -- she opted for a Heritage Turkey ordered in July that set her back $95.00. My dear hubby loves his Butterball, but I believe I can talk him into a Free-range natural bird for $1.89 lb from Koch's Turkey Farm. They are about 30 miles from here (local!) in Tamaqua Pennsylvania, and I while not certified organic or heritage, they are the next best thing - locally raised and they use local feed and grain. And what are YOU having for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas this year?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
From the New Society Book Publishers on what the book is about:
Depletion and Abundance explains how we are living beyond our means with or without a peak oil/climate change crisis and that, either way, we must learn to place our families and local communities at the center of our thinking once again. The author presents strategies to create stronger homes, better health and a richer family life and to live comfortably with an uncertain energy supply prepare children for a hotter, lower energy, less secure world survive and thrive in an economy in crisis, and maintain a kitchen garden to supply basic food needs. Most importantly, readers will discover that depletion can lead to abundance, and the anxiety of these uncertain times can be turned into a gift of hope and action. An unusual family perspective on he topic, this book will appeal to all those interested in securing a future for their children and grandchildren.
And my review after reading it:
- The author has 4 very young children, one with down syndrome - she relates many parts of the book to her siutation with her family. She dedicates an entire section (6 "Parts" with about 3-4 chapters in each "Part) to population, family values, and kids. Never having children, these parts were not attention-getting for me, but parents will be intrigued by some of her ideas if you are raising your kids green.
- Ever hear of homesteading? That pretty much sums up what the author focuses on the entire book. Things like living off the grid, growing and preserving everything yourself. It goes beyond buying local and gets you to think about making it on your own all by yourself. Supplying your own water without electricity, cook with solar stoves, out door ovens, composting toilets, etc. Even thinking about the house you live in - is it "smart" to stay there. For me, it was a bit overboard -- almost, dare I say, radical. I understand the point she was making - that someday this may be how it will be - but it seemed far-fetched to me. I can't imagine our government would let this happen.
- WHAT I GOT OUT OF IT: We live way, way beyond our needs and are extremely wasteful. The chinese really do get a kick out of making useless products for dumb Americans to buy. It got me thinking about saving some energy (why do we need 2 lights on in this room?), growing a huge garden next year and preserving as much of my own food as possible, letting my hair grow one length so I don't have to spend $$ getting it "trimmed" every 5-6 weeks, stop buying clothes! - what a huge waste. I have enough clothing and shoes to last me a lifetime - especially since I'm done working in two years. Stop driving everywhere and so much... ride bike more! I joke with Rick about the carts we are getting for our bikes to go to the grocery store when we retire (we stop on our way home now -- no extra trips if we can help it). And lastly, and likely most importantly, the value of family. I need to spend more time with them AND my dear husband.