Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Food For Thought

Last month we watched Food, Inc. and I can't recommend it highly enough! If you have Netflix, you can watch it on instant play. I can't decide what part of our industrialized food system is the most frightening, the fact that most beef is saturated in ammonia to kill the e-coli that is probably there, or the fact that a few companies own (and control) 90% of our food (if not MORE!!!!). Hmmm. It was overall a well-done documentary, one of the best I have watched with a rather inspiring message at the end in comparison to the grim feeling you are left with at the end of most documentaries. I think the part about Monsanto (the seed company that owns 90% of our seeds under several different names) and how they are trying to gain complete control over ALL seeds by forcing farmers who save seeds out of business!!! You can bet they are coming after the heirloom seed companies at some point in the future! So buy heirloom and learn to save seeds NOW!!! And I am not stepping off of my soap box yet...

There were a couple parts I didn't like, and I have to point out so if you watch it, you won't be mad at me. First of all there was a quote, "Cows are designed by evolution to eat grass." Um, hello, Evolution doesn't design anything, and if you believe only in evolution, than guess what, cows can evolve and adapt to the corn, soy, and feces diet they are on now. So there. God designs, evolution conforms. Not science, fact.

Number 2: there is a underprivileged Hispanic family that are portrayed as not being able to afford to eat healthy and instead eat fast food because it is "cheap". The family's total at Burger King was about $14 or so. Hello, I feed my family a healthy meal of organic (usually) veggies, meat, and grains for around $10 (give or take) and have leftovers for Nick's lunch the next day. They made a point of how expensive the $2 head of broccoli was. Buy a $2 box of whole grain pasta, cook it and add the broccoli, make a cream sauce and you have dinner for $8 that is healthy and good. It just made me feel like the family was ignorant, and lazy and blaming the expensiveness of healthy foods, for their misfortune. And the worst part for me, is that most Hispanic cultures make deliciously rich food from a variety of inexpensive grains, vegetable, legumes and meat with flavorful spices. Most Hispanic markets are also a good place to go for very inexpensive and exotic produce and foods. Just my 2 cents... or more like 10 cents.

And my brother got me this book for Christmas:

I have been wanting this book for a while due to its devout following, and thinking it would be a good addition to compliment and reinforce the way we already eat. Well, I have very mixed feelings about the book to be honest. I thought it would inspire me to cook richer, healthier foods for my family, but I feel like the author is very authoritarian in her health views. Its as if we are all going to die from drinking coffee and ingesting white flour so instead of feeling inspired, I feel like I want to rebel entirely! It is completely impractical! I don't have time, energy or time!!! to grow my own grains, dry them and grind them. Sorry.

Overall, it is an interesting way to look at things, and I like the idea of eating more pickled things, raw things (not meat though, bleh!!), salads and I agree that animal fats are actually really good for you. And I currently have wheat berries and beans sprouting on my counter, and hope to try some of the milk culturing recipes here in the future. But I tried the sour dough bread... and fed my starter diligently for a week... and it turned out hard as a rock! The recipe said it "made a dense bread" and would last unrefrigerated for a week... but failed to mention it would last longer because it so resembles rocks you would never know if it were stale or not. To be fair, the flavor was good, and the kids liked it with jam and it might even redeem itself as a pretty-good french toast. So there are a few good recipes to be had for sure, but I like the flavor of More With Less and Simply In Season for all around perfect cookbooks. Thank you Mennonites. You rock.

So this is a very soap-boxy post, but it is only my opinion... so don't take it too much to heart. Just eat good food, and vote with your dollars... because the government gets paid by the corporations (MONSANTO!!!) too... Democrats and Republicans(and Republicrats) alike... it is up to us to save the farms and the seeds and to make it all taste better. :) Happy eating.
EDIT: OK, so I wanted to give Nourishing Traditions a little more credit. The carrot salad is AMAZING!!! My kids love it. I DESIRE IT ALL DAY. yum. And if you are looking to eat healthier, her plan seems to have some pretty sound guidelines. I am definately gleaming plenty of pearls of wisdom from this book, and I find I can in fact take a few shortcuts, to make the recipes more acceptable to my busy life. It is a bit overwhelming in some points, and doesn't have the same warm, cozy feeling of other cookbooks but I do recommend it overall after reading more of the recipes and talking to others who may have had the same initial response. :) I think the carrot salad alone has made it worthwhile. I need to get some now! haha.


Kelly said...

I'm a bit selective with the Nourishing Traditions stuff (I don't know if I could really give up coffee, I just don't think it's that bad for me). I do feel she has a lot of good information, but the book that made me really understand that info was Real Food by Nina Plank (I think that's how you spell her last name). You can get it from the library and it is soooooooo worth it.

Clare said...

Thanks Kelly! I will have to check it out tomorrow! I just feel like there is NO WAY I can live according to Nourishing traditions and feel like I have a life! lol.

Christine said...

Hi Clare, I found your site through Regina Doman and have been following and enjoying :) your posts. I went to FUS with Regina's brother Martin and sister Jessica. I was introduced to Nourishing Traditions through a professor's wife at Steubenville. I have since met two profs from Ave Maria who both call NT their kitchen Bible. I can understand how somebody might be put off by Sally Fallon's tone, but I would really encourage one not to "throw out the baby with the bath water." Four years ago, her book was the only one I knew of that allowed me to slather on the butter, enjoy whole milk and introduced me to a deliciously strange drink called kombucha. I put raw cream in my coffee every morning. I do believe Sally drinks coffee herself. My newest kitchen library favorite (my Christmas gift) is The Garden of Eating. For the most part it is a wealthy treasure of good nutritional information and recipes.

Clare said...

Hi Christine!! Thanks for reading my blog and commenting! Sounds like another good book I might have to look into! I am going to update this post a bit, because perhaps I was too negative in my review... there are a lot of good recipes, and sound advice despite the tone, that I can't stand. :)

Erin said...

Clare, I've been enjoying your blog for a while now (referred as well through Regina's blog). And I think I might know Christine who posted on these comments! I'm a FUS grad too (2000)!

I don't have the Nourishing Traditions book, but I love it when we've been able to access raw milk, and just acquired a new batch of sourdough starter today from a friend (my starter from the summer was so completely neglected I gave up). I like the principles of the book, but as a mama of 4 under 7, I take what I like (and what I feel able to do without guilt) and leave the rest. There is a season for everything!

The More-With-Less cookbook is one of my faves too!

I'm loving the peg dolls you make and have been inspired by them in our crafting in the last year. I have a post on my blog about the St. Nick dolls I made for Advent, and I've started making little saints out of the pegs too. The kids love them!

God bless!