June 2012

It's time to start eating bugs

Cultural food phobias are a funny thing. I understand personal food phobias - I myself cannot tolerate the squishy-yet-gritty texture of beans - but our cultural taboos about what you can and cannot eat are as odd and arbitrary as they are unquestioned. Americans eat cows, for example, but not horses. We eat pigs, but not guinea pigs. We eat sheep, but not goats.

More to the point: we happily eat aquatic arthropods (including crabs, shrimp, and lobster). But we draw the line at terrestrial arthropods (i.e. insects). 
Some people believe we should change that opinion. The European Union, for example, has a three million-Euro bonus for any member state that promotes eating insects. And from a logical standpoint, they have a good point. The world is getting increasingly more crowded, and the ecological overhead of raising beef, chicken and pork is simply unsustainable. If Americans insist on continuing to eat meat, we may have to compromise and start eating insect meat, instead. 
Nevertheless, the phrase "insect meat" gives me the shivers.

Frozen Banana Treats

Cool summer snack for a hot day

My kids seem to love any treat that comes out of the freezer. I've recently been experimenting with different fruits that I can freeze to get them to eat a bit healthier. The most recent concoction used frozen bananas.

To make a frozen banana treat, you'll need wax paper, popsicle sticks, and bananas. The rest of the ingredients should consist of things your kids love to eat.

Start with the basics. Peel your bananas and slide a popsicle stick up through the bottom of each one. Set the bananas on a stick on a sheet of wax paper. The wax paper is important because you don't want the banana treat to stick to a surface after it freezes.

Soda hysteria: The math doesn't add up

Bloomberg's proposed soda ban for New York City is ridiculous, but not for the reasons given. All the liberal hand-wringing (and I say that as a liberal myself) over soda ignores two basic facts:

1. It's not all full of soda!
This point is so patently obvious to any soda-drinker, but clearly lost on the non-soda-drinking hippies who want to ban sodas over 20 ounces. If you don't drink soda, you can be forgiven for not realizing how much of that cup is FULL OF ICE, NOT SODA.
Take a 32 ounce cup at McDonald's. I grant you, the cup holds 32 ounces. But it will be served to you at least 3/4ths full of ice, leaving a mere eight ounces of actual soda.
Mother Jones asks "How did our sodas get so huge?" I'll tell you how: because consumers want to drink a certain amount of beverage, but the war of escalation between consumer and corporate provider means that you have to order increasingly large cups in order to keep getting the same amount of beverage.
Even if you leave out any tongue-in-cheek exaggeration, at the very least there is some percentage of the cup in which soda is displaced by ice. All of the arguments overlook this fact. Isn't it time we inject some facts into the debate? If Bloomberg thinks that more than 20 ounces of soda is wrong and bad and should be illegal, then he needs to ban any cup over, say, 24 ounces at least.

Amazing turkey wraps

I'm not sure why, but I tend to create more meat wraps during the spring and summer months than I do in the fall and winter. I made a really tasty turkey wrap yesterday that you can easily do yourself at home.

First, lay out a flour tortilla on your plate. I use the average size tortillas, but you can always get the ones that are used for making quesadillas, as they are much bigger. I would use the larger ones if I was serving a man, but since I was just making them for myself and my two daughters, I stuck with the regular flour tortillas.

Second, coat the top of the flour tortilla with a salad dressing. I used ranch, but honestly almost any salad dressing will do when it comes to wraps. Now sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese over the dressing.

Burger King's controversial bacon sundae

An unusual new dessert offering has set the Internet ablaze.

Unlike many of the people who are currently embroiled in discussions (some more civil than others) about Burger King's new bacon ice cream sundae, I have actually tried it. My experience was… mixed.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. 
When Burger King announced that it was going to start selling a limited edition ice cream sundae with bacon, a lot of people apparently lost their minds. The Atlantic, unsurprisingly, got all hoity-toity and sniffy about it, calling it "passe." Then an NPR blogger (correctly) took them to task for their snobbishness. And then the entire internet imploded in one long flame war, basically. Some people feel that Burger King is jumping on a bandwagon that's already played out. Other people seem to feel that Burger King is co-opting a grass roots movement, as if bacon has sold out and gone corporate. Power to the people! 

Create your own cookbook

My daughter and I are halfway through creating our own cookbook. I suppose it began as a homeschool project, but it has been just as much fun as educational. We do plan on having our cookbook published and sold, and the process is much more simple than you would think.

There are several reasons you may want to make your own cookbook. You may want to share your recipes with the world, make some extra money, raise funds for charity or preserve important family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

The first step is to decide where you want to publish your cookbook. I plan on using CreateSpace as soon as our cookbook is finished. This company will place your book on popular sites, such as Amazon. You can also order copies for yourself rather cheaply. Other options include Lulu and Kindle Direct Publishing.

Nutella: The newest craze

A friend of mine was posting on Facebook about a week ago that she just had to run to the grocery store to pick-up Nutella on her way home from work. She had run out that morning and couldn't be without it.

It was this post that got my daughter intrigued with the product. She begged me to add it to our grocery list for the upcoming week. I didn't see any reason why she shouldn't try it, so I got a jar of Nutella. The four main ingredients in this spread are: cocoa, hazelnuts, sugar and skim milk.