Abominable giant salmon coming soon to a fast food restaurant near you!


Did you hear the news this week? The FDA is close to approving genetically modified salmon. When I read about this for the first time earlier this week, I got a little knot in my stomach. I’ve always been opposed to GM foods but somehow, it felt a little easier to me to accept that man is messing with nature on a plant level. Once we begin to play god with higher order creatures…who knows what mayhem will ensue?

You see nature has a way of doing it’s own thing. Did you see Jurassic Park? The park owner hired geneticists who assured him that the cloned dinosaurs could not breed since they were sterile females. They ended up breeding anyway. I know what you are thinking: that was a fictional story. According to the article on GM salmon, the GM fish will be sterile females. The geneticists are doing this on purpose so that the salmon won’t be able to breed. If they get out, wild salmon stocks will be safe from contamination from these GM abominations. But, fish are strange creatures. They can change their sex from female to male if there are not enough males for breeding in a given population. It has also been documented that a shark held in captivity had a virgin birth. Hopefully fish cannot reverse sterilization.

As I was doing research for this post, I came across another scary article. According to this article, Russian scientists carried out an experiment where they fed GM foods to hamsters. The GM food was fed to each succeeding generation of hamster. Eventually, the fourth generation fed exclusively on a GM diet became sterile. Genetically modified foods are included in something like 75% of our processed foods now. This has been happening since the 1990’s. We should be on our second generation and going on our third generation of people who have been eating GM foods. This could get interesting pretty fast.

Now, I understand the urgency to get a salmon to market that will beef up to marketable size in fewer weeks than a conventional salmon would. Could you imagine how much money a McSalmon sandwich would make for McDonald’s? It would be huge for them! When beef cows and chickens were hybridized to grow to market size quickly, it revolutionized fast food. It made it possible to provide those billions of Big Macs and chicken McNuggets that are served every day. I just wish that corporate profits weren’t tied into the possibility that our health could be compromised in ways we never knew existed.

I am one angry little consumer and I am doing what I can. I try to vote with my dollars and I go to the FDA site to voice my disgust when they open things up to discussion. If I have no real say on the outcome of the decisions that the FDA makes on our behalf, then all I can wish for or hope for is that the FDA will finally help protect our interests just a bit and call for labeling of GM products. I just want to continue to at least think that I have a choice in regards to what I eat. Unless I am given the luxury of knowing what is in my food, I guess I will just remain afraid. Very afraid.

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The beer bread wars

Beer bread is now my enemy and needs to be conquered!

Sadly, I have no recipe for you today. I just need to vent about a bread idea that won’t seem to turn from a good idea into a great loaf. I had bookmarked this recipe for beer bread awhile ago. Last week I decided to bake the bread, but I wanted it to be multigrain so I swapped out some of the white flour for whole wheat, semolina, spelt and rye. I used a dark San Miguel beer for the beer component. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?

Last week’s failure was the first hint that this bread might be my Achilles heel. I failed to allow the bread to rise long enough and I insisted on baking it as one big loaf instead of two smaller ones. I ended up with a compact loaf that had a really good flavor, delicious really…on either end. From about three inches into the loaf on either side, I had a raw spot in the middle of the loaf. I was so sad because the part that was cooked was sweet and had a delicious malted flavor.

The recipe seemed worth saving so I mixed up the dough yesterday and let it rise three and a half hours. It didn’t seem long enough, but I flattened it and then formed it into a loaf and let it rise a second time… all day. Around 8:30PM the dough still didn’t look proofed enough, so I put it in the fridge and gave up for the night. I brought the dough out this morning and let it warm and rise for… another 5 hours! I finally got it into the oven. I didn’t think the temperature was correct the previous week, so I raised it by 25 degrees. Big mistake. Forty minutes into baking it, I had an over browned crust and according to my thermometer a long way to go before the middle was cooked. I covered the crust with foil and gave the bread another 40 minutes in the oven. Impaling the bread with a thermometer every ten minutes or so (war is not pretty, I tell ya!), I was able to get the interior baked all the way, but now I have an ugly bread that has a tough crust and tastes…like…beer. The long proofing time just succeeded in making the yeast eat up all of the honey I used as sweetener. Ugh. I guess I’ll be making beery flavored sandwiches this week. Or maybe beer flavored croutons?

So much for my bread baking adventures. Tune in next week for something tastier than beer bread.

Here is a brief tour of the carnage:


The crust is dark and tough!

The bread had good lift off as you can tell since it is peaking over the pan…

….But that’s because it had a big ugly crack in it!!! Grrrr!!!!

I hate Frankenfoods. They get stuck in my teeth.

India rejected the nation’s first genetically modified food after their farmers protested. Good for them! Genetically modified food has not been tested on humans. Well…unless… you count the fact that in the U.S., we’ve been tested on for years without our knowledge. “Huh?” you say? According to this Wikipedia article, GM foods have been available to the processed food industry since the 1990s and 75% of all processed food contains at least one GM ingredient. Yep. I never signed on to be a lab rat and neither did you, but sometimes our rights as citizens are benignly neglected for a few dollars in the right pockets.

Now, let’s ignore the fact that we are lab rats for a minute and think about the other implications of genetic engineering. Companies are allowed to patent their GM seeds. Already, there are legal battles going on between corporations and farmers over the simple act of saving seeds for the next years crops. Farmers don’t own the patented seeds, Corporations do. Farmers are required to buy the seeds each time they want to grow a crop, they cannot save seed for this purpose as Farmers have for millennia. If Farmer’s can’t save patented seed, neither can we. Our basic right as humans to feed ourselves in a self-sufficient manner is being removed.

A friend of mine let me know about this documentary on Hulu.com (Thanks R.!). It is called The Future of Food and it runs about an hour and a half with short commercial breaks. If you have time, I encourage you to watch it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Hulu – The Future Of Food – Watch the…“, posted with vodpod

 

I have been following this issue for years. For me, I try to avoid most processed foods unless they are made of mostly organic ingredients. I eat organics as much as I can and buy locally from farmers who use organic or sustainable practices and grow heirloom varieties of food. I have even gone so far as to seek out organic canola oil that has been tested for GMOs since canola has had problems with contamination in the past. It’s difficult and I don’t do a great job (I have a bit of a restaurant addiction) but I think it’s important to limit my exposure to GMOs as much as I can.

Who gave me the evil eye? Or was it just the stink eye?

Eyes2

For those of you who have blogs, you’ll understand that nagging feeling that I have when I want to post to my blog but I can’t.

You see, I’ve been going through a run of seriously bad cooking luck. It’s like I have a curse on me. It all started with a really tasty lamb stew. I can’t write about it because the Weight Watchers cookbook that I was cooking from, had a serious problem with the instructions for the stew. The author instructs you to bake it in the oven. After forty minutes you still have hard lamb which is when she instructs you to add potatoes and green beans to cook for the last twenty minutes. After twenty minutes you end up with warm but raw potatoes and green beans. I had to take the whole mess out of the oven and simmer it on the stove top for I don’t know how long until every thing got tender. So… I had no idea how I made the delicious stew and I’ll have to try it again to give you instructions. No picture to share with you. I got lucky on this one and the curse of doom did not prevent us from enjoying this meal for days.

My next attempt at something blogable was this yummy looking orzo dish:

Orzo with Artichokes

It looks pretty good in the picture. Sort of. By the way, the recipe said it was a side dish. I tried to pass it off as a main course. It was just ok served warm, but it needed something badly. I tried to squeeze some fresh lemon juice on it to give it some kick. What it really needed was something in addition to the artichoke hearts. I didn’t have much of anything in the house at the time except the exact ingredients for the recipe so it pretty much got made the way it was supposed to. My boyfriend enjoyed this dish so I’ll make it again, but next time I’ll add more veggies (roasted red peppers and/or steamed broccoli) and we’ll definitely have it as a cold pasta salad instead of a warm pasta dish. Leftovers were o.k. cold from the fridge. If you want to try it yourself, here is the link to the recipe on epicurious.com.

Look at this bread!

BreadFailure

It looks pretty huh?

This was my failed attempt at baking for this week’s YeastSpotting event. It’s been three weeks since I contributed and I am feeling horrible about it! What’s wrong you ask? The bread looks great you say! Well, look closer. I didn’t let the bread rise long enough, or my sourdough was wimpy or I didn’t let the bread rise long enough. The bread was hard and tough! It breaks into little braid bits when I slice it. Just a few minutes ago, my boyfriend was just running around chomping on braid bits chanting, “write in your blog that I love the bread, it’s delicious, I love it, write that!!” Ugh. I’ll be trying the bread recipe again and hopefully it will work out next time, it had a good flavor and it looks pretty. I think it is salvageable.

Well. There you have it. Hopefully my bad food curse will be lifted soon and I can share something delicious with you soon. And… whoever is shooting me the evil eye… stop it!!!

 

If life doesn’t give you lemons, use oranges instead

Oranges

Welcome to my pity party. My name is Mimi and I will be your hostess as well as the special guest of honor. Today was a bad day. It was what you might call a really bad day.

I’ve been laid off since the end of May and I’ve mostly been enjoying the boredom free time. This blog has never gotten so much attention ever from me. I have plenty of time to cook. I should be happy right? Well, wrong! Everyday, I look for a job online. Most days I find nothing in my field of expertise within a 250 mile radius. I try to find something to apply for but most of the job leads are in communities I have never even wanted to visit much less live in. So I’m never very excited about my prospects. It’s driving me crazy. Sure there were a couple of near hits. There was the university that has two job openings that I’d be perfect for but never called me back. Then there was the publishing company who put me through five interviews only to forget to let me know whether or not they have made a hiring decision. Those things made my days so much more exciting. I read the news. I know there are other people in worse situations than me, but this long drawn out waiting game is grating on my every last nerve and today I sunk into a deep and unending funk. It was really bad.

This morning, after I played my fifteenth game of spider three decks solitaire, I decided to move my depressed ass to the couch to watch the Food Network. (This was before the manic crying incident later in the afternoon). Giada was on. There she was in all of her buxom roman porn star beauty… making leftovers. Well, what she was doing was really what I call chicken evolution. She was taking leftovers and making them into something else. She made soup out of an old rotisserie chicken, crostini out of day old bread and cake out of old simple syrup (leave it to a food network star to keep simple syrup in the fridge and consider it leftovers). As I sat transfixed by Giada’s bouncing cleavage and her literally glowing teeth, I realized she was making a really amazing cake. Although I’m not always excited about the regular food she makes, I trust Giada when it comes to sweets. She has a sweet tooth and you can tell she loves to bake. If Giada didn’t come from a Hollywood family who prizes their looks we would probably mistake Giada for Ina Garten ’cause you can tell Giada likes to bake and she likes to eat!

Back to that cake. It was called Lemon Mint Cake with Lemon Syrup. It had all of the prerequisite cake ingredients but the eggs were separated and the whites were made into a stiff meringue which was folded back into the cake to make it light and fluffy. The promise of this cake was that it would have a crispy exterior, a light and fluffy interior and then a dousing of intense flavor from the syrup. As Giada cut herself a slice, I could see that her cake would live up to that promise. It looked so delicious. She took a bite and made that awful orgasmic cat call she makes when she bites into something that is supposed to be good…. But the sound was…somehow different. Perhaps genuine? Did I hear correctly, a genuine sounding orgasmic moan coming out of Giada and a pleased happy look of real contentment on her face? Rewind! Yes… I believe it’s true. I have to have this cake!!

But…Although I have a little mint in the backyard still, I have no lemons. Just a bunch of old neglected oranges. I am way to depressed to haul my butt to the store. But, orange and mint sounds great. I looked at my Boyfriend who has been giving me the look all day that a love one gives you when they wonder if they should call the suicide hotline on your behalf. I tell him, “I want to make cake will you have some?” He looks at me with a little smile on his face because he knows that baking will make me happy. (He tries to make sure I don’t see him wondering when I will go back on Weight Watchers and lose the five pounds I have managed to gain back). He says “yes, I would love some cake”.

I made that cake and it made me very happy. The crisp exterior does yield to a soft interior. It is like biting into a cloud. The syrup was heady with the scent of oranges. The whole cake was redolent of orange with just a hint of mint. Scrumptious. If I were a more outgoing person, a small orgasmic sound would have escaped my lips.

Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going.

OrangeMintCake

Orange Mint Cake with Orange Syrup

Adapted from Lemon Mint Cake with Lemon Syrup by Giada De Laurentiis

Cake:

3 eggs at room temperature, separated

1 cup sugar, divided

¼ cup olive oil

1/8 tsp salt

2 ½ tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

3 tbsp orange juice

1 tbsp orange zest

1 cup all purpose flour

Syrup:

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

¾ cup orange juice

1 tbsp orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9” cake pan.

In a bowl, beat olive oil and ½ cup of the sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating as they are added. Add mint, orange juice and orange zest. Add flour and beat until just combined. Set aside.

Place egg whites in a separate large bowl. Beat them until they form soft peaks. Add the other half cup of sugar and beat until the whites form stiff peaks.

Transfer ½ of the egg white mixture to the bowl with the cake batter. Carefully fold the whites into the cake batter. Add the other half of the whites and gently fold them into the batter until well combined, taking care not to deflate the egg whites. Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake the cake 40 – 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Move the cake from the oven to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the simple syrup: Combine the sugar, water, orange juice and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for at least twenty minutes.

To serve, spoon syrup generously over each slice of cake.

Why don’t I feed myself?

HamPasta1

Lately I’ve been like an addict on a bender. Appearances are fine. To the outside world it looks like things go according to plan. The reality is that I have been like a ravenous maw consuming all in my many paths and nothing on the path I should tread.

There sits my kitchen. For the past couple of weeks I have been letting myself be lured by the siren sounds of other kitchens. Any excuse to eat at a restaurant and I’d jump out the door purse in hand. A shopping trip to get groceries revealed that putting those wholesome items away was a challenging obstacle course of takeout containers and plastic bags. I need it to stop.

I know how to cook. I really do. A cabinet in my pantry is full of cookbooks for guidance and inspiration. I read food magazines and cooking blogs like they are novels and short stories. I have a kitchen of drawers and cabinets full of pots, pans, utensils, gadgets and knick knacks. So why don’t I feed myself? I really don’t know.

Force myself to go in there. Into that room of food laid to waste. Odds and ends. Bits and pieces. Force myself to page through the books, see what is on the page, see what is in the drawers, on the shelves, on my mind.

HamPasta2

A trip to the yard for herbs. A grab in a drawer for a gadget. The cool feel of stainless steel in my hand. Oh so many questions: why is there always a bag of pasta with just an ounce or two of pasta missing? Why are there five mushrooms rolling around in the bottom of the crisper like orphans in a crowd? Is the sour cream off? What… is… that…

HamPasta3

I am not a drinker, yet I have bottles and bottles of alcohol. I try so hard to eat a healthy diet, yet there is always butter and cheese. Always, there are piles of vegetables and fruits neglected and sometimes scary lurking in the darker recesses. Sometimes there are treats such as black forest ham or cured olives reserved for tasting but living in that hazy place between snack and alchemy. Such a wealth. So ignored. For what? The new pasta place that served us mediocre food? The brewpub with the cabbage we suspect of making us ill? The breakfast place with the food that tastes of greasy meals past. It’s criminal. It needs to stop.

It stops here.

HamPasta4

Penne with Black forest ham and vegetables primavera

12 oz penne

Broccoli florets trimmed from two stalks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp unsalted butter

5-6 mushrooms sliced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 lemon, zested and halved to be squeezed for juice

1 medium zucchini, chopped

½ red bell pepper, diced

6 oz black forest ham, chopped

½ cup dry vermouth

1 cup low fat milk

½ cup reduced fat sour cream

1 -2 tbsp freshly grated parmesano reggiano, plus more for garnish

Freshly ground black pepper for garnish

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add penne and cook approx. 8 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander, return the pasta to the pot and set aside.

Steam broccoli for three minutes until just softened. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. Heat until butter melts and foaming subsides. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add rosemary, lemon zest, zucchini and red peppers. Continue cooking until the veggies begin to soften. Add ham and broccoli. Cook for a minute or two until the ham begins to shrink a bit. Add vermouth. Continue to cook for a minute or two until the liquid begins to evaporate. Add milk and sour cream. Stir until the sour cream becomes smooth and incorporates itself into the sauce. Be careful with the heat at this point because you don’t want the dairy to curdle. If your stove is running hot, lower the heat a bit so that it is just at a simmer. Squeeze about a teaspoon of juice into the sauce from a lemon half. Toss in the parmesan.

Remove the sprig of rosemary from the sauce and pour the sauce over the pasta. Return the pot to the heat. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes until the sauce coats the pasta and thickens a bit. Serve with extra parmesan and a little fresh ground pepper.

Juicy, delicious, mouth-watering steak

http://www.public-domain-image.com (public domain image)
 
You are what you eat eats – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food.
 
I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t often luxuriate in a rare, juicy piece of beef. If I am going to eat something that was alive and kicking at one point, my preference usually leans toward something avian or piscine. Occasionally something porcine will grace my plate but that is the extent of the red meaty goodness I’ll usually eat. Why? I was ruined early on when I read Diet for a Small Planet by Francis Moore Lappe’. I was quite the little environmentalist and when I discovered the environmental destruction tied to cattle, I stopped centering my diet around beef. Back in those old days, beef was blamed for many health scares due to the saturated fat content it contains. Many people I know cut down on their consumption of beef and I did too.
 
If you do your homework, you find out that a lot of the bad rap that beef gets is due to how it is raised for market.  Cows evolved a double stomach in order to turn the luscious green grass that we can’t digest into wholesome available nutrients. Cows properly raised on pasture are usually not too destructive to the environment. Meat and dairy from those same cows is loaded with omega three fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (which are good for preventing cancer). You see, the problem is that conventionally raised cows, stuck in a feedlot, are fed corn and sometimes other things. Since their double stomach is made for processing grass, grains make them ill. We have to load them with medications to make them well. The feedlots also contribute to environmental and health issues as well. The rise in the number of toxic E-coli cases we are experiencing lately are a result of our animal husbandry practices.
 
From a health and an environmental standpoint the meat, eggs and dairy of pastured animals are far better than their conventionally grown counterparts. “But pasture raised animal products are so pricey!” you say. Well, we should all be eating lower on the food chain for our health and our planet, but… that’s another rant for another day.
Steak
 
So… if you are still with me on this, and after looking at my links you still wanna have some beef: you must be thinking, “but Mimi. Grass fed beef has so much less fat, it can’t be tasty at all”. As you have gathered, I am not a steak expert, but I know that I love the intense meaty flavor of grass fed beef. Slate magazine did a taste test and here is how grass fed beef fared. For me, I have always loved how any beef tastes with this wonderful chili rub I discovered over a decade ago in Gourmet magazine. The rub both tenderizes and flavors the meat. Bon Appetit!
 
 Rub1
 
 Garlic and chili rub for barbequed beef

Adapted from Gourmet, August 1995

2 – 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
 
1 tsp kosher salt
 
2 tbsp chili powder
 
1 tsp cumin
 
½ tsp evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
 
3 ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
 
Rub2

Add chopped garlic and salt to a mortar and use a pestle to grind the garlic and salt into a paste. Don’t worry if there are still some garlic chunks but you want it ground enough to make a wet paste. If your mortar is large enough, add chili powder, cumin, sugar and Worcestershire sauce, if not transfer garlic to a bowl and mix in the preceding ingredients.

This recipe makes enough rub for two to three pounds of steak or a roast such as tri tip. Cover the meat in the rub and allow it to marinate for at least 4 hours and up to two days. Cook the meat on a barbeque to the desired doneness.

Rub3

The new social mood

Dollar1

You really don’t want to know my opinion about who is to blame for the ongoing recession we are in.  All I know is that I saw it all coming.  I saved diligently when the American savings rate was plummeting to zero.  I didn’t buy an overpriced house in the most ridiculously overpriced market in the country.  I didn’t buy things that I didn’t need.  I drove my old car for seventeen years and when it could no longer pass a smog check; I dove into my savings to fund the purchase of a new car to keep myself debt free.  I feel like I was one of the good guys – a cheap bastard who did not take advantage of the greed and stupidity that was running rampant for nearly two decades.  So you would think I’d be bitter and angry to be a victim of the economy, laid off from a work place that I called home for seventeen years.  I saw it all coming.  It was no surprise to me.  I am thankful that my foresight caused a nest egg.  I am thankful that my hard work and years of service gave me the gift of severance pay.  I am thankful that I already have good habits.

During the past few months there has been a noticeable shift in social mood.  Whereas people used to make a point of boasting about the house they bought, the clothes they bought, the trips they were taking, the new car they were shopping for, etc, etc, now it is alright to talk about paying off your bills, putting off purchases, saving money and getting bargains.  It is so okay that advertisements are beginning to acknowledge this new austerity. 

To go along with this change, I noticed a shift in the articles in the food and lifestyle magazines I read.  Food articles changed from telling us how to make the most lavish meals for our next extravagant party with our enormous social circle to showing us how little a meal costs to make for our family.  Yes, even Bon Appétit magazine is putting a frugal price tag on the food they want us to cook. 

I don’t really think it is only about a dollar amount.  Here are some truths about food:

  1.  Restaurants are a treat not your personal chef
  2. Food cooked from scratch is cheaper and healthier than processed or premade food from a grocery store.
  3. You are responsible for what goes into your body:  put your life into someone else’s hands or do your own cooking and know what your food is all about.
  4. Money saved by eating at home can be used wisely to make better quality food at home.

That being said, use your splurges at a restaurant as your muse for eating quality food at home.  If there is something you love, learn how to cook it.  If there is something easy that you lazily go out to have, there has got to be a better and less expensive way to make it at home.  Here is a ridiculous example:  A favorite German style restaurant of mine in town has a wonderful chef who makes the most amazing food at dinner time.  His lunch menu is a bit lazy.  Sandwiches, served a la carte for a pretty good profit.  People go there for the atmosphere.  What is the biggest waste of your money on his menu for lunch?  Smoked salmon on D’Angelo bakery pumpernickel rye bread with onions and capers with a pickle on the side.  $11.95.  You can order a side of German Potato salad for $4.95.  Today, I did myself a favor.  I bought  wild caught king salmon for $13.95 for 12 oz.  This much salmon will make this sandwich at least six times over, maybe more.  (Instead of sandwiches, the leftover salmon will likely make many more meals of eggs or pasta).  D’Angelo bread is about $6 a loaf at the local foodie store but I made another round of sour corn rye for pennies.  I topped the sandwiches with a few cents worth of slivered red onion and capers.  Mark Bittman’s How to cook anything contains a recipe for mustard potato salad that is to die for.  I made this salad in 15 minutes.  It was fabulous.  What? You still have a job you say?  How can you eat like this when you are so tired and busy?  This kind of food packs well and comes together in minutes, make it tonight and pack it to work tomorrow.  You will eat better than if you went out for fast food.

So what did I really want to say after this long convoluted rant and rave?  Just this:  Eat like a king, clean up like a maid.

The end.

 Lunch

Glasstastrophe!!

Okay.  I admit.  This was entirely my fault but it was still annoying. 

 

I read Martha Stewart magazine but it is in a kind of voyeuristic freak show kind of way.  It is hard for me to believe that people are actually so clean and organized.  I am the anti Martha.  I was the kid who had a room that looked like a tornado hit it.  When my Mom yelled at me to clean it up, I was the kid who shoved the entire mess into the closet.  I’m still that kid.

 

You would think that any sane person would find room for the scores of cookbooks she owns.  Any person who cares about their things would make sure they are at least standing up vertically on the bookshelf.  That same rational person would figure out there was a cookbook population problem and make an effort to find a place for the overflow.

 

 Instead… I have a habit of laying the extra books on top of the properly vertically stored books on the shelf (you know where this is going, don’t you?).  To make matters worse, I thought it was perfectly acceptable to store my cookbook holder the exact same way.  And… are you ready for this?  In this same kitchen cupboard where these shelves are, I was storing a bunch of glass items on the floor of the cupboard right in front of the lowest shelf of books.

 

Yup….

 

 Looks like I need a new cookbook holder…

 damaged-cookbook-holder.jpg 

And if anyone knows where I can get a new lid to my infusion jar, let me know.

 

Broken lid

 

Well, I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but I think I need to resolve to be a little tiny bit more Martha. 😳

   

 

 

You’ve seen one cow, you’ve seen ‘em all!

Clones 

Judging from some of the interesting comments I get on this blog, most people would be happy if I stuck to cooking and stopped talking about food issues, but I read the news way too much and then I just can’t help myself! 

 

Today it was announced that the FDA has approved cloned animals to enter our food supply.  Aside from the visceral reaction I get whenever I read about some new frankensteinian change to our food supply, I really do have valid concerns this time.  A healthy food chain is a diverse food chain.  A population of animals or plants can survive a catastrophic disease or a change in environment much easier if there is genetic diversity.  If we begin to clone the “best” animals to be the parents of our food animals, we may eventually have millions of cows who have a desirable trait such as highly marbled meat but who lack the genes to fend off certain diseases.  So really, my concern is food security.  We have already lost many heritage breeds of animals and heirloom plants, old varieties that we can breed back to if we need certain traits.  The animals and plants we raise for food are already very identical to each other.  Adding cloning into the mix will make them even more similar.

 

One extreme event in our history we can refer back to in order to understand my concern over cloning is the Irish potato famine.  One variety of potato out of the possible thousands of varieties found in Peru was brought back to and grown in Ireland.  This variety of potato was successful both as a crop and as a desirable new food.  The potato became a staple food that people depended on as a major source of their calories.   Potato blight wiped out the monoculture crop of potatoes that Ireland depended on.  Over a million people perished.

 

Now it would be silly to say we would all starve to death if all of the cows or sheep or pigs died, but we are a very meat centric society here in the U.S. and our economy would take quite a hit if our meat industry were somehow decimated.  McDonalds doesn’t claim to have served a hundred billion burgers for nothing!

 

Anyway…just a little food for thought.

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