Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Letter to the Editor: Regulate, don't ban, bad 'food'

Here's another letter to the editor published in the Salem News:

"The Salem News is right that the New York City soda ban is unconstitutional and we should be leery of government control.

There’s no need to cite the ever-increasing statistics on obesity, along with its secondary and tertiary effects on the overall society.

It’s not an individual problem; it increasingly is a societal problem. Numerous sources show how companies purposely make food more addictive while simultaneously targeting children (just like the cigarette companies did). Weight control for many people is extremely hard to manage, even when not being blasted by thousands of ads per day telling us to eat more."

To read the rest, click on through to the full letter.




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Weird but Tasty Food Combinations?

I remember as a kid getting harassed for putting mustard on my tuna fish sandwich from the school lunch.  I can also remember my father getting me to drink milk by putting Coke in it.  I enjoyed both thoroughly as a kid but now wouldn't consume either.  This is not because I look down on them but as a vegetarian, the tuna fish is out (yes--it's meat) and that the combination of Coke and milk sounds way too sweet a drink for me to actually enjoy (but clearly explains my early established and still present sweet tooth).

But that has me thinking about food culture and the defaults that food culture directs us toward (tortialla chips and salsa; .  I grew up on peanut butter and jelly as well as fluffernutters.  I would even go so far as to do jelly and fluff.  But peanut butter and pickles never crossed my mind.  Pickles were to have with sandwiches that included meat or cheese or other stuff.  That is, we learn or are trained to pair and connect certain food groups but not others and that establishes our food choices.

So I'm looking for some new ideas and to break out of the mold of my traditional food pairings.  To that, I challenge readers to provide (in the comments below) unique and interesting food combinations. Food pairings that we don't culturally associate going together but in your experience, you find particularly tasty.  I'm looking for a curious array of food pairings that might inspire me to think about certain foods differently.  So give me your best!

The Rules:
1.  Vegetarian-based combinations (I don't eat meat; but I will do dairy & eggs).
2.  Be clear with the recipe/food pairing but the recipe/food pairing shouldn't be too complicated.  If you're beyond 5 steps, you'll probably lose me.
3.  They must be submitted to the comments box in this post.

The Return
Depending on how many recipes/food pairings I get, I'll either return with a poll for people to vote for the top 5-10.  Regardless, I will follow up with a post after having tried the different combinations, along with pictures and commentary.



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Look What I Made: Apple Leather

So I can thank Hurricane Sandy for the opportunity to try this new recipe.  I'm a fan of my dehydrator as many of you know.  I've made potpourri and tea with it.  In September, I got into a conversation with someone who has been dehydrating for decades and he gave me some great tips that got me wondering what else I could do.  One idea was apple leather.  Fruit leather was what people made long before there was the classic (albeit unhealthy) child' snack, the Fruit Roll-Up.  It's a dehyrdated fruit mixture that is chewy and sweet (and much more healthy).

Thus with Sandy knocking out work for me for 2 days, one project I took to was making some apple leather and it came out pretty awesome.  I instantly bragged about it on Facebook and had a few people request the recipe.  So I figured I do one step better and capture it when I made it again.  So here it is.

Ingredients

  1. 1 Bag of Apples
  2. Rolled Oates (Optional)
  3. Pumpkin Spice (Optional)

Tools

  1. Large Pot
  2. Food precessor (or a really good masher)
  3. Dehydrator
  4. Parchment Paper

Directions

  1. Slice and decore the apples.
  2. Put sliced apples into large pot.
  3. Fill water to about 1 inch over the apples.
  4. Boil apples until mushy (10-15 or so minutes).
  5. Pour apple mush into food processor.
  6. Add 1 cup of rolled oates
  7. Add Pumpkin spice (or other relevant spices)
  8. Run processor until it's all mixed well (about 1 minute or so).
  9. Let cool for a few minutes (the sauce thickens while cooling).
  10. Line a dehydrator tray with parchment paper--1 layer preferably.
  11. Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper, try not to get it to more than 1 inch thickness.
  12. Add additional trays (usually 1-2 more depending on how thin you make it).
  13. Put on cover and start dehydrator. I generally do the highest temperature (about 155 F) but there's no set rule.
  14. When dried through, turn off dehydrator.
  15. Peel off parchment paper (should be relatively easy).
  16. Tear or cut into smaller pieces and store in dry air-tight container.

STEP BY STEP WITH PICTURES

Picture of Ingredients and Tools
Ingredients


Slice up apples and throw them in the pot
Slice up apples and throw them in the pot


Fill water to 1" over the apples and boil away.
Fill water to 1" over the apples and boil away.


Place apples and other ingredients into food processor
Place apples and other ingredients into food processor


Run the processor.
Run the processor.


Cover the dehydrator tray with parchment paper.
Cover the dehydrator tray with parchment paper.


Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper. (Note: I went too thick with this example)
Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper.
(Note: I went too thick with this example)


Turn on dehydrator; check occasionally to make sure that it is dehydrating evenly
Turn on dehydrator; check occasionally to make
sure that it is dehydrating evenly


20+ hours later; it should look like reddish and utterly dry.
20+ hours later; it should look like reddish and utterly dry.


When dehydrated, tear into small bite-size pieces and store in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!
When dehydrated, tear into small bite-size pieces
and store in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!




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Of Names and Covers

So many of you know, I’m vegetarian; which may make what I’m about to do seem kind of strange, but bear with me.  Of late, I was reviewing the audio version of the book, The Veganist:  Lose Weight, Get Healthy, and Change the World by Kathy Freston.  It is a book about, well, veganism.  I will try (unsuccessfully, no doubt) to avoid commenting on the book’s content; that is a post (actually several posts—see, there I go again) for another time.  My focus right now is simply on the cover and its presentation. 

I'm having trouble swallowing this cover.  Or rather, I'm feeling messages coming from this cover are problematic. 




Book cover to Kathy Preston's Veganist
  The iconography of the cover is problematic.  Here is a blonde-hair, green-eyed fashionable woman serving me (the presumable purchaser of the book), aq beautiful, but largely hard to decipher play of food.  She's clearly in a kitchen or some room connected to the kitchen.  Taken together, here is our way to "lose weight, get healthy, change the world"; keep one of these domestic goddesses on hand as needed.  Ok, that is being a little snyde. 

The frustration comes from the idea that this book cover as presented seems problematic.  By presenting a an iconic fixture of American culture (a domestically-placed and conventially attractive woman serving up food; to be read as harmless or nonthreatening), the publishers want to entice and not scare away people; invite them in to exploring the content.  I could get behind that (though again, not with the overused staple of a nonthreatening domesticated woman at hand).


However, it's the name change that also feels irksome.  Getting concerned about changing the name from Vegan or Veganist seems pedantic and petty.  Sure, I could get behind that too; but I'm not sold that the name change taken in connection with the visual presentation doesn't speak to larger problem.  By using "veganist" instead of vegan, it distinguishes itself from Vegans.  It says, "This is what a veganist looks like."  The underlying implication:  we all know what vegans look like and we view that derogatorily (a point even Freston mentions in her book in explaining why she's a "veganist"), so we'll avoid them.  In doing so, Freston (and the publishers), help perpetuate vegans as a cultural-negative stereotype.  All the while, Freston depends on their ideas, their work,and their arguments to convince the reader that they too should be "veganists." 


This repackaging of veganism is an attempt to make its practices more popular and accessible to people, but at the expense of people who are already predisposed to veganism's tenets.  This certainly isn’t the first time something like this has happened, I’m just curious to see how vegans will react to this book or whether it will have a further effect on the representations of vegans in popular culture. 


I think there is something to be said about some of the ways veganism is used by certain vegans with a holier-than-thou attitude.  However, I don’t think Freston within the book with her syrupy prose and Glenn Beck-like treatment of science, religion, and “research” is much better.  She doesn’t come across as and absolutist per se (see video below for an amusing example) but she trades in fanaticism for misrepresentation…of not just her cover, but her content as well.




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Letter to the Editor in Boston Globe

Toys are used to foster affection for McDonald's

JOANNA WEISS’S discussion on Happy Meals (“Happy Meals and Old Spice guy,’’ Op-ed, July 25), advertising, and parenting has some great insights, but misses one major element. While the ads are an important factor, the problem with Happy Meals is the toy itself. That’s not just an advertisement, it provides repeated engagement with the company (or more important, the unhealthy food) for the child and the parent, too. The toy is a focal point for imaginative play, reemergence in favorite stories, and a tactile object for a developing set of hands — all of which is branded with the McDonald’s logo in the child’s mind and thus creates a strong positive relationship between the child and the product (the unhealthy food, not the actual toy).

This seduction through association focused on children has been increasingly problematic, which is why other countries regulate advertisements directed toward children. Sure we can argue about parenting, educating the youth, etc., but these messages are mere drops in the bucket compared with all the other messages children get from such companies; hence why infants and toddlers can identify company logos before they can read.

Lance Eaton
Peabody 



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 


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