Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The post where I'm the hypocrite

You see though, I am not really the problem here. These little boxes of cookies were not my doing. They came by way of the husband, the big guy. Yep all his fault. A co-worker's granddaughter needed a bit of a lift, grandma conceded and took the list to work. The big guy being the generous guy he is, order way more than he should have, and brought them all home to me. Enclosed was a note that made it all better though. It was a note of thanks, due to the big guy's and others' generosity the girls earned a trip to Roar and Snore. Wow. I am eating cookies so a little girl can sleep with wild animals at the best zoo in the world. Think of the great memories. Yes. I think I can be that kind of a hypocrite.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

News Flash!

Whole Foods has announced the purchase of Wild Oats! There goes the competition! They are going to pay 545 million to purchase the next largest competition and should complete the acquisition in April. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: The store you've all wanted in the neighborhood. I know a lot of people may not agree with all their practices and policies, but when you look at where most people have been shopping, meaning the majors, this is good news. The Wild Oats company also includes Henry's Markets, and Sun harvest and Capers.

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Why is Europe more forward on food?

Is it because we're so large? Or is it because the media has been hijacked by special interests? It's very frustrating to see the complacency of Americans. We are so fortunate, so wealthy, so educated and yet allow horrible things to be manufactured as food. We sit back and watch our culture get heavier and heavier yet just cannot seem to get out of our own ways.

What brought this on? An article in the Telegraph speaking about Foie Gras. They have chosen a different path than the legal world. We here in America, our solution, is always the court system. If we can't convince someone with a good solid explanation we'll force them to our side by allowing the courts to decide. It's silly.

The UK has decided a different approach. Instead of force feeding them, they allow the birds to overfeed themselves in anticipation of the long winter months. This is quite a solution. Very simple solution. It is limited in quantity and of course because of this, it is more expensive. It is still the ethical choice for foie gras lovers. Why didn't all of our combined educated minds think of it here in the states.

We could learn a thing or two I believe.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm in Arizona

I'm checking out the farm. I'll be back Tuesday with more updates!

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Friday, February 09, 2007

The best part of last Friday

Picture courtesy of The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers

We were all talking about baking bread and using natural products to do so when a hand in the back of the room shot up. What is enriched flour? What is bromated? King Arthur states emphatically on thier site that their flour is never enriched or bromated. Carolyn then explained about the "whole" nature of the wheat kernel. When a company mills the wheat into flour, there are choices they make. They can Mill out the bran or "hull" and the germ of the kernel leaving only the endosperm. The endosperm is what is used when white flour is made. The bran and germ are discarded or used other places. There are very few companies using the whole grain. When the whole grain is used it entitles the company to use this neat symbol on their products:

They either use at least 8g or all 100% of the grain. The 100% symbol is what you want to look for when purchasing bread. There are very few companies baking bread using this symbol. I encourage you to bake your own.

When a company chooses not to use the whole grain, and just use the endosperm, the flour is bleached (using a chemical process) to give it its white color. The bleaching kills all the nutrients so then they "enrich" the flour to give back some of the nutrients. Some companies also add potassium bromate to the flour to artificially strengthen the flour.

At that point in the discussion a woman rose her hand and mentioned that she had purchased a "Sara Lee" White whole wheat bread. Was it not whole wheat? No came the response. "WHY??" she asked. Carolyn said, "You'll have to ask the FDA. It is their standard and they allow manipulation of labels to sell their products legally." It's true, only a small portion of the ingredients need to be the whole grain to be able to call it whole wheat or whole grain according to FDA standards. The FDA is the standard bearer to keep the food supply in proper order. The are assigned to test and check that companies are doing the right thing by us. However, the FDA has fallen far short of their goal to protect us and our food supply. If you are still not reading labels and accepting what is offered without questioning the ingredients in the foods you eat, wake up. Take time to read labels. Make yourself healthy, don't rely on a large corporation to do it for you.

The King Arthur has a lot of good information on bread and ingredients usage. Take time to visit their site and study it out for yourself.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

A Day Well Spent

Friday I went with s'mee to the King Arthur Bread Workshop. We spent the whole day talking about bread and cooking and baking and had a nice day. The King Arthur workshop was very well done. We attending both classes being presented, the first being sweet breads and then second, rustic breads. This is the result:

Rustic Artisan Breads

I gave it a whirl using their flour and instructions today. It turned out very nice. Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The snap was perfect. I am glad we went, even if, we didn't win a doorprize.

The King Arthur company is committed to all natural flours. They have an organic line also. They are now available in most grocery stores, Trader Joes and Bristol Farms. If you don't see them on the shelf at your store, even Stater Bros, tell the store manager they need to carry it. He'll ask why, you tell him "because I don't like genetically modified flour, and King Arthur doesn't either".

King Arthur is an employee owned company, they have been since 1996. Each one of them is dedicated to doing the best job for their customers. They classes were really informative and Carolyyn Hack, the woman teaching bread baking, was very well informed. She also baked bread twice that day and didn't wear an apron. Not a spot on her. Amazing. Today I baked bread and I have flour all over the front of me. It was worth it though!

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