Good morning everyone and happy Saturday once again! Yep, it’s definitely autumn, and not just because the calendar says so or even because the leaves are starting to change colors. Nope, the reason I know is because I’m back to wearing jeans and hoodies, and I’ve got a mean itch to bake stuff – bread, cookies, pies, cakes. Y’know, the good stuff! What’s funny is I’ve never considered myself much of a baker, because unlike cooking, baking requires exactness, and that’s just not how I roll. With cooking, you can throw in a little of this, a little of that, taste along the way. And even if you put in too much of this stuff over here, there’s usually a way to fix it. Is there too much salt in the soup? Toss in a half of a potato. Is the sauce too thin? Blend in a little more flour or reduce it a little longer. That’s how I like things – flexible. But damnitall if I don’t like the end results of an incredible apple pie!
In those particular cases, I stick to recipes, but the creative side in me always finds a way to tweak things… just a little. One of the things I change with making/baking anything with a fair amount of sugar in it is to find a way to incorporate more vanilla extract. I love that stuff, and buying the real McCoy isn’t all that cheap, but it’s worth it. And, if the recipe already calls for vanilla, I double it. People equate vanilla with boring, but to me, it’s the one ingredient that makes everything better. Boring oatmeal? Vanilla. French toast batter? Again, vanilla. Homemade chocolate custard? Muthafukkin vanilla, beotch!
I’ve had the title “Foodie” attached to me many times, even if I’m not all that big on French cuisine. (The online foodie quizzes call me an amateur, because, y’know, I’m just genuinely dying to know and not at all full of myself or anything. No, nothing like that at all.) I will admit though, anytime I come across an article that has to do with food, I’m on that like guys on bacon. I read those articles as much as I do with articles related to the military, if for any other reason, so I have something to write about each week. This week for example, I’ve been reading how kids in school are whining about school lunches not tasting good and how they’re all but starving and whatnot. Take a look at this funny commentary:
Damn these commies and their (not so) low calorie limits and salt/fat/sugar-free lunches. Damn them!
Okay, so maybe they’re not as tasty as last year’s dosage of chili cheese fries, pizza and chocolate milk, but there is a way to fix it – you can have mommy pack you one (if your school allows lunches to be brought in from home, that is.). Or, and I’m sure some crafty kids have already figured this out, you can sneak in some salt and pepper packets from your favorite fast food chain. At my last office job, I used to actually have salt and pepper shakers in a desk drawer, just because the health nut place across the street, while good, seemed to be all but allergic to basic seasonings. Well, perhaps it’s time to call in Jamie Oliver; he’ll know what to do.
What’s ironic here is why there is such a thing as school lunches in the first place. In 1946, Truman passed the The National School Lunch Act, partly because it was discovered 40% of rejected recruits were malnourished. That seems all but absurd these days, because 75% of the rejected recruits are overweight and obese. Back then, people were still in/coming out of extreme poverty due to the Great Depression, so it makes perfect sense. I mean, look at what they had to do to get Captain Rogers:
Okay, I kid… a little. (And, I’m not all that fond of Captain America’s take on what counts as a deity either, but I digress.) But seriously, how did we go from not having enough to eat to having too much of a good (?) thing? And, with the way things are going, are we going to swing the pendulum back to another dust bowl? I know my bacon-loving friends were all in shock when they learned about the coming Aporkalypse. Some of my prepper friends have been doubling up on their stores as soon as the news broke. Not bacon! Nooooo!
Napoleon once said, “An army marches on its stomach,” which makes perfect sense. You need to be well-nourished to march, and you certainly need it to fight. It amazes people when they learn how much our troops eat in a day, or even athletes. We civilians need half as much, and unless our kids are also very athletic, they don’t need stores and stores of empty calories. I say, if the kids are whining their lunches suck, which yes, school lunches have always sucked overall, well, they can either bring in something from home or they can go hungry. That’s the problem – they’re not hungry enough. When you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat almost anything – even *gasp!* “nerd grenades” (fruits and vegetables, ala John Stewart [above video]).
Starting Monday, there’s a challenge perhaps some of you would be interested in taking up: October Unprocessed. The rules are pretty simple – you don’t eat anything processed for one month – just whole foods. It sounds like something any Pagan would like to at least try, since y’know, harvest time and all. Now you can buy stuff premade, but it has to pass the kitchen test, which means it’s something you could reasonably make in your kitchen. (Sorry, but Nutella doesn’t make the cut. Boo!) This can pose to be quite the challenge for many of us, especially those of us who eat out often, and for some of us, it’s no biggie at all. It’s even acceptable to have pop if you want, provided the ingredients list is up to par.
As they say, no one’s watching you and taking notes, and even if you are on a very tight budget and truly feel you need some processed stuff to get by, well if you at least make an effort, you’re good to go. When we were growing up, there were many times where Mom resorted to even making noodles from scratch, because we had flour in the pantry but not even enough change to roll pennies so we could just buy a bag. It took some time, especially since Mom was cutting the dough with a butter knife, but damnit if they weren’t good. She just dropped them in some salted boiling water, drained, covered them with butter and parsley flakes and served them alongside some carrots. It wasn’t the most glamorous meal in the world, but to this day, I still love fresh buttered noodles. Even my uber-Foodie brother out in California says the best stuff Mom ever made was when we were flat broke. (That mayor out in Phoenix should try his challenge again after consulting folks on how they get by and still eat fairly well.)
Well folks, I gotta get in my shower and get back to my grind. I got some folks who need the keys to their new apartments, and I’m sure they’d prefer I got out of my jammies and took a shower first. Take care everyone, and blessings!