Quick Bites from Pender

New Years’ Resolution #5 – Lose the Additives

In Did You Know, Kitchen Tips on January 22, 2010 at 5:01 am

I’m back on the resolution bandwagon after falling off for a couple of days.  It must have been the butter-induced stupor caused by the Laminated Doughs Workshop I took in Vancouver over the weekend.  Think hand-rolled croissants, poppy-seed bear claws and apricot & pastry cream danishes.  Think 144 layers of butter stacked with 145 layers of dough – no hydrogenated fats, no glucose-fructose, no stabilizers – just 200 years of viennoiserie tradition.

croissant-by-theresaFor those of you who remember what happened with Resolution #4, I know it sounds like I’m becoming distracted by animal fats again, but really I’m not.  What I’m talking about is making something by hand, even something heavy on time and labour, for the love of food.

Someone, somewhere out there just told me to GET REAL.  I heard it as I typed.  I know, I know, it’s fine and dandy for someone who spends most of her free time in the kitchen to tell everyone else that they should be making their own freaking puff pastry when Tenderflake will do just fine, thank-you very much.

So let’s start with something a little easier shall we?  How about stock — stop your groaning — let me finish.  Stock is the base for most of my soups and sauces, I use it to cook rice and vegetables, heck, I even use demi-glace in the Dooze’s dog biscuits.  It’s IMPORTANT.

Most of the stock I use is homemade, but I always have a couple of cans of chicken stock in my cupboard, just in case.  But in the past couple of years, packaged food has really started to trip me out. Much of it can only be categorized as questionable.  Case in point:

canned-chicken-stock

I have to give the famous national brand on the left their dues — they’re pretty much up front with what’s in it — except for the yeast extract — which is sneaky — but since they already mention the MSG above it, I’ll cut them some slack.

On the other hand, I find the popular organic brand on the right to be a little more Orwellian in their approach to their ingredient list.  They totally lost me in the “Chicken Flavour” section…what is that stuff?  (Actually, I have a pretty good idea, thanks to this little book.)

And then there’s the salt, and the lack of mirepoix…you get what I’m saying.

Try a Vegetable Stock (quick and easy), or a Brown Beef or Veal Stock (more involved and lengthy, but WELL WORTH the effort).

Or, skip the stock and make yourself some granola, smoke your own meat, or avoid GMO soy and make your own veggie burgers.

No time for any of it?  Then please just read the labels of the foods you buy and make the changes you can…I swear Kraft Mac & Cheese didn’t have that many ingredients when I was little…not all change is good.

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