Ice cream

Posted on September 22, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Recently I saw one of the kids at my son’s school eating an ice cream bar. Well, it was called an “ice cream bar”.

Then I looked at the ingredients.

  • nonfat milk and milkfat
  • water
  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • whey
  • citric acid
  • stabiliser (mono & diglycerides, guar gum, polysorbate 80, xanthan gum and and carob bean gum
  • artificial flavour
  • artificial colour (red #40, yellow #5, blue #1)
  • I read these ingredients with increasing horror. WHAT is this stuff? It sure as heck doesn’t sound like ice cream! I immediately searched for an easy ice cream recipe. Compare the above with this ice cream recipe:

  • 1.75 cups heavy cream
  • 1.25 cup whole milk
  • 0.75 cup sugar
  • 1/8th teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split in half
  • Which would you rather feed your child? I know which one I prefer. Hop on over to Barefeet in the Kitchen for the full ice cream recipe.

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    Does your recipe help or hinder?

    Posted on January 23, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I have been having a lot of fun deep diving into the history of pudding and making the recipes, but there is a group of recipes that are quite annoying. Pudding is supposed to meet 3 criteria:

  • easy
  • quick
  • cheap
  • I have lost track of how many contemporary recipes have ingredients such as “organic free range eggs”, “organic raw milk”, “lard rendered from a heritage breed pig”, “reduced fat yoghurt”. I have seen this crime committed by “celebrity chefs” as well as everyday food bloggers. There is no excuse for this.

    If you are composing a recipe and it is full of such ingredients: STOP. Go back. Look at what you have written, then re-write it to list “eggs”, “milk”, “lard”, “yoghurt”.

    Write the recipe without any fancy language or fancy ingredients and trust your readers to make the recipe with what they have in their home. Surely this is the whole point of home cooking?

    A recipe is there to help someone break away from fast food and convenience food. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, stop making it harder for people.

    Daniel at Casual Kitchen coined a nice phrase for this: “ingredient bragging“, and he expands nicely on my rant here.

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    Eat real food

    Posted on April 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    As I read more about health and nutrition, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that a lot of what is wrong with people’s health in the “western world” is the food we are eating. Our grandparents mainly ate what would today be considered a semi-vegetarian diet: fresh, local, seasonal fruit and vegetables, cheese, butter, relishes and pickles, and whole grain bread. At the end of the week was the traditional Sunday roast: beef, pork, or chicken.

    If you are on a tight budget, eating meat at every meal is financially disastrous. Although we have the privilege of relatively cheap meat, it’s still expensive enough to impact your food budget drastically. The bottom line is that if you eat frugally for six days of the week, you can afford to have a nice roast on Sunday.

    While conventionally raised meat may be cheaper than naturally raised, there are other costs involved. The places where the animals are raised are called CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feed Operations, also called “factory farms”. The meat that comes out of CAFOs is frequently tainted with e. coli, salmonella, and so on. This contamination is inherent to the factory conditions the animals are raised in. The animals are also treated in abominable ways – cruelty and mistreatment is part of the system as no-one really cares about the animals, which are seen as a commodity rather than as a living being deserving of a basic level of decency in how they are treated.

    The alternative is naturally raised, or “grass fed”, animal. The problem is that grass fed is also twice the price of conventionally raised – or more! At the end of the day extra price is worth it. According to the National Institutes of Health, grass fed beef is significantly higher in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Instead of swallowing a pill every day, why not get the Omega-3s from oily fish or grass fed beef? Salmon is mighty tasty!

    I know that for a lot of people the cost of grass fed looks eye-watering. Heck, I feel the same way! But if you eat frugally most of the time – lots of veggies, fruit, and fish – you can afford to eat the natural stuff from time to time, You gain health benefits, financial benefits, and you also feel better about the meat you are eating as it came from an animal that lead a much happier, natural life. What more can you ask for?

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    Food sovereignty

    Posted on February 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I heard a recent report on NPR news in which the reporter reeled out the usual trite comments about how bad the economy is, and concluded by saying that this is causing problems for the restaurant industry because eating at home is becoming “the new normal”.

    This casual, throw-away comment rocked me on a very fundamental level. The thought that eating a home cooked meal was “abnormal” or “weird” is strange and frightening to me. It also explains a lot of the causes of the obesity “epidemic” striking many industrialised countries – when you stop cooking for yourself, you hand your food sovereignty to a stranger.

    There are many reasons, or rather excuses, people will give for not cooking for themselves or their family. “I work 18 hours a day”, “It’s too expensive”, “I don’t have time” and, saddest of all, “I don’t know how”. How did we come to this state? How can people with access to slow cookers, pressure cookers, and freezers think they “don’t have time” to cook a meal? How can children leave their parents’ home NOT KNOWING HOW TO COOK? How did this happen?

    I have ranted in conversation with friends and family about TV shows and magazines that have titles like “so simple!” or “only 15 minutes!”. These magazines and TV shows are essentially saying “you’re too stupid to do this”, followed up by “your family and friends are so unimportant that they only deserve 15 minutes of your time”. How about all the studies showing that the family that eats together, stays together?

    The essence of cooking is to put food in the belly, yes, but it’s also an act of love. By cooking a meal for someone you are saying “your health and well-being are so important to me that I will take time out of my day to make something to nourish you”.

    I work a full time job. I have a wife and a toddler to take care of. We have activities we perform after work and at the weekend, but we also make sure that the majority of our free time is family time. I look at the after-hours schedules of some of our friends and family and am aghast because in all the activities, they leave no time for the family to be together as a family. Is it any wonder that families are breaking up at a greater rate than ever before in human history? Kids are growing up not knowing what it is like to spend an evening at home with both parents. What is “family” when all you have in common is the address your mail is sent to? Are your work and leisure activities really more important than your family?

    Despite work and activities I still manage to do almost all of the cooking, day in, day out. Days that I know we are going to be home late I put something into the slow cooker so that we can eat good, tasty food at home. I read recipe books, including ones in the public domain, to get ideas and inspirations for things to cook. I check out the websites that provide copycat recipes for famous chain restaurants and am usually staggered by the amount of salt in them. Yes, we use fast food and dining out – but only as a treat, as a special occasion, not for our daily needs.

    When I question people who say they “don’t have time” to cook, it is often an uncomfortable conversation when I delve into specifics. How much time do you spend on Facebook? How much time do you spend watching TV? How much time do you spend goofing off? I deleted my Facebook account. I don’t watch TV, I use Netflix, the library, and the internet to provide my entertainment and diversions. I use the time that others use to watch TV to cook nourishing food for my family.

    I do all of this to keep my family’s food sovereignty where it belongs – at home. I believe that my family deserves nothing less than that. I believe the friends I invite around for dinner deserve nothing less. I see cooking a meal from scratch, especially when I make sure that it won’t affect those who have food allergies or intolerances, as a profound act of love.

    I also question the assertion that it’s too “expensive” to cook at home. Look at the frugal posts I have made here and you will see why I disagree. It is far more expensive to eat out all the time than it is to eat in for the majority of your meals.

    If you, the person reading this article, think I am attacking you – I am not. I am attacking a way of life that is trying to kill us. It’s a way of life that is splitting up our families, abusing our food supplies, pillaging our planet, and leaving people feeling disempowered in the most important aspect of their lives – their families and their food supply.

    How did we become so utterly divorced from our food that we can turn a blind eye to the abominable conditions our food animals live in?

    I don’t expect everyone to be as much of a foodie as I am. I have spent a lot of time and a fair amount of money to get the skills and supplies I have; to get a freezer full of local, ethically raised meat; to get a pantry that is overflowing with food. But at the end of the day what I have achieved is not beyond the abilities of anyone to accomplish. Take a long, hard look at how you spend your time. How many minutes on Facebook, playing games or reading the minutia of your friends’ lives (“Just got a latte at Starbucks and the barista was so weird”)? How much time do you spend watching shows you acknowledge are trash, silly videos on YouTube, reading LOLcat columns, or endless replays of the last big sporting event? And take a look inside you. Think about how you feel about how you are spending your time. (Incidentally, the number of books people read has dropped drastically since TV became highly accessible, and even more since the internet brought us new timesinks. How long is it since you read a book?)

    Maybe you can free up some of that Facebook and reality show time to start clawing back your food sovereignty? Maybe you can drop one or two of those after hours activities to claw back your family sovereignty?

    If enough of us take a step back from being told how to spend our time and carefully consider how *we* want to spend it, sovereignty will go back to where it belongs. In your hands. You have the power – you just need to take it back.

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