Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sugar, sugar everywhere

If you aren't yet convinced that sugar is bad for you, check out Mark Bittman's column in the New York Times today.  He believes that the preponderance of scientific evidence today is not just that sugar makes you fat, but that it's actually toxic.  I'm inclined to believe him.

But even if you don't believe that sugar can kill you, you have to believe that sugar is found in too many places where it shouldn't be.  Here's my personal evidence to that effect.

My husband, the official salad maker in our household, was unhappy when one of his favorite vinegars disappeared from the grocery shelves last month.  He is always looking for ways to put a new twist on the salad, so he bought a new kind of vinegar to perk up our dinners.

Tonight as he was making the salad he decided to break out the new vinegar.  As he was adding it, he read the label, which proclaims it "a perfect complement to Asian, Latin or Island cuisines."  Does that go with pork chops, he wondered.  Oops, said I, that means it has a lot of sugar in it.

And sure enough, when we read the label carefully it revealed 4 grams of sugar in a tablespoon.  Heck, that's more than I will tolerate in a whole bowl of breakfast cereal!

So you might wonder why does vinegar need any added sugar at all? Especially if it already contains orange juice?

I recall my old boss's wife, whose mantra was "add a teaspoon of sugar" to your salad dressing and everybody will love it.  Boy, we have been brainwashed by Big Food.

I can't even tell you whether the new sweet vinegar tasted great.  The salad chef had already added some blue cheese, which totally overpowered the vinegar.  I've requested a salad with minimal ingredients so we can evaluate the vinegar on its own merits.  I'll let you know when that happens, and how the stuff actually tastes.  Meanwhile, I'm an unhappy camper.  If you can't even buy vinegar that's sour, what is this world coming to?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Frittering away our resources

I opened a new pack of oats this morning and what did I find --

That's right, the security band around the top of the container was made of corn.

I recalled that last year's heat and drought created the lowest corn yields in more than a decade, causing corn prices to soar, that cattle were being fed cookies and candy bars in lieu of corn.  We may be wishing for a candy bar ourselves this year, as corn prices start to spill over into higher prices for chicken, meat and other human foodstuffs.

But corn producers, a powerful economic and political bloc, have branched out into all kinds of other uses for their crop.  Let's don't even talk about the shameful requirement to convert corn into ethanol, a bad public policy that would never have occurred if Iowa's presidential caucuses were held in April.

Let's just focus on making oatmeal packaging out of corn.  I think it's a dumb idea.  A better idea: use paper for packaging and use corn for food.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sauerkraut lovers

Faithful readers of this blog may recall that I love sauerkraut.  Recently I had some time while cooking up a big pot full to read the nutritional info on the back of the package.  Imagine my surprise to learn that a "serving" of sauerkraut is only two tablespoons!

That's ridiculous, in my humble opinion.  Apparently the guy who came up with this ruling was brought up to eat sauerkraut only as a condiment on top of a hot dog.

(I have nothing against eating sauerkraut with hot dogs, but I believe that when you do so, you put a big heaping pile of kraut on your plate and eat it with a fork in between bites of your dog.)

Here's what I consider to be a decent, if smallish, serving of kraut:

The good news is that even if you eat  a cup of kraut, it's only 40 calories.  Let's have some for lunch.