Two Chubby Vegans

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Collards, zucchini, muffins and summer fruit sauce. And don’t forget the fresh raspberries!

Now that MSP is on a sort of forced vacation due to her heart attack we have been poking about town, riding our bikes, seeing the new Harry Potter movie (yes, we both cried like little girls) and scoping out new vegan cafes and as a result I haven’t posted many of the new recipes we’ve tried. I’ve been feeling like I have no imagination when it comes to the house dinner menu, not like I keep making the same meals over and over but more like I keep getting stuck in the same genre. Like if you were reading and never picked anything except romance novels and totally skipped the sections with sci-fi or natural history. Plus, my grocery shopping budget has gone completely out of control again. I need to get back on board with a meal plan, a menu and a shopping list. It is so terribly easy to get totally off-balance with your spending when you fail to pay close attention to what you’re doing. Also, I’ve asked MSP (Miss Skinny Pants for those who have forgotten) to help me with meal suggestions and ideas.

1. PCC collard slaw. We tried this at one of our local coops, PCC, here in Seattle. They were having a deli sale and handing out samples to get people interested or hooked depending on your point of view. I tried this on the recommendation of a clerk who knows I have a weak spot for PCC’s celery root slaw and who urged me try it. While not up there with the celery root slaw it is still much better than I had anticipated. The thought of raw collard greens was not exactly appealing to me but the mix of collards, onions, raisins and sweet/tangy dressing really popped. And even better, PCC provides recipes for any and all foods prepared on site. If you are willing to try a non-traditional coleslaw or you are looking for a different way to prepare those same old greens, then this Collard Slaw is the way to go. The link will take you directly to the recipe as provided by PCC. It should be noted that I used Nayonaise and not Veganaise in order to drastically reduce the fat.

2. Vegan Jambalaya. We haven’t actually made this one yet. It’s on tap for this evening and will go nicely with the leftover collard slaw. Depending on where you are in the country right now this warm and spicy dish might not sound very appealing what with everyone elses record-breaking temperatures but here in Seattle it is overcast and cool making this the perfect “the summer that never was” kind of meal. Again the link will take you directly to the recipe we used. We are going to use Trader Joe’s vegetarian Italian sausage and not the combination of sausage and tempeh called for in the recipe. Additionally I plan on leaving out the sort of ridiculous amounts of oil called for. I recalculated the nutritional information shown on the recipe page using just the sausage and cutting out the oil and was able to cut the calories to 378 a serving instead of 721 and the fat to 13% and not 41%. Recipes like this are a perfect example of a vegan whole food turned unhealthy. Thankfully it isn’t hard to bring them back into the healthy camp again.

3. Vegan Savory Muffins. I made these this morning with, as usual, a few changes. Instead of 1/2 cup polenta and 1 cup flour I used 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup of cornmeal. I also substituted green bell pepper and a couple of tablespoons of minced sun-dried tomatoes for the plain red bell pepper since I didn’t have a red bell pepper and I assumed the red jalapenos I do have would probably be a bit much. I also resorted to dried thyme instead of fresh. I used half a teaspoon but I think when I make them again a quarter teaspoon might be better as the thyme can become a bit overwhelming. The texture of the muffins is wonderful but will not stand up to dragging around in your lunch box. They are rich and velvety but fall apart if you so much as look at them sternly.

4. Tex-Mex Summer Squash Casserole. Instead of using the vegan cheese and salsa called for in this recipe I used (well actually MSP used) Nacho Mama’s Vegan Fire-Roasted Queso Sauce (see previous post about this miraculous substance) thereby reducing the added fat to ZERO (this sentence works better if you can do it in Oprah’s voice in your head). I also added a jar of drained pinto beans. Everything else remained as it was in the recipe. I had 2 servings and one for a snack later, it was that good. Creamy, savory and with a hint of spicy this would be an excellent topping for masa cakes or as tamale filling perhaps. MSP thought she would like to mix it with some cooked elbow macaroni for a Cheesy-Mexi-Pasta kind of thing and I can definitely see where that would totally work.  The great thing about this dish is that it’s simple enough to be easy to whip up and yet still do all manner of creative tweaks so that it is never the same dish twice. Great for kids and unmotivated other halfs to make.

4. Peach-Apricot Sauce. We had a few organic peaches and apricots around the house that had reached that level of ripeness that is too good to throw away but not appealing for eating out of hand, soft and with some bruising. Rather than waste them I decided to chop them up, skins and all and simmer them gently for an hour or so in a bit of water. Once they had cooled a bit I ran them through a food mill to remove the skins and any hard bits. The result is a thick warm sauce that resembles peach butter, though not quite as thick as what one would spread on bread. The taste is wonderful and fresh. It can be eaten straight the way it is although I have an idea for using it on oatmeal.

Oh, and lastly I had to include this photo. One of my biggest pet peeves with living here in the Pacific Northwest is berries. Not that we have them growing all over the place, I love that, but that they highlight the mind-boggling laziness that so many American consumers have embraced. Here we have raspberries, blackberries, salmon berries, blueberries, huckleberries, salal berries, thimble berries, ollala berries, and probably a dozen other kinds I can’t remember at the moment. If I walk into a grocery store in Los Angeles or New York City I expect to see a pint of blackberries or raspberries for $6.00 and people buying them at that cost. It isn’t as though you can realistically get them easily or cheaply in the city. But what really frosts my pumpkins as my Nana would have said, is that you can find the same thing in every grocery store HERE. Here, where Himalayan blackberries are ALL OVER everything that stands still for more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time. Here, where they are considered invasive and we have businesses devoted to removing them. And yet with a million pounds of fresh, sweet, warm berries free for the picking, many consumers continue to pay $6.00 a pint for farmed berries from out-of-state. That isn’t just lazy, it should be considered criminal from a waste of gas and resources viewpoint alone. Oh, I can hear the excuses now… I don’t have the time… it’s too much work… my schedule is so full… I don’t want to get stung or scratched. Whatever. If a picture is worth a thousand words then here is the thousand words that it took me 5 minutes in the warm sun to collect across the alley from my backyard. For free.

Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox now so I can go eat my raspberries.

July 21, 2011 Posted by | New recipes | 3 Comments

Thoughts on being deprived as a vegan.

But is it worth dying for?

I’ve noticed something sort of disturbing in the last couple of months since we’ve started eating vegan as a family. It didn’t used to bother me before. In fact sometimes it made me nod my head in sympathy and commiserate. Sometimes with a qualifier, but often not. Sometimes I ignored it, but not often, and sometimes I got angry. It’s the non-vegan responses to my lifestyle choice that include these comments: “Oh, I can’t give up _____!”, “How can you not eat ____?”, “Why does eating healthy mean giving up everything good?”, “Oh that’s nice but it takes too much time and is too expensive for most people.”. Sometime in the last couple of weeks these seemingly innocuous comments have begun to grate mightily on my nerves. No longer do I nod my head in sympathy and understanding at the idea that I no longer eat a 4 egg breakfast with bacon or a gooey mound of mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s beginning to feel as though the people most inclined to accuse vegans of pushing their lifestyle choice onto others are often the very first to comment on mine, usually with a combination of disbelief, a stunned “why?!?!?” and dismissive negation. Now I find myself biting my tongue to stop the comments from pouring out of my mouth…

1. YES, you CAN give up _____. Be honest with yourself. You simply don’t want to. You have made a choice, the same as I have, and yours includes _____ in your diet.

2. How can I not eat ____? It’s simple, I just don’t eat it. Yes, sometimes I miss it and sometimes I even eat some at a time when my committment wavers but I’ve decided that I would miss my family a great deal more if I were to die from heart disease or diabetes. That tends to put ______ into some rather harsh perspective.

3. Eating a healthy plant-based diet DOESN’T mean giving up everything good. And if it does then I can’t begin to imagine what you must be eating. Eating a healthy plant-based diet means that everything you eat is good and if YOU can’t find a way to make it tasty and exciting then you might want to consider some basic cooking classes and simple cookbooks. In a day and age when you can order pretty much any spice, condiment, utensil, how-to guide or gadget over the internet and have it dropped on your front door like a Jehovah’s Witness with a fresh copy of the Watchtower, resorting to raw broccoli, lentil cakes and nutritional yeast in hot water is just plain lazy and maybe even a bit passive aggressive. I mean, it IS the perfect excuse for not eating healthy if is looks awful and tastes worse, right?

4. According to a recent Nielsen study, the average American spends almost 160 hours a month, over 5 hours a day, watching television. Now tell me that those very same people don’t have time to prepare and cook a meal. The more correct assesment is that many Americans don’t TAKE the time to cook healthy meals. If someone can’t manage to boil pasta, heat up sauce and throw together a salad while watching Dancing With American Idols or whatever it is that passes for entertainment these days then they have bigger problems that we can address here and none of them involve efficient time use. Just because commercials for processed foods bombard you day in and day out with the idea that cooking and family meals are quaint but unrealistic goals in your busy busy life doesn’t mean that we have to buy into this thinly disguised manipulation.  As for expensive, well yes it is, if you choose shop at high-end yuppie stores. But, if you take the time to locate mom and pop produce stands and watch your grocery store flyers for sales on fruits, veggies, and bulk beans and grains you can eat veggie or vegan quite cheaply. I know. We did it on food stamps, feeding a family of 4 for $246 a month.

The thing is, deprivation is a state of mind. If you view eating healthy, feeling better, being more active, having fewer stomach upsets or nights of gorged incapacitation and extending your life as being deprived, then yes, you ARE deprived. If you want to view the glass as half empty then that is exactly how it will appear. And that is your choice. But this is MY choice. I don’t view deprivation the same way anymore. I see losing my life early to preventable disease as being deprived. I see missing out on Christmas eve’s, cheap movie matinees, Saturday morning coffee, summer days at the beach and family dinners as being deprived. I see an inability to enjoy outdoor activities because I’m too ill or incapacitated as being deprived. I see having to tell people “No, no… don’t tell me about it, it’s too upsetting” when it concerns the abuse and torture that food animals endure as being deprived. It might have taken me 45 years to get here but I enjoy my life, my family, my hobbies, my dreams and my goals too much to willing sacrifice them for a cheeseburger or sausage gravy.

And really, if you think about and if you are truly honest with yourself, who among us on our death bed will say, “I wish I had eaten more fast food.” or “I wish I had spent more time with a grilled cheese sandwich.” I think it far more likely that most of us will say, “I wish I had been a more compassionate person. I wish I had left the world a better place than I found it. I wish I had more time. I would give anything for just another day, another minute, with the people I love.” Isn’t it better to recognize that now when you still have a choice?

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Cheating/Struggling | 6 Comments

Vegan substitutions, condiments and spices. Oh my. (the draft I was working on when MSP had her heart attack)

Ever since we started eating vegan and low-fat (when I can stop sabotaging myself) we have utilized spices and condiments in more creative and exciting ways than we ever did before. It isn’t about covering up the taste of anything, on the contrary, it’s about enhancing the tastes we’ve covered up all these years with our layers of fat, salt and sugar. I’ve noticed that those who do not share our eating habits seem to require almost an overdose of “flavor” on their food to the extent that the flavors of the real food are buried and no longer recognizable. I think of it as the “Ranch Dressing Syndrome”, when you can recognize the texture of the vegetables in your salad but can no longer see them or taste them owing to the ocean of dressing you just buried them in. It’s a syndrome I am intimately familiar with having had a rather unnaturally close relationship with Ranch dressing for years. One might say Hidden valley was my adopted home town even.

But now what? Let’s face it, vegan ranch dressing is, well… vegan ranch dressing. You can make it vegan but it just doesn’t taste the same no matter what you do. I’ve discovered that there are some things you can substitute with vegan versions and others that you just can’t. Pot roast for instance. Others you can barely tell the difference or they taste so good on their own that it doesn’t matter. So I’ve decided to show some of the products/recipes we use in the event that it might help someone else avoid the vegan ranch dressing trap.

1. Malt Salt/Bacon Salt. These are exactly what they say they are. And oh so very tasty as well. The malt salt is essentially a vinegar powder like you find sprinkled on salt and vinegar chips but with a stronger and yet more delicate vinegar flavor and less salt. I love it sprinkled on salads and especially thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes. The bacon salt is still vegan and comes in a variety of bacon flavors. It tastes more like bacon bits than real slices of bacon but I find that’s ok in a vegan universe. I sprinkle it on my tofu scrambles for a tasty bacon ‘n’ eggs kind of thing as well as on lettuce, tomato and veganaise sandwiches. *I should mention we had a late night snack of Cheddar Bacon microwave popcorn made by the same company last night. Not low fat or low salt but it is vegan.

2. Parma: Vegan Parmesan cheese. Does this taste like the aged parmesan cheese they so freely sprinkle on your salad at the Olive Garden? No, not really. But it does taste good on things like spaghetti and sauce and in pesto. It adds that salty, gritty texture that is really what makes parmesan work so well on Italian food. It’s main ingredient is nutritional yeast. Not a flavor I’m enamored with but as I said, sprinkled on other foods as a counterpoint it is excellent. I have even discovered that it works not just well, but exceptionally well, on my hot cereal in the morning. I can hear the confused “eh?” now. Who puts cheese on their hot cereal? Well, I do. I don’t do sweet things very well anymore. Too much sugar, especially processed sugar, makes me sick though you would never know it some days the way I sneak cookies. So instead of putting brown sugar, honey or maple syrup and butter on my hot cereal in the morning I make it savory. I add diced tomatoes and scallions, a bit of vegan parmesan and a touch of Hawaiian chile water for tang. It’s hot, creamy, savory and usually lasts me for hours without the need to snack.

3. Bragg Liquid Aminos and nori furikake. For liquid aminos think soy sauce with a high protein content. It’s a non-GMO liquid protein concentrate that replaces tamari and soy sauce. Although I have heard it has less salt than soy sauce I can’t seem to verify that from what I find in terms of sodium content but the protein content information seems to be right on.  Nori furikake is basically shredded, dried seaweed seasoning that is sometimes mixed with sugar, salt, fish flakes or sesame seeds. I usually pick mine up at Uwajimaya in the International District. I go for the one with just plain nori and sesame seeds and nothing else added. It’s great sprinkled on tomato slices, steamed rice, stir fry, congee and anything else that goes well with a light Asian flavoring. *If you click on the Bragg Liquid Aminos link I’ve provided you can sign up to be sent some free samples of their products. they also have a seaweed based seasoning mix but I do not recommend it.

4. Lastly, because I saved the best for last, Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso. We have decided to return to our whole foods ways, in other words,no more oil-riffic fake cheeses and meats. If I can’t make it myself or reasonably reproduce it in my own kitchen then it’s too processed, and likely to full of fat, for us. So to find this vegan queso sauce was a real treat. To begin with it tastes FABULOUS. If you miss nacho cheese sauce then you MUST run out and buy this stuff. And if you miss nacho cheese sauce but haven’t been able to even enjoy the store bought stuff or make your own with vegan “cheeze” then you will be ecstatic to note that this queso sauce in NO fat. Yes, that’s right Virginia, Santa came early this year and he left a big heaping jar of vegan no fat cheese sauce that tastes really really good! As mom never said, well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

Peace!

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Being Vegan, Cheating/Struggling, Vegan condiments, Vegan Products, Vegan Salad Dressing | Leave a comment

Vegans have heart attacks too apparently…

Sorry for going missing like I have but I do have a good excuse. The other CV, the one now called Miss Skinny Pants, hereafter MSP, was recently laid low with heart failure. You can imagine my dismay and surprise after we have worked so hard to improve our eating and exercise only to have this happen. She had been feeling poorly for a few days, something we chalked up to weaning herself off of some long-term medications. The withdrawal symptoms were similar and who expects a 44-yr old vegan to have a heart attack? So we didn’t address it immediately. We should have. Goodness knows we hear often enough that women in particular tend to have silent heart attacks or display symptoms that do not match the classic “pain in the chest radiating down the left arm”. And so we missed the initial cardiac event. By the time it was obvious that something serious was happening she was at work. Up in the ceiling of an empty public school where she couldn’t easily be reached during the heat of the day. Because timing is everything apparently. And since we have only one car and she had it, I couldn’t go get her. STILL not realizing the seriousness of the situation she drove herself home once she felt “somewhat” recovered while I made her a doctor’s appointment. And here’s the kicker, and the only reason I don’t feel like the biggest heel in the world, the doctor missed it too. He agreed with us about the theory that it was withdrawal from her meds. But thankfully he did tell us that if we wanted to be EXTRA sure we should go to the ER. And against her objections, in a moment of clarity, I did. And then the ER doc missed it too. She looked great and her EKG showed some abnormalities but nothing they seemed overly concerned with. They gave her a GI cocktail (lidocaine and maalox), took some blood and took her down for a chest x-ray and I headed off to the cafeteria to get us a sandwich figuring it would be awhile before she came back. It was a very different picture when I returned. The doctor stopped me at the door, told me that her blood results showed elevated cardiac enzymes indicating an “event” and damage to the heart muscle and it looked like a convention in her room with nurses, technicians and doctors running about and poking her with sharp things. I was devastated. She is my best friend and the love of my life and to see her like that was nearly more than I could take.

So what happened and how is she? To shorten this up I will say now that she is much better and on her way to a full recovery. As it turns out her heart attack was NOT the result of heart disease. They took her to the angio lab fully expecting blocked or narrowing of the arteries but instead discovered that her arteries are clean enough to eat dinner off of. Instead she had suffered what is known as “Broken Heart Syndrome” or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, essentially, stress-induced heart failure that resembles a heart attack on initial presentation. Her cardiologist has assured us that despite the initial grim diagnosis her recovery is imminent and she will likely heal completely in a couple of months. As of now she is home and her only restriction regarding diet is caffeine, which oddly enough I have a restriction on as well due to supraventricular tachycardia, and her only physical limitations is “don’t do what doesn’t feel good”. She now takes aspirin and some other meds I cannot spell to control the symptoms of heart failure but even that should taper off as she continues to recover!

The good news in all this is that a woman who has a family history of coronary artery disease and whose mom has had a quadruple bypass appears, despite this oddly unrelated problem, to have dodged the heart disease bullet largely in part due to her vegan diet and improved physical activity. I call that pretty damned awesome!

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Vegan Heart attacks | 2 Comments

Feeling superior for being vegan. Confessions of an underachiever on the fourth of July.

I was reading the news the other day about Costco dropping pork produced by Iowa Select Farms due to a video made by Mercy For Animals documenting some of the most heartbreaking animal abuse I’ve ever seen and I was feeling proud that I no longer contribute to the continued torture, abject misery and sadness of these animals and then I realized that I was actually feeling a bit, well, superior as well. As I think I’ve mentioned before this is somewhat unusual for me. I have long believed that the rest of the world is thinner, prettier, more successful and generally better at whatever it is they do than I am. This is a  belief compounded by the internet, a place where I can’t see the pot-bellies, double-wides and mullets of the world. Not even People of Walmart seems to disabuse me of this nagging suspicion. So it’s a bit of a surprise to me that being vegan has helped me to claim a bit of the “I’m better than” for myself and not always handing it out so freely to others. Hard as it is to give up so many things that I love ( and I DO stumble), finding reasons to be proud of myself and proud of my choices is turning out to be better than what I’m giving up. On another sort of related side note, giving up television has turned out to be much easier than I had hoped. I not only find I don’t miss it at all but I find myself actively excited about our evenings now… reading together in front of the fireplace, having friends over for dinner and coffee more often, time to work in my art studio. I never realized how much even limited TV had sort of insidiously hypnotized me into not noticing the things I was missing. And at last count I have read 56 books since January.

So what did you do for the fourth? I cleaned and cooked mostly and worked out household/teenager issues with the other CV. Not exactly a 10 on the excitement-o-meter but good nonetheless. We did stick to a vegan diet for the day except for some non-vegan peanut butter cookies that I justified under the excuse that they were made by a very good, and expensive local bakery and normally unaffordable but since these were on the day old rack… and now you see another way I justify sabotaging myself? Our “official” holiday dinner menu consisted of a vegan sausage and potato salad, a sour cucumber onion and dill salad, watermelon and homemade french bread. The potato salad was so darned good that I didn’t even miss having barbecue!

Vegan Sausage Potato Salad

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 pound red potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces vegan kielbasa or Italian “sausage”, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup walla walla or vidalia onions, chopped

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 clove garlic, large, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add whole potatoes; boil about 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, heat the 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Brown the vegan sausage (I used Tofurkey kielbasa). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add sausage to the bowl with the potatoes along with celery and onions.

For the dressing, in a small container use a hand blender to whip together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper until thick and creamy. If you do not have a hand or wand blender you can use a whisk. However using a hand blender produces a thick creamy product like a flavored mayo while whisking will not. Add the dressing, celery and green onions to the potato mixture and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Peace!

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Being Vegan, New recipes | Leave a comment

Seat Pants Minestrone Soup and Field peas

Today I’m canning… and doing laundry… and cleaning… and pulling sod off the back walkway… and trimming branches in the backyard… and folding clothes… and hanging up clothes… and doing dishes… and cooking, oh and let’s not forget weeding/trimming the rockery out front. And I have a blister. Now tell me again how this staying home thing is supposed to be relaxing? There isn’t a bon-bon or a soap opera in sight.

Minestrone (left) Chopped Tomatoes (right)

On the upside, I have 12 gorgeous quarts of chopped tomatoes canned in their own juice (you would think 28 lbs would go farther but no) and another 14 quarts of chunky homemade minestrone, which Sara calls my “seat pants” Minestrone since I’m known to make it by the seat of my pants with whatever I happen to have on hand. This batch has purple kale, navy beans, tomatoes, barley, carrots, onions, peppers, potatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms seasoned with garlic, onion, peppers, black pepper, and Italian herbs, all in a vegetarian chicken/vegetable stock base. In this case the ingredients were a product of the greens I had from our garden, what was in the “quick sale/clearance” produce section of our nearest neighborhood market and the seasonings I happened to have on hand. Not a traditional minestrone I know, but it is awfully good if I do say so myownself. Only one of jars of minestrone didn’t vacuum seal correctly (I’m betting it’s the one where I forgot to wipe the rim with vinegar before setting the lid on) and the other CV took it for lunch today. And it has been pronounced a superb success which tickles me no end. One of my shameful secrets has been a lifelong love of canned soup eaten right out of the can. I should hasten to add… not the condensed kind because really, that’s just a stroke in a can right there what with all the salt. Tomorrow, or this afternoon if I feel really motivated, I will start a batch of split pea soup for canning. I’m going to try using the recipe in the BBB (that’s the Ball Blue Book for those of you who like me spent several confused hours on the internet trying to figure out why everyone on the canning forums thought the Better Business Bureau was THE EXPERT in canning and preserving) but I will have to substitute field peas for split peas as I have over a gallon of them at last count. They are brown instead of green so I’m a little worried about how it will look when it’s finished but I imagine the taste will be wonderful regardless. The recipe calls for ham so I’m going to put in diced potatoes and liquid smoke to replicate the taste and correct volume of ingredients and still keep it vegan.

This will mark off the chopped tomatoes, minestrone and split pea soup from my canning list for now. One item I didn’t have on the list but have decided to make, and can if it’s as good as I hope, is a vegan Hungarian Goulash. The BBB has a recipe that used A LOT of beef but I think I will try substituting large velvety red runner beans and cubed potatoes into the recipe in place of the beef. Adding a bit of Better Than Bouillon’s No Beef Base to give the flavor of beef to the sauce should make this top-notch. The BBB also states to discard the carrots, celery and onions before canning the beef and I can tell you that that will just not do. Beside the fact that I LOVE slow cooked vegetables simmered with spices it’s simply so wasteful. I read online that the average American family throws out about 12%-14% of it’s food, 27% if you include restaurants, cafeterias and grocery stores and an astounding 40-50% when you include farms, wholesalers and processors. Here is a graphic that illustrates just how much edible food is thrown away by a family of four in this country in one month (one study estimated that it amounts to about $600 a year but that was some time ago and I’m sure it’s significantly higher now). I have to admit that since we have been eating vegan, the amount of food waste in this house has dropped dramatically. We don’t throw away any food anymore. Even vegetable scraps and peelings gets saved for making broth and what cannot be used at all is composted much to the delight of the crow family (Steve, Edie and recently fledged Stuart) that live in the tree behind our house. They seem particularly fond of watermelon rinds. Who knew? And yes, it suddenly occurs to me I should be pickling those, no? Except I’ve never had pickled watermelon rind and I’m not entirely sure what one does with it exactly. It’s a mystery. Not unlike what the Queen carries in her purse. And what exactly does she carry in there? Spare keys to the castle? A hanky? Important phone numbers? Anyway, although my love of all things pickle related is well documented, I think I want to taste a pickled watermelon rind before I spend and afternoon canning it. But we’ll see…

Peace

July 2, 2011 Posted by | Canning, Field Peas, Minestrone | 2 Comments