Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Bit of Rambling For Now

I apologize for apparently falling off the face of the Earth (does the Earth have a face to fall off given that it is spherical...?).  I feel like I haven't had very much interesting to blog about of late although I have a few things in the works. Since is just B and me we go through my experiments much more slowly than those with larger families (although I am getting better about cooking for at least a smaller army!) which means it takes me longer to test my concoctions. 

I departed from last week's menu practically before the ink had dried and this week I didn't even make one due to a killer migraine that had me laid out for 3 days. I'll definitely have a menu for you next week.

The Part in Which I Get a Little Preachy
I watched Fast Food Nation the other night (I read the book years ago. The movie is totally different, but they are both excellent). Wow, I know that there are 'real' videos that are far worse, but given that it is a mass media (read: cleaned up) rendition of the cattle industry and it is still that horrifying... just wow. I truly do not understand how anyone can, in good conscious, eat industrialized meat. Even if you could not care less about the animals themselves, you should seriously reconsider for nothing other than the risk to your own health. There is no aspect of a major packing plant that is actually concerned with protecting you from contaminants. Also, for those who argue that we shouldn't be wasting our time on animals when there are people who in need (FYI: those goals are not mutually exclusive, often they are highly compatible) then you should reconsider consuming industrialized meat because the manner in which employees of the meat processing industry are treated is abysmal. Furthermore, it is widely known that large processors take advantage of undocumented workers, people who have little recourse to demand decent working conditions (whether or not you think they should be here in the first place is not the issue. They are people and they deserve to be treated with dignity and have safe working conditions). The fact that they are not here legally is not a licence to treat them worse than the cattle they are hacking up. Anyway, while I am all for the shock value (and truthiness) of movies like Meet Your Meat sometimes less in-your-face media is just what is needed to reach people. I would recommend Fast Food Nation to any one interested in an overview of the issues of industrialized meat in an (relatively) easy to watch format.

Tip of the Day

Speaking of eating less meat... if you get frustrated with buying tiny bags of vital wheat gluten for your seitan adventures I have one potential option. This specific tip only applies to people living in the contiguous 48 states, but I encourage you to search the Internets for something similar where you live. 

Honeyville primarily caters to the wholesale market, but they package many of their products in large but not unreasonable size for the home cook. Or at least I think it's reasonable, you may very well think I'm nuts. They have cans of vital wheat gluten - 3.5 pounds - for $10.99, which is competitive to or cheaper than smaller bags, with much less packaging (earth friendly!) and vastly improved storage potential. Even better - Honeyville has flat rate shipping, which I notice they recently lowered, at $4.49 for your entire order, no matter how large. 

Also, among the myriad of products they offer are a variety of freeze dried fruits (and veggies). If you or you kids like to snack on those tiny, over priced containers of freeze dried treats available at the grocery store you are going to love these; buying a large container and portioning it out yourself is sooo much less expensive. Aside: when one of B's good friends was deployed to Iraq last year we actually sent a case of the freeze dried fruit combo over and it was apparently a huge hit. If you have a loved one deployed this is a lovely way to provide them a healthy, non-perishable snack that will also probably help fill a void in their limited diet. 

Honeyville's prices are not the best for everything (they pretty much bite the dust on the dried bean front) and a lot of their products are available only in enormous sizes, but they do have competitive prices on some interesting stuff, so check them out. 

Alright, I'm done rambling for now. I'll be back soon with a new recipe, promise!

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